Online Journalism

Guest speaker: Mark Potts

March 29th, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: Mark Potts

Mark Potts, creator of Washingtonpost.com, showed us how journalism works without using the typical inverted pyramid, who/what/when/where/why style.

He showed us how good Wikipedia can be, despite its reputation.

He also showed us how Facebook was used as a storytelling device as well as Storify.

How to get the audience involved:

  • Crowdsourcing (at both local and hyperlocal levels)
  • Comments
  • Facebook

When creating a blog, know what you do and do it best.

People who blog do it to be an authority in their community and to be respected for their passionate dedication rather than for money. These same people want their audience to become passionate and care.

The blogs tell people what is going on in that specific community that is not being covered by anyone else.

  • Computational journalism: Using the computer to tell stories
  • API: Giving people ability to create data tables

As a Twitter user, Potts surprisingly felt that it was not a useful tool except for publicity. When he posts a new blog on his site, he will post that URL on his Twitter and gets many hits from that.

The most important technological tool for journalists in the last five years?

The cell phone.

With social media, the super fast speed can be both an advantage and a disadvantage because some people are struggling to keep up with the need to publish as soon as possible and multiple times throughout the day instead of having one deadline.

It also exposes laziness because journalists may not have the pride in their work to get it right the firs time instead of doing it lazily and waiting for their editor to fix the mistakes.

Newspapers are struggling to realize that there are websites with better writing to give the same information that they give the day after.

Living in a “river of news,” it is important for each person to individually be able to filter their own news.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts

Guest speaker: Steve Buttry

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry, Director of Community Engagement at TBD, spoke to our Comm 371 class about the abilities and effects of video storytelling and how important of a tool it is to help show and explain events.

As a writer, you have control of the story. The user can browse to the page they want to read, skim over certain information, etc.

But with video storytelling, there is shared control of the story with the user. There are pictures, videos, graphics, interviews, etc.to keep the reader engaged and able to find out as much of the story as possible — things that wouldn’t be able to be seen or found in a print article.

Nothing is as impactful as being able to scroll your mouse over an image or play a video that gives more meaning and more detail about what is being reported. It doesn’t matter how many pictures you have in a print newspaper to compensate.

Think of how the story will affect somebody and what needs to be gathered to tell the story beyond the facts. The images, the context, the maps are all extremely important tools to interest the viewer.

Developing storytelling skills will:

  • Create a comfort level with working with all the tools necessary to create a story through video
  • Allow you to do videos in less time and it will become less of an issue as time goes on
  • Help learn a lot and be able to apply certain aspects to the next story you do

The ever-changing world social media is a new concept but it can even help you become a better writer.

Always be curious. If you don’t know the answer to something, ask somebody. Push through any fear or resistance to get what you want.

A very interesting idea that Steve mentioned was to copy and paste your lead into Twitter — if it doesn’t fit, it’s probably too long!

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Student Blog Posts

Guest speaker: Jim Iovino

March 10th, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: Jim Iovino

With the world turning to the internet, NBC Washington takes their television content and puts it on their website.

The sooner you get stories out on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. the more people will acknowledge you as a consistently good reporter. Thus, you will receive more traffic and gain attention. You want to be the first to say that you broke the story and knew about it before anyone else.

Important thought:

The good, basic journalistic reporting is the start to anything. You need to ask the best questions to get the best answers for a unique story.

Connecting with the audience is good to build a relationship with viewers and interact to gain attention. Pat Collins does a great job of this, taking 20 minutes out of every day to answer questions from his audience via the internet.

NBC Washington takes plenty of videos from people in the area to collaborate with them and share information. With videos, people love raw footage rather than someone anchoring the video segment.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts