Archive for the ‘Online Journalism’ Category

DIY Media For Journalism

April 20, 2009

When talking about the online journalism, we cannot neglect the importance of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 became notable after the first O’Reily Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. It was caused by the movement to the Internet as platform and based on network effects created by‘architecture of participation’. It is a social phenomenon aiming to enhance the creativity and functionality of the web.

Significantly, Web 2.0 promotes the changing attitudes and improved freedom of sharing and re-uses information.  There is an increasingly “DIY media” in an automated age. Once people participate in the activity, they could become experts through their involvement. Web 2.0 reflects the shift from HTML to XML, which allows individuals to extend the hunting-and-gathering abilities via Internet. Compared with HTML, XML focuses more on content rather than formatting and it leads to easily transferred and indexed information. “DIY media” has spread widely over the traditional media.

These DIY culture and User-generated content media has huge influence on both ordinary people and professional journalists.

Firstly, YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. People could broadcast themselves to the whole world and develop their own audience. Meanwhile, if you are interested with other videos, you can communicate with users about shared interests. (YouTube Website) YouTube provides chances for expressing yourselves through video. Further more, it is also a social networking tool to meet new people and be part of a community.

Secondly, Facebook makes possible for a group of people who want to enjoy a more open and connected world. Millions of people keep in touch with friends through Facebook. They could write diaries, upload daily photos, and share links and videos, and join different groups.  

Within a group, users are able to start a conversation to discuss the issues. In addition, users could express opinions in the diaries and readers could comment on them just as the blog. With functions of uploading photos and videos as YouTube and Flickr, users are constantly interacting with User-Generated Content (UGC). To some extent, Facebook is bringing web 2.0 mainstream. It is educating mass to understand what web 2.0 technologies are.

The most typical latest example of the influence of Web 2.0 and DIY media is the victory of Barack Obama. The most famous one is Chris Hughes, who is one of the co-founders of Facebook.

Obama set up his personal brand through web 2.0 and DIY media, and spread it to the whole country, even the world. Obama is popular in the virtual community such as Facebook with more than 2 million friends. According to demographic segment, his team mainly targets people age from 18 to 25.  By comparison, the figure of McCain is only 560,000. Another statistics shows that on YouTube, videos related to Obama’s campaign have been viewed 92 million times, more than triple the times of McCain. Just in one week, Obama’s team uploaded 70 videos. A speech video about race made by Obama has been watched 5 million times since March. Democratic strategist Joe Trippi said, “ The networks would never give the president that much television time each week, but the press is still going to have to cover what he says on YouTube.”

781Another Web 2.0 communicate tool is Twitter. It is a service that allow people to post short updates (max 140 characters) about what they are doing. People could follow each other’s status.

Though it is really simple, journalists are thinking about how to use it in a professional way, as a tool to report the latest news to readers and ask for help from contacts and sources.

Twitter could be used for newsgathering. The more people you follow on, the more chances you may get the useful content.  Twitter was used in the Sichuan earthquake in China and the terrorist in Mumbai. The Labour Party and conservatives both have their own Twitter accounts.

In order to use Twitter better, users could use Twits Like Me to fine people who have similar interests. Tweetscan is for searching key words. Twitterlocal could help you to find twitter in your local area.

In addition, Twitter is a platform for news publishing, distribution and creation. Many newspapers have separate Twitter accounts for different sections, such as business, traffic and sports.

Here is A guide about how to use Twitter , and  a list of ten Twitter users that journalism student could follow.

10 things could do on Twitter

  1. What you are doing right now
  2. What you will be doing later
  3. A useful link you‘ve found
  4. Retweet something interesting someone else has tweeted
  5. Something you’ve done
  6. Something you’ve seen
  7. A message to someone else on Twitter
  8. A quote
  9. A question
  10. A call for assistance 

         (Written by Paul Bradshaw)

Last, here is a video project I made for multimedia journalism course about Facebook



Online Journalism

April 19, 2009

3A large amount of traditional media has already figured out how to do journalism online. They operate the news website and allow journalists to write blog for supporting website.


Online journalism makes possible to update news continuously. A single news website could post hundreds of latest information on news stories minute by minute. Particularly for breaking news such as Gaza Crisis. Readers could know the news through the front page of newspaper, and then they could follow the latest results of Egypt and Syria negotiations with Hamas, the decision of the United Nations and the amount of death people on the news website.


Moreover, online journalism allows readers to interact with news stories. They could make comments on the news immediately or exchange opinions with others through message boards. In the Guardian’s newsUnlimited site, readers could start a debate about certain issue. The site provides links of other evidence and conclusions arguing by both sides of the debate.


Journalists always summery the news on the limited space of newspaper, but they could provide more background and details of the news story on news website or their blog. As a multimedia platform, news website also can offer a variety of pictures and videos. People can hear the interview while reading the report.


The Iraq War began at 2003 was a time for many journalists to report it online. In Britain, there were about 4.5 million readers click the Guardian newspaper’s website at the first day of the war. The statistics from Hitwise research reflect that the leading online newspaper website was the Guardian’s site with 7.26 per cent share of the market. It was followed by of 5.17 per cent.


Some traditional journalists start their blog reporting as well. Not all the information from the Internet were reliable, news-oriented blogs which consist of participatory reporting, commentary and news analysis  were receiving a high attention.  Kevin Sites, a journalist of CNN, apart from his television reports, wrote ‘behind the scenes’ features on CNN website. At this blog, he published his personal commentary, his witness of the day, and with photos and audio. Similarly, MSNBC started blog reporting. One of the blog producers Joan Connell said “It can be used to great effect in reporting an unfolding story and keeping readers informed”, and “MSNBC’s blog is edited. Our editors scrutinize our blog for accuracy, fairness and balance, just as they would any news story”.


On the one hand, online journalism needs to be revised further more. The rules developedn from tradtional media may be not appropriate for the Internet. On the other hand, it should be noticed that the online journalism expands the quality, range and choice of entertainment and information for the ordinary people. They could control the media content rather than passive receive as before. More competition will be put on the tradional journalists, because their readers and audience are able to select the suitable news.

Citizen Journalists VS Traditional Journalists

April 18, 2009

With theorists of mass media regard news as unsatisfactory and the wide application of the internet and blog, some argue that bloggers and citizen journalists could generally replace journalists in the production of news.

However, though the use of blog has dramatic influence on news, it still cannot totally replace professional journalists.


The most significant point that blogger cannot replace journalists is the content of the news stories. Most bloggers do not report news on their own, while they usually write comment based on the  news produced by professional journalists. There are five basic factors of news, namely, what, where, when, who, and why. It is impossible for bloggers to cover all the five factors in their articles.


Take the Hudson airplane event as an example. In this breaking news, citizen journalists(eye-witness) could post where(Hudson), when(the time of the accident) and who(pilot and passengers) immediately through blog or Twitter.  Nevertheless, when the news moves to a part of ‘News Analysis’, it is difficult for citizen journalists to answer the question of how and why. By contrast, professional journalists have chances to attend press release and interview the officials from airline company, read related reports, and interview participants. Then, journalists can finish a completed  news story.


News are data. Citizen journalists may have opportunity to be in the right place at right time and provide raw data. However, this is not enough. News analysis requires historical, theoretical, economic, political and sociological knowledge.


Moreover, the style of writing between bloggers and journalists is different. Plenty of blogs is a platform for bloggers to deliver with opinion. But express personal thoughts is not the same as objective news reporting.


Compared with the unexpectedness of breaking news, predictability is an essential skill of reporting news. Journalists could know some newsworthy events will happen at a particular time and place, in order to prepare for the equipment and report it in real time. Professional journalists always write diary to record predictable news, such as political issues ( American election, G20 meeting), social and sporting occasions ( the Nobel price-giving, the Olympic Games). Some institutional sources of news are from the bureaucratic organisations. 


Another advantage of journalists is expertise.  Journalist who have worked for the largest news organisations several years, gained lots of writing and interview experiences. Therefore, no matter it is an international news or a local story, they could report it in a high quality because they know the subject. Meanwhile, the job of editors in the news organisations is also necessary. The accuracy of the news is guaranteed. Journalists and editors are applying the same principles, write in an objective and impartiality way, avoid inappropriate pictures and illegal information.Impartiality and 99objectivity are proposed as the result of the journalists’ expensive education and professional training.


One sense of professionalism is someone who earns their living from an occupation. Journalists get paid from their writing. On the contrary, many of bloggers could take both roles of consumers and producers of news. On the one side, bloggers may become citizen or accidental journalists  in certain circumstances to provide information others cannot. On the other side, blogger will not regard journalist as an occupation and earn money.


Nevertheless, the point must be noticed is that the internet and blog help journalists to improve their work. Being  professional in the 21st century, journalists should have the ability to work for alternative press and the internet. At the same time, they should be able to write in opinion-driven formats especially for blog. Bloggers and citizen journalists supplement the work of professional journalists.

Citizen Journalism

April 13, 2009


Citizen Journalism

In the 21st century,with the wide application of technology and Internet, there is a dramatic revolution happens in news industry. 

Different from traditional media, audience are seemingly passive receive and consume news and information. By contrast, new technologies such as blogs, news sits, and social networking environment, enable users to become creators and active manipulators and texts. An increasingly number of people set up their own blog, where individuals could post any material they gathered with their interpretation of the news story. 

On e typical example of citizen journalism is the London bombings. On that day, for many Londoners, the effective way to know about the attacks was the internet. The BBC News was almost the first to report this break news online. Many BBC reporters wrote their observations in blog titled: The BBC’s ‘Reporters’ Log: London Explosions. Also, online spaces were created for ordinary citizens who witness the scene. In the BBC News website, citizens could send their experiences and photos to the page ‘London explosions: your accounts’, by asking ‘Did you witness the terrorist attacks in London? How have the explosions affected you?’ BBC received over 1,000 pictures, 20 pieces of video, 4,000 messages and 20,000 emails. Though some of them are just general comment, many are first-hand evidence and materials. The significance of citizen journalism is that ordinary people are able to report their stories online. It can not be done in television or newspaper.

CNN has officially launched the citizen journalism site called  iReport. It is part of an ongoing effort from CNN to integrate user-generated content both online and in the news network’s on-air coverage. According to the company, they’ve already received 100,000 video, photo, and text submissions since first launching iReport on in 2006.

Music Journalism

March 23, 2009

gallery-prf-11831275641Music, in the form of music video, documentaries, studio-based programmes and live events has grown exponentially in the past two decades. As the media’ interest in music has grown, it is the time for journalism to face music. A new type of journalism called music journalism has appeared.

Generally, music journalists write about music and its industry. There are different specialization for music journalists. Some focus on reviews, which are related with new albums, shows, and DVD releases. Some work from a depth perspective and interview singers, bands and producers.

The most obvious outlet for music journalism is magazine, especially entertainment and female magazine. Also, there are some music magazines. E.g: Music Week.

Apart from the magazine, the internet platform has brought dramatic changes in the music journalism. Music fans could leave comment directly on the music articles and set up groups to share and exchange ideas. What is more, an increasing number of fans start to write their own blog to review music.

The latest breaking news for music journalism might be the back of Michael Jackson. He is going to hold 50 date tour, and first start from London. Can Michael Jackson make a successful come back? This will be tracked and reported bu media journalists in the following days with reviews of his music tours.

Last week, at online journalism course, we interviewed Ben Gilbert who is a music journalism.

There is a list of his blog and sites for Yahoo. Do not miss them, if you want to be a music journalist!

The interview video is filmed and edited by myself.