Read & Respond week 2: Getting Started

August 16, 2018

First, an overview of how these will typically work. Just about every week has an assigned reading from the Mark Briggs textbook, Journalism Next. In addition, I’ll typically put up a post here (usually by Thursday afternoon) with some links to online readings. You are required to post a response to these readings no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday. You’ll post your response as a comment in reply to the Read & Respond blog post (like this one).

Your response MUST address the week’s Briggs chapter and should add some elements from the online readings. You don’t need to cite all the links, but you need to connect them (or other examples) to Briggs for full credit. Keep these short and to-the-point (they’re only worth 2.5 points), but do cover your bases.

Now on with this week’s assignment.

As the syllabus says, you’ll be reading Briggs’ introduction. As you work to develop your blog’s focus, Briggs offers some suggestions. Chief among them: “It’s not about you” (remember: “Nobody Cares”). What can you write about that gets beyond yourself and meaningfully adds to the ongoing conversation? See what examples you can draw from the links below to bolster your ideas.

The Case Against News We Can Choose – this is a classic piece by Ted Koppel that gets into those filter bubble and Daily Me issues we discussed

After that, pick a few blogs from this list. The content might not be your interest, but look at the structure: How do they use sources, and what kinds of sources do they use? How do they build their stories? How visible is the author’s opinion and voice? Are they single-authored or group blogs?

For your response, consider the questions above. I’d like you to identify some techniques from the blogs you’ve read and discuss how they could be applied to your first post. Be specific – even though may not have settled on a concept yet, write about some of the options you’re considering and suggest what you could do for a first post.

You will need to respond to these readings in a comment on this post no later than  11:59 p.m. Sunday, August 19. A few things to make sure of:

  • You’ll ordinarily be posting from your WordPress account, but most of you don’t have one yet, so however you choose to post, make sure it’s clear to me who you are (so you can get credit).
  • Specifically address the readings, but don’t just summarize – build on them!

Assignment #1: Developing a Concept

August 15, 2018

For your first assignment, you’re going to think about how to cover some aspect of our new media world. We’ll start this one in today’s class, and you’ll bring the finished product on Wednesday.

Your personal blog must focus on mass and social media coverage of some area of interest. More specific is better – politics, entertainment, sports, etc are all good starting points, but stronger blogs will focus more narrowly. For example, instead of “entertainment,” you might consider “coverage of minority issues in theatre.”

The bulk of each post must be focused on the coverage and conversation about your subject, not be a long list of your personal opinions. In fact, there’s a list of off-limits content lovingly compiled over years of teaching this class:

  • No reviews
  • No diaries
  • No advice
  • No tips
  • No recipes
  • No anything else I say is off-limits!

Whew! Despite that list of forbidden subjects, you’ll find a lot worth writing about. In fact, that’s our first assignment. Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Come up with TEN blog concepts (write these as a bulleted list) that are interesting enough to cover for fifteen weeks (one post a week, including Thanksgiving break!) – we’ll start this in class!
    • Must have a mass media angle
    • Must be more specific than “sports” or “fashion”
  • Choose your TWO best concepts
    • Do they follow the rules?
    • Can they be linked to timely and newsworthy events?
    • Can you find an active online community to connect with?
  • Write FIVE one-sentence story pitches for each (that’s ten total) – Again, bulleted lists are fine, but they must be complete sentences explaining why the pitches are relevant and timely.
  • Print TWO COPIES and bring to Monday’s (August 20) class – If it’s not printed at the start of class, it’s late!

Welcome to #WVUblogJ for Fall 2018

August 15, 2018

Hello, future bloggers, and welcome to the fall semester of JRL 430: Social Media Journalism. This blog serves as the mothership for your work in this class: It will link to your personal and group blogs, detail your assignments, provide your online readings (you still need to buy the Briggs textbook though!), and promote your fine work. There’s even a syllabus and schedule in the links at the top.

To set the stage, here’s a John Oliver piece on our current journalism situation. It should be noted that this piece came BEFORE the 2016 presidential election, so things are even more up-in-the-air now.

As up-and-coming mass communicators, this is the media world you’re inheriting. What will your role be in it?

Check this blog regularly for the most up-to-date information on our class. If you’re not sure when something’s due, come here first! I’ll be posting your first assignment (for next week!) soon, so check back. Your first read and respond will be posted as well (every Thursday; due Sunday night). Get ready, come up with some good ideas, follow me at @thebobthe on Twitter so I can follow you (and get that account created, holdouts), start using our #WVUblogJ hashtag, and let’s get started!


Read & Respond week 16 – Best of US!

April 20, 2017

Here it is: Your final read & respond! This one will be easy. You’ll be assessing your own work, based on the material you provided me. Based on the following examples, you’ll be voting (via this Google Forms ballot) on the following categories:

NOTE: If your name doesn’t have links, you need to provide them to me!

Group Blog Honors

Note: You can’t vote for your own group unless otherwise indicated!

The Groups (group-selected posts are linked):

The Categories

1. Best Post on a Group Blog (can’t vote for your own post, but can vote for a post by your group)

2. Most Improved Group Blog

3. Best Group Blog Overall

Personal Blog Awards

Note: You can’t vote for yourself!

The Personal Blogs (best posts provided by you)

Mateo Alexander Post 1 Post 2
Lindsey Baatz Post 1 Post 2
Rachel Brosky Post 1 Post 2
Ashley Conley Post 1 Post 2
Cara Devenney Post 1 Post 2
Steven Devine Post 1 Post 2
Denali Hedrick Post 1 Post 2
Madalyn Lamastro Post 1 Post 2
Carly Magnotta Post 1 Post 2
Haley Moore Post 1 Post 2
Zaakira Muhammad Post 1 Post 2
Cayla Nolder Post 1 Post 2
Aishina Shaffer Post 1 Post 2
Shannon Stanley Post 1 Post 2
Mia Swanegan Post 1 Post 2
Jackie Thompson Post 1 Post 2
Rebecca Toro Post 1 Post 2
Laura Vázquez-López Post 1 Post 2

The Categories

1. Best Post on an Individual Blog

2. Most Improved Personal Blog

3. Best Personal Blog Overall

Superlatives

Nominate another blogger for a “Most/Best ____” category (e.g., Best use of GIFs, Most Likely to Proofread Everyone’s Work)

Nominate yourself for something at which you think you excel (e.g., Best Interviewer of Homeless Persons) or perhaps are notorious for (e.g., Most Likely to Get Caught Texting)

The usual deadline applies, but you don’t have to respond as a comment. Instead, complete the ballot on Google Forms by 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 24 (note the extended deadline).


Class coding: HTML #2

April 19, 2017

This week, we start with the foundation from earlier this week and add lists and styles (learned this in this week’s Codecademy module: Web Fundamentals: HTML Basics II):

Remember these basics for coding and previewing your work:

To preview in TextWrangler:

  1. Open Chrome and TextWrangler
  2. In Chrome, go to File > Open File… and open “index.html”
  3. Command-Tab to select TextWrangler and write code
  4. Command-Tab to select Chrome
  5. Command-R to refresh your webpage

You’ll do the following:

  1. Use/create WWW folder; create “index.html”; add structural tags
  2. Create a comment inside that says “In-class assignment #2: HTML2”
  3. Create a first-level heading and an intro paragraph
  4. Create a second-level heading and an ordered list of your top three books, movies, or bands
  5. Create a fourth-level heading and an unordered list of skills you possess
  6. Add a fourth item to the ordered list (step 4) and add an image to it

Too easy? Try these:

  1. Change background color of page
  2. Change style of top headline to Verdana font family, a different color, and centered alignment
  3. Change style of your intro paragraph to 30px, a different color, and centered alignment

Class Coding: HTML 1

April 17, 2017

After completing your first Codecademy assignment in Web Fundamentals (HTML I) and showing me your completion badges, do the following:

  1. Preparation:
    • Create a desktop folder called WWW
    • Open TextWrangler (or another text editor), create a new file called “index.html” and save to WWW
    • Save two images (ideally with short names) to your WWW folder
  2. Place your structural tags
  3. Create a title
  4. Add a first-level headline and one paragraph
  5. Bold a few words. Italicize a few other words.
  6. Insert an image
  7. Add a second-level headline and another paragraph
  8. Create a hyperlink to the SOJ homepage within this paragraph
  9. Add a third-level hed and another image
  10. Make this second image into a hyperlink

To preview in TextWrangler

  • In Chrome, go to File > Open File… and open “index.html
  • Command-Tab to select TextWrangler and write code
  • Command-Tab to select Chrome and Command-R to refresh your webpage

To view a webpage’s source code

  • Chrome: View > Developer > View Source
  • Firefox: Command-U OR Tools > Web Developer > Page Source
  • Safari (why are you using Safari???): Develop > View Page Source

Read & Respond week 13 – Video

April 6, 2017

This week’s readings are mostly viewings. To start, though, let’s have a moment of silence for Vine. The six-second-video-sharing app is owned by Twitter, which in October announced plans to shut it down. In a nutshell, Vine could be used to create and share a six-second clip of anything … just how useful can that be?

There are several possible reasons. For one, Twitter has been scaling back in the hopes of turning a profit. For another, livestreaming apps have horned in on its territory. Periscope (also owned by Twitter) is popular and defeated competition like Meerkat, and Facebook Live is perhaps even more popular; one mark in Facebook Live’s favor is the use of the social networking giant’s ability to note popularity of specific points in a stream through viewer likes and reactions. This is our current social media world: Ideas live, they die, they live again (but under new management).

So how do you livestream? The Providence Journal has some suggestions, as does HuffPost. Is livestreaming something you’d try? How can we apply this to the practice of journalism, and what are its problems?

Before Wednesday’s class (we’ll be editing podcasts on Monday), give livestreaming a try. Take a few minutes on Facebook Live to broadcast something you’d like to share – it’s a good idea to tell your followers in advance so interested parties can check it out – and see what you think. We’ll discuss!

Post your responses in a comment to this post by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, April 9.