Online Journalism

Entries from March 2011

Guest Speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest Speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

BJ Koubaroulis, founder of Synthesis Media Productions, visited our class on March 31 to discuss the importance of video to enhance journalistic stories.

Koubaroulis graduated from George Mason University in 2004 and eventually became a sports writer for The Washington Post. He emphasized that he fell in love with following high school level sports as opposed to following college level or professional level sports.

“[High school level sports] is where you get the most access and get the most real people — people who really enjoy what they’re doing, and it’s not for the money,” Koubaroulis said.

He recommended that students first start working at a small newspaper organization so that they have the opportunity to learn what kind of stories they like and don’t like to cover, and so that they can learn to make mistakes. In Koubaroulis’s opinion, it is better to make mistakes at smaller organizations rather than larger ones.

Koubaroulis became a superstar at The Washington Post in 2010 when he posted a story about a student’s homeless odyssey.’ His story stood out amongst others because he added video to his text.

Video gave me the clout to demand more space for a story,” said Koubaroulis.

Nowadays, the use of video and other multimedia platforms have become very important for journalists, therefore young writers should start learning how to produce various multimedia platforms in order to catch readers’ and potential employers’ attention. Koubaroulis’ young interns at Synthesis Media Productions actually produce multimedia packages within 2 hours of covering a story!

“Media companies want to hire people that can do the job of 5 people,” Koubaroulis said. “Do radio, television, video and learn how to use the web — learn all if it!… If you’re not going to change, you’re just going to get left behind. Do all of it, and don’t limit yourself.”

Student journalists need to be able to multi-task and produce stories that contain video, audio and user-participation platforms in order to be valuable. Student journalists can no longer just be a writer because any other person out there can be a writer, but it is difficult to replace a writer when he or she can perform so many other functions.

Koubaroulis said that there are 4 things every student journalist needs, which are:

  1. A camera
  2. A computer
  3. A microphone
  4. The desire to work hard

While technology is very important these days, Koubaroulis warned students to not rely too heavily on media.

“Love it,” Koubaroulis said, “but don’t count on it.”

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

B.J. Koubaroulis visit

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on B.J. Koubaroulis visit

Like most up-and-coming sports journalists, B.J. wanted to cover the biggest and best pro sports teams. But after covering high school sports, he fell in love with it because HS sports offers “the most access and the most real people.”

B.J. Koubaroulis

Video has been a life-changing experience for him; one guy wih a camera can make a difference and produce quality content. Individuals can harness the power of video now as compared to when you used to need a crew.

Prior to his ability of working with video, B.J. said he didn’t think the editorial staff at the Washington Post found him as attractive.

The unique thing that B.J’s company, Synthesis Multimedia Productions,  provides is that when they do game story video packages, the stories are usually turned in around 2 hours after the game.

B.J. has done a lot of things: radio, television, web, writing, video. And he recommends trying different things to learn what you’re good at. Invest in yourself.

You’re not just a writer or broadcaster or radio host. You are a media person. Don’t peg yourself into doing one thing. Do all of it and you’ll be able to do what you want to do. If you’re not going to change you’re going to get left behind and if you only do one thing, you are easily replaceable.

The most important thing for someone that works for him, is for them to be, at heart, a journalist.

The four things you need to do the kind of backpack journalism that B.J. talks about:

  • A computer
  • A camera
  • A microphone
  • Being ready to work hard

The #1 thing for B.J. is that you learn things by doing it.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

3/31/11 BJ

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on 3/31/11 BJ

BJ Koubaroulis


  • BJ gave advice to start at small paper a weekly paper to do an internship, you’ll learn much more when you are not in a huge company, and you can get more hands on and one on one experience.
  • The Washington Post is too big of a company to be able to learn as much as you’ll need to know from them.
  • Get any experience that you can in front of the camera
  • Do everything you can do. Do broadcast, radio, writer, everything to be successful companies need a jack of all trades
  • Learn by doing!!!
  • Now is the time to get your mistakes out of the way when you can.
  • Use the starlab to help with projects to learn editing for video

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Guest speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

BJ Koubaroulis, former Mason student, wrote for Washington Post in the past, but now is the CEO of Synthesis Multimedia Productions/Koubaroulis LLC.

BJ in front of the camera

He always wanted be a sports writer. He started covering local sports and started enjoying it. He got his learning experiences in small newspapers, he actually didn’t learn as much when he got to the Washington Post.

To be different from everyone else: took on video! We’re seeing that individuals can make a difference in video, instead of big productions.

He started a company with a “bunch of him” that being one-man show video person. The Washington Post contracted them to make videos for online content. Writers do stand-up for them in a way to make the videos more Washington Post material.

What makes them unique? The videos come in two hours after the game is over.

Tips from BJ:

  • “I’ve done a lot of different things. And you should do everything. Radio, newspaper, television. Most of the time for free.”
  • Unpaid internships? You are investing in yourself.
  • Do radio, do video, do everything, because you are doing everything right now. You are a media person. Be all of it, and you will be able to do the one thing you want to do.
  • If you are not going to change, you are going to be left behind. Do all of it.
  • Starting his company, he took people that were journalists at heart.
  • On media, love it, but don’t count on it.
  • What do you need? A camera, computer, microphone, and ready to work hard.
  • Anybody can do what we are doing. You just need the material.

Other clients? Worked with Mason on the digital tour. Worked with Northern Virginia magazine.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

Guest speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

BJ Koubaroulis, George Mason University graduate in ’04, began writing high school level sports, getting the most access and “real people” who enjoy doing what they’re doing.

He had an early recommendation for us young journalism students:

Work at a small place early to get learning experience and make mistakes.

By doing so, you’ll gain experience and be able to get published without having extreme pressure and demand of needing to be perfect.

He eventually focused his energy into adding another element into his repertoire in order to be able to compete better. He added a video element to his game which helped him stand out amongst his other journalists at the Washington Post. It gave him more power as a writer having another aspect to add to it.

As important as it is to have unique abilities in one particular area, BJ made an important point to talk about the necessity of being able to do everything — writing, radio, television, video, internet.

By being able to do everything, you’ll be able to do your one “specialty’ even better than you thought. If you’re unwilling to change, you will get left behind.

He showed us a virtual tour that he created about Mason’s campus. It was incredibly cool to see.

The four necessities to become a real backpack journalist:

  • Camera
  • Computer
  • Microphone
  • Work hard

The major takeaways from BJ’s speech:

  • Do as much as you can
  • Don’t be satisfied with the ability to do one thing
  • You need to be able to do everything

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Tech Blog #12: Guest Speaker B.J. Koubaroulis

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog #12: Guest Speaker B.J. Koubaroulis

Former George Mason University Communications major B.J. Koubaroulis spoke to our class today about video techniques and how video can really enhance the story you are trying to tell.

Visit his personal Twitter account here and check out his blog here.

Koubaroulis reccommends starting out small after you graduate and working in a place that is more personal so that you are able to learn more from your experience and gradually work your way up to the big leagues.

Koubaroulis believes this story  from the Washington Post was the game changer for him. He was able to use video to really tell the story well and reach out to the audience, pulling them into the story with video.

Koubaroulis started a company called Synthesis Multimedia Productions, which showcases a variety of “one-man band” video journalists who cover unique content and stories. The video stories are posted very quickly too — only about 2 hours after reporting!

What are the four things that every video journalist needs to have according to Koubaroulis?

  • a camera
  • a computer
  • a microphone
  • a great work ethic

Koubaroulis also showed us a few websites that incorporate interactive media platforms, such as Mason Metro. For information on buying camcorders and video equipment, Koubaroulis reccommends B&H.

“Anybody can do what we’ve done,” said Koubaroulis. “You just need the equipment. Play around and learn how to edit.”

Koubaroulis’ number one belief for journalists is to “learn by doing.”

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

BJ Koubaroulis

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on BJ Koubaroulis

This is pretty rad.

He is a fellow grad from mason and covered high school sports after that.

How will you differentiate yourself from the people next to you?

Give them something they need! He started a video production company and started hooking it up.

Make your audience part of it. Make them interact.

Take every and any opportunity you can do.

Mac books are the bomb. Duh….

Learn by doing!

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Lecture by B.J. Koubaroulis from The Washington Post

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on Lecture by B.J. Koubaroulis from The Washington Post

Mason Alum! It’s not just basketball; B.J. Koubaroulis is continuing to make the Patriots look good!

“A Washington Post sports writer/producer and CEO of Synthesis Multimedia Productions/Koubaroulis LLC,” Koubaroulis’ twitter biography defines him.

He gradated GMU in 2004, “Like everyone, you expect to be covering the Yankees, and then you realize you’re covering High school JV girl’s lacrosse; kind of heart breaking. You start from the bottom but that’s how you learn,” said Koubaroulis.

Regarding his company, Synthesis Multimedia Productions, Koubaroulis said, “We go to a game and produce a package from the game. A lot of people can produce video, but what makes us unique is the fact our game packages are ready in two hours.”

Ask the Caps! BY THE WAY, The Washington Post’snew hot niche is a media ploy where readers can submit questions to players of the Capitol’s. Guess who hosts the three minute video? Koubaroulis does! Check it out, Matt Bradley, answers!

He urged his fellow Patriots to learn these different aspects of multimedia journalism. “Anybody can do what we’ve done. You just need to buy to equipment. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Get something cheap off of Craigslist,” Koubaroulis said.

Tags: Comm361 · multimedia · Student Blog Posts

Guest Speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest Speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

  • Work at a small local newspaper, either weekly or daily, to get the experience and advice from people who have been doing the things you want to do.
  • Now-a-days with media, media companies want to hire people that can do the job of 5 other people.
  • If your not going to change, you are going to be left behind. Do it all, don’t limit yourself.
  • Do not rely on media. Love it, but don’t count on it.
  • Computer, camera, microphone, ready to work hard.
  • Most frustrating thing by the time you get a camera it is basically outdated.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Technology Inside Touchscreen

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on Technology Inside Touchscreen

NEW YORK  -  OCTOBER 26:  Barnes and Noble's n...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

We are in a big hype of touchscreen. Touchscreen not only eliminates moving parts in electronics, but also opens up unlimited possibilities for more intuitive interface. With rising of touchscreen technology, therefore, many electronics manufacturers have begun implementing it in exhaustive lists of new products. Consumers like them too, as they convince you that you’re in charge of everything just on a fingertip. We now see them on computers, cell phones, cars, refrigerators and even microwaves (can’t believe it?).

There are three different touchscreen technologies used to register the motion of your fingertips: Resistive, capacitive and surface acoustic wave.

Resistive Touchscreen

According to, resistive touchscreen consists of two layers with small space in between. When a pressure is applied, the top layer touches the bottom layer, registering the combination of voltage and distance of the pressure point, and finds the X coordinate. And then, the same voltage gradient is used to find the Y coordinate.

Some of advantages of resistive touchscreen are:

Capacitive Touchscreen

An excerpt from says that capacitive touchscreen uses a layer with electrical charge on top of the glass panel of monitor. When the pressure is applied, some of its electricity is transferred to the epiderm of  of skin. The decreased charge is detected by circuits located in each corner of the layer, and the amount of decrease is registered as the distance in each circuit, interpreted as coordinates.

Capacitive touchscreen

Image via Wikipedia

Capacitive touchscreen generally transmits stronger signals than resistive touchscreen. Also, since it uses only one layer to detect pressures, it transmits 90 percent of light, providing better clarity of screen when compared to resistive touchscreen.

Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW)

The surface acoustic wave technology (SAW) is one of the most advanced touchscreen technologies to the date. It consists of two transducers each registering X and Y axis on the panel, which registers electrical signals from ultrasonic wave spread on the reflector on the panel, interpreted by the controller of the transducers.

Because SAW does not overlay on the glass panel of monitor, it provides unaffected clarity of the screen. Also, it provides the strongest touchscreen sensitivity today.

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Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts