Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wikity wikity whack...

Ha sorry...had to do it for my title. I don't really think that wikispaces are whack. I actually really like them. This is my first semester using a wiki so it's been interesting trying to figure everything out about it. I kind of hated it at first, but now that I'm starting to find my way around our wikispace I'm pretty impressed.And after looking through Amy's blog some more I found out another really cool feature of wikis. Apparently she was able to do a presentation using her wikispace...and guess was a hit. According to Amy, "One advantage of this approach is that the participants were in a more conversational mindset. They were very engaged in the discussion, and they weren’t just passively taking notes. In effect, I was taking notes for them while leading the discussion. That seemed to free them up mentally to engage more fully with the action."
I hate public speaking and getting in front of a class to give a speech is the last thing I ever want to do. So later this semester I'm going to have to give a presentation in Media Ethics on a case study and think of engaging questions to spark conversation. After reading some of Amy's blog maybe I'll go ahead and try her approach. I suggest taking a look at her wiki.
Let me know what you think of the idea or if you've ever used a wiki as a presentation tool.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Oh Facebook...

Facebook has nearly 40 million viewers, it is currently the 7th most visited website in the world and as a nation we are spending 233 million hours searching through the site every month.
We all have it. At least most of us anyway. People join Facebook in order to connect with people, to talk about common ideas through groups and the all too famous 'Stalkerbook' is still being talked about. But what's in it for journalists? Or how can the campus newspapers use Facebook to their advantage?
It seems like larger news organizations are joining Facebook and benefiting from it. The BBC's Newsnight program has created two Facebook groups to gather contacts for reporters and to build closer viewer relations. And according to Magda, news organizations are working together to use social networking to better distribute news content.
Either way, Facebook just keeps getting bigger and bigger and keeps adding more and more applications and features. With all of these updates what can college medias, particularly The Breeze, do to improve?
I hear a lot of students say that The Breeze does not cover important events and issues around the JMU campus. Maybe to help improve student satisfaction with The Breeze, the newspaper could start a Facebook group that allows people to join and post comments on different topics that they would like covered. This gives students an opportunity to work directly with The Breeze and to feel more connected with their school newspaper. Each section of the newspaper, such as News or Arts and Entertainment, could have a different group and students can voice their concerns or their opinions.
How do you think student media could make use of Facebook and other social networks?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Blogging...credible or not?

Alright, let’s be honest. I really don’t know what to think about journalism and blogging. After doing a little research and now that I blog on my own I’m starting to understand the main difference between blogging and journalism. First off, I do think that journalists should stand for certain issues. Everyone does it, so we might as well be up front about it. It’s healthier that way.
Buuuut….even when journalists are biased they have rules that they have to follow. A journalist needs to have their facts checked, they can’t take bribes, they ask questions and care about telling the truth. Basically, journalists care about ethics. And this is what gives journalism its credibility.
Blogging on the other hand leaves room for fraud and inaccuracy. Many people don’t blog in order to truthfully inform people about burning issues…instead many journalists use it for marketing purposes. Someone once said that’s why journalists blog. “Not because the established media does not permit free speech, but because they’re high on themselves.” Blogging in its nature has become inaccurate and has led people to undermine the credibility of the blogosphere. Reporters have to at least try to not include their personal opinions and be as objective as possible. Bloggers on the other hand don’t even try to hide their opinions and therefore, everything you read from a blogger is skewed in some way.
On the other hand blogging could be even more credible because it isn’t filtered. People are able to say what they want without being worried about what their supporters will say. It’s enormously informing and revealing to read a blogger’s post.
Blogging and journalism are both important and like I said earlier, need each other. There’s a place for both and I don’t think either one will ever replace the other.
What do you think?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Blogging Versus Journalism

I was able to find a blog written by Jay Rosen that I thought was pretty appropriate for Print Journalism. In this blog Rosen assembled a list of differences between journalism and blogging.

1.) The weblog comes out of the gift economy, whereas most (not all) of today’s journalism comes out of the market economy.
2.) Journalism had become the domain of professionals, and amateurs were sometimes welcomed into it— as with the op-ed page. Whereas the weblog is the domain of amateurs and professionals are the ones being welcomed to it.
3.) In journalism since the mid-nineteenth century, barriers to entry have been high. With the weblog, barriers to entry are low: a computer, a Net connection, and a software program like Blogger or Movable Type gets you there. Most of the capital costs required for the weblog to “work” have been sunk into the Internet itself, the largest machine in the world (with the possible exception of the international phone system.)
4.) In the weblog world every reader is actually a writer, and you write not so much for “the reader” but for other writers. So every reader is a writer, yes, but every writer is also a reader of other weblog writers—or better be.
5.) Whereas an item of news in a newspaper or broadcast seeks to add itself to the public record, an entry posted in a weblog engages the public record, because it pulls bits and pieces from it through the device of linking. In journalism the regular way, we imagine the public record accumulating with each day’s news— becoming longer. In journalism the weblog way, we imagine the public record “tightening,” its web becoming stronger, as links promotes linking, which produces more links.
6.) A weblog can “work” journalistically—it can be sustainable, enjoyable, meaningful, valuable, worth doing, and worth it to other people —if it reaches 50 or 100 souls who like it, use it, and communicate through it. Whereas in journalism the traditional way, such a small response would be seen as a failure, in journalism the weblog way the intensity of a small response can spell success.
7.) A weblog is like a column in a newspaper or magazine, sort of, but whereas a column written by twelve people makes little sense and wouldn’t work, a weblog written by twelve people makes perfect sense and does work.
8.) In journalism prior to the weblog, the journalist had an editor and the editor represented the reader. In journalism after the weblog, the journalists has (writerly) readers, and the readers represent an editor.
9.) In journalism classically understood, information flows from the press to the public. In the weblog world as it is coming to be understood, information flows from the public to the press.
10.) Journalism traditionally assumes that democracy is what we have, information is what we seek. Whereas in the weblog world, information is what we have—it’s all around us—and democracy is what we seek.

Personally I think this list is very strong and helps sort out a lot of ethical issues that arise from blogging and journalism. For example, if journalism focuses more on the relationship between writer and reader what might that suggest about the principles guiding the journalist?

Either way, I think that journalism needs a blogging. According to Rosen it is because of journalism’s “lost point of view, vigor and perspective, in the name of objectivity, to the point of being irrelevant and boring for many people.”
Blogs are meant to give a perspective and point of view, where journalism is meant to give information and credibility. Blogs and journalism need each other and readers who aren’t writers will be able to stay interested and knowledgeable by having access to both.

New Media Meets Campus Media

I was searching through the Internet for some new blog topics and I came across an article about the new types of media on college campuses. The article talked about how college journalism classes are lagging behind on the industry in embracing new types of media. Ten years ago students may not have needed to know about multimedia approaches to journalism, but today the world wide web and online newspapers are becoming more and more prominent. Therefore, students are needing to know more and be equipped with knowledge of different typed of medias to enter a competitive workplace.
In the article there was a survey done by....surprise surprise....David Wendelken and Toni B. Mehling, of James Madison University. According to the survey even the smallest commercial newspapers, with 10,000 readers or fewer, are looking for reporting candidates with experience writing for the Web and uploading stories to the Internet. Of nine respondents in the "large daily newspaper" category (those with a circulation of 44,000 and above), eight required reporters to have skills in capturing audio while four required audio editing skills. Five required reporters to have skills in capturing video, while one required video editing expertise. According to Wendelken, many newspapers are are looking at reporters to do these things from the start.
So it's no surprise that this semester our newspaper production class has moved towards a multimedia approach. I personally believe that all SMAD classes should be begin to include multimedia elements in order to better prepare students for the competitive workplace. As a print journalist student I still want to learn about audio and video editing works and how I'm going to put my work onto the Internet. Some students may cringe and complain about the work load...or say that including a lot more multimedia elements is not what a newspaper production class is about...but personally I think we'll all be thanking our teachers who are pushing us to have these skills when it comes time to apply for jobs. It's the students who have the extra knowledge that will have that competitive edge that so many print journalism students lack.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Ok, so maybe it's just me but I absolutely love reading magazines. Maybe it' because they have the pretty glossy finish and don't come out almost everyday like a newspaper does, that I find them so attractive. Or maybe it's because a lot of the JMU magazines aren't so much hard news as they are feature and thats ultimately what I want to write. Either way, I'm attracted to magazines and I can't help it.
I know that JMU has a good amount of publications, from Madison to the Alumni, but for some reason I don't see them getting as much credit as The Breeze. Even as a magazine lover I don't find myself reading them as much as a newspaper and It's probably because they aren't as convenient to find than a Breeze.
Basically I want more magazine publications. I'll write more later....

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Listen up future journalists

So you wanna be a journalist, right? Whether you want to write for a newspaper, magazine or online I’m sure most of you are aspiring to be well known journalists and want to do anything you can to improve yourself. I was searching online and came across a really good blog by Paul Bradshaw for anybody that is aspiring to become a journalist. Although many things on the list seem like common sense you would be surprised at how many journalism students don’t follow these suggestions…
  • Read the news
  • Forget you have an opinion
  • Know the difference between news and features
  • Get a life
  • Don't sit around waiting for phonecalls
  • Make contacts
  • Learn how to spell
  • Be open to new experiences
  • Know what the rules are so you can break them
  • Know what you want to get out of this-and chase it

I also came up with a few suggestions of my own and if you have any other additions I would love to hear them.

  • Keep a journal
  • Engage in conversation
  • Discover the web
  • Always ask questions
  • Start a blog- We all have a good start with this one!

I think everyone will find Paul's blog not only helpful, but aspiring. Check it out and let me know what you think!