• My Dad’s Tapes

    The Hotspot highlights Web content created by writers working under a WGA contract.

THE HOTSPOT

My Dad’s Tapes
My Dad’s Tapes has been described as a “found footage” multimedia Web series. It’s the brainchild of Christopher J. Smith, who also directs, writes, and stars. The well-acted storyline begins with lead character Chris finding his late father’s secret stash of video tapes. An extra interactive element allows viewers to send anonymous emails and voicemails that may be used to enhance the storyline. The show’s three seasons are available for streaming via the show’s site.


FILMMAKING WEBSITES

Future Movies
Launched in 2001, Future Movies describes itself as an “online publication” and “global website from a UK perspective.” Its film reviews focus on overlooked world cinema. Future Movies also offers in-depth interviews with emerging influential filmmakers from countries that include India, France, Korea, China, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and Sweden… Adam Tanswell and Adrian Mackinder are chief among the long list of creative names associated with the website.


PODCAST DRAMAS

Welcome to Night Vale
The Welcome to Night Vale podcast has been described as “Lake Wobegon as seen through the eyes of Stephen King.” The show is presented as a local radio show broadcast from the fictional town of Night Vale, “where all conspiracy theories are real.” The series was created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. And Cecil Baldwin expertly voices the narrator and the lead character. The show’s 10 episodes of season one are available via iTunes, YouTube, and Soundcloud.

LIMETOWN
Limetown is an audio drama created by Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie through Two-Up, their production entity. The storyline begins with the disappearance of 300 men, women, and children from the fictional city of Limetown. The story arc follows main character Lia Haddock, an investigative journalist in search of answers to the tragic disappearances. Season one is available by subscription via iTunes.

We’re Alive—A Story of Survival
We’re Alive is a podcast drama that follows a group of zombie apocalypse survivors in downtown Los Angeles. The series was created by filmmakers Kc Wayland and Shane Salk. Wayland is a combat veteran, and the show’s dramatic pace very much reflects that experience. Its four seasons are available via the Nerdist Podcast Network and Spotify.

THE BLACK TAPES
The Black Tapes is a bi-weekly podcast docudrama hosted by Alex Reagan. Some have drawn style comparisons to the acclaimed true crime audio drama Serial and The X Files television series due to its paranormal focus. The lead character is a journalist in a search for the truth. The Black Tapes was co-created by Vancouver-based filmmakers Terry Miles and Paul Bae. Two seasons, 12 episodes each, are available through iTunes.

Lore
Lore is a recipient of iTunes’ podcast awards for both 2015 and 2016. Its episodes are described as “true life scary stories” that expose “the darker side of history.” Lore is the brainchild of Boston-based multimedia producer Aaron Mahnke. The style of the show is reminiscent of old-fashioned campfire storytelling.

The Bright Sessions
The Bright Sessions is a podcast drama created, written, and directed by Lauren Shippen. The lead character Dr. Bright is a psychologist with patients who have supernatural abilities. Each episode in its three seasons follows a patient’s story. The series style has been compared to the HBO psychoanalysis series In Treatment with an X Files twist. The sound design by Mischa Stanton adds to the dramatic style.


E-NEWSLETTERS

NEXTDRAFT
Dave Pell is a Silicon Valley veteran startup investor with a talent for writing. His e-newsletter "NextDraft" is subtitled “The Day’s Most Fascinating News From Dave Pell.” Each missive typically consists of the day’s “top ten” overlooked news stories told from Pell’s unusual perspective. Some have called it “The New York Times meets SNL.” Readers can subscribe online to the daily e-newsletter, or receive it as an app (iTunes, etc). His fanbase includes noted writer/editors from the likes of The Atlantic, The Daily Show, The Center for Investigative Reporting, Wired, The New Yorker, and ESPN.


NEWS APPS

The Hash Today
The Hash Today is an example of the linkage of journalism and social media platforms. It’s an app from Brisbane, Australia-based multimedia publisher Josephmark. The Hash Today can best be described as a “visually-focused algorithm-driven” aggregator of “the day’s most popular stories on Twitter.” The news app is currently available via Apple, Google Play, and The Chrome Store.

Steller
“Steller” is an “Apple Editor Choice” app. It’s subtitled “Everyone has a story to share. Tell yours with photos, videos, and text.” Steller was created by Mombo Labs, a group of former Microsoft and Google developers. It’s a global storytelling platform acting as “a facilitator of real world communities based around common interests.” Steller’s sleek multimedia storytelling interface design has attracted creative professional participants as diverse as photojournalists, extreme athletes, and food bloggers. It allows users to create individual “look-books” that include text, video, and graphics. Users from specific interest communities can also gather in Stellermeets. The app is downloadable via Apple and Google Play.


DIGITAL JOURNALISM RESOURCES

First Draft News
First Draft News is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to improving skills and standards in the reporting and sharing of information online,” particularly info sourced from social media. Its goal is to “bring together the largest social platforms with global newsrooms, human rights organizations, and other fact-checking and verification projects around the world.” Media partners in this project include The Washington Post, Facebook, CNN, The New York Times, Amnesty International, YouTube, Vox, Google News Lab, and NBC News.

Dark Money Watch
Dark Money Watch describes itself as a hub for information about political “dark money,” particularly hidden donors in U.S. elections. It is a project of Maplight, “a nonprofit research organization that tracks money in politics.” Their targets are nonpartisan, no matter if the dark money is for conservative or liberal benefactors. Maplight was founded in 2005 by Thomas Layton, Jaleh Bisharat, and David G. Newman.

Interhacktives
Interhacktives is an online project from Masters in Interactive Journalism students at the City, University of London. Their website offers news and views about the field of digital journalism and its multiple content delivery platforms. A particular area of focus is the emerging linkage of journalism with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. The relatively new field of data journalism is another area of focus. The project also includes interviews with noted digital journalists, and how-to articles for digital journalism newcomers.

Global Investigative Journalism Network
The Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) describes itself as an “international association of nonprofit organizations that support, promote, and produce investigative journalism.” They have 138 member organizations in 62 countries. GIJN offers an information hub for journalists around the world seeking resources and training for the growing field of investigative journalism with a focus on digital media. Its investigative journalism resources offered include how-to articles and guides, as well as a listing of freelance investigative reporter services worldwide.

HTML Goodies
HTML Goodies is a longstanding information resource for Web page creators, calling itself “the ultimate HTML resource.” It was started in 1994 when developer Joe Burns began “collecting source codes of web pages.” The website includes over 700 HTML page-creating tutorials.

Online Journalism Blog
Online Journalism Blog publishes “comment, analysis and links covering online journalism and online news, data journalism, citizen journalism,” and interactive storytelling. The blog is written by Paul Bradshaw with contributors from around the world. Bradshaw currently runs the master’s degree program in online journalism at Birmingham City University in the UK.


DATA JOURNALISM

Simon Rogers
Simon Rogers is a data journalist at Google and creator of the Datablog for London’s Guardian newspaper. His personal blog is subtitled “data journalism and other curiosities.” He defines data journalism as telling “the best story possible” using “maths and charts.” Sports and financial reporting are currently topic areas where data is most often used to bring a journalist’s story to life. Simon Rogers’ blog offers how-to guides for this relatively new field, as well as news of changes within data journalism due to emerging digital tools and platforms.