Going Mobile

It's weird when I read articles about news organizations reaching out to an audience that gets its daily news from Blackberries and other mobile devices, mainly because my cell phone doesn't even let me take photos, let alone access the Internet.

I've been covering NPR.org for my individual blog, and the other day I ran across this post on Inside NPR.org Blog. To summarize, NPR has launched a new Web site with content specifically designed for mobile phone users, and now NPR fans will have an easier time accessing stories and audio.

I found a similar story on Poynter Online that addresses the issue from an industry-wide perspective. In a blog post titled "How News Organizations Can Create a Mobile-First Strategy," Steve Puttry urges media groups to focus on metadata, "data about data," among other things. His emphasis on metadata intrigued me because I think this is the meat of a lot of online journalism. With traditional media, it was all about whittling down the story to fit into the newspaper. Now, with multimedia packages, data that doesn't make it into the text story can still be incorporated into slideshows, quizzes, interactive maps and more.

Classmates, do you get news updates on your phone? I'm curious if this is more of a trend for the older, professional population...

Screen shots and your final blog analysis

Class, a few of you said you had never done a screen shot, (also called a screen grab). It can be done in less than a minute, using the Print Scrn button on the top right side of your key board and Photoshop. Simply pull up the page you want to work with, hit Print Scrn, open up Photoshop, hit File/New/OK, then Edit/paste, to pull in your image. Edit the image in Photoshop as you would other images, saving it as a .gif, which would then be uploadable to a blog or Web site. About.com has a video tutorial on this, if you'd prefer to watch it done before trying it. Here's the link:


A few reminders about your final blog analyses:

* Your edited first entries are still waiting for most of you in the big envelope stuck to my office door, room 4119.
* Many of you are still having trouble with AP style points. It's Internet, not internet; e-mail, not email; home page, not homepage; Web site, not website.
* Do remember to give examples to support broad statements that you make, and remember to provide links to stories you discuss.
* Please upload a screen shot of the pages you discuss in the design portion of your analysis.

Full details on your assignment are posted below. This is pulled from your class syllabus:

# Tuesday, Dec. 15, 3:30 p.m.: (20 percent of your grade): Finals due, (based on the university's finals' schedule): This is a 2,000- to 2,400-word research / analysis of a news Web site, selected from a list I will circulate in class. It will be written as multiple posts on a blog you'll create on godaddy.com for this purpose. Throughout the semester, you should be posting coherent, well-written thoughts on your blog page. Each posting should be roughly 200 to 500 words. You should have a minimum of six posts on six different days during the semester. Postings should address the following points, but need not be limited to these: How well the Web site uses navigation; how clean its design is; how well it uses photos and graphics, broadcast features (including audio and video and podcasts) and interactive elements (such as chats, blogs, polls, map mashups and info graphics, quizzes and searchable databases); and how well stories are written and presented and make use of the medium. You should tell me about any other features you loved or hated and why. In your final posting, you should tell me what changes editors and publishers might consider to better position themselves for the future. The analysis should be based on your observations of the site throughout the semester and on background research you've conducted on the site. Comments should be supported with facts, links and visual screen grabs to illustrate your points. Factual mistakes that have not been corrected by the deadline --including misspelled proper names and faulty URLs--will result in full letter-grade deductions. Information quoted from other sources should be fully attributed in your text. To turn in, please e-mail me your blog URL before the deadline, and turn in a printout of your blog under my 4th floor office door (Room 4119). Finals turned in after deadline will receive an automatic F.


Using graphics to illustrate stories

So I saved a screen grab from Salon.com on my computer, and I was thinking about it today and I just wanted to share it. The graphic goes with a story Salon published about how some pastors are praying for Obama's death.

The graphic's caption says "Albrecht Durer's Praying Hands and AP photo." I know that it's clear to readers that the picture isn't real. But when I looked at it, it just reminded of flag burning, which is a pretty hot-button free speech issue, which many people find disrespectful or offensive. Personally, I thought the graphic was a little disrespectful toward our president. I mean, he's the president. It's bad enough that other countries might be defaming him or burning pictures of him or something - it doesn't exactly set a good example for people to see that we're ok with depicting that as well. Is it ok for journalists to make controversial graphics of important figures like the president, because it's a form of free speech? Or are there certain things that should be off-limits to graphic manipulation?


Broadcast Journalism Online

I think that slide shows and multimedia aspects to news websites are probably the most important feature. Although many people are quite interested in comments and quick Twitter posts, nothing tells a story more than actual pictures and videos. After taking this class and analyzing various news websites, I think the most successful ones are the ones that have these features. It is sad to say, but a sufficient news text story just does not cut it anymore. People of my generation have developed short attention spans and it is easier for them to look at pictures or watch a quick video. This is why Twitter has become so successful; those 140 characters are just enough for people to read and absorb (sad right). However, what news sites have going for them that Twitter doesn’t it that they can incorporate multimedia aspects to them.

I am very fortunate that I am a broadcast student here because I have gained great skills in reporting and videography that can be carried with me through online use. Here is the question I pose though: Do you think that broadcast reporting is the same for online as it is on television? What are the major similarities and differences?



hehe ;)

Backpack Journalists v. Twitter

With Twitter and the Apple I-Phone, it is clear that you can literally have the news at the tip of your fingers. Additionally, you can know the news almost as soon as it is happening. Take the Tiger Woods story for example; Twitter had reported it within minutes. See the article here.

For tech-savvy, computer users, how important is watching the news or reading the newspaper the next day if you already know what happened? Not only does this concern me as a journalism major, but it also makes me wonder about backpack journalists. Backpack journalists combine editing, producing, filming, and reporting in one and are also referred to as a “One Man Band.” They are known as the journalists of the future and many professionals will agree that they are much more likely to hire someone who knows how to perform all these skills. Now that many news stations are hurting financially, backpack journalists are a way for them to save money and cut employees.

While I understand that backpack journalists save money and may even make it easier for newsrooms, doesn’t it take them much longer to get their stories out? With a world of new technology and Twitter, which release news stories almost immediately, how is ONE person going to keep up? Lets say the economy does pick up, are they honestly going to have one person compete with Twitter? How is one person going to be able to quickly report, film, edit, and produce?

I just think it may be smarter to keep hiring experts in one given field rather than hire a young backpack journalists to compete with the Internet. Although experts may still not get the news released as quickly as Twitter, they definitely can do the work in half of the amount of time. Clearly, if a news station has one great editor, one great photographer, and one great reporter work together, they can have the information released in half the time as one backpack journalist would. What do you think? How can backpack journalists strive to keep up with Twitter and I-Phone news application?