Online Journalism

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

Tech Blog #10: Guest Speaker Kevin Anderson

March 24th, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog #10: Guest Speaker Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson, a digital strategist and freelance journalist, spoke to our class today via Skype. He has worked for BBC, Al Jazeera English and the Guardian.

Check out his personal Twitter account , his Muckrack account, and some of his work with Al Jazeera English here.

When asked what tools are needed for a journalism skill set in the real world, Anderson  says an important part of landing a first job is to take the initiave now by setting up a blog, taking pictures, and doing multimedia journalism. Anderson says to also start thinking about the best way to tell stories through this type of social media.

Anderson also notes that Zeemaps is a great tool for projects as well. He suggests that when doing video recording, make sure to get some of the background noise from the setting where you are reporting to make the audience feel like they are in the middle of the story. Audio is one of the most important things when shooting video, but often is forgotten the most. Shaky video is forgiven, but terrible sound quality is not.

“Social media without context doesn’t do the audience any favors,” says Anderson. In other words, make sure that when using platforms such as Storify, you are able to explain the various social media content that is being used.

With there being an increase in more citizen journalists, it can be hard for trained journalists to make their mark. Regarding this situation, Anderson says, “If we amplify every voice, it just becomes noise.” It is still important to make editorial choices when dealing with articles and newsworthy items.

“We’re entering a fascinating time, and how we navigate that is going to be very interesting, especially as journalists. It’s a tough time in journalism. You’ve got to start somewhere. Where you start doesn’t determine where you end up,” says Anderson.

Tags: Comm361 · Storify · Student Blog Posts

Tech Blog #9: Guest Speaker Steve Buttry

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog #9: Guest Speaker Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry, Director of Community Engagement for TBD, joined our class today for a presentation on cross-platform journalism and the different tools and techniques that are applied to many articles and stories today.

Check out his Bio, personal Twitter account, and blog, The Buttry Diary, here.

Professor Klein noted that Buttry understands the social web as well as cross-platform journalism– a skill that journalists really need to focus on.


Buttry showed us a compilation of audio, video and pictures done by The Minneapolis Star Tribune on their wesbite covering the collapse of the 35W bridge into the Mississippi River in August 2007 . Titled “13 Seconds in August,” reporters at the Star Tribune tried to find the story of every single vehicle on the bridge. Within one story, there are dozens of stories featured. This type of cross-platform journalism is the way of the future.


As a writer in traditonal journalism, there is contol. However, in digital journalism multiple tools are used to let the reader view the story how they want. This in turn changes the style of reporting. There needs to be much more than just interviews- audio and video play a large part in the story telling process.


Buttry also showed us a website from The Des Moines Register in Iowa, titled Parkersburg Tornado: The Aftermath. The website features a virtual map of the town of Parkersburg where you can view video of the tornado in addition to before and after pictures of houses hit by the tornado.


Buttry stresses to think of the tools you can use when reporting to cover the story in a new, unique way.


By using certain tools like taking large scale panoramic photos, as seen with this picture of the Glastonbury Music Festival in England, average citizens are able to tag themselves and add in their own stories, further adding to the main idea of the article.


Buttry says, “Think of what would be the best way to tell this story.” Then use the appropriate tools or find a new way and think outside of the box.

When asked what the one thing he could take away from his years of journalism experience was, Buttry replied, “Always be curious.”

Tags: Comm361 · Steve Buttry · Student Blog Posts

Mobile content is twice as difficult

March 10th, 2011 · Comments Off on Mobile content is twice as difficult

Jakob Nielsen brings about quite an interesting topic with the world turning to their mobile phones for nearly everything nowadays. Although this change is happening, people won’t be able to comprehend as much on their phone screens as they would on a computer.

The reasons are simple:

  • Slower downloads
  • No mouse for an easy selection
  • Small screens, especially when compared to a computer screen
  • Application UI’s lack consistency

It’s much harder to understand complicated information when you’re reading through a peephole.”

I love this quote. It’s so true!

After an analysis that Nielsen did of Facebook‘s privacy policy featuring text that only people with at least one year of university education would find easy to read, the results were obvious:

  • Desktop screen: 39.18% comprehension score
  • Mobile screen: 18.93% comprehension score

In order for a text to be considered easy to read, the score must be above 60%, so even the desktop screen comprehension was only 2/3 of the desired amount.

This brings up all-important questions:

What makes mobile reading harder?

Why is it approximately twice as hard to understand complicated content when reading on the smaller screen?

The smaller screen.

  1. Because users see less at any given time than they would on a computer screen.
  2. Because users must move around the page more, needing to scroll around different pages rather than seeing it all right in front of them on a normal computer screen.

That’s why mobile reading is more difficult.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts

Tech Blog #5: Guest Speaker Jon DeNunzio

March 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Tech Blog #5: Guest Speaker Jon DeNunzio

Jon DeNunzio, User Engagement Editor at The Washington Post, visited our class for a lecture on how social media is impacting journalism today and how we can use it to our advantage.

DeNunzio gave us a list of a few social media website worth looking into:

He also stressed that “It’s not the media, it’s the social,” rather than “The medium is the message,” referring to a quote from Marshall McLuhan.

DeNunzio also gave some great advice for job interviews. In your cover letter, talk about how you can connect with users in journalism — it will set you apart from other prospective applicants.

For more information, check out Jon DeNunzio’s Tumblr account or follow his Tweets on his personal Twitter account!

Tags: Comm361 · social media · Student Blog Posts