Online Journalism

Chapter 11: Building a digital audience for news

March 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 11: Building a digital audience for news

There is no denying that the Internet has changed the world. So, how do we keep up with it? For most of us, using the Internet doesn’t cost much. So, why pay 50 cents for a newspaper when you have access to all the information in the world for free?

One way journalists are trying to keep up with the new business model is through advertising digitally. Marketing with ads, using viral campaigns and creating memorable slogans are all ways to make enough money to be sufficient.

According to Mark Briggs, there are five ways journalists can build and sustain an audience.

  1. Tracking content
  2. Web analytics
  3. Search engine optimization (SEO)
  4. Effective headline writing for the web
  5. Distribution through social media

Tracking content

The key is to track anything that can be tracked. Here are some sample ideas of what should be tracked regularly:

  • Total news stories per day
  • News stories by topic or section
  • Total blog posts per day
  • Videos per week
  • Podcasts or other audio stories

The best way to track information is by using a web-based spreadsheet that is accessible to many people at once.

Web analytics

Web analytics can be a software or mechanism that is used to track website traffic. Software such as Omniture, Google Analytics and Hitbox are easy tools to track your website performance.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

In a nutshell, SEO allows web users to find you as easily as possible. When you type “John” into Google’s search engine, SEO displays a list of websites ranked from most popular and relevant to what “John” could mean or who it could refer to. Whether you are referring to the “John” meaning restroom or whether you are looking for a biography of “John Travolta” that is what SEO does best to determine.

By using HTML meta tags, title tags, links and other user-friendly tricks, you can grow an audience using SEO.

Writing effective headlines

Everyone can write a headline. However, not everyone can write an effective one. According to Brian Clark, writer of Copyblogger, an average, eight out of 10 people will read headline, but only two out of 10 will read the rest of the story.

Here are some tips to write effective headlines:

  • Use conversational language: Be direct and focused.
  • Use keywords: Remember the basics — who, what and where.
  • Use attitude: Being fair and accurate doesn’t mean you have to be boring! ZZZZZ

Using social media as distribution channels

Social media is the new newspaper of this decade. Here are some websites to market your story though this medium.

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Chapter ten: Managing news as a conversation

March 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter ten: Managing news as a conversation

One of the greatest challenges journalists face today is learning how to manage a news conversation. According to Mark Briggs, this begs three questions:

  • How do journalists participate in the conversation without sacrificing their objectivity or credibility?
  • What about legal and ethical issues now that everyone can publish anything they want on a professional news site?
  • And what happens when you really want the audience to participate, but they don’t?

News conversations have changed drastically over the past few decades. What once was a lecture is now an interactive conversation. Journalists require feedback and encourage discussion among readers and viewers.

What are some ways that online journalism has allowed for user participation?

  • Comments: That little box on the bottom of every story that allows you to type your thoughts on the story allows journalists to receive feedback.
  • Discussion forums: These discussion forums range from topics such as politics to fashion to sports. They allow the media to keep up with how the conversation is going among the public.
  • Social networking: Websites such as Facebook and Twitter have been critical in listening to conversation among the public. Believe it or not, when you write a status update about Joe Smith, Joe Smith is out reading it.

Sometimes it can be difficult to monitor such conversation when people become outraged and nasty. All communication is not good communication. But remember to take everything with a grain of salt and try to learn from everything, even the negatives.

Happy reading folks.

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · social media · Student Blog Posts

Tony Rico’s coverage on Storify

March 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Storify

Tech Blog #1: Copyright Law

March 27th, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog #1: Copyright Law

Creative Commons

     Kaiser Wahab’s Mar. 24 article “How the Web Has Changed Our Perception of Copyright Law” on discusses the slow pace of legislation and how private and government interests are aggressively “pushing the envelope” to combat the continuing problem of copyright infringement on the Internet.

“Hurt Locker” lawsuits: example of file sharing suits where content creators file claims against individual defendants

  • Filed on behalf of producers against thousands of anonymous downloaders
  • “U.S. Copyright Group Law” firm subpoenaed ISPs to discover downloaders’ true identities

Courts forced to address following issues:

  • Should courts file suits against thousands of geographically disperse defendants?
  • Privacy: Do courts have authority to force others/ISPs to reveal defendants’ identities?
  • Mass Joinder: Can courts join thousands in a single suit when facts are different for each one?
  • Amount/size of monetary awards? — movement to lower damages since many people sued don’t profit from infringement — juries still awarding plaintiffs large settlements

U.S. Government Position:

  • “The violent pace at which the Internet can facilitate infringement demands swift and coordinated enforcement.”
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

             + Last year began obtaining warrants to shut down domain names hosting/linking to infringing content/products

              + Raised concerns due to innocent sites being shut down and lack of due process (no notice of seizure warrants)

              + Introduced last year in Senate

              + Allows Attorney General to bring a shut down order against any domain name “dedicated to infringing activities” – how do you define this standard?


  • “Copyright enforcement is the battle front du jour”
  • Government expermenting with aggressive enforcement strategies at expense of free speech, due process and fair play

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts