New skills in digital media for the journalist today

New skills in digital media for the journalist today
By: Tearsa Joy Hammock
What I learned from the necessity of digital newsgathering.

Angry student journalista

“Why do I have to be a procrastinator AND a perfectionist???!!!”
Photo of Tearsa by Tearsa Joy Hammock via Photo Booth and Flikr

This semester, Spring 2011, I took Digital News and Gathering class (J226) with Professor Staci Baird. Though I learned much more than just three things in this class, here are the three most important things that stick out to me that I will never forget from this class:

1) Learning how to use HTML code.

The closest thing I did to working with html code before this class was editing my profile on Myspace two years ago. Now, through using WordPress in J226 I am able to not only blog better journalistic content but do so correctly and in perfect format. Today I am applying this to my travel tips blogging internship with and to my own personal blog.

2) The basic necessary shots for Video.

I never really thought about the basic shots needed to make a quality video when taking a Cinematography class before. I made a short film in that class and now realize that all my shots where about the same type of shots and angles (medium to wide and eye level, save a few.)

Thanks to Ms. Baird’s J226 (and perhaps a little Photojournalism 1) my photographic eyes have been opened to the wonders of incorporating a variety of shots which include: a) close up (hands or face), b) medium, and c) wide angle (showing overall context). Within those shots I have been trained to look for the odd angle (high or low) as well which makes for a more attention-getting film.

3) The importance of using Twitter for journalism!

Before this class I was adamant about avoiding and making fun of Twitter and Twitter-ers at all costs. Fortunately for me, Ms. Baird required that all of her students create a Twitter account and thus I began to “tweet.” And tweet I did from my food beat with San Fran Beat to anything of relevance and importance I came across in my own news reading.

The more I tweeted the more I realized the importance of connecting with the online news community and how useful Twitter can be for marketing your own name as a journalist. The more practice I got with microblogging the better the content got and the more feedback and responses.

Thanks J226 for making me a more confident computer literate journalist!

Thanks to J226 I have a work that I can be proud of.

I guess the reason I am most proud of this assignment is because of all the hard work and time I and all others involved invested into it. It really became a mini-project of which I am pleased with the result.


Using charts to represent data in journalism.
Adults who use social networking for Health info

Here I chose to create a bar chart using Google Docs spreadsheet option to present information found in the Summary of Findings from “The Social Life of Health Information, 2011” by Susannah Fox submitted to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

This data is interesting to me as I have never given much thought to using social networking to gain information on health. I don’t seek out info on health using social networking, though every once in a while I come across status updates and pictures concerning others’ health conditions. I do have a friend that recently memorialized her late mother using FB.

If an editor assigned a story to me related to this report it might be to seek out people who do use social networking for health info. I would interview my friend from FB about how she keeps her memories of her mother alive through FB and others about how they check on their friends’ health conditions. I would use all types of bar and pie charts, maps of FB users, audio interview clips and/or video of interviews in my story.

This information is a representation of the 62% of adult internet users who make up the 46% of all adults who use social network sites:

Followed their friends’ personal health updates: 23%

Used social networking to memorialize people who suffered from a certain health condition: 17%

Obtained some form of health information from the sites: 15%

(I am assuming the remaining 7% were not used to represent any data as they were not accounted for in the presentation of information.)


Using Garageband and Soundcloud to share audio interviews.
“What do you think of the media coverage of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton? (Was it adequate, too little or too much?)”

Professor Staci Baird interviews SFSU seniors about what they think about the media coverage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

“What did you think of the media coverage of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton?”

Royal Wedding of William & Kate 120
The Royal Wedding
Prince William & Catherine Middleton
Friday 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey
Photo from Flikr: By “it’s a foot!” or Jens Rost


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