Entry by Derek Casanovas
Brian Immel, a former photographer and web designer for the Spokesman-Review, visited the class on April 23. An architect of College Front Page and the Spokesman-Review’s redesigned Web site, Immel has past experience in building Internet sites from the ground up.
Above all else, Immel said the three most important parts of any Web site are content, usability and relevance. If you don’t have content that people want, Immel said, nobody will come to you as a source of information. If your site is clunky and not easily accessible, he added, users will also be going elsewhere on the Web. Lastly, it’s important to find a Web site that people want to read. An example Immel used is the FAIL Blog — people know exactly what they’re going to get when they visit the site: images, video and stories of people failing.
Immel stressed the importance of many factors that go into developing an online site:
- Develop a simple design that people won’t get too cluttered up with. Also, make sure the site is usable — the links work, buttons are easy to find and the content people want is on the Web. Additionally, creating a hierarchy on the site is important for separating headers from subheads, headlines from body text, sidebars from the main splitter. And the design on all of the site should look and feel consistent throughout.
- Picking out a type is important. A clear font, in the right size, style and color is an effective way to brand yourself. Choosing something that matches the niche of your personality or site is vital.
- Images bring your site to life. Icons, headers, logos, backgrounds, elements, textures, buttons and even an error page are important ways of bringing your users into your product.
Lastly, Immel said the best thing graduates can do after leaving school is remaining active. There’s no reason to sit and home and wait for an opportunity. Immel advised students remain active blogging, try to find work at community newspapers and get your name on the Web. When the business model is found for the new era of journalism, jobs will go to people that have proven they can get the job done, Immel said.
Entry by Jasmine Linabary
What do you find when people Google your name?
For some people, it drudges up old information that they do not want revealed and then want information taken down. Or, maybe nothing is found except some old information from high school or a few articles you have written.
The key then, especially if you are looking for a job, is to own your online presence. If you are going into journalism, a potential employer who “Googles” you name should be able to see that you have dabbled in the technology. This should be able to show your skills and whether you have actually practiced what your resume says you can do.
Do you have a Twitter account? Do you have YouTube videos? Do you have Facebook? Are you connected to any networks (Linked-In, Wired Journalists, etc.)? Do you have a blog? Who are you?
These are things you can control by developing a Web presence. Create account and do some work. Define yourself. Be wary about what you write though and that it won’t present bias or damage your potential career. Think about the pictures you have on Facebook. Would you want your employer to see those? Your sources?
This is an interesting article I found today. Google is introducing a feature that allows you to create a profile to show up in searches for your name.
How have you worked to develop a Web presence? Add your thoughts to the comment section below.
Entry by Julie Wootton
(Information courtesy of Mark Brigg’s “Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive” and the Readership Institute)
-A database is a collection of data (or information).
-Data does not lose its novelty or timeliness as quickly.
-Data such as crime statistics can be of personal and public interest.
-There is no space constraint on the Internet.
-Data that is collected online can be condensed and used in print publications.
-Remember that databases do not have to be complex or difficult to create. Databases can be created fairly easily using Microsoft Excel.
-Database journalism is considered a new reporting method, along with other kinds of community-based journalism.
Crowdsourcing= using a group of people or community to perform a job that normally just one person does.
Open source reporting= a way for a reporter to solicit ideas, sources, etc. on a particular subject.
Distributed reporting- this most frequently pertains to reader-generated content.
Reasons to use databases:
-To more efficiently organize information
-To organize lists of sources for newsroom personnel
-To make information more accessible and easier to understand for readers
Using databases for news coverage:
-“Alternative story form”- information is broken down into clearly labeled sections or lists that present information simply.
-Information can then be easily put into a database.
Some examples of databases:
The Whitworthian’s restaurant guide
The New York Times’ skiing travel guide
USA Today sports scores
Washington State registered sex offender database
Interview with Derek Willis, database editor for The Washington Post
General information and resources about database journalism from the Readership Institute
Mark Brigg’s “Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive”
Data Center on courier-journal.com
Data Central on indystar.com
Excel database tutorial
Entry by Jasmine Linabary
Here are some relevant links from the past few weeks on the subject of online journalism that you may find interesting:
Journalistopia: “10 Things Online Editors can do to Save Their Jobs”: Danny Sanchez gives advice to web editors of things they can do to remain valuable. Actually, these suggestions and resources would be great for any journalist to pay attention to and play with.
10,000 Words: “Radio: Innovative ways to follow the aging medium”: Mark S. Luckie highlights technological innovations of the radio that are emerging on the internet, mobile devices and through microblogging.
Online Journalism Review: “The New York Times needs an online impresario to help it pay its bills”: Tom Grubisich argues that the New York Times should use its Web site to generate revenue but not by charging for any of its all-free daily coverage. This articles emerges in light of Executive Editor Bill Keller’s recent comments on the subject of paid content and a confidential memo from Steve Brill obtained by Romenesko in which he argues that the Times should start charging for online content.
E-Media Tidbits: “NYT Readers Brainstorm Business Models, Paying for Online News”: Maurreen Skowran provides highlights and discussion on a package of essays published on the New York Times‘ Room for Debate blog, Battle Plans for Newspapers, about potential business models to help newspapers survive.
MediaShift: “Budding Journalists Use Twitter, Blogs to Open Doors”: Alfred Hermida provides examples of what students are doing and advice to students on building up their online presence to increase their potential for employment in the industry
This is cross-posted on the Getting the News Online blog.