INMS research initiatives update

Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Grant
By Nora Paul

inms.jpgMembers of the Pioneer Press advertising sales staff participate in a social media session, led by Kathleen Hansen and Nora Paul, last July.
Photo: Jennifer E. Moore

The training program developed by INMS director Nora Paul and Minnesota Journalism Center director Kathleen Hansen went full force last summer. The Pioneer Press newsroom and advertising sales staffs were given the opportunity to attend training sessions to improve their use of social media networks, develop their data analysis skills and create better time-management strategies. Additional sessions introduced the newsroom staff to different approaches for telling stories through data visualization and multimedia tools. Mithun chair in advertising and professor John Eighmey provided bookend sessions at the beginning and end of the ad sales training, giving the staff a framework for developing a new perspective on how the advertising sales process should evolve.

The staffs were surveyed at the start of the program to assess their current level of skill in the range of areas in which they would be training. After the bulk of the training sessions were completed in mid-September, Hansen and Paul resurveyed the staff to see if their skills had improved. An analysis of those survey results and a program to provide follow-up training and brainstorming sessions are next on the agenda for this project.

Knight News Challenge--Playing the News

topic_tiles.jpgA screen shot of the Topic Tiles iPhone game. Download Topic Tiles for free from the iTunes app store at

The results from a test comparing different versions of a news story (three done in traditional form, two in game form) indicate that news consumers aren't really willing to put in the time it takes to navigate through a game in order to get their news and information. That said, there was one version--the board game style--that was deemed to be more engaging than the other story formats. This prompted Hansen and Paul to spend some of the remaining grant money on developing a mobile version of the board game for the iPhone. The INMS worked with Clockwork Active Media Systems, a local interactive marketing and design firm, to create an iPhone game called "Topic Tiles." A prototype of the game is available at the iPhone app store--where it's received 4 out of 6 stars and several positive reviews from the more than 700 people who have downloaded it--and the open source coding for developing new versions of the game, using a different topic, will be made available through the Knight Foundation.



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This page contains a single entry by cla published on April 2, 2010 4:10 PM.

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