Very pinteresting

March 22nd, 2012 March 22nd, 2012
Posted in comm361, skillset#5, tyowens
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Pinterest is a social media supplement that allows users to make boards with a topic of their choice which they add photos to for other users to see and comment on.

As the name suggests, it’s interesting. Apparently so much so that you have to wait upwards of two weeks to get an invitation after requesting one from the site. Instead of joining instantly, a commodity supplied by most membership sites, Pinterest is so interesting that no one can fully appreciate it until they have had a satisfactory amount of time for anticipation to reach its climax. Or they can ask for an instant invitation from any current member of Pinterest. But how can one fully appreciate how interesting the site is if they don’t have the necessary anticipatory waiting period? Well, because they hunt trough their social media outlets desperately searching for someone to send them an invite, thus giving them a sense that they earned the right to be a member and building a perceived interest in the site to their other friends. See how it all comes together?

Once you’ve achieved the highly coveted status of Pinterest member, you can “pin” photos you find all across the internet and add them to one of your boards. The boards can be of any theme and the photos should resemble this theme and, of course, be interesting. You might be asking yourself how this is any different from creating an online photo album. Find the answer yourself by viewing my own Pinterest account here.

Briggs chapter 9

March 20th, 2012 March 20th, 2012
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In chapter 9 of Journalism Next, Briggs talks about the saturation of new data and media tools avaliable in the digital world and how these can be both beneficial and troublesome for journalists.

The tools are beneficial to journalists because they give them an innovative and creative option for displaying their media. For example, Google Fusion Tables allows a journalist to plot data points on a map, making their information easier to comprehend and more interesting than simply listing the data as text. These tools are especially important today when there is so much media that generally only the ones that stick out get attention.

Google Fusion Table

The tools, however, can also be troublesome for journalists. The speed at which these new forms of media are being created makes it difficult for journalists to keep up with them all. Every new media is something new the journalist will have to learn if they want to stay competative. While this has had a positivte impact on journalism as a whole, it can be very burdensome on individual journalists.


Briggs chapter 8

March 20th, 2012 March 20th, 2012
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In chapter eight of Journalism Next, Briggs discusses the importance of video to the contemporary journalist. Video combines the audio of radio with the impact of pictures to create the most in-depth scene for the viewer.

In addition to stating the importance, Briggs included useful filming to tips to get the best possible video. Briggs emphasized the importance of audio and how good audio is essential in getting an audience get interested in the video. A good microphone is the most important part of picking up good audio.

Briggs also emphasized that getting out and practicing video is the best way to master it. Classes help teach you the basics but just going out in the field and getting a feel for it yourself is the best method for learning how to good video

Week 7 personal blog

March 8th, 2012 March 8th, 2012
Posted in comm361, tyowens, week7
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I recently discovered the potential Reddit, a popular social media site, has for becoming a large influence on the future of online journalism.

Reddit's logo

All of Reddit’s content is user generated, meaning that anyone with an account can upload anything they want. This usually consistes of photos, videos, memes and news stories. Reddit’s slogan is “the front page of the Internet” because all the content is voted on by users and only the most popular make it to their front page.

Reddit's front page

Reddit is particularily useful for journalists because it shows what topics are trending. If a topic appears on the front page often, then journalists know it’s hot. In addition to this, users can also leave comments on the stories, telling the journalist what the audience thinks about certain topics.

Expanding your audience

Reddit has quickly become a community of its own, complete with its own culture seperate from any other. If a journalist can learn how to relate and appeal to this audience, then he can effectively expand his exposure to a much larger audience and build close connections with them.

Workshop2: Using the GL2

March 8th, 2012 March 8th, 2012
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The Canon GL2 is the main video camera avaliable for rent by George Mason University students at the Star Lab. The workshop taught me the basics of setting up and operating the camera.

Set up

The three main components of the GL2 to set up are the lighting, focus and audio. For the lighting you always have to white balance. This requires holding down the white balance button while shooting a blank, white sheet of paper. The camera will automatically recognize the white of the paper and adjust to this as the standard for what white looks like. In addition you adjust the f-stop to make the image appear brighter or darker.

The focus is pretty basic to set up. There is a dial by the lens of the camera that you can turn either way to adjust the focus. For optimum focus you want to zoom all the way in on the main focus of the shot, focus, then zoom out. This ensures the subject will stay in focus no matter how much you zoom.

For the audio all you have to do is insert either a microphone or lavalier into the input jack and headphones into the output jack. It is important to use headphones so you can make sure you are getting optimum audio. To adjust audio levels, there are two dials on the back of the camera for the left and right audio tracks.


After setting up, the camera is ready to operate. For this all you have to do is insert a tape into the dock, make sure the “on/off” switch is set to camera, and hit the red record button. To stop recording you simply hit the red button again. To review what you have shot, switch the “on/off” switch to tape and use the provided buttons like a VCR to scroll through the footage.

Briggs chapter 11

March 8th, 2012 March 8th, 2012
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In chapter 11, Briggs discussed how to build a digital audience for news. These techniques require journalists to find the line between appealing to an audience and keeping journalistic integrity.

Tracking your audience

Tracking your audience is vital for building a strong digital audience because it helps you see what’s getting a lot of views and what’s lacking views. This way you know what to emphasize and what to downplay. Also tracking demographics is important so you know who you appeal to and who you have to appeal to more.

Search Engine Optimization

In order to build a large audience they have to be able to find you easily. This is where search engine optimization comes in. By using keywords effectively and writing about popular topics, you increase your chances of appearing higher on Google searches. This is where journalists must decide the line between simply appealing to an audience and providing accurate and important information.

Use social media

Social media is one of the easiest ways of getting stories avaliable to a large audience. It is also an effective way of recieving feedback from the audience so you know what you should change and what you are doing right.

Briggs chapter 10

March 8th, 2012 March 8th, 2012
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In chapter 10 Briggs discussed how news has shifted in the digital age to mold with social media and so it is becoming more conversational than ever before. This requires a new set of skills for journalists who wish to take advantage of this change.

Use social media

Social media is perhaps the most important medium for exposing media to the public. It offers a large audience and an intuitive display for uploading information. In addition, it’s a great way to get feedback from your audience and find out what you should change. Before the only feedback journalists recieved was from letters to the editors, however digital media condenses letters to the editors to simple comments. This is giving journalists an unprecedented amount of feedback.

Percentage of journalists with each social media account.

Make it personal

An important aspect of conversation is it’s personal aspect, and the same goes for conversational journalism. Keeping stories personal and relatable by the audience keeps them interested and increases the chances they will spread it to their friends.


By making journalism more conversational makes feedback avaliable more often than ever. The journalist should listen to and bear in mind all the feedback he gets. However, it is also important to keep in mind that some feedback just is not justified. This kind of feedbaqck is more common for digital media since there are numerous more people with the oppurtinty to supply feedback. The journalist should be discerning in the feedback he chooses to listen to.

Workshop1: LinkedIn

March 8th, 2012 March 8th, 2012
Posted in comm361, tyowens
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The first workshop I attended was how to use LinkedIn and how to make the most out of your profile. LinkedIn is a large networking site for professionals and soon-to-be professionals, so making it look professional is important.

Pay close attention to spelling and grammar

Spelling and grammar are problems that are easy to avoid but make a huge impact. The workshop suggested starting your profile in a word processor so it will catch the mistakes for you.

Keyword optimization

Making good use of your keywords will make your profile easier to find and increases the chance someone important will see it. It works the same as search engine optimization, you want to strategically place keywords throughout your profile so that someone looking for your skills will be able to easily find you.

Keep it professional

Both your name and photo should look professional. This is not your social networking sites for finding friends, it’s for finding professional connections.


You want something that gives your profile something that no one else has, something that sets you apart from the crowd. Professionals are not only looking for people with skills, but someone who knows how to use these skills in a creative and effective way.

Super Tuesday fusion table

March 8th, 2012 March 8th, 2012
Posted in comm361, skillset#4, skillset#6, tyowens
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The following is a Google fusion table representing the winners of the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses.

Mitt Romney won the majority of the states on Super Tuesday, however several key victories for Rick Santorum has kept him in the running. The long search for a Republican candidate continues.

Fusion tables help lay out data in a way that is interesting to the reader so that they can recieve the most information in the least amount of time. In a time where distractions are dominate, getting the point across in an organized and interesting fashion is increasingly important.

Civil War timeline

March 6th, 2012 March 6th, 2012
Posted in comm361, skillset#3, tyowens
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A timeline is a clear and effective way to display the order of events. It helps the reader visualize tthe order of events and how they are related.

Confederates attack Fort Sumter, Civil War begins.
Antietam, the bloodiest battle in U.S. history.
South loses at Gettysburg, tides of war change.
April 12, 1861
September 17, 1862
July 1-3, 1863
April 17, 1861
September 22, 1862
April 9, 1865
Virginia secedes from the Union.
Emancipation Procolamation frees slaves.
Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox.

by The Web Portal For Educators! (

In this timeline I mapped out the Civil War. You can see how putting the most important events summarizes the entire war and helps the reader better grasp the order of events as well as the cause-effect relationship between them.

If this timeline had been put into a paragraph, it would not have the same effect. For one, it would not look appealing to the reader. Also visually seeing the order of events over time is easier for the reader to comprehend than looking at dates and figuring out the order themselves.