Online Journalism: Fridays 2009


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

lecture links and additional reading 3-10-09

Our Project
The drop for our Olympic Bid reaction assignment

The Mobile Web
Mobile Data: the next hurdle for journalism
The Mobile Web reaches a critical mass
Last year, cell phone users texted more than they called
Japan’s cell novels
The iPhone gold rush

The Geo-Locational Web
Ushahidi an amazing example of the use of both mobile devices and geo-locational reporting coming out of Kenya.
Everyblock: The gold standard for geolocational journalism
Italy’s earthquake mapped
More earthquake mapping
Going to far? Prop 8 maps
Penguin books maps a novel
Google’s simple-to-follow instructions for creating basic maps.
Strategies for using Google Maps, from the simple to the easy to the very complex.

Also: Reuter’s MoJo (mobile journalism) initiative


Filed under: lecture links, readings

Twitter reports go here

Please put your twitter reports in the comments. Thanks!

Filed under: class stuff

Listening & reading for Friday

We will be joined at the start of class by Jesse Thorn, the creator and host of the podcast and radio show The Sound of Young America. Please visit the show’s archives and listen to at least two shows that look interesting to you. Note when listening that the show is produced out of his home.

Please come to class prepared to ask Jesse questions–we are very lucky to have him with us.

In addition, we’ll be talking about strategies for successful podcasts, as well as the technical ins-and-outs of basic audio editing and podcast publishing. To prepare for that, please read:

Podcasting 101
How to Create Your Own Podcast”
Podcasting in WordPress
Tips for Better Podcasts
Audio Editing with Audacity
BEWARE COPYRIGHT: Legal guide for podcasters

Additional Podcasting Resources
Audacity, a basic but robust free audio editor.
Podcasting with Garageband
Nice tutorial on fading tracks in Audacity
Good basic microphone & interviewing techniques

Audio hosting & podcast feed information
Our Media, a good free site to host your podcast audio. It’s run by the non-profit Internet Archives
This looks like it may offer some more robust Podcasting features in WordPress
Feedburner, a service that allows you to track subscribers to your podcast feed.
How to submit your podcast to iTunes

Filed under: guest speakers, lecture links, tech time

lecture links 3-20-09

Search Engine Optimization
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
Writing for Search Engine Optimization
Creating the Curious/Known combo headline
The worst spelled, most informative explanation of basic SEO you’ll find on the web, with lots of great links

Link Journalism and the Deep Dive
Jay Rosen on the “national explainer” concept
Scott Karp on “link journalism”
Karp’s Publish 2 system

a deep dive example

Copyright and Creative Commons
The mindblowing remixes of Kutiman
The Electronic Frontier Foundation explains copyright issues for bloggers.
Creative Commons Explained.
Creative Commons Search

Filed under: lecture links

Multimedia Journalism examples here please!

Please post your links to great multimedia journalism here.

Filed under: your links

lecture links 3-6-09


Your Twitter Insights, 5 days in.

listening tools
Google Blog Search
Technorati blog search
Twitter search

Google Page Rank & Keywords
Keyword search tool
Page Rank Checker

Comments for your blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

the Site Community Presentation explained

Next week is our first of a few graded check-ins on your site. Driven by our focus on social media and community engagement, it is a check in that’s centered around the audience/community that you hope to reach with your site.

Next week we will have presentations and you will turn in a report. Your report and your presentation should encompass:

presentation & report

Who is the audience you’re targeting?
— what age/gender/etc are they?
— what do they do, both for a living and also for fun?
— what are their hopes/dreams?
— why are they interested in the things they’re interested in?
— where do they go? (both in real life and online)
— why are they a part of the community(ies) they are a part of?
— what will they gain by visiting your site?
Give three specific examples of people, complete with photo documentation. For your written report, write a short profile of each person.

Where is the community that already exists around your site’s topic?
— where do they go online?
— where do they go in the real world?
— what do they do when they’re there?
For both locations, please cite three specific examples of each (both virtual and real), explain the motivation your audience/community has in going to those places, their activities once they are there and what you can learn from these things to apply to your site. For the real-world place, please include photo documentation of your visit there: show us your community “in the wild”.

Who are the influencers in your space?
— identify three people who help to drive interest and people towards other sites, places, and concepts within your topic space
— talk with two of them (this can be a virtual conversation over Twitter, e-mail, or wherever)
— where do they go online? Why do they go there?
— what do they feel are the needs within your space?
— what leads them to recommend certain things?
— why do they believe they’re influencers?
In your report, be prepared to explain why you’ve identified these people as influencers.

Who are your competitors?
— give three specific examples and list their Google PageRank score
— how are you different?
— what are they doing right?
— what are they doing wrong?

What keywords are people searching within your space?
— how can those keywords influence your content?

Bring it all together
With all this information about your audience/community, explain how you will reach them and engage them with your site.
— three specific online examples
— two specific real-world ideas

Your report will be handed in, but please paste a copy in the comments section below. Be sure that every member of your team signs the report.


You will make a number of slides for this presentation. You will upload them to the photo-sharing site Flickr. Flicker will automatically make a slideshow of your photos, though it’ll help if you arrange them in a set so you can reorder them as you see fit. Your slides need to cover:

  1. Intro to your site with a one-sentence description
  2. Your audience defined, with photos
  3. Their community defined, with images of them in the locations you identified
  4. The influencers in your community
  5. Your competition
  6. The keywords around your space
  7. A slide for your conclusion

Your slides can contain as much information as you want (though remember: less is often more, you will be talking along with them), but need to cover these eight points. Link to this slideshow on the class blog.

If you don’t have a good image editor for making slides, check out Picnik, a web-based image editor that’s surprisingly robust (and free!).

Presentation specific notes

–Your group’s presentation should not last longer than 10 minutes, that will leave plenty of time for questions from the class and our panelists.
–Plan your presentation out in advance, and make sure everyone’s practiced it as well. Rambling doesn’t help anyone.
–Be prepared to answer questions with further detail about your site and your strategy.
–Finally, you will end your presentation with a brief look at the site. So, you know, you may want to have some stuff on it, huh?

Filed under: group project

Twitter: 21 days

I said it in class, but I’ll say it again: Twitter is hard to explain. It’s kind of like Facebook’s status update. It’s kind of like IM. It’s sort of like texting on your phone. And it’s a little like a teeny, tiny blog. Plus a bunch of other things. There’s one thing that is true though: It’s a new paradigm for communication and community, and it’s reaching critical mass.

Because of that, we’re going to do a deep dive into Twitter. The thing about Twitter is that it takes a little time to “get it” (and, even more importantly, what that “it” is will be different for each person). As a result, we’re going to follow the “21 days” concept: It takes 21 days of doing something regularly for it to become a habit.

So let’s form Twitter habits:

  • Starting by March 1st, you’ll need to sign up for an account on Twitter.
  • Follow me. My Twitter page is here. I will follow you back.
  • Look at my list of followers–you will quickly see your classmates. Use Twitter Search to find other interesting people to follow (type in keywords of things that you find interesting, for example).
  • You need to post to twitter at least 3 times a day. In addition, you need to @ reply to someone at least twice a day. That’s a MINIMUM of five tweets a day.
  • Follow new people very day
  • Every 3 days, in 140 characters, sum up what you’ve learned and include the hashtag #onlinej09 in your tweet. For example: retweeting can really spread a message quickly #onlinej09
  • Follow your classmates’ revelations by doing a twitter search for that hashtag
  • We’ll have a pretty good list of things we’ve learned on Twitter at the end of this experiment. Plus, you’ll have developed a pretty healthy Twitter habit by then.
  • At the end of our 21 days, write a 500 word summary of your time on Twitter, what you think it’s useful for, and how you see Journalism intersecting with it.

Another great thing about Twitter is that there are any number of ways to access it outside of the homepage. There are some great applications for accessing your tweets, like:

Other applications for discovering people, doing interesting things, and more:
Twitter Grader
(there are an almost countless list of interesting Twitter apps–feel free to link up ones you find in the comments)

Finally, one thing about having only 140 characters is that it makes it hard to paste in a real link. You’re going to need a URL shortener to do so. Personally, I like, but people also use tinyurl and others.

See you on Twitter!

Filed under: class stuff

FTP tutorial

Confused about FTP? Don’t be! But, in case you need some extra hand-holding, I’ve created a tutorial. It’s online right here.

Filed under: tech time

Lecture Links 2-27-09

two stories of social journalism
The story of Ana Marie Cox funding her McCain reporting via Twitter.

Talking Points Memo unleashes the power of the crowd

Amsterdam plane crash interview

social tools for experimentation demoed in class
Delicious: social bookmarking

Digg: social recommendation

Flickr: social photosharing

Twitter: social communications

Filed under: lecture links

RSS what you’re saying: your blogs

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS online journalism news & opinion around the web

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.