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Archive for the ‘Briggs’

Briggs chapter 9

It is a no-brainer to state that with the ever growing technology at our fingertips comes the problem ofof never-ending data. The Internet changed teh way that we communicate with each other, and now we can take this communication on the go with us on our mobile phones. There is no escaping it!

Don’t fear, because there are a few solutions to help filter through all of that information to make sure that you are getting everything out of what you receive.

Organize your email

  • Take the time to organize your inbox using filters to get rid of spam and folders to organize messages from different people

  • Limit the time that you are on your email account and check in every 2-4 hours. Don’t be a slave to the machine
  • If you can answer the email in two minutes or less, respond, if not, file it away until you have a less stressful time to answer more in depth


Find  the right personal productivity tools

  • Find the right product for you that will complete as many tasks as possibe. For mac users, the iCal is a great tool for scheduling your day and adding to-do tasks. It is also free!

  • Always remember to keep back-up copies of your most important files on another disk. This can be a jump drive for smaller things an external hardrive for bigger files.
  • Google is a great place to start looking for free options for a mac or PC user as it offers features for contacts, email, documents, calendars and file sharing.

Briggs chapter 8

Shooting video is not unlike planning to write a printed story. You need to first know your five W’s and then plan on what footage will tell the story most effectively. This includes a combination of live action, stills, and voice overs.

There are two basic forms of video that you can utilize are a full-documentary video or a breaking news story. With a breaking news story you don’t have as much time to figure out what your story will be. For example you wouldn’t be able to know when an accident is happening to get live-action footage but you can report to the scene and get reactions from witnesses and police.


This is a visual sketch of the story that you want to tell that helps you to better organize your thoughts. This will help you decide what the focus of the story will be. It is important to know what you want your main idea to be before you start shooting any footage. This will help in choosing your A-roll (interviews and demonstration sequences) and B-roll (environmental footage that helps explain the main idea).

Here is a more in-depth video on creating a storyboard:

Mix your shots

Focus your attention on collection sequences of wide, medium, and up-close shots of your topic.

  • Wide-angle shots: give viewers a sense of the environment
  • Medium shots: in between wide-angle and close-up shots
  • Close-up shots: zooming in on who is talking or the subject matter that is being talked about. Zoom in first on the object before recording

Briggs chapter 11

You could spend hours researching, interviewing and writing the perfect article. But how do you know that when you publish it that anyone is going to read it? How can you be sure that you are reaching the right audience?

Millions of people use the Internet everyday, how do you know who is interested in what you are publishing or what type of stories people prefer and how to attract these people you your website.

Use Web analytics software

  • Software that tracks Web site traffic
  • Some popular services include Omniture, Hitbox and Google Analytics

Well what is it that are really trying to track?

  1. Pageviews
  • The total of Web pages viewed in a  given time period
  • How content is ranked in terms of popularity

2.  Visits and unique visitors compared

  • Visits are the number of times everyone accesses a Web site
  • No matter how many times you visit a site compared to someone else, you only represent two  visitors with many visits

3.   Engagement and referrers

  • The amount of time spent on the website by each user- are they spending enough time to acutally read content or just passing through?
  • It also helps to learn where the traffic on your site is coming from (another site or from a search engine)


Traffic data helps to determine which projects are working and which ones should be reassessed. Just because a story isn’t getting the attention that you thought it deserved, it isn’t time to hit the delete button yet. This is an opportunity to morph the story into something that will help readers more attracted to it. Using analytics programs can help a new organization to manage projects and help improve them in the future.


Conversation 101

News. The word, when alone, seems cold, harsh, and unwelcoming. These are the straight facts that the reporter is telling you and you better listen. Well, not anymore. News has revolved into more of a conversation among the writers and readers.

“Being social with users is easier than ever before, and the more social a journalist is with people. the more sources a journalist can mine” said Jay Rosen, a professor at New York University.

There are several ways that a journalist can open the conversation to the public.

Conversing through comments

  • Allows an open forum to discuss different news issues
  • Results can sometimes be ugly or hateful comments
  • Allows the conversation to change from one consumer to the next


Conversing through social networking

  • Social networks are important tools for online communities
  • Adults make up the bulk of online users
  • Everyone else is communicating and connecting through social networking and it is important for reporters to do the same
  • It would be to the detriment of a news organization to not utilize a social networking site


Social media tips for journalists- provided by Kelly McBride

  • Use social networking sites and become familiar with them
  • Be mindful that you represent more than yourself; think of the larger company that your name is associated with
  • Presume that tweets, status updates, or other content will go further in terms of reach than you intended them to go
  • Ask your boss to follow you on Twitter because it is a good accountability measure


Briggs chapter 6

Photography is a part on online journalism that allows the reader to see what it is that you are talking about and adds an important element of interaction. Digital cameras are readily available to everyone, and must smart phones have a camera of their own that reporters can use for quick photographs.

Almost as important as taking the actual photo, is editing it on your computer for a final product. If you are willing to shell out the money, Photoshop is a wonderful program with many tools to edit and transform your photographs, but there are other free options that get the job done as well.

Some free options include:

  • iPhoto
  • Windows Photo Gallery
  • Express Live
  • Flicker
  • Photobucket

This is a screenshot from iPhoto


Unfortunately the mostly free online option “Picnik” will be shutting down April 19 and moving to Google+ instead of being its own site.

When editing pictures, there are few simple steps to stick to in order to create the best photo possible for publishing.

  1. Edit a copy of the photo- never the original
  2. Crop the photo to include the most important information in the photo
  3. Resize the photo to fit a blog so you have a low-resolution photo
  4. Modify the resolution
  5. Tone and color correct the photo
  6. Save a web version
  7. Keep it simple- try to use the free options if you can for cropping and simple editing

Here is a great tutorial for learning how to use iPhoto ’11 for Mac.

It is important to try to familiarize yourself with the programs with some sample photos so that you become comfortable with the different editing tools before using on an actual project. If you are a student at George Mason University, the STAR lab offers free workshops on learning how to use Photoshop and can be found at ittraining.gmu.edu.


Briggs chapter 5

About 20 years ago, the Internet changed the way that journalists wrote and distributed their stories. The world of the journalist is changing yet again with the implementation of smart phones. According to Brigg’s, more than one billion mobile phones were sold in 2008. It is now 2012, and there is no doubt that this number has increased.

Smart phones have access to text messaging, the Internet and a camera. All wrapped up in a tiny mobile device is everything that a journalist on-the-go needs. The mobile phone makes it easier for breaking news coverage to be captured through mobile picture uploads and even tweets from places where even a laptop might not be easily accessible. The reporting is instantaneous and easily accessible.

The first images, which are too graphic for my taste to publish here, of  Muammar Gaddafi’s death were taken from a civilian’s cell phone in the middle of the chaos. While the images didn’t 100% prove death, they did transmit breaking news to the public that the dictator had been captured and wounded.

In another instance, Nicola Dowling, a reporter for the Manchester Evening News, was the first to capture images of the car crash of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo with her Nokia mobile phone.

The picture was clear and immediately ready for publishing because it was taken on a mobile phone.

Although it is increasingly easy for people to capture images, video and to live tweet, reporters should still be diligent about going back and adding detail, checking facts and backing up their credibility.

The images of Gaddafi show him wounded but there is no way to tell that he was actually dead. It would be unwise to pair a photo with a false statement. However, the mobile phone opens up a whole world of possibility for reporting raw footage from the scene of the story.


The all powerful link- Brigg’s chapter three

I love links. Most of my own online reading is sparked through links on Twitter and through other articles I am already reading.

Can you imagine using Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, or onlines articles without the use of links? Chances are you would be more likely to stop reading.

I find it hard to understand that journalists used to believe that linking an article would lose readership. I personally follow specific news sources on Twitter because they link. With all of the information one can find online, it helps to have a source direct you towards something that might be relevant and interesting.

It is like the author is saying, “you obviously enjoyed this article, here’s more information!”

Brigg’s mentions a quote in Chapter 3 on this matter from Jeff Jarvis, the director of the interactive journalism program at the City University of New York, “do what you do best and link to the rest.”

Link journalism, as described by Brigg’s, can often be a means for collaboration between different news organizations. If more than one source comes together to help document a major event, this can add credibility and traffic back to news individual sites.

Here are a few examples of Link journalism sites:

Here are some thoughts on Link journalism from Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University.

Briggs chapter 1

The first chapter of “Journalism Next” is an easy-to-read crash course in computer and internet basics. Mark Briggs outlines how to understand:

  • HTML (how to set up your own Web page)
  • FTP (file transfer protocol)
  • web browsers
  • RSS feeds
  • bytes and bites (man, I’m hungry)

Briggs gives several examples to follow along with so that any computer and online user can understand how to apply the lessons to what is most relevant to them.

The use of screen shots are especially helpful when explaining different processes such as setting up an RSS feed and how FTP works.

There is also an emphasis on the importance of learning basic programming code in order to become a better journalist in today’s online realm. Briggs outlines how to quickly and easily use basic HTML (creating a Web page) and provides several Web sites to learn more about creating these pages.

This section includes instruction on how to:

  • create HTML code
  • how to add photos to a Web page and alter them
  • where to find tutorials on HTML code
  • how to use CSS (cascading style sheets) which help add visual appeal to your page
  • tutorials on CSS

The chapter ends with a checklist to help an online user jump start on how to best utilize their online experience.


Learn a little more about Mark Briggs on the Poynter website.