Blogs & News Final Project; Stephen Hackett 12.09.2008
Blogs & News Basics: What is a blog? Sounds like a deli sandwich, but I don’t want to eat it. The term “blog” comes from “weblog,” which was first coined in 1997. The shortened version was thought up in 1999. The origins of blogs are rooted in the very earliest form of communication (of non-informational material) on the World Wide Web – Newsgroups. Newsgroups were basically discussion boards that were moderated and grouped by topic. As Newsgroups were at the height of their popularity, some users were branching out and posting personal entries- using the Internet as a daily journal. These sites quickly became more popular than topic-based discussion boards. Justin Hall is widely regarded as the first blogger. These days, blogs abound, and can be easily setup and maintained and be written by just about anyone. Some follow the “online journal” idea, while others are topic-based. Sources: Wikipedia, Highlighted URLs
Blogs & News Question #1: How do you setup a blog? I don’t have a HTML guy. Blogs can be very easily setup. Some sites like Blogger.com or WordPress.com offer users free accounts, storage space, and templates. Users just have to add content- all the hard work is done. For the slightly more adventuresome, there are several platforms users can install on servers and have their own domains. MovableType , Wordpress and Drupal are the most popular. These platforms require some knowledge of HTML, CSS and in some cases PHP, but online documentation is extensive, and most platforms have user-based discussion boards for other issues. The benefit of such platforms is that users can customize the look and feel of their blogs. All blogging platforms offer RSS, commenting, archiving and the ability to edit previously-posted updates. Sources: Wikipedia, Highlighted URLs
Blogs & News Question #2: Is this like social media? Sounds like a party. With code and stuff. In the past five years, “social media” has been shifting the focus away from blogs. Social media is tricky to define, but is characterized by these things: • Mobility • Interaction between writers, readers and users • Multi-media: Photos, videos and more As a general rule, social media is more flexible than blogs- instead of one writer, there are many. The most common examples are Facebook , MySpace and Twitter . The first two allow users to post photos, text and more on their own pages, and comments on others’ pages. Twitter is far simpler: users get 140 characters to update the world on their status, share an interesting link, or respond to someone else's updates, or “tweets.” Micro-blogging for the masses. Sources: Highlighted URLs
Blogs & News Question #3: What Makes a Blog Successful? I don’t wanna read about cats. <ul><li>“ Blog your passion ” has been the keystone of “How to Make Your Blog Successful” tips. </li></ul><ul><li>Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post recently made this point on The Daily Show . </li></ul><ul><li>In the same interview, Huffington said: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogging is not about perfectionism; blogging is about immediacy, transparency and sharing your thoughts like you share them with a friend. Your thoughts are your own, and are very personal, but in the blogosphere, they don’t hear your accent.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ProBlogger.net offers these questions to aspiring bloggers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you could make the same amount of money blogging about any subject, what would it be? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which subjects are you most knowledgeable about? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For the subjects in Question 2, would you blog about any of them even for no financial gain? </li></ul></ul>Source: ProBlogger.net, The Huffington Post
Blogs & News Question #4: How have blogs changed reporting news? Dan Rather via RSS? Source: ProBlogger.net, The Huffington Post CNN.com & nytimes.com uses blogs to collect stories based on topics:
Blogs & News Question #4: How have blogs changed reporting news? Dan Rather via RSS? “ Traditional” news outlets are trying to use the Web, blogging, and social media to dispense news to their readers and viewers. Every major news outlet uses RSS on their home pages, most have Twitter accounts, and most are on Facebook is some way. The drive behind this trend is to meet people where they are- if they are already looking at a RSS Reader or Twitter page, why not have news content?
Blogs & News Question #5: How have blogs changed capturing news? Do they use a net? Sources: Wired Magazine, Highlighted URLs <ul><li>More and more, bloggers have been breaking news stories. </li></ul><ul><li>Wired Magazine in 2002 : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Steve Outing, a senior editor at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, wrote in an e-mail, "What we're seeing more and more are webloggers breaking niche stories, and thus serving as an early warning system for traditional journalists.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This has become more evident with the advent of mobile blogging. During breaking news, people can update their blog (or Twitter account, Facebook status, etc) easily from wherever they are. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to mobile blogging, aggregate blogging is popular- especially on Twitter, which can import RSS feeds and spin them into updates. “ Mumbaiupdates ” on Twitter is a recent example. </li></ul>
Blogs & News Question #6: Do people consider blogs news? Why is Katy Couric inside my Mac? Sources: Student Interviews <ul><li>Do you consider blogs news sources? </li></ul><ul><li>Art student PJ McCormick: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It depends entirely on the blog and the people behind it. If the editors of the blog are credible, experienced, knowledgeable source of information, then yes. For instance, I thrive off of my Lifehacker.com RSS feed, regularly check Cartoonbrew.com, and generally learn something new about design every time I fire up cameronmoll.com. Those are all blogs, but I trust them. There's also a slew of other blogs I check regularly, and they're all run by professionals. </li></ul></ul>
Blogs & News Question #6: Do people consider blogs news? Why is Katy Couric inside my Mac? Sources: Student Interviews <ul><li>Do you consider blogs news sources? </li></ul><ul><li>English student Mary Allen: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not a real source-- if I read about something happening on Twitter I would go read a real news article before believing it were true because of a blog entry. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>English student Seth Holler: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes. I respect the opinions / accounts of 'ordinary' people. And I think there's a lot of accountability in the social web, to keep people from fabricating stories. </li></ul></ul>
Blogs & News Question #7: How is news enhanced by blogs? Like those junk emails…? Sources: Highlighted URL, NPR broadcast <ul><li>Blogs have come along side news to offer behind-the-scenes information, opinion and thoughts that would not be proper to have included in a normal news story. </li></ul><ul><li>One example is NPR’s “ Blog of the Nation ” that runs along side their news program </li></ul><ul><li>“ Talk of the Nation. ” </li></ul><ul><li>For example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All week long we've been struggling with the Plaxico Burress story in our editorial meetings. We know it's something everyone has been talking about, so we'd like to too, but we just can't figure out a way to talk about it that doesn't sound like a conversation we've had a million times before. Fact is... We've had this conversation, about football players behaving badly, quite a few times, and that's why we're having to work so hard to find a new approach. </li></ul></ul>
Blogs & News Question #8: Have mobile devices changed blogging? Is that a blog in your pocket? Sources: Highlighted URL, my iPhone With the release of the iPhone and other smartphones that pack a browser, people can update their sites from anywhere. Wordpress has made news by writing an iPhone application for their suite of blogging software. Partnered with the built-in web browser, bloggers can do their thing without a computer.
Blogs & News Question #9: Is blogging risky? Being at home seems safe enough… Source: Committee to Protect Journalists With the lines between blogging and new coverage blurring, many bloggers find themselves on the front lines of breaking news stories. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists , 125 journalists are in prison around the world. Of those, 45% did the bulk of their reporting online. There are several reasons for this. Some reporters feel safer working online, but the truth is that Internet-based communication can be easily traced. Also, web sites can be easily accessed anywhere by anybody, while the impact of a “traditional” story, such as in a newspaper, is more localized.
Source: Committee to Protect Journalists Source: Committee to Protect Journalists Types of Reporting Jailed Journalist Took Part In Before Being Arrested.
Blogs & News Question #9: Is blogging risky? Being at home seems safe enough… Source: Committee to Protect Journalists <ul><li>CPJ’s Executive Director Joel Simon: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>"The image of the solitary blogger working at home in pajamas may be appealing, but when the knock comes on the door they are alone and vulnerable. All of us must stand up for their rights— from Internet companies to journalists and press freedom groups. The future of journalism is online and we are now in a battle with the enemies of press freedom who are using imprisonment to define the limits of public discourse.” </li></ul></ul>
Blogs & News Question #10: What’s the future of blogging? Surely the Internet’s a fad… Source: Wired Magazine, Dec. 2007 Edition <ul><li>Wired Magazine : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There are more than 100 million active blogs, according to Technorati -- a monumental leap forward from the relative handful of geeks posting online just a few years back. The expanding chorus of voices is shaping what we read and how we read it. Blogs are re-shaping not just news and entertainment, but also publishing, politics and public relations. </li></ul></ul>
Blogs & News Question #10: What’s the future of blogging? Surely the Internet’s a fad… Source: Life Hacker <ul><li>Gina Trapani of Lifehacker.com : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>"Blogs continue to have a bigger and bigger hand in creating and influencing culture. It still surprises me when I see internet memes spread by blogs appear on serious TV news shows.” </li></ul></ul>
Blogs & News The Last Words Source: Interview with Trey Heath <ul><li>Trey Heath, Reporter, Memphis Business Journal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ For the past three years or so, blogging has presented itself as a double-edged sword to the media industry. What side of that edge you may generally fall on usually depends on your temperament towards the Internet as a whole, your age and usually your ideals towards the newspaper industry. General difficulties in the newspaper business, along with the explosion in popularity of blogs, has caused many in the industry to prophesize blogs as the demise of the industry. Although I feel the growth of blogs has certainly hurt newspapers, the harm has not come through the channels most believe, and blogs are certainly not the end to true journalism. The first thing that is important to understand is that the majority of blogs do not generate original content. Most simply take a newspaper article and write some kind of smart-ass analysis thereby attracting readers. Blogs have drawn the ire of many journalists because of their lack of fear for being wrong. For now, very few legal departments pursue running down the author of a random Web site, but that may well change in the near future.” </li></ul></ul>