Chapter three: Crowd-powered collaboration

February 15th, 2011 February 15th, 2011
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In chapter three, Mark Briggs focuses on the new types of reporting methods that are becoming more prevalent in this day and age.


Coined by Wired News’ Jeff Howe in 2006, this term basically means distributed reporting. It is using a lot of news sources at a given time to help research a specific story. The concept itself lends to grassroots organizations and projects such as InnoCentive and Amazon. According to Briggs, crowdsourcing aims a community power on a specific task and shows that a group of committed individuals can outperform a small group of experience and paid professionals that aren’t as committed.

Open-source reporting

This is a transparent way of obtaining news and showing off your news sources to the public. Due to open-source reporting, blogs and social media websites are important because they keep the media on their toes from making mistakes. And if they do make any errors, they can fix it with a click of a button. Open-source reporting welcomes the reader’s feedback and helps journalists increase their credibility and social capital.

Pro-am Journalism

This is the most unfiltered form of journalism on the web. Everyone is their own author and decides what to publish when and where. It is a do-it-yourself movement that made everyone want to play the role of journalist. The example that Briggs gives is CNN’s iReport. This platform enables users to upload and publish their own content to CNN’s stories as a local reporter. With this approach, everyone is a media outlet.

Happy reading folks.

Mandy Jenkins Visits COMM 361

February 14th, 2011 February 14th, 2011
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There’s a famous saying that the harder you work, the luckier you get. This saying holds true for Mandy Jenkins, director of social media for TBD.

Coming from a town in rural Ohio, Jenkins has always worked hard. She wanted to be a part of the media world; however, she discovered that her career path would not go the same way as past journalists. She would have to come up with something new.

She discovered Twitter back in 2007, when no one had even heard much of it. Not even Kanye West or Ashton Kutcher. Writing up a creative plan, Jenkins became the first social media coordinator for a newspaper in Ohio. Along with tweeting, Jenkins discovered blogging, Facebook and other social media websites.

When Jenkins arrived in my COMM 361 Online Journalism class, she spoke regarding the evolving state of journalism due to the fast development of the Internet. She gave a few details about her job that I found interesting and would like to share with you:

“90 percent of the work I do is reading and researching,” – Jenkins

Being a social media editor is not all about tweeting and using Facebook. One has to know what other people are talking about in order to keep up.

“I always do my best to respond to those who message me, even if they didn’t have anything nice to say,” – Jenkins

Responding to your followers is a nice way to keep them interested into following you. Even if they say inappropriate things, it is sometimes better to just address it in a nicer way. Just because someone is stooping low, doesn’t mean you have to stoop down to their level.

“I met my employer through Twitter,” – Jenkins

Although this is not the most traditional method of getting a job, it worked for Jenkins. The media world is rapidly changing and even Twitter can land some a decent job these days.

Happy reading.

Chapter two: The basics of blogging

February 14th, 2011 February 14th, 2011
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In Mark Briggs’ second chapter “Advanced Blogging,” he focuses on the essentials of blogging. His main points of the chapters are summarized as the following:

  • Good blogs are a continuing conversation: If you write a blog, it is necessary to create a reader’s base to get some feedback. This enables you to continue the conversation and write more!
  • Blogs aren’t magic: This basically means that blogs are not going to do the work for you. If you want a successful blog, you have to be on your guard constantly, posting, updating and working your butt off.
  • Read blogs to write blogs: Go to Technorati and scan the top 100 blogs to see what interests you. Writing about what other people write isn’t wrong as long as you credit them and write with your own spin.
  • Know blog language: Trackbacks, posts, permalinks….what do they all mean? And what the heck is a vlog and moblog? Sounds foreign? Check out this website for definitions.
  • Customize your blog to fit you: Using basic CSS is okay for most blogs. However, if you really want to turn on your future employers, create your own themes, widgets and other elements to spice things up!

Say what?

Happy Reading!

Chapter one: We are all web workers now!

February 10th, 2011 February 10th, 2011
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I have taken three classes with Professor Steve Klein, one for every semester I have been at Mason and the one thing that has stuck with me all this time is that he has always emphasized the FOUNDATIONS of writing for journalism. Whether it may be writing a story, doing carpentry work or climbing a mountain, one cannot rise to the top without knowing the basics.

In Mark Briggs‘ chapter one, his focus is on those basic foundations themselves. Here is a list of a few he mentions:

  • Knowing the difference between bits and bytes.
  • Knowing how web browsers function.
  • Knowing what the hell an RSS feed is — and what it stands for.
  • Knowing how HTML, CSS and XML work — don’t even bother knowing what they stand for.
  • Knowing how to use FTP to transfer large files over the web.

The chapter is titled “We are all web workers now.”

What the heck does that mean?

Briggs is referring to the idea that everyone in this age is destined to utilize the web at some point in their life. Even my mother, who does not speak perfect English and had never used a computer in her youth, is addicted to Facebook more than I am. As for the young ones, they are even smarter and better at technology than me. My three-year-old nephew is working the web searching for games. The boy can’t read but he sure does know how to get to Nick Jr.  Just like the of us, he is, after all, a web worker.

Happy reading folks.

The many web browsers to choose from....

My Media Pyramid

February 8th, 2011 February 8th, 2011
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What is a media pyramid?

Basically, it’s an illustration of where you get your news from.

For me, it’s basically comprised of:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Significant Other
  • Facebook/Twitter
  • Comedy Central
  • Time Magazine
  • Fox News

To each his or her own, I say. But whether you get your news from Twitter or The Washington Post, always make sure to read the other side. Remember, as a journalist, our job is not to tell people what to think, it’s to tell them what to think about.

Happy reading.