USA Today

Hi everyone,

I'm still looking for a ride to USA Today next Wednesday. Does anyone have a seat left in their car? If so, please comment on here or shoot me an e-mail at tina.irgang@gmail.com. Thanks!



Tweeting on Twitter

Today we'll be using Twitter to send out news.

First log in, and sign in.

When you get to the "What are you doing" screen, you'll type updates in 140 characters or less (yes, this is like lead or headline writing), leaving room for others to forward this discussion stream: #UMDJschool. The #slug goes at the end of your note. Leave a space before you type it.

Please remember that the world can see your remarks. So be accurate and fair.

To follow other "tweets" from this discussion, open up another browser window and go to: http://search.twitter.com/

Type in #UMDJschool, and all the comments for this thread will display.

Hit "refresh" periodically to see new comments.

This technology is useful journalistically to find story ideas and sources, to send out links on your published stories (and thus promote your stories) and to send out quick updates from the field on an unfolding story.

Screen shots to illustrate your final blog analysis

Screen shots, or screen grabs, can be done in less than a minute, using the Print Scrn button on the top right side of a PC 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: http://video.about.com/graphicssoft/WinXPScreenshot-mov.--8z.htm.


Going to USATODAY on April 28

On April 28, we'll be heading to USAToday.com for a newsroom tour and talk, beginning at 1:45 p.m. We'll talk with staffers about storytelling, story presentation and reader interaction. You will be given assigned questions to answer about the visit; your typed responses will count as an in-class grade, and will be due at the start of our last class. If you'd like, we could pre-arrange for carpools. We'll end the session at 3:15 p.m., to allow driving time before your next class. Our host will be Josh Hatch, interactives director of USAToday.

Please review the site carefully before the trip!

The office is in Northern Virginia, a stone's throw from Tyson's Corner II, and about 25 miles from here. Here's the address:
7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22108-0605

Here are directions from google maps, from Route 1 in College Park:

Go about 20 miles.
* Merge onto CHAIN BRIDGE RD/ VA-123 S via exit number 46A toward TYSONS CORNER/ VIENNA. Go about .50 mile.

* Turn RIGHT onto TYSONS BLVD. Go .3 mile.

* Turn right at Westbranch Dr. Go .5 mile.

Take 2nd right onto JONES BRANCH DR. Go 364 feet.

Tips for parking: Just before the main building, you’ll see flag poles and a guard shack on your right. Pull in to show your ID to the guard, and park where he directs you.

Then come in to the lobby to the security desk. I have supplied the guards with all of your names, so they’ll be expecting you. I'll be there, too.

Two Not So Adept Headlines and A Good Headline

While searching for bad headlines, I came upon two that struck me as being poorly worded. The first “The Most Awsomest Thing Ever,” written in Time, doesn’t seem to do justice to the credbility and statue of a respected organization such as Time Magazine Online. Proper use of words for headlines is key towards attracting a readers interest, and this headline glorifies the use of slang instead of using proper language to inform its readers. Even though I believe the intent of the author was to be “silly,” and to match the headline with the subject matter of the article, I still believe that the headline should be worded properly and avoid the use of slang terminology.
The other headline that I found that made me read it twice was, “Ohio executes murderer of teen,” by CNN. I think the word choice and placement of this headline did not flow very well. I think the “of” in the headline makes the reader pause and reread the entire headline. If I would have rewritten this headline it would be, “Ohio executes teen murderer” because it flows better and has the same meaning. I also think if you take out “of” and place teen before murderer, it makes it a more powerful headline and matches the tone of the article more.

One headline that I liked was “Impact of War,” because it matched the tone and subject of the article. The headline is clear, concise,and powerful. As a reader I was drawn to the story immediately due to the short and powerful meaning. Also I can tell by the headline that the article is feature story and has stories about people affected by our current war. Therefore I feel the headline matched the contents and tone of the story.


Great multimedia piece on 9:30 Club

This feature from the Washington Post's website demonstrates why the internet is such a powerful reporting tool.

The feature I've linked to is a package about Washington's famous 9:30 Club, one of the country's most celebrated venues for rock concerts. The reason the feature is so impressive is because it includes nearly every possible form of reporting: audio, video, photos, text and interactivity.

The link will take you directly to a video of a typical concert night at 9:30 -- it shows the lines, the performers, the stage, the crowds and the people working there. It is backed by the sound of live music, which is an effective tool to hold the viewer's attention and also to give viewers a sense of what kind of music you could expect to see on a given night. At the top of the story, there is an easily navigable collection of photos that serves essentially as a timeline of the club's history. If you click on one of the photos, you can read text about milestone performances or significant events in the 9:30 Club's storied history. There are write-ups by the authors of this package, but there also are transcriptions from interviews as well, providing a balanced and unique means of relaying information. Some of the interviews are amazing for music nerds like me: stories about Will Smith, Prince, The Police all performing (or trying to perform) at the 9:30 club despite it having notorious rat problems and being too small for most big-time acts to accommodate fans.

Packages like this are so much less static than simple text stories or even photo/video slideshows. Future generations of reporters (read: us) should take note of bundles like these and aim to duplicate them. For interested readers/viewers, a simple text story or audio clip just isn't enough. Journalism on the internet is quickly changing, perhaps even evolving, to become more artistic, more creative, and more inclusive. While a bit daunting, packages like this do show us the future, don't you think?