Online Journalism

Briggs Chapter 8

April 12th, 2011 · Comments Off on Briggs Chapter 8

Telling Stories with Video

The digital video revolution: One person can now make and produce high-quality Web video with a $200 camera and laptop or desk computer instead of paying $35,000 for a camera and an expenisve editing station.

Briggs went into highlights and explinations of:

  • Capturing quick video highlights, not documentary projects.
  • Managing digital video on your computer.
  • Using common software to edit video.
  • Choosing online video hosting services.
  • Driving audience to your video.

What is the impact of digital video? Did you know, by mid 2009, Youtube reported that 20 hours of footage was being uploaded to the video-sharing site every minute?

One of the most important suggestions Briggs wrote was, “Perfection is not necessary.” Quick and less polished video often draws bigger audiences! Some newspapers changed their approach to video, and alloweing video broadcast with cell phones for real time news events.

Great ways to plan your video and go are:

You also need voice and audio and still shots before the editing process. After all that, upload your news video!

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts

Chapter 8: Telling Stories with Video

March 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 8: Telling Stories with Video

Some things just can’t be expressed with words. That’s where the POWER of videos comes in.

Copyright: avcreative.co.uk

“The tools have changed, but the game remains the same: visual journalism is about telling compelling stories that connect an audience with subjects, people and issues.” – Mark Briggs

First thing to know about making videos to tell one’s story is that perfection is not necessary. A video’s authenticity and behind the scenes feel, can go much further sometimes than a “perfectly” edited video.

PLAN YOUR VIDEO AND GO

  1. Use different approaches depending on the project.
  2. Storyboarding.
  3. Mix up the shots.

Some good accessories to have are:

  • Tapes and batteries: Make sure you have enough power and space.
  • Microphones: Built-in mic for natural/environmental sound, wireless-mic for interviews and shotgun mic to get conversations among several people.
  • Tripod: There’s nothing better than a steady shot to produce a professional video.
  • Headphones: Listen while you shoot to make sure the audio is good.
  • Lighting: Powerful lighting produces a powerful video.

Some great lessons for visual storytelling, according to Briggs, are:

  • Define your story in the first 20 seconds; make sure to HOOK your audience.
  • There must be a beginning, middle and end.
  • Don’t let your viewers get bored! Short clips are the way to go.
  • Focus on only ONE central idea and stay with that ONE idea.
  • Characters are what make your stories. Better characters = better story.

Final thing is to publish your video online. Posting it on your own website is great, but viral video distribution is that way to go. Freelance multimedia journalist Angela Grant recommends using TubeMogul that will automatically upload your video to 20 different video-sharing sites, including YouTube.

Bottom line: Shoot, shoot and shoot some more.

Tags: briggs · Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

My Video Conference with George Allen on C-SPAN

March 10th, 2011 · Comments Off on My Video Conference with George Allen on C-SPAN

George Allen is back and on top of his game! Allen participated in a C-SPAN video conference with students from George Mason University and The University of Denver to discuss his upcoming Senate run and his new book “What Washington Can Learn from the World of Sports.”

I was one of the lucky students who had the chance to personally talk to Allen and ask him a question, “You have mentioned numerous times that Thomas Jefferson is one of your biggest role models; what similarities do you see between yourself and him?”

He mentioned that besides the distinct title of holding Thomas Jefferson’s seat in the Virginia General Assembly, he admitted he is a self-described “Common Sense Jeffersonian Conservative.”

This formidable opponent opened up about his campaigns strategies to reach out to the community.

They are using:

Like I mentioned above, Allen’s book came out in 2010! One of the chapters in his book, which is relateable in his political life, sports life, and family life is: Defense Wins Championships.

Solid conclusion.

As related to online journalism, Allen ended with “The internet is the best invention since the Guttenberg Press”. I could not have out it any better, Mr. Allen.

View George Allen’s Announcement video on YouTube!

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts

My Video Conference with George Allen on C-SPAN

March 10th, 2011 · Comments Off on My Video Conference with George Allen on C-SPAN

George Allen is back and on top of his game! Allen participated in a C-SPAN video conference with students from George Mason University and The University of Denver to discuss his upcoming Senate run and his new book “What Washington Can Learn from the World of Sports.”

I was one of the lucky students who had the chance to personally talk to Allen and ask him a question, “You have mentioned numerous times that Thomas Jefferson is one of your biggest role models; what similarities do you see between yourself and him?”

He mentioned that besides the distinct title of holding Thomas Jefferson’s seat in the Virginia General Assembly, he admitted he is a self-described “Common Sense Jeffersonian Conservative.”

This formidable opponent opened up about his campaigns strategies to reach out to the community.

They are using:

Like I mentioned above, Allen’s book came out in 2010! One of the chapters in his book, which is relateable in his political life, sports life, and family life is: Defense Wins Championships.

Solid conclusion.

As related to online journalism, Allen ended with “The internet is the best invention since the Guttenberg Press”. I could not have out it any better, Mr. Allen.

View George Allen’s Announcement video on YouTube!

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts

JournalismNext (11): Building a digital audience for news

March 9th, 2011 · Comments Off on JournalismNext (11): Building a digital audience for news

Track all that you publish

Productivity is a key factor for managers when tracking a reporters’ ability to break news,  publish at a good rate, and gain an audience.

What to track:

  • Total news stories per day
  • News stories by topic or section
  • Total blog posts per day
  • Blog posts by specific blog
  • Slide shows per week
  • Video stories per week
  • Podcasts or other audio stories
  • News updates
  • Breaking news e-mail alerts
  • SMS or other mobile news alerts
  • E-mail newsletters that are not sent automatically
  • Twitter, Facebook or other social network posts
  • User-generated content

A web-based spreadsheet is the best way to track all of these.

Track your audience

  • Use web analytics software

Wed analytics: The software and mechanisms to track web site traffic

Identify key data points

  • Pageviews
  • Visits and unique visitors compared
  • Engagement and referrers

Search engine optimization

  • Spiders and robots
  • Indexing
  • Queries

Use SEO to grow your audience

  • Content is king
  • Linking is queen

Make sure your links make sense

  • Title tags
  • HTML meta tags

Make good headlines better

  1. Keywords, keywords, keywords
  2. Use conversational language
  3. Don’t be afraid to inject a little attitude

Target specific social media distribution channels

  • Blogs
  • Flickr, YouTube, etc.
  • Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.
  • Digg, reddit, Fark, StumbleUpon, etc.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts

Lecture by Jon DeNunzio from The Washington Post

March 8th, 2011 · Comments Off on Lecture by Jon DeNunzio from The Washington Post

Jon DeNunzio, User Engagement Editor, The Washington Post. (former Online Sports Editor) Follow Jon’s tweets!

DeNunzio came to George Mason University on Mar. 3, 2011; he talking about integrating Social Media Into your journalism.

Background: 

  • Graduated UVA in 1991
  • Was not a journalism major
  • Concentrated in high school sports at Washington post 2000-2007
  • Got into digital communication to keep a job

One of the biggest highlights of the lecture was when he talked about third party platforms. He asked, “Who is Mashall McLuhan?” He then showed the Annie Hall Youtube video. YOU SHOULD WATCH IT. The just of the video is a quote, “The medium is the message”- McLuhan 1964.

DeNunzio blasted back, “Its not the media, it’s the social.”

And of course, he gave a few websites that as online journalists we should all be aware of. They are:

Tags: Comm361 · social media · Student Blog Posts

Chapter 10: Managing News as a Conversation

March 7th, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 10: Managing News as a Conversation

Questions and challenges for the modern journalism:

Description: Social Networking Source: own wor...

Image via Wikipedia

  • How to maintain objectivity or credibility
  • Legal and ethical issues with publishing freedom for everyone
  • How to gather the audience

With social networking tools and blogs embedded on news sites, conversing the news is possible. One can converse through comments or social networking (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.). This can enable tremendous ways to communicate and collaborate with the audience, despite potential problems due to anonymity. The benefits to news as a conversation include:

  • Transparency
  • Immediate feedback
  • Spread of news through word-of-mouth marketing

The 1-10-100 rule for participatory online communities:

  • 1 percent of the user community — including the journalists on news sites — actually create content
  • 10 percent of the user community will “synthesize” the content by posting a comment, e-mail, blog post or a link from a separate site.
  • 100 percent of the user community will benefit from actions of the first two groups.

Some of successful Web sites that utilizes user-generated communities are Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube. User-generated communities do not cost money. However, it takes a great amount of time, energy and resources to build the sufficient community for the purpose. Major tasks for creating user-generated communities include:

  • Evangelizing the brand
  • Soliciting the content
  • Moderating comments, blogs and other user submissions
  • Solving user problems
  • Staffing booths at weekend events
  • Running contests to drive traffic

Some of ways to keep your user-generated communities clean and safe:

  • Don’t editorialize
  • Consider if public disclosure of someone close to you may become embarrassment to them.
  • Monitor offensive postings
  • Know your legal responsibilities
  • Correct errors
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Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · Student Blog Posts

Chapter 8: Telling Stories with Video

March 3rd, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 8: Telling Stories with Video

Thanks to the emergence of cheap video cameras and free video-editing softwares, video journalism has become easier than ever. Even without purchasing over $35,000 worth equipments that used to be requirements, anyone can produce high-quality videos and upload in Web. It has become  so easy that millions around the world frequently upload videos. In mid 2009, YouTube reported that 20 hours of videos were uploaded on their server every second.

MSNBC NYC HQ Studio

Image via Wikipedia

As a beginner in video journalism, what kind of mindset should we have?

Perfection is not necessary. Just do it and make as many mistakes as you can.

Of course, it is always better to produce the perfect video that we think of. However, quick and less polished videos tend to attract more viewers, because of it s natural atmosphere and intimacy it provides to the viewers. Even professional video journalists intently give imperfections in their videos, such as shakes or interruptions by others in the video, to emphasize certain aspects in the story.

The following video is a footage of the protest in Egypt, which also captured the reporter being attacked by protesters in the middle of turmoil:

Click here to view the embedded video.

As shown, the imperfect handling of camera and the sudden attack on the reporter well delivers the atmosphere of the scene.

Different approaches for different projects

  • You will never know what will happen while filming a breaking news video. Although you will often not have access to the closest to the scene, capturing witnesses and surroundings of the scene can also make a good video.
  • Breaking news stories can also be connected to the press conferences to help audience analyze the situation.
  • Compilation of highlights can shorten the length of the video with the most available information delivered to the audience
  • A documentary video gives you more freedom. However, it requires more planning and resources.

There are three kinds of shots — wide shots, medium shots and close-ups. It is better to mix your shots to give your video a variety. It is recommended to use “five-shot sequences,” which consists of five different consecutive shots to keep the audience focused on the video.

Stand-up is often necessary in reporting breaking news or covering major sporting event. The below are some tips for planning your video:

Bauer Bosch Video Kamera

Image via Wikipedia

  • Keep your content short, but always be ready to provide something little extra for the audience
  • Even when reporting breaking news, always write a script and warm up
  • Be stable in posture and breathe easily
  • Use some hand gestures to make yourself look easy on camera

Camera

  • High definition or standard definition
    • With abundant resources and technologically knowledgeable staffs, don’t be afraid to use HD
    • If your resources are limited with amateur staffs, it may be better to use standard definition
  • Media type
    • DVDs have many limitations, including slow writing speed
    • Solid state media, such as flash memory cards, have faster access time and more flexibility
  • Video-editing software
    • Make sure the video format captured by a camera is compatible with the editing software you will be using
    • Some programs do not work with DVDs or with new AVCHD format
  • Accessories
    • Tapes and batteries for longer running time
    • Microphones to capture more delicate sounds
    • Tripod when the video is to be captured in a stable setting
    • Headphones to make sure the audio is being recorded clearly
    • Lighting to be used in darker environment, or to change the tone of color of the scene

How do you shoot a video?

It’s simple. Follow these steps: Focus, zoom and adjust the exposure. Aim for solid clips rather than dramatic, spectacular clips. Be selective when to run your camera to save your runtime, and avoid panning and zooming in the middle of the video to prevent the audience from feeling dizzy watching your clips. Keep your voice silent to avoid putting unnecessary, or often unpleasant sound effects in your video, and follow the rule of thirds.

Rule of thirds: When framing your video, the most important subject in the frame should be aligned on one of four axis points in your imaginary nine-square grid within the frame.

Editing

  • Keep it short
  • Choose your own fitting editing software, ranging from free softwares such as Windows Movie Maker and iMovie, to professional, pricy softwares such as Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas, Corel VideoStudio, Cyberlink PowerDirector and Pinnacle Studio.
  • Publishing can be done via YouTube, Vimeo, Blip.tv and Metacafe.
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Tags: Comm361 · Student Blog Posts · video

MediaShift: How an Atlanta Ice Skater Made a Viral Video Go Worldwide

March 1st, 2011 · Comments Off on MediaShift: How an Atlanta Ice Skater Made a Viral Video Go Worldwide

You never know when just an act of fun can turn into a social media frenzy.

The article titled How an Atlanta Ice Skater Made a Viral Video Go Worldwide“, byTerri Thorton, is an amazing example of how an innocent video placed on a social media outlet can go a long way in the world.

The article talks about how the city of Atlanta, GA got hit with a few inches of snow that then got topped off with a sheet of ice back on Sunday January the 9th of this year. At about 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning videographer and web developer Brian Danin and his wife spotted a skater skating on Peachtree Street. While Danin didn’t have his normal equipment, he shot the footage of the skater with his Droid X smartphone.

It was one of those ironic moments, ” Danin said.

Danin then uploaded the video to YouTube. Andrew Nendel, the skater, had handed his pocket video recorder to a security guard and uploaded the result to Facebook, Vimeo and CNN iReport.

Neither Danin nor Nendel knew how popular this video was going to become. Not only did the video become widespread and an instant hit, but it also had an effect on the city of Atlanta’s snow removal system.

Click here to view the embedded video.

“The video became emblematic of the pressure on the city and the state to clear the roads and get things back to normal.”

I thought this was a really interesting article because it showed how the social media tool of YouTube was not only able to create an incredibly popular video and story, but also helped in fixing a problem with the city of Atlanta’s lack of proper snow removal measures.

Tags: Comm361 · Facebook · social media · Student Blog Posts

Chapter 5: Going Mobile

February 22nd, 2011 · Comments Off on Chapter 5: Going Mobile

In New York Times in 2009, John Markoff wrote “the four billion cellphones in use around the globe carry personal information, provide access to the Web and are being used more and more to navigate the real world.” The mobile technology already has evolved enough to create a whole new field in journalism: mobile reporting. Due to its flexibility and wide availability, mobile reporting fills the gap of coverage where professional journalists cannot fill in. Mobile technology is an essential tool for journalists, but it is also hard to adopt with its jet-fast evolution.

Mobile Journalism

  • Those who practice mobile journalism are often referred as “backpack journalist” or a “mojo” (mobile journalist).
  • Among one billion mobile phones sold in 2008, 100 percent offer text messaging, 92 percent have a Web browser, 90 percent have a color screen, and 71 percent can send and receive “picture messaging” and 63 percent have a camera.
  • Despite these capabilities, publishing is constrained by the major telecommunication companies.
  • Upcoming technologies should focus on publishing to mobile audiences to help mobile reporting evolve.

Making Mobile Journalism

Mobile phone evolution

Image via Wikipedia

Gadgets and services take up the most of what a journalist can do and cannot do. Depending on the needs, a journalist may equip with simple devices such as smartphones — Blackberry, iPhone, etc, or carry a variety of camera, tripod, audio recorder, microphone and a laptop.

The main point of mobile journalism is being available anytime, anywhere. Keep your luggage simple, and be ready to pull out your device whenever you need to.

◊ How to choose what to report

  1. Will the audience benefit if we can take them there?
  2. Will the journalism be better if it’s done with urgency?
  3. Can this event be effectively communicated with the given device?
  4. Will sound reporting or video footage, turned around quickly, help people understand the story?

◊ Some of stories that can be reported mobile:

  1. TrialsSpeechesBreaking news of all types — fires, shootings, natural disasters, wilderness rescues, plane crashes, and auto accidents
  2. Public gathering such as protests
  3. Sporting events
  4. Grand openings of shops or restaurants

As there are always many types of of anything, we also categorize mobile journalists with their equipments.

Gearhead: A mojo, characterized with heavy backpack or a shoulder bag with electronic cords sticking out, who reports all day, everday. This person always has, or wants as many as the most recent and advanced equipments available in the world. This type of mobile journalists will need

  1. Laptop
  2. Internet connection
  3. Camera
  4. Video camera
  5. Tripod
  6. Audio recorder
  7. Headphones
  8. Microphone
  9. Cell phone — or smartphone, rather

Light Packer: Traditional journalists who occasionally reports immediately from the field. This person has, or wants just good enough equipments. They usually bring a smartphone that has a camera that shoots videos and pictures and a full QWERTY keyboard.

Publishing Options

There are many ways to report using mobile devices from the field. One may use Twitter or Utterli.com for microblogging, laptop or more advanced apps on smartphones for live blogging, video streaming services such as Qik or YouTube for mobile video broadcasting, or combine altogether to accomplish mobile multimedia.

Mobile Crowdsourcing

Every news organization should be ready to accept photos and videos from mobile devices for breaking news. Some news organizations, such as CNN’s iReport, has already gathered a significant amount of crowds sourcing mobile multimedia feeds for their news.

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Tags: Comm361 · New York Times · Student Blog Posts