In my future profession I will probably work with journalism and social networking the most. I want to do journalism and commentary about sports and politics the most. I know a lot about sports, particularly football and am able to analyze film which puts me above most sports writers who just fuel their stories with assumptions, generalizations, and public opinion.
Both sports and politics have a prominent involvement in the digital world. In fact, most of my deeper knowledge of football came from being a member of a football forum. On the forum, every day people would share several stories that were all online. Only once or twice a year would someone share what they read in a newspaper. With there being more ways and packages allowing people to watch football games on their computer, it makes them more likely to browse the internet for football information while watching the game. The same applies for politics, in a way. During the debates this past year there was a constant stream of tweets at the bottom of the broadcast. The digital world is so prominent in politics that it shares the stage with something as important as the presidential debates.
My main weakness is that I often don’t quite follow the agenda or expectations of an assignment. This has cost me a few letter grades, even in this class. Particularly for politics, I need to be very cautious about following the agenda in the politically correct world of today.
What have you discovered, through re-reading your assignments, or looking over comments from Marissa and your peers, are your strengths as a writer, generally speaking? Remember, your strengths may be in specific writing techniques (organization, narration, use of details) or in terms of your writing process (you start drafts early, you seek additional feedback, etc.).
My strengths are writing are probably description, efficient use of words, and turn of phrase. Of these three, efficient use of words is the most important for professional writing. I also started my draft pretty early and had them a few days in advance for my group to look at and critique.
What are some of the areas – again, in terms of writing skill or writing process – in which you tend to struggle as a writer (or, at least, struggled this semester)?
I misunderstood what the interview assignment was supposed to be like. I thought it was supposed to be an interview that you would highlight the most pivotal parts to give a good glimpse into the interviewee. Instead you were supposed to use the interview to build a narrative about the interviewee. In general, I often miss some of the criteria of an assignment, or interpret it the wrong way. I should ask the instructor more questions to make sure I’m doing what is expected of me.
How did the digital presentation factor into your work this semester? Did you find it offered you a new opportunity for exploring your strengths, or was it a struggle to learn?
The first few blogs I had a big paragraph or two in which I infused all of the information together to answer the questions. I found those blogs more difficult to complete than these past few blogs in which I’ve broken all of the information into separate paragraphs. Breaking all the information into many paragraphs and sections is something I’ve learned is very important for digital presentation. It allows the reader to skim over the areas they don’t need and focus on what they do need. If it’s all one big block of text they they might go to different website that is easier to read.
Probably the most important goal of professional writing, no matter what
field, is to cater the information to the preferences of the audience.
Normally it’s important to be efficient and to the point, as rarely will
the audience in professional writing not be in a hurry, or at least have
This priority that unites professional writing across all fields is also
what makes the fields recognizably different, at least when it comes to
approach. For online writing, it’s ideal if you can organize the
information into many different subjects, and then title each one. This
allows the reader to quickly find the specific information they need,
rather than having to sift through a big discursive block of text, which
they probably won’t. They’ll probably go to a different website by then.
Print writing, like in newspapers for instance, usually has very short
paragraphs. Sometimes an entire paragraph will only be one sentence. This
is also to cater to the audience, which can lose their attention quickly.
The newspaper has many other articles or features they could be looking at
if you don’t hold their interest.
In person, it is very important to dress professionally and clean, and to
speak with confidence, sincerity, and efficiently. It’s similar to a
website, actually. You want to be dressed as nicely as you want the website
to be designed.
I am applying for an internship at the Altoona Mirror over the summer and
need to send in a portfolio. Mr. Rudel, the guy in charge, said that
interviewing skills are one of the most important skills they look for,
which is one of the things we did in this class. If I’m lucky enough to get
the internship, I imagine I’ll be doing a lot of the things learned in this
class. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep doing better and gradually move to
What are Intranets and Extranets?
Intranets provide a connection to the corporation separate from the connection used by employees. An extranet is an extension of an intranet designed to connect certain third-party users. An example of this is a high school website that has a login for students and a different login for faculty. The teachers will be able to change grades and attendance while students will be limited to observing their grades, email, etc.
Values of the Intranet:
They provide everyone in the organization with access to email, IM, and sometimes even Facebook-like messaging. Also, an intranet is much more secure than the regular internet. Intranets can potentially save time, money, and paper. They improve the sharing of knowledge and bringing employees organization-wide up to speed. Sometimes this even leads to a more close-knit organization. Employees or offices previously isolated are better connected to the rest of the organization via intranet.
Intranet writers should have the same level of comprehension as the middle managers and executives. It is pivotal they understand at least the basics so they can effectively communicate with the company. Basic level understandings of coding languages like XHTML, CSS, XML, or SQML are often required, but a more in-depth understanding of those coding languages can be very beneficial.
Largely due to the smaller, more defined audience, intranet writing is usually an easier task than writing a website. Intranet writers need specific knowledge of the audience and the corporate jargon. This allows them to use key words to tag and organize content. They should know how employees use search engines and how the search engines work. It’s also critical to have a large amount of bandwidth, for bigger files and downloads.
Intranet and Extranet Needs:
Intranet and extranet users both use their net for specific reasons and tasks. Also, both are used to hopefully save as much time as possible, and should be programmed appropriately.
Extranet users depend on the internet instead of an internal system, so extranets should be programmed to assume slower internet connections. Programmers for extranets also must anticipate a variety of different computer systems, so they must try to normalize download speeds.
NME.com did a press release for MGMT’s new album that will be released in June.
This is an example of a press release focusing on an event. MGMT hasn’t released an album since Congratulations in April 2010, so there is a lot of anticipation.
The post is informative, but in a very laid-back and “hip” way. Rather than drag on about tedious aspects of the subject, they share a picture of a pet cat with bugged out eyes after just hearing one of the new MGMT songs for the first time. This makes MGMT fans crave for the band’s next installment, but also will cause curiosity in those who aren’t familiar with MGMT.
This press release makes NME look good because rather than spending all their time talking about “artists” like Justin Bieber and Kei$ha, it shows they also take notice non top-40 bands. It makes them look good when they acknowledge MGMT, fueled by Ben Goldwasser and virtuoso Andrew VanWyngarden. Overall, the press release gives NME credibility. The quote they shared is Andrew saying, “We’re not trying to make music that everyone understands the first time they hear it.” They could have chosen many quotes from them to share, many of which might have been more clever, etc, but they chose a quote that gave a great glimpse into where MGMT’s priorities are at as a band, and what kind of experience to anticipate for their next album.
The most important thing to remember for journalistic writing is to keep it simple. People don’t have the time, and newspapers don’t have the space, for rambling tangents or any redundancy. Each word needs to carry weight and concisely convey the point the writer is trying to get across. Actually, in journalistic writing there is no “trying to get across a point.” You simply must do it. Like Yoda said, “There is no try. Only do.”
Digital media is changing journalism in many ways. News online must communicate differently than it does in print, as the demographic looking at news online is different than the demographic reading the newspaper. People reading online can find a new website to read within a few seconds and a few clicks of a mouse. This means that doing things like breaking up the story into several parts and having a specific title for each tidbit of information can help keep readers interested. This allows the reader to scroll down the page and pick and choose what information interests him, so they can read accordingly. Otherwise, if they don’t find the beginning captivating, they might just exit out of the page. Digital media also allows the readers to be more engaged with the news. They can post videos they took with their phone and even contribute to the news. This has been especially utilized in hyperlocal news (for more about hyperlocal news, check out blog post #3).
For my second assignment, I broke up and titled each part of my blog, as described earlier in this post. I also added several pictures to the post. I added a drawing of Regan’s at the beginning to show she was a very talented artist, not just someone who doodles and calls themselves and artist. I wanted the drawing to give some credibility to hopefully motivate people to read the blog post. I then had another open-ended drawing before the interview, which I hoped would make people curious. I added a few more drawings at the end to show the wide range of Regan’s talents, and emotions she felt. At that point, since it was the end of the post, it was more about properly expressing the theme of the blog post rather than trying to lure people in.
The things I’ve learned I will use in future jobs. I’ll remember to keep things simple, and focus on making each word carry weight. As I get more practice, I’ll have an increasingly better understanding of what people are looking for when they read news. Naturally, the more I understand, the more I’ll adapt, hopefully tailoring my writing to the masses.
Hyperlocal news is a super local community-to-community approach to news. Hyperlocal news has been around for a long time, but it used to be people talking while drinking tea or doing other common social activities. Now using online to reach and custom-make news for neighborhoods is new and just another example of traditional news migrating to the internet. And it’s not just a website focused on specific neighborhoods. Digital tools like youtube, twitter, mobile phone videos, text messages, etc are also utilized for hyperlocal news, the magnifying glass equivalent of coverage.
An example of hyperlocal news at it’s most flamboyant is the Las Vegas Sun’s coverage of the fire at the Monte Carlo hotel. The fire might have been devastating but at least it gave them a chance to show off their new site! The paper had a live blog updated by the newsroom staff, videos of the fire, and more. You would’ve thought it was Punxsutawney on Groundhog’s day. The hyperlocal coverage of the fire was living and breathing just as much as the flames draped around the Monte Carlo hotel. This sort of around-the-clock, constantly transforming coverage wouldn’t be possible without its online presence and new digital technology.
Hyperlocal news is important because while today there are very few sites that the founders have a full-time salary, it is a growing field. Also, while hyperlocal news sites can’t compete with online news sites in breaking news, they can at least take control and ownership over what happens locally. Since the hyperlocal news site is presumably close-knit with the neighborhood it’s covering, the people who run the news site should have a sense of the community’s heartbeat. They know their neighborhood’s common interests and values, and can keep that in mind while creating and adjusting the site. This gives the website a level of closeness and familiarity with its audience that more than makes up for the lack of hundreds of paid employees.
Citizen journalism took off in the year of 2005. Awful events like the
riots outside of Paris and Hurricane Katrina sparked the new fad which is
gradually becoming more than a fad. However “citizen journalism” is not the
best thing to call it, even though it seems the most straight-forward. The
problem is that most US journalists are citizens, too. Also, simply doing
one journalistic action doesn’t make someone a journalist.
Anyways, the mentioned horrible events sparked participatory journalism
because with the prevalence of cellular phones with cameras, and often
times immediate Internet access, the bystanders are no longer just
bystanders. They can do more than just stand with a frightened look on
their face. They can now share the horror with the world. And if they can
muster a word or two, they can share that too. This makes it seem like only
bad events prompt participatory journalism, but I imagine positive events
call for it too. It’s just that in general, troublesome events dominate the
news. Also, in cases of earthquakes or shootings, there is more reliance on
participatory journalism because it can be very difficult, or even
impossible, for a news crew to get on site for coverage.
The biggest potential problem with participatory journalism is the lack of
a filter. Normally, journalists who work for companies, news stations, etc
have strict guidelines they must follow. But in participatory journalism,
they don’t have any such guidelines. This could potentially cause problems
if the person posts disagreeable content, whether offensive or inaccurate.
However I consider this risk greatly outweighed by the severely increased
range of coverage. Another advantage is the increased interaction between
reader and news station. Whenever a reader is able to visibly, concretely
take part in a particular news site, they will feel much more connected
and engaged. This results in more loyalty from that reader. But also,
the type of enthusiasm that they are even more likely to share the news
site with friends and family, especially if they’re showing friends and
family a site with an article that they wrote. It is almost always a good
thing to increase engagement with readers, and participatory journalism
accomplishes that more than anything before.
I would love to work for Cracked.com. It is an online site of comedy writing. It is made up mostly by list-based articles that are meant to be humorous and informative. There are also quick fixes on it, which are much shorter entrees that can be read in 2-4 minutes.
What kind of web presence does this company have? What purpose does their website seem to serve? What kind of unique features does it have (blogs, social media, video/audio, etc.)?
The company’s web presence makes up over 99% of it. And it is a very frequented site. Many of their articles get over 1 million views. The website strives to entertain, and teach things rarely known. Very often, Cracked articles shatter the preconceptions people had for something. For example, very few people know that the Indians who lived in America actually had a very complex economy, and built a huge pyramid out of soil that was as extraordinary as the temples in Egypt (though America tries making it into a parking lot).
Cracked has many unique features. The site shows how many views their articles have gotten, which I imagine is a great motivator for people who write the articles. Also there are photoplasty contests, where Cracked provides a premise and everybody makes a picture to represent the premise, and the winner gets fifty dollars. An example of a premise is “If people said what they actually mean” and an entry showed somebody clicking “I accept these terms and conditions” but they were really thinking “Tl; Dr.” These photoplasties are great for joining the Cracked community (both writers, and readers). Cracked also has a very active message board, and a comment section on the articles that are sometimes more entertaining than the article! Cracked also makes videos, and they seem like they have a pretty high budget for these short internet videos.
1. Based on the digital presence, and what you know about the organization, what kinds of audiences might they be trying to reach (keep in mind that the website is already in its “reading stage”)?
Cracked’s main demographic is mainly people ages 20-32, and maybe slightly more males than females. There seems to be a very high ratio of aspiring writers or musicians who often frequent Cracked. Cracked is a bit of a breath of sanity, a refuge, from all of the hype surrounding lackluster talent like Kei$ha and Justin Bieber, etc. Cracked ruthlessly cuts down unwarranted hype, but in a funny, clever way, rather than just being bitter.
2. How does the digital presence of this organization respond to/accommodate the specifics of online writing style covered in the Carroll reading?
One of the big points made in the Carroll reading was the importance of breaking up text, and making it easier to read. This is also an essential part of Cracked. The articles are all list-based. There will be a title like “6 Ridiculous Myths about the Middle Ages that Everybody Believes” and then each myth will get its own excerpt, and will usually get divided into two separate pages.
Cracked accommodates most of the steps to better blogging, too. Write every day? There are numerous Cracked articles posted each day. Be authentic? Every writer tries to make his/her personality a part of their product. Carve out a niche? As I said before, Cracked has accumulated a great following of free-thinking people, usually in their twenties. The writers also take the opportunity of Cracked to promote themselves. At the end of their articles, they advertise their name, blog, twitter, etc and any books they’ve written. The writers also engage with their readers. Some of them read the comments section and will respond to certain comments. And just about all of them are members on the forum, where they will have discussions with the community.
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