The Facebook

Nearly everybody knows the Facebook story by now. Co-founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, Facebook started as a social network for Harvard University students to connect. It soon grew to include other universities, and in 2005, “The Facebook” became just “Facebook.” The social media site soon became open to anyone with an email account. By the end of 2009, Facebook had around 360 million users.

Facebook is a great tool for journalists. They can post content and connect with viewers and readers. Some things for journalists to consider when setting up an account: use a professional profile and cover photos, choose a strong password to avoid hacking, post a lot of photos, videos, and stories, and interact with followers. It is strongly advised to avoid commenting to rude comments on Facebook. If needed to, take it off the site.

The most followed journalists on Facebook include Maria Shriver and the late Roger Ebert.

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Pin a Picture on the Wall

Pinterest began in 2010. It was created by Ben Silbermann. When the website launched to the public, it was by invitation only. In the first 10 months, Pinterest gained 10,000 users. Pinterest is now valued at $3.5 billion.

“I’d always thought that the things you collect say so much about who you are.” Ben says this childhood bug collection is “Pinterest 1.0.” (Businessinsider.com) Ben’s quote found in an article by Business Insider describes Pinterest– a collection of things.

Pinterest is like a virtual cork board full of photos taken from all over the internet. It is a personalized media platform. People can set up their board to cater to their interests.

I believe Pinterest is not the best media platform for the majority of journalists. The website does not allow text and seems difficult to keep up-to-date in real time.

Tweet Tweet

Twitter was started by Jack Dorsey, an NYU student. He wanted to offer an SMS service as an alternative to social media sites like Facebook and MySpace. Dorsey sent out his first tweet on March 21, 2006. The site went public July 15, 2006 and started to become popular in 2007.

Twitter is a form of microblogging because it allows users to send out messages that are 140 characters or less. Hashtags, represented by a “#,” represent popular topics and keywords. However, Twitter users should not tweet too often, as they might lose followers. It is best to follow the 4:1:1 rule– tweet four times, retweet once, and tweet about oneself once.

Twitter is a fantastic tool for journalists as long as journalists tweet in a timely fashion. It is a way to connect with readers and viewers, find photos and videos of events, and put their work out there for the public to access.

Conversational Journalism

Mark Briggs’ tenth chapter in Journalism Next began with the quote from Edward R. Murrow:

“The Speed of communication is wonderful to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.” – Edward R. Murrow

Briggs believed that conversational journalism was the right way for journalism to go. He listed reasons a journalist might have trouble transitioning over: ethics, credibility, the audience does not participate.

He said most journalists prefer lecture-style news. Briggs pointed out that viewers do not give journalists respect when they participate. Social media helped journalists connect with viewers and it helped bring in Briggs’ words “loyalty.”

Using Technology

Chapter 9 in Briggs’ book was titled “Data-Driven Journalism and Digitalizing Your Life” talked about bringing technology into your work, whether it’s email, like Yahoo!, digital calendars, or a word processing system like Microsoft Word. Briggs provided a list of things to consider when purchasing a tool: the cost, whether it has to be online or offline, and the compatibility with other programs.

How does the use of technology affect journalism? According to Briggs, every story contains usable data. Stories contain “fielded data,” data that can be inputted into a spread sheet. Briggs explained how to create a spreadsheet in Journalism Next. He recommended including as many fields as possible.

According to Briggs, maps were another important tool used in journalism. Google Maps was an example he used in Journalism Next. Maps can be used in the news and breaking news stories. Another way maps can be used is to map data. Briggs concludes that electronic devices like smart phones changed hows maps are used.

In conclusion, I did not find this chapter very helpful. Most of the information in chapter 9, “Data-Driven Journalism and Digitalizing Your Life” is taught in secondary education.

Chirp, chirp

Chirp, chirp. The sound of a bird’s chirp could mean a new tweet was sent out. Chapter 4 of “Journalism Next” by Mark Briggs focused on microblogging and social media. What is microblogging? According to the book, microblogging allows people to post short messages. A good example is Twitter. Twitter allows journalists and news organizations to connect with their views or readers in 140 characters or less. Other examples mentioned in the chapter were Facebook’s newsfeed and Tumblr.

What makes microblogging so important for journalists? It can be used as a platform for breaking news. News organizations and everyday people break news over Twitter and Facebook. It is a fast and affective way to update viewers or readers without having to wait for enough information for a journalist to be on air.

Briggs provided Twitter “etiquette.” I like his advice to follow before tweeting, do not tweet off-topic, tweet news links, and get to know people. Other good advice– the 80-20 Rule. Eighty percent of tweets should add value to Twitter.

The chapter provided an informative look into microblogging.

Journalism and Everyday People

Chapter 3 of Journalism Next by Mark Briggs focused on reader involvement. The chapter provided a closer look at how citizens help change journalism. The methods discussed in the chapter were crowdsourcing, open-source reporting, and pro-am journalism.

Briggs provided definitions for each method discussed. “Crowdsourcing” allows the citizens to provide information. The method provided more ways to gain information about things happening.

The author spend a lot of time talking about crowdsourcing and different community papers that let citizens contribute.

Another method mentioned by Briggs was open-source reporting. Briggs said that transparency and allowing reader feedback is what open-source means. Examples are Facebook and Twitter. Certain stories are aimed towards a particular group of people. Beatblogging is a way to gain readers.

Briggs’ last method is Pro-Am Journalism. He said this is the most popular method and a good example is CNN iReport. The person does everything– gathers information, shoots video and photos.

Overall, I did not care for the chapter. Briggs spent way too much time discussing community newspapers. I am someone who believes a person should know the ethics before trying to be a journalist. I know people can provide important video and photos to help tell a story.

Story Telling Using Video

This week, I read chapter 8 of Mark Briggs’ book. The chapter was titled “Telling Stories with Video.” The chapter opened with a heartwarming story about Lexington Herald-Leader photographer Charles Bertram and his usage of video to tell the story about a young boy named Adam.

Briggs provided useful information on using video as a journalism tool. He said to create a storyboard to get a main idea across to the general public. He provided good advice that I learned recently in another class– make sure to have plenty of footage. Footage could be up close, far away, and in the middle.

I like Briggs’ in-depth list on equipment needed to shoot good video and good audio. Digital journalist Mara Shiavocampo provided a look inside her backpack. Schiavocampo currently works for ABC News.

Good Blog, Bad Blog

A topic covered in Mark Briggs’ book was blogging. He listed ways to make a blog stand out.

Good Blogs:

The Pioneer Woman‘s blog is eye-catching and well done. The layout provides easy access to her recipes, with each recipe categorized at the top of the page. She provides humor and photos in each blog post, making it easy to read her blog. As Briggs mentioned in his book, those are ways to draw in readers and keep them interested.

The Taylor Swift Style blog provides a look at the fashion of recording artist Taylor Swift. The blog is clean and organized. Each article of clothing worn by Taylor is categorized by type of clothing, occasion, or album era. It makes it easier for visitors to Taylor Swift Style to locate their favorite outfit. One feature I really enjoy is if a piece of clothing is available for purchase, the blog owners post a link to where a person can buy it.

Bad Blogs:

An example of a bad blog is celebrity gossip site TMZ. The red header stands out to readers when they first log onto the website. I think TMZ is a bad example of a blog because of the content and the comment section. Based on Briggs’ book, I do not think TMZ’s blog is very well organized. It could be better.

Oh No They Didn’t celebrity gossip blog is another example of a bad blog. The website is clean, something Briggs suggested a blog should be. Oh No They Didn’t uses Live Journal. Live Journal causes the website to not run as well as a site like wordpress.com or tumblr.com. Using a site like Live Journal is why I believe Oh No They Didn’t is a bad blog.

The Beginning of Digital Journalism

Mark E. Briggs provided an introduction to the importance digital resources and applications are to journalists in chapter one of Journalism Next. Chapter two focused on how the blog became an important tool in journalism and what makes a good blog. Chapter one focused on a lot of technological terminology.

Briggs spent a lot of pages on Really Simple Syndication (RSS). He believed it was very relevant for people to access news through RSS. He focused most of the chapter on RSS. Readers were given an introduction to basic computer terms like megabyte, gigabyte, and terabyte. Briggs explained what the internet was and how it worked. The chapter later goes into things to know when wanting to set up a website. Briggs believed journalists should have a little knowledge on computer programming.

Chapter one provided step-by-step instructions on creating an HTML and other important parts of a webpage. Blogging was the focus of chapter two. Briggs provided information about news organizations and journalists using blogs to connect with readers. He said it was important for student journalists to start a blog.

The chapter provided a look at the two main blog sites available, blogger.com and newspress.com. Instructions were provided in creating a successful blog. It began with creating a name, something catchy, and went through the process of customizing the font and background. According to the book, the computer programming knowledge would help with customizing the blog. At the end of the chapter, Briggs listed tips to keep the blog running and what should be done to gain and keep readers. I found the chapters interesting and informative.