Lab Reports

How we chose a target audience

Aug 27 2012

Before we launched, we first chose a name, a logo, an editorial focus and a target audience for the project. I had never been involved with coming up with starting an entire new project before. The main challenge was that we couldn’t just develop an idea that interested us. Our project had to be […]

Choosing a newsroom “decider”: coordinating content for mobile platforms

Aug 01 2012

I really didn’t want to write about campaign finance. I mean, I did, in the abstract, because it’s important and deserves attention, but as far as actually wading into the morass of reporting requirements and donation limits and finding something interesting to say? I really didn’t see how this could possibly be fun. But I […]

My quest: Lure in mobile audiences, keep them engaged

Jul 23 2012

Wit is the golden child of mobile-optimized news stories. But in traditional reporting, humor does not always come easy. On mobile devices, readers need short and catchy writing to draw them in. According to a 2011 Pew Research Center report, 42 percent of cell phone owners use their phone as a means to fight boredom. […]

Developing for mobile: I thought I was screwed

Jul 18 2012

“Mobile first” … “Mobile first” … “Mobile first” … This is the phrase that Executive Director John Clark pounded into our heads since day one of, a news site about North Carolina politics that is designed for mobile users. In fact, I occasionally hear John’s voice in my sleep, enthusiastically chanting “mobile first.” Weird […]

Introducing The Roll Call: application tracks General Assembly votes and bills

Jul 05 2012

As part of the WhichWayNC project, we recently launched The Roll Call, a Web application aimed at providing a simple and intuitive means of exploring the North Carolina General Assembly and its voting history. At its core, the application breaks down voting results by legislator, bill and chamber. It also displays the status of bills […]

Diving into analytics for mobile

Jun 28 2012

One our goals for the project is to achieve 50 percent of our site visits on mobile devices. Like all news outlets, we analyze our website statistics to help us figure out how to reach our goals. The problem with tracking both mobile and desktop usage for one website is recognizing the differences in website […]

Adventures in responsive design

Jun 21 2012

Since the beginning of the project, “mobile first” has been our mantra. We’re writing, shooting and designing content for the growing number of people getting their news on phones and tablets. For me, a Web designer used to working with static desktop sites, this has been particularly challenging. Developers Matt Hayes, Tony Mantovani and […]

Creating a mobile-first logo: a designer’s frustration

Jun 06 2012

Imagine trying to juggle three balls. Let’s call them Simplicity, Appropriateness and Memorability. Now, picture having three more balls thrown at you, one at a time. We’ll call these Shape, Size and Versatility. You have a moment of panic that you won’t be able to keep all of them in the air, but then you […]

Shooting for the small screen

Jun 06 2012

On the third day of the WhichWayNC project, the three videographers decided to create a video that would introduce the purpose of the project. Carter McCall, Mika Chance and I wanted to show viewers why they should care about the information given to them in motion graphics, blog posts and articles. We conducted interviews in […]

Creating news for mobile consumption

May 29 2012

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Angry Birds. The list of applications available on smart phones could go on for days, and according to statistics from the Digital Buzz Blog, that’s just the way users want it. The average American spends almost three hours a day on his or her smart phone — that’s more than twice the […]