Read & Respond – Week 3

August 28, 2013

Just for a laugh, let’s start these readings off with a 1981 newscast about the Internet…

As you might suspect, this week we move from the present to the past. Understanding where the Internet came from can help us to consider where it is going.

You’ve all got a few posts now, and Briggs’ “advanced blogging” chapter offers a number of tips for where to go next. It might be a good idea to read this week’s links before Briggs in order to provide some historical context. These are meaty reference piece, so please SKIM unless you’ve got loads of spare time on your hands.

First, read “A Brief History of the Internet” from the Internet Society, taking particular note of the players involved in those early days. Then glance through these two timelines: How the Internet came to be, and Hobbes’ Internet Timeline (now up-to-date!), which is EXHAUSTIVE – use this as a reference.

Now, let your reading muscles relax and watch this video on just where the Internet came from:

Is the Internet something invented by an individual? Just where did it come from, and in what forms has it existed? How do its origins inform the things we use it for today (like protesting)?

Remember, your response (to these links AND to Briggs) is due as a comment to this post no later than noon on Monday, Sept. 2.

Personal blogs for fall 2013

August 27, 2013

The links are in, so here are your personal blogs and the summaries you’ve provided. Take a look through and see what’s coming. I’ll be adding these to the blogroll (on the right) as well, under “1. Student blogs,” so you’ll have ready access to each other’s work. A few of you are straggling – get me those links and descriptions!

Maddi Blankenship: How public relations interacts with the mass media.

Eva Buchman: My blog focuses on the television industry and how they are evolving to include more user-generated content in their broadcasts.

Bryan BumgardnerThis blog is about magazines – specifically, what they look like. Layout, design and photography are all storytelling tools with just as much weight as words. I overthink magazines for you so hopefully you’ll see magazines in the same way I do: as powerful, artistic litmus tests of human cultures.

Abigail Campbell: An introduction to my blog focused around using social media and multimedia in the search for jobs and internships.

Samantha Cart: This blog will explore how religious organizations specifically are using social media to garner support, draw in new members, connect people with similar value networks, gain recognition and educate the world about what they believe.

Emily Cotter: My blog will be studying and analyzing nonprofits and how they are using social media to their advantage.


Kevin Duvall: In this introductory post, I tell a little about myself and give an overview of how brands use social media and new online business models.

Ryan Fadus: I will be blogging about how social media has changed and affected the sports world.

Ryan Glaspell: Covering the use of mass media communication in music promotion.

Whitney Godwin: This blog, written by a graduate student at the P.I. Reed School of journalism, is based on nonprofit organizations and their use of social media to further their mission and goals; this specific post is an introductory post explaining my background and future career hopes.

Daniel Krotz: I am going to focus on news stories and how the story can change based upon who is reporting the news. For example, the same news stories from FOX and MSNBC may basically have the same gist, but could be biased in their reporting. I am focusing on “news equality.”

Michael Martin: “Mass Media Meltdowns” is a blog dedicated to surfacing the Media Disasters in Sports.

Ilyssa Miroshnik: This page describes myself and my interest in not only entertainment news but current day social media usage for news.

Ian Moore: This blog is dedicated to covering the advancing technology and its effect on the television and film industries.

Karlea Pack: The focus for my blog will be on the ever-changing nightlife scene and how social media is helping to flourish this industry.

Charles Richardson: I wish to spotlight how social media has given more power to the people dealing with news events.

Timothy Saar: My blog will be a chronicle and discussion on video games shift into our modern, always-on culture.

Rachel Simpkins: I will be focusing on how social media boosts TV advertising.

Natalie Snyder: An aspiring writer and journalist researching the future of the diminishing print industry and the status of the flourishing world of internet reporting.

Zachary Voreh: This is a blog about the history of documentaries and the evolution of the field, as well as profiles on specific filmmakers and films.

Read & Respond – Week 2

August 22, 2013

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 Wednesday) with some links to online readings. You are required to post a response to these readings no later than noon on the Monday before class; you’ll post your response as a comment in reply to the Read & Respond blog post (like this one).

Your response must address the majority of the online readings AND the Briggs reading; if you leave out one or the other, you’ll only get half credit. They don’t need to be huge, but they should be substantial. You’ll know it when you see it.

Now on with this week’s assignment.

As the syllabus says, you’ll be reading Briggs’ introduction and chapter 1. As you work to develop your blog’s focus, Briggs offers some suggestions. Note his point from innovator Greg Linch: “It’s not about you.” What can you write about that gets beyond yourself and meaningfully adds to the ongoing conversation?

Briggs also touches on RSS readers (we’ll cover these this week), and you should all be looking for blogs to follow. Your audience already exists – who’s writing for them, and how are they doing it? After Briggs, check out this link from 10,000 Words on ideas for RSS feeds. What potential ways to develop your blog’s content do you see these offering you?

(Briggs also offers also a simple HTML coding exercise on p. 27-28 that you can try, which you can get a head start on with your Codecademy account – you’ve all signed up for that, right?)

Things like RSS feeds and Twitter allow us a lot of control over the information we receive. Is that a good thing? Vetern newsman Ted Koppel has some thoughts on the subject in “The Case Against News We Can Choose.” Although Koppel’s more directly addressing 24-hour news stations,  his ideas certainly are relevant to the online world of information. How do his points inform our work in this class?

So have at it! You will need to respond to these readings in a comment on this post no later than noon on Monday, Aug. 26. A few things to make sure of:

  • Post as your WordPress identity so I know who you are.
  • Specifically address the readings, but don’t just summarize – build on them!

Social Media Challenge #1: First posts

August 22, 2013

We created our blog and started the “About” page in class today, so what’s next? Two of the key points of blogging (after starting the blog) are developing a voice and maintaining a flow of content. Your first two posts will be easy because I’m assigning them, so here we go:

Post #1 – “HELLO WORLD” (due by 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26)

Your first post is an easy one – give us a “hello world” post that explains a bit about your interests, what you hope to blog about, and how that fits with your post-graduation goals. You do NOT have to divulge any personal information you aren’t comfortable with, but you should help us understand something about your voice. Some guidelines:

  • Break up your post into short chunks, not one long paragraph. Put yourself in the reader’s position – would you want to read one big piece?
  • Even if you’re not certain, choose a focus. It’s OK if it changes later.
  • Links are not required for this post, but (as always) they are strongly recommended – ditto for pictures (no hotlinking!)
  • Once you’ve posted, SEND ME THE LINK and a short (one-sentence) overview – this will go on the course blog.

Post #2 – First topic post (due by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28)

You already wrote up a draft of this post in week one, and this will be your second blog post. Take the feedback from class and integrate it into your work to create a well-developed posting that fits the focus of your blog. You must include 2-3 links to relevant sources and material that your post builds upon (one will be the original story related to your topic; others might be other news or blog posts discussing the topic). This is your first shot at balancing facts, discussion, and your own (developing) voice – make sure you’ve got appropriate amounts of each!

Rules to abide by:

  • Posts must be made between Monday and Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to receive credit (we want people to actually read these)
  • Keep it in short chunks (but longer than a sentence) – think 3-5 paragraphs as a rule of thumb
  • Integrate links in-text (e.g., “The Drudge Report shows how …”) – don’t use straight URLs (e.g., “I read this at http://www.blahblah…). Links should provide examples, explain terms, and ALWAYS show where your information comes from.
  • SPELLCHECK. Don’t give the trolls a reason to attack you, people.
  • Post your two links (with a sentence explaining each) as a comment to this post (on our course blog) by 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 29.

Note: That’s THREE deadlines! Be sure not to miss any.

How-To (and In-Class #1): Starting your WordPress blog

August 22, 2013
    1. We’ll be using WordPress
    2. Click the “Sign up” link (at top)
    3. Enter the required information (username, password, email)
    4. Give your blog a name
      • The format is
      • May take a couple tries to find one not taken
    5. Post!
      • Log in & in the top infobar click “New Post” – select “Text”
      • Enter a title in the top box, enter your text in the lower box (we’ll delete it later)
        • To access a more detailed posting screen, go to your dashboard (via the link in the top left of the infobar) and in the left menu, select Posts > Add New
        • You may also want to compose your posts in a word processing program, then cut and paste them into the blog box
    6. Add value! (these are in the dashboard, not quick post view)
      • Images: Make sure you know where the image is, then click the image icon (above the text window, next to “upload/insert”) – in the “From Computer” tab, click “select files”, find your image, and decide where you want it in the text (left, right, or center)
      • Links: Select the text you want to make into a link. Click the little chain link icon above the text window and enter an address (or cut and paste) – it MUST begin with http://
      • Tags and Categories: You can create and edit tags and categories to index your posts, and they can be whatever you want. Just type in a new one and click “add”.
    7. Publish!
      • Just click the big blue “Publish” button on the right
      • If you want to save a post for later, click “Save Draft” in that Publish window – you can log in anywhere later on and make changes or publish
      • Don’t like what you have? Scroll to the bottom of your post and click “edit” and make the changes you want.
      • More options:
        1. You can change “Publicize” to automatically post to Twitter or other places
        2. You can edit “Publish” to post at a future date (useful for working ahead)
    8. Whenever you post an assigned blog post, make sure to check the assignment for where to post the link (typically as a comment to the assignment post but sometimes as an email or tweet)

Welcome to Blogging

August 19, 2013

Hi pre-bloggers

Welcome to Blogging and Interactive Journalism. We’ll be meeting for the first time this Tuesday, but if you haven’t yet, you should check out this, our course blog. The tags at the bottoms of posts (and in the right-hand menus) will let you check out past assignments, readings, and so on (if you’re the kind of person who does that sort of thing). More importantly, you can see the work of those who’ve come before. There are links to selected personal and group blogs, both of which you’ll be doing yourself soon enough. Some are defunct, others are still updating, but they’re useful for seeing what lies ahead.

There are two major changes to this term. First, the personal blogs will be different. They must now have a specific focus on journalism and mass communication. You might go fairly broad, considering social media use across all mass media, or narrow, looking at advertising digital case studies. We’ll discuss this further in class, but if you were hoping to blog about Mountaineer Football … well, sorry about that (although you could cover sports journalism).

The second change is that I’ve added a fairly hefty coding component, which means we’ll be spending most Thursdays working with HTML, CSS, and perhaps some others (depending on our progress). Now, before you go looking for the Drop form, you should know this is a skillset that your future employers are looking for. Even if you don’t become a webpage designer (and you probably won’t), you will need to be code-literate if you hope to get your job done. This class will help with that.

Some basics of what you’ll need:

  • A personal blog on (which we’ll start in class) – we will eventually be purchasing the custom design upgrade ($30/year), which will allow us to alter our blogs’ code, add plug-ins, and so on, so prepare for that expense.
  • Accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you are one of those holdouts who’s refused to get a Facebook account, your choices are to drop the class or join the 21st century – this is a mass communication class, and you need to be able to use the tools that are its focus. If you’d prefer to start an account separate from your personal one, that is just fine – we’ve all got secrets – but make sure your Twitter account is public (readable to all).
  • Mark Briggs’ JournalismNext (2nd ed.). Yes, you need it. It’s a how-to book, and we’ll be using many of its guides in class.
  • A willingness to write at least two blog posts per week. These must be posted on Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., and cannot be on the same day. Nobody is reading your blog at 3 a.m.
  • Grad students must complete an additional project for the class, typically an individual research or professional project with an 8-10 page writeup and in-class presentation. We’ll discuss further in class.

Come to our first class with some ideas for a focus for your blog, and think of a few first posts that relate to recent events in journalism and mass communication. These blogs are not diaries, they’re entries into the discussion. Have a look through the course blog’s blogroll links to get some ideas about what that means. Beyond that, start bookmarking sites (some good starters are Mashable and Read-Write Web) and read them regularly. See you Tuesday.

Dr. Britten