Journalists rely on Internet readers’ ideas to gather and present news.

Crowd-Sourcing: communities that come together to provide the value for a given Web site

  • focuses on “community power”
  • a group of committed individuals can outperform a small group of experienced (and paid) professionals
  • individuals help put a story together by giving advice on an investigation or provide data collection
  • reporting based on the work of many, including your readers

“Crowdsourcing works in some situations, but not in others. If there were a jar of gumballs in this room, I’d want everyone’s help in determining how many gumballs were in the jar. If I needed brain surgery, I don’t want anyone in this room to help. No offense.” – David Cohn, Spot.Us

Open-source reporting: using transparency in reporting in order to provide benefit to your audience and possibly acquire benefits from your audience

  • welcomes audience feedback
  • beatblogging: build a social network around a traditional reporting beat, bring the stakeholders on the particular beat together then weave a discussion and see what stakeholders say to one another
  • links “power the web” – they build readership and brings readers back
  • link journalism: using editorial judgement to provide links to other sources of news and information, based on the needs and interests of a particular audience

“A reporter can more deeply penetrate a topic area and discover great new angles and story tips by “listening” to an informed conversation among loyal readers.” – Mark Briggs

Pro-am journalism: allows audience to publish directly to the same platform, that professional journalists uses to publish their news; a “do-it-yourself” movement

  • most unfiltered form of collaborative journalism
  • allows readers to publish their own news of other forms of content
  • readers provide that “what” and journalists provide the “why”

“Everyone is a media outlet.” – Clay Shirky

George Mason University’s Copyright Officer, Claudia Holland, visited our Online Journalism class on Feb. 3, to discuss copyright issues.

Holland said that copyright “secures for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”  Copyright lasts for the lifetime of the author, plus an additional 70 years.

Copyright laws are beneficial to authors and/or inventors, and the general public; authors and/or inventors receive monetary benefits, while the general public receive educational benefits.

Copyright traits include:

  • Expression of an individual’s creativity.
  • Element of originality that does not have to be unique.
  • Fixation.

However, works that are not protected include:

  • Ideas, methods of operations, principles. This means that an individual cannot prove that he/she created an idea.
  • Basic facts v. compilation of facts.
  • Public Domain. For example, government documents belong to the public.
  • Titles, names, short phrases or slogans.
  • Generally, anything published prior to 1923.

Holland also discussed the Doctrine of Fair Use, which allows individuals to use copyrighted materials under certain limitations. Holland listed “Four Fair Use Factors” that help individuals determine if their use is fair use.

The “Four Fair Use Factors” include:

  • Purpose and character of the use. Is the content being used for education, research? Or is it being used to make money?
  • Nature of the work.
  • Amount and substantiality. The rule of thumb is to use 10% of the work. Note, the 10% cannot be the heart/key element of the work!
  • Affect the use of the potential market.

The most important message in Holland’s lesson plan is that one must always give attribution!

Additional Questions for Claudia Holland

  1. Would I have to attribute all 21 images I used for my media pyramid
  2. What common problems have students gotten into regarding following copyright rules?

Holland’s suggested links regarding Fair Use:

Columbia University’s Fair Use Checklist
Fair Use Evaluator

Check this out.

Above is my media pyramid that displays my media consumption.

I spend most of my time on the Internet because it allows me to:

  • Complete homework assignments
  • Stay updated on recent news
  • Connect with friends and family

If I am not on the computer then I am probably driving somewhere. No matter where I go, I always have the radio on. The radio keeps me:

  • Entertained
  • Awake during long morning commutes

Television shows, magazines and television news are bunched up in the middle because I fit them in when I get a chance.

At the very top of my pyramid are Twitter and Facebook. Even though I know a lot of people my age that are addicted to both sites, I cannot get myself to browse Twitter and Facebook for more than 30 minutes.

I’d rather stay connected by giving someone a call or sending a text message!

Blogs are important because they are simple, immediate and interactive.

Three Characteristics of a Blog:

  • Frequently updated with entries displayed in reverse chronological order
  • Each post has a headline and a body
  • Contains a link for comments that let readers post their thoughts on a particular blog

The Usefulness of Blogs:

  • Help develop community with readers or viewers so they can test ideas
  • Receive early and direct feedback
  • Publish or broadcast in the timeliest manner
  • Teach a new content-management system
  • Build an audience for your writing or reporting
  • Cultivate a collaborative community once you have an audience

How to Create a Blog:

Ask Yourself These Questions When Creating A Blog:

  • What will you name your blog? (1-3 words)
  • What is a good short description or catchphrase for your blog?
  • What will you write about in your blog? What is its mission (2-3 sentences)

How to Build an Audience for Your Blog:

  • Know what readers want.
  • Organize your ideas. All posts should complement your primary idea.
  • Be direct. Use simple, declarative sentences.
  • Be the authority, with a personality. The right voice is key.
  • Edit. Allow 15 minutes of editing time before publishing a post.
  • Make posts scanable. Use different typographical techniques.
  • Link, summarize and analyze. Attribution is very important!
  • Be specific with headlines.
  • Use photos and screenshots.

Bloggers should also post approximately once a day and participate in a blogging community by reading, commenting and linking to other blogs.

Briggs breaks down basic Web concepts so that we can maximize and take advantage of all the information the Web offers.

Key ideas:

  • Internet is not synonymous with World Wide Web.
    Internet: a network of connected computers that share information.
    Web: a way of accessing information through the network.
  • RSS is a quick and efficient tool in obtaining information based on your personal interests.
  • HTML, CSS and XML are markup languages that control how information is displayed and distributed on the Web.
  • XML is a complement for HTML.

HTML Tutorial:

Key terms:

  • Web server: a special type of computer that stores and distributes information over the Internet
  • URL (Uniform Research Locator) or Web address: identifies which information to retrieve
  • IP address (International Protocol): a unique, numeric identity of a Web-server location
  • RSS (Real Simple Syndication): enables you to subscribe to any information feed that gets delivered directing to an RSS reader or Web browser
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol): a simple process for moving big files that e-mail cannot handle
  • HTML codes: tell a Web browser how to display the text and where to include the graphics, audio or video
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): enables you to edit, modify and troubleshoot existing Web pages and designs
  • XML (Extensible Markup Language): uses tags to describe what data is

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