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Sunday, November 16, 2008

By Austin Bates

I was interested recently by a blog post at Lost Remote dealing with comment sections on website articles, especially concerning television and newspaper related websites. For the most part, I agree with the what the author, Don Day, says about comments. Ironically, though, the bulk of the conversation and discussion about comments on websites occurs in the comment section of the blog post.

I have to say that my experience with what I've seen and done in comment related sections is very similiar to what was talked about in Day's blog. Comments for an article or topic tend to vary between being intelligently written and with well made points, to being pointless, mindlessly agressive attacks on other people. The worst situation is when such debates begin well-intentioned enough, and then just devolve into flame wars.

It seems that the content of such comments sections largely depend on the demographic likely to consume the article that goes with the comments section. Obviously, if the article concerns something to do with the younger generations, you can expect it to be filled mostly with uneducated hate speech and flame attacks. With articles that are more geared to older generations, they tend to be considerably more controlled and intelligent. Typically, as well, it seems, the larger the audience to which a particular website appeals to, the more likely they are to receive a lot of negative, pointless comments.

But what about the usefulness of such sections, as Day and the commentators below his post ask? I have to say I agree with some of the commentators on this: while comment sections can become wildly off-topic and inappropriate, they ultimately serve as important public forums. Those with the paper might pick up leads and inside information into other stories or future stories through comments posted about an online article. But if nothing else, comment sections can serve as they were intended to serve: as a means of feedback for how well the story was received, and thus, as a means of improvement for the article.

In the end, I believe that online articles would be fine with or without comment sections, though such sections add a level of interactivity and contribution that readers of hard copies might not otherwise have. Ultimately, it might be better for any online article to have comment sections, whether they are used or not, in order to ensure that that option is open to readers.


Sacrifice from change

By: Katie Anthony

Almost directly following my last blog (in which I so nicely told people to suck it up and deal with the changes), I got a call from home.

My dad, who is an electrical engineer, has been in Germany since Monday for work. This isn't unusual however because he's normally out of the country once every three or four months (if not more).

On top of his travels, he also has daily conferences with France and Germany to keep in touch with the prototypes and adaptations going on overseas.

Well, the phone call entailed my dad telling me that he won't be traveling nearly as much anymore. Why? Because the Germans decided they didn't "need or want to see him."

Rude? Kind of. But I was intrigued, so I asked him to explain it to me. All of the companies he's working with (there are too many to list) have come to the conclusion that they can get all of the "attention and motivation" they need/want through their daily video conferences.

While I realize that it's communication in general, I saw this change as a sort of representation for the changing media.

People are going to conclude (most likely), that they don't "need or what to read newspapers anymore," because they can get all of their information from the internet or from the television.

I also took time to just sit down and reflect over these changes. I think that sometimes, we get so focused on the media changes (granted, that's what we're blogging over), that we forget that everything is changing-not just the media.


The blame game

By: Katie Anthony

It seems that every day we're reminded of the constant dwindling numbers of newspaper circulation.

So, needless to say, when I read the title, "The Latest Death-of-Journalism Spat, Condensed for Easy Reading!" it caught my attention.

Craig Stoltz, summarized the futile blame game that took place between Jeff Jarvis and Ron Rosenbaum.

What were they fighting about?

The fought about who they can point the finger at as to why print journalism (newspapers specifically) is dwindling down to (eventually) nothing.

Yes, we all know that the media industry is changing. And yes, we all see newspaper numbers slimming down.

However, what is blaming someone or something going to do to make anything better? The answer? It won't do anything.

C'mon guys, there's no use crying over spilled milk. I'm sure you could find more productive things to argue about.

Not to even mention the things they could be doing with their time (writing new stories, brainstorming new ideas) instead of bickering about something that they can't do anything about.

So, suck it up and deal with the changes, or find a new job. Sadly enough, that is the reality.


Deer in the headlights

By: Kayla Miller

It's that time again. The deer are out and causing accidents.

I was reading an article today on how deer are a growing hazard on the roads. Many citizens of the state of Iowa must deal with this dangerous event every day when they travel to work. Over the past years car accidents that involve deer have risen 12 percent in Iowa.

I can most definitely believe this statistic is true. I traveled from Des Moines and back today and saw a total of three deer on the side of the road, more than I have ever seen before.

Something needs to be done about it. Hunting can reduce deer accidents. Deer crossing signs can be set up. Another precaution that can be implimented is to teach young drivers about the danger that deer cause, and how to avoid deer when driving. It seems that this delima can be cured if we take the proper steps.

This article hits home, considering what I had already seen today around the area, and it also helps drivers be cautious that it is that time of the year again. The time of deer in the headlights.


Comments anyone?

By: Sarah Harl

A recent blog by Don Day wonders if some components of new age journalism fail to serve the intended purpose.

Day's blog asserts that the comments section, where readers can post comments on the reported stories, at the least serve no purpose, and as the worst, bring out the worst in readers.

Many comments sections do fuel name calling and bitter back and forths between individuals with too much time on their hands.

But what the comment section does do is prompt people to talk about what is happening in their world. And for every person that abuses the comment section, there are those one or two people who can add meaningful insight to discussion.

It's through these discussions, ignorant and insightful that new ideas are formed and narrow-minded attitudes change.

Will everyone benefit from the comments section of stories? Absolutely not. Is it more often than not a forum for petty bickering? Certainly.

But for the people that will benefit from this interactive component of journalism, it is well worth it.


McCain's debut

By; Sarah Keller

Have you been wondering how the republican presidential candidate has been doing since we last heard from him Tuesday Nov. 4, the night that he gave his speech telling America that they should come together to support Obama? If you have been wondering, John McCain made an appearance on the “Tonight show” with Jay Leno last Tuesday night, to talk about his feelings and how he does not believe Sarah Palin hurt his bid.

For a big part of last week, the papers talked a lot about the interview McCain had with Leno, talking about everything McCain said. McCain told Leno that despite popular belief he did not believe that Sarah Palin ruined his chances of becoming the next president; “I'm so proud of her and I'm very grateful she agreed to run with me,” McCain said. “I couldn't be happier with Sarah Palin.” He also joked around and told Leno; “I've been sleeping like a baby," about the aftermath of the Election. "Sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours, wake up and cry." I found that statement pretty funny, listening to McCain say that statement showed his sense of humor, and I enjoyed it.

I think that it was important that the interview was reported. It helps America to know that McCain is ok, that he is able to move past his loss, and support Obama. He is even able to joke around about his loss, which shows a lot of character.


Interviewing skills

By: Sarah Keller

If you are anything like me, there is probably a good chance that you are scared of having an interview for a job. As a college student thinking toward my future I am sure that I will have to go through a lot a job interviews in my lifetime. I am a little worried about blowing a big interview, about not knowing what the employers are really trying to ask me, or how to answer their questions correctly.

When I came across an article on AOL news about 10 interview questions decoded, I was very happy. I read the article by Selena Dehne, and I was very pleased with what she had to say. She broke her article down to make sense. She told the readers what they needed to do on interviews, giving very helpful tips on how to answer questions the correct way that a potential employer would be looking for.

I am very glad I took the time to read the article. It was useful information that will come in handy in my future. It is something I would suggest other college students, or job seekers in general to take a look at. People really might find something of key importance from Dehne’s helpful tips to help them out.


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