19 February 2009

How To: Plan Online Projects

A step-by-step guide to creating online journalism projects has been published by academic and blogger Ryan Thornburg.

On The Future of News blog, Thornburg has posted a six-point guide to producing an online news feature which takes journalists from the initial brainstorming stages through to execution and realisation of the project.

Here are his six stages:

*A product concept

In its simplest form, Thornburg believes this means starting “with a good question”.

But getting to this good question takes in finding out who your audience is and what they want to know.

*A storyboard

Thornburg writes that the storyboard’s “real power lies in its ability to get you thinking about non-linear storytelling - stories through which each consumer can choose his or her own path”.

He adds that when storyboarding “you’ll also want to note the medium you’ll use to tell that part of the story.”

*Asset management

Comprises several elements including file-naming conventions, version control and stylesheets.

*A clear workflow

Using a dedicated software package or Excel / Google spreadsheets, this helps organise who’s doing what tasks etc.

*A financial budget

“Even if you don’t have to worry about the financial costs of building something, it’s important to keep a constant eye on the opportunity costs.”

*A testing and quality assurance procedure

Visit Thornburg’s The Future of News blog for the full post, which contains links to some useful planning resources.

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