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July 30, 2010
Web News Beats Growing
Hardly had we finished noting in The New Yorker (a Hendrik Hertzberg Talk of the Town  piece) that an admirable Washington Post series on the national-security industry, two years in the making, had the double byline of a traditional reporter (Dana Priest) and a blogger (William M. Arkin) who "sat in his converted barn in Vermont, surfing oceans of data," than we came upon the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

The beat goes on. Journalism is becoming a collaboration between shoe-leather reporters and and Web-roamers, and the electronic side keeps gaining.  

The Knight-Batten Awards "honor creative uses of new technologies to engage citizens in public issues and showcase compelling models for the future of news." Funded by Knight, they're administered by J-Lab, a center of American University's School of Communication.

This year's winners, just announced, are Sunlight Live -- "the Sunlight Foundation's innovative blending of data, streaming video, liveblogging and social networking," ProPublica's Distributed Reporting, 48 HR Magazine, The Obameter, Ushahidi Haiti, Publish2 News Exchange, and Sourcing Through Texting.

There hardly could be clearer indications that public relations people who want to continue relating to news outlets need to do so via the Web and social media as well as their telephones and e-mail. The problem is knowing which among these and many other Web outlets to follow. Client concerns will help determine that. News/opinions are no longer packaged as neatly as they were.  

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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