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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Poynter Institute columnist holds media workshop at UNO

The Poynter Institute's Al Tompkins presented "Cool Tools to Release your Inner Geek" to more than a dozen UNO students, faculty members and Omaha-area professionals at the Thompson Alumni Center's Centennial Hall on Nov. 20.

Al Tompkins speaking to UNO students, faculty and Omaha-area professionals during a demonstration (Andrea Ciurej/UNO).

Tompkins presented and demonstrated the tools of the future for online mediagoers.

"I think it's a cool time to be a journalist," Tompkins said.

He also revealed a secret to getting these cool tools for half price - misspell the name of the product on eBay.

These tools include the following:

- Mac's Final Cut Pro and VideoCue Pro for video blogging
- Flip Video Camcorder, going wireless in 2010, to produce on-the-go video footage in HD
- Utterli online program to begin mobile multimedia discussions from your mobile phone to social media sites
- Livestream online guide to broadcast your own video channel
- LiveU pack, which enables live wireless, high-quality multimedia transmission from any location
- BubbleTweet to amp up your tweets with personal messages and breaking news
- Vlingo phone application to update or send information online by speaking into your phone
- Digital SLR camera to create videos
- Contour HD Wearable Camcorder to amp up your video footage
- Mac's SoundtrackPro to eliminate background noise amd restore audio in your footage
- Qik online program to share live video from your mobile phone
- Layar augmented reality browser application, which reveals real-time digital information from your mobile phone
- iBypass online program to sneak around filtered Web sites
- Using an HTML to PDF converter to save your Web sites

"...and it's free," Tompkins said about some of the cool tools.

He said the popularity of Layar's augmented reality will skyrocket in 2010. Layar combines GPS, camera and a compass to identify your surroundings and overlay information on a mobile device screen in real time.

"Very few people know about this," Tompkins said. "It is like the mullet of 2010."

After his presentation, Tompkins spoke with attendees about online media and the journalism workforce.

The use of advanced online media tools will reshape the defintion of ethics and the news value of timeliness. With these products already hitting the market, mediagoers aren't having to wait minutes to post the latest news for media outlets. This immediacy has the ability to burden media coverage.

"Time is the enemy of truth," Tompkins said. "It's possible for you to use this for good, not evil."

One of the challenges for independent journalists is how to use online media as a business.

Tompkins said the best way to approach the situation is knowing how to shoot, write and edit.

"Just cash in on what you what you know," Tompkins said. "This is going to be a market for it."

Journalists still need to become educated in other fields of interest.

"Learn about the stuff you don't know...because you're going to cover them," Tompkins said.

Journalists need to find a niche before approaching the workforce.

"There needs to be something about you...that you're the logical choice," Tompkins said.

As for online mediagoers, it is important to remember that the story creates the most impact, not the "cool" editing software.
"It's always about the story," Tompkins said. "If the story is strong, people will always watch."

Students listen in on Al Tompkins' presentation (Andrea Ciurej/UNO).


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