Erin’s Final for Digital News Gathering

Erin Bates frantically trying to finish her final
Photo by: erin_in_sf / Flickr
Erin Bates, 22-year-old journalism major at San Francisco State University, attempts to fake a smile while stressing over completing her final for Digital News Gathering on May 17, 2011.

Short answers to questions regarding social networking

1. How has the internet changed how people “interact” with news and journalists?

The internet has transformed the world of journalism and news from an output only form of media into a real-time conversation. In the days of newspapers, stories were published and often responses from the readers would often never be printed, or would only appear days after the original article went to print. This has completely changed with the rise of social media and the introduction of comments and web forums. Now, news is as much about the readers as it is about the story itself! News is also delivered at a much quicker pace. Twitter allows media outlets and the man on the street to broadcast news in a split second. In many ways, the internet has equalized the playing field for who has access to a voice.

2. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said “If the news is important it will find me.” How does his attitude reflect the current state of the media? How can journalists make sure their work is found and read by their target audience?

This attitude reflects the direction media and news are moving in because social media has equalized the playing field and really given anyone the opportunity to be a reporter. Journalists can make sure that their work is found by tagging their stories appropriately, adding links to relevant material, and by posting links to their stories in the appropriate locations. Doing so will give their work the possibility of going viral. Media goes viral when enough people repost and access it. If it happened to Rebecca Black, then anyone with relevant, original, well-written and newsworthy content should be able to pull it off!

  1. Give three specific examples of how a journalist can leverage social media to engage with their audience.

Any journalist today should undoubtedly keep a Twitter account. Twitter allows journalists to connect with people through a mix of media. Journalists can post links to their own work through Twitter, but they can also showcase their own personality, which can be the characteristic that sets them apart. If people enjoy following your Twitter account because they empathize with you or you make them laugh or they’d like to hang out with you then they will also be much more likely to seek out your work.

Responding to one’s followers is a third way to engage through social media. Once you are posting content to your work and adding a personal touch, people will probably begin to mention you in their own tweets. This is a great opportunity to form connections and gain more followers by engaging in conversation.

4. What does CMS stand for? Name one CMS. Why do news organizations or bloggers use CMS? What is one advantage of using a CMS?

A CMS is a content management system. The San Fran Beat is a content management system. News organizations and bloggers use CMS so that related data from multiple sources can be compiled and accessed from one web site. An advantage of using a CMS is that it can be edited and added to from multiple places and people.

5. What are three key ingredients for a good video? Explain the strength of video stories that make them different from text or audio stories. Give an example of a story that would be best told in video.

Three key ingredients for a good video include a visual topic, a coherent story to be told and opportunities for audio capture/ ambient sound. The strength of video stories which sets them apart from print or audio only stories is the mix of media they allow for. Video stories can often tell the same story much more quickly and with many more elements than a written piece would allow. This is because videos mix audio, visuals and on screen text. If stats need to be displayed in a video story, then a slide of information could pop up accompanied by narration explaining the numbers/graphs. A print story cannot accomplish all of this so quickly. A story best told through video would be anything with a strong visual appeal, such as a story about an artist or a mural project in the city.

Learning to create multimedia presentations in Staci Baird’s Digital News Gathering class

This semester, I learned a lot in my digital news gathering class. While we skimmed over a wide variety of web-related topics and techniques, I feel that I was still able to clearly identify the types of work I most enjoyed doing. These include multimedia projects such as video stories, photo slideshows and audio interviews.

I enjoyed these forms of media most because I am a very visual person, and I enjoy editing audio. Already being familiar with programs like Garage Band, Final Cut Pro and iMovie really aided my success with these projects. I feel that many stories are better told through multimedia then they would be in a strictly written form.

The work that I was most proud of was an audio interview with magazine writing professor John Burks. I felt that this post stood out because my editing was unnoticeable and I chose such a good subject. Burks is a wonderful storyteller, which is a key ingredient needed for any strong audio story. It was fitting for the assignment because his story actually was centered around a mishap he had while conducting an audio interview with Jimi Hendrix. Because I am a huge Hendrix fan, this project was very exciting for me to do.

Charting adult social networking in relation to health

These finding from the California HealthCare Foundation’s May 2011 study were surprising to me. I was unaware that 62 percent of adults who use the internet also used social networking sites. That number seemed very large to me. I was also surprised that so few of them are using it for health-related topics. I suppose I have this idea of adults being more responsible and less inclined toward frivolous social activity, which is me failing to realize that I myself am an adult.

If I had an editor who assigned me a story related to this research, I would begin by interviewing the spoken of adults. Adult is a very broad term, so I would be sure to interview a wide range of people who fall into this age range. I would be interested to discover trend within the age ranges. Are the elderly who use social networking more involved in health-related social networking groups? What about the chronically ill of all ages?

I would incorporate charts, such as the one seen below, into my story because I feel it better illustrates the data. I would also include an audio story, if I got good enough interviews with people that were emotionally effective enough to merit an audio retelling.

14% of social network site users, or 6% of adults, have raised money for or drawn attention to a health-related issue or cause.

11% of social network site users, or 5% of adults, have posted comments, queries, or information about health or medical matters.

9% of social network site users, or 4% of adults, have started or joined a health-related group on a social networking site.

San Francisco State students share their opinions on media coverage of the royal wedding

Royal Wedding of William & Kate 280

Photo by: it’s a foot!/ Flickr

Prince William and Kate Middleton walk down the aisle at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011. Their wedding marked the union of a royal couple, and brought Middleton into the elite circle of British royalty.

Publication lab students for the XPress, a student run newspaper for San Francisco State, give their answer to the question: “What did you think of the media coverage for the royal wedding? Was there enough, too much or not enough coverage?”

Seniors Kelly Goff, Chris Haire, Caitlin Olson, Kelsey Avers and Eric Smith are interviewed.

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