Online Journalism

Briggs 7

May 2nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs 7

Painting sound pictures for listeners is a skill that takes practice, much like making real pictures with photojournalism.

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

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

Guest Speaker: Steve Buttry from TBD

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest Speaker: Steve Buttry from TBD

“Don’t let obstacles become excuses

Always be a curious journalist.

Even if you do not speak the language, find a way.

If your lead does not fit in a Twitter status, it’s too long.

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Student Blog Posts

Ch. 11 ‘Building a digital audience for news’

March 9th, 2011 · Comments Off on Ch. 11 ‘Building a digital audience for news’

Image representing Google Analytics as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

The traditional business model for journalism is in disarray.

That’s for damn sure true, with everyone having the ability to  write what they want on the Internet thanks to technology.

To increase an online audience, a journalist needs to:

  • Analyze what is published
  • Determine what readers like and don’t like
  • Do more of what readers like

Here are the fundamentals of building an online audience:

  • Tracking your content
  • Web analytics
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Effective headline writing for the Web
  • Distribution through social media

Track what you publish, such as blog posts, video stories per week, podcasts, Twitter and other social network posts and total stories per day.

Set benchmarks. Determine what you want to accomplish so you have something to measure against.

Track your audience. Use tools like Omniture and Google Analytics to measure who is viewing your stuff.

Determine what is going to be your key data. Typically it is going to be pageviews, visits vs. unique visitors, and engagement and referrers.

Understand SEO and use it to your benefit. Many news sites receive as much as one-third of their traffic from search engines, so it’s very important to get yourself near  or in the first 10 of results shown.

The best way to take advantage of SEO? Make sure your content is top-notch and link as much as possible as long as it’s relevant. Make good headlines better.

And above all else, use social media to push your stuff. Provide links of yourself on Twitter and Facebook. Contribute to blogs that deal with the same content as you. Put your name out there as much as possible.

Tags: Comm361 · social media · 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

Briggs 6

February 24th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs 6

Visual Storytelling with Photographs

Even if you don’t have aspirations of becoming an artist with a camera, as a journalist you should understand how digital photography works. Journalism without photographs is like writing without verbs.

More time leads to better photos. If you want to improve your photography skills, the first step is to find more time when you go out and shoot.

Presentation is all about first impressions. Photographs, and especially slide shows, can attract huge audiences online.

Taking good photographs is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Often, reporters find themselves in the middle of something newsworthy or interesting, so basic photography skills are critical for anyone who considers himself or herself a journalist.

As a journalist for Patch.com, I have published many slide shows. Here is an example of one of my published slide shows.

Photo Gallery: West Islip Hit With More Than a Foot of Snow

Photo Credit: Bridgette Barnhart

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

Briggs 5

February 21st, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs 5

Just like Manchester Evening News crime reporter Nicola Dowling, I too have used mobile technology. While working with Patch.com, I found myself in front a severe car crash while driving home from the store. Without a digital camera and notepad, I quickly grabbed my mobile phone and snapped pictures of the accident. I also used the notepad application in my blackberry to take quotes at the scene and described the surrounded area affected by the accident. I then immediately e-mailed those pictures to my editor and we ran the story just a few short minutes later. As a mobile reporter I can report from any medium, from anywhere, anytime.

You can check out the news story I wrote using this link.

In our COMM361 class, students use live blogging.

  • Live blogging is the practice of covering an ongoing event with constant updates. You create one entry and keep adding to it.

Using Twitter, students can tweet quotes and shared information from our guest speakers.

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

Ch.3 ‘Crowd-powered collaboration’

February 15th, 2011 · Comments Off on Ch.3 ‘Crowd-powered collaboration’

“The hunter-gatherer model of journalism is no long sufficient. Citizens can do their own hunting and gathering on the Internet. What they need is somebody to add value to that information by processing it–digesting it, organizing it, making it usable.” — Phil Meyer, author of “Precision Journalism”

Briggs starts out the third chapter of “Journalism Next” by writing about how today’s journalists are embracing technology more than ever and using information gathered from citizens to help them assemble their news.

What Briggs writes about reminds a lot about what Mandy Jenkins was talking about when she visited to speak about TBD. TBD uses tweets from people to learn about events and incidents that are happening around the area because TBD is limited to only 15 reporters who can be out on the streets. It also reminds me of Patch as they do the same thing where the editors allow people to e-mail them or tweet them with tips about what’s going on or what they would like to be covered.

The most interesting term I found from the chapter was pro-am journalism. This is the kind of journalism that allows people to publish directly to the same platform the journalists use to publish their news, which also reminds of what Patch does a little bit.

Briggs then goes into detail about crowdsourcing and why it is important for journalists. Crowdsourcing allows communities to focus on a specific project where they can outperform a small group of experienced journalists because they can employ more manpower.

Briggs then talks about invaluable links are to writing for online media. Just a few years ago, linking to the competition was pretty much forbidden, but now it is welcome and many online journalists use it to link to valuable information from other journalists. They do this in the hope that readers will come back to their website because they find that what they link to is credible.

Briggs’ final point is that these types of collaborative journalism aren’t going to go away. With the access to technology that we have now, people are more invested in what is going on right around the corner from them. With companies laying off journalists, media platforms are going to need contribution from ‘regular people’ now more than ever.

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts

Media Pyramid

February 1st, 2011 · Comments Off on Media Pyramid

Tags: Comm361 · online journalism · Student Blog Posts