Where would we be without Instagram or Twitter?


Photo courtesy of mashable.com


For my last blog post, through news.cyberjournalist.net, I found a link to a timeline of eight events that led to the creation of various startups, including Twitter. Because we have talked quite a bit about social media and the internet over the past semester, I thought it would be fitting to end the blog with a look into how some of these sites actually were discovered. It’s significant because it makes you wonder how social media and other internet ideas might be different or even exist if certain things did not happen the way they did.

What I found most interesting about the topic was just how random some of these discoveries actually were. For example, Twitter’s co-founder got the idea for it just from listening to police scanners. Over the scanners, he’d hear “short bursts of information” and then thought about how convenient it would be getting news updates in a quick, consistent fashion. Pinterest was another platform that was super-random. I thought it was interesting to see the creator’s idea come from a childhood hobby, which was collecting bugs.

It’s hard to imagine where we’d be right now without various kinds of social media and other internet hotspots like Netflix or eBay, where just a few people started with it and now hundreds of thousands of people access them on a daily basis. It was  also awesome to see how great ideas could be sparked by random people doing random activities. For fun, it’s makes me wonder if anything I’ve ever done could have been something big. Always an interesting thing to think about. How about you?


UAB President ends football program after 14 seasons



Make sure you get paid! Some advice for potential freelancers

Photo courtesy of www.lifehacker.com

Photo courtesy of www.lifehacker.com

I found Brennan Dunn’s blog post “How to ensure you get paid as a freelancer” on Lifehacker.com. Like the name of the post implies, Dunn gives readers various tips on how to approach getting paid for your work as a freelance writer. Many of us journalists could choose to be freelancers in the future and there is nothing worse than working hard and being shorted on money. I felt this topic is important because at some point in our careers, it’s possible we could become freelancers if we don’t find a steady job at a newspaper or other media organization. I also thought it’s important to consider that writers don’t work for free and if there’s little to no money being paid to these freelancers, we need to be more cautious as to how we approach this choice of work.

I found Dunn’s personal experience with this issue the most interesting part of the blog post. It would be more difficult believing someone who was throwing in their opinion without actually dealing with freelance work themselves. Because he had experienced some struggles, he was able to list a wide variety of content, things that I would have never thought of. I felt his list was helpful in really making me think about doing freelance work down the road.

I agreed with Dunn’s tips for the most part. The only tip I didn’t feel great about was trying to get paid upfront for your work. I’d find it hard to think that a news organization would be willing to cough up the dough before you even write the story. What if they don’t like your finished product? Are you supposed to give the money back? I just think it puts too much pressure on the freelancers.

Should links be a necessity for all news articles?

This week, I looked at The Buttry Diary by blogger Steve Buttry. His post explains that for certain stories, there should be hyperlinks added for convenience and value factors for readers, using the New York Times as an example. Buttry reveals the importance of providing readers with an opportunity to explore about a particular story or specific details about a topic because readers might have questions about why the writer used a certain fact or where they found a particular statistic. Without the use of links related to these details, it  might make the reader a little skeptical about the information included in the article.

What I found most interesting about Buttry’s blog post is that he gave specific examples of when links could have been used to further a story’s credibility. There are a handful of examples that he analyzes and identifies where links need to be added. It was very helpful to read these examples and learn from them for future use for this blog or other journalistic work.

I fully agree with Buttry’s idea. Not only does adding more links to stories give them more credibility, but it also provides a more rich, diverse reading experience. Editors and writers should consider using links for additional information (other stories, research, etc.) that could give extra support to a story. For our own blogs, this might not be as relevant, but for anyone pursuing a career in journalism should take this into consideration.

Photo courtesy of www.worthofweb.com

Airbnb joins the print magazine business with new twist

Photo courtesy of http://cdn.travelhunch.com

Jane Levere’s article in the New York Times via the NYT blog on Feedly, features Airbnb, an online home  marketplace that lets people search for rental homes. On Friday, Airbnb will launch its first print magazine, “Pineapple,” which will feature stories written by freelancers. The main catch with this magazine is that it will not include any form of advertisement in its first copy. I feel this topic is important because of the business model they chose. It’s a gutsy strategy to try because you might have to rely on the bookstore sales to make the money back. However, the head of brand creative for Airbnb said that they would look into possibly advertising in future editions.

I find Airbnb’s idea very intriguing because they are going to supply their host sites for free, but plan on charging $12 per edition at bookstores. I also think it’s interesting that the company claims the magazine will create “a membership-like feeling.” If you belong to the Airbnb online community then you get free access to the magazine, but if you’re not, then you’ll be paying the $12. There must be some kind of incentive to join the community because I could see people spending $12 on a quarterly magazine.

In my opinion, the idea is unique. The magazine will include stories from around the world, which will certainly draw in many fans of global architecture and art. I am just curious to find out how the magazine will do considering it lacks advertising.

A new use for long-form journalism

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A 10,000 Words blog post by Alan Krawitz, describes a new long-form journalism idea developed and pitched by former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson and award-winning journalist Steven Brill.

I feel that this is important because it introduces a totally new concept for journalism. Abramson and Brill want to create a new feature news product that includes articles that are longer than what are typical for a normal magazine. There’s a catch though – just one story will be in each month’s copy. In addition, they plan on spending roughly $100,000 overall to pay various freelance writers.

This concept is interesting because they would be expected to produce great stories each time, seeing that the magazine is only published once a month. There’s no shortage of good writers, but when only one edition is published a month, I wonder how they will determine which story is going to be more important to tell.

The idea is very creative, but I wonder how much something like this will cost, especially since it’s once a month and they’re putting a lot of money up front for prospective writers. I also wonder what their approach to advertising would be. Since there is only going to be one story, I certainly think they’d have the space and resources to effectively advertise.


Twitter helps you find a job?

Photo courtesy of www.nmcfs.org

Jason Abbruzzese’s blog post on mashable.com discusses new efforts by large job search engine Monster to match employers and potential employees. By using a combination of advertising on Twitter and data analytics, Monster is helping recruiters reach out to potential job candidates on Twitter who mention on their handle that they are in a specific job field or pursuing a particular career. I see this issue being very important because it involves a new use for both social media and job hunting.

It’s interesting to me because I have browsed Monster’s job site before and it seems like a pretty easy site to navigate. Abbruzzese suggests that “the job board is cluttered,” but maybe he’s just referring to the dozens of job search engines that exist. I have seen job ads pop-up on Twitter but nothing related to journalism unfortunately.

In my opinion, I do see the value in letting employers seek out future employees. There’s always a possibility that there is a job out there for you that you overlook, so it’s exciting to know that there could be possible employers in your job field actively browsing for you and other job candidates.




Some journalism advice from Mark Leibovich

Photo courtesy of www.tipsoninterview.in

Benjamin Mullins’ post discusses some tips on how to be an effective reporter, especially when it comes to writing stories and interviewing larger names like politicians. Included in his advice is how to get an interview, how to conduct an efficient interview and how to manage your approach to writing a good story. I think this topic is particularly important for interviewing skills because gaining and maintaining quality sources are crucial to being an effective journalist.

I found Mullins’ blog post interesting because the advice comes from Mark Leibovich, a writer for the New York Times, who has plenty of first-hand experience dealing with these issues. It’s important to study his advice on interviews because if you choose the wrong approach to an interview, you risk losing some or all of their trust.

I felt he gave great advice because his information serves to teach aspiring journalists like myself how to be professional and courteous when doing interviews. I also think that the more professional you act, the more likely you are to get a quality responses from the subject. Having quality sources can be a privilege, so definitely make the most of each opportunity.

Google Earth Spreadsheet

My Map of Travel Destinations:


NBA’s Golden State Warriors experiment with engaging audience on Facebook

I found Alex Houg’s post on “Inside Facebook.” I thought the combination of sports and the topic of engaging audiences in this instance was interesting. According to Houg, the Golden State Warriors recently posted a 15-second clip of star player Stephen Curry and his head coach Steve Kerr, a former NBA player himself, having a free-throw shooting contest. This video/topic is important because it exploded on social media, drawing over 2 million viewers in less than a 24-hour period. That’s amazing to say the least!

This post also discusses audience retention, giving facts about how long viewers actually watched the video and the number was quite large at 80%. The most interesting part of this story was the fact that Golden State didn’t include any advertisement in the video. Houg points out that back in March, Facebook added automatic advertisements to its videos. Because this video spread so fast, they didn’t even have time to incorporate ads into it.

I think that making the video only 15 seconds long was the right thing to do. It’s enough to draw and keep readers paying attention and not overly repetitive. In my opinion, sports teams should do whatever it takes to gain new fans via social media. Through it, any sports team would have a tremendous amount of success promoting and gaining views using a strategy like this.


Here is a link to a behind-the-scenes look at the free-throw contest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrzn8BjPWzo


Photo courtesy of www.eventindustrynews.co.uk