It's About Using Mediums

Monday, January 31, 2011

At some point in time we have all used social media. Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter just to name a few. These mediums have different uses. Facebook is about keeping in contact with people you know, MySpace allows musicians to upload music to gain fans, and Twiiter is for celebrities to say where they are going for dinner. Not necessarily. In his blog Robert Hernandez discusses that it isn't about the social medium being used but rather about the way in which it is used. When I found out I had to open a Twitter account for my Beginning Newswriting and Reporting class I wasn't thrilled. To me Twitter was one of the dumbest mediums people could use. I don't care where someone is, what they are doing, and who they are doing it with. It seems to me Twitter gets a bad rap thanks to all the celebrities out there talking about shallow nonsense. In the past month that I have been using Twitter I've found it is actually a pretty cool medium. No I don't Tweet that my friend and I went to Maurices but about the goings on in the world of journalism. Sometimes I also Tweet about what's going on in the world. While I was looking for stories to Tweet about I found articles about flooding in parts of Brazil. Had it not been for Twitter, and my classwork, I would most likely have never found out about the situation there. After posting I gained a follower. What I'm saying is keep an open mind about new mediums, you never know what you can learn from it.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress


Speak and Tweet in Egypt

President Hosni Mubarak has had his hands full in Egypt since last Tuesday. Citizens have been outraged and want to kick Mubarak out of power. Many Egyptian protesters are upset about not receiving many things from the government, including their freedom and internet.

Last week, the Egyptian government put a blackout on all internet usage. Government officials felt like this would be a beneficial way to block the outside world from seeing what's going on and from protesters organizing groups via Internet. With the websites blocked, journalists were in a world of hurt, as they were unable to communicate, surf, or report through Google, Facebook, Twitter, or BlackBerry Services.

However, Google and SayNow have provided hope for many reporters to share news once again. They developed a way for people currently in the Egypt area to tweet via phone on Speak-To-Tweet. Users have been given the option of three numbers to leave a voice mail to, which will be turned into a tweet under the hashtag of #Egypt or #speak2tweet.

Imagine being an Egyptian writer unable to report some of the biggest protests in your country. Journalists want to recreate stories so viewers can connect to current events. Many reporters in Egypt currently feel relieved to be provided with a way to do their job.

As journalists, this is a good time for Egyptian reporters to practice reporting news by observation instead of relying on the internet for news. Egyptian queen Cleopatra once said, "I will not be triumphed over." Many reporters should take this advice and realize there is always a way to get the job done and report globally what is going on.

Photo Credit: Nima Maleki


Throwback Technology in Times of Need

As most of you have heard that Egypt has practically been shut down from technology. Protestors are running amok in Cairo freeing themselves from the rules of President Hosni Mubarak. They're calling for the resignation of their president who has made their lives more complicated when it comes to providing and feeding their families. There are many images of the chaos in Cairo being broadcasted via Internet by the region's popular satellite channel Al Jazeera; Protestors are seen ignoring curfew, running through the streets, clashing with tear gas-wielding police, and even setting buildings on fire.

This event is not just a big deal in the country of Egypt; Mohamed Nanabhay, the head of Al Jazeera online, said via Twitter that nearly 45% of the traffic to the site's Egypt coverage has come from the United States. You may also view coverage of the live video on CNN's website.

While us Americans watch from the "sidelines", Egyptians are finding ways to communicate around the Internet blockage; they're currently using old-fashioned landlines (yeah those still exist!), faxes and even ham radio. People are also being offered dial-up from Telecomix News Agency and activists have been recieving morse code. For all you 21st century technology junkies, yes all those things still exist and no matter how painfully slow they seem to you and me, anything is better than nothing.

Photo Credit: Ramy Raoof via Creative Commons.


Are Video Diaries Considered Journalism?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

There are many different types of vlogs (video blogs) today. Many people consider all of these different types of vlogs journalism, but do they really share news with us?

The one type of vlog I have questions about is video diaries. A video diary is a vlog where a person tapes him/her self and discusses his/her opinions, thoughts, and experiences. I have seen many of these vlogs, and I'm not sure I would consider them journalism. I realize that this blog that I am writing now is simply my thoughts and opinions on video diary vlogs; so is this blog considered journalism?

It's difficult for me to say that a vlog about someone discussing their trip to the mall or how their day was could be considered news. After all, many of these vlogs do not impact the audience in any way. A great deal of them do not have any of the seven news honored values. Most are for sheer entertainment, and that is why they receive so many views and subscribers.

For example, Shane Dawson has his own YouTube channel, but there is no actual news in his vlogs. He simply discusses what experiences he has had, and he also makes little skits to entertain his audience. This is considered a video diary, but I would not consider this news. There are countless other vloggers who do the same thing.

I have yet to come across a video diary vlog that is news worthy. I have searched YouTube and Yahoo video up and down and still haven't found any that abide to the seven news honored values. If anyone does know of one please write it in a comment. I'd enjoy viewing it.

Photo Credit: Fagstein


The Internet Age in Journalism

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Journalists have to know how to use the internet if they're going to be successful today. But when they start relying on the internet for all their facts, things get messy. So when is the internet useful, and when is it harmful to your story?

Catherine Wylie, a journalist in training and writer for The Graduate Times, talking about the importance of being internet savvy as a journalist. For much of her life she was internet-phobic, but now is an avid blogger and Twitter member. As a journalist, the internet is an easy way to publish work for the masses and find information. But the information found is not always reliable.

So how can you make sure your information is reliable?

First, stay away from Wikipedia facts. As the story of Shane Fitzgerald, a college student who posted false quotes by French Composer Maurice Jarre who had recently passed away, shows us, Wikipedia isn't reliable since it can be edited by anyone. If you insist on using Wikipedia, you should check out the sources at the bottom. These may be much more reliable and contain much of the information found on Wikipedia.

Second, just because it's everywhere on the internet, doesn't mean it's true. Tweets from the Arizona shooting of Gabrielle Giffords claimed the congresswoman was dead. News channels picked up on these tweets and other reports of her death and reported it across the nation. Soon it was confirmed that the Congresswoman was actually alive and in surgery at an Arizona hospital, even though it was widely reported across the internet an TV.

Last, don't use the internet as your only source. Sure, it has a lot of good information, but the internet shouldn't be the only source of information you ever use. Interviews, newspaper, TV shows and many other things can have a positive impact on the story you're writing and add depth you wouldn't have gained from using the internet alone.

The internet is an important tool in journalism if you use it correctly. The internet can help you get your work out there and amass fans and hopefully a job that pays well. But if you use it incorrectly and report false facts, it can also ruin your career. Use the internet wisely and you can save yourself from many mistakes.

Photo Credit: Jcarranzz, WikiMedia via Creative Commons. Sérgio Savaman Savarese, Flickr via Creative Commons.


Journalists not Checking Facts

College student Shane Fitzgerald used the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia in an experiment to show just how dependent journalists are on the internet as their source. Fitzgerald posted a fake quote on Wikipedia supposedly said by Maurice Jarre, a French composer who had recently passed away. After posting the quote, Fitzgerald was surprised to find that not only had various blogs and websites used the quote, but mainstream high- end newspapers as well included it in their versions of the composer’s obituary.
It surprised me that so much of the media depended on such an unreliable source. While I understood how low key bloggers could made the mistake, I would have thought the more upscale and bigger newspapers would not be able to afford making the same one. These papers affect many more people and it should be important for them to get their readers accurate and dependable news. Situations like this may cause them to lose readers and promote the image of their newspaper as being unreliable. While, like in this case, the mistake may not have been very important to many people, I believe a newspapers' reputation is still hurt because in the end it shows their carelessness and laziness when it comes to checking the facts. I think this experiment is a good wake up call to journalists out there in regard to checking facts. It also raises public awareness on being able to identify which source "got it right."

Photo Credit: Britannica via Creative Commons


Protests Escalate in Egypt, Journalists Arrested

Egypt proves to be a dangerous place for journalists once again with the latest round of protests against the government of President Hosni Mubarak. Eight Egyptian journalists were arrested last week after participating in an anti-government protest, bringing the grand total of arrests up to 860.

Egyptian security forces have been deployed to control the rioting crowds through the use of tear gas. So far, five people have been killed. The Egyptian government has also been restricting access to websites such as Facebook and Twitter in an attempt to cripple the protest movement.

The European Union has publicly called on Egypt to respect their citizens' rights to protest, but the response from the Egyptian government has been disappointing. "No provocative movements or protest gatherings or organization of marches or demonstrations will be allowed," MENA reports the ministry as saying. "Immediate legal procedures will be taken and participants will be handed over to investigating authorities."

Protesters are angry about soaring food prices, a lack of jobs and an oppressive government, among other complaints. Despite the strong negative response from Mubarak's ministry and the danger from Egyptian security forces, protesters continue to take to the streets in thousands.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons, James Buck.


Not an Orwellian Reality

In 1949, Orwell provided us with a viewpoint on the destructive potentials of technology in his book 1984 (look to the Sparknotes summary if you need a refresher). It has been in the forefront of our minds ever since, taught in many high school English classes and rarely missed by anyone with a four-year degree. In it, Orwell describes a dystopia in which the Party has total control over all of London and eliminates any possible action by the free press (while doing many other damaging things to the imagined society).

Even though the internet is still a scary thing to some of us, evolving so quickly and permeating our daily interactions as thoroughly as it does, most of us realize that it won't result in a scenario like that of 1984. With the arrival of WikiLeaks on the journalism scene, we have seen the beginning of the impossibility of that kind of control. The big names in journalism and the major sources for news still have the ability to distort what information we receive at the base of the news pyramid, but the selective news articles and resources that we have access to today are growing rapidly. New sources of information, not filtered through large controlling companies, are everywhere now. The internet has made journalists out of everyman. Wikileaks provides an outlet for "whistleblowers," journalists and citizens who see that something is being obscured or covered by the main press outlets. This information is now at our fingertips, and as a result, happenings all over the world are becoming more transparent and apparent.
WikiLeaks is also changing journalism as we know it because it provides free and easy sources for the larger media outlets and for consumers of news. Investigative reporting won't take nearly as much work for the big names since many secrets have already been published by WikiLeaks-- but there is also the fear that people won't buy a newspaper or subscribe to an online journal because the information is already logged somewhere else for free.
Instead of Orwell's prediction that this kind of leaked information would be shut down by government implements, companies are taking special precaution to make sure that whistleblowers cannot be identified and prosecuted. This is definitely not the policing that Orwell imagined, and we're all glad to see he was wrong.
For more information WikiLeaks and the new model for journalism, check out this article from the New America Foundation.
Photo Credit:, via


Internet vs Journalism. Ding!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In this day and age, the Internet is a big buzz and everyone is using it for everything. Literally. When it first came about, the original users most likely didn't have a clue what it would become. And what exactly has it become? For America, it has become a huge part of everyday life that we depend heavily on.

This generation has grown up on the Internet and it seems that we do not know a world without it. I can honestly say, that I log on to Facebook approximately ten times a day. Embarrassing, I know. But it's the truth! We also get the chance to whip out our phones and text our friends, "Hey, what's up?" when we are bored or we want to hang out. Our parents had to physically go to a telephone and dial the person's number, to reach them. As a college student, I notice that I use the Internet all the time for research. There is a thing called the library, that students back then had to use in order to do their endless researching. My point is that people had to do much more effort and take much more care to get things done.

This brings up a question. What has the Internet done for journalism? For a few years now, newspapers around the U.S. have declined in circulation. It is so much easier to get on the Internet and click a few clicks to get a colorful article, than picking up a newspaper. I don't think there is nothing terribly wrong about this, but journalists now have to appeal to their audience and give them what they want.

In print form, there was an audience that would take time and find time to read the newspaper. The current audience, is more busy with their own lives and have a short attention span. Due to this fact, journalists have to condense their articles in order to keep their audience's attention. I also don't think there is anything terribly wrong with this concept, but there is something lost in journalism when the writers don't take the same amount of effort to get the nitty gritty and making sure the editing is just right.

Blogs are making it pretty big right now. Heck, I'm writing one! But with these new 'in' things, the Internet has made it increasingly possible to express one's opinion. Because of this, anyone who feels they have something to say, will write and blog what they feel. This could perhaps, bring down the quality of some blogs. It used to be that journalism was the facts. But now, we are all smothered with opinions and "I's" and "you's". It is, after all, hard to write in this world without being first person.

So now the question is this. Should newspapers go out of style and be posted on the Internet? Should blogs be looked at more carefully? Can we as America, be proud to say that we have evolved and erupted this Internet sensation that is going to be passed down to our kids and generations to come? These are very broad questions, but we do need to think about them and what the Internet could possibly come to, in the future.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


A Groundbreaking Device

When Apple released the iPad it was described as a groundbreaking device. It has thousands of applications varying from games, weather, to the latest magazines and newspapers. Although, this has many benefits it has its downfalls too.

According to at&t a 16 GB iPad is $629, this is the cheapest option with the least amount of storage space. A 64 GB iPad is priced at $829. These devices are fairly expensive and not that many people have access to these devices. This of course can change in the near future, just like anything else, but at the moment the iPad can be considered a luxury. I beileve this to be one of the biggest downfalls of the iPad.

A benefit to the iPad is how much you can access at just a mere touch. It can serve as an entertainment or informational tool. You can play games, update your Facebook, or send out a tweet. You can also check the weather, the news, and be informed of any breaking news. Not only can you just check the weather or news, you can read full articles or editions of a newspaper or magazine on the iPad. Will this affect the journalism world as we know it?

I believe it will. By having the option of accessing newspapers and magazines on devices such as the iPad paper waste can be eliminated and so can clutter. This will benefit the environment but will it be better the company's that write the articles? In a few ways yes, by not having to physically print the information on paper money is saved, and this will allow for more information to be published. Also it is still possible to get advertising dollars from companies because online ads are often seen more than in print ads. I think the iPad and other devices that are similar will benefit the world and although it will bring change, I believe it will be for the best.

Photo Credit: Ariel Schwartz, Via CreativeCommons


Is it Dillenberg or Dillenburg?

How many times has your first or last name been misspelled? I can remember this being a problem all the way back to elementary school. My teacher would constantly spell my name “Dillenberg” instead of my actual name “Dillenburg.” Eventually, my awkward fifth grade self decided to call my teacher out and inform her that she is spelling my name wrong. Did this have any impact? Yes, for only the next couple of days. After the weekend went by and Monday came, it was back to “Dillenberg.”

Unfortunately, misspelled names are a common problem within the journalism world.
Craig Silverman, the author of Regret the Error, claims that academic research shows that misspelled names are the sixth most common newspaper error. That is quite absurd and not a good way to attract your viewers.

Misquotes is the number one mistake which is then followed by incorrect headlines, numerical errors, general misspellings and incorrect job titles. Look on the bright side though my fellow BNR peers, we have our soon to be best friend textbook called the
Associated Press Stylebook 2010. Therefore, none of these mistakes should occur!

Misspelling names is a common mistake because it is easy to verify, yet journalists are not bothered to confirm the source’s title. Maybe this is because the interviewer is embarrassed of having to ask the source? Regardless, get over it because you will end up being more embarrassed in the long run when your article is published and you misspelled the name wrong in front of everyone.

Misspelling may be an issue because of two reasons. The first is that journalists have the tendency to assume that the source’s name is spelled the “common” way. The second is that journalists are lazy and spell the name based off of other sources that are incorrect.

A good example of a big source that would seem reliable yet is well known for these types of errors is the
New York Times. There has even been an article written by one of the NYT editors with the title "So Many Names, So Many Titles."

In order to eliminate this problem, it is strongly encouraged to ask your source for the correct spelling of their name. If you are still worried about this silly yet easy-to-do mistake, read what you have written down back to them. This may seem repetitive and annoying, but in the long run the source will greatly appreciate it.

Another important fact to remember is that you must be consistent with the name spelling throughout your article. I was guilty of doing this today, but fortunately caught my mistake before handing my paper in. I spelled the name “Oroonoko” two different ways throughout my paper: Oroonoko and Oroonoco. Yikes! Double check your work.

If none of this information has helped you, I strongly encourage you to think back to a time where your first or last name was misspelled. How did you feel about this? Were you slightly annoyed? If so, take pride in what you do and make sure you spell people’s names right so they do not get annoyed like you did.

Photo Credit: Simone Trum,


Olbermann is Olber-done

"In the mundane world of television goodbyes, reality is laughably uncooperative."

Those were some of the last words from Keith Olbermann's final "Countdown" Friday night. Olbermann, who was released from NBC Universal after being with the corporation since 2003, was grateful for the experiences he had while being host. No one is sure why the political pundit was booted from MSNBC, but there are some reports out there that make NBC once again the villain when it comes to releasing media personalities.

The release of the former ESPN anchor comes after two days after Comcast and Universal officially made their merger. Did the merger lead to Olbermann's ejection from MSNBC? A report from TruthOut says maybe. Senator Bernie Giffords now wants the merger to stop after believing that Olbermann being ousted was due to the merger.

NBC has its shadowy ways of how they oust their members. Most recently, it was Conan, now it's Olbermann to receive a pink slip. So what does NBC deserve?

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


iPads: The Sole Device of Future Journalism?

Over the past months since Apple released the iPad in April of 2010 the new device has been growing in popularity. Not only is it the hot new gadget on the market, but it is also taking on a large role in the world of journalism by the ways it is changing how the media is presented to the audience.

As stated in an article on Nieman Journalism Lab, publishers that have realized the importance of this device will no doubt be ahead of the game compared to those who choose to ignore it. Publications like Sports Illustrated have shown their intentions to have a fully interactive magazine that even customizes the magazine to the readers’ interests. Not only does the proposed magazine have interactive features, but video clips as well. Not only are the publications altered to fit each reader, but they would be able to be continuously updated and would no longer have a routine issue every week or every month. The publications that have these ideas will be the ones to keep the reader engaged and will set them ahead of other publications and eventually make them more successful. People want their entertainment and info fast and free. The iPad can provide that for many people, but that is where many arguments about money come into play. The idea of having publications on iPad worries many companies when discussing subscription fees that they still need to stay afloat. The question has come up of how the subscription costs would be shared between Apple and the publication. With growing technology like the iPad publishing companies also worry about information being shared with others who have not paid for the product. Another downside of publications on the iPad and other technology is that a large percentage of the population is not familiar with this technology or does not have access to it yet. The coming years will be a time of difficult transitions for journalists and publications as decisions will have to be made as to how the publication will be distributed to its readers, but changes are necessary with the developing technology that will eventually serve as a large asset to the media industry.

The iPad and other new technological devices will truly revolutionize the way journalism works and how people get their news and entertainment. However, journalists and publishing companies need to realize this and utilize the new technology that is now available to them.

Photo Credit: FHKE, Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons


The Searsboro Flash: Zach James

Hello, everyone. I am Zach James, and I am a sophomore at Simpson. My majors are Integrated Marketing Communications and Sports Administration. I am also one of three very hard-working student assistant coaches with the men's basketball program. My passion for media is very deep as well as my love for sports.

I also have another blog which I started during my senior year of high school at Montezuma, named Running Off the Print, which you can also find here on Blogger. I realize it hasn't been updated recently, but that is soon to change!

My nickname, if you are wondering, is from an old friend who admired me for participating in cross country.


Tablets: A Successful Journalism Tool?

All the rage these days are new tablet devices such as the Apple iPad. However, are these devices helping increase communication? In some ways, no. So far at least.

An article found on TechDirt talks about some of the problems that still persisit with the iPad and other tablet devices. One of these issues is that they are geared mostly towards one-way communication. This, obviously, can be problematic for budding journalists. If a journalist is unable to make his or her work available to consumers, their input will never be heard.

Lack of a keyboard is also a problem with tablet devices. Anyone with experience with a touch screen knows that it is not easy to type using a touch screen keypad. They are prone to errors and accidental misspelling.

Another problem with the iPad specifically? The lack of Flash capabilities. Many websites have pictures or videos that are only accessible if you have Flash. With the iPad, a user is unable to view these. However, this is a problem specific to the iPad.

Do any of you have an iPad or other tablet device? Have any of you ever used one? Do any of you want one?
Photocredit: Glenn Fleishman, Wikimedia,


Smart Phones Susceptible

Technology Review has a new article showing just how careful smart phone users need to be in the future.

The smart phone is quickly becoming an indispensable journalism tool that allows thousands of journalists to do things ranging from rapidly communicating with one another to recording video or audio for stories. But like knives, saws or hammers, tools can also end up harming those who use them.

The problem lies in how new the phone technology is in a general sense. Serious, wide-spread security issues have never been that large of a problem before. This, coupled with the technology's growing popularity, is creating interest in the hacking/spamming/malware community. While the phones do have quite a few built-in defenses, a stray app or two can be all that is needed to open up the floodgates to infection.

If the phone becomes infected one of the prevalent fears is that it will become part of a botnet, a group of devices working together to spread spam and other malicious activity by receiving instructions from a central location and obeying them like a "zombie," the user completely unaware. Since this infection leaves very few clues about its presence it can be a costly problem for many people who use their phones for secure activity (i.e. bank transfers). Imagine the problems a journalist might face if a contact list of confidential sources is leaked to the public or put on the Internet for any to see.

Unfortunately, with shiny new tools come important responsibilities. Users of these technologies need to be aware, be safe and be smart about what they do with their wireless devices. At this stage of the Technological Age "I didn't know" can no longer fly.

Photo credit: Creative Commons


Journalsim Doesn't Have An Age Limit

In an article posted on Yahoo!News it was revealed that 90 year old Helen Thomas has decided to come out of her retirement which began in June of 2010 after some comments she made about Israel. She was formerly with Hearst newspapers but will now have a weekly column focusing on politics. Ms. Thomas' new employer is the Falls Church News Press, located in Virgina.What I find truly remarkable is that Ms. Thomas is still working even though she is at an age when a large number of people are confined to wheelchairs and are in assisted living facilities. Instead she is getting her voice out there, letting people know what her opinion is, and is trying to make a difference in the world. In my opinion dedicated journalists are hard to find.

Then and Now

Black and White Photo:Marion S. Trikosko

Color Photo: Official White House Photostream


Countdown to the "IPcalypse"

It's said to happen on February 2 around 4 a.m. The Internet is scheduled to run out of current IP addresses. So what exactly does that mean for you?

Basically, your IP address is your way to use the Internet and every device you use. Whether it's a smart phone or computer, it gets a unique code called an IP address. You don't get the same address every time you use the Internet, but pretty soon you may not get any at all.

Today we use a system called the Internet Protocol version 4 (or IPv4) to give out those codes and there are about 4 billion to give out worldwide. That probably sounded like plenty back when this standard was introduced in 1981, but it was hard to foresee a computer in every home along with extra devices using the Internet.

Now, when we do run out of IP addresses, it won't mean the internet is over, so don't panic quite yet. We have guardian angels that foresaw this dilemma long before we did and created a system called IPv6.

The difference with this system is, instead of using just numbers, it will include letters in the code, making it a much bigger source for IP addresses.

Ideally, when we switch to this new system, people won't see or notice a thing. The only real problem that could happen in the days of "IPcalypse" is if enough networks don't move in a timely fashion. In this case, some people would literally see nothing because of their inability to connect to the Internet.

So I'm glad we had people to see this coming way before the deadline because, what if we weren't prepared in some way? Because of the fact that the Internet has become such a huge part of most people's lives and in some cases the internet is their life, I can only imagine their panic, anger, and inability to really live their lives.

So, as epic as the "IPcalypse" may sound, don't get too worked up about the transition because it will slip by around 4 a.m. on February 2 while you dream .


How much is too much?

Social Media has been on the rise and is continuing to do so as technological advances keep occurring. Americans are wondering if these advances are setting new extremes for the safety of their lives and their children. Many Americans believe that the new technology should be viewed as a positive outcome for the economy. Tasks are able to be done quicker and at a more consistent rate. With this increased amount of technology the use of workers is slowly decreasing. Why hire a worker if there is a electronic gadget to do the work at half the price? With these new advancements many people are losing their jobs because they are not needed in the media and journalism industry. What happens when the technology source crashes? We still need reliable workers to make sure that the job is going to be done and done on time. If there was an electric outage and the media world was not prepared then the news would not get delivered on time and many people would be upset.

One new gadget that was added most recently is the invention of the Apple iPhone. These gadgets help individuals stay up on the most current news just from the touch of their finger. Whats cooler than that is the invention of the ipad. This handheld electronic allows total access to the web 24/7, with a monthly fee of course. Consumers are able to view the news from the touch of a button. These electric advances are very exciting to American consumers. My warning is, don't let technology consume you, pick up a hard copy newspaper from time to time. Appreciate the work of those who created it.  

photo credit: Jason Kottke,


Katie Buchholz 101

Hey! My name is Katie Buchholz. I am a Communications major and possibly a minor in Art History here at Simpson College. I am involved in theater, intramurals, PLC, and a Bible reading group. Around campus I am known as K-Fresh, so don't get confused! I grew up in a small town about 45 minutes from Indianola. In my day to day life I love to be goofy and spontaneous. I always try to see the bright side of things, and I am open for anything new. My roommate is my college best friend and you might see us playing video games in the Barker basement or singing our hearts out to Britney Spears in our room.

I look forward to writing a blog weekly and reading each others blogs!


Could You Live without Your Newspapers?

Do you miss the newspaper boys on the sidewalks yelling the news ? Back in the time people know that to keep on track with the news they had to read the papers and nothing else. The newspapers were accesible to all given their price and number of outlets.
Certainly nothing has changed on the side of the newspaper industry but the emergence of the Internet has facilitated the accession to the news and made them virtually obsolete in their printed form.
It is not a news that the Internet is softly killing the newspapers but could we live without our local newspapers? A study by the Pew Research Center states that 31% of American cite the newspapers as their main source of national and international news (from 34% in 2007). This reflects both the growth of the Internet and the gradual decline of the newspaper readership. In 2010, more than 100 newspaper companies closed because they were not economically viable.
However, people still think that losing their local newspaper would hurt the civic life in their community and that they would personally miss reading the local newpaper a lot if it were no longer available. So, we could have the dream that the newspapers will stay forever because people care about their local news and they like to sit down and read the newspapers.

Photo credit: The Pew Research Center,


The Importance to Blogging

Monday, January 24, 2011

Today every journalism student is said to need a blog in order to become a successful future journalist.

Many people blog all over the world for many different reasons. Some blog in attempts to become famous, while other people may do so in order to receive that A they want in class. No matter the reason all blogs are reaching a common goal, spreading information. This spreading of information is the main focus of journalism today.

At Simpson College there are professors that require their students to either be apart of a blog, or even create their own, such as professor Brian Steffen who uses for The News About The News in his Communications 201 class. Why do professors do this? The blog prepares students for their future careers, and it is suggested by many professional journalists that journalism students create their own blog, such as Drake Snyder from the Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Being apart of a blog is beneficial to future journalists in many ways, and it's essential for their future career. This skill teaches them how to write professional stories, and allows them to learn how to spread news professionally. These two aspects of blogging is exactly what will be expected of journalists by their editors; giving them a step up in the hierarchy of journalism when they start to interview for a journalism position. When an editor is able to look at a future prospect's work in action, you can bet that that prospect will have an advantage with his work being previously posted.

Setting up a blog account is easy, so why not set up an account today, and get started on your future career as a journalist? Blogging is beneficial and essential for the future journalist. The sooner you become apart of a blog the better.

Photo Credit: LuMaxArt, Flicker


Online- Useful or Deadly?

Social networks are a great way to find old friends and make new ones. Launched in February 2004, Facebook became a popular site for students to keep in contacts with relatives, classmates, and co-workers. However, recently the question arises: Just what exactly are we using social networks for today?

Fortunately, social networks can be used positively by communicating with others and promoting business. Many journalists have created MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter pages to build readers, receive feedback from others on their work, and find good top stories from posts of other readers.

One major problem people face with social networking is cyber bullying. The reason cyber bullying is so much easier and harmful is because people are more willing to say something behind the screen of a computer than they would to a person's face. There have been stories reported in the news about teens taking their own life because of cruel posts found online.

The second, possibly most serious problem we are facing is unwanted people finding us online. Many people in this world known as "creepers" or "predators" use online as a tool to hunt down victims for sexual or abusive purposes. Many of us think of these people as being old men that live alone searching for young girls, but just exactly how young are these people that are using online as a way to harm others?

The most recent story in the news that caught my eye involves a 14 year old boy who used online to successfully kill a 13 year old girl. The two had been using Facebook as a way to get to know each other and eventually decided to meet up for a date. Later, the boy brought the girl to his home, attempted rape and failed. However, the girl was found later that weekend naked near a bus stop, strangled to death. Many times we say situations like this could never occur in our own life. However, we need to understand the world today has turned brutal, scary, and unsafe.

It's a shame to think there are people using online as a tool for criminal purposes. However, not all users are bad. Many journalists have found with the switch of mass media converting from newspaper to reading material online that using social network is an essential tool in the success of promoting journalism.

What can we do to protect ourselves from something like this happening to us? There are several steps that can be taken to protecting online life of yourself and those around you. Start now by spreading the news to family, friends, and classmates so you know you are doing the best you can to protect others. Keeping online clean will help journalists today be able to expand the growth of their business, both behind and away from the computer.

Photo Credit: Safe in YourSpace


From 9/11 to Pearl Project

In Washington, a journalistic investigation funded by an Oklahoma City foundation concluded a link between the terroristic acts of 9/11 and the 2002 kidnapping of the late Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

After a much awaited three years of research, Georgetown University students have finally come to a verdict of the killer of Daniel Pearl. al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to murdering Pearl almost nine years ago in Pakistan. The reason his story is so significant is because they broadcasted his beheading to the entire United States.

They identified Mohammed as the man behind the knife while looking back at the actual murder video and comparing veins on both hands of the unknown killer and that of Mohammed's.

Along with this horrendous act, Mohammed is also known as the man who helped plan the attacks of 9/11. He currently is being held at Guantanamo Bay, but has not currently been charged for the murder of Pearl.

I for one am happy to know that the man that has affected thousands of American lives has been caught and put away. It's amazing how people would go to so much trouble and effort to bring pain upon others.

Photo Credit: U.S. Forces, Creative Commons.


The Issues Behind Printed Issues

As newspapers become less popular, news readers are going to other sources to find out information.

Rupert Murdoch, owner of The Times of London, was one of the first people to enforce paywalls for his newspaper. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful. Originally The Times had 150,000 registrations online. After applying the paywall over 120,000 people were unwilling to pay the paywall fee.

People aren't willing to pay for news that they can find elsewhere for free. With social media taking over people go to Twitter and Facebook to get their news fix. Tablets are also becoming more popular and with these tablets are applications that provide free news.

Also, because newspapers are printed at the same time on a regular basis, other news sources are able to get the news out quicker. Twitter is able to post breaking news immediately along with Facebook and iPad apps.

Let's face it, newspapers are going to become extinct in the next ten years. IPad apps, Facebook, and Twitter are taking over the news industry with their free information.

Photo Credit: Dorothy Parker, Loon Pond



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I sat down last night with my roommates to watch a new tv show called SKIN. If you like obscenities, and nudity its a show for you. I can't believe what type of shows the world is creating these days. I don't believe the word shy should be incorporated into Websters dictionary anymore, along with modest. People just shout out what they feel and also have no respect for their elders. How can one be so disrespectful?


Morgan Abel, Now Blogging Weekly

Monday, January 17, 2011

My name is Morgan Abel and I am a senior at Simpson College in Indianola Iowa. I am a native to the Midwest and have spent the majority of my life in Iowa. I am very passionate about traveling and have taken the opportunity to travel abroad through Simpson College.


Jeremy Dubois French Student's Blogger

My name is Jeremy Dubois. I am 23 years-old, I am french and I am currently a journalism student at Simpson College, Iowa. I am interested in sports, especially soccer, movies and world news.


Nicole Dillenburg's First Blog

My name is Nicole Dillenburg and I am a junior at Simpson College. I am double majoring in Sports Administration and Integrated Marketing Communications.


Amanda Hintgen's First Blog for BNR

I am Amanda Hintgen and I am a freshmen at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. I graduated from Maquoketa High School in 2010. I am currently enrolled in Beginning News Writing and Reporting.


Erin Gerken's Introduction to Blogger

Hello, my name is Erin Gerken. I am currently a second semester freshmen at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. I am a member of the swim team, and I also participate in the Campus Activity Board, or CAB. I graduated from Cedar Rapids Prairie High School in 2010. This blog is being created for my Beginning News Writing and Reporting class.


April Sigmund from Stanhope, IA.

My name is April Sigmund and I am a sophomore here at Simpson. I am currently undecided on a major and participate in the Simpson track team. I enjoy reading and watching movies with friends in my free time.


Tierney Israel, Blogger Extraordinaire

I've been blogging for several years. My name is Tierney Israel. I'm an English major at Simpson College and I want to be a professional writer. I love writing and I've been doing it for fun since I learned how in Kindergarten. It's my passion and hopefully soon, it will be my career.


Maddie Boswell on

Hi! My name is Maddie Boswell and I am from Humboldt, IA. I am currently a freshman at Simpson College majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications with a creative concentration and minoring in music and art. I am involved with women's choral, Starving Artists Club, RLC, yearbook, and I am a proud member of Pi Beta Phi! In my free time I enjoy playing eight different instruments/singing, photography, traveling, and spending time with my friends


BNR Urging Students to be Media Savvy

My name is Katie Schober and I'm finishing up my English degree at Simpson College. I am from central Iowa, and have a brother who attends the University of Iowa. We share a love of music and art passed down by our dad, and an affinity for great cooking encouraged by our mother. My boyfriend Grant and I have a dog named Roswell, a cat named Maxine, and a hamster named Higgins.


Charlie Sandvick, New Blogger

The name is Charlie Sandvick. I'm currently a sophomore at Simpson College majoring in IMC-Creative with a small side of Multimedia Journalism. I'm from a small town you've probably never heard of called Marengo, IA. When I left the population dropped severely. I'm on the softball team here at college. You can find me in the outfield. I like to hang out with my friends, participate in sports, watch football, and cheer on the Mizzou Tigers :)


Kelsey Hagelberg's First Blog

Hello there, my name is Kelsey Hagelberg. I am an Integrated Marketing major at Simpson College. I enjoy outdoor activities, reading books, and meeting new people. My favorite time of year is when I can wear tank tops and flip-flops.


Biographical Information

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My name is Theresia Kopper. I am a Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA German) at Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa. My home country is Austria. I like languages, music and sports.


A New Member Arrives

Hi, my name is Owen David Douglas Talley III. Long enough? A simpler version of my name is David Talley. I major in communications at the world renown Simpson College. I'm currently in Brian Steffen's class learning how to write an effective blog and although I don't feel like I'm doing this right I'm "Going out swinging" like Michael Vick said in his post game news conference a couple days ago.


A Little About Me

My name is Kimberly Kurimski and I attend Simpson College. I am a freshman this year, and I am studying communications. I am one of five siblings from Albia, Iowa. I am in the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma here on campus. Once I graduate from Simpson I plan on working somewhere in Des Moines, Iowa.


Me, Myself, and I

My name is Tess Myer and I hail from the small southwest town of Mt. Ayr, Iowa, a town so small there were basically five things to do: go to school, sports, hang out with friends, spend time with your family, and drive to the city for something to do. That is why I am now enrolled at Simpson College. A school that's not to big, but not as small as home. Here I am majoring in English, and minoring in Secondary Education. I also play on the Simpson Women's Basketball team where I play both a little bit of the shooting guard position, and primarily the off guard position.


Me In A Nutshell

My name is Morgan Fleener. I am a freshman at Simpson College studying Communications and Integrated Marketing. I am a student ambassador and a member of SOS (Storm Overnight Squad). I am also a member of the cross country team. I enjoy spending time with people, working out, fishing, camping, showing sheep, and summertime. I have an older brother who studies at UNI and a younger brother that is in sixth grade at North Mahaska Elementary.


Flashy and Attention-Grabbing Headline

My name is Ben Lucas, and I am a native Iowan majoring in Multimedia Journalism at Simpson College. I hope to work in one of the various media fields while fervently attempting to get published as a novelist in the future. After graduating from Simpson I plan to attend the the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop and focus on my growth as a writer.


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