Online Journalism

Video Conference Story #3 (Extra Credit): Andy Card

April 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Video Conference Story #3 (Extra Credit): Andy Card

Click here to view the embedded video.

Former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card joined students from George Mason University in a C-SPAN video conference to discuss his political career.

For more information on Card, check out his background here.

Card began by explaining his relationship with the Bush family. He met George Bush Sr. at the height of the Watergate scandal, and said that the rhetoric was very tough. Card and the Bush family became very close, and Card said that before he became chief of staff, he and the president were very good friends.

When asked to assess the Bush administration, Card discussed that the president  had to face unprecedented challenges, and demonstrated the courage to make tough decisions. Card said that Bush was “one of the most disciplined individuals I have ever met.”

One of these challenges Bush had to face were the September 11th attacks. That morning, the president was visiting a second-grade classroom to read to some elementary school children. When Card heard of the first plane flying into the tower, he thought it was a tragic accident. Upon hearing of the second plane, however, Card interrupted the president from his speech — something extremely rare. He then spoke these words to the president, “A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack.”

Card also noted that Bush’s speech at the National Cathedral on September 14th was a dramatic day. The president gave, according to Card, one of the best speeches that he ever heard. Soon after, the president traveled to Ground Zero to give a speech, which was mostly unscripted remarks that evoked the president’s passion, resolve and concern for the country. Card said it was a dramatic conversation with the American people.

Before the events of September 11th, the Bush administration was focused more on domestic issues such as the No Child Left Behind Act, which Card said Bush worked very hard on to get bipartisan support. However, the agenda soon switched to an international focus.

Despite criticism, Card said that Bush is still very confident of going into the Middle East and removing Saddam Hussein from power. Regarding the Afghanistan election, Card said in a democracy, outsiders don’t get to pick the winners — the people do. Despite the new democracy, corruption is still a very big problem in Afghanistan and Card questions the time table for removing troops from Afghanistan.

Another foreign policy issue a student brought up in the conference was Africa’s situation in the playing field. Card said that most of the challenges in Africa center around leadership, healthcare and economic opportunity. He stressed that humanitarian concerns are greater than those of democracy, and that one of the most important things to be done is to bring freedom of the press to more African nations.

Regarding the pending government shutdown, Card said he hopes the two parites work very hard to prevent it from happening, although he is not afraid of it. He said it would definitely cause disruption and cost more money than it saves, but he noted that with everything, perfection is almost never the result.

Card also said he believes “the president should get the benefit of the doubt.” Congress should not step in on issues like the government shutdown — they are there to help the president do his job, not do it for him.

Card talked briefly about the chief of staff position. He said that it’s necessary to learn how to survive on little sleep, and that you almost become a “vampire,” often working late into the night. It’s a very tough challenge and it’s important to make sure the president has what he needs, but not everything that he wants. Card tried very hard not to let his emotions get in the way of his job.

One of the most intriguing things about the chief of staff job is the information you can receive. Card said that the information in the daily briefings is scary. Often, he knew more of what was going on than the president did. With that note, Card explained that he couldn’t always tell the president everything, while the president had a tremendous job to do. He said, “I respect the burden the president carries.”

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Video Conference with Andy Card

April 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Video Conference with Andy Card

Andy Card, former chief of staff to George W. Bush, discussed his position at the White House, his views on the September 11 terrorist attacks and his relationship brotherly relationship with Bush during a C-SPAN interview on April 7 with political editor Steve Scully and students from George Mason University, Purdue University and the University of Denver.

The role of being a former chief is not easy, according to Card, whose typical day began at 5:30 a.m. and ended when he knew the president had gone to bed for the day. Like all other former chiefs of staff, Card was expected to serve for the sole pleasure of the president, which meant that his decisions of bringing certain issues to the president were very important.

“One of the tough issues is delivering information to the president,” Card said. “You need to get all the information that the president needs – not wants.”

Although Card’s goal was to make sure Bush had the “time to eat, sleep and be merry,” certain terrible news, such as the national attack on September 11, could not be withheld from the president.

Bush was reading to students at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida on the horrible day. He had learned about the first crash, and had thought that it had been an accident of some sort. However, after the second plane crashed into the second tower, Card had learned that Osama bin Laden was behind it all.

Card first asked himself if Bush needed to know about the second attack, and then decided to walk up to the president during his reading and said, “America is under attack.”

“I tried very hard on 9/11 not to allow emotion to get in the way of the challenge,” Card said. I tried to be objective that day… The day did change me, and today I will never forget.”

The next few days after the attacks were very emotional, and Card recalled one of the speeches to be very memorable. On September 14, Bush visited Ground Zero and reminded citizens that they were not alone, that he was able to hear them and the whole world was able to hear them.

“I think it was one of the best speeches the president gave of his tenure as president,” Card said.

The events of September eventually led to America’s war against Iraq, a war and decision that Card still supports today.

“His [Bush’s] obligation under the constitution to protect us gives him an awful lot of authority to do what he thinks is necessary to protect the people in the United States,” Card said. “… I am still comfortable with the president doing the right thing. President Bush made a great contribution to that part of the world by giving democracy real roots.”

Card expressed that he felt that Bush was “misunderstood” throughout his presidency, but he believed that he led with “great presidential courage.”

Card spoke with a lot of admiration toward Bush, and said that they were able to speak very candidly toward one another.

“I never felt afraid to talk to him about anything, even if we did not agree,” Card said.

Card shared many experiences with Bush, and watched him grow as an individual throughout his presidency. One of the most important personalities he noticed about Bush was his discipline.

George W. Bush is one of the most disciplined individuals I’ve ever met,” Card said.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Tech Blog #4: Improving Engagement on Your Brand’s Facebook Page

April 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog #4: Improving Engagement on Your Brand’s Facebook Page


 features a new article by Lauren Drell titled “How To: Improve Engagement on Your Brand’s Facebook Page.”  The advice comes from a new study of 200 large, well-established brands by Buddy Media

Advice for large brands: 

  • Be Timely

             – Posting time/day of week depends on when brand peaks on Internet 

             – Patterns and trends unique to particular industries 

  • Be Concise

             – Content should be 80 characters or less (27 percent more engagement) 

             – URL should be full-length so readers know where link will take them 

  • Ask for Engagement

             – Simple instructions more effective getting a “Like” 

             – Put question at end of post (15 percent more engagement) 

             – Don’t ask invasive “why” questions, ask “what” 

Advice for Smaller Brands: 

  • Balance data from study with what you know based on Facebook Insights and personal experience with your Page
  • Social marketing space constantly evolving; statistics can change in months
  • Your Facebook marketing program must be flexible

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

Guest Speaker: Mark Potts

April 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest Speaker: Mark Potts

Mark Potts, who is a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, came and spoke to our Comm. 361 class on March 29. He has been exploring the digital world for 19 years and is always looking for new tools to utilize.


During Potts presentation, he gave us TONS of wonderful resources, helpful websites, and examples of well-done storytelling.

One thing that I was especially surprised to hear was that he spoke very highly of Wikipedia and called it “a fantastic news site”.  After constantly hearing from professors that it’s not a reputible source of information, here Potts comes saying he thinks it’s great. He explained how its got voluminous work and is built by the crowd, which adds to it’s resourcefulness.

He then showed us a story done in December of 2010 that utilized Facebook as the medium to telling the story. So in essence,Facebookdid the storytelling and the rest fell into place. The article is called “A Facebook story: A mother’s joy and a family’s sorrow” and can be found here.

He explained how Storify gives the reader structure and some kind of flow, but doesn’t necessarily work for every story. He definitely believes that crowdsourcing is a HUGE component to storytelling today and very beneficial.

“Do what you do best and link to the rest,” Potts said towards the middle of his presentation. I thought this was very powerful and presented the fact that using outside resources and stories to LINK to your story is a good thing.

Another big topic that came up, as always, was Twitter. His take on it was incredibly different from what we’ve been hearing from previous speakers. He said:

  • He only uses it to tweet his recent blog posts
  • Doesn’t care for it
  • Doesn’t see it as that interesting
  • Isn’t filtered
  • There’s just too much stuff

I was very surprised to hear this, but understood what he meant at the same time. It’s good to find the pros and cons to everything, and since we’ve ONLY been hearing the pros it was cool to get a different perspective.

He ended his presentation by saying that he stopped reading print news years ago because there’s better writing on the web. He explained how30 years ago only way you got info was the newspaper. It was the only option you had. He explained how newspapers are out of date the second they’re published, but that the web is constantly keeping up to the SECOND with information.

His final statement, which stuck with me for the rest of the day was, “We need to be our own filters today.” Basically saying, there’s so much information out there, but WE need to be responsible consumers.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Storify · Student Blog Posts

Guest Speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

April 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest Speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

BJ Koubaroulis, former George Mason University student who graduated with a B.A. in Communication in 2004, spoke to our Comm. 361 class on March 31. He currently works a a sports writer at The Washington Post.


The first thing he spoke about was how “you’ll start from the bottom and work your way up: that’s how you learn.” While it may seem like an obvious statement, it’s easy to forget that the only way you’re going to learn is by making your mistakes NOW instead of when it REALLY matters.

He recommends working at a small paper to give you an opportunity to 1) learn and 2) make your mistakes.

Going along with that, he said he learned the most at his internships and the small newspapers he worked for.

He explained how he fell in love with high school sports and actually enjoyed it the most out of all his sports coverage for three reasons: 1) Most access, 2) Most real people, and 3) The people actually enjoy speaking to you.

He then spoke a lot about video. That words seems to keep appearing. He explained how video has been a life changing experience for him. He explained how individuals can harness the power of video, whereas before media companies were needed to utilize video. ANYONE CAN DO IT.

Video allowed him to become a better writer. If that’s not reason enough to learn video, then I don’t know what is.

He then explained how everyone should learn:

  • How to use the Web
  • HTML
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Pictures

And with that he had this to say about journalism today: “It’s just one job now. Everything is intermixed.”

“If you’re not going to change, you’re just going to get left behind.”

“Do all of it, don’t limit yourself.”

He then ended his presentation with FOUR things every journalist should have:

  1. Camera
  2. Computer
  3. Microphone
  4. Be ready to work!

In conclusion, he also showed us a REALLY cool website that incorporated all the things he’s talking about. It is an interactive website of George Mason University’s Fairfax campus. Check it out here.

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

BJ Koubaroulis- Guest Speaker

April 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on BJ Koubaroulis- Guest Speaker

BJ Koubaroulis, a sports journalist for the DC and Northern Virginia, came to Kleins 361 class to emphasize the importance of videos. The new video era has ushered in a whole new wave of journalists, those who can write, take picture and most importantly edit video. Koubaroulis talked about how videos have taken his stories to a whole new level. Here’s an overview of Koubaroulis’ main points:

  • Video has been a life changing experience. Individuals can now harness the power of videos, you don’t need a camera crew; one guy with a video camera can make a difference. This tool allowed Koubaroulis to become a better writer, an example is his video accompanying his story on a high school football star.
  • Video illustrates that you could tell two stories within one story. Video allows more space for your story.
  • Audio is 70% of video. *Tip: Use a wireless microphone that only picks up local sound, which only picks up sound within five feet, and eliminates background noise.
  • If you take anything away from this class: Invest in yourself. Do a lot of different things: web, radio, TV, online, print. “I would do anything that people would let me do, and it’s all come back to help me very nicely.”
  • Media companies want to hire people that can do the jobs of five people. Learn HTML, learn social media, learn how to use the web. You are an accumulation of all these jobs. Do all of it, and you’ll be able to do the one thing you want to do.

  • A cool website that Koubaroulis admires: The Mason Tour
  • Four things you need to succeed: camera, computer, microphone, and to be ready to work hard.

*An accumulation of Koubaroulis’ work here, and his blog.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Kevin Anderson- Guest Speaker

April 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Kevin Anderson- Guest Speaker

Kevin Anderson, now working for Al Jazeera Arabic in Doha, Qatar, has over a decade of journalism experience under his belt. Along with jobs at The Guardian and BBC News, Anderson has been a digital journalist since 1996 and rode the .com boom to becoming the BBC’s first online journalist outside of the UK.

Anderson’s main points:

  • What tools do journalists need to know how to use?
  1. Internships
  2. Setting up blogs (knowing how to write, take pictures, edit video)
  • The role of social media in journalism today?

The major role is “networked journalism”

  1. Not enough to build a website, make sure content is available and take it to places were people are congregating online, like Facebook and Twitter.
  2. Using networks to find sources and add voices to our journalism
  • How do we differentiate ourselves as journalist?

If we amplify everyvoice it just becomes noise(when it comes to people trying to be their own reporters) it’s still important to make editorial choices. We just have a richer wider choice of quotes.

Kevin and his wife, Suw Charman-Anderson, have a blog called the Corante. Check out their postings.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts