Off The Written Path

Soldier Transition Project Storyboard

March 10th, 2011 · No Comments

The Soldier Transition Project aims to tell the story of soldiers who seek out an education after having served their country in a time of war.

We want to answer the questions:

  1. What is it like to go from a war zone to a college campus?
  2. What challenges do Soldiers face adjusting to life as college students?
  3. How can the transition be made easier?

 The planning process for our multimedia project is as follows:

  • Identify the elements of our multimedia project: We have a “nut graf”  that explains our purpose, we will have profiles of featured soldiers, and a resources page that will help soldiers with transition.
  • Identify the media we will use in our multimedia project: The “main event” will be a Soundslides show. We will also incorporate video, audio, text, photos and social media. We are still considering other elements such as a possible timeline.
  • Storyboard the elements: Here is our MindMeister storyboard.


 

The next step to our storyboard will be planning how each element will be displayed in our website. Our next benchmark is identifying the layout of our project entry page and conducting interviews for our Soundslides show.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

Facebook Journalism On The Rise

March 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Facebook is not only a place to connect with friends, it is now more and more a way to connect with news. A recent post by Vadim Lavrusik on Mashable talks about this growing trend.

Facebook journalism is on the rise because the social media site is becoming more public, Lavrusik says.

The recent Egyptian revolution that removed Hosni Mubarak from power has been called a “Facebook Revolution.” Activists in Egypt used Facebook to organize, and journalists used it to connect to the pulse of the Egyptian community.

Lavrusik mentions that AlJazeera English was able to track planned protests, gather information, and find sources from the revolution through Facebook.

Other benefits of Facebook for journalists include:

  • Building sources
  • Gaining insight into the ‘voice’ of a community through status updates
  • Tapping into a community that you might not have access to, such as Libya

Lavrusik reminds journalists that they still need to contact people and check their facts before they use material from Facebook. For more on how journalists can use Facebook take a look at this Mashable guide.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 10 Summary

March 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Photo By Joe Hardy

News is a conversation now, not a lecture, and there is no going back, says Mark Briggs in Chapter 10.

Briggs acknowledges that some journalists would prefer a lecture style of news, but says that journalism is made better by audience participation. The key now is for journalists to learn to “manage, and leverage, that conversation.”

One common method of audience participation in news is the “Comments” section beneath an article. However, comments easily devolve into “inane,” “cruel,” and “a ghetto of personal attacks and flame wars,” Briggs says.

It is the responsibility of the journalist or news organization to help maintain a high-quality comments section, which will ultimately lead to better transparency in the reporting process and improve journalist-reader relations, Briggs says.

Other methods for joining the conversation include:

  • Make news participatory: Provide an opportunity for user generated content. Use message boards, have a “most popular” section, display blog links to an article, use social bookmarking tools on your content, and use social networking.
  • Get involved: Put in the extra elbow grease by participating in the reader community. Solicit content, do community outreach, run contests, moderate the comments section.
  • Develop sources through social networks: Find sources through Facebook or MySpace, on niche social networks or build a Google group of sources.
  • Collaborate with your community: Instead of competing with readers for a story, collaborate. Let readers provide the “what” while you provide context; the “why” and “how.”

Briggs also reminds journalists of the importance of accuracy, and the importance of correcting errors when they do happen.

A mantra that is mentioned again in this chapter is that journalists should realize that readers “know more than we do” and that reader knowledge can be leveraged to improve reporting.

Tags: Journalism Next by Mark Briggs

Crowdsourcing in Libya Aids Traditional Media

February 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Videos, pictures and news of the uprising in Libya are making it out of the country, but the images are not all coming from traditional media. A post in Mashable by Radhika Marya tells of how crowdsourcing is providing traditional outlets, like CNN, with some of their coverage of the Libyan uprising.

I have noticed that the Libyan revolt has not been as visible in the media as the revolution in Egypt. International journalists don’t seem to have the same kind of access to the Libyan people as they did in Egypt. But crowdsourcing is clearing the obstacles standing in the way of traditional media outlets.

“One Day on Earth,” a collaborative video project on the web, is now serving as a resource for news from Libya. Members of the One Day on Earth community have provided videos, news and photos about the uprising. 

 Brandon Litman, executive producer for the project, is quoted in the Mashable story as saying:

 “Social media, local filmmakers and citizens armed with cameras are a key source of information in today’s media, especially in situations like what is happening in Libya and the Middle East.”

According to the Mashable article Litman believes social media, such as crowdsourcing, can “knock down the walls” that traditional media faces. 

I saw in CNN that some international journalists were invited into Tripoli by Libyan officials. Such a situation easily lends itself to spin, with officials restricting the places journalists can go to or only taking them to places they want people to see (although the move seemed to have backfired in this particular case).   

In this instance it seems that crowdsourcing rises to the top as a direct link to the people of Libya, serving to help tell the story of the Libyan people without the regime spin.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts