Thursday, December 9, 2010

Allegedly Ethical

Chelsea Handler, The View and a bevy of other television shows have recently landed on a disturbing habit: Using the term "allegedly" simply to cover their bases.

This is my point: When someone watches any of these shows and hears a celebrity is "allegedly" this or that, people will start to tune it out.  Allegedly is no longer used on television to make sure that nothing is proven, it is used to make sure they don't run into a lawsuit. 

Don't get me wrong, I love Chelsea Handler and all of those celebrity talk shows, but I recently ran into another clip from the View in which they are discussing the sexuality of church ministers and used the term allegedly as an afterthought.  After stating "And he is gay," Whoopie Goldberg later emphasized "allegedly," more or less defeating the purpose of the word.

So be ethical and make sure people know that "allegedly" needs to be used ethically.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How Journalism needs to market itself

I went out and found a couple articles discussing what the journalism industry can do to better market itself to consumers.  Read the articles and check out my summary, let me know what you think!

     The article describes the importance of using social media and enabling user-created content for newspaper websites, and how doing so has proven to be a powerful market awareness tool.  One website, used as an example in the article, which has seen website traffic "rise 15 to 20 percent," an impressive statistic noting the current decline of newspaper profits.  When a newspaper receives more traffic, advertisers are more likely to place ads in the paper, thus adding incoming cash flows. 
     In class, we discussed the importance of market recognition and how, generally, more recognition is better.  Say, for instance, that The New York Times online implemented a social-media section, and the name was to grow in popularity among the "facebook users," the company would be more highly recognized and it is likely that newspaper sales could increase as an effect.

     The Internet if full of news websites.  So full, in fact, that creating a serious segment of penetration within the online news market is extremely difficult.  According to this article, however, it is easier for established newspapers to grab hold of online readers, and the increase in market penetration has helped awareness among readers.
     Market penetration, as discussed in marketing classes, is achieved primarily through more aggressive marketing mixes, which is what many newspapers are doing by changing the place distribution methods of their articles (moving online) as well as price decision changes (giving news away for free).

     This article states the main point that a newspapers target group “feels it simply can’t live without a newspaper.”  And this is true, but the definition of newspaper is changing.  A newspaper without an online source for video and audio doomed to fall behind the rapidly evolving industry. 
     To me, this represents a blend of market penetration as well as market development.  While the newspaper industry is looking to involve a more diverse, new market, they are trying to pay attention to the core consumers who drive the industry and incorporate them into a new marketing strategy.

     While newspapers are lacking in ad revenue, it is still important for companies advertising in these outlets to reach their consumers.  An ad for Chrysler ran in an Canadian newspaper promoting a discount for Chrysler employees, but the deal was actually available to any customer.  Many found this to be “convoluted” and misleading, which a company is never looking for.
     This is an example of the importance of defining marketing strategies for new promotions.  Why would a company advertise that a sale if available for a select few when it could be more successful advertising to the whole applicable consumer group?

     Advertorials have become a common occurrence in today’s magazine media.  Advertorials are ads that run almost incognito as an article written by authors of the publication.  These ads, however, are written by the company being advertised.  The ethical implications of such issues are obvious.  The article states, however, that these ads are less intrusive on the reader, and therefore positive for magazines.  For this reason, many companies are leaving the burden of the ad for the publication due to the intense need for ad revenue.
     In class we discussed the ethics of advertorials.  I agree with this article in that advertorials are a good way for a company to reach a target audience, but leaving the burden of advertising on publications raises serious journalistic ethics questions.  Should advertising and promotion be combined with truthfulness and honesty?  Many think it is an impossibility.

US to hold Press Freedom Day in 2011 after praising England's arrest of Wikileaks president


Bittersweet, it would seem, that the US was selected by the United Nations to host next year's annual Press Freedom Day during one of the most polarized press freedom discussions in recent history.

Founder of the website Wikileaks, Julian Assange, was arrested in England and jailed, according to an article in The Daily Caller, due to sexual assault charges and a warrant issued by Swedish authorities.  We all know, however, of the recent allegations against Assange and the fears that he is committing espionage by releasing classified information.

A CBS News article noted Sen. Joe Lieberman as taking a drastic stand: if wikileaks broke espionage law, so has the New York Times.  Now we have a problem.

Where is the line?  The New York Times has had a solid reputation throughout its existence and has even admittedly held stories from the paper in order to protect US citizens.  Wikileaks, however is nothing more than a blog ran by a guy who is way to into his own power and far too willing to endanger the United States.  Wikileaks is not news, it is not press, it is simply vanity.

In the short of it, do not pull the New York Times into a serious espionage investigation.  It simply does not make sense.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Josh McDaniels and The Internet

It's no question that now ex-head coach of the Denver Broncos, Josh McDaniels, made recent mistakes, including the taping of previous games and what many have called poor sportsmanship. Because of this, fans called for his resignation, holding signs at games encouraging the investors to fire the coach.

This evening, McDaniels was officially fired, and the response was mixed.  Some said it was about time, others were shocked that the team decided to make such a costly financial decision.  But the most impressive thing about this story is the speed at which the news spread.

Within 30 minutes of the ESPN story being posted on the website, the term "McDaniels" was trending worldwide on Twitter and a facebook post on the Denver Broncos profile had reached over 2,000 "likes."  It is becoming apparent that if you are logged on to the internet, you are likely to run into a breaking news story that will may become huge news the next day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The AP Stylebook and New Editions: A Necessary Nuisance

     Every year, out friends at the Associated Press decide that new rules need to be applied, and thus, that we all must purchase, or at the least pay attention to, the newest version.  At nearly $25 per edition, the costs can add up on a tight budget, which is a factor for many journalists these days.  Each edition contains minimal changes, but yet these changes are large enough that most of the industry pays attention.

     This years edition, however, contains some of the most important changes in recent memory: the addition of the social media guidelines section.

Website: Now that looks better
     According to a press release on the AP Website, the style book has changed the term "Web site" to now be "website" due to increased usage of this version in print as well as online.  This is a welcome change, as the separated version of the word tended to stick out in professional pieces due to constant misuse.
     A skeptic and/or someone outside of the realm of journalism would say, "Isn't this just a word?"  But to those of us in the know, it may meen something more significant.  The AP Stylebook is the go-to bible for writers and has stood highly as a "this is how it is" type of organization.  But the overuse of a word spelled incorrectly forced AP to change their tone.  This is just something to think about.

Twitter is not a substitute
     Another important addition to the 2010 AP Stylebook is the discussion of twitter.  It makes this one important point: Twitter is a great way to find sources, stay in contact with those sources, and even find story leads.  But this is in no way to act as a substitute to real journalistic work.  It is still as ever important to make those cold calls, to ring the doorbell, and to otherwise search for stories on your own.

     It can become very easy to take the easy way and find interviews through impersonal contact, but think about it this way.  The initial conversation with your source is extremely important: it is a chance to let the source know you are looking to speak with them, a way to introduce yourself, and a way to set a tone for the interview.  If a person reads your intentions on a screen, they are more likely to decode the message incorrectly.

     So remember, the internet is truly changing the way journalists work, but it is in no way a substitue to true, satisfying journalism.  Watch for the changes within the AP Stylebook, because it is a great answer for most of your online questions.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Holiday Gaming: Fallout VS. Fable

Ahh holiday gaming.  Its a splendid time of year, when hundreds of games enter the market to be sold to willing customers.  But which are the ones to focus on this season?  Here are two of the most popular thus far.  Be sure to listen to my audio commentary on both games. 

Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout: New Vegas is the sequel to the highly popular "Fallout" franchise which originally debuted in the PC Game era.  The game is a gritty and realistic look at what life could be like after nuclear fallout, and the dangerous life that comes along with it.  The environments are beautiful in their bleakness and destruction, but nothing compares to the reimagined strip of Las Vegas, now called New Vegas.  The world is divided and resources are scarse as competing factions battle over the last beacon of hope and civility, the Hoover Dam.  Be sure to watch the video and bet excited to enter into the world of Fallout for another amazing adventure. Find out more at

Fable 3
Fable 3 is exclusive to Xbox 360, but it may however change how people view the series as a whole.  Fable 2 was infamous in its failure to deliver on what the customers wanted, but Fable 3 is right on track to changing that image.  The updated graphics give way to more immersion and detail, while the game mechanics themselves have been dumb-downed to be more reasonable for some new gamers in the market.  The story follows the previous games stories, but Fable 3 continues into the fantasy world of kings and peasants.  Grab a hold of the $60 game and $60 controller for the full experience. Find out more about Fable 3 at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Journalism and Twitter: Watch what you say

     Twitter is slowly changing professional journalism, but that change comes at a price: It is threat to a journalist’s credibility. Some television pundits, such as Rick Sanchez of CNN, have even made tweets an essential part of their programming, but not every journalist has had as much success.

Dissemination of False Information

     The process in which twitter operates lends way to gross misinformation, which can be, and is, read by other members of the twitter community.
     Twitter features a “trending topics” section of its website, which shows the top 10 topics that users are tweeting about around the world. If an important story breaks, it is common to appear as a trend on the homepage. Users can then read any tweet mentioning the event, regardless if the facts or correct or not.
     “I read trending tweets almost all day,” said senior English major Katie Bolger, 22. “I never really think of checking what is right and what is wrong. I just read [the tweet] and move on.”
     Take, for instance, reporter Mike Wise, who according to the New York Times, stated false information about quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension from the NFL. Roethlisberger was suspended for six games, instead of what Wise reported to be as five. The tweet, he said, was to test how fast false information would be distributed on the internet. Wise was suspended for one month from his job at the Washington Times.
     This quick dissemination of false information is a growing threat to a journalist’s credibility. When false information has the ability to spread so quickly through the Internet, few will spend time checking those facts are indeed true. If a journalist is caught, even for typo, it may be too late to refute what was written.

Keeping Credibility

     Twitter was originally designed for personal and social use, not professional use. The framework for the site was built on simplicity, allowing users to upload tweets rapidly. This allows little time to reflect on what the post, or tweet, is really expressing.
     This was the case for Octavia Nasr of CNN who posted what some viewed as pro-terrorist thoughts, according to an article in the New York Times. Nasr was born in Lebanon and expressed her connections with the nation and explained the post, but it seemed to be in vein. Although she was chief editor the middle-east news, she was promptly let go from her position.
     Junior natural science major Sean Gilmore, 20, said, “I see a lot of news guys on twitter now, and I can’t believe what they post. It’s like they forgot how to spell or something.”
     Senior heating, ventilation and air conditioning student Tyler Pohl quit following journalists after he read one tweet by Rick Sanchez. “It had slang, like ‘ain’t’ and ‘go get ‘em,’” he said. “I don’t want to read anything like that, ever.”

No Journalist is Safe

     Australian freelance technology journalist Adam Turner posted a tweet about his personal beliefs concerning a candidate for an election, according the newspaper “The Australian.” Many reprimanded him for bias, even though politics was in no way related to his field of interest.
     Turner was embarrassed, saying the explicative tweet was an “embarrassing mistake,” even though he is not a well known journalist.
     Journalists will need to keep track of their twitter activity to make sure the credibility they built up in their career stays with them. One tweet and they can find themselves without a career.

Here is a quick rundown of Nasr's and Wise's stories

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oops, I Twooted.

No, people, this is not a joke.

I was sitting in class today, discussing my idea for a future blog spectacular about why journalists need to understand Titter, I was informed by Kim Spencer of a new term: Twoot.

Now this caused some uproar for a few minutes for a few reasons. One, is the obvious. It sounds like toot. But upon deeper inspection, I have found that the term "Twoot" describes a tweet which is positive and celebratory of an event. The Urban Dictionary defines the term as such:

An interjection used to express happiness or joy about something announced through Twitter. It is a portmanteau of the words "Tweet" and "Woot/W00t".

An example of such a twoot may be: "OMG I totes asked Jim out and he said YES!  Woot/Twoot!"

As you can probably tell, this started a wave of google searches for new, unheard of names for certain types of tweets.  They include the "Dweet," or drunk tweet, "Mistweet," when a tweet is sent to the wrong person, and of course, the "Lweet," or love message.  If you need to catch up on your twitter vocabulary, check this article for a 66-word list of terms you need a journalist.

As is obvious from and article in the Washington Times, AP style has declared the use of the terms Twitter and Tweet acceptable for use in journalistic works.  Where do we draw the line people?

I refuse to Twoot all over my stories, period.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The web is not equal

Not everything in the interent is as good as everyone says it is.  Some sites are built well, others not so much.  With such a large variety of news outlet sources on the Web, it is important to have a well designed and fun website to get readers to believe what you have to say.  Remember, it is common for people to subconsciously believe that better design means more credibility.  Here are two sites I have looked at in depth, and is one of the internet’s powerhouse blogs when it comes to news aggregation.  The site was created by TV host and info-geek Kevin Rose who left television after digg became such a huge internet phenomenon.  The original concept of the site was to gather RSS feeds of news sites such as the and  The site would put the stories up and users would vote the story up or down, in order to filter the most relevant news stories.  This concept of “digging” has been removed from the new version, opting to exclude the option to bury, or vote down, a story. 
                  The sites general function is obviously simple.  The main news stories are listed in the center of the page with the number of “diggs,” or up-votes, displayed next to the headline.  Each blurb also contains a small photo for nearly every story.  The simple white background and blue text is easily readable, using sans-serif as per the general guideline for online blogs.  The top digged sites are listed on the right of the screen, easily accessible from the home page.  Since each story is listed almost as soon as it is posted on the host site, the timeliness is unmatched.  The newsworthiness of each story is immediately apparent since each user votes for its popularity.  This can cause issues, however, when trying to find hard news stories.  Commonly, stories will appear that cover things such as video game glitches, a list of south park celebrity appearances, and the like.   
                  This, however, is what is commonly read on the Internet; small, to the point stories that grab the reader’s attention.  It is common that visitors will only read the one to two sentence blurbs that don the homepage.  This is why digg is such a success.  What’s more, when a user clicks on the link on the homepage, they are taken directly to the original source for the story.  The best feature, however, is that anyone can add their link to the list.  Each user is allowed only one digg per site, but it’s a great way to get your blog onto another search engine.

The NY Times has had a stunning reputation as one of the best news media outlets throughout history.  Recently, however, I have become uncomfortable with the layout of the newspapers webpage.  I can see what they designers were going for – a newspaper that you can read on your computer.  The articles are squished together in discontinuous square sections that, quite frankly, are becoming too cluttered. 
                  The left sidebar contains more than 50 links to different sections of the website, which include sections for world news as well as cartoons, blogs, and 5 different ways to view the news which NY Times has to offer (machine, reader, skimmer, wire).  From there moving right, there is a hodgepodge of stories that are ill matched to one and another that make it hard even to decide which headline to read let alone click to read the full story.  Therefore I have to state that, in my experience, the NY Times homepage has limited continuity and readability.  The page has limited amounts of graphics and color, opting for the full-text look instead of flashy, “come read this” news promotion.  The links (mostly headlines) are blue, which is easy to read and stands out just enough.  Once you click a headline, however, the pages with stories are much more fluid and much more readable.
                  Although the site has minimal options to verify facts in each story, the NY Times is known for accurate reporting and can be considered a primary internet news source.  Although news stories are not updated without refreshing the page, they are updated daily, causing the home page to change fairly constantly, which works well with the importance of timeliness in online news.  The stories are relevant to most readers since such a wide variety of them are offered to the reader.  So although the site itself is not the best design I have seen on the web, it is still a great source for news as it has (almost) always been in the past.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lacey Markle and her twin, Daniel

For my online journalism class, we were assigned to interview a fellow classmate to practice basic video and audio editing skills, which turned out to be a great lesson in the ins and outs of iMovie.  I was lucky enough to work with Lacey Markle who is introduced in the video.

So, take the time and meet fellow online journalist Lacey Markle and her twin brother, Daniel.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Journalism and Money

None of use choose to work in journalism for the money.  Quite frankly, there is hardly enough to go around as is.  I came across three different articles that discuss what to do with what resources we have as well as who to reach to for a helping hand.  Gathering financial help, however, is almost always going to lead you into trouble.  This is the argument of the first article.

"Journalism Needs Government Help"

Click here for full article
     The journalism industry is facing its most dire financial issues than it has ever in the past.  With advertisement revenue declining rapidly, profits take the same hit.  Add to this the fact that very few US citizens actually pay for the news they read.  For this reason, the article proposes the use of government funding to help stem the crisis.  The article proposes, however, that the use of such funding would ultimately lead to bias and unfair reporting when covering state issues.  
     As the article states, “American journalism is not just the product of the free market, but of a hybrid system of private enterprise and public support,” which is a volatile market in which to be based.  In general, this article states the importance of finding a stable financial market in which to operate.  This underscores the importance of finding a solid financial plan, one that is both necessary and proactive for the Journalism industry.

"Newspapers finish 14th-straight revenue-losing quarter"

Click here for full article
     The article begins explaining the increase in profits against a loss of revenue for the Journalism industry.  It poses the question, with no further growth visible in the future, what are journalists to do in order to fix the balance sheet?  Since the last few quarters have shown “double-digit” decline in advertising revenue, most are calling for a “moderate improvement in decline.”  This is most likely due to the companies’ financial statements, and how they prove what a company can accomplish based on modern trends.  
     It shows that while modern newspaper revenue is down, online news revenue is increasing.  So, if journalism wants to keep up with modern financial trends, they may have to retool their general practices and move into the modern, online profit-making industry.

"Losing the News Examines Journalism's Shifting Future"

Click here for full article
As the article starts, the first statement says, “It’s no secret the news business is in great turmoil.”  It supports this by discussing the decline in advertising revenue (a common complaint among all articles) as well as mass layoffs and an “uncertain future.”  The basis of the dialogue from a PBS Newshour segment explains how it was merely a situational effect; that there was no financial mishap at all.  The industry simply must bounce from technological change as well as a massive difference in how the industry can and should be run.  And this can happen through, as the article calls it, “pin-pointing an economic model.”  This model will take shape when the economy begins to build back its previous condition.  Once it does, the media has an open door to start charging for online content, increasing newspaper distribution, and increasing what is that that makes journalism “good” for the public. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just tweet it.

As the semester started here at Colorado State University, I was in the routine of picking up another fresh copy of the updated Associated Press stylebook (2010) and noticed something different in the index:

"Social Media Guidelines"

Now, the Associated Press has updated their how-to bible to include "guidelines" on how to report what you find on the internet, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social site.  This only proves the point that real-time internet is a serious source for bloggers and reporters alike.

Although the section states, "Social networks should never be used as a reporting shortcut," it also says that any questions you have that are partially or wholly answered by tweets are not a good source, but, "The tweet might also be worth reporting."

The following video, found on the Reporter Central YouTube Channel, explains briefly how Twitter works, what is important, and how to use related tools to narrow in on a topic:

Particularly, if you are interested in using social media in your reporting, download the TweetDeck application.  You can download TweetDeck here, and be sure to watch the video again.  It explains smart ways to use the advanced features of the program.

If you are not already on social networking sites (and many of you are selective on which to use), join them!  I can admit that I instated a personal boycott of Twitter for nearly a year, but unfortunately I had to succumb and join up.  It's your time to do so as well.

And don't forget, follow me on Twitter @OneManMedia! I'm addicted to my followers now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Pace of Change

I am what is known as a "super-senior" at Colorado State University. That is, I am in my fifth year of my undergraduate program. In the time that I have spent here, I have seen a dramatic alteration in the methods and tribulations facing the industry.

In Fall of 2006 when I began my studies, the number of media outlets was increasing, yet the number of stories were staying constant. More coverage of a single issue was being viewed as a positive change; that is, more people were caring about the news.

According to, trends in 2006 were focused around how media was going to incorporate itself into the technological evolutions happening to major nations, but was mostly viewed as an exciting adventure. The website lists a major trend during the year, stating, "Traditional media do appear to be moving toward technological innovation — finally." The whole list of trends can be found at

CSU graduate Allison Sherry is featured in a promotional video for the university's program, where she states the importance of being educated in online technologies:

"Learn how to Twitter, learn how to blog," Sherry says.

This is, quite literally, the extent of my journalism career thus far. I have created blogs, my Twitter account is picking up speed quickly (follow me here), and I am constantly linking my profiles with professional social networking sites. My hope is to have a solid online journalism portfolio to present to future employers in order to prove my dedication to this profession.

There's nothing like uncertainty.

The media climate is changing faster than it ever has in the past.  The evolution of social media has altered nearly every industry.  Marketing practices have changed, leaving behind the methods of the past and looking to future, wondering how to keep up with the constantly changing technological landscape.  

Media outlets have found themselves in the midst of this global social change.  The media has always been the primary source of information.  That, however, is no longer the case.  The world itself has become the media.  Everyone can contribute to the information landscape, even if he or she is ill-informed, and it is likely someone else will read what is posted.  Facebook news feeds have become fact, many times more popular than an actual "news feed" from a news media outlet, and twitter's 140-character limit has made detail obsolete.  

This video, titled "Did you know," outlines the speed at which the world is evolving after the advent of the computer.  What it explains may put the whole media issue into perspective:

Naturally, as a journalism student on my way toward graduation, I am constantly thinking not only about what I can do to make myself stand out in the job-seeking workforce, but also what I can do to change the seemingly already decided fate of news journalism.

This blog will chronicle my journey towards a future career in journalism, no matter how bleek the outlook may look.  Included in the months to come are:
  • Joining a campus newspaper
  • Searching for an internship
  • Facts and tips learned from classes at Colorado State University
  • The job search
  • Ethical dilemmas
  • Relevant news stories
  • General observations
Thanks for reading and keep checking back for updates weekly!