Final thoughts on my Journalism 65 class….

Well…It’s been 15 weeks and this is the final week of the spring semester at Laney College (in my eyes this semester went by pretty quick), and since this is the final week this will be the final post for my Journalism class…In all honesty, when I originally started this class I didn’t think I would learn as much as I did. I thought it was just going to be a simple online class that wouldn’t take too much effort but I will admit…I was wrong about that.  This class really took a lot more work than I thought…I was constantly changing my mind and doing multiple re-writes on almost every post! 🙂 and I was constantly researching…It was nice…I’m glad I decided to take this class. I feel there are quite a few things I learned in this class that will be useful in my future.  

We have been asked to list the top ten things we learned this semester so…let me go ahead and tell you the top ten things I learned…

X. Twitter is more than I thought it was….

            The original thoughts I had about Twitter were incorrect….somewhat. I originally thought twitter was nothing more than just a bunch of people posting mindless nonsense. After actually opening an account and making quite a few postings my ideas about it have changed. I now see twitter is a great way to spread info to people around the globe quick, research (just type a key word into the search bar and instantly find all kinds of links), promote your business, network with like-minded people, keep in touch with family…along with many other benefits…but….don’t get me wrong, just as I originally thought there still are MANY mindless posts. It’s just a matter of picking the right people to follow… 

VIIII. LinkedIn looks as if it may be helpful for many people…

            I have read of many success stories due to the help of LinkedIn. LinkedIn has 100 million users!! Many large corporations and businesses are said to use LinkedIn to search for new employees. But, just how there are many who love LI there are many LI haters out there too….many say “it doesn’t work…I hate it!”. With LI they say you must constantly be checking your page and networking with people if you want it to work. It’s great if it helps people find jobs…that’s awesome. It’s just that I don’t have much of a use for LI…

VIII. Blogging isn’t as bad as I thought it was…

            Once again, I had preconceived ideas about blogging…it’s actually not as bad as I thought it was, I sort-of like it. I just may open my own personal WordPress blog…just so I can have a place to release my thoughts…or as some would say…a place for me to RANT 🙂

VII. I now know how easy it is to open a WordPress blog…

            Like I said above in number eight…I think I just may open my own personal blog. Like I said…it can be a place for me to express my thoughts on all sorts of topics…I could post some of my art…maybe I could have a day where I post my favorite vegan recipe for the week…I could post some photos…all kinds of things…and best of all its FREE 🙂 I think I just may do it, I think it’ll be good for me ***

VI. Blogging do’s and don’ts…

            Here’s a few do’s and don’ts I found helpful and tried my hardest to follow…

Do start to network and get to know fellow bloggers.

Do know what you are going to blog about…do research…it helps to do an outline beforehand.

Do comment on others blogs (don’t just be a troll 🙂 ) and always be sure to reply to comments made on your blog.

Do BE KIND & BE YOURSELF!

Don’t plagiarize.

Don’t BE CRULE!

Don’t have spelling/grammar errors. Always be sure to do a final check before you publish.

V. Social Medias beneficial role in education…

            Many teachers are bringing social media into the classrooms…some middle schools teachers are running their entire class through social media. Students are each in class on a computer participating online…there are benefits to this. Kids younger and younger are being involved with social media so it would be smart to teach them in a way they can relate to but, I feel there is also a large downfall to this. It’s cutting back the face to face interactions…the expression of true emotions. But, being in this class we all now know how beneficial online classes are.

IV. Social-media joins people….

            With the help of social media, people are sending their voices around the globe…we have recently seen how social media helped fuel the revolutions in the Middle East. The youth used the power of social media to organize the uprisings, it was something that has needed to be done for years…and with the help of social media their goal was finally accomplished.  Mandy Naglich, a staff reporter from The TCU Daily Skiff  wrote a great article about how Social media helped spur revolution in Middle East; she quoted Manochehr Dorraj who specializes in the studies of Middle Eastern politics, he said “If it was not for this technology there would be no revolution.” I completely agree, and I’m sure there are many more who agree with this as well…I don’t know..we’ll see later down the line if this was a good idea or not…

III. Always be thoughtful with your postings…

            We must always remember that ANYONE can read what you have posted (unless it’s in a private group). So be careful…try not to post anything you’ll end up regretting later!

II. Social Media is a VERY VERY powerful tool!

            There’s a lot of power in social media. With the recent revolutions we have recently seen how this can an extremely good thing but, we have to be careful because this power can also be an extremely bad thing if it’s in the wrong hands. We always have to keep our eyes open and we must always check facts before we believe anything we hear.

I. I know I already listed it in my do’s and don’ts but I’ll say it again…MOST IMPORTANTLY ALWAYS BE KIND & BE YOURSELF!!

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The future of journalism…

I feel we are all journalists, to a certain degree. Let’s go ahead and refer to the definition:

Jour·nal·ist  _ noun \-nə-list\

1a : a person engaged in journalism; especially : a writer or editor for a news medium b : a writer who aims at a mass audience

2: a person who keeps a journal

As we write our blogs, tweet our tweets, post in FB, etc.  we are journalists…and with the use of free social media it makes it much easier to get our voices out to the mass audience. Now, this does make it hard for the journalists who have gone through years of college and not to mention countless dollars in order to call themselves journalists. My interviewee Greg Lowe brought out that there are some who feel the e-revolution has weakened the profession. Weakened the profession…hmmm….I guess you could say weakened…or you could say it has revolutionized the profession. It has definitely changed the profession but, it doesn’t have to be a negative thing…in my eyes it’s great, we are all able to get our voices out. We are lucky to have that opportunity.  

I feel journalism has been taken it to the next level. As I said before, it’s just the natural evolution of things. There’s no need to fight it…it’s a great thing…but, I can sympathize with journalists who are losing jobs due to this step journalism has taken. That would not be so great and I could see how that would cause a hate for social media. We must find a way to keep everything balanced…that’s the hard part.

The future of social media?

I feel social media will continue to grow and grow…there will definitely be other sites that are released that will try and dominate the market. Maybe they will begin to incorporate videos more…or maybe live feeds…only time will tell…we’ll just have to wait patiently… 🙂     

Will this course impact my personal future?

How could it not! I have learned many things that I previously didn’t know, that will always impact your future. I don’t think I’ll be taking a step into the journalism industry or anything but its great knowledge…personal knowledge…and that’s the best kind of knowledge. And, I think I may just start my own little blog…I’ll start my blogging adventures….

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Breaking news Monday morning….

It was Monday May 2, 2011 and my day began as just another usual Monday morning…not too much out of the ordinary. I woke around 7:30; ate some breakfast, showered then prepared for school. Before leaving I decided to check my emails and in the breaking news category something caught my eye…it was the video of President Obama’s speech where he informed American citizens about the killing of Osama bin Laden by the US Army.

I ended up missing class….after seeing that video how could I NOT do further research to find out the details?!   

I wanted as much info as I could find so I quickly went to google and typed in Osama Bin Laden killed…many articles came up and verified what I had heard. It was true…the mission that began years ago was finally completed…Osama Bin Laden has been killed by U.S. troops.

After a while I remembered I never actually checked my emails! I got wrapped up in the breaking news and forgot about my emails! 🙂 When I got to them I found the email from my Journalism teacher, Shari Weiss,  with the weekly assignments…and what do ya know…the main focus of the week was Osama’s death so she led me to some great articles full of great info.

I ended up making it to my second class of the day but when I returned home I was back on the search for more info….which led me to articles about how security experts fear that al Qaeda or a U.S. born “lone wolf” may try to strike back at the U.S., conspiracy theories (there are quite a few…many feel Bin Laden is not actually dead…since Obama just relaunched his re-election bid this is just the main kickoff campaign rally…many feel the photo released is a Photoshoped photo) and many other interesting topics.

I will continue my research….I just wanted to let you know about how I heard about the monumental moment in American history.

In my Journalism 65 class I have learned many new things about Journalism/Social Media…

Let me go ahead and name a few: 🙂

1. There are soooo many social networking sites!! I did know there was a lot but, I’ll be completely honest…I didn’t know there were over 200!!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites

2. I learned about the power of LinkedIn, I have heard about how the site has actually helped so many people find jobs/careers!

3. I learned how to start my own blog via http://wordpress.com/to be honest, I never thought I would be a blogger but, I must admit it’s actually kind of fun 🙂

4. I learned what a new blogger should and shouldn’t do…two major points: whatever you do don’t get discouraged and always have a plan before you blog *

5. I learned many new social media terms…SEO, SEM, flash mob, blimple, lurker, troll, just to name a few… 🙂

6. I learned about the rise of the 2nd internet…”The social internet” http://www.davidhenderson.com/2011/04/02/the-scary-fast-rise-of-the-second-internet/

7. I learned about how social media can really help in the classroom…

8. I learned the MAJOR importance on time management skills…

9. I learned of the possible advancements in social media…quite exciting. 🙂

10. I learned so much more about how the social media world than I knew before…

11. And most of all I have learned how social networking sites are SO beneficial to many people around the globe…we can never forget how lucky we are to have access to the internet and all the great sites that can be found in it that are FULL of information.

Interview with Steve Ostrander: A Communications Professional

 I met Steve Ostrander in the LinkedIn group for online reporters and editors. http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=75711&trk=anet_ug_hm

I invited him to do an interview with me and he graciously accepted. Steve is a very talented writer/editor/journalist from Columbus, Ohio who has written MANY articles, a few award winning books such as Ohio – A Bicentennial Portrait, The Ohio Nature Almanac as well as other bestselling books.

Steve seems to be a very helpful man…I emailed him my interview questions and in a matter of hours I had a response! It was awesome!

Continue reading below for more great information and tips:   

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V: When did your passion for journalism begin?

 S: I drifted in journalism after grad school (history), first as a sportswriter and then as reporter and eventual editor of a weekly in Ohio. I really got hooked when I won awards from peers for editorial writing and general excellence (age 28). I considered my writing jobs for state agencies as journalism too, and my confidence and passion soared as my stories appeared in print.  Then I drifted into government PR.

V: What were the first steps you took to get into the journalism industry? e.g. schooling, internship…

 S: As noted above, I migrated into journalism as a historian. Never took a journalism course, learned to write on the job. I guess I would be considered old school, someone more concerned about clarifying ideas and storytelling than the technology of distribution. As manager of communications depts. for state agencies, I offered internships knowing these provided great on the job training ops.

V: What was your first journalism job? Sports writer for Hudson register star or did you have small jobs before that?   

 S: I wrote several stories for my college newspaper—on student protests. But not paid. The sports writing job was the first.  

V: What advice would you have for beginning journalists?

 S: Ultimately you must write a story that appeals to a reader, connects the reader to the information and message of the article.  Not a story that appeals to you. Next, develop a personal voice (this is the part that appeals to you) that slyly connects you to the reader. It’s hard to explain, like an artist trying to explain a work. Storytelling and personal voice are keys to broadcasting too.  Learn all aspects of the trade—graphics, photo, etc. You must be curious, intrepid, earnest and dogged. And the stuff you learn in j-school is important too.  Try to know as much as possible about a topic before an interview so that you don’t lose momentum asking silly preliminary questions. For example, think of the prep needed to interview an expert on nuke

V: Where do you find your inspiration?

 S: Inspiration usually arises from observation, reading, experiences and curiosity.  It is important to read literature (all kinds) that are on the frontier, pushing forward, offering new perspectives (try Freakonomics), and challenging you to be motivated. Once I learned about an archeological study to determine the site of a landmark Indian battle in Ohio. I participated in the study with a metal detector and walking a grid.  I found a flattened musket ball fired from a British gun by a Shawnee. Had it inflicted a fatal wound? I had to know. Wonder is inspiration.   

V: What is the first question you ask yourself when beginning to write an article?

 S: There are several initial questions I ask myself.  Who is my final audience (understanding that the main audience is the editor who first reads the article)?  How much will I earn (if a freelance job)? What resources are available (persons to interview, documents, online research)? What do I need to know? Where do I get the answers? Can I finish it by deadline?

V: How long does it usually take you to write an article around 200-500 words?

 S: Depends.  I can still write a 200 word sports story based on eyewitness reporting in less than an- hour, perhaps less if it is formulaic.  A 500-word essay requiring research can take days. Rewrites of 500 words can be done quickly. There’s no definitive answer.    

V: What is your favorite topic to write about?

 S: There’s a saying that says to be a good editor you must fall in love quickly, fall out of love just as fast, and fall in love again—all part of a day’s work. So, be open to devotion to many interests.  I have several favorite topics—nature, history, politics, sciences.  Whatever really engages me at the time.  I don’t write sports anymore, but I dive for Sports Illustrated in waiting rooms.

V: As a journalist, do you use Facebook, and if so, (a) how do you use it and (b) what Facebook lessons have you learned.

 S: I am new to Facebook and social media, so I don’t its value. I know it’s the rage but I’m skeptical of its use as a tool for traditional journalism. I don’t use it as a journalist, though many use it for journaling.  To me messaging via Facebook is personal communication so the audience is narrow or limited. Standards for writing style, fact-checking, editing, references seem casual and not policed.  I am dabbling as an online freelancer, but the quality I read is questionable and payment ridiculously poor. Someone proficient in navigating social media, building “electronic” relationships among visitors, and transmitting a purposeful story may show its power. The person who managed the social media in my last government agency seemed to be an air traffic controller.

As I said, I’m probably old school, so social media seems more about process and production than information integrity and storytelling.  Or, how I got the message and return a message prevails over the value of the message and what I learn. 

 I hope this helped you. I had fun and will clarify answers if necessary. 

 Steve Ostrander

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Thanks again for the great interview Steve! 🙂

LinkedIn and journalists

LinkedIn can be very beneficial to journalists.

There are said to be over 35 million members on LinkedIn! The current population of Oakland CA is 390,724…let’s do the math: 35 million / 390,724 is approximately 40 Oakland’s’!!! This is a HUGE database where you can find many resources for your article/post…

LinkedIn has an extensive advanced people search where you can search through the 35 million members based on industries, groups, languages, interests and more. You can find and expert in a field in a matter of seconds! I wanted to try it out so I did a search for alternative medicine, instantly I found many interesting people from around the globe! This database can also be used to find interviewee’s for your next interview post…

Let’s say you are still unsure about your career path (like me :))…LinkedIn can help with that to! You can search for people in the same industry that you are wishing to go into and get to know them. I’m sure someone could be found that would be willing to share their knowledge with you.  

Have you ever had to write a post and been stumped on what to write about…I know I have! 🙂 Not a problem at all….LinkedIn has an answers section where many ask any question they want an answer to from “What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made when launching a new website and what did you learn from it?” to “Are we running out of salt?” (Actual questions) While looking through the many questions inspiration can be found; when you read that question it will spark interest then you’ll be off writing your post.  

Another big way LinkedIn can help journalists is the fact that it’s getting your name out there. You are growing your connections via social media…it’s awesome!