Online Journalism: Fridays 2009


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

for your pitches next week

Next week is a big week: It’s when we pitch our final site idea to the class, the class votes, and the four left standing move forward through the next stages as team-driven sites.

Here’s how it will work:

1) Have a name for your site
2) Give a clear and precise one-sentence description of the site
3) Give a description of a three personas—analogues for some of the real users you have talked with—following the guidelines set out in the class blog (below).
4) Write a brief narrative of how these personas interact with your site. They may do so in different ways (a “super user” for instance, may access and work with your site in a different way than a “casual user”).
5) Post all this to the class blog. Also be prepared to give a similar presentation live and in person in class.

Accompanying this information will be ONE slide, sized 800px x 600px saved as a JPG file, that includes the name of your site, the same brief description, and any graphics or other information you’d want (don’t cram it full of text, as it won’t be legible). This will be projected as you present in class. E-MAIL YOUR SLIDE AT LEAST 2 HOURS BEFORE CLASS TO:

Filed under: class stuff

8 Responses

  1. […] day is Friday! Please write up your pitch (following the format listed in the below post), and paste it into a comment on this […]


    From audition notices and theatre news to discussing theatre issues, Stage Tactics provides new stage actors with the tools to help them build their careers in Chicago.


    Genevieve Britozzi, 22, Female, been in a relationship for a year and a half (boyfriend is also actor); part-time hostess at Melting Pot restaurant in downtown Chicago; senior at Columbia College getting her BFA in musical theatre performance; lives and breathes theatre –– constantly sees shows and goes to theatre workshops; often spends times reading scripts and listening to musical soundtracks, does yoga and takes dance classes. Relies heavily on internet to find audition notices, buy show tickets, and see what new shows are playing in town. Enjoys being on the internet and using her computer, also has an iPhone to access web content so she is always up to date with theatre news.

    Genevieve is the die hard Stage Tactics user. She is on the website daily constantly posting on message board threads. She reads the articles and shares them with fellow classmates/actors. Submits event news.

    Sean Gregory, 25, Male, single; full-time manager at Urban Outfitters on State Street. Associates degree from College of Dupage; took outside acting classes and reads a lot of acting books. Goes online to find audition postings; has his own blog that talks about mainly his life and issues in the world.

    Sean checks the site every other day for new audition notices and ideas for audition material. Reads articles for tips on audition techniques. Skims over message boards and occasionally posts own opinions and ideas.

    Alexander Jameson, 20, Male, single; student at Millikin University studying acting. Watches movie musicals and reads plays. Uses internet for Facebook and email and chatting, occasionally surfs net for theatre auditions. Likes to party and is very social. Does not have a job.

    Alexander goes to Stage Tactics to learn about trends in the Chicago stage theatre scene. Likes reading features on new actors making their way in Chicago and reads profiles of different theatres in Chicago. Goes to the website every other week to catch up on news and see what shows theatres are doing.

  3. Nicki Walliser says:

    Site name: Chi-Town Connectors

    Target Age Group: Young professionals (meaning, either recent graduates of College or people just starting out their professional career looking to meet and greet with other connectors around the city)

    Description of the site: This is where young professionals can find out details on events held in Chicago where they can go to meet people either in the industry they are working in, or are looking to work in. Whether it be a night out on the town, a small gathering or a cocktail reception, connecting is always a positive thing. You never know who you are going to meet and this site can help you connect as you wish. That’s the thing about Chicago, you never know who you’re going to run into.

    In one sentence: A site where young professionals can go to connect with people in Chicago through local events.

    The type of people who would go to this site: I don’t want to target college students or high school students, or students of any kind. The group I wish to target is people in their early to mid 20’s who are looking to connect with business professionals around Chicago. These people could be looking to make new contacts, looking for a job change, or just looking to meet people.

    Sarah Danley, 25, works as a server and has been working in the industry since she was 21. She’s really looking to connect with people in and around the city who have experience with fine wine. She is looking to get her wine certification but is desperately looking to hook up with professionals in the field who may know people who live out in California. She’s looking to know where to go to meet these people. I told her that going to wine tastings and mingling with the people there would be perfect. She was wondering if there was a site out there that showed people where these events were hosted and when. That’s where I come in!

    Michelle Laflin, 24, graduated from DePaul University about a year ago with a degree in Business Communications. Right now she’s working for a small Public Relations firm downtown but she really wants to get hooked up with some bigger PR firms in and around the city.Not only that but she’s looking to make more connections and meet more people that she can potentially add to her client list. She’s looking to meet people in the same field as her but she doesn’t know how to meet them. She looks on metromix to look for mixers but doesn’t seem to find the niche she’s looking for. That’s where I come in!

    Max Johnson, 26, works for a marketing company in the the loop and just wants to meet other business professionals to make connections. He moved to Chicago only a year ago and is still new to the city and the people who he needs to know. He wants a site where he can go to look for events such as cocktail mixers or wine tastings where he can meet the right people.

  4. Jonathan Nelson says:


    Third Shift

    Site Summary:

    Third Shift is a site to find things to do and promote your own favorite hang outs or events 10p.m. to dawn in Chicago for college age students.


    Al Rigg, 25, works full time and lives with a room mate in the suburbs. He starts work at 3a.m. and gets home around 1p.m. As soon as he gets home he plays guitar for a bit then falls asleep. He is normally up all evening with these hours and they stay the same on the weekends. He likes to go bar hopping but normally goes to the same places.

    Al would check the site when he is making plans with his friends for the night and find somewhere to go that is similar to his regular ones or a place that plays music he is in the mood for. As the night proceeds he could check the site from his phone to see where to go to get something to eat nearby.

    Matt Bedford, 24, is a Japanese language major and is nearing graduation. He is planning to move to Japan and teach English to grade school students. Matt enjoys night hours and rarely falls asleep before 5a.m. He has been in a few bands and is always on the look out for a new project. He has been in a committed relationship for 3 years, although between school and work only gets to see her a few days a week.

    Matt would be able to plan special evenings with his girlfriend at the hours they prefer with the site. On the nights he is alone it would allow him to find places to go that his girlfriend would never accompany him to. If he ever got a new band together it would also give him a place to promote after parties along with the concert.

    Marina Chokowski, 20, is between work and school now and lives near Hammond, Indiana. She prefers night over day. She is currently in a large transition and is looking to move into Chicago. She loves to go out dancing with friends when possible.

    Marina has a tough time finding places to go late at night not being 21. She would be able to search for all ages clubs to go to with friends outside of her normal hang out. She would also be able to share her favorite all ages or 18+ places for others in her position to find.

  5. andyhannon says:


    A website showcasing Chicago ukulele players and culture, and allowing musicians to network with others.


    Experienced Users- People who have been playing ukulele for a while and otherwise have a good musical understanding. The person who is looking to play shows and work with other musicians. They will be wanting forums, mostly for the sake of networking. They could also utilize them to buy/sell equipment. This user will be the most frequent, checking in multiple times a day.

    “The Watchers”- People new to the ukulele world. They are looking for contacts and venues, but are less likely to play. They will be looking to see media content from other users. Will also be looking for tutorials/chord diagrams, etc. The Watcher will not be on the site as often as the Experienced User, but will check in as they need things/want to know about new happenings.

    “The One-timers”- Users that think ukuleles are cool. They like listening to songs and wouldn’t mind going to see a show. They probably don’t play ukulele or anything, but are just looking to absorb something new. Many of these users will come to the website via their friends sending them links. This will be their main line in to the website, hopefully getting them to check in periodically.

  6. Zach Wilmes says:

    Name: Find Yourself Columbia

    This site is: a website devoted to student organization news and involvement at Columbia College Chicago


    Tania lives in the University Center with several other freshman who also attend Columbia College, but unlike her friends who went off to state schools, she’s not part of any student organizations. Neither are her roommates. Why not?

    Well, she says, for starters, Columbia doesn’t have a campus center in the sense that many other schools do. There’s no quad or dining hall where students gather to discuss campus life or find out about upcoming events. There’s no place to post information that will be accessible to the entire student body. In fact, the only exposure to student organizations Tania and her roommates ever got was in passing several booths set up at her freshman orientation.

    Tania is a 19-year-old freshman who’s new to Chicago. She would like to meet a boy who’s as passionate about Human Rights activism as she is. But Tania works part-time at Starbucks and the people she meets at work don’t care about much except getting high before their shifts and talking about bad music. Outside of hoping to work as an actress, she doesn’t have much in common with the students in her classes. Tania is too young to hang out in bars and probably couldn’t afford to anyway. How can she meet people without a forum to do so? How can she about events around campus if no one is covering them.

    Tania comes from an educated middle-class family and has always enjoyed reading about the world, but nowadays she finds it easier to get online and browse the internet for news that interests her rather than spend hours in a library. She has looked at for information about student groups but the website is not user-friendly and doesn’t contain more than a brief acknowledgment that student groups even exist, offering nothing but a name and an email address. Tania visited the her first week of school and hasn’t been back since, except to log into oasis. Tania isn’t alone.

    Sebastian has been a student in Columbia’s film department for three years and he says he still has no idea what’s going on outside his department. Since his first semester when he was 20 years old, he can’t remember ever being approached by anyone trying to build support for a student club or group. Sebastian is a conservative Christian who found it difficult to fit in at such a liberal school. If it wasn’t for the film department’s reputation and the school’s open enrollment policy he might’ve gone to Wheaton College in the town where he grew up. But he decided to move to Chicago and to this day has no idea that Columbia College has a Campus Crusade for Christ. Did you?

    Sebastian works for a church on the South Side every weekend filming their worship services. He is also deeply involved in community outreach work and would love to find ways to share his values with fellow students since most of the people in his church’s youth group are still in junior high or high school. The Campus Crusade would probably love to have Sebastian’s enthusiasm and film background to help with their outreach, but both parties are clueless to each others existence.

    Tom is a third year marketing major who transferred to Columbia from a school in New York. He was astonished to discover how little effort has gone into promoting student organizations here and has decided he wants to do something about it. Tom wants to use his skills to benefit the school as well as build a portfolio, but where should he turn to for information about student organizations?

    Tom is ambitious and computer savvy and gets all of his news online, staying on top of the newest trends and networking with as many people who may help get his career off the ground as possible. At 24 years old, Tom is the type of person who is constantly online looking for the “next big thing.” He would be likely to visit a site like Find Yourself Columbia on a regular basis to stay on top of whats going on around campus and look for new work opportunities.

    All three of these students have something in common, however different they may seem. They all wish to become more involved in Columbia College’s student life, and Find Yourself Columbia would give them the opportunity to do so. As I envision the site, most users would probably visit it once or twice a week, perhaps more, but as the point of the site is to connect people with organizations that suit their interests by providing news coverage of those organizations, visits will probably decrease as people discover groups they like and no longer view Find Yourself Columbia as a necessary service. By linking with other Columbia College websites like the Chronicle and Oasis and maintaining a journalistic focus rather than just as a networking service the site would be able to act as a legitimate campus news source.

  7. Brian Livingston says:

    Title of site:

    Description: a website dedicated to the Columbia college baseball team. Stats, box scores, player interviews and a forum. The site will feature a monthly profile of individual members from the team. Video highlights from home games.


    Jimmy is a student at Columbia and he is an avid baseball fan. He visits the site to get info on the schools baseball team. He is a supporter of the team and frequents the site regularly.

    Erin is a working mother who has a son on the baseball team. She visits the site to check out her son as well as show to her friends and family. She is also a Columbia College alum.

    Steve is a scout for a minor league baseball team. He visits the site to check for potential talent. He has been a scout for 20 years and has signed a number of college kids to minor league baseball contracts, some of which have gone onto play professionally.

    What keeps them coming back is constant updates on the team.

  8. Rachel Stapinski says:


    This website is a place where young people can network through organizations to find volunteer opportunities to help solve poverty in Chicago and learn about poverty in their communities through the stories of others.

    Vanessa is a college graduate who works part-time and cares for her sick aunt. She is very concerned with the recession and often sees how poverty is destroying neighborhoods near her home and work. She wants to help her community but does not know where to go and how to get involved. She feels disconnected after graduating a year ago where she volunteered on campus. She wants a place where she can find dates, times and addresses of places she can go to. She wants to support any movement against poverty in her neighborhood, and needs a tool to help her network through the different organizations. She would like to have one place where she can find locations of food pantries, clothes donation bins, and other places to donate goods.

    Miles is a full-time student. He does not have a job, but instead volunteered his time on campus for two years in student organizations and voter drives. He is about to graduate and wants to transition to a base where he can volunteer in his community instead of on campus. He is interested in politics, currently the stimulus and budget. He wants to know how this money will trickle down to people in Chicago, and how he can help people in need. He wants to read about local news on volunteers, and wants to see many pictures and videos of people like him helping a community in need.

    Tessana is a full-time student and employee. She likes to volunteer, but does not have a lot of time. Some days she has an hour free between class or work when she is stuck in The Loop with nothing to do. She would like to search volunteer opportunities in a specific area where she will be at a time she knows will be free. For obvious reasons, she does not want to get into any strict commitments, and may not be able to attend planned events or gatherings. Her favorite activity is writing on forums and boards where she likes to help solve problems and get advice from others. She is interested in reading stories about how volunteering affects her community.

    All of these people use the internet but only follow the websites they have been introduced to and have social networking tools (instant messages, forums, message boards). They often meet people online first before meeting them in person, or hear about an event online before attending. They have volunteered at school and want to expand their opportunities off campus.

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