Reaction: BASIC Principles of Journalism Monday, Feb 23 2009 

The articles examined this week didn’t reveal anything new really. The first one, B is for Brevity talks about the importance of keeping things short in online stories. This is necessary because of the sheer speed that people go through web pages. An average web site has only fractions of a second to grab the reader’s attention, and even then they can only hold it for so long. Because of this, online stories need to be shorter than other forms of media.
The second article, A is for Adaptability, is also a familiar topic. One of the most revolutionary aspects of the Internet is that it is able to present information in the form of text, video, or audio. Online journalists must be able to tell a story to the best of their abilities and sometimes this means using the internet in creative ways such as a slide show to give the audience a more personal view of the situation than a written article could.
S is for Scannability goes along with Brevity: People want their news capitulated for easier digestion. I know plenty of sites, particularly, which use this format and work very well with it. It goes through the information in a well organized, labeled fashion so people know what they are getting into.
The third article, I is for Interactivity, is one of the most respected aspects of the internet. The Internet was first created so that professors could communicate and transfer information over large distances quickly. The aspect of communication has remained even to today. People want to communicate with their feelings to the author, so there is always some sort of contact information for the author.
Community and Conversation are some of the Internet’s most important aspects. Most people use the Internet for some form of interaction with other people, so many sites that aren’t necessarily focused on social networking have message boards to allow people to discuss their topics.


Reaction: Class Readings Thursday, Feb 19 2009 

The first online reading I read was Mediashift, particularly the entry about what blogging is. I found this entry particularly interesting because it showed how jarringly different blogging is compared to other forms of media.
It is currently the most accessible form of media to the general public. Since it is a form of media, it already has its celebrities. Since so many people can have blogs, it is hard to stand out of the pack. This post does a good job of putting this in perspective by saying

“You will have to do a lot of writing (or photography or videography), and keep at it. The vast majority of blogs that are created are abandoned after a few months — likely because the people who started them didn’t realize how much time and effort it takes to maintain a blog…Readers expect bloggers to stay on top of their blog and keep it updated at least a few times per week.”

By comparison, that makes these blogging assignments seem easy, since we have a set number of required posts.

The other reading was taken from the book, Ch1. I found this reading humbling as well because of how it puts advancements of media into perspective. The Internet as we know it today wasn’t the first attempt at a global network, just the first one that succeeded.
It also goes into detail about other forms of media that are used today that almost failed when they were originally conceived.
The main idea I took from this is that it takes time for a form of media to truly take shape and become something truly useful to society. The Internet seems to be on its

Reaction: Words of Advice From Ira Glass Monday, Feb 9 2009 

I found Ira Glass’s video pods about the structure of stories to be very interesting because they both helped me learn ideas about story telling I haven’t though of before and also reinforced ones that I already have.
The first video taught that you should always begin a story with action; you always want to get the viewer invested right away. Glass says you have to make the audience ask itself why it’s being shown what it’s being shown. This leads into the bulk of the story and the payoff.
The second video helped in that it showed me that I need to be willing to let go of a story. Sometimes a story just doesn’t work and you have to be willing to acknowledge it and move on or else you won’t be able to find a better one.
The third video talked about the importance of experience. I agree with this video to a large extent because I feel that you can do anything well if you do it enough. Whether it is physical activity like sports or artistic activity like music, you can become more proficient with practice. I myself have noticed a great increase in my journalistic abilities over the years, all due to the experience I built up over time.
The fourth video finally talks about identity in broadcast reporting. I also agree with this video because I have noticed a large degree of journalist’s success stems from their identity. Take for example Gerardo Rivera or Oprah Winfrey: both are journalists whose names are more important than the stories they tell. People pay attention for the way they tell the story, not the story itself.

Reaction: 10 Days of Posts Wednesday, Feb 4 2009 

I like the Hypergene media blog because of how it examines the different ways that multimedia can be used to create a good website. The one site they examine the most is a relatively new one called “The Wall”; a site created for Vietnam War veterans and their families so that they can see what happened to their friends and loved ones during the war.

Hypergene does well to give small snippets of information regarding the site, such as responses and news coverage. It is also nice to see information about how the website is built in the first place, with sketches from the creator that help with the layout.

Another post that interests me is the one about how to build a better site. It gives suggestions like trying to connect to your audience in a new way, and doing this by using things like focus groups like surveys. Normally when you think about making a blog you figure you would just go out and write about what you like and be a hit. This is untrue; otherwise there would be several popular blogs instead of just a few. Those that are popular are like this because they provide their audiences with something they want, like how Hypergene reports on media.

There is little continuity to the posts, they don’t flow one into another, save for “The Wall” ones. Another problem is that the posts aren’t very recent.

Reaction: German Bakery Article Vs Slideshow Monday, Feb 2 2009 

Baltimore Sun German Bakery Article VS. Baltimore Sun German Bakery Slideshow

When watching the slideshow for this story, you get a more complete understanding of how people in the story feel about their situation than if you were just reading the article. In the slideshow, you can hear the music and laughter, and see the smiles on the people’s faces as they clap and sing along to the music. You also get an idea about how the situation looks, whereas in an article you were left to your imagination unless some pictures were supplied. Even then an article is limited to only a few pictures on the page while the combinations of sights and sounds on a page is near limitless.

The only advantage I can see in the article though is that the information feels more complete than the slideshow. The writer of the article has more leverage in how long the story is than the creator of the slideshow has for the length of their video. If the video is too long than it is boring, but the writer can make their story as long as they need it to be.

I feel that the slideshow and article work well together in giving a complete story. The article gives the reader information while the while the slideshow gives the viewer an easier story to connect with due to the addition of sound and pictures.

Interesting Stories for Critiquing Tuesday, Jan 27 2009 

The three stories I am interested in Critiquing are And A Song Shall Carry Them Home, Stoves For Guatemala, and My Lobotomy.

And A Song Shall Carry Them Home is interesting because of the detail in which it examins the situation the brothers go through to get money and return to their family. It makes use of dozens of photos that almost feel like a step-by-step play of what the brothers are going through. I also like the video because it feels like an authentic documentary. A lot of time and work went into creating this site.

Stoves For Guatemala is also an interesting multimedia project because it gives a very in depth look into something that you don’t think is very complex. I does so by looking at the reason behind the stoves (why they are important), showing the viewer how the stoves work through use of a step by step diagram, and also using a slideshow accompanied by audio to give a personal aspect to the story.

I find the story My Lobotomy to be the most interesting of these stories since it deals with the examination of a now illegal medical procedure from the perspective of an individual who had it done and also the procedure’s creator’s friends and family. What I don’t like about this page though is that it feels the least organized out of all the others. Most of the supplementary material has to be scrolled down to while on the other pages it is right before the viewer at the top of the page.