Online Journalism

NAMI Northern VA: Project Update

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on NAMI Northern VA: Project Update

So we have been given the task by NAMI Northern VA to come up with a way to display the history and current information of NAMI. Right now here’s what we know so far:

  • NAMI or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (Northern Virginia portion) started in the 1970′s when they were their own organization under a different name. They soon merged with NAMI National then split off into their own Northern VA section.
  • Their goal is to raise awareness of mental illnesses and provide services that help people living with mental illness.

Our game plan so far:

 1. An interactive timeline (like the jazz one Professor Klein showed us in class) that can relay video, information, pictures and additional information all in chronological order on one site. That way, all the information is organized and you can clearly see how NAMI developed.*My job so far: RESEARCH. I’m supposed to go to Mason’s library and see if I can find any mention of NAMI Northern Virginia. Also once we get all the information and interviews done, I’m going to try and help Ryan with the interactive timeline and for that we’re going to try and use Another possible website we might use is–> where they turn chunks of data into interactive maps and graphs.

*Our storyboard for the project so far here

2. An interactive map, that shows NAMI volunteers/people who use NAMI point of location and their stories. This could be where the videos and interviews come in. They could each have information about themselves, how they got involved with NAMI and their experiences.

3. A Facebook account? NAMI already has a Facebook account, but we’re working on creating one for just our COMM 361 project to get the word out and ask if people know any history of NAMI.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Chapter 7: Making audio journalism visible

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 7: Making audio journalism visible

Summary: Audio can just be as compelling as video or photos in online journalism. Tone can convey emotions, and sound can be layered on top of a visual medium to effectively tell a story. Being able to capture, edit and broadcast an audio file should be in the tool box of any online journalist. If it isn’t, then one should learn how.

Photo provided by

What audio journalism is important

  • Presence: A journalist can bring a listener to the location by capturing the right sound.
  • Emotions: Tone, intonation and pauses can enhance the message, or can say more than what is being said.
  • Atmosphere: Natural sound or ambient noise can paint an audio picture for the listener.

How news organizations use audio

NPR has set the standard when it comes to audio journalism. Seeking that “driveway moment” the intimacy  and engagement their reporters form with their interviewees can compel a person to sit in their car after they arrive to their destination to hear the rest of the segment. For the online journalists who are not able to broadcast their own stories over the radio, other options are available.

  • Reporter overview: A quick, simple audio overview of a story
  • Podcasts: An episodic medium comprised of numerous recorded segments that can be downloaded and heard.
  • Audio slideshow: Make your slideshow richer by accompanying it with an audio track.
  • Breaking news: offers reporters a forum to publish a quick audio report through their mobile phones.

Gearing up, choose a digital recorder

A digital recorder is a convenient and necessary tool for audio journalism. You can also make audio segments with your computer if you have the write program and an external microphone. Just remember:

  • Formats: Audio files can be recorded in .mp3, .wav or .wma formats. Mp3s are the most common and can be read by virtually all media players, but are compressed files which may affect quality. WAV files are uncompressed and have better quality, but the files may become too large which may make it difficult to upload.
  • Input/microphone level: The best setting is 70 percent of the total audio level.
  • File name: Keep yourself organized by properly labeling your audio files.

Editing audio files

There are a variety of programs that offer the ability to edit audio files. Audacity is a free download-able software for audio-editing. Learn how to edit sound files with audacity.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

JournalismNext (10): Managing news as a conversation

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on JournalismNext (10): Managing news as a conversation

“The speed of communications is wonderful to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.”

News is distributed, as Edward Murrow stated above, by conversation.

Here are some steps to achieve that:

  • Making conversation

News as a conversation has transformed journalism. Most significantly, it has transformed the way a journalist and their communities cover a beat. The more social a journalist is with people, the more sources a journalist can mine.

  • Conversing through comments

Most online news stories contain a comments link. They can be very helpful with hearing feedback from the readers. But sometimes, those comments can just be downright rude and ugly.

  • Conversing through social networking

Although the internet is still relatively new and social networking even newer, it is an obviously important tool to communicate on the internet today. Jobs for companies needing to manage its social networks are being created constantly. Conversing through social networks is of large importance in contacting people.

Why the news conversation is important

Readers always a want to help make a difference in the news i any way possible. I believe that’s why they post comments — to get a reply from other readers and maybe even from the author. Through conversing (especially within social networks) readers can give tips, links, posts, or additional information regarding a certain topic.

Build and manage a community online

  • Make news participatory
  • Journalists must get involved
  • Develop sources through social networks
  • Collaborate with your community

Keep conversations accurate and ethical

  • Set guidelines for participants
  • Monitor offensive postings
  • Know your legal responsibilities
  • Correct errors

For a final thought: Social networking is journalism!

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

C-Span Interview: Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on C-Span Interview: Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson

Dan Rather, former CBS anchor and current managing editor and anchor for HDNet, joined George Mason students Feburary 24th in a C-Span interview. Tucker Carlson, a correspondent for Fox News who is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, was also a guest on the show.

Dan Rather

Dan Rather

Rather and Carlson spoke mainly of the state of journalism today and what it takes to be a good reporter. “American journalism today needs a spine transplant,” was the way that Rather described the current state of American journalism. “The best journalism is tough and doesn’t suck up to power,” he said. Politicans and other public figures in power have learned how to manipulate the media to their advantage, just like in the past when they were able to manipulate T.V. and radio, he says. According to him, news is something important that people want to know that people in power don’t want to be known. In Rather’s words the journalism motto should be this: “Let’s get the facts, as many facts as we can. Let’s get the truth, as close to the truth as possible.”

In Carlson’s opinion the problem with online journalism today is that “it’s young and it’s costly. It’s very expensive to send entourages to places all over the world and the money hasn’t yet shifted online. This is a transition period for the online medium.”

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Everybody Loves Morehead: Geaks are Freaks.

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on Everybody Loves Morehead: Geaks are Freaks.

Geeks Are Freaks

By Brandi Morehead / Sex Columnist

There was a time when the first thing that came to mind when I heard the word “geek” was Steve Urkel. Now, it’s sex on a stick.

Think about it. Guys that have that geek persona about them usually go above and beyond to catch a hot girl’s attention. Once they get it, they have to keep it. Usually this comes with showing you his actual skills. Allow this.

Geeks will treat your body like the latest in technology; exploring every part of you, making sure that part is taken care of and known perfectly. They ask you what you like, using you as their own personal manual to your body.

To start, they analyze every position, discovering the different ways to make your body tremble with pleasure. Geeks make sure to last a long time, and they make sure they are good, tuning in to your every moan, every shake and every facial expression.

Geeks are sweet, unlike hot guys and gym buffs, who are normally self-centered. Any guy who knows how to satisfy a woman will care about getting you off rather than focusing on himself. In return, your moan, your sexy wetness and your heavy breathing will send him wild. Knowing he is making you feel this good will make him feel amazing, getting himself off just as he did for you.

The technology that geeks are into doesn’t stop at their desktops. Clever devices seem to make their way into the boudoir.

Gadgets are not the only kinds of buttons that geeks know how to push. They know the hot buttons on any girl they are trying to impress.

Geeks love to play with toys. They can already make you moan, tremble and grip the sheets. For a geek who wants nothing more than for you to not get enough of him, he will push for more. Dying to hear the screams, feel the scratches and endure the begging for more kisses, geeks use toys to bring sex to a whole new level.
Your body is a science project that a geek must master. An A+ is a necessity; a B just simply won’t do.

Don’t be biased, let a geek give you a few lessons in pleasure. You’ll be surprised how your taste changes from bad boy to glasses with just one good lay.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Dan Rather: ‘It’s My Job To Give People The Facts’

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on Dan Rather: ‘It’s My Job To Give People The Facts’

Dan delivered a great talk at sxsw on the medi...

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In the middle of the turmoil after the assassination of the president John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, millions sat in front of televisions to watch the announcement of the president’s death. There Dan Rather was in Dallas, Tx., suppressing all of his emotions to focus only on giving every little detail of the assassination to the audience. He was the first to announce the president’s death on television news.

“It was a hammer to the heart to each individual in America,” said Rather, reminiscing during his video conference on C-SPAN on Feb. 24, 2011. With participants from George Mason University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Purdue University and University of Denver, Rather shared his experience as a journalist and opinions on how the future journalism should evolve with the advancement of technology.

Regarding online journalism, Rather said that the coverage on the assassination in 1963 would have been different these days.

“Taking Egypt as example, social media has been tremendous tool public at large to use against power,” Rather said.

However, he was also concerned of its weaknesses.

“American journalism today needs a spine transplant,” Rather said. He said that ever-emerging new technologies often convey dangers of being manipulated by those in power or authority, and journalists should engage to help audience by verifying information floating around the globe.

He also said that today’s consumers of journalism needs to be more educated in order to “make more sense of our knowledge.”

“The public is now confused and politicians are taking advantage of that,” Rather said.

Rather advised the participating students to become responsible journalists and understand the basic fundamentals of democracy and checks and balances system that the American journalism has grown upon.

“The right attitude of a journalist is to say ‘let’s get the facts right,’” Rather said. “As a professional, you have to seal out all your emotions and focus on the job in your hand.”

Wikileaks as an example, Rather said online sources should be carefully monitored.

“[WikiLeaks] helps public service in many ways, but also risks many lives,” Rather said. He said that today’s journalists should account the duality of online sources, and always focus on verifying any information received.

However, Rather was hopeful that new fundamentals of journalism will solve the challenges that today’s journalists encounter.

“Hopefully a new business model will emerge for online journalism,” Rather said. ” The old business model is dead and shrinking.”

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Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Comm 361′s new students: Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on Comm 361′s new students: Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson

Dan Rather, a former CBS Evening news anchor and current host of Dan Rather Reports, was in a C-SPAN video conference with students from George Mason University, University of Denver, Purdue University and Georgetown University on February 24, 2011.

Dan Rather

Dan Rather

Rather commented on his 50-plus-years in journalism, a career that includes coverage on pivotal American news events such as the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, the Civil Rights Movement and September 11, 2001.

Tips to young journalists from Rather:

  • “Curiosity, relentless determination and the ability to write well and quickly [makes a good reporter].”
  • “Nothing matters at the moment but the story you’ll have time for your emotions later on.”
  • “American journalism needs, in many ways, a spine transplant. We’ve lost some of the grit in our gut, we’ve lost some of our courage.”
  • “[American Journalism should be] part of a system of checks and balances on power, not to be just a conduit for what power says is happening.”
  • Social media can be good and bad. It can help against dictatorships but it can also be used by those governments.
  • Keep facts and fiction separated, especially with the vast amount of information that comes out from social media.
  • There isn’t a business model for online journalism but the old model isn’t working.

Tucker Carlson, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, also joined the conference. “The best journalism is tough and it pays no regard to authority and it does not suck up to power,” Carlson said.

Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson

Carlson also pointed out something that all journalists should keep in mind.

“Journalism is not complicated,” said Carlson. “It’s a process of finding out what happened and repeating it to your viewers, listeners or readers. It’s a trait, not a profession.”

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

A Spine Transplant- Dan Rather C-SPAN Interview

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on A Spine Transplant- Dan Rather C-SPAN Interview

American journalism needs a spine transplant. We need guts and courage to come back into journalism,” announced Dan Rather to the C-Span viewers on February 24, 2010. Throughout the interview, Rather emphasized the point that journalism is different than it used to be, no longer do we have the checks and balance system that the media used to utilize on politicians and companies. Investigative journalism seems to be scarce nowadays, and Rather says that in order for journalism to really be journalism, we need to have the passion and courage to dig deep and uncover the truth.

The Watergate scandal is still considered as the most famous investigative journalism example.

Dan Rather, who is an American journalist and former CBS News anchor, joined students participating from George Mason University Video Studio along with Steve Scully, the political editor for the C-SPAN networks, and students from Georgetown, Purdue and University of Denver. Also joining the conversation was Tucker Carlson, who is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller.

Carlson also agreed with Rather, journalists nowadays are “unwilling to take on powerful figures and authorities.”

Rather also discussed how technology and onilne journalism has shaped media today. “Obama is our first Internet President.” 1963 Was the Age of Television but as soon as 2001 hit, the Internet Age began and has been in full force ever since.

Some key points by Carlson and Rather about onilne journalism today:

  • Carlson said that  the Internet is young, and for a smooth transition to online press, there needs to be more money. The media today is better and is worse than it was last century.
  • Dan Rather made the point that right now the public is somewhat confused as to where they should get their news. I completely agree because we have this flood of information from all sorts of platforms, and social media’s job is to figure out what is the best way to present it to us.
  • Rather talked about how social media has been one of the greatest tools against great power, for example a student brought up the crisis that happened a couple of weeks ago in Egpyt, and how Twitter and Facebook played such a huge role. (A sidenote, an Egyptian man was so grateful for Facebook during the crisis that he named he named his newborn daughter Facebook, check out the article here.)

One of the most fascinating parts of the interview was when Rather recounted his reporting on historical events such as the Vietnam War, the 1968 Presidential election (where Rather was punched in the stomach at a Democratic Convention) and the JFK assassination.

Rather during his report on the 1963 JFK assasination

The JFK assasination was “a hammer to the heart, these things don’t happen in America,” recounted Rather. This was a perfect example of when Rather had to ignore his emotions completely when reporting the news to the nation. The most moving part of the interview for me was when they replayed Rather’s report of the assassination, as we seemed to be  transported to that very moment Rather had to announce  that the President was dead. Another amazing point of the report was that Rather adlibed everything, after seeing the video footage just once, while he was describing the sequence of the assassination.
When asked about the lack of coverage on the Afghanistan war, Rather explained how the focus was moved from Afghanistan to Iraq by the government: a perfect example of “herd journalism,” and how more reporters should have a backbone.

What makes a good reporter? A golden question asked by Steve Scully at the beginning of the interview. Rather’s answer? Curiosity, determination and of course, the ability to write.

*One of my favorite quotes from the C-SPAN interview was when Rather was describing how they reported 9/11: “Get zoned, lets get the facts, as many as we can. Lets get as close to the truth as we can, that’s how journalists roll.

The distance learning course, which is produced by C-SPAN, is a unique opportunity for students to interview guests via video conference The course airs on C-SPAN3 on Fridays at 5 pm and also streams online at:

*Dan Rather is now anchor and managing editor of a television news magazine, Dan Rather Reports, that is on the cable channel HDNet. You can also check Rather out on Twitter here! See, even after decades in the journalism business, he keeps up with it by using the latest social media. Take note aspiring journalists…

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Briggs Summary – Chapter 10

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Summary – Chapter 10

There’s no denying that the face of journalism is ever-changing, especially with the advent of social media in the past five years or so. What was once considered a trendy fad for college students has migrated into the professional realm, with journalists and public relations professionals at the forefront.

One of the main uses for websites such as Twitter is to create a dialouge or conversation between journalists and their audiences. Not only can readers  comment, blog and link to different articles that they find relevant, but moreover, can contribute a bit of themselves into the piece as a whole. This makes readers not only  feel more involved, but additionally allows them to participate in the field of journalism – without even realizing it! Here are some ways to get your readers involved in the online conversation:

  • Branding and promoting the site to attract readers
  • Solicit content
  • Moderate user content and dealing with reader problems
  • Know your legal and ethical boundaries

Love it or hate it, it looks like social media is here to stay. So you might as well embrace the change, and hang on for the ride.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

C-SPAN Video Conference #1: Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on C-SPAN Video Conference #1: Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson



“American journalism, in many ways, needs a spine transplant,” Rather said, “We’ve lost some of the grit in our gut.”

This was just one of the many things that Dan Rather had to say about being a journalist and where journalism is in our current social media frenzy of a world.

On February 24, 2011 Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson joined Steve Scully, the political editor for the C-SPAN networks, and participating students from George Mason University, Purdue University, the University of Denver and Georgetown University for a live video conference.

Rather, who was a former news anchor for CBS Evening News, touched on many issues dealing with his experiences with journalism and journalism today. Rather now also hosts his own show titled Dan Rather Reports and can be viewed on HDNet.

Rather explained how there are three important components to being a good journalist:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Relentless determination
  3. Ability to write well and quickly

“Curiosity is the bedrock of being a good reporter,” Rather said.

When discussing his experiences with covering the  Kennedy assassination, he said, “As a professional you must seal out your emotions and focus on the job at hand.”

He explained how it’s our job as journalists to get the facts right and to be true to your story and your audience.

Which leads into the topic of social media. Rather explained how he’s seen the leader in how consumers get their journalism go from radio, to TV, and now the overwhelmingly dominant Internet.

“Obama is our first Internet president,” said Rather. “However, the strength of TV is that is puts you there. You can see the reality and make your own judgement.”


Tucker Carlson, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, joined Rather in dicussing the emergence of online journalism and social media and what needs to be done.

Carlson explained how, “The problem with online media is that it’s young and there’s not a lot of money there.” It’s still emerging into our society and it’s a good and bad thing all at the same time.

Rather explained how, “Consumers need to be educated in order to improve online journalism.” Consumers needs to be able to sift through what’s fact and what’s fiction.

A very powerful statement that Rather said was “News is something important that someone in power doesn’t want the public to know.”

Encouraging students to be aware of the checks and balances system that the American journalism has stemmed from, and tying that in with a “sense of independence.”

The video for this particular video conference can be found here.

The distance learning course, which is produced by C-SPAN, is a unique opportunity for students to interview guests via video conference. the course airs on C-SPAN3 on Fridays at 5 p.m. and also streams online here.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts