Where I come when I'm not eating.

Lots of things to say, from Sara to you about every part of her life, and then some!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why should I believe you?

Progression in the technological world and the gradual movement of news-seekers from print to online has resulted in great changes not just in content but also in the way that Internet news sites present news and showcase the organization. Such improvements in appearance and information enhance accessibility and credibility.
MSN.com, for instance, has changed greatly since its inception in 1996. May 21,1997 the homepage consisted of headlines listed plainly in columns without pictures and while this may look professional in its simplicity, it also looks like a kindergartner created it. One can see that the site is that of NBC; links and contact information are provided. However, stories include no links to outside sources and there is little interactive features. There is no indication of when the site or a story has been updated except for the date at the top. No ads rest on any of the pages (ads show that a company feels the site receives enough traffic to pay money for the ad to be on the page).
Nine years later, MSN.com has proved itself to be one of the top news sites on the web. The homepage is chock-full of pictures, links, video, headlines, and ads, but at a tasteful level. A wealth of interactive features abound to provide support for the stories. At the top of each story it shows when the story was updated down to the hour. RSS feeds provide info from other sites. Also, biographies and photos of staff members are available as well.
Reuters.com has also made great strides in credibility. Its December 7, 1996 site provides only a statement on the homepage claiming it “is a leading international news and financial information services company.” There are few pictures and one headline on the homepage. One e-mail address is provided at the bottom for comments and questions.
In 2006 Reuters looks much better with information about the organization, multiple links and graphics, and a good setup. On the Products and Services page there are categories of the product right for customers and at the top right is a button titled “Ask Sales” to contact a sales rep is necessary. Story content can be verified as names of sources are provided.
One of the most reputed news organizations, BBC.co.uk, had a rather sparse homepage May 9, 1997. Low-quality buttons line the left side of the page along with no headlines. Story pages contain little or no pictures or information relating to updates and there are no ads anywhere. Data about the BBC is questionable and there are no links outside of BBC pages; it could have been made up.
Today BBC looks great, with graphics accompanying stories with updates detailed by the minute, an “Explore” search field that searches links to the entire web outside, and a myriad of other high-tech features (even a weather channel). There is information on how the BBC researches information, a section where people have the opportunity to submit complaints, pictures of staff with information, and numerous stories with links and sources.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Paper vs. Wires

J410 Assignment 7: Write a 500-word content analysis of a newspaper and its online counterpart. Analysis must include both quantitative (keywords?) and qualitative (categorical comparisons?) data and a well-defined inference or conclusion.
Content analysis resource page (Wikipedia): http://tinyurl.com/ylns7w
Deadline: Wednesday (11/1/06) before class.
posted by J410 Applied Multimedia Reporting at 12:48 PM

of “St. Louis tops list of unsafe U.S. cities” (AP) featured in The Tribune and “Report finds St. Louis most dangerous U.S. city” (AP) on MSN.com (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/15475741/)

The annual ranking of the United States’ safest and most dangerous cities, created by Morgan Quitno Press, was released on October 30, 2006 and was featured in numerous papers across the nation. Ranking was based on crime rates in the cities and individual crimes like rape or burglary were not taken into account. Crimes were evaluated based on the danger they posed to people.
The story, written by the Associated Press, was included in The Tribune (the “Newspaper of the Central Coast”) under the headline “St. Louis tops list of unsafe U.S. cities.” The story was also on MSN.com, a national online news source, and was titled “Report finds St. Louis most dangerous U.S. city.” Content analysis of the two sources takes into account not just the text but also other features, stationary or interactive, that may be included. Analysis is limited simply to what is visible and what is meant to pertain strictly to the subject of the ranking.
Quantitatively the two stories differ in the way they presented the story. The Tribune used 26” for the story; this does not include the single feature included, which was a list of the top five most dangerous and the safest cities. Online the story took up about 75” discounting the features (though the font was smaller in the newspaper). “Dangerous” was used in The Tribune’s version twice (four including the feature of a list) while MSN.com included it seven times (fourteen times with its other features). Also, in The Tribune, “crime” was included six times and it was in the MSN.com story eight places (ten times including the features).
Qualitative analysis of the content from both news sources also showed vast differences. The sources include different quotes. While The Tribune used a resident’s quote that was not in the online version, MSN.com included six more paragraphs as well a section at the end consisting of five paragraphs that were not in The Tribune. Some information in the added paragraphs online included statements by the president of Morgan Quitno Press and the FBI director, past and present safe and dangerous cities in the rankings, population numbers of cities, and percentages pertaining to crime nationwide and compared to past numbers. The Tribune did explain how data was collected, however, while MSN.com did not. But while The Tribune merely provided a list of ten cities, MSN.com provided a wealth of supplementary features and tools, including a list of its own, an accompanying video on St. Louis’ top ranking, a picture of a St. Louis monument, a message board asking, “How safe do you feel?”, and a box with related articles. There were also the options of printing, e-mailing, and Iming the article, as well as rating the story. And the article with the features was in colour while The Tribune featured the story in black and white.
Based on the data and features presented by The Tribune and MSN.com on the story, it can be said that the online article was better all around in content quantitatively and qualitatively. It included more information, though some was skipped that was in The Tribune. The online article gave the opportunity to view different aspects of the subject to append to one’s knowledge. Though there is the idea that print allows for a story to be more accurate and thus better in quality because more time is taken for it to be written, the online story did say that it had been updated since it had been posted the day before.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Being a Snoop

Tuesday, October 24, 2006
J410 Blog Assignment 6: Answer the following questions in a new blog entry.
posted by J410 Applied Multimedia Reporting at 5:01 PM

1. (A) What cities within SLO County have a republican majority as of August 1, 2006?
Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Paso Robles, and Pismo Beach
(B) What’s another story idea you could generate based on this information?
Are minority parties gaining way in San Luis Obispo county elections?
2. What entity did Alex Trebek originally purchase his Creston ranch from?
Fred Sahadi, founded Cardiff Stud Farm in California, and brother Stephen, who managed the farm, sold the Cardiff property to Alex Trebek, who renamed it Creston Farm. (http://www.ntra.com/stats_bios.aspx?id=2099)
3. What four roads in SLO County have 50 mph posted speed limits?
Los Osos Valley Road, Tank Farm Road, Vineyard Drive, Pomeroy Road
4. Generate three story ideas that could be based on information contained in the public records below.
• Fish and Game licenses
• Corporate records: lists officers of any corporation and the date it registered with the state.
• Court records: filings on all civil and criminal court cases (except those concerning juveniles) are open to the public.
• Military records: details of an individual’s military service if they registered in that county – otherwise FOI Act.
• Personal loans: anyone who has taken out a loan of more than $1000
• City council meeting record
• Public Works records: plans for public works projects such as sewers, traffic signals, road widening, etc.
• Fire department records: all fire alarms, calls and response times, inspections, firearms owners.
• Utility records: water info, bacterial counts, water production, chemical usage
First idea: Why fish and game licenses are increasing in price
Second idea: How much money has been spent on traffic and transportation in the past compared to now, and why the disparity in costs
Third idea: Whether local water is still considered healthy based on utility records and health codes

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hubs and casts

Wednesday, October 18, 2006
J410 Blog Assignment 5: (I) Record a Podcast pertaining to a national issue (or local, if you've already covered a national one). Be prepared to edit and publish it next Wednesday (10/25/06).
(II) Goto Hubpages.com, sign in and create one official 'hub.' (Hubs are basically service journalism articles that you write with the intention of getting them viewed as much as possible. Hubpages.com will automatically embed Google ads next to your hub entry, and you will make a percentage of whatever profits your hubpage yields).
posted by J410 Applied Multimedia Reporting at 11:57 AM 0 comments

That said, here's the link to my hub :)
I spent a ridiculous amount of time on this. You'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I like multimedia stories

This story, "Class Matters - Social Class in the United States of America" from interactivenarratives.org, works very well in informing the reader as much as possibly by including an overview and lots of writing, an interactive graphic, and reader opinions. The multimedia graphic, which is comprised of a slideshow and graphs, illustrate what is written in the stories from The New York Times. A bar graph involves the reader by showing "Where do you fit in?" Pie graphs are also easy to understand. Each "day" in the article series offers something different to grip the reader, like timelines. The opinions serve to balance what was written. Also, not a lot of sound to scare people off. The visuals are the biggest on the screen, taking up the top half or third, and text accompanies along the bottom.

"Daily life in North Korea" on msn.com showcases pictures of everyday scenes in the country along with captions to explain the sights in an attempt to enlighten Americans on what many of them may consider "the enemy." The pictures illustrate pieces of North Korean life such as political devotion to Kim Il Sung, shown by people bowing to a statue, many people at a train station as might be seen in New York, and a mother walking down the street with her child. It's not overly showy and allows the viewer to change scenes at their will, allowing for leisurely absorption. The pictures are nice and big, too, and the captions are off to the side but not hard to find.

"French train crash 'kills 5'" includes a small written story of two paragraphs, audio and video. The story is offered three different ways and allows the reader/viewer to hear what's going on while being able to visualize the story simultaneously. Out of the three different modes a person is bound to get at least a little more out of the event. The video also isn't too long either so that it's not overwhelming.

Very hip video/audio story called "Got Game?" draws young readers targeted by the story because of the music. It's easy to track because the transitions are soft and not too fast. Also, the audio is great, laid-back and not stuffily professional. The narrator is a teenager!

Monday, October 02, 2006

3 ideas for a good grade

J410 Blog Assignment 3: Come up with THREE story ideas for your multimedia final project. As this project will be incorporating SOUND, IMAGES and TEXT -- choose appropriately (and briefly explain how your ideas will incorporate the different formats).

1. Mustang Stadium renovation - panoramic view of the stadium in progress, and perhaps a slideshow of the various stages of construction; audio (podcast) detailing the work put into the structure with maybe commentary from President Baker and/or labourers; a story including numbers, quotes, names, and other details.
2. Creation of a play - panorama from the stage; audio of rehearsal or from the play; pictures of costumes, the actors/actresses, etc.; lines from the play; print about the play and the players, times and dates, history behind the play, and so on.
3. A day in the life of ASI pres Todd - panorama at a meeting and pictures of meetings and such; audio of a message from Todd about his mission and/or how his plans are going thus far; print portraying all that he does.

I like the second one myself :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Comparison of Views

Assignment 2: Pick a popular news story and find at least three forms of media (i.e. Website (print), Podcast (audio), and MPEG (video)) that are disseminating the story. Write a one-page analysis of the pros and cons of each medium.

There are some stories that seem appeal to people more in words than on TV and so it is the other way around. In trying to decipher the meanings behind nutrition and food/drink labels, it is more interesting on screen. Sitting through a minute or so of audio information behind footage of the celebrity seems better than seven paragraphs of print.
People like to connect what they are being informed of to their own lives, so while print may offer pictures unlike audio/Podcasts, video footage is more captivating to a viewer. It shows actual people and actual objects that people can deal with, such as cereal boxes. Also, seeing a page of print can prove more daunting, while the length of a video is not always directly revealed. And there is hardly anything written that cannot be spoken. Video provides the obvious advantage of showcasing what a writer takes so much effort to portray in words. It is nice for the viewer to be able to physically see the food products and the nutrition label in real time along with numbers and other data in a manner more interesting that with print.
In a way, however, visuals can be considered negative, for the tone of voice and facial expressions of the CBS host Rene Syler and her guest, Elisa Zied of the American Dietician Association, can act as convincing factors. Print can certainly be one-sided, but at least it is without the added bias that audio and video can offer. Also, not having video footage with audio can serve an audience in that they can focus solely on the content and not on irrelevant visuals. People in the video make an effort to look good on TV, such as the woman with her long blonde hair and the host with her cute pink shirt, and their appearance can distract viewers from the real point of the story.
As far as getting credible information from an outside source, it may depend on the medium whether or not the person is willing to offer any info at all. They may be uncomfortable having their face shown on screen and may rather give a name, or vice versa; they may prefer to have their picture taken but give no name. Providing information to be broadcasted or used in audio form is safe for the source and can still be considered credible for the writer/reporter. Seeing the guest on the show makes it easier to believe she is real and what she is saying is true while merely hearing the Podcast voice is less credible. How do we know the voice is that of Vanderbilt University’s Dr. Russell Rothman? Then again, print is no more believable that way either.
While audio seems to have its disadvantages when compared to video and print, it can be cheaper than the other two. With audio one does not have to worry about video montages or formatting. Audio is most expensive as far as equipment and processing; video and print can be posted easily on the Internet. However, audio information cannot be printed for convenience, while pictures and writing can.
But all in all it depends on the preferences of the individual what medium he or she will choose to get informed.

Podcast: http://audio.cbsnews.com/2006/09/22/audio2035653.mp3
Video: http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=1914973n
Print: http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/ap/2006/09/27/ap3049738.html