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  • Eric Ulken 9:05 pm on December 10, 2007  

    Visualizing the primary season 


    Our latest interactive data project, launched today, is the 2008 Primary Tracker. It’s a visual guide to next year’s crazy presidential nominating season, which begins earlier and culminates faster than any in U.S. history. Check it out.

  • Eric Ulken 1:24 pm on November 18, 2007  

    Competition in local data 

    News websites are starting to see some competition on the local data front from niche players that do one thing very well. Witness SignalMap, which maps users’ reports of cellular reception, and CleanScores, a database of restaurant health inspections in L.A. and San Francisco (credit to Joe Murphy for pointing these out).

    SignalMap is nationwide — its concept scales easily because doesn’t require any cooperation from local governments — but CleanScores has to ingest health data from umpteen jurisdictions if it wants to expand to every major market, which it says it intends to do. I see this as a challenge to local news organizations. We have the relationships and the local know-how to do this kind of thing better than anybody else. What we still lack, in many cases, is the technical sense and the will.

  • Eric Ulken 9:23 am on November 12, 2007  

    Bringing “dudical!” back 

    Dudical! is an expression I remember hearing in elementary school. A clever combination of “dude!” and “radical!”, it clearly suffered an untimely demise, because a Google search on it returns a paltry 523 results. I consider it my duty to rescue this ’80s linguistic gem from obscurity. Who’s with me?

    Unfortunately, somebody’s already registered, but if you use this word in your writing, post it on and tag it “dudical“. Let’s see if we can bring dudical back.

    Update: My ex-friend Neil has one word for this crusade: dorkical. (Good news, Neil: is still available!)

    Update: Props to the Saint Pete Times for using dudical in a headline. The story’s about how their ’80s blog won an Online Journalism Award.

  • Eric Ulken 11:25 pm on November 5, 2007
    Tags: Mark Glaser, San Jose Mercury News   

    Rethinking the Merc 

    Kudos to the San Jose Mercury News. After a series of demoralizing cuts that seemed destined to precipitate the newspaper’s slide into oblivion, the remaining staffers have refused to write their own obituary. They’re fundamentally rethinking how their organization should function — and, more importantly, they’re doing it out in the open.

    My favorite recommendation (so far): “Our newsroom structure is flopped: 70 percent of our resources are dedicated to online, while the remaining 30 percent work to create a print experience that focuses on doing one thing on each section cover better than anything else. The rest of the paper is culled from our online report.”

    Mark Glaser over at PBS has a nice summary of the Merc’s effort.

  • Eric Ulken 6:59 pm on October 11, 2007
    Tags: ,   

    L.A. is the nation’s 10th “bloggiest” city 

    Here’s the list of cities with the most blog posts per capita, according to, and an interesting discussion of the results:

    1. Boston
    2. Philadelphia
    3. Pittsburgh
    4. Washington, D.C.
    5. Portland, OR
    6. New York
    7. San Francisco
    8. Seattle
    9. Chicago
    10. Los Angeles

    (If you haven’t heard of, it’s a cool local blog aggregator that’s well worth a look. Here’s my neighborhood’s feed.)

  • Eric Ulken 2:57 pm on October 10, 2007  

    Come work with me 

    OK, if that headline didn’t totally scare you away, read on:

    My employer, the L.A. Times, is looking for some hybrid journalist-techies to help us build our interactive concepts team. This group will be the glue that binds our graphics, editorial and tech teams and takes the lead on building innovative projects such as the Homicide Map. The role of the interactive team is so important to my bosses that they’re creating a new space for it in our online newsroom:


    (It’s the area behind the plastic in my blurry photo, and when they finish building we’re going to deck it out with all kinds of cool stuff.)

    Two positions are open right now, and we’re tweaking the job description on a third:

    If either of these gigs looks interesting to you, don’t hesitate to apply. We want to move fast to fill them.

    Also, the Times has a bunch of other web jobs open. Check them out.


  • Eric Ulken 10:14 pm on October 2, 2007  

    Recently dugg on 

    Just testing out Digg’s widgetizer, which can generate all kinds of custom widgets that you can place on your site. Here’s a list of recently popular stories from the L.A. Times:

  • Eric Ulken 12:05 am on August 10, 2007  

    Borked again 

    Hate it when that happens.

    Technorati screenshot

  • Eric Ulken 7:51 am on August 7, 2007  

    Google’s Street View comes to L.A. 

    Google Maps has introduced Street View for Los Angeles! Let the Easter egg hunt begin! This is where I am now.

  • Eric Ulken 7:47 am on June 8, 2007  

    News consumption graphs 

    Akamai has charts showing current online news consumption around the world. Peak in North America: 2.4 million visitors per minute. I’d say that’s enough audience to build a business model around.

    (Thanks to Michael Owen for the link.)

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