Social Media in Classrooms

Monday, February 28, 2011

In this day in age, professors have many options on how they should teach their classes. Journalism professors specifically get to use this to their advantage by applying social media in their own classroom. I will describe a few innovative methods of social media that professors are trying in the classroom. Keep in mind that not every tool mentioned will be appropriate for your class.

Facebook groups: This allows students to post ideas, links, videos and photos. The information that is posted on the group’s wall stays only between the members of that group. This tool is very beneficial because many students today already use Facebook. In other words, it doesn’t make a student go out of their way by having to remember a log-in or attend a class forum.
There are three different types of groups: open, closed and secret. “Open” groups are available to the public, “closed” groups keep content private but members within the group are allowed to see it and “secret” do not show up anywhere.
Group Blogs: This type of social media allows students to adapt to online writing and basic web publishing. Students can post assignments that let their teacher and classmates see.
1. Tumblr: A new fad that is simple and described to stand between Twitter feed and WordPress blog.
2. Posterous: This is similar to Tumblr, but has a few additional differences, being that it allows you to post text, photos or videos via e-mail. This allows students with a Smartphone to be able to blog at any time, any place.

Social Curation: Important tool that lets students collect social media information for their blogs or articles.
1. Storify/Keepstream are both designed around distinct compilation of content.
2. An ongoing curation. In other words, it covers live-events or long-term collaboration. This program is more highly looked upon because the privacy features allow limited access to certain projects.

Mind mapping: a program that arranges ideas based on their relationship to other elements through online collaboration.
1. MindMeister: The mind map tracks updates based on student’s opinions. For example, a professor asked his students to define journalism, multimedia and organize how each element related to each other. Mind map tracked the updates as the class discussed the definitions. This allows the students to interact together in class, instead of looking at the whiteboard.

Experimentation: Although some professors may find these tools not useful, it is important to at least try and experiment using new social media because it allows journalist students to apply themselves even further and improve their online abilities.

Photo Credit:


Short and Sweet

One problem journalists face is adding additional words to their stories that they don't need. Excluding additional words keeps readers interested in the article.

Twitter is one of the newest form of technology that has helped the news industry. Since Twitter forces individuals to limit their thoughts to 140 characters, this has led them to shorten their thoughts in a more concise form of communication.

One common thing that happens is that people don't think before they write. This lack of preparation causes the writer to frantically drag on in their articles.

By rambling to an audience, readers will become bored and won't finish reading an article. Readers want the journalist to get to the point quickly.

An aid for journalists, is to read the written material before it is published and see if any unnecessary words can be eliminated. By revising the work, it will help readers to stay interested in the material.

The news industry is fast. Journalists want their material read and by revising their work, journalists might have an opportunity to compete within the fast-paced news industry.

photo credit:Max Chafkin,


Are You LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is one social networking site that we never hear about. The purpose of LinkedIn is to help business-oriented people connect.

There are many benefits to LinkedIn including groups that people can create and join. For example, if a company has an important meeting coming up an employee/employer can make a group to help promote it and remind other employees about the meeting.

One thing that many people use LinkedIn for is the many jobs that are listed on the site. People are able to search companies to find potential jobs.

LinkedIn is also a great way for a person to build connections with future employers, co-workers, and other business people.

One major benefit of LinkedIn is that it is free. There is no cost to join LinkedIn. Building connections with other business people can be a huge advantage in today's fast paced world.

Overall, LinkedIn promotes the user. The user decides what to put on the LinkedIn profile.
It's basically like an online resume. Users can post past jobs, recommendations, education and many other things.

The question is why aren't you signing up for a LinkedIn account right now?

Photo Credit: Jean Cummings via Creative Commons


Awesome Tips for Acing an Interview

You may be acing your journalism classes with ease, but when it comes down to it, you're probably not going to get the job if you completely blow the interview. So here are a few tips to ensure that your interview goes well.

1. Know the day's news - one sure way to get your resume thrown into the "don't call" pile is by not knowing the current events going on. Make sure you wake up early enough to watch the news, read the newspaper, or any other way you use to obtain news of the day. This will save the awkwardness when they ask you, "What did you think of todays coverage?" and you have no response.

2. Know the competition - Sure it's essential that you know about the newsroom that you are applying for, but you also need to know what the competition is doing. This is useful for giving your imput about what you like and dislike.

3. Bring a copy of your resume - You may be thinking, "But I already sent them my resume and cover letter online why do I need to bring it in?" You're probably not the only resume that they recieved and they are recieving mass amounts of emails daily, so to ensure yours doesn't get lost in the pack, just bring it with you. Note about resume: Do not, I repeat not, have any typos.

4. Have an online portfolio - All journalists should have an online portfolio, especially those who work with multimedia, video, audio, graphics, etc. List the web address at the top of your resume, so they can pull it up before their meeting with you. If you show up with a flash drive, cd or something else, expect confused looks.

5. Have a Twitter account - You should always have an active Twitter account, especially if the position you're interviewing for relates to the web. Many newsrooms will excuse a use of a private facebook, but a candidate that does not use social media at all raises a red flag.

6. Bring ideas to the table - Newsrooms everywhere are looking for people who can help innovate and bring fresh ideas and perpsectives to the table. If you don't have at least a couple ways that may improve the newsroom, this can harm your chances of being chosen.

7. Remember soundbites - Journalists are busy people, so be sure to share your experiences and ideas in short soundbites, rather than long strung-out stories.

8. Have your own questions - One of the biggest interview killers is answering "No" when someone asks "Do you have any questions?" Have a few smart questions picked out, even if you already know the answer. It will make you sound more engaged and willing to learn. There are a lot of common questions asked like "Why do you want to work here?" "Where do you see yourself in five years?" or "What are your strengths and weaknesses". It is good to know what you are going to say, but don't rehearse it. It is easily spotted and creates the illusion that you can not think on your toes. On the otherhand, be ready to be thrown curveballs. Don't freak out; just take a few seconds, breathe and then answer. It's better to have a good answer than a quick one.


The Art Of Recording

Sunday, February 27, 2011

When I got the assignment for my first story I was hesitant about getting a recorder for the event I was covering. I didn't know how vital they were.

I had to decide if I wanted to buy a recorder. For whatever reason I ended up buying a recorder and I am glad I did.

My first story was covering a meeting for a proposed wellness center. This event had a main speaker but several people in the audience contributed to the presentation.

Recorders are a journalsits secret weapon. They get everything that journalists can not.

There was no way I could have remembered everything or gotten all the details in my notes. The recorder saved me, especially when it came to quotes.

Most importantly it gets a person statement word for word which makes quoting someone much easier. Misquoting should never happen!

If you write articles I recommend having a recorder in order to make sure you get all the facts straight. And that makes you a more credible journalist.


Apps On Smart Phones

With many people turning to online sources to receive their news, phone applications are great for journalists to add to their cell phones.

Phones are able to have applications if they are labeled as a smart phone. Smart phones have been a great addition to the journalism world because they have many applications that journalists can use for finding news or helping enhance their story.

By the end of 2011, it is predicted by many computer software companies that smart phone mobile devices will hold the dominant position in the wireless device market.

With the popularity of smart phones increasing, journalists should be aware of some of the applications that are offered free to them directly on their mobile device.

Qik- An application for users to capture live video directly off their phones and enables them to upload news or Kodak moments right to the web. Qik can also be used to chat live with others.

Wordpress- This application is a great way for journalists to do simple blogging, along with the ability to add pictures and videos to their posts. Wordpress also allows users to comment on other blogs posted, which is a great way for users to receive feedback and give advice to other users.

Photoshop Express- As the quality of cameras are increased on phones, this application benefits people that want to edit their photos directly on their mobile. Photoshop Express is also a great way to upload a picture directly to Twitter, Facebook, or your online blog.

VoiceTask- When covering a story, it has to be a huge bummer for journalists realizing they left their voice recorder at home. However, with this application, journalists are able to use the microphone right off their phone to record whatever they need to. Afterward, the conversation can be directly sent via e-mail from the phone by simply typing in an e-mail address.

While I have only listed just a few phone applications, there are thousands of different applications that are offered free or can be purchased on smart phones for many different purposes.

People that have a smart phone should take advantage of the benefits Linkthat come along with having one.

I have a Blackberry and enjoy the different things I am allowed to directly do from my mobile device for classes, writing, or entertainment.

Whether it's checking your grades on Scholar, reading news for our weekly quizzes in BNR, or using one of the applications I mentioned above, having a smart phone is a huge advantage when it comes to being a journalist.

Photo Credit: Bind Apple @ Creative Commons


Cyber Society 2012?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is our society becoming a cyber society? Do we even need real human contact when we have social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.?

These past couple of Monday nights, I have had my eyes glued to the reality television show, "The Bachelor."

Now that you have stopped judging me, I have been using my Twitter account and tweeting what is happening on the show. I have gained many new followers and I follow many new followers. We all have one thing in common: our interest in Brad Womack, and whether he will choose a woman this time. (He better.)

This is part of a growing trend among many television watchers being connected to the Web.

People are connecting with other people over the internet feeling as if, they are all together in the same room.

A new social networking, entertainment website that is getting attention is GetGlue. Users 'check-in' to the entertainment that they are consuming and converse with other users . In my case I would talk about "The Bachelor" and how glad I am that Michelle is finally out of the picture.

60% of television viewers use smartphones, laptops or iPods, to be on a social network or browse the Web while watching.

With people spending so much time on online conversations, this could lead to future generations becoming antisocial.

But, this could also lead to future generations using a new communication skill.

Using these new tools, could help people become more socially savvy and participate in conversations in different areas online.

I have a group of girls on Twitter who I rely heavily on gossip, snarky remarks, and over all a conversation about "The Bachelor." We are being overtly social, but we are making friends and I definitely feel like there is no antisocial whatsoever in this community.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Reasons to Blog

So as most of you all know midterms are happening right now. This of course means we have hit the half way mark. In our BNR class we have been blogging because it is an assignment and most of us probably don't want to fail so we just suck it up and write about something every week. Would any of us actually use this blog site if we were not forced to do it? Maybe yes, or maybe no, but there are reasons on why you should blog.

1. One reason to blog is that you can express yourself through your blog. Did you just watch a great movie and want to let others know about how fantastic it is? (Sanctum 3-D) Or maybe you want to rant about how outrageously high gas prices are. (Seriously, have you looked at them lately?) Whatever you want to say you can say it on your blog. This can help you stay connected with your friends or family who read your blog.

2. You can use your blog to market or promote something. I just promoted the movie Sanctum above. I also am promoting our BNR class by contributing to The News About The News.

3. Many blogs are written to be informative. This can range from helpful tips for interviews, how to take good pictures, or why to blog. By blogging about topics that are important to you, you can connect with people with similar views. Also, you can stay active or knowledeable about a variety of things.

4. The last reason I am going to give, is that by blogging you can get your name out there. It shows that you are "hip" with technology, and when somebody googles your name it will bring up your blog and show them what you are all about. By blogging about topics that are important to you, you will show them what matters to you. By blogging about your interests, it will show them what you find interesting or entertaining. Your blog will show them a better insight on you then perhaps your Facebook.

I hope that you will consider blogging after our BNR class is over.

Photo Credit: Via Creative Commons


Tips for Hosting a Good Interview

An essential part of being a good journalist is having the ability to conduct a good interview. Without a good interview, the story that is created is likely to lack substance or a journalist will not be able to get all of the information they need for their story.

There are some basic ways in which, as a journalist, you can conduct a successful one-on-one interview for a story.

First thing's first: be prepared. Make sure you know some backgroud about the person you are interviewing if possible. For example, if you were to interview Mick Jagger, you would want to be aware of the fact that he was the lead singer of The Rolling Stones.

Next, make sure you have enough time to conduct the interview. Don't think that 5 minutes will be enough time for you to get a whole story. If you only have a short amount of time, make sure you use what time you have wisely: don't waste time on small talk, get right to the important questions.

Make sure that you are friendly, and try to make the person you are interviewing feel as comfortable as possible. If any of you have sat through a job interview or any interview of some sort, it can be a nervewracking experience. Also, the more that an interviewee feels comfortable with you the more likely it is that they will be open and honest during the interview.

Another thing to do, if possible, is to avoid "yes" or "no" questions. You will typically get much more information out of a person if you ask questions that require more than either of those for an answer.

Using a recorder can be helpful, but make sure you know the laws. Some states do not allow the use of a tape recorder at all in journalism. Others have laws requiring you to ask consent of the interviewee first.

Taking notes is incredibly important in an interview. Without it, it is likely that you will not remember important aspects for your story, and it will be nearly impossible to report correct quotations.

For more tips on interviewing, you can check out pages 78-81 in the textbook Inside Reporting: A Practical Guide to the Craft of Journalism by Tim Harrower or check out this website or simply Google-search "tips for conducting an interview".

Photo Credit: via Creative Commons


China Continues To Be Unfriendly To Journalists

Fang Shimin, a Chinese journalist, was recently attacked by an unidentified assailant wielding a metal hammer. Fang escaped with minor injuries, but believes the attack is related to his work as a journalist.

Known in China as the "science cop," Fang concentrates on exposing flawed or weak scientific claims or research, fraudlent resumes and plagarism. He has received several threats.

"In an ideal world, some more formal and organized watchdogs ... professional organizations or a governmental agency would be in place," Fang said. "But China does not have these, so individual watchdogs become essential."

This attack followed a similar assault of Fang Xuanchang, an editor at Caijing magazine who has exposed multiple doctors promoting dubious miracle cures. He was beaten by two men while walking by his house in June. These two attacks are painful reminders that censorship is not the only risk facing journalists in China.

Fang Shimin, who writes under the pen name Fang Zhouzi, is a rare example of a journalist in China. "Fang Zhouzi touches upon power and business and the officials who support those businesses, because with any business, behind it there are officials in support," says Li Datong, former editor of Freezing Point. "So it's a matter of facing up to power. Chinese media, generally speaking, don't do a good job of this."

China is the leader in terms of jailing journalists; 24 were put in prison last year according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. It also ranks near the bottom of the annual index of press freedom, complied by Reporters Without Borders.

Beijing police are investigating both attacks, but no arrests have been made so far. The attacks continue to contribute to the culture of fear that journalists and other whistle-blowers encounter.

"I will continue what I am doing," Fang Shimin said. "And of course I will take some security measures."
Photo Credit:


Txting Leading 2 Bad Spelling & Grammar?

It is hated by parents and teachers alike- text lingo.

Many of today's teens use short abbreviations and acronyms in most of their messages, enfuriating teachers who insist texting has led to a decrease in spelling and grammar skills.

A recent study focused on the question of whether or not the use of texting language impacted a student's spelling and grammar in school work.

The study found that school work was not affected due to the fact that students were able to identify the certain situations in which it was appropriate to use texting language.

Students easily differentiate between when a formal style of writing is needed, such as for a school essay, and when an informal style can be used, such as in texting. Essentially, texting is kept strictly in the texting world.

If a student does use texting lingo in their school work, often only a warning against doing so is needed for them to correct the problem.

If teachers enforce and are strict about not using texting language, there should be no problem at all with students using it.

As texting users are getting younger and younger, it is also important for teachers to make sure they teach their students at an early age proper grammar and spelling skills.

For more information on the study and how texting has benefited users, visit this link.


The Effects of Media on Politicians

Media and politicians are close. Indeed, some politicians are partners or owners of television stations, newspapers or radio stations.

What effects media could have on the image of politicians? Media are powerful and can shape a person and destroy her a few moments later. It is common for major television networks to support a candidate one day and press him down in the polls the next day.

Sarah Palin is a perfect example of the unstable relationship between politicians and media. She became famous because media have started talking about her and they have shaped the image of an engaging, smiling and determined Sarah Palin.

But a few months later, after some media excesses, the image of Sarah Palin in media has completely changed. Media have changed the vision people should have about the governor of Alaska. This is what we call in communication the "magic bullet" theory: an immediate attitude change about something or someone created by media.

This phenomenon is not unique to the United States of America. Europe is also affected by this theory. The example of Nicolas Sarkozy in France is a proof. The French president, adored by the press during the first months of his term, will be decried little by little until becoming the "Bad Guy of the Republic" as called in the magazine Marianne.

Media could be a wonderful springboard to glory but can also be those that push you towards the exit.

Photo Credit: via
Translation from left to right: Marianne: "The Bad Guy of the Republic"; Le Point: "Is He so Lame?"; Le Nouvel Observateur: "Is this Man Dangerous?"


Checking the Ethical Component of a Story

In an article discussing the new frontier in ethical journalism, Ghanaian journalist Prosper Yao Tsikata lays out four rules for making sure a story is morally ripe for publication.

The four criteria he describes are preponderance to evidence, the filtering process, the crystallizing evolution and finally, disgorgement.

In order to satisfy Preponderance to Evidence, Tsikata urges journalists to check and double check sources-- especially given the consideration that today, there are vast sources like the internet that can't always be taken at face-value.

Tsikata says that one of the most important steps in this process, especially when considering high-profile public figures, is "contacting the individual(s) involved in the issues and checking with them or their inner circles." Had the many journalists mistakenly reporting that Gabrielle Giffords had died checked within her inner circle, it is likely that they wouldn't have made such a serious mistake.

The second step is the Filtering Process. Here, journalists should flesh out their story and pay attention to whether or not the facts they have acquired follow logically from each other. They should fill in as many gaps in the logic as they can by doing their own fact-checking: comparing dates and financial figures, examining individuals involved, etc.

In the third step, which Tsikata calls the Crystallizing Evolution, journalists should act as utilitarians, and make sure that the benefits of releasing the story outweigh any personal issues surrounding the subject of the story. This consideration should have been applied to the recent situation regarding Steve Jobs' health- many journalists and shareholders took the stance that Jobs' health status should be available to the public at large. To me, and seemingly to Tsikata as well, Jobs' health is a personal issue and an ethical journalist would consider it as such.

Finally, Tsikata calls for journalists to consider Disgorgement. For Tsikata, the word means that once the beans are spilled and the full story is out, journalists should take back any statements that have proved to be inaccurate. Disgorgement is a bit of an unconventional term since it is usually applied to unethical gains in economics, but Tsikata successfully applies it to journalism.

It is important to distinguish between the positive properties of transparency in journalism and politics and the ethical dilemma that comes from trying to apply this same transparency to the lives of individuals. Tsikata's guide is helpful in this regard because it delineates ethical boundaries in journalism.

Photo credit: via


Pay for Online News Content

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An article recently appeared on Brandrepublic about how the Telegraph, a popular news source in the UK, is planning on revamping its website, possibly including both free and paid-for content at the same time.

The idea is that those browsing the site without a paid subscription would be able to get at least a general sense of the news, but to receive further details they would have to pay. It is believed this "hybrid" method of news website management would be more effective than a completely free or a completely subscription based service.

While I consider this method better than a complete subscription to view any content like The Daily, I still think a system like this will be relatively unsuccessful as long as other services provide completely free content on the web.

I can see this doing nothing but whetting the appetite of someone who wants to know more about an issue, forcing them to go looking for it at another website with open content. I guess we'll just have to see how this works out, though. I can see online journalism evolving in a couple of different ways, but I don't think this one will work very well in the long term.

Photo Credit: Joe Anderson via Creative Commons


Tips on Becoming a Better Newswriter

Starting out as a journalist can be very tricky. You may have found the perfect story and have done all of your research and interviews BUT all your hardwork and time may be wasted if you write a boring article that nobody wants to read. To ensure that your hardwork and dedication to the story of your choice shines out, here are a couple helpful tips to improve your newswriting.

1. Always use killer headlines - You must, must, must capture the readers attention if you even want them to skim your article, let alone read the details. To make this happen, get to the point and make it interesting. Give them an idea of what you're going to be talking about, but make them want to know more.

2. Choose your stories wisely - Obviously, people aren't going to spend time reading your article if it's something they find excruciatingly boring and uninteresting. "Stepped in dog poo today" - nobody cares. "Pack of dogs attack teen" - more interesting. Now it doesn't have to be violent, it just has to be something interesting and/or have a direct impact on your readers' lives.

3. Inverted pyramid...enough said. - Your audience is pressed for time; they don't want to sit there all day and wait for you to get to the point. To make sure they get a clear picture, give them the juiciest details in the first paragraph. Save the supporting details for later paragraphs.

4. Mind your grammar - You want people to take you seriously, so try to use correct grammar in your blogs. No professional is going to want to read your "text talk", or at least take what you have to say seriously.

Hopefully these tips have given you a good start on your newswriting. For a different approach and more structural ways on how to build a good story visit:
Photo Credit: CreativeCommons, user: john_a_ward


Save Green, Be Green

Monday, February 21, 2011

Even though mobile devices may cost you a lot of green, they still play a major role in society. What if I was to tell you that having a mobile device can also help you save a lot of money by going green?

One way of going green is by using the app Avego, which is a ride-sharing app for the iPhone that lets you offer empty seats in your car to others and search for open seats when you are car-less. When this app is open and in use, you are able to receive updates on how far away your ride is.

This app also computes how much money each person in the car owes for gas. Users of this program create a profile that becomes available to public. After doing so, members are allowed to rate other members based on their experience.

Another app available is Findgreen by 3rdWhaleMobile’s. This app gives GPS-equipped BlackBerry, iPhone and Android Smartphone owners a guide to local retailers and services that are stored within the GenGreen’s Green Business Directory. A downfall to this app is that not all listings in the area are available.

Ipad and iPhone users who already have wired their home to dim the lights and turn the heating on from a distance are getting the opportunity to save energy with a touch of a button. Lutron’s Home Control app lets RadioRA 2 or HomeWorks QS users control their lights, heating and window shades with the use of their iPhone or iPad.

MyHome app, by Control4, allows users to control their lights, heat and window shades as well as home entertainment and security systems. This app works for the iPhone, iPad and eventually the Android.

Lastly, there is an app called MeterRead which allows users to control the energy consumption and subsequent savings by recording your homes electric meter readings and suggesting ways to improve efficiency.

These apps will not only benefit the users but the environment as well.

Unfortunately, these apps are not accessible to everybody because not everyone has an iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry or Android.

Soon enough, apps similar to these will be available for everyone and allow society to save personally and environmentally.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Is It A Newspaper Or A Magazine

On February 2, 2011 The Daily for the Apple iPad was launched.

The Daily has promoted itself as a newspaper exclusively for the iPad. Each day new articles are published and put out just like a print newspaper.

An iPad user downloads the app and pays 99 cents per week or a year subscription for $39.99. Then the user is set to read to his or her heart's content.

It has been speculated however that The Daily is not a newspaper but a magazine. These claims have been based on visuals more present than text.

In my opinion The Daily is neither one. Both newspapers and magazines have a large amount of context bewteen the pages.

An issue of The Daily only has a handful of stories. And once those stories are gone they are gone unlike newspapers and magazines which can have stories from months or years gone by.

To me The Daily is ridiculous, why pay for news when it can be read online for free with an unlimited amount of stories?

I feel this application is really just a bulletin highlighting a few stories.

What's your take?
Photo Credit: Creative Commons


The 21st Century Bookstore

Many of us have been in a bookstore before. Barnes and Noble is a great example of a bookstore that offers current novels and magazines to a broad range of people.

Upon walking in, customers are bombarded by all of the products that they can willingly buy. Though the store is organized in a fashionable way, what if it all was digital?

There still would be comfy chairs to sit in, but the space the magazines and books take up would be eliminated. Customers could easily browse through the products with their smartphone, or other form of technology that they are equipped with.

By making the bookstores more technology oriented, customers would have more options to choose from. Customers today are finding that looking for books online offers them more of a selection than if they were to visit a bookstore.

Customers would also have the advantage of reading through books and magazines, just like the Bookstore offered, but it would all be digital. Customers of course would have to stay within the proximity of the store to receive these benefits, but it would still be worth the change.

By making Bookstores more digital, consumers are more apt to purchase magazines and books. Making Bookstores digital is one of the keys to keeping the media industry afloat.



Digital Resumes on the Rise

People often ask one thing when going to a job interview. Is my resume put together well enough to show who I really am? Today, there are even more options for resumes than the regular typed up paper that's typically turned in by hopeful applicants.

The most recent version of the resume includes graphics of all types. Applicants can personalize their resumes to fit their specific job. One resume on Mashable's site, pictured to the left, is personalized to the restaurant business, and the resume is designed to look like a menu. These types of resumes are called digital resumes.

Digital resumes stand out from the ordinary resume. The bright colors and different layout make the person's eyes wander all over the page reading every detail. It's more interesting to look at than a plain white paper with black text.

These types of resumes also show the employer that the applicant wants the job bad enough that he/she took the time to personalize the resume to fit the job. This can often make an employer choose this more pleasing to the eye digital resume over the ordinary resume. Employers may often think if he/she took this much time to work on their resume imagine how hard he/she will work on the job.

I plan on editing my resume after seeing all these attractive resumes. My resume will not only look the best out of all the other applicants I will be going up against for future jobs, but it will also look pretty cool, and employers will be impressed with my determination to impress them.

Photo Credit: Jason Takeuchi via Mashable


How to be a Successful Blogger

Being a successful blogger can be an important part of your profession today. Jack Harold the CEO of Affiliate Home Business offers some tips to being a successful blogger on the blog of Jonathon Volk.

1. Check Your Stats
Your blog statistics are a valuable part of your blog.

2. What if People Don't Want to Read My Blog
Readers are very important to your blog's livelihood.

3. There Are Blogs Just Like Mine
Topics are common, yours is already covered?

4. Be Creative
Who cares if your topic is covered, making your blog more creative and unique will get readers.


Egypt: Is it Too Dangerous for Journalists?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Over the past couple of weeks the events taking place in Egypt and Tunisia have been consuming news headlines.

Along with the political upheaval going on in Egypt, a major issue facing the news world is the safety of American and other foreign journalists.

Making headlines this week was the sexual assault of American CBS reporter Lara Logan. In many articles including an writeup on The have uncovered the details of her assault and other journalist related violence.

Logan was assaulted in the midst of the political revolts in Egypt on February 11 at around 1 a.m. The assault occurred moments after President Hosni Mubarak had officially stepped down.

New reports say that Logan was beaten, stripped of her clothing, pinched, and whipped as they shouted "jew" and "Israeli."

Sources are now saying the Logan narrowly escaped rape with the help of a group of Egyptian women that intervened along with help from Egyptian soldiers.

Logan is not alone. Since the beginning of the revolts in Egypt 140 journalists have been killed or injured while reporting on the events taking place there.

Logan's relatives and friends have said that the emotional and mental wounds are worse than her physical injuries. She is currently recovering in her home in Washington D.C.

Photo Credit: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times via Creative Commons


Eyes are Everywhere

A Pennsylvania high school teacher was suspended from her job after placing angry, unprofessional blog posts about her students on the Internet.

Natalie Munroe, an English teacher at Central Bucks East High School, vented her frustration in her blog about some of her "utterly loathsome" students saying remarks such as they are "rude, disengaged, lazy whiners." In another post she professes "There's no other way to say this: I hate your kid."

Her attorney, Steve Rovner, says legally his client's school district doesn't have any policy in place that states what teachers can and cannot do online. He also stated Munroe did not name the school, nor her students, in her posts.

Munroe is now in the middle of a heated online debate over whether teachers are actually to blame for the problems in the current education system, as well as the boundaries on freedom of speech all together.

"It's a First Amendment issue," Rovner says. "And it's an unresolved area of the law." Also uncertain is when the online frenzy will die down on this subject as a number of national and international publications are relaying the story.

On one side of this debate, some see Munroe's comments as a systematic rundown of the dire challenges facing America's overburdened teachers. The other side sees just the kind of attitude problem that can ultimately lead students adrift in the classroom.

"The perception is that everything is the teachers' fault," says Munroe, "but teachers can only work within the system that is in place."

So, what do you think? Were Natalie Munroe's blog posts ultimately out of line? Is the perception of today's teachers a fair one?

I think instead of venting about how bad her students are she could try working with them some more to help them if she hasn't already. At the same time I remember how bad some students were in high school and it can be a harsh reality for teachers in the 21th century classroom. It is, however, undoubtedly naive to believe that a blog can be anonymous in the year 2011 as she believed it to be.

Any words said over the Internet are available for anyone and everyone to see.

Photo Credit: from Creative Commons


Real Post about Fake News

The responsibility of news reporting is to keep people informed of their surroundings and how to react. The best news companies rely on timeliness and accuracy, and in return, those viewers/readers give those news organizations the respect and trust it deserves.

In return, what kind of feedback should fake (satrical) news get? Those who report news to be funny and make fun of a real story try to get attention in a controversial or slanted way. Since they are trying to rattle someone's cage, those who are less caring about the news will not be as disturbed as one who is engaged with "real news."

One of the most famous fake news shows is the "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Comedy Central. The power of satire has become a main idea when it comes to criticizing political events. People anticipate what he and Stephen Colbert will come up with each night. It cannot be found anywhere else.

Is fake news good for media? Well, it gets people talking about the issues, even if it takes a joke or two to get people aware of political happenings. It also gives the younger demographics to better understand how politics are run. Comedy Central realizes that young people may not necessarily grasp politics all that well, so they use the Stewart-Colbert duo to capitalize on that possibility.

In my opinion, fake news is needed for those of us who may not understand the political world. From a media standpoint, it doesn't help it, but it doesn't hurt it either. A 2007 Columbia Journalism Review article may disagree with this standpoint, but if it keeps people informed, what's the harm?

Photo Credit: The Sentinel via Creative Commons


Why Should We Blog?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

At the beginning of enrollment in BNR class, a majority of Simpson College students had never contributed to a blog in their life.

Many students pondered about this whole blogging business at the beginning of this course. Why would we need blogs? What are we going to write about for our blogs? How are we going to know what we're blogging about is useful? How do people even use blogs?

Traditionally, blogs started out as being a sort of online diary for people across the world. However, as blogging became more popular, many businesses and journalists decided to contribute to the blogging world to gain publicly.

Blogging has helped the journalist world in all different aspects. Once writers have exposed their work online, they are easily able to catch reader's attention. In result, they can receive feedback and gain subscribers to read their daily postings.

As you continue to blog, you will notice an improvement in your writing skills. For those who have previously blogged, think back to the very first blog you wrote. Now snap back to the present. Your writing portfolio and skills have improved tremendously because of your frequent interaction with writing.

What if you aren't interested in blogging for journalist purposes and promoting business? There are still many different reasons you can post your blogs online.

One last pro of becoming a blogger is you can even make profit from blogging. A lot of people blogging have not found themselves becoming a blogger to make money, but find out later that will end up doing so.

An unknown author once said, "Blogging is the new poetry."

If you have never blogged before reading this article, please consider the benefits of blogging. Go ahead and give starting your own blog a shot.

Photo Credit: Tutor2U @ Creative Commons


Get Media Savvy.

Mitch Joel is the president of Twist Image. He is the author of the book and currently update blog, Six Pixels of Separation. In his blog he offers tips to be more media savvy, for even those who shy away from the media and online world.

1. Be more like a Journalist.
Even if you aren't or don't want to be a journalist you should act like one when publishing online. Make sure the facts you're presenting are truthful and reliable and make sure you stay connected with the online world after you post a blog, status update, or twitter.

2. Be a Human
While you want to maintain professionalism, you don't need to take all the humanity and feeling out of your posts and tweets. Let your human side show, just don't rant, rave or cry.

3. Spelling and Grammar
They're important in the essays and research papers you turn and they're important when you want to look professional on the web. Glaring spelling and grammar mistakes aren't going to get you any great jobs or get people to trust you. Why would the public want to follow and trust in someone who can't be bothered to spell check and edit their posts.

4. Be Skeptical and Check Your Sources
I bet every news source that announced Gabby Giffords' death is regretting not checking their facts before running with that story. Just because you hear something all over doesn't mean it's true. Be skeptical of rumors you hear and check them out with credible sources (as in more than one) before you run the stories.

5. Don't Blow Your Fuse
We all get angry and emotional sometimes, but when trying to act professional and be respected in your field it's best not to do it in front of the people you want to trust and respect you. Remain civil in online discussions and don't start ones you know will get you hot under the collar. Be passionate, but don't let it your passion turn into something out of control.


Lara Logan Assulted in Egypt

Logan was accused of being an Israeli spy and told to leave Egypt earlier this month. After being detained she went back to the U.S.

Shortly after her return to the U.S. she went back to Cairo before Mubarak fled his office.

Logan has made her name as a war reporter for Britain's GMTV in 2001 at the beginning of the Afghanistan war. Later she reported on the war in Iraq. In 2002 Logan joined CBS News.

There are at leased 140 injured or killed reporters while covering the Egypt protests since Jan. 30 according to the committee to Protect Foreign Journalists.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Why journalists use AP style

We are beginners in the journalism world. As students we are just learning about AP style, and it's importance to the journalism world. What is the Associated Press style? We have heard Professor Brian Steffen preach and rejoice the AP style handbook that he had his students purchase at the beginning of the semester, but do we really understand it's importance to us as future journalists?

AP style shows journalists what are the correct ways to write.. It shows the correct ways to write dates, punctuation, titles, addresses, and much more. Why is it so important for journalists to write in this certain way? It is necessary because it could set you apart from being a glamorous front page story, to the stories that never are looked at. AP style is the standard for print journalism, and if you choose to never learn the fundamentals it could cost you your dream job.

Learning AP style can be time consuming and confusing, but will be a great investment for your future career in journalism. It's not even something that you have to memorize. The AP style handbook was created for journalists who are working with a tight deadline, so was created in order to be easy to use.

To help with having to reference to the AP style handbook every time you write a story, memorizing a few important and reoccurring elements of the style would be helpful. Elements such as: titles (names, book, songs, and films), dates, quotations, numbers, and addresses. When you become really good with the handbook you can even go online and take the AP style quiz.

Therefore next time a professor tells you to use AP style, or takes off because you didn't use it properly, don't get upset. He or she is just preparing you so that one day when you get a job in journalism you are more then prepared for what is expected from your future boss.

Photo credit: George Kelly, Flickr


News: Information That is New?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Grab a pen and paper. Got it? Okay. Now, go ask 15 different journalists this question: what is news?

As you have discovered, the 15 different journalists gave you 15 different definitions. We now have a dilemma. What is news? One way of defining news is to list out its characteristics. These are the values that journalists use when they select which stories to report. These include the following:

Timeliness: A tornado that happened last night is more newsworthy than the one that happened 3 months ago.

Proximity: A fire that occured in your town in which three people are injured, is more likely to make it in the paper than a fire that occured 400 miles away.

Consequence: A $70 billion tax cut is more newsworthy than a $3,000 one.

Rarity: An albino child being born is news.

Human Interest: Events that touch our hearts, often make the news.

Charles Dana, editor of the The New York Sun in the late 1800s defined news as "anything that will make people talk." Journalist Walter Lippmann defined news as a "picture of reality on which men can act."

There are many definitions as to what "news" is. It's hard to just pick one and stick with it because the news is different for everybody. But one thing that doesn't change the definition of news is the characteristics and reasons why you tell, write and present the stories you report.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons


First Impressions

First impressions are important. Whether it be meeting someone new, going to class for the first time, or, more importantly, a job interview.

The first thing you are judged on is your apperance. What do you look like? What are you wearing?

For example, if you where to show up to your first class of the semester late and looking like you just rolled out of bed, the professor will not get a great impression to start the year off with. Or the first time you meet some dreamy hunk of a guy, you spill your drink on him. Not exactly on anybody's to-do list of first impressions, I bet.

The same guidelines apply for a job interview, if not more. You need to show up on time and by on time I mean before the interview is sheduled to start. It is recommended to show up around 10 minutes before it starts. Also don't show up too early. By showing up too early you can look desperate and as if you have all the time in the world to waste waiting.

The next thing an interviewer sees is what your general appearence looks like. Don't look like you just woke up and forgot to brush your hair. Take a shower, brush your teeth; personal hygiene is important. Along with this is how you smell. You don't want to smell like you have not showered, but you don't want to smell like you poured the entire bottle of perfume or colonge on you. For females, do not overdo your makeup, no raccoon eyes.

The next part dealing with appearance is what you are wearing. The general rule of thumb is to be dressed one step above the interviewer. Do not show up to an interview wearing sweats or jeans. Put on what can be referred to as your Sunday best. Slacks with a button up shirt with a tie or a suit for males. For females, dress pants with a dress shirt, skirt or maybe a dress in some cases.

The next part of your first impression is your introduction. Many employers start out with a handshake. The handshake is more important than it may seem. It needs to be firm but not aggressive.

The last part of your first impression is the verbal introduction. Don't assume they know who you are, introduce yourself. Also, know how to pronounce your interviewers name and the company. Know the position you are applying for and its requirements.

For more helpful interview tips check out the link.

Photo Credit: Via Creative Commons


The World of 3D

Smart phones, being so successful, have been quickly picked up by many of the biggest phone companies.

Each company has modified and added features to its own version, trying to get an edge over other companies and boost sales.

The company LG for example, is gearing to release its new phone the Optimus 3D. This smart phone would be the first of its kind to offer images in three dimensional form.

Buyers would be able to take pictures and even shoot video in 3D form, which the company hopes will start a new technology crave. The Optimus 3D can also be hooked up to a 3D tv in order to display images and videos in this way.

Additionally, the phone would allow buyers to watch movies and play games in 3D. All of these available actions can be done without the use of glasses.

The release date and price of the Optimus 3D has not yet been released.

Whether this new idea of a 3D phone world will become the new hottest must- have depends on the wants of the consumer.

Companies must be innovative and continually think of new cutting edge ideas in order to beat the competition. This is why we are seeing such a fast paced and continuously changing technology market.

Some ideas have broke through and have been very successful on the market, while other ideas flop. To learn more about the Optimus 3D and its features, check out this link.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


What's a Story Without Pictures?

Pictures in a lot of cases are necessary for journalism. For example, newspapers are never or very rarely seen without pictures. However because newspaper staffs are shrinking it is possible that if you are writing a story for a newspaper, you will also have to take the photography for your article as well.

Taking a photography class in highschool I learned some basic tips.

One of the most important things that you need to do to be able to take good pictures is to have a high quality camera if possible. The better quality the camera the better quality the pictures are likely to be.

Also, it is important to be familiar with your camera. For example, you do not want to buy a brand new camera just before going out to take pictures because you will not know how that camera works. The best idea is to buy a camera and go out and practice with it, even read the manual if you have time so you can learn how to get the best use out of it.

Also, when taking your own pictures, make sure that they match the emotion of your story. If your story is about rebuilding after a flood, you would want to show not only the devastation caused but also the hope that comes in the rebuilding process.

Pictures with people are also good typically because people show emotion which can help make your story more meaningful. Also, if it is for a local newspaper and the picture features local people it can be an attention getter.

Also, it's important to have a camera that has video capabilities in case you need to interview someone on the fly.

Another important thing is to have a phone with camera or video capabilties in case you do not have your camera with you.

There are still options for those people who are unable to take pictures of their own. A perfect example is this blog. Creative Commons is a fantastic website that allows users to access non-copyrighted pictures. As long as credit is given to where the photograph came from, they can be used.
If you have any more questions about photography feel free to ask.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons


The Role of Media in Protests in Africa.

Since January, media do not speak nearly as protests in Africa. Tunisia was the first country hit by revolts. Since it affects many African countries.

Did media play an important role in the spread of the idea of freedom across a continent largely sidelined by dictatorship and persecution?

The primary role of media is to deliver the information and also to reveal the truth to the world about criminal actions of government, as was the case in Egypt with Hosni Mubarak.

Indeed, they were so effective that countries around Egypt and Tunisia, decided to start revolutions after seeing the results in Egypt. Now Algeria, Yemen and Bahrein are protesting against their government.

I believe the internet plays a major role spreading the information, especially through social media like Twitter and Facebook.

Nowadays, media are playing an important role giving the information quickly and accurately. The internet stays the main source of information for many people all around the world.

Photo credits: via


You Could be an Award Winning Reporter!

Alright, it's pretty clear to all of us who are wanting to get into this industry to realize that news is all around us. Heck, you don't have to be a media-aspiring addict to realize that. Major outlets, such as CNN, see that as well.
Mediabistro announced this afternoon that the world leader in news is awarding everyday citizens on their outstanding reporting. The CNN iReport Awards wil select the best the best content which was submitted by viewers throughout 2010. There will be five categories: Breaking News, Compelling Imagery, Interview, Commentary and Personal Story.
The moral of this story is that anyone who has a camera (or even their phone for that matter), can submit any type of story and become a reporter. It doesn't take someone to have great credentials to report a story. Just make sure a camera is near you, and just maybe, you can get "15 Seconds of Fame" thanks to iReport.

Photo Credit: Fotopedia via Creative Commons


Practice makes perfect

News writing, just like any other types of writing, takes practice in order to become good at. Brian Steffen, the communications departments chair at Simpson College, said in order to make your writing skills better you need to read more news writing and write more news stories. We all know how to get a hold of news stories, but if it's those stories in class that we are so worried about doing bad on, how do we practice writing to prepare ourselves for that writing?

These different news writing exercises will help enhance your news writing in more ways then one. They will allow you to practice stories of novelty, immediacy, proximity, prominence, conflict, emotional quality, and one with an impact on an audience. The exercises are as follows:

Car Crash: It's 10:30 p.m. You're on the graveyard shift again at the Centerville Gazette and hear some chatter on the police scanner about a car crash out on Highway 32, a road that runs through a rural area of town. It sounds like a big crash so you head to the scene.

Shooting: You're on the graveyard shift at the Centerville Gazette. You phone the cops to see if anything's going on. Lt. Jane Ortlieb of the Centerville Police Department tells you there was a shooting tonight at the Fandango Bar & Grill on Wilson Street in the Grungeville section of the city.

School board meeting: You’re covering a 7 p.m. meeting of the Centerville School Board. The meeting is being held in the auditorium of Centerville High School. The board begins with discussion of ongoing cleanup at McKinley Elementary School; school had experienced water damage during heavy rains and flooding two weeks ago in the city’s Parksburg section, near the Root River.

These are just a few exercises that you can practice. There are many places that offer stories just like these. These are just places to start, but you can practice your journalism skills in order to one day reach their potential.

Photo credit: Josh Hallett, Flickr


Manipulation in Photojournalism

Most of us are have a passing familiarity with Kodachrome film, which only recently went out of production after 75 years of popularity. Paul Simon, in his song named for the color reversal film, sang that Kodachrome "makes you think all the world's/ a sunny day."

There are some critics who take up arms when someone calls manipulated photos "photojournalism" precisely because they agree with Simon- certain filters and lenses do alter the way we perceive the captured image.

Damon Winter' s recent photojournalism series, "A Grunt's Life," shot using the iPhone App Hipstamatic, won third place this year in the Feature Picture Story- Newspaper category of the International Pictures of the Year contest. His subjects were the young American men of the Delta Company 2nd Platoon in Afghanistan.

The picture above is a great example of just one of the many effects that the Hipstamatic App can produce. Significantly, the App creates the effects itself, automatically.

The photographer, however, still makes his/her own creative contribution-- there is no worthy photojournalism series without a significant subject, and that is inevitably chosen by the photographer. He/She then intentionally frames the subject and that can make all the difference in the shot.

For example, take an image like the one of Specialist Jake Fisher smiling broadly and getting air by jumping on an elevated platform salvaged from a bed frame. The subject of the photo, Fisher jumping on the make-shift trampoline, is nostalgic and youthful in itself and photographer Winter chose it specifically for that reason.

Winter's image says these men are too young, too innocent to give their lives in Afghanistan. "Look! Even in the face of their own mortality, they spend their spare time playing the games of impeccant boys," it says.

Since the subject is key to interpreting the message, some say any additions made to the composition by the App only enhance the message already intended by the photographer. In the case of most of these photos, the alterations to the image are barely noticeable.

On the other hand, war and military conflicts are tricky subjects. It may be the case that they deserve special attention, and that it is wrong to alter the way we perceive the subjects in such a serious context.

Also problematic is the fact that the message a received from photographs was a very emotional message for a proclaimed journalist- but there it is, throughout the series. And with emotion come biases. A message about the innocence of our soldiers in Afghanistan can't be called unbiased journalism.

Flawed or not, I think that this series can and should be categorized as photojournalism. It is about a current event and it gives a truthful representation of the events and the life led by grunts in the conflict. The series gives good insight on a significant event in contemporary American history. What do you think?

Photo Credit: Jonas Nilsson Lee, on Flikr, via


Wikipedia: 10 Reasons Why its Unrealiable

According to a recent article published by there are ten main reasons why students shouldn't use Wikipedia as a reliable source for journalism or for academic papers.

10. Always check more than one source for information. Never rely on just one.
Always be sure to look around and get the big picture before assuming things are true. Many scholarly journals and publications have made mistakes and have to correct them later. If a student or journalist relies on one source without checking it, there is a chance that the information could be incorrect even if it appears to be a reliable source.

9. Don't rely on a source like Wikipedia when the author is unknown.
Most people who post information to Wikipedia are un-named and even the editors are not recognized. Always ask yourself who wrote the information and why.

8. Often the contributor with an agenda gets their information out there.
The information posted on Wikipedia is not always the most accurate information. A lot of the time the information that stays published is the information published by the author with an agenda.

7. Contributors with an agenda also coincidently get editing positions as well.
When editors have the power to control the content based on their agenda, that's when the information starts to be inaccurate and opinionated.

6. Some people post wrong information on purpose.
When anyone can post to Wikipedia there is nothing protecting readers from authors who post incorrect information on purpose. Purposely-wrong information can often go unnoticed for months.

5. There is very little diversity among Wikipedia editors. This can reflect in the content left published.
A 2009 study showed that the mass majority of editors were male and are mostly from North America or Europe.

4. Although new information is still being published on Wikipedia everyday, the number of new editors has stopped.

3. The average person is becoming less powerful in the Wikipedia world.
With the contributor numbers down, a small group of editors have most of the control over the large amount of diverse content.

2. Accurate information can get deleted.
When accurate information is published by a reliable source there is still a good chance that it could get deleted. It is all up the the editors and they are the ones who decide what is reliable and what isn't.

1. Wikipedia admits their faults.
Why trust Wikipedia when they tell readers not to rely on their information. The site itself reads, "We do not expect you to trust us." They also go on to say not to trust them as a primary source and that the information on Wikipedia should not be used to make difficult decisions.

Photo Credit: Alexis Brion via Creative commons


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