Online Journalism

Briggs Summary – Chapter 6

February 25th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Summary – Chapter 6

Visual storytelling with photographs

The digital age has allowed photography to transform into a craft that used to be reserved for professional photographers only. Now that film is not the primary medium for capturing images, memory cards and advanced point-and-shoot cameras allow anyone to play the role of photographer. Some of the benefits of digital photography are:

  • Being able to take many more pictures, and viewing them as you work.
  • Uploading pictures to the internet and having the ability to share them with others.
  • Saving money from not having to purchase film.
  • Having the ability to crop and edit photos.

This chapter provides in-depth explanations of how to take a good photograph, and how to edit them appropriately. Likewise, issues of copyright and fair use are addressed. Taking excellent photographs isn’t as easy as it looks, but the best way to improve photography skills is to practice.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Briggs Review 6: Photojournalism

February 25th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Review 6: Photojournalism

Just the same way that anyone can be a journalist, anyone can be a photojournalist (just take a look at Flickr). You just need to be at the right place at the right time with either a camera or a cameraphone. But news is different things to different people, so any picture could potentially be photojournalism.

Here are a few pointers to make photos more professional:

  • Lighting is important! Make sure it is not too bright or dark wherever you are. Natural light is preferable to flash light.
  • Get close to the subject! Move around if you need to get a good angle
  • Do what you can to keep still. Put your elbows on something or lean on a wall.
  • Focus on the subject and cut out all of the clutter that could distract a viewer.

Photo editing is important too. Most times your picture will be a little too dark or blurry, etc. and you need to make the image as clear as possible. Here’s an example of a photo I took at the Chinese lantern festival at GMU:

Original Photo

Edited Photo

See the difference? It might not be perfect, but most times a little editing will make the photo much more clear and easier to focus on what’s important in the photo.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

MediaShift: How to Integrate Social Tools into the Journalism Classroom

February 25th, 2011 · Comments Off on MediaShift: How to Integrate Social Tools into the Journalism Classroom

This couldn’t be a better article for the relevance of this Comm. 361 Online Journalism class. This article gives an excellent overview of some innovative websites that can be used for classes dealing with journalism.

MediaShift is a website which tracks how social media, weblogs, podcasting, citizen journalism, wikis, news aggregators and online video are changing the media world.

This particular article, by Nathan Gibbs, gives a list of SEVEN social media techniques and websites that can be utilized in the classroom. The seven areas are:

  1. Facebook
  2. Group blogs
  3. WordPress
  4. Social Curation
  5. Collaborative Writing
  6. Mind Mapping
  7. Experimentation


  1. Facebook groups: students utilizing Facebook groupsis beneficial as students are already using Facebook so it eliminates making a new user name/password, it takes little effort to “like” or comment on students work, and it encourages more interaction.
  2. Facebook pages: such Facebook pages can be utilized to post stories and get sources for other stories.

Group blogs: group blogs are a great way to introduce students to online writing and basic web publishing; the kind of work they’ll be doing as journalists. He suggests using Tumblr or Posterous.

WordPress: Gibbs explains how WordPress opens the door to extensive customization. Users are able to enhance the blogging experience and really take their work to a new level.

Social Curation: Gibbs explains how it’s important that students know how to collect and annotate messages from social media websites. Storify, and Keepstream all allow users to gather and embed social media messages for use in blog posts and articles.

Collaborative Writing: Gibbs explains how Google Docs is an excellent editing tool that allows multiple contributors to write at the same time and track revisions.

Mind Mapping: Gibbs explains how structured brainstorming helps people organize their ideas based on their relationship to other aspects. He suggests using Mind Meister to implement online collaboration.

Experimentation: Trying new things and learning what works and what doesn’t is a huge component to journalism. Making sure to apply one’s journalistic curiosity by exploring how new social tools can further your storytelling skills.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · social media · Storify · Student Blog Posts