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Blogs > Ivan Lajara

Daily Freeman Life Editor Ivan Lajara talks about journalism, living in the Hudson Valley, language, the Web, cats and even politics. But he shouldn't.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Your advice counts


I asked you on Monday for some general advice, and I received 5 responses, which is 5 more responses that I expected.

So here they are:

 "Love your family and friends as if it's your last day on earth," wrote Jim Gibbons.

 Lowell Thing wrote, "Well, it's that threadworn advice we're all familiar with that always still applies: Whatever that important thing in your life is that you've been putting off, start doing it today - but just do some little something to get it off the ground. Ideally that something should be visible to you tomorrow to encourage you to keep going. (The fundamental assumption of this advice is that doing something you really want to do (that is, the doing of it) is - a form of happiness.)"


"Don't forget to check in with yourself (myself) to observe what you need to work on personally. It's much easier (for me) to just keep the focus on everyone else's work...! I've found it's more obvious with a bit of alone time," wrote Emily.

"If you wish good advice, consult an old man (or woman)," wrote 'mean.'

And finally, Zagger wrote, "eat pizza upside down....(as in the slice, not you)...then re-evaluate your future choices."

I love all of these. And I thank you.




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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Six lessons from producing 360-degree videos



A recent post by Facebook media on 360-degree efforts by ABC News using many devices caught my attention:

"Interestingly, it was a $400 Ricoh Theta S that captured the most popular 360 video of 2016 so far"

For those of us producing 360 degree and virtual reality videos in the lower end of budgets, this is an encouraging sign. No, I'm not expecting to get 18 million views from Daily Freeman videos (or my own page, which I have, for some reason).

After all the early experiments and trials, some things are, in my view, becoming apparent when it comes to the production and delivery of 360-degree videos, especially if you have a lower quality (1920x960 for video) Theta S like we do:

* You're better off with Facebook video. Most of the audience there is in mobile, so people will see videos in 360 on a smaller screen. Processing is minimal and you have a built-in audience. YouTube or Vrideo will take longer and will display big, which will show the low quality (1920x960), not really good for true VR anyway. Furthermore, on mobile, for any of these to work, users have to inside the app (the Facebook video above won't play if you see this post in mobile). In terms of just to get this to work seamlessly, Facebook provides the best experience. YouTube just got iOS support,, but Facebook has the audience.

* Content is king: The ABC News video is from January and the 360 novelty might have worn off by now. The key here is to have a video that's attractive and that works best in 360. So it's important to choose the right stories or events. I think any weather-related event is an easy story idea. Rallies and festivals also work well.


* Videos on FB should be standalone posts. I have found that if you try to add links to the text in the post, the reach will dramatically decrease. I don't know if this is just us, but it makes sense in the larger Facebook algorithm sense (Facebook displaying stand-alone video more prominently). This presents a challenge when you have a written narrative or other elements other than a 360 video that you want to highlight on your website (lMOAR journalism!), but I have found that making another post for those elements doesn't hurt either one.


* For metrics, not all views are created equal. So your FB views should be separate from Youtube views or Vrideo views, because 3 seconds on autofeed counts as a view. Look at the metrics on Facebook Insights on your page to see how deep people saw your videos and how many dropped at 10 seconds or less.


* The first three seconds are crucial because that's going to be the preview of your video. Make it count.


* If your goal is to increase unique visitors, time on site or pageviews to your website, you're going to have a fun conversation with your bosses. I mean this in a good way. We're all new at this, and this is all still in the experimental, volatile stage. But remember that increasing views, reach and likes on FB will increase your potential audience for everything else.

Your feedback is welcome!


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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

360 sampler

A small experiment with Metta, still in beta mode.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

If you could mail a piece of advice to everyone, what would it be?


Today's entry is a simple piece of advice from me: Listen to others.

And thus, it's my turn to listen to you! So if you had a newsletter and wanted to share a piece of advice, what would that be?

I know at least one of your replies is not getting to my inbox, so I'm making the call a public document. 

I would very much like to include your answers.




One cat, because cats:




Yesterday's Internet, Today! because Yesterday's Internet, Today!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DFM chat: The pros and cons of Facebook Live

Journalists, Digital First Media peeps, anyone who wants to are going to participate in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we are talking about Facebook Live videos. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using that platform for live video? Does it fulfill your mission? How can you use it to your advantage? What kinds of videos should news organizations do live? Bring your ideas, links and #realtalk.

If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Facebook's influence in the era of content


As a purported professional observer and chronicler and arranger of ~things that happen~ (and sometimes effusive emoter of excessive euphemisms), I enjoy taking note when ephemeral news gets entangled in ethereal virality.
And Monday was one such day, in which, like many other days before it, news happened.
But as big as those big things that happened were, I kept thinking about those other things, the ones that matter long past traffic inconveniences and web traffic spikes, like the schools elections that we care so little about even though we know better.
Or should know better.
Or, do we even know?
And, if you don't know, then how is it that we professional chroniclers of things that happen failed at informing those who needed to know?
For many a year, information mongers have arrogantly clung to the idea that it is the mythical citizen's duty to stay informed (it is, but whatevs). All of this is happening in an environment where the real citizens struggle with the day-to-day while enduring an incessant bombardment of all kinds of information.

So it is no wonder that nobody can hear the tree falling.
The forest is full of explosions.
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Monday, May 9, 2016

About that 'Spanish looking' suspect

Thursday, May 5, 2016

We have to taco about this


I was in the hospital today because of some chest pains and I spent all day there to find out that I am a healthy human person, actually, and that is most excellent. That's me there in the ER, trying to get some work done in between medical tests. It's a bit tricky to type with a gigantic thing on your finger while on morphine. They even did an extensive sonogram, but they could not find problems or a demonic beast or a chest-bursting alien. Such is life.


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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

DFM chat on digital strategies for small newsrooms

Journalists, Digital First Media peeps, anyone who wants to are going to participate in a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon, Eastern Time, to talk about all things journalism.

Today we are talking about digital strategies for smaller-sized newsrooms. As more and more channels of distribution open and social platforms multiply, how can a spartan newsroom adapt to them? What should be prioritized? We all know what's ideal when it comes to publishing high production values, time-consuming engaging Facebook-only videos. But is it realistic? What IS realistic?
Not realistic

If you want to be in the post chat archive, post a comment in the container or a tweet with the hashtag "#dfmchat" so it can automatically appear below.

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