Video: Google News Offers Tips, Best Practices for Editors, Publishers

This 15-minute video is totally worth your time if you’re a publisher, editor or Webmaster looking to optimize your news content for Google News. In it, Maile Ohye of Google talks about best practices and answers frequently asked questions about how Google News crawls, indexes and ranks news stories in Google News, an important (and controversial) hub of breaking news content and a significant driver of traffic to news sites.

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Arkansas.gov’s iPhone App for Tracking Simulus Spending

From Arkansas.gov

From Arkansas.gov

Okay iPhone app junkies, here’s a good one.

“The Arkansas.gov Recovery Project Search,” launched by the state of Arkansas, helps you track stimulus spending in the Natural State. It’s billed as “the first state government in the nation to develop and release an iPhone application with the ability to search projects funded with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds.” Fun!

You search for spending by location (including projects “near you”), keyword and categories, including conservation, drug treatment, highways, efficiency, information and traffic.

The app serves up individual projects, the amount of money appropriated, when the project begins and how complete the project is. The app also lets you track that project, so you’ll know when changes occur.

For those intensely interested in how the state is spending its share of the stimulus money, this app is useful, geeky fun. You can find it in the iTunes app store by searching for “Arkansas.gov Recovery Project Search” or you can download it here.

More on the App

News release (via MarketWatch alerts)

Recovery.Arkansas.gov

More screenshots after the jump.

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THVideo: Alyson Courtney and I Talk Twitter

Click here to watch the segment

Click here to watch the segment

Whew! Two and a half minutes does go by fast. Especially on TV. It’s almost like trying to keep your tweets at a 140 characters!

That’s right, I said “140.” Although sharp-eared Twitterati will hear me in the video to the left saying “240” for some reason. “240”?! How do I mess that up? That’s basic Twitter 101! All I can say is, it was 6:40 in the a.m. and I’d yet to break into the coffee. It happens.

But thanks to “Today’s THV” for having me on and being such enthusiastic New Media experimenters. And check out Charles Crowson — he’s discovered Twitpic — much to Alyson’s dismay.

Like I said in the video, it’s easy to get “social media fatigue” trying to keep up with all that’s out there. The key for anyone thinking about using Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, whatever, is to think about your goals, the way you work, and your possible audience, then experiment to see what service best fits you based on that criteria.

You don’t have to do it all. But you should be aware of what’s out there.

Also noted in the segment: How the government is using Twitter to keep citizens abreast of the swine flu, how Tyson Foods is using Twitter as part of its charitable work, and Delta Trust & Bank‘s plans to Twitter this weekend from the Berkshire-Hathaway shareholders meeting.

Find THV Twitterers here. See more Arkansas Twitterers via the Arkansas Twitter Guide. And follow me on Twitter @LT.

More: Jessica Duff on “Today’s THV at 9” has more on Twitter. (Includes video.)

Access Notes From My SPJ Presentation

Attendees and others curious about multimedia and journalism can download notes from my SPJ Region 12 presentation. Included: A cheat sheet of tools I’ve used during my multimedia adventures.

I can’t promise they’ll make a lot of sense to someone who wasn’t at the session — but that’s okay, since my presentation didn’t make much sense either! Today’s lesson: I am not a good presenter. But it was fun to try!

Hey, I had a great time, and I hope someone learned something today for my brief remarks. The key point I should have gotten across: Despite the gloom and doom your might hear about journalism and newspapers these days, now is great time to be in the business.

Multimedia allows you the chance to a variety of different things and tell stories in new and different ways. And with so many news organizations now discovering and becoming more heavily invested in online video, audio and other forms of multimedia, there’s a great chance for innovation, experimentation and to remake what it is that journalists do. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Also, click here to let me know what you thought of the presentation, ask questions or to discuss multimedia journalism in general.

And thanks again to Kelly Kissel and Andrew DeMillo of the Associated Press and others in SPJ for inviting me to present.

UAMS Tweets the Vote, Announces New Chancellor Via Twitter

It's official

It's official

There will most assuredly be an “official” announcement, via news release most likely, within the hour. But it bears noting that the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Twittered the University of Arkansas’ board of trustees’ vote to name Dr. Dan Rahn the new chancellor of UAMS.

UAMS’ “UAMSHealth” Twitter account is available here. The verdict on the vote, delivered here. UAMS is now live-Twittering (live-tweeting?) Rahn’s remarks to the board.

It’s another example of how companies, organizations, politicians, etc., are using the free Web service as a public relations tool. On its Twitter account, UAMS directly engages its “followers” (whoever they may be) with its message of the day. And they even spread a little news from time to time.

Introducing CapSearch.com

Above, a video I shot and edited for CapSearch.com, a new bill tracking and legislative analysis Web site for lobbyists, companies, government agencies, news organizations and more.

Arkansas government vets Matt Price and Katie Bodenhamer are co-founders of the site, created in partnership with Arkansas Business and our Web design subsidary, FLEX360.

The site came out of beta yesterday. Much of the research CapSearch offers is for subscribers only, but some features, including the Insider’s Blog and other news feeds, are available to anyone. Matt and Katie will tell you more in the marketing video above.

More about CapSearch.com here.

Google’s ‘In Quotes’ Tracks McCain’s, Obama’s Words

Just in time for the elections, Google Labs rolls out a neat little tool called In Quotes, which allows readers to search for the U.S. presidential candidates quotes, as compiled by news sources, by various topics.

So, you wanna know what John McCain and Barack Obama have to say about health care? Just plug that term into the search window here, and Google does the rest, fetching a variety of one-liners from the candidates on that topic. The “spin” button will refresh that search, showing you even more quotations. And, you can do the same trick with Joe Biden/Sarah Palin or any other number of combinations between various U.S. political figures.

Google explains:

These quotations are a valuable resource for understanding where people in the news stand on various issues. Much of the published reporting about people is based on the interpretation of a journalist. Direct quotes, on the other hand, are concrete units of information that describe how newsmakers represent themselves. Google News compiles these quotations from online news stories and sorts them into browsable groups based on who is being quoted.

Similar to article selection and placement on Google News, quotes and their speakers are determined automatically by a computer program and we don’t guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information you may see. The dates you see represent when the article in which the quote appears was added to Google News.

I like to see Google experimenting with stuff like this. As Nov. 4 draws nearer, more people will be looking for information on where the candidates stand on scores of issues, and this tool might not be a bad starting place.

(A version of this post appears today on The Ladder.)