Mark Potts, journalist and digital pioneer, visited our class this afternoon to share his opinions about online journalism.

“We have not fully taken advantage of what the medium can give us on the Internet or Web,” Potts said.

One way we can take advantage of the Internet is by the use of “crowd-sourcing.” Crowd-sourcing is a way of interacting with audiences to learn about new stories so that journalists can cover them with a different angle.

Another way of taking advantage of the Internet is by turning to Wikipedia. Potts said that Wikipedia is a fantastic news site in which the general public can turn to to see amazing collections of stories that are compiled by journalist citizens.

Below are a few sites that Potts mentioned and expressed his feelings about.

Baristanet + other hyper local sites

  • “A very interesting model for trying to get news back into the neighborhood.”


  • “It’s so local that it’s only important to a couple thousand people… If you live there, then it’s going to be important to you.”


  • “Do what you do, and link to the best.”
  • “People blogging about the community generally do not do it for the money… It’s a very different motivation. It’s not about money, but they do it for the respect of their community.”

Five Thirty Eight Blog + Computational Journalism

  • Nate Silver, the creator of FiveThirtyEight, a blog about election forecasts for the New York Times, “went from zero to being a Top 20 news site in 6 months!”
  • Analyzing available data can turn into a great story


  • “What he [Julian Assange] is doing is very much journalistic… What he did and what the Pentagon Papers did in the 70s was almost exactly the same. You got a whole pile of documents and decided what to make public. You make not like what he decided to make public, but you might not like what the New York Times makes public either.”


  • Twitter is too much noise. It’s nothing but noise… There’s no business model for that at all. I tweet for publicity – that’s the only reason… You find that Twitter burnout is unbelievable… I want good signal, I don’t want a lot of noise.”


  • The most important tool in the last 5 years is not Twitter, but it’s a phone. No questions asked.”

Sites to Visit

  • Tubeify: a music program that uses the Billboards database – look at the Billboards charts and travel through time with music
  • Google Flu Trends: Google searches for flu-related words (cough, sneeze) and puts the data on a map of the world
  • Newsmap: kind of like a tag cloud; story titles are color-coded by type and size (depending on how important the story is)
  • Map of the Market: a map of how stocks are doing at a very quick glance