New York Times Paywall

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

As everyone knows, The New York Times paywall went into place for online content March 28th.

Recently, I gave a group presentation on the paywall activation. One thing that really stands out to me is that the cheapest option for The New York Times readers is to get a print subscription. If someone has a print subscription the online access is still free. So why not go with that option?

When talking to fellow classmates about the online costs, it seemed like an overwhelming majority of the students wouldn't pay for online access. And not only to The New York Times, but to any print newspaper or magazine they might read.

Our generation and others expect news to be free, so most people are not willing to pay for it. If publications impose paywalls, that will send the average person elsewhere to where they can still get it free.

Not only were students close-minded about the idea of having to pay for online content, they also said they wouldn't pay for Facebook. This surprised me, but they had good logic behind it. If no one was on Facebook anymore because they were unwilling to pay, then why stay on Facebook if no friends are?

In my opinion paywalls at most publications will not work. Publications like the Wall Street Journal have been able to enforce paywalls since they have material not found elsewhere, and a dedicated following.

Newspapers like USA Today, The New York Times, or other national newspapers may have trouble with paywalls, but I am looking forward to see how this pans out.

Photo Credit: New York Times via Creative Commons


Voice to Text

A new article on Technology Review discussed the upcoming Google Chrome browser version that will be able to translate voice into text entirely on the Internet.

The article notes that there are still many problems getting the software to work reliably and not turn sentences into random jumbles of letters, but the browser is also in its early beta stage where bugs are ironed out and refinements are made.

The applications for journalists in all of this are endless. Many phones already have considerable support for voice commands and recognition, but an actual web browser capable of doing so means that any access to the Internet means a journalist can dictate entire portions of a story or notes on the fly.

Reporters might not have to glance down when taking notes and can instead focus all of their attention on the events happening in front of them. Computers might be able to transpose speeches for them.

At any rate, technology like this can be a real game changer for everyone involved, and journalists will have to keep an eye open to make sure it doesn't take them by surprise.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Two British Journalists Suspected of Phone Hacking

Two tabloid journalists suspected of phone hacking were released on bail last night.

Neville Thurlbeck, chief reporter for the tabloid newspaper News of the World, was questioned voluntarily at Kingston police station.

Ian Edmondson, former news editor of the same paper, was questioned separately at Wimbledon police station. Neither man has been charged.

The two men are accused of illegally intercepting voice mail messages left on cell phones. The two men allegedly were involved in a large scheme to tap into cell phones of movie stars, professional athletes and other celebrities, even including the royal family.

Another former reporter for the paper has already served jail time for accessing messages left by Prince William and Prince Harry.

The entire case has been embarrassing to both the British police and the government.

News International, publisher of the News of the World, said, "we will not tolerate wrongdoing and continue to cooperate fully with police."

Celebrities who claim that their cell phones have been hacked include Sienna Miller and former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. The News of the World is currently the subject of several breach-of-privacy lawsuits.

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World Press Freedom Day

Considering the recent conflicts in the Middle East and in Northern Africa, and considering all of the journalists who have been restricted, had their rights confiscated or lost their lives, World Press Freedom Day this year is a significant event.

May 3 is the date, and you can expect to see papers across the world commemorating the special day. A special bundle of editorials and other news material will be made available from WAN-IFRA, or the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.

According to Editor's Web Blog, the material's function is "to remind readers of the central role a free press plays in democracy and in economic, cultural, social and political development."

The slogan for this year's event is "Silence Kills Democracy but a Free Press Talks." The words ring out with a special importance this year.

The website for the WAN-IFRA is filled with other ideas for newspapers who want to join in the efforts to remind people everywhere of what the press allows democracies to accomplish.

This year, there has been a special challenge issued to newspapers worldwide. The WAN-IFRA has asked newspapers to run the first page of their papers without any text, showing only white space to demonstrate what the world would be missing without free press.

If you unwrap your newspaper on May 3 and are shocked to see no text, remember what it symbolizes. Without news resources and journalists to give the content, the world would be very different- and inarguably worse off.

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Link at, via



Everyone makes mistakes, including journalists too. Although some mistakes may seem minor, they are all important because you can learn from them in the end.

The worst mistake that a journalist can make is to spell names wrong in some peoples opinions. Irene Epstein asks, "How would you like it if the newspaper misspelled your name?" She follows this rule so close to heart that if one of her students misspells a name they get 0 for that assignment. Another mistake with names is mixing up the names.
The next big mistake is to misquote someone. It is important to get what they say correct, especially since it is worth quoting in the first place.
Another mistake is mixing up the facts. Although, it may seem like a minor detail it could make or break the story.
The last common error I am going to bring up is AP Style Book errors. Typing email instead of e-mail or not capitalizing or capitalizing a word.
The most important part of making a mistake is correcting it as soon as you know it is wrong. This will keep you a crediable and respected journalist.
"Mistakes are part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from." -Al Franken "Oh, the Things I Know" 2002

Photo Credit Via: Creative Commons


Come One, Come All!

Have you ever wanted to connect with other journalists? Have you ever wondered why social media has not yet embraced this idea? Worry no more.

According to a report from Mashable, the use of Facebook in the newsroom is no longer obsolete. The page, Facebook for Journalists, allows media-driven people to connect with others in a way which no other site as done before. Although the number of journalists on Facebook isn't monumentally dominant, this page allows those who want to connect with other writers and broadcasters do just that.

The growth of the world's leading social network in the world of journalism was only a matter of time. Everything in media has to adapt nowadays in order to stay successful. The advantages Facebook presents in the news world are great. It can be a landmine of sources, it can help you share your story, fill a reporter's toolbox with new opportunities, and can be distributed in newer ways in which the original forms could not.

Using this new venture can help us all as media students tremendously. The power of networking, to me, is very undersold to college kids like us. If all of us "like" the Journalists on Facebook page, it may open brand new doors that we may never have imagined. I ask that you do go like the page and explore it, because if you love journalism as much as I do, then you'll appreciate what this newbie can do for your vocation as well.

Photo Credit: Alter-Eco via Creative Commons


Some Tips for Future Journalists

So seeing as we are all in BNR together, we are technically all journalism students.

I have been thinking recently about some ways that we could improve our chances of getting a job once out of college, and I ran across this article with a list of tips on how to improve our future success.
The main tip I took from this article is to utilize campus opportunities. This includes everything from on-campus media to internships to talking to professors and upper classmen.
By joining on-campus media, it will give you a chance to get hands-on experience before being tossed out into the professional world, which can give you a boost in the job market over those who did not get involved in on-campus media.
Internships can also help boost your status in the job market, and they can help you create a network, which is another essential part of being a future journalist.
Networking can be enhanced by getting to know your professors and upper classmen as well. By learning from the experience of those who have already been through the media and been involved with it can be very helpful to learning how to do and how not to do things in the future.
The other tip that I found very essential is to have an open mind. Without a willingness to learn new things, especially such things as how to use new media, you are much less likely tobe successful than if you immerse yourself in new media.
For more tips, and more in-depth discussion of the tips that I have mentioned, be sure to visit the article posted above.
Photo credit: via Creative Commons


Social Media and Journalism

Nowadays, our society is full of technologies that help people to communicate with each other. The entire world is linked by what we call social media.

Some people and especially journalists consider social media as a source and use them to write stories.

But are social media legitimate sources to journalists?

It is fine for journalists to use social media to spread the information, but journalists should not use social media to find news or at least they have to be really careful during their process.

In journalism, there are six basics sources that can be find through social media

-Newsmakers: people who cause a story to happen
-Spokespeople: people who represents other people
-Experts: specialist in one or several fields that are related to the story
-Official records
-Reference material: online or library sources
-Ordinary people

The last source is the one journalists should be wary.

Indeed, anyone can create a fake story simply to attract attention. That is one power of social media: create a buzz to reach popularity.

It is easily understandable that journalism will become more and more dependent on social media, just as society became dependent of them.

News companies create social websites where people can chat and comment the news.

This is a revolution created by the emergence of the Internet and the tendency people have to use social media everyday for everything.

One day Twitter, Facebook and other social media will be considered as real sources to journalists. They are media after all.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons via


Edit Efficiently

After working hard on an article, the last thing you want to do is edit your story right away. Editing is viewed as a challenging task at times because not all of us know right from wrong. Therefore, I am going to share with you some tips about how to make editing more efficient.

1.The story arc matters. It is important that you make sure you catch the viewers’ attention instantly. Make the information you are sharing appealing throughout the whole article so you don’t lose your viewers’ interest.

2.Numbers need to be specific. Using the statement “about” never clearly clarifies what you are trying to say. Therefore, be specific with your numbers so your explanation of your statistic is defined clearly.

3.Give attributions. “According to” is not a good statement to use because it is not supportive with your information. Instead, it makes readers hesitant about whether or not you are stating an actual fact. If you do use the words “according to” make sure that the company or person you name after is a known source.

4.Link to sources. When explaining a study that has shown a certain statistic, you should insert a URL address in the article, or at the end. This will then allow people to see the actual statement you are trying to explain to them.

5.Presentation/organization matters. Little random facts that are similar to the topic you are discussing in the article, but not very relevant to it should be mentioned in a sidebar of the article. Do not try to force everything to go together in one piece. Organization allows the reader to follow along easily and not get frustrated with all the clutter.

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