Read & Respond week 2 – First Steps

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) 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 and chapter 1. 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.

Why blogs and journalism need each other (note: This is OLD – from 2003! – so consider how its argument has held up over time)

The Case Against News We Can Choose

Why you should blog

How NOT to blog

You will need to respond to these readings in a comment on this post no later than  11:59 p.m. Sunday, January 17. A few things to make sure of:

  • Post as your WordPress identity so I know who you are (include a name if it’s not clear).
  • Specifically address the readings, but don’t just summarize – build on them!
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25 Responses to Read & Respond week 2 – First Steps

  1. My blog is musicmediamix.wordpress.com

    From the assigned readings this week, I gathered a few pointers of what to do and what not to when creating and executing my blog. I found the source from Hongkiat.com particularly helpful in planning my blog style. Practices such as blogging everyday or running competitions not only deters your natural creativity, but it causes your writing to suffer as well. Blogging everyday is tedious and eventually lead to bland posts, lacking clever detail. I feel like no matter what style I choose, I will take the advice of creating a schedule unique to my own daily life. Because I have a light class load on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s I plan to utilize those days to make regular posts.

    I also was intrigued by the article from neimanreports.org discussing blogs and their impact on journalism. Remembering the importance of blogging is crucial when developing content for your site. My blog, which focuses on the impact of the media in music, has the ability to give a fan’s perspective to music readers. While critics can often give insight on technical aspect of an artist, blogs can help convey the emotional reaction to a piece of music. And after all, isn’t music essentially about emotion?

    Blogs also open the forum up to more than just the original author. Blogging sparks conversation and greater intellectual curiosity in it’s readers.

    – Caitlin Worrell

  2. One of the biggest pieces of information I took away from Briggs was that the job I may have when I graduate may not even exist yet. The journalism industry is ever changing, and with technological advances, new jobs must be created to keep up with the new technology. As I continue my courses at WVU, I am very aware of this changing industry. When I first started at WVU, the journalism school was the P.I. Reed School of Journalism. Now, we are the Reed College of Media. Our old name was no longer true. We are now so much more than just journalism; we are innovative and modern and very media based for all types of journalism taught here.

    Briggs’ reading reinforces this idea of the changing times. We, as journalists, need to be more talented than the journalists before us. We can’t just rely on quality writing skills. We need to be tech-savvy and we need to know how to get our quality writing onto many media platforms.

    I really enjoyed the article from 2003. While it is a bit older, it is still completely relevant. Briggs’ entire first chapter is devoted to simple coding and how to create a simple website or blog. This article discussed how important blogs are for journalists. In the article, it discusses multiple people running their own blogs who became journalists by the content they produced. I believe so many journalists and news buffs read blogs these days because they’re unfiltered and usually far more detailed than traditional news stories produced on television.

    As described in the third online article, blogging can also help up become better journalists and better versions of ourselves. This is a way to practice our writing skills, our networking skills, and become an all around better journalist. This is our way of taking the news and expanding on it—providing some of our own opinions and comparing multiple news sources to create a well-rounded story/blog post.

    After reading Briggs, I’m more aware of how unprepared I am to enter my field. I don’t know how to code, but I know I need to learn. If I want to be relevant and unique in such a competitive field, I have to be an “adopter” as Briggs writes. I need to learn and utilize new technologies to set myself apart from others. And, I believe creating a quality blog with a lot of really great content is the perfect place to start and grow my skills when using new media platforms.

    Kristen Tuell
    Enticing Entertainment

  3. I really like how Briggs begins the Journalism Next book with addressing technology and how it is changing the world of journalism. I know for me when I originally decided to major in journalism, a lot of negative people told me that I wouldn’t find a job because newspapers are “dying” and are moving to online platforms. Technology is changing yes, and social media is growing in prominence, but journalism is adapting. Journalists must adapt a new way of thinking and a new way to approach journalism as a result. As Briggs stated on page 1, “Learning the skills and technology is the easy part. Recognizing that you are a part of a new information ecosystem, aka ‘the future,’ is the steeper hill to climb.” Journalists today are now apart of the change of journalism, and the future of journalism is truly in our hands. We now have the ability to take this technology and use it to our advantage and affect our audience in new ways.

    Following in Chapter 1, Briggs lays out the basics of the web. When it comes to the web and working with different programs, I have very little knowledge of how everything works, for example, I don’t know much about HTML. I have worked with HTML in other classes, but not enough to actually know anything about it and use it to build an entire website. Briggs did a good job breaking everything down and providing a basic understanding. I was somewhat overwhelmed when I looked at the chapter originally. However, after reading the chapter, I began to realize that all the information Briggs presented in the chapter isn’t as scary as I’ve made it seem.

    Talking about blogs, they are growing in popularity and allow for any individual to share information instantly. As mentioned in Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other, Jessica Rois, a 22-year old blogger, went to a Coldplay concert and blogged about it afterwards. She was able to give her take on the concert and also share the band’s playlist. If someone was looking for information regarding the concert, they wouldn’t have been able to find it on any news website or even Coldplay’s website. Instead, Rios’ blog provided the information. Rios was in essence a journalist, someone who keeps an account of day-to-day events. Readers will always turn toward trusted news sites to find their reliable source of news, but blogs are starting to change journalism overall.

    When writing a story or producing content for a news organization, the content needs to be reviewed and edited before the audience is able to view it. With a blog, one can cover various topics and can post the information before a news organization will be able to post the same information. Because of blogging, we are no longer receiving our information from a handful of new organizations. We are now gathering our information from various ordinary citizens who are posting on their blogs. As mentioned in 15 Reason I Think You Should Blog, blogging allows for readers to offer input and they feel apart of the conversation. Bloggers can then take their input and write a response to their input.

    Prior to this class, blogging has been somewhat of a foreign subject to me, but I do realize the value that it holds. Blogging can shape you as a person while also providing your audience with information. I am excited for the upcoming semester and developing a blog that will reflect my interests. I am grateful that we are starting the journey slowly and just taking the time to learn the process while also enjoying it.

  4. emilyeisenhuth says:

    Mark Briggs introduction reading was very comforting to know that he believes journalism isn’t dying. I get so overwhelmed thinking about after college and what I am going to end up doing for the rest of my life. Technology has changed everything drastically for the good and the bad and can be very intimidating. For journalism, it gives a journalist the ability to investigate and find information faster but can also be very misleading.

    In chapter 1, Briggs goes over a lot of the basics about the internet that I have already got to experience first hand in some of my classes. I think learning how to use HTML and knowing how to form a website is very important because it gives you a leg up in the journalism industry. Journalism is no longer just on your writing skills it relies on how efficient you are using the Internet and social media.

    I enjoyed reading the website articles but the one that I was more into was “15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog.” I have always wanted to start a blog but didn’t really know where to start, if I could handle it, or what to base it off of. The reasons to blog I hope are true on helping me become a better writer. I hope that I can become more confident with my writing and I look forward to seeing what other people have to say about the work I put forth in my blog.

  5. coreymac94 says:

    The Internet has now created a platform that is reshaping the notion of what journalism is and how it is practiced. When analyzed from a clear perspective, it merely is the documentation of day-to-day events, or a rough draft of history. Traditional journalists will profess their devotion to accuracy, truth and objectivity, but is it a taboo notion that a clashing of subjective perspectives may spark progressive debate on issues at hand?

    You can argue that blogging may not be as rigorous as professional journalism, but when it’s all boiled down they both still are forms of journalism. Communicating a message.

    What I agree with entirely is from “15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog.” Starting and maintaining a blog will improve your writing skills drastically, no matter what you blog about.

    I am still slightly hesitant as to how to start. I’ve never blogged before and it still feels like a strange concept for me. I’m hoping through my commitment to my blog I will begin to adjust and adapt, and even come to enjoy blogging.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Try to elaborate more fully on our readings. Tell us more specifically about what you agree with (and why) from reasons to blog, and remember to specifically address the assigned readings from the Briggs textbook for full credit.

  6. John Mark says:

    Note: I waiting until the weekend (when I got my paycheck) to try finding Journalism Next and it was sold out. I’ll have it by next class.

    While I didn’t get to read the Brigg’s text, I have a pretty good idea of how I’ll run my blog in a way that it’s more about the content and way less about me.

    First, I will try to be as objective as possible without losing my voice. Like the news sources in the Washington Post reading in the OP, many blogs (especially those about wrestling) are super opinionated, with a black and white way of looking at things. Blogging and digital reporting make it even easier for people to “choose their news”.

    I’m a hopeless romantic for objective, factual journalism, and I think mixing that with the informal writing style of blogging could work. I plan on, in most of my posts, having an “opinion roundup” of sorts that will take a look at the community’s battling opinions on the subject at hand.

    Second, I’m not doing this blog for any self-serving purposes. I want to use this blog to inform (and hopefully entertain). The listicle posted in the OP was a very frustrating read for me, as only one of the 15 reasons to blog had to do with other people (Number 8). The others were about how well this blog would help “me” and what all “I’ll” get out of it, but I care more about what the readers deserve.

    Finally, I have a deep passion for reporting, and an even deeper passion for professional wrestling. I care about what I’m writing. If I care that much, and it shows in my writing, then it just might make my readers care even more.

  7. In Chapter one (pg. 12) of Briggs’ Journalism Next he explained the importance of subscribing to an RSS reader as a future journalist. I found that very exciting because I’ve been following multiple news sites via RSS since high school and it’s reassuring to know that I’m on the right track. The article “Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other” reinforces Briggs’ advice for journalists to read news/blogs via RSS. Since blogging and journalism are so closely tied together, I feel that following news blogs on RSS are beneficial for furthering a young journalists’ career. Following news outlets and blogs on RSS is a great way to learn what makes for a good blog or news story.

    Briggs’ also included tips on how to use the WordPress website later on in the chapter. This will be useful as a guide for future problems that I may face while posting entries and customizing my blog. I’m interested to learn how to become a better visual journalist, so that the appearance of my site will match the content of my writing. The online article “15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog” also inspired me to do my best with my blog. I hope to gain knowledge, understanding, and mindfulness throughout the entire blogging process, which will hopefully make me a better writer and a better journalist all together. I’m excited to begin my journey in the blogosphere!

  8. amdewitt94 says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the readings for this week. It was interesting to hear traditional journalists pinned against modern bloggers. In a world that is everchanging, I truly believe – even moreso after these readings – that to get a real job in journalism, we need to start a blog Now. We need to constantly write and improve, and we also need an ongoing showcase of our talent and why we would be a great asset to a news organization.

    The Neiman Report from 2003 was fascinating to read because even as 13 years (wow.) have passed, the fact that blogging is essential still holds true. The author had such a great point when illustrating that bloggers can actually break news first. What I found neat about the change in time from when this was published is the impact social media as a whole has had on journalism. Bloggers used to break news – and I’m sure still do – however, now Twitter users have also taken this duty upon themselves, oftentimes beating the news outlets by a substantial amount of time. Technology is changing journalism. It’s changing the pace of journalism, how much is actually reported (as an editor can keep information back, a blogger will just post their full unedited report).

    I enjoyed the advice about how ‘not’ to blog. Those are all tips I, too, have found over the years when toying with the idea of starting a blog. I moreso enjoyed the post about the 15 reasons why we Should blog. A few of those reasons were things I wouldn’t have even considered myself, yet they make sense. I never would have imagined that starting a blog would have an overall impact on my life (such as the author becoming an early riser and a runner). I’m hoping to put those theories to test this semester as I run my very own blog.

    I will be purchasing Briggs tomorrow.

  9. matthewfergo says:

    As Emily said, Briggs text is certainly comforting. Journalism is a constantly-changing field and I find solace in the fact a veteran in the industry is confident about the field going forward. As Briggs said, it is certainly in our hands as young journalists. The journalists of past who see the world through a black and white lens will not here be long, and the millennial vision will soon to take place. To me, that vision is one of progress and innovation. The only question I have to answer is how I will make my mark in an industry with so many voices.

    How not to blog definitely gave me an idea of what to avoid. Writing everyday is something I’m worried about. Will the content be there? Will my motivation to cover this content be there, for that matter.

    I think that’s something that develops over time; just as a dally schedule does. As long as the effort is put forth, I think both will come in time. I’m looking forward to finding my niche in the blog-sphere.

    Some important lessons I gathered from the readings that weren’t necessarily stated in the articles;

    More than ever, journalists need to be flexible. Not only with their schedule, but with their skills in particular. No longer can one only write, only report on-camera, or edit video. Whatever it may be, a good journalist needs to know how to do it all.

    Particularly in the 21st century, technology must be used for benefit. That is why blogging is so important. To reach all audiences, one must be present in many different areas. It’s a challenge, but one that must be overcome in order to make any kind of impression with so much different content out there, from various outlets.

    Without further ado; here is the link to my about page. https://matthewfergo.wordpress.com/about-2/

  10. Kaitlyn Powers says:

    I think in order to avoid centering the blog about yourself, it’s important to limit the usage of “I” in the posts. Sure, it’s necessary on occasion, but using first person increases your influence in the work, and like Briggs says, “it’s not about you.” I think writing about current issues and events with a unique take on things adds to the conversation but is meaningful and has substance rather than just skimming the surface of the topic might bring. In “The case against news we can choose,” Ted Koppel makes a great point that while it goes against traditional journalism, readers and viewers now have the opportunity to choose their content. It’s important that you have unique content so readers will choose your blog. Finally, I want to use this blog to inform others, and even myself. In “Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other,” J.D. Lasica discusses how it’s easy for a blog to lose it’s credibility by neglecting facts and self-promoting. My blog will be fact-based, and while I hope to keep my voice in tact, it will not be about me.

  11. Briggs is an excellent bridge figure who started out in the old model of corporate conglomeration journalism in the 1990’s, survived the tectonic shift of the industry in the 2000’s, and is a thriving guru in the 2010’s because of it. Not only should contemporary journalists listen to what he says but more importantly imitate what he has and is doing. Learning as much as we can about the structure and superstructure of journalism today, like simple coding and designing while also learning how to write for a new platform/medium that is fluid enough to endure the turbulence that is bound to come. Modern journalists would also do themselves a favor by finding some areas of expertise where they can be considered experts. For me it is the area of religion. I have a masters degree in theology/ministry which gives me some credibility and when that is combined with a passion for matters of faith and some decent writing skills I have a specific niche area that should serve me well.
    Lasica, Koppel, Becker, & Owais all offer some excellent food for thought. The journalism has and is changing because of economics and technology. I was a local, TV news producer in the late 1990’s but I was paid so poorly that I was going into debt to work for stations where the top management and sales staff were some of the highest paid individuals in the entire local community. I learned the hard way that I was too limited when I tried to look for other opportunities in the world of journalism. This same lesson can be applied to digital media. Have areas where one can be considered an expert but also be flexible and varied enough that change is possible. Do not over saturate when posting on a blog, it becomes to burdensome and the readers do not need a second (or third) job keeping up with all of your posts. Also don’t get so bogged down with the technology and design that the writing suffers.

  12. “Journalism is about people, not technology,” said Briggs. Today it’s really easy to get caught up in technology and forget about the storytelling and why we have journalism. We are at a time of transformation, and although change is great, but I think it’s very d

    “As a journalist, you are a merchant of information,” said Briggs.
    Regarding chapter 1, I really liked how Briggs broke things down about coding because I’ve done a little bit of it in journalism 225, but I was very confused and wasn’t sure what I was doing. I know from a little experience that it makes web designing a hell of a lot easier, especially when studied and practiced. I’m really excited to take his information and the information learned in class to become an expert on CSS, HTML, RSS feed and more.

    I really liked Joshua Becker’s “15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog” because I absolutely agree with every one of his points except the fact that you’ll make money. I don’t necessarily think everybody will make money blogging, considering that it is starting to become more popular, but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll get lucky and make some money.

    The thing I like about blogging is that you can blog whenever/wherever you want. If I think of a really great blog idea or have something on my mind bothering me, then I can whip out my computer or smart phone and type up a quick blog.

    -Patrick J. Clarke

  13. In Briggs’s introduction, he writes about how the future of journalism is now. He supports this statement by presenting the fact that his last three jobs in journalism didn’t exist when he was in college. The attitudes and skills we learn as journalism students are applicable to the changing industry because the basic goals and values of the journalist have remained essentially the same over time; the technology is what changes.

    My mom and dad were concerned when I chose the print journalism program because they didn’t realize “print” doesn’t just mean newspapers anymore. It means blogs, social media and online news publications. Journalism isn’t dying; it is transforming. In the first chapter, Briggs builds from him introduction and goes over things like setting up RSS feeds and doing web design.

    “Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other” goes along with the ideas in Briggs. It was interesting to read about how older journalists don’t necessarily understand how journalism has transformed or why blogs are necessary while newer journalists sometimes fail to apply ethics to their blogging.

    Any type of writer can benefit from creating a blog. The article about why you should blog brought up one really great point I hadn’t thought about. Not only will you improve your writing and thinking abilities, but you will also “develop an eye for meaningful things.” To me, this means embracing deeper thinking and finding the story in everyday life. Unexpected meanings in the mundane can drive powerful journalism. It also said it takes discipline to maintain a blog, which is exactly right. I have a few blogs that started out strong, but they all fizzled out eventually. There’s only one left that I update every so often. I am making it a goal to become more disciplined.

  14. jadenarth says:

    Briggs is a very good resource for journalists. He knows where journalism came from and where it’s going. He knows that the internet is playing a bigger role in how we read news, and we should embrace the change. He is encouraging in saying that journalism has a bright future and we can control what happens next.
    Even though the article Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other was written over 10 years ago, some of the points still hold true. For example, the author says the communities of blogs “produce participatory journalism, grassroots reporting, annotative reporting, commentary and fact-checking, which the mainstream media feed upon”. in 2016, it’s easier than ever to be a journalist, especially if you have a cell phone. When reading the other articles, it’s clear that Briggs knew what he was talking about. Blogs are some of the most popular ways of getting information – and anybody can be a journalist.
    I agree with all of the points in 15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog. Writing forces you to research, plan out, and discuss a topic – which of course (with time) will make you a better writer. On the other hand, the next article tells you what not to do, and I don’t completely agree with it. It says “don’t blog every day” because great content takes time to produce. That may be true, but just because something you write may not get 10k shares shouldn’t discourage you from blogging everyday if you feel the need to. When thinking how this relates to my blog, if I’m covering something that is developing, it may be necessary to blog every day, even if the posts aren’t 10/10.

  15. davidstatman says:

    One thing that’s definitely stuck with me from both Briggs’ readings and the first few classes is that idea that “nobody cares” – a really harsh thought, but definitely true. Journalism has changed immensely, but at its core, knowing how to write well and how to effectively tell a story is still a vital skill, but you have to give a reason that can draw eyeballs. You have to find a niche, or have a unique, attractive tone. With the environment of modern journalism changing, just being able to write or tell a story isn’t enough – you have to be able to market yourself, and be as versatile as possible.

    The extra readings give a lot of reasons why you should blog, and some information about blogging’s place in the world of journalism today, but finding your place isn’t something that you can just read and apply. It’s something that you have to find through work and trial and error. A blog is the perfect place for a young writer to develop their tone and find their niche, getting them to a place where they possibly can carry some of that over to a professional setting.

  16. pmlilly says:

    Out of all of this chapter the thing that I found most helpful was at the end of the chapter when Briggs starts to discuss how to use wordpress.com. It is a fairly simple website, but I am a not very tech savvy. This part is so great because it gives a really good detailed description how to use wordpress every step of the way. For instance it showed every step of how to post, and even showed what you should do before you actually publish something (going to preview and taking a final look at everything).

    This reading also made me see that journalism may not being dying like I was lead to believe by several teachers and my parents, but instead that it may even be better that it ever was before. Briggs says that it is better off than it was because of interactive, transparent, collaborative journalism.I agree with all of that, but I also think that today is better than it used to be mainly because of how convenient and easy it is to hear and read about news stories. All it takes is a quick google search and you can find almost anything you could want. It is truly amazing the world we live in today. Briggs also said that he thinks we can only use technology correctly when we take it for granted. I honestly believe we as a society have made it to that point. What I mean by this is that people have become experts with technology, and don’t have to think twice about doing anything on a phone or compatriot is just second nature.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Remember that the deadline for reading responses is Sunday at 11:59 p.m. In addition, you need to incorporate some of the online readings (not just Briggs) into your responses.

  17. femediatoday says:

    One thing that has stuck with me since the first day of classes is the “Nobody cares” mantra. It sounds mean but it’s the truth. Going into this semester and writing a blog that i have to make people care about reading is not going to be easy. But, I am up for the challenge.

    Briggs assures us that journalism is not dying and that it is becoming more and more accessible. I agree. I think that the access to news and stories in a split second is increasing the need for journalists and writers. Keeping a blog is one way to help do so.

    The article that teaches us how NOT to blog was helpful. Blogging everyday can get tiring and it’s hard to come up with good content seven days a week. Space out your posts and allow people to anticipate them, which makes them want to read your blog even more. Create a demand for your blog, but do not over do it.

  18. My wordpress is AKuntzWVUNews
    audriekuntz.wordpress.com

    In this chapter from Journalism Next I learned some building blocks of online work. One thing to pay attention to when emailing and using flash drives for example is the size like bits and bytes. As the book says, “knowing the difference between large and small computer files is a part of basic digital literacy you need today.”
    I do agree with this. I think it is important to recognize these things because as the world of technology develops, we should too.
    Another point I find highly essential is the subscription and news alerts. I believe these are nothing but helpful and can help get the news to you even on your busiest days whether it be through Google Alerts or just social media outlets like Twitter or even Facebook. You can tag things to alert you simply by category or more in depth as far as certain words that comes up in news stories.
    Since I have begun doing this, I find the news that interest me in addition to other pressing stories like “breaking news” or “national news.”
    Lastly, the WordPress publishing in this chapter was very helpful for this class specifically. I have a WordPress that I use for WVUNews and other classes here at WVU and I have a hard time pinpointing the exact pages to edit when I go in to do so, but these step by step actions are very useful.

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