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

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

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

The Martha Stewart Newsweek cover

Other cover alterations - from Darmouth class on Digital Media

War Images as Eyewitnesses - from

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. 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. 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.