Online Journalism

Entries Tagged as 'online journalism'

Lecture by Brad Kalbfeld, former AP Managing Editor/ Broadcast

April 5th, 2011 · Comments Off on Lecture by Brad Kalbfeld, former AP Managing Editor/ Broadcast

On Tuesday, April 5, 2011, Brad Kalbfeld stopped by George Mason University to talk to Online Journalism students. Kalbfeld is a digital pioneer. You can check out his website, Interactivity, LLC.

For more than 36 years, he has been a :

  • writer
  • reporter
  • editor
  • news executive
  • including 22 as Managing Editor/Broadcast for The Associated Press.

Kalbfeld was responsible for AP’s broadcast wire, audio and domestic video operations and has produced coverage of such major events as 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Persian Gulf, two space shuttle disasters and five presidential elections.  

He started out the lecture by showing off his laptop in the 1980′s. It was a typewriter. He then went on to show us his electronic laptop he got in the early 1990′s.

Kalbfeld’s description of the event. who is the source of a story (ie: Reporter or “Joe Six-Pack”) and how the information trickles down the .

The news event process is like this:

  1. Event happens
  2. Reporter OR “Joe Six-Pack” reports on it
  3. Copy Editor okays it
  4. Section Editor/ Show Producer okays it
  5. This can go straight to the Reader/Viewer OR go to a Managing Editor before going to the Reader/Viewer

A student in class, Melissa Sathmary said, “Citizen journalists have the opportunity to fabricate stories though, like Balloon boy.”

Responding Kalbfeld said, “Professional journalists are scared of citizen journalists. So there is a pressure to give more credence in their articles.”

Investigative journalism has changed in the past 36 years. “There is less money involved on the local level for investigative journalism. However, it is a great way to get attention. And if you do that enough, it’s a great business plan to make money. It is one of the chief ways investigative journalists can make enough money to make a living,” said Kalbfeld.

He wrapped up the lecture by saying, “The world is your new editor”.

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

Tech Blog #3: What’s in Store for Apple in the Next 35 Years?

April 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog #3: What’s in Store for Apple in the Next 35 Years?


Apple Inc.

     In 1976 Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne founded a small company named Apple Computer.  For its first 35 years, Apple was the underdog to its rival Microsoft.  In his article on, “35 Years & $317 Billion Later, Apple Intends To Dominate a Post-PC World,” Ben Parr shares some little-known facts about Apple, “now the most valuable computer company in the world:”

  • Apple’s market capitalization exceeds $317 billion, $100 billion more than Microsoft;
  • Wayne, one of the co-founders, got cold feet and sold his 10% stake in less than two weeks;
  • 1985 — CEO John Sculley forced Jobs out of the company; and
  • 1997 — Jobs was brought back when Apple “was on the brink of destruction.”

     Apple’s golden years followed with wildly successful products such as the iPod, iMac, MacBook, iPhone and the iPad. 

     So, what’s in store for Apple in the next 35 years?  Parr believes Apple will dominate a post-PC “world of mobile devices … for decades to come” by competing “on design and user experience”  instead of hardware specs.

     Someday Jobs will leave some big shoes to fill.  Parr wonders “whether anybody can provide the design and product vision” Jobs brought to the company in his “quest to redefine technology.”

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

My first computer: So easy to use, King Kong Bundy could use it!

March 30th, 2011 · No Comments

Tags: Comm361 · King Kong Bundy · online journalism

Mark Potts visit

March 29th, 2011 · Comments Off on Mark Potts visit

Mark Potts started out by stating that Wikipedia is a sort of new site. It’s useful because it’s built by the crowd and articles can be built instantly.

The Washington Post implemented Facebook to tell a story about a mother who gave birth and then got sick a couple months ago. Potts said this story was hard to tell without including the medium in which it happened.

Potts said Storify is the flavor of the month; but when it’s used, it needs transitions between bits. Otherwise the reader can get lost.

Potts said people who blog about their community do it out of passion not for the money. They want the pride of being recognized by their community. Bloggers have passion. You want people who care.

Computational journalism: the application of computation to the activities of journalism. Potts recommended Five Thirty Eight, a blog that excels at computational journalism and “is devoted to rigorous analysis of politics, polling, public affairs, sports, science and culture, largely through statistical means.” Nate Silver from being a zero to a top 20 blogger in six months.

Potts considers WikiLeaks journalism. Journalism isn’t necessarily about writing something, but disseminating information. Not affording the same protections to the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, as other journalists is damaging to journalism, according to Potts.

Tubeify is an example of a web site that excelled at data visualization by showing which songs were tops on the Billboard 100 throughout the years.

According to Potts, Twitter is worthless as a professional tool; it’s too much noise for him. RSS feeds are much more valuable to him. But Twitter is a must-use tool for professional journalists to increase publicity.

The most important tool in the last five years for journalists is the smartphone.

Potts says journalism is better than ever been before. The problem is the gutting of newsrooms, having fewer people to cover things. Those people are shifting to other places.

The river of news today is overwhelming, so people need to be their own filter of news.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

Tech Blog #2: New Dictionary Words

March 28th, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog #2: New Dictionary Words

     There’s a fun new article on titled “OMG, the Oxford English Dictionary Added New Words! We ‘Heart” It! LOL!”  So, OMG, maybe the dictionary’s editor is just a Valley Girl at ‘heart,’ you know?

     OMG and LOL, along with FYI, are all, according to the OED, “initialisms associated with the language of electronic communications.”  It’s interesting to note that the first use of OMG dates back to a 1917 letter and in 1960 LOL meant “little old lady.”  Official recognition for a word seems to be as slow as the beatification process.  Who knew?

     A symbol for the verb “love,” the heart sign “may be the first English usage to develop via the medium of T-shirts and bumper stickers.”  In the future, we should brace ourselves for a flood of new entries based on the new social media.

     There are many other new entries you can check out for yourself by clicking here.  My favorites are “doughnut hole,” a dessert made from the cut out center of a doughnut, and muffin top,”  defined as “a protuberance of flesh above the waistband of a tight pair of trousers.”  Too many of the first can definitely lead to the second.

Creative Commons

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · 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

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

C-SPAN Video Conference with Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson

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

Dan Rather, former anchor of the “CBS Evening News” and special correspondent for HD Net, where he is the managing editor of “Dan Rather Reports,” sounded the death knell for the traditional evening news broadcast.

“The evening news is what the Mafia would call a walking corpse,” said Rather.  “It’s pretty much dead, but it doesn’t realize it yet.”

On Feb. 24 Rather 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.

Rather gave several reasons for the decline of the old media:  corporatization of news and the subsequent lack of competition; the politicization and manipulation of the news by media savvy politicians; and the lack of guts exhibited by individual journalists themselves.

“American journalism needs a spine transplant,” said Rather.  “We’ve lost some of our courage.”

Tucker Carlson, founder and editor-in-chief of the “Daily Caller,” heartily agreed.

“The best journalism is tough, and it pays no regard to authority and doesn’t suck up to power,” said Carlson.  “The essential problem in American journalism is the unwillingness to take on figures in authority.”

Rather took a minute to define the news.

“News is something that is important that people need to know, that somewhere, somebody — particularly somebody in power — doesn’t want them to know,” said Rather.  “All the rest is pretty much just advertising.”

Both Rather and Carlson are veteran journalists.  News matters to them.  It makes a difference.  Journalism gives them a sense of contributing to something greater than themselves.  When asked what makes a good reporter, Rather was specific.

“I’d say three things,” said Rather, “curiosity, a kind of relentless determination and the ability to write well and quickly.”

Rather has reported on a number of traumatic events — the American Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Watergate and 9/11.  When an event like this happens professionals feel the same emotions as everyone else.

“As a professional, as a pro, you have to seal out all your emotions and focus on the job at hand,” said Rather.  “It’s later that you go through the emotional trauma that other people are going through as it’s happening.”

We have progressed from the radio age to the television age to the age of the Internet.  According to Carlson, the biggest problem with online media is a lack of money.  This affects national news coverage.

“For example, there’s never been a greater need for digging deep, exposing corruption, finding out what those in power don’t want you to know,” said Rather.  “Investigative journalism is extremely expensive.  It’s a danger to the country because the new business model has not been invented, much less put online.”

Lack of money also affects international news.

“At the very time we need more international news, we’re getting less and less,” said Rather.  “Bureaus have closed all over the world.  We have news packagers, not news gatherers.”

Carlson says the challenge today is finding young, intelligent, unbiased reporters with a passion for news to join a profession that offers big salaries only to a select few.

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


Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

A video conference with Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson

March 6th, 2011 · Comments Off on A video conference with Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson

Curiosity, determination and the ability to write is what makes a good journalist, according to Dan Rather.

“Curiosity is the bedrock of being a good reporter. Determination is very important because one has to stay with it and writing well and quickly is the bedrock of the craft,” says Rather, a American journalist and managing editor of his show Dan Rather Reports on the cable channel HDNet.

Rather, who was also a former anchor for the CBS Evening News, joined students participating from the George Mason University Video Studio,  along with Steve Scully, the political editor for the C-SPAN networks; and students from the University of Denver and Pace University.

Along with Rather, Tucker Carlson joined the session midway and spoke regarding the pros and cons of being a journalist in the online medium.

“What is wrong with online media? 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,” says Carlson, an American political news correspondent and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller. “This is a transition period for the online medium.”

To Rather, online journalism represents a new wave of changing media, whether anyone wants it or not.

“Whether you like the Internet or not, it is already the dominant media. It is no good cursing the winds or the waves anymore,” Rather says. “In journalism, the old order is gone and the new one is not in place yet.”

However, Rather still wishes journalists would cover the iron core of true journalism.

“What is the iron core of journalism? Investigative journalism,” Rather says. “Even in the online medium, journalists need to expose corruption, make the calls, go door-to-door and find out what those in power don’t want the public to know. That is what true journalism is.”

George Mason University junior Stefanie Juvinel, who watched the program, has her own perspective regarding the discussion on online media.

“When it comes to online media, it is changing the world in a good way,” says Juvinel, a integrative studies major. “It has brought the news to the consumer so as consumers, we pick out what we want to know and think is important.”

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.

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson C-Span

March 1st, 2011 · Comments Off on Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson C-Span

In the GSFC Science Studio. Waleed Abdalati an...

Image via Wikipedia

Dan Rather and Tucker Carlson spoke with George Mason students through video conference on Feb. 24, 2011 to speak about the state of journalism and where it’s headed.

Rather, who was the news anchor for the CBS Evening News from 1981 to 2005 and is now the anchor of Dan Rather Reports on HDNet and Carlson, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller and former co-host of Crossfire on CNN, joined students participating from the George Mason University Studio along with Steve Scully, the political editor for the C-SPAN networks, and students from the University of Denver, Purdue University and Georgetown University.

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.

So according to Dan Rather, what makes a good reporter?

Curiosity and determination makes a good reporter,” Rather said. “Writing is a bedrock of the craft.” Even if you want to get into television or radio, you have to be a good writer to be a good reporter.

Rather has been working in news since 1950 and was there to report about John F. Kennedy’s assassination, one of the hardest events to work through. He reported what he saw from the Zapruder film directly from memory and was remarkably calm through the live telecast.

“As a professional you are hit with the same emotions everyone else has, but you have to seal out those emotions,” Rather said. Sealing out those emotions were what allowed Rather to report how JFK died in such a calm manner.

When Kennedy’s assassination occurred, the television was the national hearth according to Rather, replacing radio. After 9/11, the Internet was becoming the national hearth.

“Now here in 2011, we’re in the Internet age,” Rather said. “President Obama is our first Internet president.”

Rather has often spoken out about the lack of courage amongst journalists in today’s media to ask tough questions. Tucker Carlson weighed in along with rather about what journalism needs now.

“Basically what journalism needs is more guts and a sense of independence,” Rather said.

“The best journalism is tough and it pays no regard to authority and it doesn’t suck up to power,” Carlson said. “A central problem is the unwillingness to take on central authority.

“Journalism’s not complicated, it’s a matter of finding out what happened and reporting it to the people.”

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts