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A Guide to Survive Virtual300

13 May

Welcome to the #Virtual300 online journalism class. This class will challenge you in countless different ways when it comes to your ability as a journalist and as a multimedia reporter. In your quest to write your “8 Stories” for this class, help along the way can’t hurt. As a former student in this class, I compiled 10 tips that may make your life in this class a little easier.

Tip #1: Learn to write your articles/stories without expressing your own opinion.

This was a major challenge for me throughout the semester. When you get involved in a story or write stories that you are passionate about, it is hard not to sell something or tell people your opinion on it. A good journalist tells the facts, situations and happenings without putting their own feelings on the topic in their story.

This article gives good insight on how to be objective in your writing.

Tip #2: Have multiple sources in your story

Another mistake I made early on in this class was my lack of sources in my story. It is important to have a multitude of sources and interviews for each story. This allows you to capture what you are writing about from a myriad of different angles and viewpoints.

Check out this article which gives great advice on using multiple sources in your stories.

Tip #3: Implement several different types of media into your story

The addition of video, photos, diagrams, slideshows and even sound-bites to your story helps to enhance your story. The key to this enhancement is your ability to implement the different sources of media in the right place and at the right time; and also of course that your media is actually good.

Here is a good blog on starting off  in online journalism (check out step four especially).

Tip #4: DO NOT USE VERTICAL VIDEO

This is a tip that I learned all too well, being that I made the mistake on my first story. When taking a video on an iPhone or camera make sure that you hold it horizontally so that your video, when put on the internet, is full screen. In short, vertical video makes your video look crappy.

Here is a funny video to make you understand.

Tip #5:  Make sure when you film to make it look professional

Another mistake I made several times was panning and zooming while I was filming. All this does is make the viewer dizzy. Try to hold all your shots still and just mix-up the angels and distances for each shot. Mix and match close, medium and long shots throughout your video.

This article gives some tips on how to make better quality web video.

Tip #6: We don’t all have profession equipment, but can still make professional looking stories.

Not everyone is going to have a professional camera, or sound equipment. However, you can still create a professional looking story by using what is at your disposal. Almost everyone now-a-days has an iPhone or some sort of smartphone; it is easy to use this tool to make a story look professional. Check out this article for tips on using your phone for reporting:

Check out this article which has Eight Tips on using the iPhone for Reporting.

Tip #7:  Even if you are using a camera phone, you can still take good pictures.

It is important that in your story you have good quality pictures and pictures that connect with your piece. If you take a picture make sure it adds meaning to the story and is enhancing what the consumer is reading. Even if you are using an iPhone or camera phone you can still take professional looking pictures if you take your time and take appropriate steps, check out the article below:

Here are 10 Photography tips for mastering your Camera Phone:

Tip #8: Make sure you crop and edit your video and pictures before using them.

It is sometimes impossible to take the perfect picture or film and get something exactly the way you want it on the first try. By using a cropping device and video editor you can help improve your photos and videos. It is always a good idea to use these to make small changes to improve what you shot.

Here are 6 apps to crop pictures.

Here are 9 apps to edit video.

Tip #9: Make your sound recordings and interviews high quality.

It is easy when you are recording sound or interview to not realize how bad the quality is. It is important to take specific steps to make your sound recordings sound like they are high quality and professional.

Here are some useful apps to help when you are interviewing:

Tip #10: Download iPhone apps to help with reporting.

 Although your iPhone by itself is a great tool for reporting, you still may be lacking in some departments of reporting. There are several apps that are available that can help benefit you when reporting with your phone. Check out this article on good reporting apps.

Here are some apps for mobile journalists.

These 10 tips can benefit you a lot throughout this class. Try not to get overwhelmed, and always try to put out the best story you can. Now get out there and be a Virtual300 superstar and try not to pull out your hair along the way…

My Course Objectives

13 May

When reflecting on my Online Journalism Class, I think, this was one of the tougher classes I’ve taken because personally it was out of my element. To clarify, I am used to taking classes where the teacher lectures; I take notes, hand in papers, study, and take tests. This class was the complete opposite of that and it required me to work almost exclusively using technology that I wasn’t fully familiar with. Being forced to work out of my normal comfort zone, allowed for me to expand my knowledge of the digital industry and the new aspects involved in online journalism.

Up to this point the only journalism class I had taken was basic reporting, because this class was more centered around print journalism I had never experienced digital publishing. I felt like this course forced me to achieve the first class objective of “understanding various types and methods of digital publishing.” By way of WordPress, Tumblr, and Twitter; I learned to publish my stories, text, and multimedia, by way of the web and mobile devices.

I know it’s hard to believe but before this class I had never used Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr. This is why the second class objective was quite a bit more difficult for me to accomplish than probably most students. The Twitter scavenger hunt was actually the thing that helped me learn and understand Twitter and Instagram the best. Now that we are nearing the end of the semester, I feel like I have certainly have become proficient in terms of social media and blogging.

By way of the text, which is the portion of the class that I enjoyed the most because I felt like it fully explained online journalism and things that I was unaware of; I was able to learn about current trends and expectations that the industry will be requiring of me. I felt like the text allowed time for me to slow down and just learn about things that I didn’t know, instead of just submersing myself in something I was unsure of.

The one portion of the course objectives that I felt I didn’t fully accomplish, was knowing and understanding the power players in the industry. I felt like although I could probably tell you who they are, I never engrossed myself in their work and didn’t follow them closely. Because this objective wasn’t necessarily ever an assignment, I focused more of my energy on the heavy work load I had for this and my other classes.

The incorporation of multimedia into my stories took me a little time to get a grasp of. But by the end of this semester I felt like I had accomplished the course objective. The 8 stories helped me to learn how to make the multimedia fit into my story. It also forced me to become more aware of how important good video and images are to a story.

The last course objective, “be trained and prepared for student reporter/administrator staff position at Lindenlink.com,” was something that I was proud I accomplished. At first WordPress.org was a little overwhelming to me, being that I never used it before. But after having to experience it hands-on and learn somewhat on the fly, it allowed for me to feel quite comfortable with it.

My proudest accomplishment this semester has been my ability to manage the extensive work load that we as grad-students were given. With minimal time to understand fully what was expected of the stories and with the addition of all the graduate work; I was proud that I was able to keep my tasks under control and complete the assignments given to me.

A few times during this semester, especially after spring break, I felt completely overwhelmed by the amount of work I had in this class combined with my other classes. But I was able to manage my time and control the problem by focusing on the work. This accomplishment, I feel, prepares me greatly for a future career because no matter what field you enter you are bound to feel overwhelmed by your work. But the key is controlling and managing your time, and working hard which is exactly what I did this semester.

State of the News Media

30 Apr

Reading “The State of the News Media 2013” article gave several implications of what news is turning into and how the transformation will ultimately affect consumers and future journalist. What the information presented focused on was the ways consumers of news are getting their information. It also focused on the growth of digital advertising and how the dominance of four or five digital companies in the advertising realm could possibly hurt the online news media. The information over-all was very insightful and gave a great picture of what the future of news media is heading towards.

In our online journalism class, we have focused a lot of our time and discussions on the idea of digital media and social media becoming a large portion of the way consumers receive their news information. The data collected in this article not only presents the idea that news media is becoming popular but also that it is slowly becoming the main source of news.

The Pew Research Center’s 2012 News Media Consumption survey showed that the only category of news that showed any growth in the last two years was online news. This research also showed that 19% of Americans saw news or news headlines on social network “yesterday” (doubled from 2010).

Another extreme advancement being made, which goes along with online news media, is the use of mobile devices to consume news. The data collected showed that 31% of adults now own a tablet computer (up almost three times in two years) and 45% of adults own a smartphone, up from 35% in May 2011. This same survey also showed that 31% of tablet news users said that they spend more time with news since getting their mobile devices and another 43% said that the device is adding to the amount of news they consume. All of this information is proof that news media is slowly becoming a digital and more over an online industry.

This data indicate a bright and exciting future for the news consumer. As technology and the digital age continue to grow the consumer of news will be rewarded with easier accessed, faster updated and more interacting news than ever before. As a consumer you can’t help but be excited about the direction the news industry is going. With the internet literally at everyone’s finger tips it is obvious to see that as a consumer the news industry is changing to fulfill the needs of their audience. Consumers now receive and will continue to receive more information that is given to them quicker, faster, and more up to date than ever before.

As a possible future media business employee the data presents several positives and several negatives. The fact that online and mobile news has grown so much, presents the benefits of new jobs related to social media and online news that were not available years ago. The downfall to the growth of online journalism is the downfall of television, print, and radio news. This downfall takes away from jobs that used to be available.

Also the fact that “revenues from print and television evaporated far faster than digital revenues have grown,” is not a good sign for future employees. From the research, it is show that in the digital advertising battle, news is a tiny player in a market dominated by the large technology companies like Google and Facebook. This fact shows that although online news is growing, the way you make money online (advertisements), has been a struggle for the news industry.

The state of the news media is important to everyone, not just journalist and this topic gets talked about all the time. As a consumer, as long as I have a smartphone or a tablet I have news. As a possible future media business employee as long as there is news there will be jobs out there.

A Look at The New York Time’s: “Snow Fall”

9 Apr

SnowAt first glance the online article “Snow Fall” by John Branch seems like just an ordinary online feature story. However, as you begin to look at it, as you begin to scroll down the page you can immediately tell there is something different about this website.

After taking the time to read the story and appreciate the media blender that I was just thrown into; the thing that I appreciated the most was the interactivity of the website. It was as if the story was reading itself to me. It was as if the webpage knew when I needed to see a video, or a picture, or even a diagram for explanation. It seemed almost like magic that every time I wished I had a video to explain something, abracadabra…there it was.

The first thing that makes this “act of journalism” so revolutionary is that I have never seen anything like it before. What made this website so intriguing was that I didn’t know what to expect next. The fact that technology is so advanced, websites so creative, and online stories now so interactive; yet for this to be something new that I had never seen before and that surprised me at every turn made it that much cooler.

The second reason the way this story was presented is so revolutionary is how the journalist made the sources of media (video, pictures, diagrams, ect.) so involved and interconnected to the actual reading of the story. The ability to make the diagrams and maps come to life and interact with the reader as they go through the story is what makes it so revolutionary.

This class has presented the idea that telling a story as an online journalist is no longer just writing text, it is now the incorporation of videos, pictures, slideshows, sound-bites, diagrams and maps. The ability to use these sources of media throughout a story makes it not only easier to read but also more interesting and compelling for the reader. John Branch combines nearly every different type of media into his article, and allows not only his words to tell a story but also the pictures, videos, and diagrams to paint a picture for the reader and engross them in what actually happen that day.

While reading this story, this online article, I felt myself become involved in the story. I felt myself begin to create feelings, worries and hopes for the people that were involved. What is inspiring as a student journalist is the idea that with a compilation of my words and other sources of media I can present a story that readers and all people could connect with. The author’s ability to engross my mind and thoughts into this story and into the happenings of that day was remarkable.

As a consumer of news, in most cases, I will not take the time to read a single story for 30-45 minutes. I want my news quick and easy. The thing I liked most about this article was the way in which the author presented the story made me not even realize how much I was reading or how long I had been doing it. With the interactivity and the involvement, I felt the story created a sense of fun and a sense of excitement that made me forget that I was even consuming news.

Follow this like for further detail on how “Snow Fall” will affect the future of online journalism

This was by far the coolest and most intriguing story I have ever read. I don’t think it was necessarily the actual story that made it so cool and so amazing, but the presentation of the information. Don’t get me wrong, the actual happenings and circumstances of that day where very intriguing and amazing, but there are a lot of amazing and intriguing things that happen every day.

What made this story so great was the author’s presentation of the information, which ultimately is what set this story apart from anything else I have ever read. Crazy!

Click this link to see the ins and outs of the whole “Snow Fall” project and how it was made and put together. 

Info Interview Revision (after comments)

12 Apr

Informational Interview

For my informational interview I decided to interview, Jack Crogen, CEO of Crogen Sports. For me, the interview portion of the assignment was the easiest part. The conversation was easy, my questions came smoothly and everything that I thought would be the difficult part ended up being the easiest. On the other hand, deciding who to interview and what would benefit me the most was the most difficult part of the assignment. I have countless basketball contacts around the St. Louis area and I decided doing an interview in the coaching field wouldn’t benefit me. I thought that doing an interview in a field I knew nothing about would be more worth wild, help me network outside of the coaching world and allow me to broaden my knowledge of the sporting industry.

After debating and stressing over who I was going to interview and worrying about having to interview someone in the coaching world. I finally got over the idea of interviewing a coach and just wanted to find someone high up in the sporting world. I got Jack’s name from my dad after telling him I wanted to interview someone in the sports field, but outside the coaching world.

After getting his number and e-mail address, I decided to e-mail him first to introduce myself and explain what my project was and ask if he was interested. Because he knows my father, he enthusiastically e-mailed me back and told me he would love to do the interview. He gave me his number and told me to call him and set up a time and place. I called him and after talking for a while on the phone, found out that because he owns his own business he is fortunate enough to work out of his own home. Because of this and because he was going to be on Lindenwood’s campus for business, we decided to meet at 9 a.m. at the coffee shop in the LU library

On the day of the interview I got up around 7 a.m. to look over my questions and organization the order I would ask them. From the experience my classmates had in their interview, I decided not to dress up as much as I had planned to. I wore a button down shirt with no tie, khakis and dress shoes. I was worried I would be under dressed because he was coming on campus for business, but it ended up being the perfect attire with us both wearing almost the same outfit.

I got to the library about 15 minutes early and waited outside on the steps. I had googled Jack beforehand so I knew exactly what he looked like. As soon as I saw him approaching, I stood up, shook his hand, introduced myself and thanked him for doing the interview. After a little chit chat outside of the library he suggested we go inside, get something to drink and talk. Jack, as I was forced to call him after he told me he wouldn’t answer any of my questions if I called him Mr. Crogen, was easy to talk to.

He bought a coffee for himself and a soda for me and we sat down at a table and the interview began. After my first question the feeling of an interview went away and I felt like I was just having a conversation with someone over drinks in a coffee shop. My questions came easy and his answers came even easier. I literally looked at my question list one time the whole interview and probably only had to ask 10 questions to get all 30 questions answered.

As far as the information I received in the interview, I learned more about what it takes to be successful in life than I learned about his business itself. Something that I was interested in and that we talked a lot about is how he got to be so successful. Seeing the road he took to owning and running his own sports consulting firm benefited me greatly.

I found out that Jack began his working career as a low level video production man for a cable company here in St. Louis. Slowly he worked his way up to managing the video production area of the company. From there he was told by a contact who had connections with the Cardinals about a job opportunity involving the running, managing and development of the new video board being put in Busch Stadium. After receiving the job Jack began his career with the Cardinals where he went from just being in charge of the video board to being director of marketing. With responsibilities for such units as the stadium advertising program, luxury suite business and special events acquisitions.

After spending more than 10 years with the Cardinals, Jack seized the opportunity to start his own sports consulting business. Where he provides strategic and tactical guidance to professional/collegiate sports teams, stadium/arenas, owners/operators and sports architectural firms. Jack has worked with the Cardinals, Rams, Blues, Busch Stadium, Edward Jones Dome, Scottrade Center, the Big 12 Conference and most recently Lindenwood University.

After talking for an hour and a half and getting far more information and more great advice than I could ever have imagined he did something that made me feel good. He handed me his business card and told me that he loved the way I presented myself, my personality and my attitude towards life. He told me because of this interview I created another contact and that if I ever needed anything from him to feel free to contact him whenever I wanted. I thanked him again, we shook hands and parted ways. In the aftermath of the interview I feel like creating a relationship with someone as important as Jack will benefit me in my future in sports, whether it be in coaching or something else.

Hearing the road that Jack took to get to this point and what he thought were the most important things he did to be successful is one of the most significant things I took away from this interview. We talked a lot about networking and contacts and how important that it is not only for his business now but how important it was for him to get into the sporting world. I asked if his major had anything to do with sports or sports management. He told me he got his degree in general studies and that his major was a minuscule part of where he is today.

He believed that what made him successful was that throughout his life treated everyone he met with respect, showed an interest in them and in what they do, which allowed him to create countless contacts and endless networks. He said that he believed his personality and confidence are some other things that made him successful. He said that it doesn’t matter how many contacts you have or how big your network is if you don’t have an outgoing, confident personality. Finally the most obvious and most in your face thing Jack said during the interview was that it doesn’t matter if you have millions of contacts or have the best personality in the world, if you don’t work your ass off you will not make it in this world.

That final piece of advice that Jack gave me in the interview is something that stuck with me and something that I know will stick with me throughout the rest of my life. The three things that made him successful, seem to be obvious and uncomplicated things. But the way he explained it and the way he used his career to show how those three things helped him become successful really hit home with me. At the beginning of this assignment I just wanted to get it over with thinking that it wouldn’t help me in my future. Not only having Jack as a contact, but after talking with Jack, learning from his experience and taking his advice to heart I really think this interview will benefit me in my future.

Cigarette Commercial

10 Apr

I found a 1950’s commercial advertising “Kool Cigarettes.” This ad’s slogan was presented as serious but it was the most backwards and comedic slogan I found. The commercials saying was, “as cool and as clean as a breath of fresh air.”

The ad started with a cartoon penguin ice skating through a snow-capped mountain. It then showed an icy stream with clean water flowing through it. After these images, a well dressed and good-looking man is shown smoking a “Kool Cigarette.” He then says, “Your mouth feels clean, your throat refreshed.” This commercial is implying that Kool Cigarettes are much different from other cigarettes. Unlike normal smokes, Kool Cigarettes make your throat feel clean and refreshed instead of hot and clogged up.

The ad is so false in its content that it is almost comical. They are telling the audience that as you suck in a giant breath of smoke it is just like you are breathing in a breath of fresh air. Kool Cigarettes are being presented as a cigarette that is clean and therefore much healthier and safe than normal cigarettes.

“The finest leaf tobacco, mild refreshing menthol and worlds most thoroughly tested filter.” Although this statement and these so-called facts sound great, there is no way to know if they are true. Is the leaf the finest according to actual studies or just the companies opinion? Is it the most thoroughly tested filter by all cigarettes standards or just the companies?

There is no way for the audience to know if these statements are actually true or just statements with underlying factors. This statement isn’t necessarily lying but it is withholding important information. Information like who did the studies, who said that their leaf is the finest or most thoroughly tested. Advertisers have no regulations or no rules saying that they can’t make comments like this. For all we know the owners Grandma may have said that their leaves are the finest and their filter is the most thoroughly tested.

The appeal that this company is trying to use is that their cigarette is different from others. They state in the commercial, “why don’t you switch from hot to the snow fresh coolness of Kool.” The advertisement is claiming that other cigarettes are hot and undelightful, while their cigarette is cool and enjoyable.

From my analysis I do believe that this is an unethical advertisement.  By using the tactics of stating the truth but not the whole truth, the company is tricking the audience into thinking their comments are fact. Although I do think it is a clever scheme making their cigarette completely the opposite of how people think of cigarettes. The commercial still withholds truths and deceives the audience, which is not ethical.

Interview Paper Rewrite

4 Apr

 

Informational Interview

For my informational interview I decided to interview, Jack Crogen, CEO of Crogen Sports. For me, the interview portion of the assignment was the easiest part. The conversation was easy, my questions came smoothly and everything that I thought would be the difficult part ended up being the easiest thing. On the other hand, deciding who to interview and what would benefit me the most was the most difficult part of the assignment. I have countless basketball contacts around the St. Louis area and I decided doing an interview in the coaching field wouldn’t benefit me. I thought that doing an interview in a field I knew nothing about would be more worth wild, help me network outside of the coaching world and allow me to broaden my knowledge of the sporting industry.

After debating and stressing over who I was going to interview and worrying about having to interview someone in the coaching world. I finally got over the idea of interviewing a coach and just wanted to find someone high up in the sporting world. I got Jack’s name from my dad after telling him I wanted to interview someone not in the coaching world, but with a sports related job.

After getting his number and e-mail address, I decided to e-mail him first to introduce myself and explain what my project was and ask if he was interested. Because he knows my father, he enthusiastically e-mailed me back and told me he would love to do the interview. He gave me his number and told me to call him and set up a time and place. I called him and after talking for a while on the phone, found out that because he owns his own business he is fortunate enough to work out of his own home. Because of this and because he was going to be on Lindenwood’s campus for business, we decided to meet at 9 a.m. at the coffee shop in the LU library

On the day of the interview I got up around 7 a.m. to look over my questions and organization the order I would ask them. From the experience my classmates had in their interview, I decided not to dress up as much as I had planned to. I wore a button down shirt with no tie, khakis and dress shoes. I was worried I would be under dressed because he was coming on campus for business, but it ended up being the perfect attire with us both wearing almost the same outfit.

I got to the library about 15 minutes early and waited outside on the steps. I had googled Jack beforehand so I knew exactly what he looked like. As soon as I saw him approaching, I stood up, shook his hand, introduced myself and thanked him for doing the interview. After a little chit chat outside of the library he suggested we go inside, get something to drink and talk. Jack, as I was forced to call him after he told me he wouldn’t answer any of my questions if I called him Mr. Crogen, was easy to talk to.

He bought a coffee for himself and a soda for me and we sat down at a table and the interview began. After my first question the feeling of an interview went away and I felt like I was just having a conversation with someone over drinks in a coffee shop. My questions came easy and his answers came even easier. I literally looked at my question list one time the whole interview and probably only had to ask 10 questions to get all 30 questions answered.

As far as the information I received in the interview, I learned more about what it takes to be successful in life than I learned about his business itself. Something that I was interested in and that we talked a lot about is how he got to be so successful. Seeing the road he took to owning and running his own sports consulting firm benefited me greatly.

I found out that Jack began his working career as a low level video production man for a cable company here in St. Louis. Slowly he worked his way up to managing the video production area of the company. From there he was told by a contact who had connections with the Cardinals about a job opportunity involving the running, managing and development of the new video board being put in Busch Stadium. After receiving the job Jack began his career with the Cardinals where he went from just being in charge of the video board to being director of marketing. With responsibilities for such units as the stadium advertising program, luxury suite business and special events acquisitions.

After spending more than 10 years with the Cardinals, Jack seized the opportunity to start his own sports consulting business. Where he provides strategic and tactical guidance to professional/collegiate sports teams, stadium/arenas, owners/operators and sports architectural firms. Jack has worked with the Cardinals, Rams, Blues, Busch Stadium, Edward Jones Dome, Scottrade Center, the Big 12 Conference and most recently Lindenwood University.

After talking for an hour and a half and getting far more information and more great advice than I could ever have imagined he did something that made me feel good. He handed me his business card and told me that he loved the way I presented myself, my personality and my attitude towards life. He told me because of this interview I created another contact and that if I ever needed anything from him to feel free to contact him whenever I wanted. I thanked him again, we shook hands and parted ways. In the aftermath of the interview I feel like creating a relationship with someone as important as Jack will benefit me in my future in sports, whether it be in coaching or something else.

Hearing the road that Jack took to get to this point and what he thought were the most important things he did to be successful is one of the most significant things I took away from this interview. We talked a lot about networking and contacts and how important that it is not only for his business now but how important it was for him to get into the sporting world. I asked if his major had anything to do with sports or sports management. He told me he got his degree in general studies and that his major was a minuscule part of where he is today.

He believed that what made him successful was that throughout his life treated everyone he met with respect, showed an interest in them and in what they do, which allowed him to create countless contacts and endless networks. He said that he believed his personality and confidence are some other things that made him successful. He said that it doesn’t matter how many contacts you have or how big your network is if you don’t have an outgoing, confident personality. Finally the most obvious and most in your face thing Jack said during the interview was that it doesn’t matter if you have millions of contacts or have the best personality in the world, if you don’t work your ass off you will not make it in this world.

That final piece of advice that Jack gave me in the interview is something that stuck with me and something that I know will stick with me throughout the rest of my life. The three things that made him successful, seem to be obvious and uncomplicated things. But the way he explained it and the way he used his career to show how those three things helped him become successful really hit home with me. At the beginning of this assignment I just wanted to get it over with thinking that it wouldn’t help me in my future. Not only having Jack as a contact, but after talking with Jack, learning from his experience and taking his advice to heart I really think this interview will benefit me in my future.