Online Journalism

Guest speaker: Mark Stencel

April 14th, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: Mark Stencel

Mark Stencel’s journalism career began around 1995 where he worked at the Washington Post for 12 years (9 focusing in online things), The News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. He currently works for NPR (National Public Radio), has been there for just under 2 years and is the digital managing editor.

NPR is a non-profit organization, so money comes mainly from individual donations. It is very news-centralized and one of the largest, most-consumed news organizations in North America with around 20-30 million listeners. They are being challenged, though, by people who are in their offices not wanting to listen to NPR.org or the radio.

NPR has used the iPhone and Android markets to expand to listeners through those capabilities. NPR staff also take pictures for their website which show you pictures. The radio’s job is to paint that picture for the listener.

It is very difficult to work with three mediums (radio, text, video) so NPR typically just does text and radio.

Historically, NPR has produced great audio. Now, they have also added great text to their capabilities.

Don’t cover events, cover implications.

At the Post, he tried to bring talk radio into text form through interactivity with the audience.

On NPR’s Facebook page, they take stories that never got huge amounts of views on their site and add them onto their Facebook page so it can receive more views.

Twitter is also a very dynamic form of social media for NPR. Andy Carvin and others tweet some stories for their followers and turned the reporting process inside-out to show everyone how it’s done.

These social mediums are great ways to tell people what is going on air soon. It also helps show how interactive the hosts are.

NPR’s job is to cover news and break it in every possible way whether its on the radio, blogging, etc.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts

Guest speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

March 31st, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: BJ Koubaroulis

BJ Koubaroulis, former Mason student, wrote for Washington Post in the past, but now is the CEO of Synthesis Multimedia Productions/Koubaroulis LLC.

BJ in front of the camera

He always wanted be a sports writer. He started covering local sports and started enjoying it. He got his learning experiences in small newspapers, he actually didn’t learn as much when he got to the Washington Post.

To be different from everyone else: took on video! We’re seeing that individuals can make a difference in video, instead of big productions.

He started a company with a “bunch of him” that being one-man show video person. The Washington Post contracted them to make videos for online content. Writers do stand-up for them in a way to make the videos more Washington Post material.

What makes them unique? The videos come in two hours after the game is over.

Tips from BJ:

  • “I’ve done a lot of different things. And you should do everything. Radio, newspaper, television. Most of the time for free.”
  • Unpaid internships? You are investing in yourself.
  • Do radio, do video, do everything, because you are doing everything right now. You are a media person. Be all of it, and you will be able to do the one thing you want to do.
  • If you are not going to change, you are going to be left behind. Do all of it.
  • Starting his company, he took people that were journalists at heart.
  • On media, love it, but don’t count on it.
  • What do you need? A camera, computer, microphone, and ready to work hard.
  • Anybody can do what we are doing. You just need the material.

Other clients? Worked with Mason on the digital tour. Worked with Northern Virginia magazine.

Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

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: Jon DeNunzio

March 3rd, 2011 · Comments Off on Guest speaker: Jon DeNunzio

Jon DeNunzio is going to talk about integrating social media into your journalism.

He learned a lot, and still learning. National Park Fan Tweets experiment in the Washington Post is a good example.

Some experiments and good tools to try:

Why we use social media:

  1. It’s where users are
  2. It helps our reporting
  3. It allows us to build a relationship with users

It’s an art, not a science.

Third-party platforms: not the only way 

“The medium is the message”- McLuhan, 1964. Now, it’s not the media, it’s the social part.

His point?

  • Be social with your users whenever you can. It’s us, journalists, being social.
  • Respond
  • Ask for ideas
  • Ask for photos
  • Host a debate, elevate one of the comments
  • Answer user questions

Southern California Public Radio: good example of reader engagement, and how powerful it can be.

Why am I talking about this?

  • He just recently hired people. Now how to connect with users. Network. Twitter feed.
  • Startups! There are so many companies starting, and using social media. For example, T-shirt design user-oriented

Tags: Comm361 · social media · Student Blog Posts