Professionalism is for Everyone

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It used to be that everyone could just assume that professionalism was something that could just be assumed, but with journalism professionalism is something that needs to be taught.

Although we have been taught as journalism students what professionalism consists of we still may feel unprepared for the world after school. Something new journalists can do in order to prepare for professionalism in the world is read the book Professionalism is for Everyone. This book provides five important ways to becoming a professional. It reinforces things such as ethics, values, and personal standards of performances.

The five different ways of becoming a professional includes: character, attitude, excellence, competency, and conduct. Each one of these ways has a lists of do's and don't's beginning at each chapter.

There are many clients that have purchased this book already, and they found many positive results already. These clients are from many different types of professional backgrounds. If they say that is has been a reliable source for them, then why wouldn't it work for you? Therefore, don't waste anymore time purchase your own copy of Professionalism is for Everyone.

Photo credit:


Give us the Goodies!

J-schools have a unique way of shoving it down students' throats that digital media is the way to go when it comes to the future of journalism. For most of us poor college students, buying new iPads, Kindles, and smartphones aren't always within our budget.

Here's where J-Schools can come into play.

I believe firmly that journalism programs need to put their money where their mouth is. If they want us to "believe" in digital media, then provide us with the goods. We, as students, want to know how to digitize our news. We just need a little jumpstart.

The statistics how digital use don't lie. In the State of the Media report, 84 percent of the surveyed population said they use a mobile device of some sort. In the same report, the number of tablet use is doubling by the month.

Other schools are using mobile digital media. Southern Cal's program is learning how to report news with an iPad. Abilene Christian down south was one of the first college newspapers to release their app back last April. The Iowa State Daily hopes to launch an Android and an iPad version of their paper towards mid-April.

Let us play with some new toys so we can gain an advantage. Isn't that what college professors are giving students anyway?

Photo Credit: Cheth Studios via Creative Commons


A New Face to Journalism

The queen of outrageous fashion choices and bizarre performances has taken on a new identity: magazine journalist. Singer Lady Gaga announced that she will begin writing as a fashion journalist for V Magazine next month.

"Each issue, Mother Monster will put pen to the page, bringing us an editorial window into her fashion multiverse," the magazine stated.

Those who read her column will get an inside look not only at the unique character of Lady Gaga, but at her unique fashion taste and choices as well.

V Magazine promoted the column through creation of the contest entitled Drawn This Way, a play off of Lady Gaga's most recent album entitled Born This Way.

In this contest, readers and fans are encouraged to create an illustration of Lady Gaga and submit them to the magazine. The winning illustration will be featured as Lady Gaga's headshot when her column is featured in the magazine.

I think this is a good move for the magazine. As a fashion magazine, who better to have as a columnist than one of the most interesting people in the fashion industry? Lady Gaga's large, faithful fan club also known as her "monsters" will surely help her column draw plenty of attention.

Even people who may not be a fan of Lady Gaga's music will be interested in the article because of her fashion statements. Whether they like the statements or not, most people will agree that they are statements that are different and interesting.

For more information on Lady Gaga's newest career, visit this link.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Israeli Prime Minister Fights Local Media

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a long, rocky relationship with the Israeli media.

On Tuesday, March 29th, Netanyahu filed $300,000 libel suits against an Israeli TV station and a newspaper over reports of his excessive lifestyle.

Although these reports are on incidents that allegedly occured during Netanyahu's time in Parliament and unrelated to his term as prime minister, Netanyahu claims that they were false and reported to ridicule and humiliate him.

"[The reports] were disparaging," says an aide from Netanyahu's camp. "[They were] very hurtful and created a negative portrayal of him, depicting him as a felon."

The libel suit claims that Israel's Channel 10 falsely reported that Netanyahu failed to report financial contributions from foreign donors.

The suit against newspaper Maariv claims the newspaper reported that Netanyahu and his wife paid $17,000 for a meal abroad, as part of a pattern of extravagant behavior. Israel's State Comptroller has stated that these allegations will be investigated.

Other Channel 10 reports accused Netanyahu of allowing wealthy foreign benefactors to pay for private flights, expensive meals and luxury hotel rooms for him and his family. Other news outlets have published similar allegations. The libel suit does not address these allegations.

These reports and similar ones by other local newspapers, have seriously damaged Netanyahu's reputation. Netanyahu has responded with hostility, claiming that Channel 10 and other media outlets have begun a campaign to besmirch his name.

Aluf Benn, editor-at-large for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz Daily, believes this is largely unnecessary. "Netanyahu is portraying himself as a victim of political persecution on the part of the left-wing media," says Benn.

"[But] it's doubtful that Netanyahu will now be perceived as having ... seriously violated the rules of ethics, or that this episode will hang over the rest of his term of office."

Many Israeli journalists have long been frustrated with Netanyahu's suspicion of traditional news outlets. Rarely holding news conferences or granting interviews, Netanyahu has recently embraced YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to bypass local journalists and speak directly to the people.

As Netanyahu joins President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron in YouTube's World View project, answering questions directly through the popular video-sharing website, some journalists believe this is a way of evading questions that Netanyahu views as annoying or biased.

"He doesn't want to deal with uncomfortable questions and he doesn't like to be interrupted," said Nahum Barnea, a political columnist at the Yedoit Ahronot Daily. "There is no dialogue anymore. It's become a monologue, with no back and forth."

Netanyahu has also restricted access to foreign journalists as well. He took only four questions at his annual meeting with foreign correspondents in January and subjected many of the journalists there to invasive strip searches by security guards.

"He's constantly trying to find ways to bypass us," said Danny Zaken, chairman of Israel's press association. "We believe that every public servant should make himself available to journalists and their questions."

Despite these claims, Netanyahu's office maintains that this is not the case.

"We understand the importance of new media in the modern world - it allows the prime minister to speak to the people without filters," said spokesman Mark Regev. "But I don't think it has to come at the expense of the traditional media."

Photo credit:


Top 10 Twitter Users

Who is your favorite celebrity? Or how about musican? Are you following them on Twitter? The answer is most likely yes.

1. The most popular Twitter user at the moment is Lady Gaga, @ladygaga, with 9,127,120 followers.
2. The runner up for first place is teen singing sensation Justin Bieber, @justinbieber, with 8,492,294 followers.
3. Third place is pop star Britney Spears, @britneyspears, with 7,283,609 followers.
4. Fourth place twitter is President Barack Obama, @BarackObama, with 7,215,354 followers.
5. Fifth place is held by reality television star Kim Kardashian, @KimKardashian, with 6,962,871 followers.
6. What about former twitter champ Ashton Kutcher, @aplusk? He now has fallen to sixth place with 6,507,333 followers.
7. Top 40 singer Katy Perry, @katyperry, is in seventh place with 6,469,984 followers.
8. Television host Ellen DeGeneres, @TheEllenShow, with 6,301,221.
9. Country music superstar Taylor Swift, @taylorswift13, is in ninth place with 5,795,999 followers.
10. Tenth place is held none other than Oprah Winfrey, @Oprah, with 5,467,114 followers.
All of these famous people have the blue official Twitter symbol by their names verifying that is is the actual star. A notable mention is Charlie Sheen, @charliesheen, in 34th place with 3,331,387 followers. Remember that he started his Twitter account just a few weeks back. The number of followers that he has now is incredible.
If you want to search your favorite star follow the link to see the Top 100. Remember: that the numbers might be slightly off due to new followers every minute.
Photo Credit: Via Creative Commons


Ethics of Journalism

The ethics of journalism is one of the most well-defined branches of media ethics, primarily because it is frequently taught in schools of journalism.

Historically and currently, this subset of media ethics is widely known to journalists as their professional "code of ethics" or the "canons of journalism."

This famous Code of Ethics includes four obligations for journalists:

- Seek thruth and report it: journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

- Minimize harm: Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

- Act independently: journalists should be free of any obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

- Be accountable: journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Many journalism scandals can be find through out U.S history. Journalism scandals are high-profile incidents or acts, whether intentional or accidental, that run contrary to the generally accepted ethics and standards of journalism, or otherwise violate the "ideal" mission of journalism: to report news events and issues accurately and fairly.

The case of Jason Blair, former journalist at the New York Times, is an exemple of journalism scandal due to plagiarism. Jason Blair was just 27 when he resigned in shame in 2003.

"I lied and I lied-and then I lied some more," he explained. "I lied about where I had been, I lied about where I had found information. I lied about how I wrote the story."

For more information about law and ethics, you can read those several landmark libel cases that described either the obligations, either the rights of the press: New York Times v. Sullivan; AP v. Walker and Curtis Publishing v. Butts ; Gertz v. Welch.

Photo credit: via


Mistakes in Journalism

Everyone makes mistakes. Even journalists.

These mistakes can come in a variety of places: spelling errors, grammar mistakes, false quotes, or even false information.
One huge example of this that comes to mind is when NPR mistakenly reported that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was dead after receiving a shot to the head.
As is talked about in this article, there are many ways in which mistakes such as these can actually be avoided.
1.Be sure of your source. This is essential. If you just choose a random person off the street, your information may be less reliable than say picking multiple people off the street or using a source you know is trustworthy. Also with this, make sure that your source would have access to the information they are claiming is true.
2. Make sure they have evidence. Otherwise, it could all just be speculation or rumor. Having concrete evidence increases the reliability of a source and the information you are receiving.
3. Don't assume. As we were always taught, it makes "an ass out of u and me". Just because something appears a certain way doesn't mean that is always the case, as like what happened with Giffords.
4. Don't hop the bandwagon. Don't simply report something that someone else has reported, even if it is big news, unless you have actual confirmation from trusted and informed sources. Doing this could have prevented the rapid spread of the false news that Giffords had died.
For more tips be sure to check out the article mentioned above or feel free to comment if you have any questions.
Photo credit: via Creative Commons


Broadcast Journalism You Say?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I love being in front of a camera. Aside from the fact that it adds the illusion of ten pounds to your already lovely figure...I still love it. I came to a realization that someday I do want to do something in broadcasting journalism.

So, I have some tips for me and for others on how to start a career in the best field ever: broadcast journalism.

Broadcast journalists may work for television news stations or radio stations. Most broadcast journalists will need to have a four year college degree in journalism or a related field.

First things first. Make a demo tape. In addition to your college degree and an awesome resume, a demo tape will help you secure that first job.

Secondly, all the contacts/networking you made throughout your college experience or internships. Broadcast journalism is a competitive field, so the more networking you have, the better.

Next we have research! When you start reporting, it's a great idea to research your topic beforehand so you understand what you're reporting. Researching also helps you develop the right questions to ask in an interview and you end up with a better story.

Story ideas is next on the list. You should become familiar with the community you are involved in and the concerning issues lying within the community. Pitching story ideas will make you a great asset to the news team.

And we all know how much we love pitching stories to Brian..

Develop good interview skills. As a broadcast journalist, you will interview many different types of people, in many different types of situations. You will need good listening skills as well.

Be open to relocation
. Broadcast journalists should be willing to move to different cities to further their career aspirations.

There are many more other tips and tid bits, but these are the main focus points. So far, all you future broadcast journalist aspiring to be an Anderson Cooper, here is your goal plan. See you out there in the real world!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Five Tips for Great News Feature Stories

Back in the 1960's there was a reporter named Tom Wolfe got fed up with "the pale beige tone" of regular news writing. Thus he began writing feature stories to brighten up news writing and add a great new way to tell news stories.

Feature stories became and are still successful among news writers today, but not everyone can write a great feature story. So, here's five tips for producing great news feature stories.

1. Find Real People

News features talk about important topics, but they are still people stories. You'll need to have real people that will help bring your feature story to life.

If you're going to write about teachers then interview plenty and focus on one in particular. Then, let them tell you their stories to help tell yours.

2. Don't Overdo The Story

Feature stories are suppose to be a more colorful story and have a more interesting voice. That doesn't mean put the whole rainbow in your story though if you know what I mean.

It's like trying to play the piano, sing a song, and juggle 3 saws at the same time, that's just too much color. Keep it nice and interesting to read, but make sure it doesn't overwhelm your audience.

3. Use Your Senses

Incorporating nice details into your feature story will help make it interesting to read. A great way to do that is by using the five senses to put in those details.

Describe how things look, feel, touch, sound, and taste to make the reader feel like they are not only reading the story, he or she will believe they are actually part of the story being told.

4. Keeping It Real

Although feature stories require more creative writing in the structure, it is still important to keep the facts right. Sometimes a feature story can turn into a bit of a fiction story, but we need to remember as journalist that our writing is suppose to be nonfiction.

So, keeping it real in your story is critical or else it isn't really a feature story and you might as well start writing a fictional book.

5. Find your voice
Creative journalist can have a harder time with this writing their news stories. Whether it be editors for the newspaper or a college professor grading your news story, they can have rules an opinions to how writing should be done.

Being a successful writer will depend on your ability to satisfy what the boss wants in the paper, pleasing your audience reading the story, and staying true to your personal voice. That can be a hard thing to do, but it's one of your main goals as a journalist.

Photo Credit: via Creative Commons


The Components of Storytelling

We all have our own opinions and ideas as to how to develop a good story. Some of these ideas may be beneficial, whereas some may be useless and get you nowhere. Therefore, I am going to share with you through the words of Ken Speake, a journalist and storyteller, what the components of storytelling are.

1. Have a great opening. Create an attractive beginning that will appeal to the viewers. You can start with something emotional, unexpected or unusual. It is important that this part grabs their attention immediately, making them want more. Do not be afraid to try something out of the ordinary, be curious and creative.
2. Dive below the surface and stay there. Asking questions allows you to become a better reporter. Therefore, do not be afraid to be too curious and go over and beyond with questions. When you ask questions, make sure you listen to what is actually being said. Listening well allows you to become more intrigued and have good follow-up questions.
3. Be a good team player. Always be thankful for advice or corrections made by others. Although you may think it is incorrect or do not want to take anyone’s advice, at least take their thoughts into consideration. Doing so allows you to become more open and improve the quality of your work.
4. Construct a story arc, and don’t ruin it with a week ending. Make sure that your ending is not repetitive and sharing the same information that was in your opening. Instead, make it new and settling, allowing the reader to absorb all of the information they just read while still in awe. Photo Credit:


Types of Online Journalism Websites

As internet journalism becomes more popular print journalism becomes less popular every year. Does that mean that print journalism is an endangered species that will one day become extinct? If so what does that mean for today's journalists?

Journalist's are just going to have to adapt to the new medium, and in order to do so journalists need to become familiar with the different types of journalism websites. It is true that web journalism is able to cover a vast variety of things, but what are the different kinds of sites that are available online? These are the five major types of online journalism that journalists need to be familiar with:

1. Newspaper Websites
These are just extensions of papers themselves such as New York Times, and are able to cover a vast majority of subjects.

2. Independent News Websites
These sites, cover hard-news coverage of municipal government, city agencies, law enforcement and schools. They also tend to be found in larger cities, and are a non profit organizations that get their money from donations. They are known for their hardcore investigation, which is done by full time reporters.

3. Hyper-Local News Sites
These focus on small communities. They tend to be independent sites or ran by their local newspapers.

4. Citizen Journalism Sites
These are usually very diverse and is a place where people usually post things such as pictures and videos, and some can be targeted to a specific geographic area. Some of these are edited, why others are not.

5. Blogs
These are places where people deliver opinion and commentary on certain subjects. Bloggers may or may not have the necessary journalism degrees.

In order to be versatile for a journalism job in the future you need to be able to write online journalism. Therefore to be a future journalist you need to know what these different online journalism sites are.

Photo credit: Flickr


Media Evolution

This week I saw a video discussing the future of journalism. One comment made in this video by a professor at Columbia University was that no new media has ever truly replaced its predacessor.

I absolutely agree.

A common discussion topic these days is if print news will cease to exist due to the advances of Internet news. Some say yes and some are skeptical.

First there was the newspaper, followed by the radio, followed by television and finally the Internet came to be. Everytime a new media was introduced the fear was the older media would vanish.

We know this isn't necessarily the case. Television didn't make radio obsolete, not widely as used but definately not obsolete.

Instead I think media evolves from others instead of knocking them out. Check a car there is a radio in there and it gets used.

As for newspapers daily editions may not occur forever but I'd say no matter what the Sunday newspaper will always be there for enjoyment.

Photo Credit:Creative Commons


Photo Editing Ethics in News

With the increase if photo editing readers are constantly faced with the decision to decide between what is real and what is altered.

The National Press Photographers Association has a code of ethics that states that the principle job of a photo journalist is to provide accurate information that can be used for history later on.

When people turn on the news, read a newspaper or news magazine, they expect the truth and accurate images.

In my opinion photos in journalism and news sources can be edited, but only simply. For a general rule of thumb, photos should only be edited in ways that do not change the content.

In some cases, editing photos may actually make the image more realistic. If an image's exposure is lightened if the picture was darker than real life, or if red-eye removal is used, there is actually a more realistic photo being presented in the end.

Photos should not be changed in an effort of censorship. If a photo is too graphic in some way, then it should not be published in the first place.

Photos should not be edited in journalism because the general audience has a hard time distinguishing between what is real and what is edited. So, it is up to the journalist to keep things accurate.

Photo credit: Feras Hares on via Creative Commons


How Journalists are Essential to Politics

Last night, President Obama addressed the nation in a speech about the state of affairs in Libya, including the nature and duration of American involvement. Important publications and individuals everywhere reported-- and many interpreted--the event.

Because of the increasing expanse of media available, it is likely that many more people than just those who listened and watched President Obama's address will encounter accounts of the speech somewhere.

Blogs are an increasingly reputable source of information about all sorts of topics. They can offer opinions, facts, and helpful summaries of occurrences in politics that citizens must be aware of in order for the U.S. to maintain a functional democracy.

Additionally, journalists help to disseminate messages of political and national importance throughout all levels of society. Journalism often makes information accessible to readers with very low reading levels. It can also make information accessible to people who may not have the capacity to follow all political discourse.

Journalists like Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza, writing for the Washington Post blog "The Fix," draw out themes for their readers who missed the speech, and also those who may want to go back to get a better understanding of what was said. The two also give context to the President's speech, giving the reader background on the conflict in Libya and the U.S.'s involvement.

Informative journalism like this often includes data from other sources that has been put into sentences that are easy to read and comprehend; in this instance, it's data about public perception of the conflict in Libya from the PEW research center.

Other news sources preemptively provide information for viewers before the event occurs. These are generally just-the-facts bulletins.

For these reasons and more, journalism is an essential part of cultural understanding of political events and discourse. Read up on events that you've missed, or events where you're left wondering about some important element or theme in the dialogue.

Photo courtesy of Hoshie via


Keep On Tweeting

As the year winds down, many BNR students at Simpson College are close to successfully completing their first semester of using Twitter.

Having become a huge fan of this website, I have found myself constantly tweeting and making connections outside of the requirements we are assigned to do for class.

As this school year ends, many of us may think about discontinuing our use of Twitter because we feel there is no longer a need for it. We won't be earning a grade for our participation on the website, so why bother?

Twitter can be very beneficial for writers that are receiving news and making connections with people of common interests. It has the ability to drive substantial amounts of business and help promote publicity, deals, and information about companies.

As many of us want to be involved in writing, marketing, advertisement, or public relations someday, being updated on the power Twitter has on our economy is something we should all be aware of.

Being an engaged and active member of Twitter will help you monitor breaking news and current events occurring across the nation. Being culturally literate is a helpful trait to have in the journalism world today.

Twitter can also be helpful when conducting a story because you can find sources, receive excellent feedback from dozens of people, and view opinions of a subject from others around the world.

Many journalists have taken advantage of the pros we can gain out of using Twitter. Whether it's getting advice, gaining fans for your writing, or using Twitter websites made for journalists such as MuckRack, continuing to use Twitter will help enhance a writing career in the future.

Photo Credit: Smashing Magazine via Creative Commons


Closet Scandal or Over-Blown Story?

As a journalist or reporter, sometimes your job requires you to reveal truths about skeletons in people's closets. Well what if that skeleton is literally you.

At the beginning of this week, journalist Scott Powers of The Orlando Sentinel was selected as the pool reporter for a private fundraiser for Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. Little did he know he would miss out on most of it.

Vice President Joe Biden was headlining for the fundraiser. His team decided that they did not want Powers mingling with guests before the Veep arrived. So according to various news sources on the internet, "they cosigned him to a storage closet - and stood outside the door to make sure he didn't walk out without permission; Scott Powers was locked in the closet for about 90 minutes and was only allowed to hear Nelson and Biden deliver their remarks."

This, however, is not completely accurate. I thought that this was a juicy story at first, but I rememberd what Brian told us about always checking facts, so I looked up this guy and actually found a story told from his perspective...

On his page at, I found out a little more of his side of the story and how it seems that this story has been blown out of proportion by the media. He quotes, "I was kidnapped. That's news to me... In fact, a lot of details circulating through the blogosphere --- and some mainstream media -- about my coverage of Biden's fundraiser visit last Wednesday were news to me."

"Take a couple details of information, toss them into the Internet and it can become like a child's game of telephone -- with each rendition adding spin and detail. Only in this politcally- charged environment, those spins and details can crystallize toward a scandal," says Powers.

I feel like that quote is extremely true. It's easy to take the first thing you see, or even the first few things you read and take them for truth, but if you actually dig deep you may find evidence on the contrary. This is another example where you always need to check your facts or you'll end up looking dumb in return when you're fooled by over-blown media stories.

Photo Credit: CreativeCommons, World Economic Forum.


Crisis Mapping

Monday, March 28, 2011

There is a new article on Technology Review featuring a "reporting platform" known as Ushahidi that makes it much easier to get general information about an area out, and has been extremely effective in doing so for the Libyan crisis.

Any cellphone or device connected to the Internet can add to the content on Ushahidi and instantly update the situation for anyone viewing it. Now they are updating the system to make it even easier to post articles, photos and other kinds of content along with each update.

An example of what this technology can do is map every area people have come into contact with flooding (like recently happened in the UK). In a crisis like Libya or the Japanese tsunami, problem areas and places to avoid are easily mapped out and anyone can check to see where those are with Internet access or a phone.

A journalist using this technology should be able to quickly analyze situations on even national scales and then act on them much faster than by using traditional means. Hopefully the time that is saved with Ushahidi or things like it would allow a journalist to get that information out there in a more complete version for the populace to read.

Photo Credit: Erik Hershman via Creative Commons



Raise your hand if you like to read really long stories? If you did, you are one of the few individuals who enjoys this activity.

If you didn't raise your hand, then let me introduce you to "The Atavist".

The Atavist was created in 2009 by one of Publishing Houses' editors, Evan Ratliff. Ratliff among other journalists, thought that by creating this program it would attract individuals who seek information at a quicker rate.

The Atavist is an interactive application that allows the reader to listen or watch the article before actually reading the article. This application is also known as a form of story telling.

In order to use the products, users must have the following gadgets: an iPad, a Kindle Single, or the nook.

Additonal features for this application include: current time lines, characters, and links to other helpful information.

The Atavist currently has 40,000 downloads, but Ratliff expects this number to quickly rise.

By offering this application, readers can receive their information at a quicker rate, and they will become more engaged with their news. The expectations for this application is that readers will recall the information longer than by articles with less engagement.

Photo Credit:


QR Codes For Dummies

One of the trends on Twitter this week has been QR Codes which is short for Quick Response Codes.

A QR Code is a matrix barcode readable by barcode readers and camera phones.

They can be found on magazines, signs, tv advertisements, websites, business cards or any other object that has information on it.

The QR Code has been around for a while now. It was invented in 1994 by a Japanese company, Denso-Wave.

The codes have been used in Japan for years, but they are just now becoming mainstream in the United States.

To be able to read these QR Codes you must download an app on your phone like RedLaser or Savvy Shopper.

Next, when you come across a code you turn on your camera on your phone and zoom in. It will scan the code and take you to a page with the information located on it.

If you would like to create your own QR Code for a business card or for other uses there are websites you can access such as

There will be many other items that QR Codes will be used for that we couldn't even imagine now. They are going to be a way of finding information.

Photo Credit: Steve Hall via Creative Commons


NY Times Rules for Blogging

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blogging has become a very popular way of getting your message across to a vast amount of people. Employers look to see if you are writing savvy and a good way to prove this is to have a blog. This week, the New York Times editor Craig Whitney wrote a memo on style for bloggers. It was very helpful, but not very reader friendly.

Here is a version of the rules of professional blogging (in a more friendly format):

  • What should be avoided in all of the blogs are racist, sexist and religious bias. Any nasty, snide, sarcastic, or condescending tones are also undesirable.
  • If something could easily fit into a satirical website for young adults, it probably shouldn't go on news pages of the
  • Contractions, colloquialisms (gonna, y'all, wanna, or phrases like "old as the hills"), and even slang are more allowable in blogs than in print.
  • Obscenity and vulgarity are not (That is, if you want to keep your job).
  • Unverified assertions of fact don't ever belong in blogs.
  • Writers and editors of blogs must also distinguish between personal tone, voice and unqualified personal opinion.
  • A blog or news column has to give enough arguement and fact on both or all sides of the issue to enable a person to agree or disagree.
  • The rule above does not apply to Op-Eds or editorials. These don't require a balanced look from both sides of the debate.
  • Headlines on analysis should try to capture the debate, not take sides.
  • If comments (you are responsible for comments) contain vulgarity, obscenity, offensive personal attacks (saying a person "sucks") or are incoherent, moderators are advised to just chuck them out.

Photo Credit: CreativeCommons, user: Digiart2001.


NYT Wants you to PAY for News?

Effective Monday the pay wall has arrive at the New York Times website. Most of us are sitting around claiming we won't be paying for news. We think it's crazy for the Times to believe we'll be pay close to $200 a year for their online newspaper when can just go somewhere else and read it for free.

I believe the Times has this under control. Many people who come to their website are brought there from other sources including news aggregators. The Times has decided to allow website browsers 20 free page views. You might be thinking that's not too many. However, people linked to the site from news aggregation sites like Google, won't be using up one of their page views.

Loyal Times customers will pay for access to the website. And casual users won't. As someone who doesn't pay for a newspaper, but will readily read one if it's available, I think this will work for the Times. It will still get them readers who are looking through their paper and see the ads in the paper.

Depending on the number of subscribers to the Times after the pay wall goes up, the price will probably be lowered, prompting more people to pay for the Times online. While many people believe that most won't pay for the Times and won't read it anymore, I believe the Times holds enough prestige among newspapers to garner the payment they're requesting for a little while, until they lower it.


Useful Tips for Social Media Users

Social media creates a world were anyone can be a journalist. However, it takes effort to be a successful social media user.

Spencer Critchley blogged some useful tips for bloggers and social media users to help make their posts reader friendly and respectable.

It is important to know your point and get to it quickly in order to respect the value of your readers time.

The focus of your post should be strong and the content following should relate. A focused post should be a simple idea that people are interested in.

The post or article should be appealing. It helps when a post or article has an emotional content.
Its important to write about people, actions and physical objects no matter your subject. These engage the imagination and emotions of your readers.

Write in a simple fashion. If you can't say it in a simple way that may indicate you don't understand what your writing well enough.

Focus on nouns and verbs and less on adjectives and adverbs.

Opinions are not facts. Opinions can make personal journalism lively when they are used appropriately. It is essential to know the difference between fact and opinion.

Identify sources so the audience knows where the information came from. That way the audience can judge your information's credibility.

Make sure to check your work for spelling errors and make sure to spell names right.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Jane Pratt to fight "Beauty Pressure"?

Recently I watched the movie Killing Us Softly 4 for a class and was faced with a barrage of images of women revealing it all in the name of... Budweiser.

Most of us have probably seen some advertisement from the recent Dove campaign that spawned this powerful commercial.

As demonstrated in the commercial, there are many influences weighing down our young girls today-- and the vast majority encourage unhealthy weight goals, subservience to patriarchs, and unrealistic, narrowly-defined appearance standards.

Can the media become a tool for encouraging self-esteem, appreciation of your natural body type, and the true realization of equality between men and women? Maybe, but it will be a slow road.

Jane Pratt, of Jane magazine and Sassy magazine fame, has started up yet another journalism venture. And this time, she's employing free lance writers that are still in high school, meaning the content will be age-appropriate and real.

The magazine will come with extensive Web content, something Pratt says she has been interested in for a long time: "It feels like the technology has finally caught up with what I want to do."

Will Pratt achieve a magazine and Web content that actually works to promote the self-esteem and independence of coming generations of tomorrow's female magnates?

Many successful women of today credit Sassy with helping them get to their current positions in society, but getting the good media to stick with our young women is increasingly difficult as the barrage of bad media is accessible from even more sources.

Unfortunately, not much in the write up on Jane Pratt's new ventures speaks directly to changing the way that women of today view themselves and develop their identity. However, with new content coming directly from female high school students, the issues are bound to present themselves. All that is left is to see how well they are addressed.

Video courtesy of Dove, via YouTube.


Why the New York Times Online Strategy Will Fail

If you are interested in news business, you all know that the New York Times has decided to offer online content only to those who subscribe.

The subscription is $35 per month to access the site on a computer, a smartphone and an Ipad, when it is only $15 dollars to get computer access only.

Do you think this marketing strategy will work?

Obviously, it is understandable that the New York Times is losing when people read their articles online and don't buy the print version anymore.

The New York Times hopes that the most online frequent readers will subscribe to get their news because they are used to read those online.

But the problem is that readers could still have access of New York Times articles through links all over the web. For example, news aggregators provide links that lead right to the article while keeping it free.

Some New York Times readers explain why they won't pay to access site online.

"There are other reputable sources that are free, and the editorials on the Times page, if they are worth, will be passed around via social media," says Ditto, a 29-year-old attorney.

Some people think that this is a strategy to sell more print version rather than make money online strategy. The New York Times pricing seems designed not to get people to subscribe digitally, but rather to discourage existing subscribers from canceling their print subscriptions.

Photo credits: Paris, Museum Of Arts, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Watch Out Smartphones

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do you have a smartphone? Yea, I didn't think so. According to comScore, as of January 2011 only about 28 percent of all mobile phones in the U.S. were smartphones. One of the best ways for a company to increase its customer base is to go after the kinds of phones that the majority of mobile users have in the U.S, feature phones.

Feature phones are usually cheaper devices that offer less computing ability than smartphones. Over the past weekend Facebook aquired Snaptu, a platform that delivers Java-based apps that run on most feature phones. 72 percent of U.S. cell phones are feature phones, most of which have a broad array of features, including the ability to run Java-based apps.

In January, Facebook launched a Snaptu powered feature phone app. It brought easier Facebook access to more than 2,500 mobile devices worldwide.

Snaptu's goal is to provide useful and innovative services to the mobile users that don't have access to smartphones. In this case, you and I.

Working as part of the Facebook team has offered them the best opportunity to keep accelerating the pace of their product development. And joining Facebook means they can make an even bigger impact on the world.

This acquisition is expected to close within a few weeks. They'll be working hard to offer a richer and more advance Facebook app on virtually every mobile phone. Which is good news for us!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Without a Topic

As the semester progresses, it seems as if this blog gets easier and harder at the same time. It is easier to write and to fullfill all of the requirements such as a link, picture and overall content, but it seems like it is harder to choose a topic that has not already been done. This is why I choose to write this weeks blog about choosing a topic. This may seem like a easy task but in many cases you must be able to think up a worthwhile topic in a short amount of time. This is especially important in the newswriting field. Below, I have seven tips for choosing a topic. 1. Know your audience. If you are writing an article addressed to teenage girls you most likely don't want to write it about baseball. 2. Have the topic be relavant. If it is the middle of winter, you do not want to write about the newest style of shorts on the market. 3. Consider your personal interests. If you hate the story, you are not going to put all of you effort into the story. 4. Brainstorm possible approaches and topic ideas. What style are you going to write in? Who can you interview? 5. Narrow it down. After brainstorming, narrow your desired topic down into a more specific and measurable story. 6. Do background research. A little bit of background research will help you get the basic understanding about your desired topic before you dive head first. 7. Make a list of words that describe your topic.The last suggestion is the write out key words that you can either use in your research of as descriptive details. An example of this is Alzheimer's disease. You can relate this topic to words such as memory loss or amnesia. You can also realte it to aged, aging, elderly or seniors. I hope this will help you in your future blogs or even your other classes where papers are assigned. Photo Credit: Via Creative Commons


New York Times Says "Not So Fast"

So, you thought you could get away with it didn't you? You figured out a way to get around that 20 article limit The New York Times will introduce in the U.S. next Monday. Well, it seems The New York Times has now said "Not so fast".

This new pay-wall system has a rule, if you get to a Times article by following a link it won't count against the 20 articles you get to read for free before paying a monthly subscription fee.

Of course, someone quickly introduced a twitter feed called @FreeNYTimes and it would be very resourceful for people looking for a way around it. The way it works is that person would have a subscription themselves and would have a link to every single New York Times article giving people the ability to use Twitter to get free articles.

"It is a violation of our trademark" said a representative for the Times and with that thought the Times has quickly countered this idea by asking Twitter to disable @FreeNYTimes.

Now is it really a trademark violation? Taking a look at the Twitter profile picture it has the distinctive Gothic "T" of the New York Times and the term "NYTimes" is identical to the newspaper's URL.

The Times may have a point now, but the name can easily be changed making it hard to press any trademark violation charges.

The Times' price is $35 per month to access the site on a computer, smartphone, and IPad while the computer only is $15. If the full package was $15 I believe a lot (and I mean a lot) more people would be willing to pay for the subscription.

So, What do you think? Is there a real trademark violation and do the prices for the subscription need to be adjusted?

I think the Times could simply avoid problems like this with a new plan. Make the pricing a good bit cheaper and people might be willing to pay for the subscription.

Photo Credit: via Creative Commons


Use the AP Stylebook People!

So I've been watching the news a fair amount recently, especially while sitting in the airport at crazy hours of the morning waiting for my flights over spring break.

One of the main things I noticed is that no one seems to spell Gadhafi the same way.

A New York Times article spells it "Muammar el-Qaddafi". Fortunately, this seems to be the typical spelling throughout the New York Times itself.

Fox News also uses Muammar el-Qaddafi as the standard for their news stories, however certain articles can be found that spell it differently (such as Ghadafi).
CBS also uses Qaddafi.

Wikipedia has a page dedicated to Muammar Gaddafi.

Looking online it would appear that the typical CNN spelling is Moammar Gadhafi as it is with ABC and MSNBC. However when watching CNN one morning, it was spelled at least two different ways within the same program. This was what truly caught my attention.

According to the AP Stylebook, it should be spelled Moammar Gadhafi. I just wish more people, specifically well known news venues and stations that have such a high viewership, should attend to the stylebook, especially on this issue.

Is it really that hard to cooperate?

Photo credit: Creative Commons.


Reading Between the Lines

Newspapers are a major part of medium which people assume is becoming less important as digital is slowly but sturdily becoming king. The print side of media is losing in many, many ways across the board. The one way which I would like to focus on is in terms of readership, especially in the young demographic of 18 to 24 years old.

The State of the News Media report for 2011 released its findings this past week, and for most, the numbers do not surprise many. While the lines are going downward on the graph as they move to the right, the concerns for print are increasing.

One-fourth of young adults read the newspaper on a daily basis, according to this study. In 2009, the percentage was slightly up at 27 percent, and in 2008, the amount of readership was at 31 percent. The two-year drop off in readership was the second smallest among demographic groups. (The smallest decline was in the 65+ age range with a two percent drop, respectively.)

Many young people read the newspaper online. According to findings by the Newspaper Association of America (which is separate from State of the News Media), of the 69 million people in the 18-34 range who claim to read the paper, 17.7 million of those say they read the current day’s paper online or hard copy. Almost 45 percent say young adults read the paper on a five-day consecutive basis.

Take these stats how you want it, but I’m still not concerned. These numbers are better than zero percent. Even though it may be a small portion, young adults do care about their newspapers. As a future newspaper writer, I would like to see these numbers a little bit higher. However, we as college media students who have a strong passion for newspapers as I do need to find a solution, and we need to find one fast.

Photo Credit: Fotopedia via Creative Commons


No Opinions Please

Recently the Huffington Post hired a new contributor. What's the big deal you ask?

Radley Balko was hired because he's a liberatarian. The claim is this is because they are trying to be less liberal in their newspaper.

I really despise opinions on news stories. News should be unbiased and report just the facts.

It seems no matter what network or newspaper it is their opinion is front and center.

If someone goes to Fox News they know the news will have a conservative spin. Likewise if someone goes to CNN they know the news will have a liberal spin.

What do politics have to do with news? When reporting on the economy I'd rather hear about the issue not someone's take on the issue.

Politics may be a mess but journalists need to leave their opinion out of the news. Just the facts mam!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Avoid Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of Privacy is one of the three different legal issues that journalists have to avoid doing on a daily basis. It is so important to avoid this issue that schools such as Simpson College demand that their Communication majors and minors take a Law and Ethics class that cover issues such as these.

The question is, How do we avoid issues in our journalism careers. Brian Steffen introduced the issues surrounding invasion of privacy to his Beginning of News Writing and Reporting students, and introduced the four ways to invade a person's privacy.

1. Intrusion
Even if you don't write a story about someone, gathering information about them unethically can get you sued. These are the common ways in which reporters gather information unethically: trespassing, secret surveillance, and misrepresentation (which is known as disguising yourself).

2. Public disclosure of private facts
Publishing private details of a person's life, such as their financial aid or sex life, could get you sued because it may cause emotional distress for the person it is about. Information that is private, intimate, or offensive to the person are all causes of emotional distress.

3. False light
These lawsuits are very familiar to a libel lawsuit. It can arise at anytime you run a story. If it displays a person in an inaccurate way you could be sued for invasion of privacy, because it could be offensive to the person the false information is about.

4. Appropriation
This is the case where a journalist uses someone's name, words, or photo in an unauthorized way to promote a product. This lawsuit is more common with advertising, but journalists still shouldn't use anyone to sell anything without their consent to avoid being sued.

These legal issues surrounding invasion of privacy are all very scary situations for journalists, but if you just look at the different types of guidelines above, and make sure to avoid them. If you do then you shouldn't be worried about getting sued for invading someone's privacy.

Photo credit: Klearchos Kapoutsis, Google


Online Feedback Aggregator

A recent article at Technology Review discussed a new business called Livefyre. It is an online service dedicated to making interaction with Facebook, Twitter, and other discussion-based sites all possible on the website where the actual content is at.

It essentially aggregates all comments made regarding the article from any source and adds them to a "comment section" underneath it. This comment section is much more like a discussion section, however, as it constantly updates without refreshing the page. The user will also be able to see all others who are currently browsing the article and know how popular it is.

The developers of this service see connectivity of these services as the next important step in social networking and hope "the publisher will get more page views and advertising dollars," because of the technology. This might be key if online journalism is to flourish, especially if pay-to-view methods start to consistently fail and online advertising must be relied on.

This system is supposed to make people more likely to comment on something as there is a visible audience of people looking over that same article, and they want their comments to be seen by that audience, hopefully resulting in discussions.

I personally hope something like this would result in fewer of the typical comments you could find on CNN's online articles, where a lot of the "comments" are just hate-filled ignorance fests. We'll have to see if this method is successful.

Photo Credit Jordan Kretchmer


AP Style Changes as Language Evolves

In a recent article published by the Columbia Journalism Review there are many new changes to the AP Stylebook brought to the readers attention.

Many of the new changes have to do with frequent use of words that correlate with technology. What used to be e-mail is now email and what used to be smart phones, hand helds, or cell phones is now smartphones, handhelds, and cellphones.

The Associated Press Stylebook, announced these changes as well as others at the annual conference of the American Copy Editors Society.

Even as I type this blog on my new laptop these new styles are popping up wrong on my spell check. This just goes to show the constant changes that language is undergoing.

Many changes like these have been adapted due to the increase in use of the words. Words like smartphone, cellphone, email, and handheld were not frequently used in the past, but are now used in everyday conversation. Because these words are more frequently used they become an issue to the AP Stylebook.

However, students and professionals alike should remember that the AP Stylebook and Webster’s New World College Dictionary are not the same and many things now accepted by the AP Stylebook are not yet accepted by Webster's New World College Dictionary.

Students looking to stay updated on AP Stylebook changes can visit their website or follow them on Twitter at @APStylebook.

Photo Credit: allaboutgeorge on via Creative Commons


It's Time for a Story

Monday, March 21, 2011

Journalists have one main job to do. This job is to create a memorable and engaging story for their readers. The question is, how do they generate an adequate amount of attention? What are some of the secrets they use to grab their audiences' attention? According to Ken Speak, the secret is hidden within four simple tips. These following bullet points will help any ordinary journalist become a significant and profound journalist. -Creative beginnings Snag the reader instantly by presenting them with a creative beginning. Unusual situations are frequently used, because the reader is struck by an event or circumstance they have never experienced and wish to read about someone who has. -Listening is imperative Many first time journalists are very nervous when they conduct their interviews. They come to the interview with a set list of questions and they stick to it. Sometimes the person who is being interviewed will supply the journalist with an even better route to take with the story. The first time journalist must stray from the list and listen to what the individual is speaking about. The best stories are ones gained from an individuals desire to stray off the clean path. -Trust Having trust for individuals who work within the same company is key to being a successful story-teller. -Avoid Cliches Many stories end like a sappy romance novel. Predictability should be avoided at all cost. If the reader can predict the ending of a story, then they are not going to want to finish reading the story. This will equal lack of interest. By adjusting to these four steps, a first time journalist can produce a story that will land them on the front page of the news. Photo Credit:


The Future of Smartphones

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Smartphones play a major role in today’s society, but to a certain extent. Many consumers believe that as of now, smartphones consist of many deficiencies. Here are a few reasons that explain why consumers view smartphones in this sort of manner.

1. They are seen as an expensive item to buy, ranging from $100-$200 up front.
2. They are expensive to own, ranging from $95-$120 per month.
3. Financial assurance is necessary because in order to get a smartphone, a two-year carrier contract is required, with a heavy early termination fee.
4. Smartphones have the tendency of being too complex for consumers. It is common that those who have a smartphone tend to only use the essential functions instead of downloading new applications.
5. They lack battery life. Many features phones can last days without charging, compared to a smartphone that needs to be charged almost daily.

Due to these reasons, I believe that smartphones will not be used by everyone in society next year. Once smartphone companies have addressed these issues, smartphones will begin to take place in the majority of the cell phone market.

Photo Credit:


Finishing Strong

With the nice weather and school year wrapping up, many students at Simpson College are having a rough time staying focused on schoolwork.

But as writers, we know that the show must go on. We have news to deliver and stories to attack. So how exactly can we finish the school year without our minds concentrating on swimming pools and bonfires?

According to Dave Cheong, there are 11 techniques you can use to help stay focused on anything you are asked to tackle. Below, I have listed just a few tips that can be used very efficiently while working on a story.

The first tip is having well defined goals in your work. Whether it's writing them down in a book or simply remembering them, knowing what you want to accomplish as a writer can be made easier by setting guidelines for yourself.

Another suggestion made is breaking things into smaller chunks. As journalists, we have deadlines that we are required to meet. However, taking small breaks helps enable a clear mind and ability to perform at your best.

The third tip is enlisting family and friends for help. Whether it's tell them your goals or seeking their opinion on a story, these are the people in your life that can honestly tell you what kind of progress you are making.

One last tip that can be helpful to a writer is blocking out some time. Whether it's waking up earlier or simply setting aside a certain part of the day for a given task, this helps approach a story motivated and more focused. Afterward, you may find that you have time to go to get some ice cream or go run around in the nice weather.

Just because it's nice out, doesn't mean the news stops for us to have fun in the sun. As journalists, we must prioritize our tasks.

A personal solution I have for my BNR classmates is to go write a story outside in Buxton Park. By doing this, you can enjoy the benefits of good weather and a good story all at once.

With finals approaching us quicker than we think, it is a good time for Simpson students to stop and make a plan about finishing the year off strong.

Photo Credit: Learning Fundamentals via Creative Commons.

Follow morganfleener on Twitter


Addicted Gamers

Friday, March 18, 2011

With the iPad 2 being revealed earlier this month gamers are wanting to know what apps they should be downloading.

Angry Birds is still at the top of the must have games for the iPad.

Angry Birds is a puzzle video game in which players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs placed on or inside of diverse structures. The objective is to destroy all the pigs on the playfield.

Doesn't sound too glamorous, but gamers find it very addictive.

Another addicting game for the iPad is Fieldrunners.

Fieldrunners is a tower defense video game. There are eight different types of weapons that are used to destroy the different characters that are attempting to make it across the field.

The player's objective is to create some type of maze to keep the characters from reaching the opposite side of the field.

Fieldrunners doesn't sound too entertaining, but from my experience it is. I have spent hours creating different types of mazes to make it to the next level.

As with all video games there are secret cheat codes and hints that can be discovered on the Internet. However, I warn those of you who are tempted to search for these cheats. It takes a great deal of fun out of the game, and I have found that after finding the solution I become bored with the game.

Photo Credit: Bonnie Phelps via Creative Commons


Tweeting the Revolution

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Andy Carvin, the social media director for NPR, became the go to guy (or twitter user in this case) for information regarding the revolution in the Middle East. Social media, specifically Twitter, was an enormous part of beginning the revolution and continues to be a big part of reporting on it. The Business Journal offers Five Media Goals Learned From Tweeting the Revolution.

1. Personality
Having your own personality is important when you're reporting on the news. If there were only one type of news broadcaster and writer, there wouldn't be so many news stations and newspapers. Twitter is a difficult platform to express personality in, but finding a way to do that can make your news tweets some of the best. Share knowledge and don't be afraid to ask question.

2. Accountability
Being responsible for what you tweet and share with the world is an important staple in journalism. Always always always check your facts and your spelling. Don't retweet without checking others facts. Verify your sources and don't be unwilling to admit when you've made a mistake.

"Transparency goes hand-in-hand with accountability" writes Rebekah Monson, author of the article. As a writer you're going to get thrown a lot of links to share. Be honest when you share them, say what you really think about the links. Don't be afraid to set your own standards and stick to them.

4. Context
Context is a very important part of the news that sometimes gets lost in small articles and 30 second news coverage, and especially in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Clarifying context is important in Twitter and other news sources. Twitter can be very helpful in this through the use of hash tagging, geo-tagging, the chronological order of posts and the sortable archives.

5. Immediacy
With the constant streaming of Twitter feeds, being the first is very important. If you want your message to be heard, you have to get it out there quickly but also accurately. Also, keep updating on a story as it develops. Don't leave your followers hanging and ready to switch to a more reliably updated source.

These tips are important to Journalist who want to use Twitter and other social media as a large part of their career. Keep these in mind the next time you log on fellow tweeters and bloggers.


  © Blogger template On The Road by 2009

Back to TOP