Read & Respond week 2: Getting Started

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 put up a post here around noon on Thursdays 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.

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. TUESDAY (later deadline due to MLK holiday), January 17. 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!
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18 Responses to Read & Respond week 2: Getting Started

  1. Carly Magnotta

    Although we continually have to ask ourselves who actually cares about what we are writing about when blogging, I think news reporters have to ask themselves that as well sometimes. The two go together and compliment each other very well. Even with “Why Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other” being from 2003, I think Managing Editor Scott Rosenberg had a good point when he said, “If the pros are criticized as being cautious, impersonal, corporate and herd-like, the bloggers are the opposite in, well, almost every respect: They’re reckless, confessional, funky—and herd-like.” The use of blogging and creating online personal content is a different, and sometimes more approachable way to get a point across. Blogging helps change views and lifestyles of the writers and the readers because they are coming from a raw, deep place (Joshua Becker). I find it crazy that just a few years ago, no social or web sites were available for businesses like they are now. As Briggs mentions, when he started out, he had to use a Radio Shack computer device and used cups over the receiver of a pay phone just to send stories back to the office. Now, the future is something we are learning about and adapting to in the present. He has been working jobs that were not even created when he was in school. The fact that one day we can be working one position and it be deemed completely unnecessary the next is wild but also exciting. I like the idea of working in an industry that is forever changing and improving. Briggs reinforcing that the future is truly in recent graduates’ hands is more true in this industry than in a lot of others. Youth hold a lot of power and I feel it gives us an extra advantage in the workplace.

  2. Rebecca Toro says:

    Journalism has taken a shift to digital. Companies are pushing for online content. Journalism is constantly changing and developing. Adults who have been in the field for years are now learning digital media while students, like me have an advantage growing up with it. It may be the same situation in the future when I am older and new technology is developed. I may have to learn new things. Though the digital world it is easier to connect with others, easier to contact people for stories. It Is quicker to record and take photos to upload. Everything is faster and more simplistic. Now, with blogging you are your own boss. There is no editor, nobody to filter your words. You can post raw footage and speak of it however you like. There is nobody there to reject your words before it is posted. Blogging can help with time management. You have to take time out of your day to sit, think, and process your day to write meaningful words. It can bring interest to new topics that you wouldn’t think people would care about. You can write stories that readers and benefit from. You have more control over the content posted because it is your own blog that you get to develop.

  3. Rebecca Toro says:

    Journalism has taken a shift to digital. Companies are pushing for online content. Journalism is constantly changing and developing. Adults who have been in the field for years are now learning digital media while students, like me have an advantage growing up with it. It may be the same situation in the future when I am older and new technology is developed. I may have to learn new things. Though the digital world it is easier to connect with others, easier to contact people for stories. It Is quicker to record and take photos to upload. Everything is faster and more simplistic. Now, with blogging you are your own boss. There is no editor, nobody to filter your words. You can post raw footage and speak of it however you like. There is nobody there to reject your words before it is posted. Blogging can help with time management. You have to take time out of your day to sit, think, and process your day to write meaningful words. It can bring interest to new topics that you wouldn’t think people would care about. You can write stories that readers and benefit from. You have more control over the content posted because it is your own blog that you get to develop.

  4. Cayla Nolder says:

    We subjectively check our social media platforms without giving any forethought to what draws our attention to them. Is it the spatial, linguistic, visual, aural, or gestural mode of communication that attracts us – perhaps it’s the combination (multimodal tools)? There is a thought process that goes into the creation and design of a website that attracts a viewer to explore the content. And bloggers create content and publish timely news/updates, just as journalists do – of course, journalists such as Leslie Walker of The Washington Post said that bloggers are not journalists because “they do not cling to the same established principles of fairness, accuracy, and truth that traditional journalists do.” But who would want to destroy their credibility? That’s kissing goodbye whatever readership you’ve built. Aside from that, the mind-boggling part to me is that we create content without knowing (maybe some of us know) about the extensive coding that exists beneath our words and fancy web pages. Briggs stated that “even though it’s possible to lead a digital life without learning basic coding skills, a journalist’s ability to excuse ideas and be a better journalist will be limited without such skills.” Absolutely, this is true. I have not tinkered with HTML, CSS, or XML within WordPress but last semester I had the privilege of taking an editing class with Dr. Cheryl E. Ball which encompassed the class collectively copy-editing material for Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. Once the material underwent initial stages of editing, the final stages included the material being put into TextWrangler to strip away the formatting, so that HTML, CSS, and XML under Kairos specifications could be applied to format the content. Using WordPress’s Visual tab and Text tab to toggle between the WYSIWYG view of how text appears to users when it is published verse the HTML code underneath will be a beneficial tool for comparison, as well as a tool for studying HTML tags in order to understand how to properly implement them and avoid breaking the page.

    -Cayla Nolder

  5. Rachel Brosky says:

    A theme in this week’s readings is that blogs are becoming a necessary part of 21st century journalism. They are able to go in-depth on specific topics that normal news channels (broadcast, newspapers, etc.) are unable to. It’s the “bottoms-up journalism” referenced by Briggs. Blogs are successful when they start by focusing on a specific audience, and when the writer honors the ethics of traditional journalists, they can become invaluable tools for the audience they target.
    My favorite idea for my personal blog focuses on the relationship between humans and other animals. I could write about the science of the human/animal bond, the ethics of killing an animal after a zoo attack, the best things for your pet, and more. Many people have pets or have worked with animals, and want tips to have the best experience with them. People can become frustrated with the behavior of animals because they don’t understand how that specific animal interprets the situation. The blog can meaningfully add to the conversation between animal lovers by not just focusing on pet-owner basics but on the ethics and relationships between humans and our furry companions.
    As the NiemanReports article mentions, blogging contributes “random acts of journalism” all the time, by letting writers focus on their passion. The platform has only grown from 2003.

  6. Blogging has become new mainstream news, according to Niemanreports.org, and a blogger offers quicker, more in depth news. Niemanreports.org uses an example of technology and media conferences being reported on in real time by bloggers. This is how bloggers can report faster than typical newspapers and this is often what people are more interested in. Briggs mentions that journalists have an important role that will always be changing as technology advances. It is hard to foresee what new jobs may be created for journalists in the future, which means it is hard to prepare for the positions. Blogging is a journalist job that may seem unconventional, but many readers prefer it over traditional new sources. It is a good example of how jobs change and adapt. Briggs also mentions that journalists must be aware of a wide range of innovation by attending events that may have nothing to do with journalism. This is where a journalist is now responsible for seeking news beyond the usual gamut. According to becommingminimalist.com, blogging helps with expanding horizons and forming relationships that seek to serve one another and through blogging readers can offer input which can only help a blogger’s writing and research improve in future blogging to come.

  7. Laura A. Vazquez-Lopez says:

    The Briggs chapter makes a good point about how journalism is transforming and those companies not willing to transform with it are doomed to die. This transformation is vital and am surprised that the “Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other” article also manages to catch that being as old as it is. This transformation should not only include the platforms news are presented on but the way they are presented in.

    What neither readings seem to touch on much is accountability. The article grazes it with its transparency section but nowadays Twitter is perhaps one of the most powerful tools in terms of accountability and honest reporting. Especially lately, there has been an increase in false balance reporting in a desperate attempt to appear neutral. The article “The Case Against News We Can Choose” makes a good argument against news that lean a certain way, but there is a fine line between unbiased reporting and giving something the validity it doesn’t deserve.

    The text states that we have a say in how news and reporting will evolve from here on out, and I think it’s vital to have these factors in mind when bringing forth this change.

  8. Haley says:

    Briggs does an excellent job of explaining why journalism is such an exciting time for new journalists starting the job in a digital media world rather that just twenty years ago when most of the work was completely print related. It intrigued me that he did make the claim that some from his generous are reluctant to move forward with the digital age. It would take a great deal of entrepreneurship from our generation to set precedents and break new barriers with digital journalism.
    In Nieman Reports he talks about random acts of journalism and I love that he calls it that because it’s so true. The barrier between a considered consumer and what is considered a journalist gets smaller when it comes to digital media. Anyone can record and document life happenings and post it in seconds where as “professional” news outlets have to wait longer. The success of these random acts of journalism are shown through viral media content. I think the whole point of these random acts is what we hope for as online journalists to start and join a conversation in the community. Getting people excited to post and document is a great step forward in the reporting process.
    Bias news sources can be dangerous when the public takes opinions as fact and the muddling of the two happens often with online content. Ted Koppel says, “While I can appreciate the financial logic of drowning television viewers in a flood of opinions designed to confirm their own biases, the trend is not good for the republic.” I think that statement resonated with me because the same can be true for blogging and digital media outlets.

  9. Mateo Andrews says:

    Before the readings I had a very shallow understanding of blogs and their importance in relation to how news is told and spread about society today. After reading the articles and text I have gained a better understanding and appreciation for this type of news reporting. Nowadays it is highly evident that journalism is adapting to the new media platforms being created by the advancement of technology. Prior to the readings I just assumed that blogs were just a hobby activity that could be used to kill some spare time. However after understanding how they can allow a person to offer a much more in depth perspective on a piece of news intrigued me.

    I also found the “15 Tips” about why someone should blog interesting as well. I always found reporting, especially news, to be beneficial primarily to other people. Yet after reading the reasons as to why one should blog I must admit that I got a bit excited. I am not a believer of everything but I am willing to give blogging a shot in order to see how it can change myself as well as how I can help/change others.

    • miaswanegan says:

      While doing the readings from the sites as well as the introduction in Briggs, I had the feeling that some of the information may have been repetitive but it was all information that needed to be known. Before doing the readings I didn’t have much insight on what all went into a blog or how to maintain it but after doing these readings I do know more. I feel like the post “15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog” relayed the information without being too wordy which made it all worth the while. Every reason was relevant and will help me with my blog post throughout the course.

      In the book it tells us to use a “wide- angle lens while viewing the world” and I feel like this can apply with our blog post that we take on this semester. While completing the post we need to be aware of what is happening/ changing around us with the world and make sure the news and information remains relevant while keeping true to what we decide our main focus would be. Not only have I gained knowledge between this week’s articles and book reading but I know I will be filled with much more throughout the semester and that is something to look forward to.

  10. mglamastro says:

    I really loved the article “Blogs and journalism need each other” from Nieman Reports; they touch on a few really important points that I believe many people in the journalism and in blogging, tend to overlook. Of course there is the obvious, that bloggers need journalism to ensure they are answering important, socially relevant questions (i.e., rather than a “What I’m Wearing Today” type of blog that does not really matter in the scheme of society). On the other hand, journalism needs blogs so that media professionals can interact with their audience in more direct and immediate ways. This not only makes journalists more accessible than ever before, but also builds trust between a media professional/network and his/her/its audience.

    Although this was not mentioned in the post, I also believe that bloggers need journalism in terms of not only style (i.e., AP Style and general grammar), but in terms of law/ethics as well. As a blogger myself, I see an alarming amount of fellow bloggers stealing intellectual property (including ideas, words and images) from other sources. I am also a media professional, so I know that this is both morally and legally wrong. However, bloggers who have studied and/or worked in other fields do not know this, and may (intentionally or unintentionally) violate these laws. In my opinion, more awareness should be raised about it, and more legal actions should be taken against these bloggers.

    Mark Briggs’ introduction in Journalism Next is heavily focused on technology/new media and its impact on journalism. This is a positive thing for numerous reasons: journalists and media professionals can connect with a larger, wider, broader audience thanks to technology, they can connect instantly and directly to their audience (which has never been done before) and they can connect with other media professionals across the globe. Journalists can also use new media to promote their own (or a colleague’s) work, and share it with friends, family, etc., while readers can share their favorite stories with friends, family, etc. more quickly and easily.

    However, I also believe technology has had some negative impacts on journalism and, to be honest, it really worries me. Many bloggers, disguised as “journalists” put out a ton of incorrect information without fact/sourcing checking it, leading to the widespread consumption of misinformation, and in turn, a misinformed society. Similarly, most of these “journalists” do not have proper training, so their work is generally shoddy, containing several AP Style/grammar errors, intellectual property violations, etc. Ultimately, this has led to the overall decline in quality of journalism; now anyone, through the use of technology/new media, can be a journalist. I think this is something to which we as media professionals should pay a little more attention. Although working via new media/online is in some way easier than taking the traditional route, we must never forget that quality is more important than quantity (whether that is number of posts, number of pages views, number of followers, number of comments, etc.) in terms of our work.

  11. Cara Devenney says:

    Cara Devenney

    *Excuse my gibberish reply above me-I was seeing if the website was responding to my web-browser for I had a issue when trying to post my initial post*

    Anyway,

    I have had personal blogs before that included my daily life and what good or bad happened to me that day, or how I was feeling, and my blogs became my online journal. I also wrote for WVU’s The Odyssey Blog. I never received comments or a lot of viewers because I was doing exactly what bloggers shouldn’t do. I am taking this class because I want to learn more about blogging and how to do it the proper way, and how to become a better writer as well as a better thinker.

    I agree with Nieman’s article and how journalism is turning to media, because today in 2017, social media is being used now more than ever. News airs/publishes only what they want their viewers to know, and they even twist things up for a better reaction. I know this because I was shadowing at a news station in my hometown during the 6 PM news and saw what the producers, anchors, and reporters did just to “have news”. This is why I like blogs better because people post things of interest and truly care about that subject, and might even have a better informative story than what the news would have.

    It is mind-boggling how much social media plays a big part in our lives. My thirteen year old sister was telling me over the weekend how her friends can’t even eat a meal without taking a picture of it and posting it on Instagram, Snapchat, VSCO, and other forms of social media. When I was thirteen, I had a flip phone that had restrictions on it! Now people are LIVE reporting on Facebook and having Snapchat filter contests. This goes hand in hand with the text because people enjoy going on social media for their news because it is easy access- so, those news outlets not willing to make the change will fail. That is why a lot of papers/magazines are having budget cuts.

    I also enjoyed reading Joshua Becker’s post because you can come to agree with what he has to say. Blogging as a journalist has definitely opened my eyes to see the world differently. I say this because I pay attention to every detail of every surrounding I am in. I grew to appreciate the world around me and the people who I come in contact with. I also love how blogging can reflect who you are as a person as well because the more you write, the more knowledge you gain.

    I am nowhere near a perfect blogger, but I hope this class will broaden my knowledge and that I will learn a lot more than what I already know!

  12. lindseybaatz says:

    In the reading, Briggs talks about the transition journalism has faced in the past decade. While many journalists have transitioned to new media, many find it difficult to remain up to date on the newest technology.
    “Why you should blog” talks about how blogging will shape you into leading an intentional life. Your thoughts will change and there will be more meaning behind the things that surround you. I think blogging will add value to your surrounds.
    In blogging, it is important to remember starting out that it is not all about you. You first must interest your readers, so they eventually care about you and your brand. The goal is to add to the ongoing conversation, while adding yourself seamlessly into that conversation.
    It is also important as a media professional to add meaningful content to the meaningless news that has over saturated the internet. While we are still students, learning how to generate quality content is going to help us transition into a credible media professional.

  13. Steven Devine says:

    With rapid advancements in technology, journalism has begun to transform. Seemingly anyone can become a “journalist” now with the power of a blog. The transformation is also changing from the more traditional version of print journalism, to journalism across many different platforms.

    I like the idea that blogging makes you the editor. It is up to you to post what you feel on your blog and make it tell the stories that you wish to tell. If you have a passion for something and you begin to blog about it, you can discover people who follow you and have your same ideas and thoughts, it really is a cool concept.

    In the blogging advice link, there is also some things I took note of. It says not to blog everyday, and I agree with that more than I can put into words. Although blogging is personal and if you chose to blog everyday as a way of expressing yourself than so be it, but the idea of not posting everyday makes a blog so much more interesting in my eyes. The post uses the phrase “blog burnout”. Basically running out of things to say and people will lose interest. I would rather read something that took time and thought on a blog and something thrown together everyday to get readers.

    Lastly, in the 15 thoughts link, I found another useful thought. The article states that blogging makes you a better thinker. I can relate to that because when I was traveling the last few months I was always thinking about how I can write about something, and when you see something that catches your eye and you write about it.

  14. zmauhammad says:

    As blogging becomes more mainstream, journalist are adapting to the new platforms that have been made. Before reading “How Not to Blog” I honestly did not know that blogging was a huge factor in journalism, and also all the rules that come with it. When first given the assignment of blogging two times a week I thought that I would not be able to do it. But after reading that blog post I feel more confident knowing things to not do as I begin to blog.

    The “15 Tips” explaining to reader why they should blog is very beneficial to everyone that reads. The more someone writes, the more confident they will be and the more their work will improve. I agree with majority of the steps and will try to abide by them as I begin blogging.

    Another fact that I have read was that most people in today’s world check their social media all the time. That is where they find breaking news and anything else that is happening in the world. In fact, I cannot remember a time that I have actually sat down to watch the news. So, with that being said journalist are in control of the context being sent out that is grabbing the public’s eye (breaking news to the next celebrity scandal).

    -Zaakira Muhammad

  15. Jackie Thompson says:

    This week’s readings gave me hope! As a 40-year-old college student, who is not nearly in touch with the latest technology as my 20-something counterparts, I wonder how and where I will use my education in the workforce after graduation. Briggs points out how his last three jobs in journalism did not exist while he was in college, providing some relief about not knowing exactly what type of career to pursue. Although Briggs also points out that the days of the “well-marked, established career path” are over, the alternative of hearing individual voices and being a small piece of the evolution of journalism are well worth the loss.
    Even if a blog doesn’t generate the desired traffic, Becker points out some great personal reasons to blog, including: being a better writer, thinker, and leading a more intentional life. All of these are benefits I would desire even if I wasn’t involved in journalism. He also noted that healthier habits are adopted based on the discipline that it requires to maintain a blog. My favorite of Becker’s reasons for blogging was inspiring people. We all go through things that we don’t understand, but many times it is so we can help someone else in the same position. Some of us are lucky enough to do this through blogging.

  16. Briggs’ comment about how his last three jobs in journalism didn’t exist when he was in college really stuck with me, mainly because I want to be a social media strategist–a job that likely didn’t exist when I was in high school. I wholeheartedly agree with him on the idea that being an early adopter prepares you for new jobs as they enter the field. Look at the people producing 360 video, those jobs are only a few years old, but as they become more prominent, the people who are learning about 360 now will have the upper hand.

    The Neiman Reports article called blogging “participatory journalism,” but I think I’d prefer to call it “citizen journalism.” The same article said that blogging “refers to individuals playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, sorting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.” That’s journalism in it’s simplest form. There are people who back their blog posts with a lot of research, and even more people who go to blogs for information about things they can’t find elsewhere.

  17. Ashley Conley says:

    Most people believe that journalism is a dying art, but what they don’t realize is that journalism is literally everywhere. When you scroll through Facebook and see a plethora of articles, or when you turn on your TV to CNN to see the latest breaking Trump news, or even when you watch ESPN, you’re witnessing journalism. In order to keep journalism alive and thriving, today’s journalists have to find new ways to think, create and learn.

    What I gathered from this week’s readings and the Introduction chapter from Briggs’ Journalism Next is that we control our own destiny in our craft. Journalism isn’t just some meaningless hobby – it’s the way the world develops opinions and develops deeper understandings of their surroundings. All four of our readings dabble into how journalists can make themselves better professionals – or better writers – by simply taking the time to blog; taking the time to create; taking the time to distinguish themselves and dive deep into their art. But, this has become increasingly difficult with the ever-changing sway of journalism platforms from simple print to chaotic digital.

    As Briggs states (pg. 1), “To survive in the digital age, journalists must adopt a new way of thinking…” By putting yourself out there (ex. creating a blog, utilizing social media platforms, etc.), you (we) can and will make an individual impact on the field we know and love.

    As someone who doesn’t regularly blog, I am anticipating a crucial learning experience in this class. This should be fun!

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