Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Crossing the finish line

The end is here. Hopefully, some of you will keep your blogs going, but obviously you are not obligated once the semester ends. I hope you found the experiment interesting and useful. For the next week, concentrate on posting daily – many took a hiatus over the holiday and that’s fine. I also want you to write one final essay that should be posted by Sunday (12/4/05) about your blogging experience – what did you get out of it, if anything. What would you do differently? What did you enjoy? Dislike? Do you think you will continue your blog? Were there any surprises? What do you think of blogs in general? Did you share your blog with family and friends and what did they think? I will type up comments and issue a final grade for everyone’s blog to hand out next Tuesday -- our last class.

Monday, November 28, 2005

There's gold in them Websites ...

For those of us who worked on news Websites in the ancient period of the mid to late'90s, when many in the business didn't "get" what the Web was all about - it's fun to see these articles about how now the business gets it - the Web is the future for print. Here's a piece from the San Diego Union Tribune.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Must-read blogs

The Wall Street Journal has come up with their list of must-read blogs. Maybe some day yours will be among them!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Arts and blogging

We've touched on the subject a bit about how many people would love to be a music critic or a movie critic or a food critic, but those jobs are hard to get and the people who have them don't leave 'til they die -but the Internet is opening up a whole new world in this area (think Pitchfork), here's an article in the Wall Street Journal that talks about "artbloggers"

Newsvine - a wikipedia version of the news

Here's a story from the Seattle Post about a new company called Newsvine - it's going to be an online news site that will let readers write and edit the news - it's a media development project under Walt Disney.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Audio Slide Show

This week we will be starting to work on learning the tools to make our Flash audio slide shows and on today's New York Times Website there is an inspriring one of 28 disabledAmerican soldiers (many fought in Iraq) who ran the NY City marathon over the weekend - all 28 finished. Either go to the homepage today where it's linked or try the indexed page - try to view before class, if not, we will look at in class. It's called "Among the Finishers"

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another piece on teens and blogs

The New York Times had a piece yesterday (similar to the one USAToday had) on teenagers airing their all on blogs, online sites, etc. Many stories have been focused on the privacy issues and parents concern about what info is out there and who is reading it, but I like how this story also points out how these kids are creating their own multi-media packages - using music, video, spoken voice, words, photos - they are adept at using various media equipment. These are the future consumers of news and they are going to want more than the products the current media organiztions are offering. The innovation in the business will come from these young minds (including my students) as they move out into the workforce.

The law and the Internet

Here are a few links to sites I will be talking about in class today ....

Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Guide for Bloggers

Brad Templeton's 10 Big Myths About Copyright Explained

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Cuts and more cuts ... jobs in journalism

Interesting thoughts by Jeff Jarvis today (he writes the Buzz Machine blog, which I read pretty regulary) on the future of journalism - particulary newspapers with all the doom and gloom announcements there have been lately on lay-offs, etc. He also excerpts others who have interesting things to say. Yes, there is doom and gloom, but there are also a lot of people who have hope that the profession has a lot of opportunities in the future - it's just going to be different - not the media business your parents or grandparents once knew.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Copyright violations

Lauren B. wrote this post about a recent WSJ piece on photo agencies scanning Web for illegal use of their photos - we're going to talk about copyright violations in class on Friday. Please read this article before then.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Free speech issues at schools

Here's a piece about Tri-State University's (Fort Wayne, Indiana) new policy that faculty and students can't speak with the press without the university's permission. Usually this is standard fare for employees of a school, like faculty, but very unusual to include students in this mix.

On her blog, Jennifer wrote a post about a high school in New Jersey that has ordered (or risk suspension) its students to take down any online journals or profiles they have on the Internet.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Photo manipulation

This goes back a few lectures when we discussed how easy it is to alter photos with software programs such as Photoshop. Here is an article on on USA Today altered a photo of Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice - it was an AP photo and they touched up the eyes for the Web version. Pics are included with the article - read it here

Friday, October 28, 2005

Following your blog topic in the news

A great feature that Google provides is News Alerts. These make it easy to follow your topic in the news without checking out numerous separate Websites everyday. For example, for my Keeping Score blog, I have a news alert that sends me an e-mail with all the news stories that have the key words - "women, LPGA, golfers." Once a day, Google sends me an e-mail and I can scan the headlines and look at the stories that look like they might be something I want to put on my blog. You can set up as many news alerts as you would like - I have several. The trick is to have enough key words so you don't get flooded with a ton of links but not so narrow that you miss out on things. Google also provides links to blogs that match your key words also - so this can lead you to fellow bloggers in your topic area.

State of the Media

We will be talking about this report in class - State of the Media 2005 put out by the Project for Excellence in Journalism

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The media biz is freaking out over your news habits

The Chicago Tribune also has a piece on where young people are getting the news. In addition to commenting on the New York Times piece, (see this post) you may want to add a sentence or two about this piece, along with it.

Something light ...

I took the What Kind of Food Are You? test that Taryn links to from her blog and here I am ...

You Are Thai Food

Trendy yet complex.
People seek you out - though they're not sure why.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I want my news for free

This week's blog assignment is to go off your blog topic and write an essay in response to this article in the New York Times "Why Should You Pay to Read This Newspaper". Post your response on your own blog. Write about your own news habits - how do you get your news? Also, talk about other kinds of content you use - music, movies, books, magazines, - what are you willing to pay for? How much a month roughly do you spend on media content? What do you get for free? How have your habits changed over the past few years? What technology has enabled some of these changes? Examine other questions - is the news worth paying for? What is the future of paid news content? How are these news organizations going to stay in business if no one is buying the product? What does this mean for your future as a journalist or other profession? Your essay should be posted on your blog by next Tuesday (November 1).

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Promoting your blog

Where is everybody? It can be a bit discouraging, when you are writing post after post on your blog, but don’t see anyone commenting on your prolific witty and knowledgeable writings. I think there are many blogs out there that got off to an enthusiastic start, but slowly fizzled because the writer wasn’t sure if anyone was reading and gives up. The best course is to just to keep plugging away. Write and write and write. It’s good discipline and you will grow as a writer, even if no one, but your best friends or parents, are reading you. If you feel you are starting to find a voice, and you are writing regularly, you might want to think about getting your blog “out there” a bit more. There are a few ways to plug in to the blogosphere. One is to link to other blogs on your site and then read them on a regular basis. When you click on the link from your blog into theirs, they may notice you if they are following their referrer links (some blogging programs allow bloggers to see how much traffic they have and where it is coming from). Some of these blogs, may in turn, put up a link back to you, driving their readers over to your site for a visit. To be more involved, start commenting on these other blogs to join the conversation. To find other blogs in your topic area, see below **

Another option is Google. Share your url address with Google and they may add it to their vast index. This means when people type in certain words during a search, your blog may turn up as one of the links. Go to this page to learn more about this: http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurl. You can also submit your blog address to Blogwise – here is their page on how do to it.

** Finding other blogs. There are a few blog directory/search engines out there. Google has one, there is Blogwise, and Tecnhnorati

Friday, October 14, 2005

J-students and $$ - Part II

Jeff Jarvis -- who writes the BuzzMachine blog and is heading over to head up a new media program at CUNY -- has a counterpoint post to that Cleveland Plain Dealer piece on j-students and jobs and $$$. Read it here.

Also the Dealer columnist responds to critics about the piece's lack of attribution, slam against PR people, etc - read it here

Professors who blog

There is a story in the Chicago Tribune about a professor with a popular political blog who was recently denied tenure - the article looks at if it was his blog that doomed him - "Did blogging doom prof's shot at tenure?" You can read the prof's post of his "pretty bad day" here along with all the comments from his readers.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Is it all about $$$?

Romenesko's media blog had a link to this story - "For future journalists, it's cash, not causes" - in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about how j-students are not interested in low-paying j-jobs. Please read and comment on what you think of the story.

Public vs. Private

Yesterday I went to a panel discussion here at Northeastern titled "Public Private: Intersections in New Media". It was moderated by David Marshall from Comm Studies and Dan Kennedy from my journlism dept. was one of the panelists. Here is a link to the materials that the library put together. Part of the discussion was defining what "new media" is. Another part was the whole concept of how what used to be viewed as private information has moved into the public sphere on the Internet - for example - facebook.com - which we've talked about in class. Our student newspaper - the NUNews also has a frontpage story on facebook this week - (Note: I was interviewed and quoted in the story)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Don't get your hopes up ...

But some bloggers are finding a way to make $$$ from their blogs. Here's a piece from Wired magazine - Can Bloggers Strike It Rich?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


For anyone interested in free, do-it-yourself materials for building Websites, blogging, digital photography - there is a great online resource called J-Learning. You don't need to, but you can register for additional access like forums, etc. It is run by The Institute for Interactive Journalism, a center at the University of Maryland's College of Journalism. They gave a presentation at a educators conference I was at in August and I have found their site to be a great tool. We are using some of their materials in class. J-Learning is a big supporter of community journalism and their site is focused on getting people to use the Web as tool for the community.

The missing link

I forgot to add Barry's Notes from the Roller Disco - a blog on the Boston music scene. Music writing is a hard beat to break into professionally- but the online music writing scene has been a boon to Lester Bang wanna-bes. And the blog is a great format for it. Barry's blog is now on our class blog list in the sidebar and everyone is up and rolling ...

Friday, October 07, 2005

The History of the Internet

Next week, we will be working on Basic HTML and building Websites with Dreamweaver software. We so often take the Web for granted - just hop on and point and click, etc. But I think it's important to know how the Internet came to be - so today we will be doing a bit of history. Here is a link to Wikipedia's History of the Internet - Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that is written by anyone who chooses to write or edit an entry - read an introduction to the site here. Some people are leary of a site that allows anyone to write an entry - and there are some valid concerns that Wikipedia addresses here- . I find it to be a powerful research tool that sometime leads me to other sites, ideas, etc. A lot of the "techie" entries for topics such as the history of the Internet are dead on and just a wealth of information. Look for an article in the November issue of Esquire, where an editor submitted a factually incorrect piece and let the Wikipedia readers edit it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Facebook story

There is a piece in today's Boston Globe (you need to register to read this site now - it's free) about a Fisher College student who was expeled for postings he wrote in a discussion board on Facebook. We talked about this in class the other day - how what you write online should always be considered as something that is out there for the public to read - even on sites like Facebook where the "members" are limited to people with a .edu e-mail. There are no private spaces on the Web. Whether he should have been expeled or not, is another matter all together, which we can discuss in class.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Blogs as satire

Someone has morphed The Onion's fake news humor and the Daily Show shtick with a blog format to create Harriet Meirs's blog -it's completely fake, obviously, and somewhat funny and it also raises a lot of online legal and ethical issues that we will talk about in class.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Bloggers and Big Media

Professor Jay Rosen from NYU writes about a recent conference between Big Media members and bloggers - no direct quoting was allowed but he sums up the general gist of what people were saying about where journalism is going, etc. Lots of interesting thoughts in here. Here's a snippet from Rosen's piece.

"No one doubts the news business will eventually migrate to a new platform on the Net. In the meantime, the traditional model—including trucking the newspaper to people—is a big business with sound cash flow. It’s foolish to think it will soon expire. Yes, a new foundation is emerging. For now, the old structures remain because they bring in the money the Web cannot. This isn’t like the tech industry where market position can melt away in a year if you don’t innovate.

Still, it was agreed: Big Media does not know how to innovate. What capacity for product development do news organizations show? Zip. How are they on nurturing innovation? Terrible. Is there an entreprenurial spirit in newsrooms? No. Do smart young people ever come in and overturn everything? Never. Do these firms attract designers and geeks who are gifted with technology? They don’t, because they don’t do anything challenging enough. They don’t innovate, or pay well. So they can’t compete."

And this ...

"In competing on the Web, the bloggers do not alarm big media. It’s people like Bill Gannon. Yahoo worries them, with its surging revenues, huge traffic flow, and recent moves in news and editorial that involve original content. The portals attract talent, and with their billions they can fund innovation, and roll out new products. This capacity dwarfs what the old line media companies can do, even if everyone on the editorial staff became a Webbie overnight."

This land is your land ...

Lisa P. is on board with her blog Liaison Américaine - her ambitious attempt to write about the concept of the American Dream. She's been secretly posting for a few days, but waited a bit before going public! Welcome to blogging Lisa.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Greg is riding along ...

with his blog "Inventing the Wheel" - all about Boston cycling culture and advocacy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Latest additions ...

Rachel W. is chronicling the process of applying to law school in Rachel's Blog

Lauren K. is keeping an eye on celebrities and their influence on everyday people in Red Carpet City

Digital Photography

We are working this week with digital photos and talking about some of the issues - such as the ease of altering a photo with software, the availablity of graphic photos online that a news org might choose not to run, amateur photos making it into the news, etc. Here are some links to some readings on these topics ... (Note: A few of these articles discuss graphic news and amateur images and provide links if you choose to view them)

One Image, One Word – the power of photos

The Photo Revolution Has Begun - from Poynter.org

Beyond Taste: Editing the Truth – the issue of altering photos for news use, from Poynter.org

Magazine Covers: Photojournalism or Illustration? – the issue of altering mag cover photos , from Poynter.org

The Martha Stewart Newsweek cover

Other cover alterations - from Darmouth class on Digital Media

War Images as Eyewitnesses - from Poynter.org

OJR piece on new controversey with war images - Online Journalism Review

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Master List

I'm adding a list of links to all the student blogs on the nav bar on the right - it is not completed yet. Latest additions include Muhammed's Historicus Now, which is taking a look at the aftermath of Katrina and Rita - the short and long term issues. Lauren B. had joined us with her look at today's photography with Seeing Through My Eyes. Jennifer S. is taking a look at how young adults are potrayed in the media with Hard Knock Life. Rashawn H. starts of his Let's Talk About Sports with the recent NU football game. More to come later ....

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Bloggers and freedom of the press

We tend to take our computer access and publishing online for granted here in the U.S. In countries like China and Iran, where blogging has become exteremely popular with students, the option of writing whatever you want is made much more difficult because the governments control Internet access. CNN had a story yesterday on a new guide "Handbook for Blogger and Cyber-Dissidents" put out by Reporters without Borders to help bloggers in countries with government controled Internet access get around the censors. You can read the story here

There is also a group based at Harvard Law School called Global Voices Online, which has made it their mission to encourage blogging internationally and helping those who are doing it from countires with limited freedoms of speech and press. Their Website has a wealth of info and resources.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Blogging and the law

Professor Gladys McKie gave me a copy of this article and I found the link online ...

Blogging and the Law: Letting loose is not without its risk

We'll discuss in class. The article also refers to Legal Guide for Bloggers - put out by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a big supporter of Internet rights.

Kennedy's ruminations

Here' s link to visiting professor Dan Kennedy's talk the other night here on campus with Jay Rosen, from NYU. They discussed the future of media and more specifically, blogs. Due to unforseen circumstances, I was unable to attend so I'm thankful that Dan posted his remarks. Dan's blog is called Media Nation

Our guidelines

Online Journalism JRN525 Blogging Guidelines – Updated 9/22/05

A blog can be many things: a diary, a photo album, a news source, a running commentary on a particular subject, etc. A blog offers a way to have instantaneous interaction between writers and readers. It also links the reader out to articles, Web sites – broadening a reader’s knowledge of the blog’s topic(s). In this class, we are experimenting with writing in a more free form style on our blogs, but under an umbrella of journalism ethics and standards. Our blogs will have a mix of reporting and opinion writing.

Basic ground rules we will abide by

  • Must write with proper spelling, grammar, punctuation. Blogger.com has a spellcheck – use it
  • No profanity – if a general newspaper doesn’t print it, than we don’t use it in this class
  • No obscene photographs – no sexually explicit or violent images
  • No personal attacks

Using outside content: In addition to linking in posts, many bloggers also pull other writer’s material into their posts. You can do this with small snippets of material, but you must follow my guidelines. It must be clear to your readers that this is not your material. Always have a lead in sentence followed by a colon:

Here is what sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote in his column “On Second Thought” in the Boston Globe today (9/23/05):

“Here we are, looking up at the Yankees. Again. We all know this thing should
have been over. The Yankees were there to be beaten. But the Sox eased up on
the accelerator, broke down in key places, and now are in danger of
finishing second to New York for a record eighth consecutive season. And
only 10 games remain.”

The way you get this block quote look, is to highlight the quoted text, and then click on the icon that looks like two quotes in your blogger post area. Make sure you also link to the actual story so your reader can go read the whole piece. (Over time many of these links will “break” because some sites archive stories behind firewalls after a day or two. Also some sites require a user registration to read material – and not everyone will be registered or want to register. Don’t worry about both these issues for now.)

Photos: I’m researching this issue. Right now, the rule is that you can only post your own original photos. More to come on this.

In addition
get your facts right – if you want your writing to be taken seriously by your readers, you need to be accurate – double check your facts before publishing them. If I see a factual error, I will write it in your comment section.

Context: provide some context so readers know what you are talking about when it comes to long-running issues, etc. Give a bit a background when introducing a new topic.
Honesty: for example, if you give a plug to your favorite restaurant and your uncle happens to own that restaurant, than make sure to inform your readers.

Admit your mistakes: if you realize that a previous post had an error, than own up to your mistake and write a correcting post.

Changing your mind: same things goes if you change your opinion whether it’s because you learned more information, or thought long and hard about it, etc. Just explain to your readers why you feel differently.

Respect others: Welcome debate on your blog. People may disagree with you. This is fine and good. Respect other opinions – it’s fine to have a back-and-forth with someone about an issue but keep it civil. If a reader goes over the line with you, please inform me and we will deal with the situation.

These guidelines are a work-in-progress – if you want to discuss an issue, please raise it in class so we can all discuss together.

Evan is flipping the pages ...

with her new blog Bookspring - a look at the book publishing industry with a focus on pop-lit

Taryn is eating well for the rest of us ...

For her blog The Starving Student Food Blog

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Nick has joined the 'game'

with his blog Nick's - all about video gaming -the technology, issues, etc.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Meghan is off and running ...

With her blog Weighing In - great job!

Note to students - I didn't require you to write your first post yet, but you are more than welcome to give it a try. An easy way to start is with a little intro on what you are hoping to do with your blog or find a news item like Meghan did -- comment on it and link to it.

Nate is off and running ...

Here's Nate's Red Sox blog Cowboy Up!

I'll put up a master list of everyone's blog at the end of the day.

The Assignment

Here is the assignment the students were given yesterday when they started to set up their blogs.

  • Writing 4-5 posts every week for the rest of the semester – the size of the post will vary depending on what you are saying. Sometimes it may be as simple as two or three sentences and a link and other times you may write six long paragraphs with many links, etc. I want to see a range of writing here.
  • Completing blog assignments when requested – for example, one week I may request that you post comments on a fellow student’s blog, or I may ask you do write a post that involves your own original reporting.
  • Sometimes I may ask you to go off topic on your blog or something may happen in your life, in the news, etc. and you want to comment on your blog, but for the most part, the goal is to stick to you topic.

    Ground rules
  • This is a journalism assignment – you must write with proper spelling, grammar, punctuation. Blogger.com has a spellcheck – use it!
  • No profanity – if a general newspaper doesn’t print it, than we don’t use it in this class.
  • No obscene photographs – no sexually explicit or violent images
  • No personal attacks

What I’m looking for …
I’m looking for a combination of writing styles on your blog.

  • Article Links: You should be reading local news Websites (the Globe, Herald, Phoenix, etc.).Write a few lines or paragraph about the article and then provide the reader with a link to that article. I will also be scanning the news for all of you and sending suggestions, but quite quickly I want to see your own initiative on this take off. Also, depending on your topic, there may be other sites you should be keeping an eye on and linking to them.
  • Reviews: This is where you can practice being a critic and write a review on something that is related to your blog topic.
  • Profiles: You research and write a profile about a person or group that is related to you topic. For example, you blog may be about the homeless and you do a profile on a local homeless shelter and link to their site.
  • Reporting: Original reported posts – for example, you do a Q&A interview with someone relevant to your topic, or you research and report a small story. You attend an event related to your topic and write about it.

Guidelines – I will hand out a list of guidelines such as how to you quote material from another Website or blog, the use of photos, etc. Remember that your blog is public – anyone can read it and post comments to you posts. Blogs are a free-form style compared to other media forms, but as we experiment with our blogs, we are also going to maintain journalism ethics and standards with the blogs in this class.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Welcome to the Online Journalism blog for JRN525. We are settting up our blogs this week and I will soon have a list of all our blogs. I'm going through the student pitches for the blogs today - they run the gamut from a blog on biking/anti-car culture in Boston to a video game blog to a food blog. A few of the ideas are too broad, so we'll have to work on focusing them more - it's easier to write about a focused topic. That's all for now.