Online Journalism

Ch. 4 ‘Microblogging: write small, think big’

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Ch. 4 ‘Microblogging: write small, think big’

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Microblogging. Most of us know what it is, we just don’t know it.

Microblogging “allows users to publish brief text messages, usually no more than 140 characters, with links to other Web sites, photos or videos. Messages can be submitted in a variety of ways, including text messaging, instant messaging, e-mail, digital audio or simply posting to the Web. In other words, you can go to the microblog, or you can have it come to you.”

Recognize it? Sounds a lot like Twitter.

As Professor Klein and our guest speakers have talked about, Twitter is absolutely essential to being a journalist or reporter in today’s world. It may change eventually or re-invent itself, but Twitter isn’t going away.

And that’s a good thing, because Twitter is probably the most efficient way to receive news and definitely the fastest. When Twitter is used in the right manner, it can be the best tool for a journalist. You can break news. You can let people know what you’ve just had published. You can use it to get tips or feedback from citizens in the area you cover. You can gain a larger audience, which is always great. You can interact with your audience.

“One great thing about Twitter–and this is why it is so useful for student journalists–is that after a while it trains you to look for interesting things around you (and think how you can communicate that in 140 characters). Those who write off the minutiae of Twitter need to realize: it’s the writer who makes it interesting.” — Paul Bradshaw

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Ch.3 ‘Crowd-powered collaboration’

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Ch.3 ‘Crowd-powered collaboration’

“The hunter-gatherer model of journalism is no long sufficient. Citizens can do their own hunting and gathering on the Internet. What they need is somebody to add value to that information by processing it–digesting it, organizing it, making it usable.” — Phil Meyer, author of “Precision Journalism”

Briggs starts out the third chapter of “Journalism Next” by writing about how today’s journalists are embracing technology more than ever and using information gathered from citizens to help them assemble their news.

What Briggs writes about reminds a lot about what Mandy Jenkins was talking about when she visited to speak about TBD. TBD uses tweets from people to learn about events and incidents that are happening around the area because TBD is limited to only 15 reporters who can be out on the streets. It also reminds me of Patch as they do the same thing where the editors allow people to e-mail them or tweet them with tips about what’s going on or what they would like to be covered.

The most interesting term I found from the chapter was pro-am journalism. This is the kind of journalism that allows people to publish directly to the same platform the journalists use to publish their news, which also reminds of what Patch does a little bit.

Briggs then goes into detail about crowdsourcing and why it is important for journalists. Crowdsourcing allows communities to focus on a specific project where they can outperform a small group of experienced journalists because they can employ more manpower.

Briggs then talks about invaluable links are to writing for online media. Just a few years ago, linking to the competition was pretty much forbidden, but now it is welcome and many online journalists use it to link to valuable information from other journalists. They do this in the hope that readers will come back to their website because they find that what they link to is credible.

Briggs’ final point is that these types of collaborative journalism aren’t going to go away. With the access to technology that we have now, people are more invested in what is going on right around the corner from them. With companies laying off journalists, media platforms are going to need contribution from ‘regular people’ now more than ever.

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

Chapter four: Microblogging

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter four: Microblogging


It’s the one thing that comes to mind when you hear the word microblogging. In what way can we possibly cover news in less than 140 characters?

What is microblogging?

It’s the idea that lets individuals write and share small content of news online via short sentences, images or video links.

It is an effective medium for journalists to use to break news. But what many people don’t also see is that it works both ways. It lets journalists find breaking news from local citizens as well. When Captain Sully landed the plane in Hudson River, people had tweeted the plane landing’s picture before traditional media even got there.

Microblogging also opens the door for crowdsourcing and building communities. By building a community on a website such as Twitter, people can form real connections, build a network and even gain a job (see previous Mandy Jenkins blog). It lets people conduct public interviews, find news leads and connect with their audience.

And finally, microblogging lets you market yourself. By building your own brand, you give yourself a reputation…whether it’s a good or bad one… that is on you.

Happy reading folks.

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · social media · Student Blog Posts

‘Journalism Next’ by Mark Briggs: Chapter 4 summary

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on ‘Journalism Next’ by Mark Briggs: Chapter 4 summary

Summary: Microblogging — The instant messaging journal


Start a Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn account.

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  • Trains users to look for interesting things around them
  • Gets breaking news out in an instant
  • Allows the audience and journalists access to the most up-to-date news coverage

Why microblogging should remain personal, not automatic

  1. Quality over quantity; tweets should have personality
  2. Ask for tips from followers
  3. Keep control over account; leave automatic feed off

Twitter basics:

  • Post: 140 character limit
  • Read
  • Reply
  • Direct Message: Message only between you and the person you share it with
  • ReTweet: Post a tweet from someone else for your followers to read
  • Hashtag (#): Way to label a tweet, effective for conference. Example: “#sxsw for South by Southwest Conference”
  • Follow people related to your intetests and stories
  • Go mobile: Don’t wait to post what you see
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Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts

‘Journalism Next’ by Mark Briggs: Chapter 3 summary

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on ‘Journalism Next’ by Mark Briggs: Chapter 3 summary

Summary: Crowdsourcing, open-source and pro-am journalism becoming the focus of news operations in the United States.


A larger group of committed individuals can outperform a small group of experienced professionals.


Encyclopedia Britannica cannot keep up with Wikipedia in terms of updated articles.

Encyclopædia Britannica

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  • Not a science; still experimental
  • Used for the gathering of information in a fast way


Design, development and distribution of a product; practical accessibility to source.

  • Journalism must be transparent, authentic and collaborative
  • Twitter and blogs bring bring the readers and journalists closer to each other
  • Welcomes reader feedback

Started: 2001, using e-mail addresses to correspond with readers.

Beatblogging: Building a social network around beat then lead, coax and weave the discussions to find new angles and tips on stories.

Pro-am journalism:

Allows audience to publish to same platform as professional journalists; “most unfiltered form of collaborated journalism.”

–Journalists cannot be everywhere all the time to cover breaking events, or stories that happen in an instant. Using the crowd and their blogs or photos to help catch what might have been missed in the moment is becoming more popular.

Example: receives a lot of its local news from following users on Twitter who happen to tweet, post videos, or give story accounts around their area.

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Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Social media producer for; Mandy Jenkins

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Social media producer for; Mandy Jenkins

Social media producer for; Mandy Jenkins… Coming soon..

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Briggs Ch. 4

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Ch. 4

In this Briggs chapter about microblogging, the first site that came to mind was Discographies, a clever Twitter feed that reviews a musician’s body of work in 140 characters. It’s a concept so simple, so appealing and frankly, so maddening that years of hard work and transformation can be boiled down to a few sentences. But that’s what journalism has to be these days.

It’s fair to say that our collective attention spans have reduced over time. It’s not our fault; it’s technology–there’s too much of it for us to focus on one thing anymore, unless it’s really captivating–or more importantly, really short.

But here’s where it all comes together. Remember that talk about open-sourced reporting in chapter 3? Your readers are not going to be giving you manifestos (and if they are, you probably should be forwarding their comments to the FBI). Their content will be brief because that’s what they are looking for.

Take a look at this story from It reports that Aaron Sorkin will appear on the NBC hit “30 Rock” later this season. The story is pretty short, especially given the background information that makes this an especially intriguing event. Indeed, one has to venture to the comments section to be reminded of Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” his dramatic venture that premiered the same year as “30 Rock” with essentially the same concept that initially triumphed over the creatively unstable Tina Fey show, then bombed as Fey’s picked up steam.

Without comments, the main draw of this story goes to waste. It’s a slight on EW’s part, but a credit to collaborative journalism.

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

‘Journalism Next’ by Mark Briggs: Chapter 2 summary

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on ‘Journalism Next’ by Mark Briggs: Chapter 2 summary

Summary: The key to creating, maintaining, and gaining a following through a blog.

Evolution Directions of Mobile Device

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Elements of a successful blog:

  • Dedication & determination
  • Continuing conversation

Step 1:

  • Find and read blogs which cover a subject that interests you.
  • Focus on the elements of the blog that you like and dislike.
  • Learn the language
    • Post – Blog entry.
    • Permalink – Link available on each post that provides direct access to it.
    • Trackback – Allows one blogger to know another blogger is linking to their material.
    • Blogroll – Collection of links available to reader of the sites the blogger visits.
    • Vlog – Blog using video as its primary medium.
    • Moblog – Blogging from a mobile device.
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Step 2:

– Blog system



– Blog appearance

Edit the appearance by changing the template and adding widgets. These make the blog more personal to you and can help relate to the blog to your topic.

Step 3:

Audience, Audience, Audience

  1. Put reader first
  2. Organize ideas
  3. Be direct
  4. Be the authority, with personality
  5. Maintain civility and edit
  6. Make posts scanable
  7. Link, summarize, analyze
  8. Specific headlines
  9. Good attitude
  10. Photos/screenshots
  11. Post once/day
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Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Tech Blog – Steve Yelvington and the Progress of Journalism

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog – Steve Yelvington and the Progress of Journalism

In class last week, I had the (mis)fortune of having to display my blog to my fellow students. On the bright side, it was a bigger audience than I’ll probably have the rest of the semester, but I was forced to confront the fact that, as much as I like to think I’ve progressed as a writer and journalist over the past few years, I don’t know the first thing about writing for the Web.

Below, an excerpt from my original summary of the third chapter of the Briggs text:

As anyone can have their own blog, it’s only fitting that news itself has become a much more collaborative process given all the new technology that bridges the gap between citizens and the media elite. Even sites as prominent as CNN now rely heavily on readers submitting news stories and videos. This global sharing process, dubbed “crowdsourcing,” creates a more transparent news environment, so the cream rises to the top.

Zzzzzzzzzz. No links. No pizazz. Just a dull block of text. (I hope the revised version is a little better.) But I’m not alone, as Steve Yelvington laments on his blog. Despite the abundance of new technology, journalism hasn’t shown much progress in the past 50 years. Well, I’m making the call to journalists everywhere: let’s get our acts together.

Spice things up! I’m just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to the boring and bland blog that will languish as another unloved Internet entity in perpetuity. But I’m going to change that. That’s the first step, right? Making a bold pronouncement so that I’ll have no choice but to follow through or otherwise risk the wrath of my readers and/or professor?

Let’s get some pictures in here! That’s Zooey Deschanel to the right. Perhaps I’ll aim for some more relevant pictures in the future, but for right now I defy anyone to click away from a page with a Zooey Deschanel pic (unless you’re heading to do a Google image search).

The bottom line is that the field is evolving, nearly on a daily basis at this point, and we need to make our mark. There are far too many competing platforms for journalism of all sorts to lose the audience’s attention to, so before they turn to that “(500) Days of Summer” DVD or listen to a She & Him song, let’s not return journalism to its former glory–let’s build a new glory.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

‘Journalism Next’ by Mark Briggs: Chapter 1 summary

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on ‘Journalism Next’ by Mark Briggs: Chapter 1 summary

Summary: Breaking down the acronyms and jargon to define the basic concepts of online technology.

Bits and Bytes:

Name Abbr. Size (# of bytes)
Kilo K 2^10 = 1,024
Mega M 2^20 = 1,048,576
Giga G 2^30 = 1,073,741,824
Tera T 2^40 = 1,099,511,627,776
Peta P 2^50 = 1,125,899,906,842,624
Exa E 2^60 = 1,152,921,504,606,846,976
Zetta Z 2^70 = 1,180,591,620,717,411,303,424
Yotta Y 2^80 = 1,208,925,819,614,629,174,706,176

Keep in mind:

  • 80 gigabytes = approximately 80 billion bytes
  • Keep an external hard drive handy
  • Keep e-mail attachments under 1 MB
  • The speed of internet + size of file = how fast someone can download your content

Web browsers: Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer

  1. Search & find information
  2. Retrieve information
  3. Displays information

*Web browsers temporarily store the files downloaded when browsing the web in the cache. It is a good idea to clear the cache regularly to keep the browser running efficiently.

RSS – Really Simple Syndication:

“RSS is the most efficient way to consume massive amounts of information in a structured and organized way.”

– Set up a feed through a Google or Yahoo homepage

– Stand-alone readers like NewsGator, FeedDemon, and SharpReader let you set up feeds and launch software when you want to access the information.

Build an HTML page:

HTML tells a web browser how to display information.


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Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts