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

WEEKS 16 & 17 - SUMMARY & OVERVIEW

SUMMARY:

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

HOMEWORK:
  • 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?
URL
  • 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:
      • Digg.com (submit URL here - requires registration)
      • Reddit.com (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

    Wednesday, November 30, 2016

    Monetizing your Blog with Google AdSense and Doubleclick for Publishers (Small Business)

    OVERVIEW: WHAT IS GOOGLE ADWORDS VS. GOOGLE ADSENSE?

    Many people confuse Google AdWords with a related program called Google  AdSense. They are actually not the same thing!

    Google AdWords is an  advertising service that enables you to create your own ads to appear on  relevant Google search results pages, as well as on other AdWords-enabled  websites. Thus, companies that want to promote their services would use AdWords  to advertise for acquisition of new customers.

    Google AdSense is a  different program that enables content creators to monetize their sites via  displayed ads. So, if you are a content creator or publisher, you would likely  want to participate in the AdSense program to make some money!

    For this class, we will focus primarily on Google AdSense -- since that is  the program most likely to be of use to aspiring content creators wanting to monetize their websites or reporting.

    WHY GOOGLE ADSENSE?

    As the semester comes close to ending, many students may find interest in the topic of monetizing their content. This means that you can potentially make money from the work that you create!

    To get started, you need to first have a Google AdSense account.



    To learn more about Google AdSense, visit the AdSense Academy help pages or watch the various tutorial videos provided by Google.

    ADDING ADSENSE


    For Blogger:

    If you have a Blogger account, getting set up with AdSense is easy. Here are the instructions:


    For Wordpress:

    If you have a Wordpress account, watch this video to learn how to connect AdSense to it:



     

    For Tumblr:

    For Tumblr blogs, you can add AdSense using the instructions in this video:



     

    AD SERVERS & AD NETWORKS
    http://www.google.com/doubleclick/publishers/small-business/
    Many journalists and content creators have websites that include advertising that originates from one of several ad networks. However, managing multiple competing ad networks might get complicated quickly. Ad servers, such as Doubleclick for Publishers (Small Business) help you centralize and manage the inventory of ads originating from the various competing ad networks so that you get the most value out of your advertising. It can also be used for scheduling, reporting and targeting of your various ad opportunities.

    AN INTRODUCTION TO AD SERVING



    Examples of ad networks that work with Doubleclick for Ad Publishers include:

     OVERVIEW OF DOUBLECLICK FOR PUBLISHERS (SMALL BUSINESS)



    If your media property has fewer than 90 million impressions/month, then you qualify for the "Small Business" version of Doubleclick for Business.



    Additional Resources:



    Sunday, November 27, 2016

    Landing your first journalism or new media job

    Looking for a job in journalism or new media content development? Getting that first gig can be tough. Here are some resources that may help in your search:
    Socially network in the following LinkedIn Groups:
    How is your online reputation? Enter your name into CVGadget.com and make sure that there are no "compromising" or negative results!

    Research the company before you apply!

    Saturday, November 19, 2016

    WEEKS 14 & 15 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW

    SUMMARY:

    For these weeks, we will:
    • Review the basics of digital video editing and strong visual storytelling
    • Learn about YouTube as a video distribution platform for our storytelling (including discussion of analytics)
    HOMEWORK:
    • Complete your audio-narrated photojournalism story (due Nov. 17)
    • Begin work on final reporting assignment (video project) - due Dec. 9
    • Read:
      • Chapter 13: "Digital Media: Online, Mobile and Social Media"
      • Chapter 14: "Visual Journalism"

    Friday, November 18, 2016

    Examples of Previous Semester Video Projects

    As you prepare to start planning and production on your original video project, it might be useful to look at examples of previous student creations from this class. Here are a few worth reviewing:

    Video Production Basics



    Before you start your video production, you should review the above presentation and supporting resource links below. These tips and tricks may help you improve the production quality when it comes time to shoot your interview subjects and b-roll footage.

    Here are some helpful resources and tutorials for video production:

    Alternatives to Premiere: GoPro Studio & More

    GoPro has quickly emerged as a popular consumer video recording hardware/software platform.The GoPro cameras are unique in that they can be attached and worn to capture "action" shots while on the go, but they can also be used for standard video capturing that is more conventional.
    Whether you have a GoPro or not, aspiring video creators can use the free downloadable video software editing program GoPro Studio (available for PC and Mac) or the related smartphone-targeted GoPro App (available on the App Store, Google Play and Windows Store).



    With the GoPro Studio and GoPro App, you can edit from scratch or using various video storytelling templates that are provided inside the software. Then, you can share the exported videos directly from within the program via email, text, Instagram, Facebook and other sites.

    Related Links:
    OTHER VIDEO EDITING OPTIONS

    Adobe Premiere Pro Tutorials

    Some students taking this class may already be familiar with the basics of digital video editing as it was covered in COM 210 (Multimedia Content Creation). However, it is possible that some students might need a refresher on the basics of how to edit in Adobe Premiere.

    Adobe has a great "essentials for beginners" video tutorial series that is accessible free on the web. If you have forgotten some basic edit techniques or simply want to review the basics of how to use Adobe Premiere, then you can find tutorials at the following link:

    Adobe CC Tutorials: Essentials for Beginners

    Please note: There is a one-time free 30-day trial to new users of Adobe Premiere Pro CC. However, many students have already exhausted their free trial as part of the COM 210 course. If this is the case, then you may need to subscribe to one month of Adobe Premiere Pro. There are various pricing plans available, but one option is to do a "single app" purchase for one month (select "Adobe Premiere Pro" and "Monthly Plan" on the pull-down menu under "Single App" at this link. This will give you one month access to the latest version of Adobe Premiere, which should be adequate to complete this production in time for the deadline.

    As an alternative, some students may want to explore other completely free video editing applications to complete this assignment including GoPro Studio.

    Thursday, November 17, 2016

    YouTube Insights

    YouTube Insights is an analytics tool that enables you to view detailed statistics about the videos you upload.



    With YouTube Insights, you can view data that tracks:
    • Popularity and Number of Views
    • Demographics
    • Community Engagement
    • Discovery
    • Audience Attention
    Did you know that you can pay to promote your videos using YouTube's "Promoted Videos" feature?

    Find out more at: http://www.youtube.com/yt/advertise/index.html
    Editorial guidelines for YouTube ads can be found here.

    SEO for YouTube Videos

    For videos uploaded to YouTube, you can optimize the text and description content so that your clips are more likely to be discovered in search engine queries both on YouTube and within general search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, etc.).

    Here are some key factors that YouTube uses in its algorithm for search rankings on video:
    • Relevance to the keywords/phrases entered in the queries. (Specifically, are there exact matches to the keywords/phrases in the title, description and/or tagging of the video).
    • User Engagement (This factors in user activity on the video, including number of comments, likes and/or favorites. Higher engagement = higher relevancy)
    • Trust and Authority of the Video Owner (This is something you can only build up over time, but as you continue to increase your channel subscriber count and overall channel views -- you will have an automatic boost in the search engine rankings for your uploaded videos).
    More info:

    Wednesday, November 16, 2016

    Use SoundSlides Hosting to Upload Your Completed SoundSlides Production to the Web

    You can use SoundSlides Hosting to store your completed SoundSlides production on the Web. Then, you'll be able to link to the production on your Wordpress blog or, if you are using another platform, you may be able to "embed" the completed production on your blog.

    Note: SoundSlides Hosting will host/serve your multimedia production for free for the first six months using this free trial link. However, if you wish to keep your production live on the Internet longer then you will need to register and pay once the trial version expires.

    How to Host your SoundSlides Production on SoundSlides Hosting:

     

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    1. Once you have completed your production, hit Export. In the exported files, click on the publish_to_web folder.

    2. If you are using a PC: Highlight this folder and right-click and select Send To > Compressed (Zipped) folder to create a .zip version of your publish_to_web folder. If you are using a Mac: Right-click (or Control-Click) on the publish_to_web folder and then select "Compress Items" (or it may show up as"Compress filename") to create a .zip version of the folder. This zipped version of  your folder contains the files that you will be moving over to the web via the free trial version of SoundSlides Hosting.

    3. Sign up for SoundSlides Hosting.You do NOT need to pay for this to complete the production. Use the free six-month trial version.

    4. Once you complete the registration and verify your email address, you should be able to select Upload Slide Show within your SoundSlides Hosting account. Hit the Select File button and then navigate to the publish_to_web .zip (zipped/compressed) folder on your local hard drive. Once you confirm, your .zip folder/files should immediately begin to be uploaded.

    5. Next, you can simply grab the provided link and publish this to your blog to complete the assignment. However, if you want to try to have an embedded slideshow instead of a simple link then choose the Embed link and grab the embed code. You can modify the dimensions of your production embed here, as well. This code can be pasted into a new post in your blog. If it doesn't work, then just use the normal link to complete the assignment. (Note: Wordpress-hosted blogs often have problems with the embed code -- so a normal link is fine).

    Audio-Narrated Slideshow Assignment

    AUDIO-NARRATED SLIDESHOW ASSIGNMENT:

    This week, we'll combine visuals with your audio storytelling skills via the exploration and creation of audio-narrated slideshows. In this assignment, students will create their own audio-narrated photo slideshow that covers a newsworthy or noteworthy event, issue or individual. The end result will be a captioned 60-second audio narrated photo slideshow using Soundslides or an equivalent program (such as Windows Movie Maker) that allows you to synchronize audio to pictures.  

    GUIDELINES:

    • If you have a digital camera or smartphone with camera, you can use it to take pictures that document an event or tell a story. 
    • The student should take original photos for use in the production. Do not use photos from other sources!
    • Seek out strong visual stories and pay attention to the aesthetics and composition of each shot.
    • Each photo should include a well-constructed caption.
    • This project can be completed on your home computer. 
    • The content of this project should be focused on the theme of your genre-specific team blog.
    • Sources: For our reporting assignments, there are rules and guidelines on who you can/should interview. For this assignment, you are required to interview and include audio from at least two human sources. Citing other publications and/or media is not considered a source. Also, please avoid anonymous sources and do not use friends, roommates or family for your interview subjects.
    • Duration: 60 seconds minimum
    • Technologies: This project can be completed using PowerPoint, SoundSlides or any other format that supports audio-narrated slides/photos. A link to the final web-hosted production should be placed on your blog. (Note: Whatever program you use must support exporting and uploading to the Web. I am officially only supporting SoundSlides, so I may not be able to help you in depth if you select other programs).
    • To turn this assignment in, please post a link and/or embed your final photojournalism production on your blog. 

    DUE DATE:
    Please finish by Thursday, Nov. 17

    ABOUT SOUNDSLIDES:
    Soundslides is a free downloadable program that is used by several mainstream and independent news organizations, as well as by citizen bloggers. Over the next couple of weeks, you will use SoundSlides to create an original news story that includes both original audio and pictures.

    FREE TRIAL OF SOUNDSLIDES:

    To complete the audio-narrated photo slideshow assignment, you will want to grab a free trial version of SoundSlides using one of the links below:
    Please note that there are also alternative programs that some students may be familiar with and/or choose to use. However, please note that your instructor may not be able to provide any support for other programs if you encounter difficulties. The final version of your audio-narrated production must be hosted on the web so that the instructor (and other students) can click the link to play back the production.

    EXAMPLES OF COMPLETED SOUNDSLIDES PRODUCTIONS:

    HOW TO USE SOUNDSLIDES:

    Watch this tutorial to learn the basics of how to use SoundSlides to complete your production.



    Note that SoundSlides does not support audio editing! You must first record and edit your minute-long audio production and then mix it/encode it into an .mp3 file. Then, you can import that .mp3 file into the program.

    For images, please make sure that your photos are in the .jpg format before importing into SoundSlides.

    HOW TO TURN IN THE ASSIGNMENT:
    After you have completed the assignment, you should upload it to a Web host service, such as SoundSlides Hosting and then embed it in your Web site.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2016

    WEEKS 12 & 13 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW

    SUMMARY:

    During these weeks, we will:
    • Note: Workshop on Nov. 8; No Class on Nov. 10
    • Learn the basics of multimedia news reporting
    • Explore outstanding examples of news reporting that is optimized for web and mobile
    • Learn "best practices" in blog and web publishing including legal considerations and concerns unique to online media
    • Discover search engine optimization and social media syndication options for reporting
    HOMEWORK:
    • Complete your audio assignment - due Nov. 3
    • Begin to work on the audio-narrated photojournalism story (due date Nov. 17)
    • Read:
      • Chapter 13: "Digital Media: Online, Mobile and Social Media"
      • Chapter 14: "Visual Journalism"

    Monday, October 31, 2016

    Tips & Examples of Audio-Narrated Slideshow Presentations

    Creating a strong photojournalism project requires careful planning and consideration. A well-composed photograph can have a strong impact by itself, but it can really come to life when you add thoughtful narration to it for your production.

    As you start work on your audio-narrated photojournalism assignment, you should review some of the best practices and advice from these sources:


    7 Photojournalism Tips by Reuters Photographer Damir Sagolj from Thomson Reuters Foundation on Vimeo.

    For more image inspirations, visit these galleries and resources to see examples of the strong photojournalism:
    Finally, there are some ethical considerations worth reviewing. In photojournalism, the "reality" can be altered by the framing and/or context (or lack thereof). Here are some good articles to review that focus on the ethics of photojournalism:

    Visual Journalism Case Studies

    The National Press Photographers Association (NPAA) recently published a four-part series that shows the results of a study exploring how people view, value and interpret journalistic photography. 
    VISUAL JOURNALISM RESOURCES:
    VISUAL JOURNALISM EXAMPLES:

    Sunday, October 30, 2016

    Audio Assignment - Create an edited audio news report or podcast

    One of the basic multimedia skills that Web editors/producers use is audio editing. As you strengthen your technical skills for audio editing, you can use this knowledge to produce your own audio news segments, podcasts and even narrated slide shows. The same skills are also transferable to video editing (which shares a similar "timeline-based" interface).

    NEW AUDIO ASSIGNMENT -- DUE  Thurs., Nov. 3

    Write and produce an audio news or podcast production. Duration should be approximately one and two minutes in length. You may complete this production alone or with up to one other person on your team.

    Tell a news or feature story with a production that includes a narration and/or integration of audio interview segments from at least two sources.

    THIS PRODUCTION IS NOT A SIMPLE READING OF YOUR SCRIPT/WORDS.

    You should include music or other production elements to bring the story to life. Some examples of existing productions are at the end of this post.

    Use Audacity or another editing program to edit and "mixdown" this production into a single audio file that will be posted on your genre-specific blog.You can use a file-hosting service (such as SoundCloud) to create an embeddable version of your audio production when completed.

    Please note that SoundCloud supports uploading of audio files in these formats: AIFF, WAVE (WAV), FLAC, ALAC, OGG, MP2, MP3, AAC, AMR, and WMA files.

    TROUBLESHOOTING:

    SUPPORT HELP FOR IMPORTING AUDIO FILES INTO AUDACITY

    If you have recorded an audio file and wish to import it into Audacity, then first check to see what file format you have saved your audio recording in. (Note: Many cell phones and apps use different file formats -- so there is no guarantee that your file will work without it first being converted into a compatible format.)
    If your file type for importing audio is not supported or working, you may need to install the free FFmpeg encoder.
    SUPPORT HELP FOR EXPORTING AUDIO FILES INTO MP3

    Some students prefer to export their files into an .mp3 file, which is a popular digital music format that is compatible with various portable media devices. Please note that .mp3 compatibility is not built in by default within Audacity. It requires that you download the external LAME MP3 encoder, which you can download for free.

    Saturday, October 15, 2016

    WEEKS 9, 10 & 11 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW


    SUMMARY:

    For these weeks, we will:
    • Review and discuss "best practices" in audio reporting
    • Train and participate in workshops for digital audio editing
    HOMEWORK:
    • Complete work on the third reporting assignment  - draft due Oct. 25/graded version due Oct. 27
    • Begin work on the new audio assignment - due Nov. 3
    • Here are the chapters that we have covered and/or will cover (up to this point in the semester):
      • 2: Selecting and Reporting the News
      • 5: Libel, Privacy and Newsgathering Issues
      • 6: Ethics
      • 7: Basic News Leads
      • 8: Alternative Leads
      • 9: The Body of a News Story
      • 10: Quotations and Attributions
      • 11: Interviewing
      • 12: Writing for Radio and TV News
      • 17: Feature Writing 

    Writing Assignment #3 - Traditional News Story (Wildcard Assignment)

    Your new website needs even more content!

    After reviewing the first attempts at "traditional reporting," it has come to my attention that many students still need to practice this important form of journalism. In particular, students should sharpen their writing skills to create content that is newsworthy and neutral in voice and tone. 

    Thus, the third assignment is another written reporting piece in a "traditional news" style. What should you write about? You decide the topic -- but choose wisely! Make sure that the topic aligns with the theme or "beat" of the semester blog project.

    Minimum requirements: 500 words

    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 is not considered a source. Also, please avoid anonymous sources and do not use friends, roommates or family for your interview subjects.

    For your story, please remember the following:
    • Pay close attention to the opening of your piece. What type of lede will draw the reader further into the story? For a more traditional "news"-style piece, make sure to communicate the key newsworthy details in the first sentence or two to establish relevancy.
    • Add context and perspective to your story by interviewing at least two original human sources. How will you weave the best quotes into your story?
    • DUE: Tuesday, Oct. 25 (Printed copy for peer editing)
    • FINAL VERSION: Thursday, Oct. 27 (Posted on team blog)
    Criteria to be used in the grading will include the following:

    • Was the story relevant to the team blog topic?
    • Did the story include two separate interviewed sources?
    • Did the interview subjects add a credible, informed perspective to the story?
    • Was the source selection appropriate given the topic selected?
    • Was the writing quality and grammar acceptable?
    • Is there news value to the story topic selected?
    • Was the writing clear and concise and plagiarism-free?
    • Was there a summary news lead?
    • Was there a logical order to the information presented?

    Monday, October 10, 2016

    Audacity Tutorial


    A very common program used for audio editing is Audacity. This is a free "open-source" program that can be used on either PC or MAC platforms.

    Unless you are familiar with and/or prefer another audio editing program, it is recommended that you use Audacity to complete this week's audio reporting assignment.

    Students will get basic training on how to record and edit in Audacity in COM 210. However, I've recorded a very basic refresher tutorial that shows how to record, import audio, conduct basic edits and export in Audacity. Take a look if you need a reminder on how to use Audacity!


    For a more comprehensive lesson on how to use Audacity, please visit this fantastic tutorial (provided courtesy of kdmcBerkeley):
    Here are some supplemental links and tutorials:
    TROUBLESHOOTING:

    SUPPORT HELP FOR IMPORTING AUDIO FILES INTO AUDACITY

    If you have recorded an audio file and wish to import it into Audacity, then first check to see what file format you have saved your audio recording in. (Note: Many cell phones and apps use different file formats -- so there is no guarantee that your file will work without it first being converted into a compatible format.)


    If your file type for importing audio is not supported or working, you may need to install the free FFmpeg encoder.

    Digital Audio Editing - Sample Sounds Files for Practice Editing

    For practice, you can download some sample .mp3 files (right-click and save):


    Alternatives to Audacity


    In addition to Audacity, there are several free or low-cost audio editing programs available for computers and mobile devices. One of the more popular options is Adobe Audition, which is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. However, there are several alternative audio editing programs that you can also use to complete this production.

    For example, many Mac users already have GarageBand installed on their computers.

    Other programs of note include:

    Audio Recording Equipment & Smartphone App Options

    AUDIO RECORDING OPTIONS

    If you are interested in recording audio only, you have several options.

    Direct-to-Computer Microphone

    Many computers have a mic jack that allows you to directly connect a microphone into the computer for recording via Adobe Audition, Audacity and other programs.  Simply plug in your microphone and start recording direct within the editing program.

    However, you might also choose to record audio externally and then "import" it into the audio editing programs.

    Smartphone Recording Apps

    Some students may choose to do this via use of a smartphone or camcorder. You simply transfer the recorded audio from your smartphone into the audio editing program.

    Here are some options for iOS (iPhone) and Android devices. Some of these apps are free while others charge a small fee. Before you buy any app (if you choose to do so), please make sure that the app supports exporting your recorded audio files from the app into your preferred audio editing program!

    Audio Reporting Case Studies

    In preparation for your own original audio report for this class, you might want to listen to some examples from professionals and even previous students for inspiration.

    Here are some examples of strong audio-only reporting pieces by professional journalists:
    "This American Life" recently aired multiple audio segments detailing the story of Dr. Benjamin Gilmer and the dark secrets he uncovered as he assumed new duties in a small, rural town.
    BBC Radio correspondent Kevin Connolly filed an impressive audio report on a British Libyan who was "willing to die" for his country's freedom. Listen to the following brief audio report and notice the power and impact of the interviewing techniques that are used to bring out powerful quotes and comments. Also notice that this particular interview has very few noticeable edits, yet the interview itself remains impactful.
    In previous semesters, many COMJOUR 333 students have created their own small audio reporting segments. Some examples are below:

    Sunday, October 9, 2016

    WEEKS 7 & 8 SUMMARY & OVERVIEW

    SUMMARY:

    For these weeks, we will:
    • Discuss and review examples of the third reporting assignment 
    • Review and practice "summary ledes"
    • Review the "inverted pyramid" format
    • Learn tips and tricks in organizing the information in your traditional news story
    HOMEWORK:
    • Begin work on the third reporting assignment  - draft due Oct. 20/graded version due Oct. 25
    • Begin work on the new audio assignment - due Nov. 1
    • Here are the chapters that we have covered and/or will cover (up to this point in the semester):
      • 2: Selecting and Reporting the News
      • 5: Libel, Privacy and Newsgathering Issues
      • 6: Ethics
      • 7: Basic News Leads
      • 8: Alternative Leads
      • 9: The Body of a News Story
      • 10: Quotations and Attributions
      • 11: Interviewing
      • 12: Writing for Radio and TV News
      • 17: Feature Writing 

    Royalty-free and Free Images for your Blog

    Looking for royalty-free and/or free images to add to your campaign site? Here are some sites worth checking out:

    Interviewing Basics

    A critical part of being a good journalist is also being a good interviewer.

    Check out the presentation below to get tips and tricks on "best practices" for conducting an interview that gets the most information from your subject. You can use some of these tips to help bring out stronger quotes and better information for your reporting assignments in this class.



    Experience-Driven Programs for Student Learning

    Today in class, WSU Clinical Assistant Professor Ryan Risenmay discussed the many experience-driven program offered at the Murrow College, including the Scholars Programs, Solar Decathalon, Backpack Journalism and Global Expeditions.

    See his full presentation here.

    Sunday, October 2, 2016

    What is Newsworthy?: Traditional Journalism Basics

    Do you need a refresher on "traditional journalism" reporting? For this style of writing, you should aim to be neutral in your voice and tone. You should also aim to report on something that meets the criteria of newsworthiness (as defined in the presentation below).

    This presentation was already given in class near the end of the semester, but it may be timely to review it again as you prepare for your third writing assignment. Here is an audio-narrated version of the "What is Newsworthy?" lecture for your revew:

    About Summary Ledes


    Examples of Summary Ledes


    For your news story, you should use a summary lede. Here are some examples of strong summary news ledes.

    British Police Arrest Nine on Terror Charge (from the Washington Post) - Use of "active" voice in the lede. 

    F.D.A. Widens Safety Reviews on New Drugs (from New York Times) - use of active voice in lede; contextualizes relevance of news development (the "so what" factor)

    The Five W's: Which Should Lead?

    The same news story can be written numerous ways. The following are examples of different summary lead strategies for the same news story:

    Emphasizing who:

    Dave Benyl and Jim Conway are experts when it comes to broken cars, and they warn motorists to steer clear of highway construction zones.

    Emphasizing what:

    Until the $20 million construction project to improve Chandler Boulevard is completed, auto repair experts are advising motorists to find an alternative route.

    Emphasizing where:

    Chandler Boulevard from Kyrene Road to Dobson Road is not the place these days for motorists trying to avoid damage to their cars.

    Emphasizing when:

    The $20 million construction project to improve Chandler Boulevard will not be completed until June, and until then auto repair experts are advising motorists to steer clear.

    Emphasizing why:

    Because of all the nails, screws and bad bumps, auto repair experts are advising motorists to steer clear of Chandler Boulevard.

    Emphasizing how:

    The best way to avoid the bumps, screws and nails on Chandler Boulevard during the six-month construction project is to find an alternative route, auto repair experts say.

    Saturday, October 1, 2016

    Second Writing Assignment - Due Oct. 4 (final)


    Your new website needs MORE content! 

    The second round of content for your site should be another traditional written reporting piece in a "feature" style.

    For your story, please remember the following:
    * Pay close attention to the opening of your piece. What type of feature lead will draw the reader further into the story?
    * Add context and perspective to your story by interviewing at least two original human sources. How will you weave the best quotes into your story?
    * Length should be about 7-10 paragraphs (e.g. 500 words)

    * DUE: Thursday, Sept. 29 (peer review draft due)
    * FINAL VERSION DUE: Tuesday, Oct. 4

    Thursday, September 29, 2016

    WEEKS FIVE & SIX SUMMARY & OVERVIEW

    SUMMARY:

    For these weeks, we will:
    • Review and discuss our first writing assignments.
    • Review some qualities and characteristics of good writing
    • Discuss the "feature writing" format including "special leads"
    • Discuss and review interviewing "best practices"
    HOMEWORK:
    • Continue work on  your second reporting assignment for which the draft is due on Sept. 29.
      • Final version due on Oct. 4
    • Read the following chapters:
      • 2: Selecting and Reporting the News
      • 7: Basic News Leads
      • 8: Alternative Leads
      • 9: The Body of a News Story
      • 10: Quotations and Attributions
      • 11: Interviewing
      • 17: Feature Writing

      Grammarly - Your Secret Weapon for Good Grammar

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      Monday, September 26, 2016

      Special Ledes

      Special Lede Examples

      EXAMPLES OF "SPECIAL LEDES" FOR FEATURE NEWS STORIES:

      NARRATIVE LEDE


      CONTRAST LEDE


      STACCATO LEDE


      DIRECT-ADDRESS LEDE


      QUESTION LEDE


      QUOTE LEDE