Online Journalism: Fall 2009


Just another weblog

Google: Where we’re going

Hey folks, so tomorrow’s the big day. We’re going to Google!

Please be there NO LATER than 12:45 so we can get through their security and be ready to go at 1:00.

I will be bringing a Mac Laptop with Keynote and Powerpoint on it, if you need them.

Here’s where we’re headed:

SEE YOU AT 12:45!!


Filed under: class stuff

Analytics & Affiliates: links

Analytics: Understanding Where they’re coming from
Google Analytics
Beginning Analytics video
Analytics basics
The Death of the Page View
Google Analytics for WordPress Plug-in

Make Modest Money: Simple ad programs
Google Adsense
iTunes Affiliates
Amazon Associates

Raise Money

Filed under: Lecture Links

Presentations week after Thanksgiving.

As we approach the end of class, it’s important that we check in on your site as you prepare to populate it with content (or, in the case of the content that’s already there, evaluate its value). It is also a time to strongly consider the presentation of the site itself, and to fine-tune the look & feel, because content is only as good as the site that showcases it. And it’s also crucial, of course, that you consider audience at every juncture as well.

The format for this presentation will be similar to our last, with slides and a group presentation. However at this point you should also be able to walk us through various aspects of your site itself, and be able to answer questions about the content and the look/feel of the site overall. Because of this, we will reserve the end of your presentation for a walkthrough of the site–the actual site itself, NOT a prototype. Prepare one of your team members to “drive” this walkthrough, taking over the projection computer. Map out what it is you want to talk about and highlight, however, so that your presentation remains professional and succinct.

As with last time, you will give both a presentation and hand in a report, signed by all group members.

presentation & report

The Site Idea and its Relationship to Content
–Be as succinct and clear as possible. Start with a one or two-sentence description of the site.
–Succinctly, how does content fulfill that mission?
–In other words: why are you featuring what you’re featuring?

The Content Itself
–What types of content do you see regularly appearing on your site? And why?
–What kinds of media will you employ for this content?
–Social media: What’s your strategy? Why? How?
–How do you plan on grouping the various content types?
–In other words, what are the various sections or categories on your site?
–How do these categories work to clearly state at a hierarchical level what your site is all about?
–Give seven specific examples of content currently on your site and ten specific examples of content still to come.

Content and its Relationship to Audience
This is important, so I will bold it: invite five members of your targeted audience to preview your site. Get as much feedback as you can from them regarding the content. For this section include bios/info about the people you talked with for the report and give their specific feedback there. In your presentation include photographs of these people interacting with your site.
–Who is the audience you are targeting and why? BE SPECIFIC.
–What content do you think they are looking for online, and why would they come to you to get it?
–How did you come to this conclusion?
–When you previewed your site to audience members, what was their reaction to the content?
–How did they feel it could improve?
–What other content did they feel could go in the site?
–What other feedback did they get?

Look & Feel
–Why does your site look the way it does?
–How does your site classify and display content?
–How can a user access the various pieces of content–is there a menu system that makes sense?
–How does the way your site looks compliment the content?


The walkthrough of your site should highlight the following:
–demonstrate the way that a user would access various content types
–highlight some of the unique ways your site is presenting its content
–show off your site’s look & feel and explain why it works the way it does
–demonstrate the categories your content falls into


Your slides should correspond to the major sections of your presentation. Create as many as you see fit.

Your presentation should be no longer than 10 minutes, including the walkthrough.

Filed under: Homework

Web Video: links & additional material

Examples of web video storytelling: a new medium for journalism
Vigil for teen crash victim
More than a mailman
The Boda Boda Motorbikes of Kenya
World Pillow Fight Day
Flick’s Mobile Home Park

Finding your audience and your stride case study: Wine Library TV
Wine Library TV: episode one
Wine Library TV: episode 587 (he’s almost 100 episodes up on this one now)

Additional references
Mindy McAdam’s excellent pointers on making good web videos
iMovie Tutorials These are specific to iMovie 6, but they’re an excellent primer for basic editing, produced by colleagues in the journalism department here.
Mastering Multimedia a great blog written by a video journalist for the Spokesman Review.
Multimedia shooter a site with tons of references to great multimedia journalism and tons of tech.

Filed under: Uncategorized

For next week: Your Content Strategy

Knowing that the content you create and the calls to action you craft are crucial to creating an engaging site for your users, I want you to create a document that outlines some specific content you’re planning for your site and the calls to action you will use to bring users into your site. Please prepare a report that documents the following:

1) Your site idea, explained in one succinct sentence.

2) Who the users are of your site, explained in no more than two sentences.

3) Expected interactions: Why are people coming and what do they do when they get there. Give five specific examples.

4) 20 specific pieces of content for your site. These can be content pieces across media (text, video, data, maps, etc), but need to be specific. I.E. It’s not about “restaurant reviews” but about “a review of Restaurant X, which will talk about A,B, and C so that users are able to D E and F.”

5) Three clear calls to action for your site that will engage a user and model expected behavior. Sketch these out so that you are thinking visually, not just thinking about the copy. How do you illustrate these ideas? How do the illustrations help?

This report should be turned into class next week and should be signed by all members of your group.

Filed under: Homework

Lecture links & Additional readings 11-13-09

Writing for the Web
Writing Persuasive Content

Page Rank
Page Rank Checker
As of October 30, the sites with PRs of 10

Search Engine Optimization
The Basics of Search Engine Optimization
Writing for Search Engine Optimization
Creating the Curious/Known combo headline
An excellent critique of the SEO “industry”

Calls to Action
Creating effective calls to action
37Signals tests calls to action

Flickr’s clear calls to action
37 Signals answers basic questions fast
Culinary Culture makes the sale

Filed under: Lecture Links, Readings

For Discussion: Rupert Murdoch’s Paywall

This Week, NewsCorp’s Rupert Murdoch announced that he would pull all newscorp content out of Google’s search index once his company’s paywalls were ready to go.

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal (a NewsCorp company) had to say.

Here’s TechCrunch’s take

And here’s the New York Times’ roundup of other’s opinions

What’s YOUR opinion? Is this crazy? Is it smart?

Filed under: Readings

For next week: Data Collection Strategy | User Engagement Strategy

Two things for next week, that come directly out of your presentations:

All three of these sites live and die by the data they can collect. Whether it’s bars, clubs, or records, you’ve got to have a list that’s definitive. How are you going to collect that list, in a way that’s going to be sustainable and achievable? What methods can you use? Where can you turn online? Where can you turn in the real world? Explain what your primary data is, what it consists of, and how you collect it and maintain it.

Also, all of you facilitate the obsessions of your users, but in different ways. You need to be able to engage with them in a way that will keep them coming back and will create the core discussions you want to foster. Who are the people that are coming to your site–no more ifs, who are they really? And what do they do when they get on there, how do they interact with each other, and what value do they add to the site itself? What keeps them engaged and coming back?

Answer these two questions fully and completely in a report to be turned in next week. All of your teammembers must sign this report.

Filed under: Homework

graded site check-ins next week

Next week is our first of a few graded check-ins on your site. This check-in will accomplish two things: introduce the idea and the audience/community for your site, and demonstrate a hi-rez prototype of some elements of the site.

Next week we will have presentations and you will turn in a report. Your report and your presentation should encompass:

presentation & report

Who is the audience you’re targeting?
— what age/gender/etc are they?
— what do they do, both for a living and also for fun?
— what are their hopes/dreams?
— why are they interested in the things they’re interested in?
— where do they go? (both in real life and online)
— why are they a part of the community(ies) they are a part of?
— what will they gain by visiting your site?
Give three specific examples of real people, complete with photo documentation. For your written report, write a short profile of each person.

Where is the community that already exists around your site’s topic?
— where do they go online?
— where do they go in the real world?
— what do they do when they’re there?
For both locations, please cite three specific examples of each (both virtual and real), explain the motivation your audience/community has in going to those places, their activities once they are there and what you can learn from these things to apply to your site. For the real-world place, please include photo documentation of your visit there: show us your community “in the wild”.

What sites are working in a similar space?
— how are you different?
— what are they doing right?
— what are they doing wrong?
— how do you plan to work with and among those sites?

Bring it all together
With all this information about your audience/community, explain how you will reach them and engage them with your site.
— three specific online examples
— two specific real-world ideas

Your report will be handed in, be sure that every member of your team signs the report.


Your slides need to cover:

  1. Intro to your site with a one-sentence description
  2. Your audience defined, with photos
  3. Their community defined, with images of them in the locations you identified
  4. Other sites in your space
  5. A slide for your conclusion

Your slides can contain as much information as you want (though remember: less is often more, you will be talking along with them), but need to cover these five points.


In addition, you will also present a guided walkthrough of a high-rez prototype of your site. Similar to your work in the Student Communications project, you should craft a mockup of your site in a presentation program of your choosing, with enough detail to get the site idea across, and enough active links to be able to show us some basic functionality.

Presentation specific notes

–Your group’s presentation should not last longer than 10 minutes, that will leave plenty of time for questions from the class and our panelists. If I had to offer a breakdown, that would be probably 7 minutes for the presentation and 3 minutes for the walkthrough. But that’s just an estimate–your time is your own.
–Plan your presentation and walkthrough out in advance, and make sure everyone’s practiced it as well. Rambling doesn’t help anyone.
–Be prepared to answer questions with further detail about your site and your strategy. Prepare also to hear criticism. Being argumentative does not help you in any way, shape, or form. Criticism at this stage is crucial to building a viable site.

Filed under: Homework

lecture links 10-30-09

Powerful copy & paste programming
Custom RSS gadget
(the rest of the Gadgets site is filled with usefull/useless elements you can integrate into your site as well
Google Web Elements
Google Web Elements offers some really great stand-alone elements that offer customizability and simplicity.
Google Friend Connect
Google Friend Connect takes this same copy-and-past idea to the extreme: build fully functional social sites with nothing but copied code.

Filed under: Lecture Links

class documents

other online journalism news