Online Journalism

Briggs Ch. 4

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Ch. 4

In this Briggs chapter about microblogging, the first site that came to mind was Discographies, a clever Twitter feed that reviews a musician’s body of work in 140 characters. It’s a concept so simple, so appealing and frankly, so maddening that years of hard work and transformation can be boiled down to a few sentences. But that’s what journalism has to be these days.

It’s fair to say that our collective attention spans have reduced over time. It’s not our fault; it’s technology–there’s too much of it for us to focus on one thing anymore, unless it’s really captivating–or more importantly, really short.

But here’s where it all comes together. Remember that talk about open-sourced reporting in chapter 3? Your readers are not going to be giving you manifestos (and if they are, you probably should be forwarding their comments to the FBI). Their content will be brief because that’s what they are looking for.

Take a look at this story from It reports that Aaron Sorkin will appear on the NBC hit “30 Rock” later this season. The story is pretty short, especially given the background information that makes this an especially intriguing event. Indeed, one has to venture to the comments section to be reminded of Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” his dramatic venture that premiered the same year as “30 Rock” with essentially the same concept that initially triumphed over the creatively unstable Tina Fey show, then bombed as Fey’s picked up steam.

Without comments, the main draw of this story goes to waste. It’s a slight on EW’s part, but a credit to collaborative journalism.

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Briggs Ch. 3

February 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Ch. 3

As anyone can have their own blog, it’s only fitting that news itself has become a much more collaborative process given all the new technology that bridges the gap between citizens and the media elite. Even sites as prominent as CNN now rely heavily on readers submitting news stories and videos. This global sharing process, dubbed “crowdsourcing,” creates a more transparent news environment, so the cream rises to the top.

I don’t necessarily agree with the “everyone can be a journalist now” mentality–it takes a certain amount of skill and more than just finding news to qualify for that title in my view–but I do like this new collaborative attitude. With so many avenues of news and distractions, it makes perfect sense to connect with readers by involving them in the process.

Similarly, news organizations are utilizing a more open-sourced method of reporting that, while not entirely transparent, allows readers to have a more thorough part in the process, from providing news to commenting on it. Just about any YouTube comments page will showcase the dangers of allowing audiences to share their thoughts on content, but readers tend to appreciate the possibility of being heard.

Any organization that does not embrace collaborative publication will have difficulty maintaining reader interest. In our fame-obsessed culture, there’s nothing like seeing your name attributed to a story.

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Briggs Summaries

February 3rd, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Summaries


Although print journalism is hardly the dominant force it once was, journalism is arguably thriving more strongly than ever. The Internet and cable networks have provided a goldmine of opportunity for budding journalists, but with it are new and ever-changing demands from audiences. A news site cannot simply get by on posting traditional news; it must utilize a multitude of formats to keep readers from clicking to the competition.

Chapter One

Setting up a blog might seem intimidating, as there are literally millions out there and it’s not easy to stand out. This chapter is an overview of the basic techniques to start a blog and the best ways to get the most out of blogs you read. You can subscribe to feeds and utilize all sorts of methods to transfer your own files online. The better informed you are about other online content, the more likely your blog will be a worthwhile visit for people.

This chapter dives heavily into the technical construction of web pages. Before you begin to even browse the Internet, you need to select a browser–I personally like Mozilla Firefox. From there, you have several ways to create the optimal Web experience:

Set up a RSS feed to keep track of the news you care about. This is a great method of following world events in all different areas without cluttering your inbox or doing the same searches over and over. To upload your content to the Web, download a FTP client such as SmartFTP. This video tutorial, created by, shows you how to transfer content:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Learn HTML–there are countless websites that can help you out with just about any coding you need.

Chapter Two

This chapter takes a look at why blogs surged into an important part of journalism and informs readers how to get their own blogs quickly on the right track. It’s important to create a unique, eye-pleasing design for your blog and to maintain the audience’s interest with frequent posts, interaction and an organized, authoritative setup.

It’s not enough anymore to be the first to report on a story–it’s all about the page views. Fortunately–or perhaps unfortunately–the success of a blog depends entirely on its author(s). If the content is strong, frequent and interesting to readers, a blogger should have no difficulty in keeping “return customers.” But the online audience is a fickle bunch, and if they find another source that delivers stories faster and in a more appealing manner, you’ll lose those readers.

Put the reader first at all times. Don’t waste words, use eye-catching ways to help readers scan and always provide plenty of links.

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts