Timing Your Tweets For Success

Monday, October 31, 2011

It is a simple game plan when it comes to Twitter. The more people your tweets reach, the more established you can become as a credible source of news.

In this article on Mashable.com, Leonhard Widrich explains three apps that help you track the timing of your tweets.

The apps serve as a way to observe when tweeting would be most efficient for you.

The apps use a multitude of data in order to decide when your tweets would be most effective.

Everything from followers tweet times and density to number of retweets is tracked in order to determine optimal tweet times.

While there is no solid data that tweeting at certain times will help up your followers it certainly can't hurt anything.

The most important aspect of your tweets is their accuracy. But, if no one sees them are they really doing their job?

Sourcing for your tweets is another important part of tweeting. Variation is the key so people don't get bored with what you have to say.

In this case timing may not be everything but, it isn't something to be ignored.


Diversity Workshop Celebrating 30 Years

An article by the NYDailyNew.com, covered a journalism workshop, helped to shed light on the struggling problem of diversity in newsrooms.

New York University's annual Urban Journalism Workshop is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. The workshop, offered to high school students around the country, is a week-long program that provides students with a crash course in newspaper reporting, writing and editing.

Program coordinator, Pamela Newkirk, spoke of diversity issues several times in the article, emphasizing the alarming decrease of minority journalists in recent years. The numbers in the aforementioned article placed the decrease at .82 percent; further showing that while African-Americans make up 15 percent of the population nationally, they only represent 4.68 percent of newsroom jobs in the United States.

While this article's main focused appeared to have been on the Anniversary of the workshop, I found the purpose of the workshop to be far more important. The numbers presented about the presence of diversity in journalism were alarming, and it would appear that if something is not done quickly, these numbers will continue to decrease.

Thus, it is great that the workshop is still running and able to celebrate a 30th year; however, the purpose of the workshop is far greater and it is important that their mission be carried out. If not, journalism, and all it stands for, is once again at risk of failing completely--as I have repeatedly stressed in my previous blogs.


Amy Winehouse: Dead or Alive?

When you look in the paper, on the internet, or check your emails the first couple headlines you see are most likely going to be about Amy Winehouse. Amy Winehouse is dead and died a while ago. Her coverage over why she died, her new release, and her childhood are getting old and not newsworthy anymore.

"The world will finally get to hear her music as she leaves the world unexpectedly" says MTV reporters. These types of headlines fill the media still today. The media is not covering her death on TV as much today but the internet is still filled with Winehouse's death.

In the eyes of an audience member watching the media forces me to believe that sometimes journalists don't know what to write about so go back on old deaths such as Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse. Yes they lived a great life and produced great music but when is enough, enough?

In todays time, journalists should be covering the world series, the war, the president elections, Halloween drama, and the list goes on. Personally I like to hear about current news and don't want to dwell back on deaths and old news.

Lastly Amy Winehouse was not a Michael Jackson, Elvis Presly, or Madona. Amy was a pop singer who was average. She didn't have sold out shows or number one hit CD's. Therefore the media not only needs to stop Amy's intense coverage, they also need to realize that she wasn't a huge artist.


Rebelling Against Establishment

Here is a prime example of a journalist going for what he deems 'newsworthy'; however, does it come at a cost?

Jason Mattera, who wrote an ambush interview on Vice President Biden, is the new subject around Washington.

"I don't really care what the Washington establishment says," says Mattera who is the editor of Human Events. "If they want to give me affirmation or condemnation, it doesn't matter to me. My audience is not D.C. It's to get it ricocheted around the country."

I find those very encouraging words, that you don't have to focus on the one area you are living at to have your audience, but to branch out and aim for people all around the world.

Picture: creativecommons.org
Article: poynter.org


Rachel Smith Videoblog #1

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Reassessing Opinion for Journalists

For years journalists have wrestled with the idea of not voicing their own opinion in their stories.
Technically, journalists are giving up their freedom of speech.
If journalists are involved in the stories that they are writing about why are they not allowed to voice their opinion in what they are talking about?
The example given was Occupy Wall Street and all the writers involved must not include their lives in the stories.
Also, if a journalist “likes” a politician on Facebook, must they like all other candidates?
Is it not time to admit that we live in an age where it’s appropriate for journalists to also have an opinion? We as people also need to recognize that these people are not drones who report the news on a daily basis.
Journalists have been fired for voicing opinions and one example is CNN Senior Editor and Middle East expertOctavia Nasr was fired for having posted a sympathetic remark about an alleged terrorist on her Twitter account. Regardless of the fact that this man was a terrorist, why was this grounds for firing Nasr?
If we are to keep assuming that journalists do not have an opinion, does this not prevent our culture from moving forward intellectually?


Staleness in the News

The look of televised news programs are similar from station to station. The basic news program consists of a lead anchor, or anchors, and a team of reporters who present prepared video and sound bites to the viewing audience.

Recently, at the National Press Club luncheon, Harvey Levin, creator of the celebrity news website TMZ.com, exclaimed to his listeners that broadcast news delivery is "stale."

Levin discussed how broadcast journalism has used the same formula to present viewers with the information for the past 40 years and suggested "you don't need the middleman as much anymore." Aka limit the time the anchors and reporters are used.

Levin suggested new stations focus their cameras on the newsmakers themselves. Levin discussed how the newsmakers are much more compelling than the anchors or reporters, and by focusing more, if not solely on them, televised news programs can freshen their look and increase their appeal to viewers.

Levins speech raises an important point about broadcast journalism: What is the importance/role of anchors and reporters? Do viewers require an individual to present and summarize information the newsmakers, other sources used, and video footage can be edited to display.

Anchors and reporters bring character to the news. They help build the credibility of a station and maintain accuracy in stories. Without them, it could be difficult to air hard news stories such as crime, politics and other controversial topics in a way that removes biases and is accurate. Anchors and reporters are very much needed, but news stations should remain open to new, more interesting and compelling ways to report the news.

photo by roger4336 from creativecommons.com


ACLU Sues LA Sheriff's Department

Female Photographer Morro Bay, CA 17feb08

Are security issues enough to prevent a picture from being taken? No, says the American Civil Liberties Union. In fact, they believe so strongly in the right to photography that they sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Thursday, saying the law department has been harrassing both amateur and professional photographers who take pictures in public places.

The First Amendment Center published an Associated Press wire report on its website detailing the harrassment. According to the report, sheriff's deputies have harrassed many different photographers within two years, by stopping them, frisking, and in some cases threatening arrest. The photographers in each case had been taking pictures of public buildings, parks, and facilities. The problem with that, according the deputies, was that taking pictures of public spaces is a sign of a possible terrorist threat. One photographer was even asked if he was "in cahoots with Al Qaida" before being frisked.

Has it really gotten to the point that all photography of public spaces is suspicious? Then, wow, we have a lot of trouble. Teachers taking pictures of class trips to the zoo. College students taking pictures of their first trip to Washington D.C. Middle school students taking pictures in the gym at their public school dance. The difference between these scenarios and the cases being described is simple: the photographers are alone. They stand out.

Photography of high-risk public property is not itself a threat, and should not be treated as one. The ACLU has a list of photographer's rights on their website and advice on what to do if you are stopped or detained while taking photographs. Freedom of speech is not limited to simply the freedom of speaking or writing. It provides the freedom to see.

Photo/Mike Baird, creativecommons.org


The Newsroom in the Digital Age

Friday, October 28, 2011

It is no surprise that the future of news is in the balance. We are in the digital age, whether you like it or not. This is cause for change in many news rooms; it's time for a "facelift."

Several newsrooms across the nation are getting revamped in order to accommodate this new age in media. One that really embraced this and made significant changes was The Seattle Times.

The Times developed a strategy centered around three foundation groups: creativity, curation, and community.

The creative team encompassed anyone who reports, whatever their medium. Photographers, reporters, and editors all work in one key area.

The group centered around curation primarily focussed on integrating technology into the Times. The curation team "gathered" the news, and then distributed it to as many platforms digitally as seen fit.

Finally you have the group of community. Their primary focus was to figure out how to effectively inform people living in the Seattle area.

These groups mix together to produce a new type of newsroom. One that is dynamic, and digitally centered. Rather than reporting to a print editor, as in years past, everyone goes to a top digital editor.

"There is new energy and focus around our enterprise reporting efforts. We are revitalizing watchdog reporting, long a strength of this newspaper. We are revising work flows, breaking away from the print-focused assembly line of the past and [moving] to a more dynamic and flexible system," says Executive Editor, David Boardman."We are doing much more knowledge-sharing among people with various perspectives and experiences, both within our newsroom a
nd from the outside."

I think a redevelopment of todays newsroom is a smart move. A bit of ingenty is needed, but can create a great result. This is exactly what the Seattle Times is experiencing, although still in the early stages.

As I said earlier, we are in a digital age. Those who are not stepping in to it are a step behind.

Photo Courtesy of Photo Bucket.


Local News Is Spreading

Thursday, October 27, 2011

There is a grave concern for local news due to the fact that older methods of delivering the news are fading out because of the electronic tablets and smart phones that are readily available and easy to use.

However, Patch is a website that is helping communities all around the country make local news important to the people in their communities again.

Many journalists get their start in local news stations. However, because of the decline in these methods, it is more difficult to begin a journalism career. Patch is now helping journalists kick-start their careers by providing them with job opportunities. This article helps explain how Patch is providing jobs to help deliver the local news.

Patch targets the suburb communities, not just the general metropolitan area. This creates an easy and effective way of providing jobs to more journalists and updating a more narrowly-focused community at the same time.

As Patch continues to expand, it will help bring people in the communities together. Local news provides a common topic of interest for people who normally have nothing to talk about.

Are you interested in getting the local news out to your community? Would you consider starting a website through Patch to help make that happen? One can very easily start their own local news website. Anyone can be a journalist, and Patch is helping to make that happen, one community at a time.


Newspapers Gaining Consumers Through Tablets

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A new PEW study suggests that newspapers are drawing tablet users to their products.

"Tablet users are more likely to pay for content than general news consumers," said Julie Moos in her article about CNN and USA Today gaining new readers.

The phone survey of 1,159 tablet users showed that a new audience of tablet users are being drawn to newspapers.

"Of the 894 respondents who read news on their tablets weekly, 40 percent said they are getting news from newspapers that they did not rely on as a source before," continued Moos.

New technology like the tablet is thought to be killing off newspaper companies, but as seen here it is actually helping them by providing them more consumers.

10 percent of the tablet users in the survey said they get news from USA Today on their tablets and they did not use that source for news before. 10 percent said the same thing about CNN.

The survey also showed that the tablet users were also using other types of media like cable TV channels and online sources now with their tablets when they weren't using those sources before.

19 percent of the users now watch a new cable TV news station, and 18 percent use a new online news source.

The tablet has opened a window for consumers to get their news in a new way.

Photo via Creative Commons


Norris Steps Down from NPR

Journalists must remain objective at all times. Without it, we would lose our credibility and trust from the public.

Identifying conflicts of interest isn't difficult. A football player can't cover the homecoming football game, student body president can't report on the latest developments in student government and a fraternity president can't write a story about Greek week.

The Huffington Post reported that Michele Norris of NPR's 'All Things Considered' will step down from her hosting duties while her husband joins the Obama campaign.

Norris made the only decision she could in her situation. As journalists, we must remain objective and unbiased in order to maintain our credibility.

While it is unlikely that Norris would have interviewed her own husband, he is still a part of the Obama team. For instance, a sports reporters should not cover a game if their spouse is a player on the team.

Reporters who are in these situations need to separate their personal and professional lives. The balance may come down to, as in Norris's case, choosing a spouse over work. Ultimately, this decision may seem unfair, but it was necessary for Norris to maintain her credibility for her journalistic. future.

Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com


A Few Spelling Variations

Spelling help

Let's face it: it's highly embarrassing to be caught spelling somebody's name wrong. Especially when you know or talk about someone often enough that you should have figured it out. For all of the media's focus on accuracy and fact-checking, though, they sure managed to screw up a very important name: Ghaddafi. Or, sorry, Qaddafi; Gadhafi; or was it Kaddafi?

Why can't anyone agree on how to spell the dead dictator's name? According to Poynter.org, in 1986 a syndicated columnist named Cecil Adams found at least nine different spellings for the name, the most exotic and confusing spelling jointly attributed to the Library of Congress and the Middle East Studies Association: Qadhdhafi.

To be fair, part of the problem is translating Arabic script into the English alphabet. Adams explained that there are several sounds in the name that don't have an exact English counterpart, and for a while, the Libyan leader wasn't concerned enough to straighten anything out. However, in May of 1986, the colonel made his feelings known when he responded to a letter from second graders at Maxfield Magnet School in Saint Paul, Minnesota. While he signed his name to his response in Arabic script, under it was typed "Moammar El-Gadhafi". News organizations announced they would make the switch as soon as the signature was made public.

Well, most of them didn't. This debate has gone to live on past his death, and it's a wonder that the media didn't simply check their facts from the start.

Photo/Bryan Mason at creativecommons.org


Displaying the Death of Gaddafi in the Media

Monday, October 24, 2011

In the past week the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi has made the headlines in the news and front pages of every news paper. Along with the stories some news outlets chose to show graphic images of Gaddafi after he had been killed. Now one of the major issues is whether or not the media should of displayed these pictures like they did.

In an article by Poynter, it shows how differently certain countries news papers decided to show images to go with these stories. Very few American newspapers actually showed Gaddafi's body after being killed.

In the newspapers in other countries some papers showed photos of Gaddafi before he we killed or photos of the rebels celebrating. However most of the newspapers decided to show the pictures of Gaddafi after being killed.

Is it appropriate to be showing these brutal photos of the death of Gaddafi?

Many people say that the tolerance of these images is starting to rise. In an interview for MSNBC Kelly McBride said that this is occurring because more people search for gruesome images then expected, then when they see them in the media it doesn't bother them.

The Week ran an article that saying that many news companies are defending their decision to show these images. They state that by showing theses photos they allow the public to know that Gaddafi is in fact dead.

Many people feel showing images like these in the media is now becoming unavoidable. The thing that the media needs to do now is decide how exactly to show these images.


Heckled Geraldo

Noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition and profanity. Most parts of speech are protected; however, cursing is not protected by the First Amendment.

An article found in The Huffington Post reported that Occupy Wall Street protesters swore at Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera. Rivera was covering the event for the third time. Fox News cameras caught a heckler shout the f word at the reporter.

Freedom of speech protects the right to say what one desires but profanity is not. This is because it infringes on another's rights. Swearing is like shouting "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater.

Journalists often report from the front lines to get the headlines. Reporters, like Rivera, try do their jobs, but citizens at the event did not agree with Rivera and Fox News's presence at Occupy Wall Street.

Regardless of intent, that protester did not have the right the yell profanities at Rivera. As reporters, we need to know our rights as well as the rights of others.

Photo by creativecommons.org


The Anyday Paper

According to Sara Dickenson Quinn from Poynter.org, Sunday papers just aren't quite what they used to be.

"'Papers seem to be taking fewer chances,' says Suzette Moyer, creative director of the St. Petersburg Times' Bay Magazine."

Instead of being the biggest and best, many Sunday editions are looking more and more like any other day, with little distinguishing them from a Monday or Wednesday edition.

Quinn outlines four possible reasons as to why newspapers are producing less impressive Sunday papers.

1. Job cuts in the newsroom. Jeff Goertzen, graphics director of the Denver Post, says that news design and graphics staffs are about half the size that they were ten years ago.

2. Designers and graphic artists have many more responsibilities. With more roles to fill, designers cannot commit as much time to front page spreads.

3. The average news hole is smaller than in previous years. Big, expansive investigative stories may not be occurring as often due to it being easier to break news.

4. Design centers are simplified in order to save time. Design isn't really an assembly-line situation, which is what most newspapers are headed towards. Design takes more time and thought, which is not afforded due to business decisions.

The front page is often what grabs a reader's attention. With newspapers spending less time and resources on the front page design, especially on frequently-read Sunday editions, the downward spiral of newspapers is likely to continue.

Photo courtesy of www.creativecommons.com


Advocate for Journalism Died

Laura Pollán, 63, died Friday from respiratory complications in Cuba at a hospital in Havana.

Pollán is well known for her efforts of seeking justice in human rights. 

Originally a Spanish teacher in Cuba, she was boycotted by the Cuban government for her work against it. She advocated for all the journalists imprisoned for work against Black Spring. Her own husband was one of the 75 journalists arrested during this movement.

The group started by Pollán is called the "Ladies in White," and these are women have had family members taken because of their voice. The goal these ladies had in mind was to oppose the Cuban government while wearing white. Showing that they are peaceful was the intention of the color white. 

Having a strong passion for what they were fighting for, they never allowed harassment from authorities to stop them. 

Often times, the authorities would try to prevent the members from being able to attend these weekly meeting and detain the women if they fought back. 

Having a big heart for others,  Pollan worked with CPJ to inform them of the travesties the families and detainees were enduring.

She started funds and raised money for those who needed it most and always worked towards freeing those in prison. 
Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons
"Sometimes they tell us, the Ladies in White, that we are brave women," she wrote. "We disagree: We've simply experienced so much pain and love that,without realizing it, we crossed that line between fear and bravery."


The Importance of Media Literacy

Social media is a prominent force today. One of every eight minutes is spent on Facebook and thousand of tweets are posted each hour.

With this in mind it is important as a journalist to be on top of it all. It is not enough to just know how to work a computer, but you must be 'media literate.'

Recently a tweet was released by Mashable that stated the wrong number, accidentally changing it from billion to million. This tweet was then passed on by a very prominent journalist, further spreading the false information.

Was this journalist being media illiterate by further spreading false information?

Although the spread of false information was not catastrophic in this case, it was a cause for concern.

Journalists today are expected to keep up with the constant flow of news information, and breaking the news is only half of it.

Todays media world calls for a journalist that is media literate.

Ten years ago being literate meant you could properly read and comprehend what was being read. Today it is different.

In order to be literate today, you need to be able to objectively look at tweets and blog posts and decide what is in fact, reliable. Apply those helpful critical thinking skills that have been developing throughout your life.

If a journalist cannot properly discern what is true and false, reliable or not, then they should be hesitant to inform others of the information.

Not only do journalists need to practice this, but every person should be discerning when getting their news. People need to take caution and understand that any average joe can spread the information.

As the saying goes, don't believe everything you read.


Sunday looks like Monday

Like in the movies or old black and white sitcoms, Sunday morning rituals consisted of a cup of coffee at the kitchen table with the Sunday paper in hand; however, due to newspapers taking fewer chances, the Sunday paper is starting to look a lot like any other day of the week's newspaper.

There are four main points why this is happening, which are:
1. There are major cuts in every area of the newsroom.

2.The designers and graphic artist are doing more jobs in the newsroom.

3. The average news 'hole' has gone down since 5 years ago.

4. The design centers are simplified due to business decisions to save time.

I found this article very interesting and agree that the front page design of the paper means everything. Its the first kick-start to get an audience into the world of the news. I believe we should head this warning and start working harder to regain those people back into that world.

Picture: creativecommons.org
Aritcle: Sara Dickenson Quinn from Poynter.org


Wikileaks Needs Donations

Governments today are trying to stop the media from sending out top seceret information to the pubilc.

Don't the people have the right to know though?
Wikileaks is a website that provides information about government activites and presents it to the public eye.

Recently though Wikileaks had to shut down there website due to the lose of money over the last year.

In this article, linked here, reads a statement for the reasons Wikileaks needs to raise money.

Wikileaks says they are being forced to shut down because of the US fincance companys are trying to control what they do.

Wikileaks is asking for help by accepting donations from active users and anyone to raise the money to get the website back up and providing information to journalist or anyone that wants to know what the government is doing.

Why is the government trying to hide these things from the people? I believe that the government thinks that if the people have this information the people might be able to go against the government or sell the information to others that might want to use it against the government.

Wikileaks is providing information to the people, information that most people would never see in there life time. By helping donate money to Wikileaks, the people can get the information they want about the government.


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