Online Journalism: Fridays 2009


the class blog for Columbia College Chicago’s Online Journalism class: Friday edition

California Dreaming

By the way, for those wondering what to do once they graduate (for those that are) Wired magazine is offering PAID six-month internships in San Francisco. Deadline is May 20th. Hustle!


Filed under: class stuff

Thursday! Thursday! Thursday!

Hey Everyone,

Here’s the info for Thursday. Please plan on meeting inside the lobby of the Tribune Tower at 9:45 am . We will work our way through security and then be escorted to the conference room where you’ll present.

Remember: professionalism is crucial here. Look the part! Be prepared!

Here’s a map if by some strange occurrence you don’t know where the Trib is:

Filed under: group project

Readings & Links 5-8-09

Analytics: Understanding Where they’re coming from
Google Analytics
Beginning Analytics video
Analytics basics
The Death of the Page View
Google Analytics for WordPress Plug-in

Make Modest Money: Simple ad programs
Google Adsense
iTunes Affiliates
Amazon Associates

Filed under: lecture links, readings

Windy Citizen looking for interns

Hey folks,

Brad Flora, one of the panelists from last week is looking for interns this summer. He had incredible insights & feedback for all of you–would probably be super interesting to work with him on other things as well. Anyway, he asked me to pass this along!, Chicago’s #1 local news aggregator, is looking for summer editorial interns. Interns will be responsible for supporting a topic channel on our aggregator (e.g. Politics, Media, Tech, Real Estate) where they’ll help aggregate the best news of the day, build conversations and reach out to bloggers covering the topic.

Hours are flexible. Everyone works remotely and keeps in touch via e-mail with monthly staff meetups around Chicago.

The position is unpaid. Interns who produce results will receive startup experience, a rave endorsement for future job opportunities, and experience building the skills of the future: aggregating, community- and audience-building and social media relations.

We are looking for just a select few people. First come, first serve. Send resumes and a short cover letter to Let us know what topic you might be interested in focusing on.

Filed under: class stuff

Last day of class–a question

So as you know, I teach two sections of Online Journalism, on Thursday morning and Friday mid-day. As we launch our sites, I think it would be great if both classes could share the work that they’re doing with each other. As a result, I’m taking a poll to see when people are available and if it’s possible to find a time on the last two days of class (and the semester) that everyone has even an hour free. I think it could be great and a lot of fun. Please fill out the poll with ALL the times you’re available (include the time that your class normally meets as well). If there’s a time that works for everyone, I will let you know in class next week.

Filed under: class stuff

your presentations next week

As we approach the end of class, it’s important that we check in on your site as you prepare to populate it with content (or, in the case of the content that’s already there, evaluate its value). It is also a time to strongly consider the presentation of the site itself, and to fine-tune the look & feel, because content is only as good as the site that showcases it. And it’s also crucial, of course, that you consider audience at every juncture as well.

The format for this presentation will be similar to our last, with slides and a group presentation. However at this point you should also be able to walk us through various aspects of your site itself, and be able to answer questions about the content and the look/feel of the site overall. Because of this, we will reserve the end of your presentation for a walkthrough of the site. Prepare one of your team members to “drive” this walkthrough, taking over the projection computer. Map out what it is you want to talk about and highlight, however, so that your presentation remains professional and succinct.

As with last time, you will give both a presentation and hand in a report, signed by all group members.

presentation & report

The Site Idea and its Relationship to Content
–Be as succinct and clear as possible. Start with a one or two-sentence description of the site.
–Succinctly, how does content fulfill that mission?
–In other words: why are you featuring what you’re featuring?

The Content Itself
–What types of content do you see regularly appearing on your site? And why?
–Written pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Multimedia pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Interactive pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Social media: What’s your strategy? Why? How?
–How do you plan on grouping the various content types?
–In other words, what are the various sections or categories on your site?
–How do these categories work to clearly state at a hierarchical level what your site is all about?
–Give seven specific examples of content currently on your site and ten specific examples of content still to come.

Content and its Relationship to Audience
This is important, so I will bold it: invite five members of your targeted audience to preview your site. Get as much feedback as you can from them regarding the content. For this section include bios/info about the people you talked with for the report and give their specific feedback there. In your presentation include photographs of these people interacting with your site.
–Who is the audience you are targeting and why? BE SPECIFIC.
–What content do you think they are looking for online, and why would they come to you to get it?
–How did you come to this conclusion?
–When you previewed your site to audience members, what was their reaction to the content?
–How did they feel it could improve?
–What other content did they feel could go in the site?
–What other feedback did they get?

Look & Feel
–Why does your site look the way it does?
–How does your site classify and display content?
–How can a user access the various pieces of content–is there a menu system that makes sense?
–How does the way your site looks compliment the content?


The walkthrough of your site should highlight the following:
–demonstrate the way that a user would access various content types
–highlight some of the unique ways your site is presenting its content
–show off your site’s look & feel and explain why it works the way it does
–demonstrate the categories your content falls into


Follow the same process as before in terms of uploading your slides to Flickr and creating a set and slideshow. Your slides should correspond to the major sections of your presentation. Create as many as you see fit.

Link your slideshow and paste your report in the comments of this entry.

Your presentation should be no longer than 10 minutes, including the walkthrough.

Filed under: group project

Our guest for Friday

We are very lucky to be joined this Thursday by Kenyatta Cheese, one of the masterminds behind the independent video site Rocketboom. As we discussed last week, Rocketboom has been a real trailblazer in terms of creating independent, journalistic videos on a small budget to a wide audience.

Familiarize yourself with the work that Kenyatta and company at Rocketboom before you come to class.

We’re VERY lucky to have Kenyatta, and so I’ll say it again: Come to class prepared with questions–AND ASK THEM

Filed under: guest speakers

link up your videos here

Put a link to the YouTube or Vimeo uploads of the videos you made this week. Can’t wait to see them! (unfortunately, embedding won’t work in the comments, so just paste in the URL)

Filed under: class stuff

Lecture Links and Additional Readings 4-17-09

Examples of web video storytelling: a new medium for journalism
Vigil for teen crash victim
More than a mailman
The Boda Boda Motorbikes of Kenya
World Pillow Fight Day
Flick’s Mobile Home Park
Sonnenzimmer portrait (by yours truly)

Finding your audience and your stride case study: Wine Library TV
Wine Library TV: episode one
Wine Library TV: episode 587 (he’s almost 100 episodes up on this one now)

Additional references
Mindy McAdam’s excellent pointers on making good web videos
iMovie Tutorials These are specific to iMovie 6, but they’re an excellent primer for basic editing, produced by colleagues in the journalism department here.
Mastering Multimedia a great blog written by a video journalist for the Spokesman Review.
Multimedia shooter a site with tons of references to great multimedia journalism and tons of tech.

Filed under: lecture links, readings

Our Map from Today

Our map from today.

Filed under: class stuff

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