Read & Respond – Week 12

March 31, 2011

This week we’ll spend some time on audiovisual additions to your blog. Briggs addresses this in the week’s chapters – yes, that’s plural – 7 and 8. Respond in some decent detail about what he has to say (considering this is the last week of Briggs readings, try and give him a good send off).

As I’ve mentioned, next Tuesday I want all of you to attend Dave Cohn’s presentation (7p April 5 in Martin 205). In preparation, we’re going to stalk the hell out of him: Read his blog, follow his Twitter, check out his work with Spot.us, and see what he’s up to at the Reynolds Journalism Institute (back at my alma mater, the University of Missouri). I’ll leave further investigation up to you, but keep it legal. In your response, tell us about what you expect from Dave and provide a few questions (which, of course, you’ll be asking him yourself next week).

Get ’em up by noon on Monday, April 4.

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Read & Respond – Week 11

March 17, 2011

Nothing too strenuous for this read & respond. Mainly, read through the assigned Briggs chapter 6 on visual storytelling. Think about his advice and the example experts he gives. Many of you have been incorporating visuals in your work, so you seem to have a good understanding of the subject, but start to think about more creative forms of visual storytelling. How might your blogs tell a story that is more visual than text (and while “use lots of photos” is surely an answer, it’s not the ONLY answer).

Second, I’d like you to look at some photoblogs. What’s a photoblog? Find out for yourself. Cake Wrecks, which we discussed, is an example. Why? Post at least one (use an in-text link, not the URL, please) and tell us a bit about how it works.

Third, go poke around a bit in Tumblr. This site (and others like it) are becoming prominent examples of quick-hit, visual blogging. Actually, I’m not even sure if “blogging” is the right word for whatever Tumblr is, but it’ll suffice for now. This Huffington Post list of “33 Tumblrs you NEED to follow” might be a good place to explore. Maybe even create one yourself (although that’s not part of the assignment). It may not be your thing, but resist the urge to gripe’n’grumble and remember: Look past the content to what’s behind it. What ideas are here that we as journalists can use?

Finally, I’d like to share with you this gem from our spam filter:

“Throughout the great pattern of things you actually secure a B- just for effort and hard work. Exactly where you confused everybody was first on all the facts. As it is said, the devil is in the details… And that couldn’t be more accurate at this point. Having said that, allow me say to you just what exactly did do the job. The text is definitely pretty powerful and that is possibly the reason why I am taking an effort in order to opine. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Next, while I can see a leaps in reasoning you come up with, I am not convinced of exactly how you seem to unite the ideas which help to make the conclusion. For the moment I will, no doubt subscribe to your point however hope in the foreseeable future you connect your dots better.” (from Zilvinas Juraska, posted 2011/03/14 at 4:46 am to our “About” page)

I guess there’s always room for improvement.

Remember, your responses are due by noon Monday, March 28 (after spring break) as a comment to this post.


Spring Break poll fun

March 15, 2011

Here’s how we embed the poll we’ve just created in a post. Just create a poll (in your left bar), then click the “Add poll” button above this window (the circle), paste in the short text, and voila!


Read & Respond – Week 10

March 9, 2011

Welcome to comment culture! We’ve been posting plenty of comments of our own, so you’ve got some familiarity with the process. Briggs (chapter 11) this week talks about building a digital audience, but what do we do with that audience when it starts responding? Consider this story from the University of Missouri (my alma mater) about a professor-student altercation – after reading the story, what happens in the comments? Why does something like this seem so familiar?

Comments are a part of today’s news. Consider this story about a judge suing a newspaper for linking her name to her comments. Several news organizations are rethinking anonymous comments for exactly this reason – look at this discussion from Slate. On the one hand, individuals may expect a level of personal privacy when they register as commenters; on the other, a county judge is an elected official held to a definite standard. How ethical was it to connect her with her anonymous words?

Beyond expectation of privacy, to what extent should commenters be free to say what they like? Consider places like Youtube and Amazon, which boast some of the worst comments on the Internet (although Youtube has recently changed its policy); this video of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, for example, had comments disabled “since many of them were hateful and racist.” Take a look at Gawker’s comment policy, which requires commenters to audition and privileges the comments of “starred” commenters. Is this too restrictive, or do you think they’re on the right track?

There’s also the question of identity. All of you have your own usernames with which you post to different sites. You might use the same name at multiple sites (for example, I show up as either “Aaaaaargh” and “The Bob The” in most places I go), you might have different identities in different places, or you might be one of the dreaded unregistered users. Read this Jeff Jarvis post on the role of identity – it’s not as simple as we tend to treat it. The more you use a name, the more history that name develops, allowing those who’ve never met you in the flesh to nonetheless know something about you, or at least about your persona. Your online identity(s) may not be identical to who you are at home, but to what extent are you responsible for it?

Finally, an important message about trolls:

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-Vh80CYYrw]

What’s your identity (and do you only have one)? Are you a troll? How should comments run online – what would you like to see improved, and what should remain unregulated? Imagine a world where your group blog for this class is widely read (hey, it could happen) – how would you manage your comment section to freedom of speech with civility of discourse?

Remember to respond to these readings (including Briggs) in a comment to this post by noon on Monday, March 14. More importantly, come prepared to discuss these examples and, ideally, some of your own.

(Also, unrelated to comments, have a look at the #SWSWi tag this week. There’s a number of sessions you might benefit from vicariously participating in – check here for a useful list of highlights)


Here come the group blogs!

March 8, 2011

This week, our class group blogs begin! Run by four teams of 4-5, these blogs each have a focus and established beats, and the members are responsible for all administration, promotion, and general care and feeding of their online publication (you can read the original assignment here, if you’re that kind of person).

The first post of every blog is a mission statement identifying what to expect; several also do readers the courtesy of listing their bloggers’ beats as well as providing Facebook and Twitter information. You can check out each of these via our blogroll (under “2. Group Blogs”) or right below. If you like what you see, be sure to check back, follow the blogger, and basically do all those things that make social media, well, social.

The Blogs:


Scenic and Little-known WVU

March 4, 2011

Our Twitter scavenger hunt revealed a number of interesting finds around West Virginia University. To capitalize on this, the intrepid students of PrnJ 493A collaborated on this map of two of the most popular finds: Scenic spots (in blue) and Little-known facts (in green).

A little background: Using Google Maps’ “collaborate” option, each of the nine teams added their two points to a single map. The result is a data map produced in relatively little time by the reporting and mapmaking efforts of 20 people. Click around an learn a little something about our campus!


Read & Respond – Week 9

March 2, 2011

You’re busy. I know you’re busy. You’ve got a group blog to plan, a budget and mission statement to write, and Guilder to frame for it. You’re swamped. This week you’re reading Briggs Chapter 10, on the newsgathering conversation, but beyond that, I just want you to take a leisurely read through what has come before. Scan through the three group blogs from 2010 and see what you think. What do they do well? Poorly? What are your favorite posts, and which seem less useful? How clear are their focuses, and how well do they stick to them? Finally, and most importantly, what would you have done differently?

The blogs are:

Masticate Morgantown

Motown Entertainment

Move-in Morgantown

Be sure to at least touch on each of them in your response (although you may focus on one or two), and see how Briggs’ thoughts on conversation factor into the work you read. Your response is due as a comment to this post by noon, Monday, March 7.