Case Study: Group 2, online-only news sites

I have been browsing through some of the online-only news sites that my group is covering for our case studies at the end of the semester and am here to tell you what I am finding interesting in these online news sites.

Obviously, we have chosen to cover TBD but also have been looking at other sites to see how they differ in terms of style, content, presentation, commenting or viewer replies.

We have talked about, as a group and as a class, the way that TBD uses only local news and information. One thing that is great about TBD is the fact that stories and news pieces are updated frequently, and on the same page as the original story, making navigation very easy.

Others, like The Daily Beast, covers more national news, and to me  is to me one of the most compelling.

On The Daily Beast’s site, there is a central navigation bar that lists ‘must-reads’ and has a numerical listing of top news stories from all over the place. This is very innovative because when you click on a story from the list, you are taken to that news piece that is, for the most part, a summary or abstract of the actual piece.  Following the summary is a list of user comments, which to me is one of the greatest parts of online news: replies and feedback from users.

Making news interactive lets users see what others think of the topic without turning on the television to see ONE single person’s reply. With the comment boxes, readers are able to see different, compelling arguments from all sides and have the chance to reply back with personal opinions. Making the audience as important as the news article is a must for online-only news sites

DLC computers

For anyone looking to use the DLC camcorders or any equipment and need to upload the miniDV to the computers- you can reserve computers at the DLC’s site, by choosing the software you need to use from a drop down box!

Along the lines of Yuri Victor

As Yuri talked about getting feeds from hundreds of sources at his desktop everyday, I also have a similar way of getting my news and other of-interest journalistic pieces.

One of those ways is by getting breaking news from the Washington Post sent straight to my email as it is being reported. Just a few moments ago, I received an email from the Post informing the public that former President Carter, 85, was a passenger on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Cleveland when he became ill. Upon landing, he was taken off the plane by rescue crews and taken to a Cleveland hospital.

This is great because in between classes or in my spare time I don’t always look at the Washington Post’s website, or any other news site for that matter, but am able to see these links when sending emails or simply when checking my email on a quick whim.

Where activists were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools

This is in response to the article posted on Maura’s blog, Gladwell's argument that social media is no revolution.

Of course it is a revolution. The ways that one person can reach the masses is incredible, due to social media, specifically Facebook, Twitter and other forms of media that are used now to not just send a message but to notify whoever will read what they are writing.

Obviously before the age of computers and newer forms of media, people were forced to communicate by mouth or writing, but that is why it is part of a revolution - it is constantly changing to adapt to the ways of life that are being introduced.

How many people in Iraq and Moldova even have access to the internet let alone their Twitter accounts at any time?

Last week my brother became a victim to cyber-crime. This has been a reoccurring issue now for some time, but when it happens to your own family its’ importance really stands forward. 

In this C-SPAN clip, Purdue University Professor Gene Spafford talked by remote video from Purdue University about cybersecurity and explained how the current Internet is a conduit for all types of “cybercrime.”

In the video, Spafford talks about how the internet started off as a mechanism to share information - a neutral communication forum, where people use the various social mediums to communicate and how it has all ultimately turned into a crime zone.

What I found interesting about the article, is firstly - the Purdue CS professor - but also the way in which we have been given this tremendous way of communication and now have to deal with people who have found ways to commit cybersecurity breaches, hacking, breaking into systems, and spam messaging (people trying to get rich quick).

In the video, Spafford and the host refer to a New York Times article, “Do We Need a New Internet?”  This article talks about how  there is a growing belief among engineers and security experts that Internet security and privacy have become so maddeningly elusive that the only way to fix the problem is to start over.

Spafford was also quoted in the NYTimes article: “In many respects we are probably worse off than we were 20 years ago,” said Eugene Spafford, the executive director of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security at Purdue University and a pioneering Internet security researcher, “because all of the money has been devoted to patching the current problem rather than investing in the redesign of our infrastructure.”

Despite a thriving global computer security industry that is projected to reach $79 billion in revenues next year, and the fact that in 2002 Microsoft itself began an intense corporate wide effort to improve the security of its software, Internet security has continued to deteriorate globally.

So all in all, I have always been afraid of identity fraud and credit card fraud and now I am more afraid, but also more cautious.

Shirley Sherrod

While it is completely obvious in the video posted on Andrew Breitbart’s blog that Shirley Sherrod meant to harm by telling the white farmer to find help from “one of his own kind”, it truly shows the importance of watching your words while in the public’s view and in an industry such as the U. S. Department of Agriculture. On the other hand it shows how direct quotations and parts of direct quotations can be misconstrued to make a valid point. 

The clip that Brietbart uses to bring upon his accusations against Sherrod is a two and a half minute clip of what may be an hour of speech. Surely, that is a definite way of reporting, but not if the rest of a segment directly relates to that first segment. Perhaps, a reconciliation or explanation from Sherrod,  following the story about a white farmer she once helped? In an effort to make the NAACP look ‘racist’ and more like a left-winger, Andrew Breitbart looks like he forgot to take the appropriate steps before taking such a cheap shot against Sherrod.

Lastly, I find that Sherrod did nothing to beg the black men and women at the NAACP conference to take government jobs to prevent getting fired. That was quick wit on Sherrod’s part and also another misconstrued clipping that caused an uproar in the world of blogging. 

So all in all, I agree with Howard Kurtz, Shirley Sherrod deserves an apology.

University bans Facebook, Twitter for one week


While catching up on the readings from the weekend on Shirley Sherrod, I found an interesting piece on MSNBC’s ‘Technolog’. Not only do I think the utilization of Facebook and Twitter is a private matter (i.e. you Tweet or you don’t Tweet, no one tells you can or cannot Tweet.)  But according to this article, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has recently (an hour ago) undergone a week-long SOCIAL MEDIA ban!

Imposed campus-wide by Provost Eric Darr, who is conducting the experiment as an exercise that will culminate in a survey and students writing essays about their experience, students faculty and staff will have no access to the forms of social media we are used to checking hourly. Darr seems to be concerned with the way we (students) use and social media technology, and not using this as a criticism of the newer forms like Twitter and Facebook themselves.

The idea came to him through watching his 16 year old daughter do a lot of multi-tasking that social media addicts do: clicking around “frenetically” on Facebook while “juggling” several texts and IM conversations on her iPhone.

"I was frankly amazed," Darr said. "I thought, ‘How do you live like this?’ It struck me to think, ‘What if all this wasn’t there?’"

What if?

Hotseat or not to Hotseat

Hotseat is great! I am actually in Chuck Calahan’s class, CDFS 255, and we use Hotseat in every class.

One note though- there are around 200 people in the class. I think that if the problem we are facing in Journalism, New Media and Convergence isn’t something we can get over in class by ourselves, we are not the greatest of communicators.

For instance, Calahan uses Hotseat because we discuss things that a lot of people may not find comfortable voicing opinions about- gay marriage, incestuous topics etc. Therefore, as future writers and having this class be of about 18 students, I think we should be able to figure out a way where we can communicate well and create motivation for people to speak, since we really don’t need to be anonymous about the topics we cover.

On the other hand, if we are looking to use Hotseat to simply raise questions and topics in and outside of class in a quicker paced way than waiting for someone to raise their hand, then yes I think that Hotseat would be useful. Especially since we are in a computer lab- we are able to post things all the time and be able to get faster answers and discussions started quicker! In this sense I believe Hotseat would be a beneficial mode of social media that we could take advantage of and use.

C-SPAN Video: A Long Strange Trip; Sept. 17, 2002

Many people still to this day do not know who the Grateful Dead is or what they have done for the world of music.  The band is most commonly known for its live performances of long musical improvisation, and ultimately started what is now known as the jam scene. Founded in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay area, the Grateful Dead have earned some of the most dedicated fans that traveled from show to show, gaining the name “Deadheads.”  One such Deadhead, Dennis McNally, the official historian of the band, wrote a book titled “A Long Strange Trip.”  In this CSPAN video, author McNally and Senator Patrick Leahy, a self-proclaimed Deadhead, meet at what they call the Grateful Dead Book Party and recall stories about the Grateful Dead that involve prominent Washington politicians.

Although the video is not embeddable, starting at 7:08/28:42 Senator Leahy from Vermont is introduced and begins to tell his story of how he got into the Grateful Dead and eventually met and went backstage with McNally at one of their concerts. While backstage, Leahy received a call from the White House Operator, who asked him to turn his radio down. Leahy replied that he was at a Dead concert, and then was asked if he at least had time to speak to the President for a minute.  This was defined as a surreal moment in both Leahy’s and McNally’s life. 

One other important instance that reigns throughout the piece is that the Grateful Dead were primarily an apolitical band who had no interest in government campaigning. McNally remembers a time when the late Jerry Garcia (guitarist) was told he should help campaign for the government. Jerry’s response was that he was frightened at the idea that they even knew his name and hid his telephone under his pillow for a week. Although seemingly unresponsive, this was a strange collaboration of music and politics, where the Dead wanted no connection to government, but had support from some members.

This video ultimately captures the experience of the Grateful Dead era from their historian of 20 years, McNally, as well as a Senator in the United States Senate, in a collaboration of print (celebrating McNally’s book), video (C-SPAN videotaping), and voice from the attendees (lobbyists, politicians, friends, and family).

Just a side note: Although the band was very apolitical at the start, after Jerry Garcia’s passing the band became more outspoken with their political beliefs. Before the 2008 election, The Dead performed at a fundraiser to benefit Obama for America.

What is convergence?

Convergence: because of the economy and the way the web changes, print and video have converged. Combining efforts to merge resources and create stories together on the web describes what media convergence is.