Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Entrepreneurship and Journalism: A Teachable Skill?

As it is on the horizon for many J-students out there (myself included), I set about trying to imagine what an interview might look like for someone interested in become a journalist. The basics, I imagine, haven’t changed much over time: Do you have a degree? Yes. Have you been published? Yes. There is an obligatory looking-over of the interviewee’s experience. And what else?

It is that what else that I believe is the new criteria for getting hired and becoming a journalist today. Something that transcends newspapers clips and internships. A new buzz words that is prevalent in the conversation about the changing journalism landscape but oddly absent from the J-classroom. And that what else is entrepreneurship.

Is entrepreneurship a teachable skill in a J-classroom? There are several universities that have attempted to make this future a present. CUNY and Berkley have new courses in entrepreneurial journalism. Also, Arizona State has a new Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship are some notable attempts to teach students to blaze their own trails to rise to the top of the competitive landscape.

Deborah Potter, in her web article, “Journalism Entrepreneurship” said “One other point about journalists as entrepreneurs: it’s not just about learning the business side or starting your own business. Entrepreneurship also means thinking independently and marketing your stories.”

Thinking and acting independently, encouraging students to make and market their own content (independent from their J-class work), and learning and understanding the media machine, encompasses the idea of entrepreneurship in budding journalists.

Acting independently isn’t something prevalent in the J-classroom, as has been my experience. The highly structured nature of the curriculum doesn’t leave room to explore the world beyond the syllabus. Encouraging students to observe their world and think about not just the story, but the structure of the story. How is this story most compelling? Is it a Soundslides? Should it be a data table or a graph? What is the audio I can collect?

Whether or not these questions are present in the J-classroom, the second step is where the classroom is failing the student. J-classes must encourage student to market their own word. Why is this piece new and creative? Where would there be a need for a piece like this?

Specialization of work and proper marketing can be the difference between a story that we turn in to our professors for a good grade and a story that gets the notice of an established webzine or newspaper. Professors must make this push; they must push students to think about how their work is distinct and whom to share their work with.

Ultra-Local Citizen Journalism

By Eric Pickhartz

With the struggles the newspaper industry has been facing, there’s no doubt the future of news is shifting into a completely different animal. Since consumers have a wealth of available information, and seemingly no barriers keeping them from finding it, there has been a movement of ultra-local news sites, devoted to one specific neighborhood or geographical area and the news that happens within it. Ultimately, it is citizen journalists who contribute the most to such sites, and now more than ever the consumers are becoming the producers in their own backyards.

Shovelware, one more task on the newsroom checklist

Photo courtesy of Tiziana Haug of The New York Times

By: Amber Genuske

For many traditional publications, the emergence of the web, a new platform to publish content on, has not inspired a fervor to create additional content, but another task to complete before the night in the newsroom is over. Despite having unlimited space, numerous possibilities for alternative story forms and world-wide access, publications are committing the ultimate web atrocity of what is known as shovelware.

Shovelware (link to a funny anecdote on shovelware by New York Times reporter William Safire) is the publishing of content online that is identical to the print version. Without development of stories for online — multimedia, longer story form, etc. — shoveling content online when the script is set at 2 a.m. to be printed, copying and pasting the stories and photos online and clicking the "publish" button becomes a chore instead of an opportunity.

One of the reasons this problems persists in traditional newsroom setting is the lack of a dedicated staff, or even the lack of knowledge of the staff, to multimedia and/or web. This leaves the stragglers at the end of the night, i.e. the copy editors or the managing editor, to publish the content (The Daily Texan is a prime example of this).

While websites like Innovation in College Media provide reasonable suggestions like "Post news as it happens," "Don’t rely on Twitter updates," Stagger deadlines," and "Make sure everyone (or almost everyone) in your newsroom knows how to post to your site," there is often a lack of emphasis on the creation of multimedia content and longer story form to avoid this problem.

Multimedia and developing longer story form for web-only content are the best ways to supplement a story online to eradicate the problem of shovelware and plain text on a page. Publications like The New York Times and the LA Times luckily have figured this out, while places like The Daily Texan are left in the dust and dirt of shovelware.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I'm sure I won't be the only one to touch on the Wikileaks controversy, but hopefully I can help provide some background, a summary of the various dominating schools of thought over it, and the role Wikileaks plays in 21st century online journalism.

For those unfamiliar with the site, Wikileaks is a nonprofit organization that publishes documents and other materials that would otherwise be inaccessible to the public at large. Founded in 2007, the site quickly garnered several new media awards from prestigious organizations such as The Economist and Amnesty International.

Most recently, Wikileaks is making headlines after releasing a quarter-million classified diplomatic cables to major news outlets such as The New York Times and The Guardian. Major revelations in the documents include evidence the U.S. State Department spied on the Secretary General of the United Nations, Saudi Arabia urged the U.S. to invade Iran and serious corruption within the Afghanistan government.

Reaction to the leaks has been mixed. Some praise Wikileaks for its contribution to transparency, with noted media critic Jeff Jarvis blogging "The only solution to leaks is then not more secrecy but more transparency," while others have criticized the leaks, claiming they put Americans in danger and some information is better left secret.

What does this mean for online news?
Obviously it is impossible to say for sure because leaks continue to be reported and the entire episode is ongoing. That said, I would argue Wikileaks impacts online journalism by elevating the importance of crowdsourcing and collaboration and, on a broader scale, reintroducing Americans to hard news.

Wikileaks operates by releasing thousands upon thousands of documents, and then asking others to sift through them for the important information. If this method of reporting is to become the norm, then crowdsourcing will subsequently grow in value.

In a broader sense, I believe Americans are suffering from the shock of substantial, hard news. The average news consumer has been lulled by the atrophy of journalism as cable and a lot of online news consists of horse-race stories of little consequence to the reader. Now that readers are confronted with serious news with serious implications, they are scared and don't know how to react.

Obviously I am generalizing, but I think there is some truth to the claim that much of the outrage over the leaks comes from a consumer base being unsure how to react to hard, consequential news because it is so rare.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Site-Less Internet

In this post, I will ask you to recall the internet 10 or 15 years ago. Back to the mid to late 90s era internet. Everything was pushed at you. Websites existed and they were self-sufficient. The website was the be all and end all. Today, the concept of actual webpages is being changed into something wholly different from what it was a decade ago. We are entering into the era of the “site-less internet” where people pull in whatever news and other content they desire

This idea was talked about in WIRED's article from August, titled The Web Is Dead. That article talks about the web on the whole transforming from simply the browser-centric web to the new internet landscape. I will focus in on news and content in the post.

The evidence of the new "site-less" internet is present everywhere. In commercials and news broadcasts, it is as common to see a plug for a companies’ Facebook page rather than a static company page. CNN's facebook page has nearly 1.5 million fans.

The flow of information and news in this new landscape is different. Information is made on one platform and is trickled down to others and flow through the internet via RSS readers, link aggregation sites, twitter and others. This trickle down of news creates what Professor Alves termed as the new journalistic ecosystem. There become many new ways for content to be monetized. I attended Les Moonves's speech at UT. He elaborated saying that now content is on multiple streams and this provides multiple sources of revenue.

Of course, some sites exist as stand-alone behemoths, but I believe to be a successful content creator or organization making content available, easily transferable and open is vital. Having a Facebook fan page or twitter with followers allows companies to “manage” their followers or fans and communicate with their fans on the fan’s own terms with a system that they trust and are comfortable with.

I googled site-less internet and found just a few other people that recognized and commented on this phenomena. This change will not be realized over night, but one day we will look around and see that what we first imagined the internet to be will have changed.

For journalists, this means that our content could be seen by many more people, but on the other hand attribution and revenue could change. In the end, the main concept is change. The internet will be changing and journalists must continue producing content worth reading to stay relevant.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Are long-form multimedia stories newsworthy?

By Reshma Kirpalani

A debate exists as to the newsworthiness of many long-form multimedia stories. for example, The New York Times series, One in 8 Million, received an Emmy Award in the "new approaches to news and documentary programming" category this year. The series is a collection of stories told via audio and visuals that portray every day New Yorkers.

The series has not only received acclaim amongst critics, but casual bloggers - a forum for the everyday man - have also praised the site. For example, Wordpress blogger Adam Westbrook says on his site, "It’s not so much the content of each story I like (in fact, I’ve only watched a couple), but the way all the stories collectively create this living breathing tapestry of modern New York. And I love the presentation: a slick fluid carousel running along the bottom of the screen. Choosing a story is like picking a delicious sushi from the conveyor belt."

But are these delicious stories news?

In the New York Times Lens blog, James Estrin interviewed three of the series' producers: staff photographer Todd Heisler, the senior multimedia producer Sarah Kramer, and Deputy Photo Editor Meaghan Looram. Estrin asked each if they thought the series was considered "news," even though the the category they won was called, "new approaches to news and documentary programming."

Heisler responded that the One in 8 Million series is not news.

"That's the point... It's not beholden to any event or anything that's in the news. It's timeless."

Deputy Photo Editor Meaghan Looram offered, "Whether or not there is breaking news element, these are the lives lived in the city. And in that way, it's documenting what is happening here."

This begs the question, if series like One in 8 Million are not news, then what are they?

The seamless collection of stories is certainly relevant - with 3,535 likes on Facebook. Perhaps Looram defined the series when she included the word "document." Or Heisler did when he used the word, "timeless."

Regardless, this series proves that long-form multimedia stories do not have to be newsworthy to be relevant and even, celebrated.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Link-Related Practices in Sports Journalism

By Colin Reynolds

So here is a pretty interesting article from the National Sports Journalism Center about the evolution of journalism from print and television to the online medium. Incorporating links into online news delivery has become essential for nearly every news organization and second-nature to the users experience. So much so that I hardly notice that I'm utilizing links are including them in something that I write, although I always do. But I never hhave actually considered corporate policies on links and whether they are allowed minimum and maximum link additions for their reporters. It wasn't until John Burnett from NPR came to talk to our class that I realized that this was a reality in the newsroom (it was either Burnett or Larry Rohter from The New York Times, I actually don't recall which one).

Anyway, this article lays out a set of commandments (and suggestions) for how to use hyperlinks in a news story. The article focuses specifically on sports journalists and how this reporters should use links but the rules obviously transcend sports and are relevant to all reporters. Here's a quick recap of 5 rules outlined:

1. "A link is not an endorsement" - I think this is pretty self-explanatory but it does make sense to note that a link does not equal an stamp of support or even agreeance. Therefore reporters should not worry about linking to a counter argument to their point. Readers are sophisticated enough to tell the difference.
2. "Never surprise a reader with a link" - Keep the reader in mind when including a link. Let them know what they are getting and don't trap a user in browser windows. Also, if content is possibly offensive, warn the reader first.
3. "Linking increasingly obliges you to be a gateway" - This keeps a reporter connected to his/her readers without feeling obligated to cover every story or gossip that ends up on the web. Becoming a gateway to other information, a reporter can maintain a level of standards and ethics while remaining in touch and on top of what's happening.
4. "Reader assumptions are bad for you" - Readers assume that journalistic ethics or a code of standards to be laziness on the reporter's end. Don't assume that the readers view your standards the same way you do. Readers like gossip and there is no other gossip hotspot like the internet.
5. "Therefore, explain yourself" - Be more transparent in your reporting and tell the readers your intentions and reasoning behind certain decisions. If a story or rumor has become popular and watercooler fodder, link to it and explain why you (or your newsroom) aren't covering it. This will hopefully help develop trust with your readers.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"How to be a Citizen Journalist"

By: Colin Reynolds

So I stumbled upon this video while doing research on user-generated content and citizen journalism and it's definitely not great but the quality is pretty good. And although I don't find it particularly funny (its rather lame attempts at 195os sexism and gender inequality are futile at best) but it does make light of what is perceived to be the biggest shortcomings of citizen journalism. I do think it effectively brings to question the flaws of citizen journalism and does so in a mildly humorous way.

For one, the video brings up the idea that anyone can be considered a journalist with little or no training and no association of any sorts. In fact, one could even "report" on an event or issue completely anonymously. But is this journalism? Some would argue that, despite various beneficial aspects of user-generated content, it is not in fact actual journalism. As Kelly McBride of Poynter Online suggests, "The journalists' loyalties are with the reader and viewer. You might question the independence and loyalty of various news organizations, or even all news organizations. But at least, in theory, you expect those values to guide the process of gathering news."

Although I feel like citizen journalism (a term I use solely because it has become the common idiom) has its advantageous, this aspect of trustworthiness and relevance is difficult to overcome. I think the video does a decent job highlighting these problems and the issues involved with UGC. For more on the advantages and disadvantages of "citizen journalim," check out this article from the Online Journalism Review.

Journalism and the Drug Cartels

With the drug war raging on between the drug cartels in Mexico, it has become increasingly difficult for the Mexican journalists to cover the stories that are related to the drug violence. They fear retribution on themselves and their families or they get paid off by these drug cartels and become corrupt.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has a great website dedicated to showing how many of these journalists have been killed, directly or indirectly, because of their coverage of the drug cartels. They have worldwide statistics, but this interactive map showing these deaths in Mexico shows just how dangerous it is.

Between the corruption and the deaths, it has become nearly impossible to find a news source that will show just exactly what is going on. A recent report by ProPublica tells how these newspapers in Mexico are failing at their jobs. Attempts by the mainstream media to cover the drug war in Mexico has been silenced.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Social media trends around the world

The rise of social media around the world has been rapidly increasing due to the ubiquitous social network options that have sprung up in recent years. Being the starting point for most of the more prominent social networks, the United States leads the way in social media usage and number of individuals by a wide margin. However, social networks are on the rise in many international communities as networks spread to many foreign countries, and as these countries establish their own networks. According to a recent article, the U.S. surpasses the next largest internet-using country, Japan, by about 100 million social media users.

Certain networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace have the majority of their audience stateside as they are all American products. But the penetration of these networks in some foreign markets has been not as complete due to many of these countries fashioning their own social networks that have become popular exclusively among their own residents. In some cases, a social network that was started in order to have universal appeal would only find an audience in a particular region.

One prime example of this is the social network that was started by Google named Orkut. Originally based in The United States, the network failed to find a wide audience in this country. However, it spread internationally and soon became the top social network in Brazil. In addition to Brazil, Orkut has also become one of the top social networks in India, making it one of the most widely used social networks outside of the U.S.

In Japan, which is officially directly behind the U.S. in overall social media usage, a social network known as Mixi has become the most popular site by a large margin. However, if claims by China are to be interpreted as accurate, their country could in fact be the nation with the most social network use as their largest network, Qzone, has an estimated 380 million users.

A more expansive breakdown of which countries are using which networks can be found here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Social Media Event planning

Social media for events

Anyone involved in a campus organization, or remotely knows anybody involved in a campus organization, is frequently faced with a barrage of Facebook invitations to various events the group is hosting. I remember the first specific organization event I was invited to, it was a University Democrats meeting the spring of my freshman year. The volunteer coordinator decided to make an event for Dr. Jensen speaking at the meeting, and the meeting was subsequently packed. From then on, every University Democrats meeting had a Facebook event, but diminishing returns took its toll and the impact now is virtually nil, because they are using social media completely wrong when preparing for an event.

Mashable suggests 5 ways to utilize social media for an event: help attendees connect with each other, broaden participation, encourage attendees to share information, provide recreation, and put it all together.

The most important suggestions for students to take away from the list are broaden participation and encourage attendees to share information. Broadening participation simply means allowing those who aren't at the event to enjoy some of its experiences. Not all, but most, student events are extremely behind in this sense. There is no reason why every event isn't live tweeted, or even broadcast online.

Secondly is sharing information. While this concept is obvious to multimedia students, to others, it is less clear. For a social network event to be successful the creators of the event need to solicit conversation and information sharing from members attending the event. This performs two functions. 1) It gives members more of a stake in attending the event, because they have already put time and effort into planning it, and 2) It shows everybody that lots of people are attending and excited about the event, and the more people that people perceive will attend an event the greater the hype is and more people will attend.

Mashable also has advice for using social media to enhance events. The most valuable advice they give is to "engage attendees in conversation before, during and after the event. It’s an innovative approach that integrates social media throughout the entire process."

This is the concept lost on most college students. While they are excellent and expeditious at using social media to inform about events, they tend to be seriously disabled when it comes to using it before and after. Some tips are having the event organizer actively engage in conversations leading up to the event, livetweeting throughout the event, and then reaching out to attendees for advice about improving the event afterward.

Take this Facebook event for a speaker on campus. I know all the important details based on it, but there is no presence on the wall and I haven't received any messages or solicitations. Subsequently, I know about the event, but am not anticipating it at all and don't plan to attend.

To wrap up, social media can do wonders for events, but when using it for event planning then make sure to engage the audience, encourage attendees to engage each other, and make it an organic and continuous process.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Non-for-profit news organizations and the Investigative News Network

Investigative journalists are able to do their true job now on a greater scale because of the Internet and the database resources online reporting initiatives make available. It is no longer based on local reporters uncovering scandal in their own communities because the Internet allows for reporters around the country, or even around the world, to collaborate on a certain subject and as a result prompt significant change.

Based on classroom discussions in the last two years I have had while at UT along with articles on the Internet, there seems to be two debates going on about whether the Internet has been a positive or negative thing for journalism. There is the side that says the Internet has killed the traditional news organization and is the reason why there is not enough money to hire more employees. Then there is the discussion that the Internet has been bad for investigative journalism because now it is hard for readers to distinguish between what is an investigative report and what is simply someone’s blog. Despite what some may believe, investigative journalism initiatives have improved the level of credibility online reports hold through exclusive databases that the average citizen would not have access to. The Investigative News Network has become iconic in the non-for-profit news organization sector and has had major success since its initial launch in 2008.

There is a wider range of stories being told now because of these online initiatives and has become an outlet for a wider variety of content to reach a wider variety of consumers. These online initiatives for investigative journalism have created a sphere where more citizens are functioning as “watch dogs” in society because the profession is no longer condensed to the limited job availability the news room allows for, which is also important because now there is a wider range of stories that can be covered that a traditional news organization would not be able to handle.

Investigative News Network CEO Kevin Davis discusses the importance of this concept and believes online investigative reporting initiatives will foster and create more comprehensive community tools through a lot of “organic” and “natural” collaboration. Davis is referring to the new “Members Only” section of the new INN website, which became available this month.

“We will now have toolsets that enable people to share best practices, nurture ideas, and when those ideas actually come to fruition – when there’s a solid story, we’ll have systems by which those stories can be offered up to get other members in the network involved.”

Davis continues to explain that with this kind of a system, we are going to see increasing collaboration with external for-profit partners, who are keenly interested in INN’s content and getting it out there.

MediaStorm Continued: Controversial & Consequential

By Reshma Kirpalani

One of the principal elements that enhance MediaStorm's photo reportage is the use of audio. In fact, founder Brian Storm says that he always tries to encourage photojournalists to start by using audio only. “The biggest challenge is, as a photojournalist, we’re taught to be a fly on the wall…But at some point along that arc of reporting, a photojournalist needs to break that wall and say, “I know I’ve told you that I’m not here…but I really want to sit down and ask you some very specific questions. And that’s a different kind of journalistic experience than I think photojournalists are used to having.” (Nieman Reports 2010)

Among the benefits of audio, Storm includes giving the subject a voice, augmenting communication via the visceral qualities of a first-person interview or even, music, and providing a narrative spine for the story. (The Digital Journalist 2005)

But others in the news industry argue that the use of music in the field of journalism is not always appropriate. "The problem is not that music doesn't work, it's that it works too well," said Al Tompkins, Poynter's broadcast and online group leader. (Poynter Online 2009) In other words, music can amp up the emotionality of a piece, or otherwise disguise technical or narrative flaws. Others argue that it can hurt a journalist’s credibility.

Geolocation, Media & Journalism

By Bill Bowman

In a decade, it is probable that everybody will know where everybody is. Geolocation is making this possible.

Currently, people can voluntarily share their location with others via Gowalla, Fourquare, facebook and other GPS-based social platforms. It amounts to a game of sorts. Friends check in around the city and earn titles and badges to show their adventurousness. Of course, behind the fa├žade of play there is a tangible advertising, marketing and journalistic aspect to this game that can be tapped into.

Both news and marketing companies can know where you go and how to market to you and potentially have a new avenue to sources and information.

Looking to the future, Geolocation technologies could bring about a number of things. In Minority Report and other Sci-Fi movies people where tracked via their retinas. The cell phone will replace the retina in these dystrophic futures. Here are a few possible consquences of Geolocation for media and journalism.

  • Tailoring billboards and physical signs to the desires of those who frequent that area.
  • Journalists will be able to track the movement of people to spot trends.
  • Law Enforcement will be able to know where people are and use that to pinpoint people during crimes.
  • Google Goggles times a thousand. The augmented reality seen in Google Goggles and other graphic overlays of cell phone cameras will become more and more sophisticated. Simply looking at an object will reveal details about. In the near future, pointing the camera to a face could bring up a facebook profile or Google search of that person.
  • Pop up news based on location. If a person is near a breaking news event, a notification could be sent to their phone.
  • On the other side. If an event happens, journalists could potentially have a list of people in a certain area who opt into a hypothetical program, like iReport. They could report for a news outlet.
All the previous bullets are extrapolations on current technology. Some seem far-fetched, but who would have though that a website like facebook would exist, attracting 500 million people, a decade ago.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting Started with Data: Google Fusion Tables

By Ryan Murphy

With data oriented reporting on the rise, journalists are naturally looking for ways to jump in. However, many quickly realize that it is not just a clean cut process, even less so than stepping into the world of video. Whereas now it is as simple as creating a YouTube account to get your footage online and viewable by the world, creating data interactives still require a certain level of expertise (both with coding and data management) and, even more difficult, somewhere to host it.

Much like how Google's YouTube became the standard for video online, Google is trying to do the same in the field of online database management with Google Fusion Tables. Fusion Tables, recently released as a beta (in classic Google form), is a "modern data management and publishing web application that makes it easy to host, manage, collaborate on, visualize, and publish data tables online."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twitter Use for Journalists

By: Luther Xue

As social media continues to evolve and become a larger part of our lives, it has become increasingly important for journalists to learn how to use these different mediums in order to make themselves a better reporter. One of these sites that is becoming an integral part of a journalists' repertoire is Twitter. So how exactly can a journalist use Twitter to their advantage?

One of the biggest advantages of Twitter is that it is a huge crowd-sourcing tool. Ask your followers any question you want and then sit back as the answers come flowing in. For example Jason DeRusha (@derushaj), a TV reporter in Minnesota, uses his Twitter account to ask about what kind of stories his viewers want to see covered. He used it to great effect for a Christmas story when he asked his viewers if they knew anyone that had allergies towards Christmas trees. One of his viewers replied that her allergies were so bad, she had to wear a full body suit in order to put her tree up. This kind of stuff wouldn't have happened if DeRusha did not have a tool like Twitter.

The Personal Brand & Journalism

By Bill Bowman

The newspapers and large media outlets are no longer the sole beacon of information and content in the world. Individuals are broadcasting their own news and opinions on their own terms. They are doing this for self-promotion and control. This trend has some interesting consequences for the producers and consumers of news in addition to the companies that make their living off of news.

The first and most widely known example of this trend was Drudge Report. One man, Matt Drudge scooped and aggregated news from all over the world, or at least all over the internet. The Huffington Post was the next iteration of personal journalism, except with more collaboration. It has since grown in traffic to exceed Drudge.

On a smaller level, having your own brand can lead to better job opportunities and control of your future. In the current environment, those without an online presence are lost in the sea.

Looking to concrete examples of using the personal brand to find jobs, there are a myriad of case studies out there. An interesting one that I learned about in another class was a person who deftly used internet advertising and a website to get a job. Alec Browstein did just that. He used Google AdWords and a respectable personal brand to land a prestigious advertising job.

Twitter in conjunction with blogs have made this particularly effective and relativity easy. Using just the speakers in this class and the faculty is a great example. Professor Alves has over 5,000 followers. This built-in audience is a soap box that can be stood on to promote activities or spread news. Accordingly, the power and leverage of the massive is diminished.

Maintaining the Human in a Digital World

By: Amber Genuske

Mark Briggs’ book “Journalism Next” he discusses the facets of online journalism in the first chapter entitled, “Journalism Is About People, Not Technology.” What Briggs says in this chapter is to maintain the human aspect in stories despite the conversion of story form. The easy part is learning the new mediums in which to tell the story — the challenge is to create stellar content to hold the attention of the reader (and, now, listener and observer).

Multimedia journalists, mainly in life and arts sections, need to view the videos, audio and photography just as they would a story. What will catch the attention of the consumer? What will hold their attention? What is the best way to tell the story? Outside of quick and hard news snippets, I think all of these questions can be answered by having an artistic eye. There is a line that needs to be pushed while maintaining a balance between creativity and journalism.

One of the best examples of this balance is Masie Crow's profile of an elderly gentleman's plight with the solitude of old age, "A Life Alone." Crow's eye for the small things that tell a story is magnificent, and something that every multimedia journalist should aspire to. She uses brief shots of a crack in the wall, a stack of old hand-written letters and a tattered flag blowing in the wind to illustrate the stark emotions of her subject. Shot entirely in black and white and without music, this is a raw and beautiful story. subject. Shot entirely in black and white and without music, this is a raw and beautiful story.

"Last Minutes With Oden" follows the owner of a dog as he goes through the struggle of euthanizing his doThis story is considered a documentary and does incorporate music, both of which are debated if they can be considered journalism. However, this is another example of how to mix an artistic eye with storytelling. The videographer uses alternative shots like riding next to the subject on his bike and artistic touches like blurring of the scene to tell the story.

Note: The following video contains graphic content of a dog being euthanized so do not watch if you are sensitive to such imagery.

Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.

Though both of these stories are tragic, they have what Briggs says is the challenge — they have the human aspect, artistic visions and editing and a strong story, the basis of journalism.

Social media usage among employees

For the past several years, many major businesses and corporations have been implementing vetting procedures for new employees using social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. The information gleaned from these networks can provide invaluable information as to the competency and professionalism of many potential employees. The photo tagging and status updates of these networks can help employers find out the daily habits and various nocturnal activities of new recruits that many of them may wish to keep hidden. Many have raised objections to these practices citing invasion of privacy of the employees, yet despite these objections, there is usually no way to prove that a company has violated any laws. And despite the looming threat of termination or denial of employment, many young professionals still neglect to curb any potentially embarrassing behaviors.

Many businesses that utilize these social media networks have valid concerns about their name being sullied by the individuals they employ. There is a great deal of give-and-take in the rights of individuals to express themselves on online, and for corporations to maintain proper decorum and to protect their reputations. For the employee, a recent tool has been created to help manage the content that potential employers see when they begin researching new employees. Reputation Defender is a site that helps potential employees find everything about themselves that exists on the web in an effort to clean it up for anyone that might be researching.

In a recent article in the New York Times, a tool was discussed that acts almost as the inverse of Reputation Defender. Nextpoint helps companies find everything that has been discussed or mentioned on social media, whether it be positive or negative, about one of their products, an upcoming marketing push, or the company itself. The point of Nextpoint is to archive the data in a way that will help them manage what is said about their company or product on the various social media services.

Although the legality and privacy concerns that these kinds of tools create is still being debated, companies will continue to monitor the actions of their employees if they have concern for the image they represent. Many businesses are now offering seminars or employee training on how to avoid the pitfalls of embarrassing social media practices that could lead to termination.

A more in-depth explanation of what both employers and employees are allowed to do in regard to their social media activity can be found here and here.

Twitter & Sports Journalism

By Eric Pickhartz

Microblogging through Twitter has begun to dominate a certain genre of journalism, one that is using Twitter unlike any other genre. Sports journalists have been able to establish identities, connect with audiences, and surpass their less-connected counterparts in exposure, popularity, and attention.

MediaStorm: Reinventing Photojounalism

By Reshma Kirpalani

As a former multimedia employee at MSNBC.com and Corbis, Brian Storm formed his own multimedia production company in 2005 to prove that a business could be built around online cinematic narratives: Mediastorm.

Over the past five years, his company has produced twenty-seven online documentaries. Storm won't disclose his online traffic, but he says that a twenty-one minute video story following an illegal immigrant from Cameroon, for example, has a 65 percent completion rate. Moreover, according to Storm, the average time on his site was eleven and a half minutes before a current redesign that seeks to increase viewer time on site. (Drew 2010, September/October)

Online Journalism & the Texas-Mexico Border Violence

As violence along the United States and Mexican border escalates exponentially, the analysis of both the causes and the aftermath becomes imperative. How the media conveys this information directly affects the public’s understanding of the situation along the border.

To make informed decisions about the world around them, citizens of both countries must be able to obtain accurate and contextually appropriate news stories on the issue. Drug cartels, angered by media coverage, sometimes brutally attack print newspaper sites and the reporters who write the stories.

Online journalism, in theory, provides an open forum for these same, censored journalists to speak out against their oppressors.

Nonprofit journalism is the industry's solution

As the end of the golden age of print journalism draws near, the success of not-for-profit online publications that have recently proliferated offers some relief to the industry. Perhaps this is the direction journalism is heading in: one where the organization is funded largely or entirely by donations and private and public funding, all of which are independent of advertisement. This model of would make the media privately owned, and no longer slave to Wall Street. Nonprofits have long played an important role in media, with several influential publications like NPR, Union Leader, and older time Associated Press are already proving the possible success of this model. A common concern regarding the privatization of media is the question of, who will now control the news agenda?

Monday, November 15, 2010

CNN's iReport and User-Generated Content

The evolution of online media has dramatically changed the ways in which traditional news outlets produce and transmit information. Although advancements in technology have allowed for more creative and innovative ways to communicate, some developments have threatened the way conventional journalism is practiced. This perceived threat can be viewed as the harmful, systematic downfall of the profession or as its consequent progression brought on by changing times and expanded technology. Regardless of one's stance in this debate, it is inarguable that media content has shifted due to the new mediums made available by advancements in technology.

Candidates, Public Servants and governments using social media

Throughout the 2010 midterm election, candidates used social media to inexpensively advertise as well as to solicit volunteers. Campaigns operating on a tight budget must find innovative ways to reach potential voters. Social media is a cheap means for campaigns to can reach very specific demographics at very little cost.

Being Effective In The "Micro-Age"

First, I will explain what I mean by "Micro Age"? I am talking about the proliferation of bite-size nuggets of information that lead to massive amounts of information. I believe that in the future this trend will be accelerated with the increased usage of personal RSS readers, news feeds, streams and other platforms where concise pieces of information are present.