Thursday, December 15, 2016

Good Night, and Good Luck

To the students of COMJOUR 333:

Thank you!!!

I had a fantastic time working with you this past semester. It was a pleasure to work with all of you on your various multimedia projects and semester-long blog assignment.

Please have a safe and fun winter break! :)

- Brett

Tuesday, December 6, 2016



For these final two weeks, we will:
  • How to monetize your reporting via Google AdSense and other display ad technologies 
  • Learn "best practices" in blog and web publishing including legal considerations and concerns unique to online media
  • Wrap up and discuss key accomplishments and learning outcomes from the semester

  • Continue work on your final reporting assignment (video project) - due Dec. 9.
  • Read:
    • Chapter 13: "Digital Media: Online, Mobile and Social Media"
    • Chapter 14: "Visual Journalism"

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Best Practices

Today in class we will look at ways to improve the search engine rankings of content in our original websites.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the practice of refining your Web site content so that it has better visibility in search engines, such as Google.

Search engines are the primary way that people discover Web content. In the U.S., Google accounts for a vast majority of search engine referrals. Thus, it is hugely important that your content be properly indexed so that new users can discover and explore your creations.

This three-minute video gives a great overview of what SEO is all about:

But, what about specifics? Here is a great "cheat sheet" on SEO from my colleague Rebecca Cooney, an assistant professor at WSU:
Wix also has some great tips that can be reviewed at:

It's All About Algorithm

A key aspect of search engine optimization is the algorithm that drives the decisions of how search engines "rank" and determine "relevancy" for each website. Here are some resources that help explain more about the ever-changing (and somewhat secretive!) algorithms... 

Ways to Increase Referrals

The following information addresses some of the "best practices" in SEO for websites. It is essentially divided into two areas: On-page elements and Off-page elements. The on-page elements are things that you can control on your site...they are located on the pages of your site. This includes the text/copy, images, URL paths and even the design choices you make for your site. The off-page elements are located elsewhere on the web. This includes third-party websites, such as news sites, blogs and link aggregation services.

On-Page Elements:
The following on-page elements should be reviewed for possible tweaking so that your content is better surfaced in search engines for referral.

Page Title
  • The page title appears in the top bar of your browser
  • For critical areas of your Web site, does the page title in your browser contain the proper wording?
  • Does the Web site URL for key areas include text that would contribute to that page being indexed on critical keywords?
"Invisible" Page Content
  • Description Field text doesn't help rankings, but it does ultimately show up in the search listings
  • Keywords description fields
    • Less is more
      • No more than 5-10 keywords in your metatag
Off-Page Elements

Inbound links

  • Increase number of Web pages that link to you
    • Seen as "vote of confidence" for relevance of your site
    • Text in link is also important ("link anchor text")
  • Increase Google's "Page Rank"
    • More links on prominent sites will also increase your page ranking
Best Practices
  • Does your blog post title contain keywords that concisely capture the blog topic and are known to be relevant to your site?
  • The very first words should be the most relevant, if possible
    • Good Example: Second Life Tutorial: Customize your Avatar
    • Bad Example: Want a New Look for your Avatar?
      • In the above example, the words "Second Life Tutorial" will match to keyword searches for people looking for second life tutorials. Further, the inclusion of "customize" and "avatar" will likely help this post show up higher in search results for people looking for help in avatar customization.
  • To see an example of this in action, do a Google Search on the words: Project Sansar
    • Notice how most of the top results have "Project Sansar" in the first few words of the title
  • Would your blog post title make sense if it were displayed "out of context" via a RSS feed or on a third-party Web site, such as Digg or Facebook?
    • Each post has the potential to be surfaced on third-party sites. Your headline should be constructed so that it compels someone to click on it.
  • Are there opportunities to mix in blog posts that are not time-sensitive?
    • Many blog posts will clearly be connected to a new and timely announcement or development. However, when appropriate, you might want to strategically develop topics that speak to "evergreen" topics that have a longer shelf life.
  • Consider organizing your narrative with sub-headers and integrating occasional use of bold text and lists.
    • These are believed to be minor factors in the algorithm that Google uses in determining relevance.
  • If appropriate, include links to previous related blog posts within the text of your new post.
    • Interlinking increases the odds that your posts will be indexed at a higher level, according to many SEO experts.

Share Links and Network Badges

According to many SEO experts, blogs can play a key role in helping one's overall search rankings. In the case of Google's algorithm, the "newness" and frequency of posts contribute to the perceived "relevance" of a site. However, the key is to get other blogs and sites to link directly to your blog. An increase in third party referral links results in an increased "relevance" for your site.

As expected, a new blog post typically gets a burst of traffic immediately after it is published. In most cases, the traffic declines dramatically after a day or two. However, in some cases, a blog post that is not timely might continue to drive traffic to your site long after its initial publication. This is particularly true if the post is not time-sensitive and becomes indexed and related to key terms by search engines.
  • Are you pro-actively encouraging other sites to link to your post? What third-party sites should you strategically target as significant potential recipients of your blog post?
    • Digg, Reddit and Facebook are among those social networking/aggregation sites that may help generate links to our site.
    • If you feel that the theme of your post has significance outside of our own site, then submit it! Common sense rules here, but some examples include:
      • (submit URL here - requires registration)
      • (Submit URL here - requires registration)
  • Do you have a Facebook Like button on your post?
    • Make it easy for people to link to and share your info.
      • Facebook has code that allows you to add a "Like"button here

Research Links

HubSpot has some great tips on getting the most of paid search listings:
Other useful links:

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Video News Story Assignment - Due Dec. 9

Over the duration of the semester, we've explored storytelling in the written form, as well as photos and audio. To wrap things up, we'll now tackle video.

For this assignment, create an original, edited news package on a newsworthy or noteworthy event, issue or individual.

    • All footage should be your own - do not take or use video from other sources!
    • Provide a title for the video, including title cards (lower thirds) that include the names of your interview subjects!
    • Include b-roll footage -- the final video should be more than a shot of a talking head!
    • Make sure to also include a variety of shots, including wide shots, medium shots and a closeup.
    • Pay attention to the composition and framing of your shots!
    • Duration: One minute minimum
    • Sources: For our reporting assignments, there are rules and guidelines on who you can/should interview. For this assignment, you are required to interview at least two human sources. Citing other publications and/or broadcasts is not considered a source. Also, please avoid anonymous sources and do not use friends, roommates or family for your interview subjects.
    • Technologies: To complete this assignment, students can use any consumer-grade camcorder or video-enabled smartphone. For editing, students can use any free or trial version of digital video editing software (including Adobe Premiere Pro, iMovie, Windows Movie Maker and GoPro Studio).
  • To turn this assignment in, please upload your completed video to YouTube (or other video hosting service) then post a link and/or embed your final video production on your blog. You should also post a link in the Class Discussions so that other students can view your work. Don't forget to fill out the title field, description text and tag sections for your video on YouTube.

    Exporting your Video Production from Premiere to YouTube

    Do you need to know how to export from Adobe Premiere so that the production can be uploaded to YouTube?

    Here are the instructions:
    • Choose File > Export > Media. Premiere opens the Export Media dialog box.
    • On the Format pulldown menu, select the file format you want for your exported file. I recommend H.264.
    • Also, you should click the link after "Output Name" and re-name your clip and navigate to a location where you want the mixed down exported clip to be located.
    • Then, click the Export button at the bottom of the window to begin the export.
    • Once it is exported, you should then be able to upload it to YouTube. Please upload  your finished video to YouTube and then embed it into your blog.

    How to Export Your Production and Upload to YouTube