Online Journalism: Fall 2009

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readings, links, + reactions 10-23-09

In class next week, we’ll be getting our hands dirty with code. Here are two good reasons why:
Why Journalists Should Learn to Code
Be Not Afraid: Journalists Should Learn Code

Additionally, we will start our weekly discussion of topics in online journalism. We’ll talk about social media and journalism next week. Please read this story: NPR to Social Media: Bring It On (be sure to click through on the links in the article as well).
And visit these three Twitter accounts: LA Times Fires | Planet Money | Colonel Tribune

POST REACTIONS IN THIS THREAD!!!

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Filed under: Readings

11 Responses

  1. Good reads. I think the guidelines, in the end, are fairly similar, but the tone they were delivered in was obviously more encouraging at NPR. This doesn’t seem very surprising though, NPR has had a great website for a long time and seems to adapt quick. The staff, and audience perhaps, have always ‘felt’ young to me as well.

    I’m ready to jump into this code business, bring it on!

    Love the Planet Money account.

  2. I think both messages are pretty much the same, with just different language. I think the Washington Post is fully aware of how useful and valuable social media tools are, but it makes a valid point about the “hazards” of these tools. I think this is an issue for journalists because consumers of the media want objectivity and transparency. As far as declaring yourself a journalist when using these tools… I don’t really think that’s necessary. I do believe that journalists are journalists in and out of the office, but they’re still people with opinions and views of their own, and they should be as free as anyone to share those views. Both messages bring up valid points, just worded a little differently. But, I don’t think we should write-off the Post as a social media tool party-pooper.

  3. Laura Kozak says:

    I think the tone of both articles is very telling for the way the business is run as a whole.

    NPR, like the article stated, gives off a more positive vibe while the Post speaks of social media like it’s the plague. Kudos to NPR for actually treating SM like a good thing. In the end, I think they’ll get much more successful use out of it than the Washington Post.

    Coding: I feel like a child again. All this “Yeah it’s difficult but it’s good to learn” propaganda sounds familiar. Really I’m just bitter that I haven’t learned it yet and I’m pretty sure it’s not going to come easy.

  4. jeffbiertzer says:

    I am ready for html. I am not a fan of this right brain left brain excuse. We’re humans. Let’s go out and learn what ever we want. I agree with the 10,000 words.

  5. Evan Minsker says:

    Honestly, the 10,000 Words thing seemed pretty intuitive. The demand for journalists requires more skills than just “write well.” You need to know how to do a lot of things, and coding DEFINITELY gives you a leg up. That’s why I want to learn it.

    Journalism 2.0 makes a similar case, saying that it’s essential to understanding how online publishing works. Fair.

    And again, the NPR Code of Ethics only makes sense. Why would a news outlet let a reporter (to steal a term) post a picture of himself Steve Austining two beers on Twitter after he just posted a link to his story? Not cool.

    And the Twitter accounts all do exactly what a news outlet should: They don’t overtweet, they don’t use dumb shorthand, and they use links effectively. Especially the Colonel.

  6. Margaret Smith says:

    I essentially agree with what everybody else said. While I am pretty scared to learn code (I definitely wouldn’t consider myself the most technologically -savvy person ever), I think it will be a good tool to have. And I don’t think it’s ridculous to demand that journalists have a certain degree of knowledge on code, either. Instead of lamenting over the “dieing art” of print journalism, keeping up with the times and learning how to use everything technology offers us could obviously keep us up with the times and most importantly, help us find jobs.

    In my opinion, both the NPR and the Washington Post Code of Ethics make sense to a certain degree. The only problem I have with both of them – which really gets to the heart of how journalists and social media intersect in general – is that since I’m a journalist now, I feel like I can’t really use things like Facebook and Twitter the way I want to. If I DO post a picture of me drinking or want to complain about someone/something that day, I automatically can’t because otherwise it’ll reflect on my job. How can I keep my personal life and my work seperate on the internet now?

    The Twitter accounts are great. I have to say though, while I love the way the Tribune uses it’s Twitter, I HATE Colonel. There’s something about his persona with the little paper hat that really annoys me.

  7. jennifer ensign says:

    Liked both articles on code. Both had pretty much the same message, code is vital for journos. I look forward to learning about them. Hope its as easy as they say!

  8. Annye DeGrand says:

    I liked what they said in the 10,000 words article about journalists being more invested in the process when they know what is possible. I think that is entirely true. Why not learn coding? It may not be easy, but when times are tough you need to be able to set yourself apart from the rest, and I think coding is a highly marketable skill for a journalist.

    As Margaret was saying, it is harder and harder to keep your personal life and work separate now. I guess we’re just going to have to accept that. I think it is good that NPR and the Post are even discussing social media in this way because obviously they want their reporters to be held accountable for their actions and what they say.

  9. Sean Stillmaker says:

    The guidelines for NPR and Washington Post are similar yet very different. NPR seems to embrace individual expression via social media facilely while the Washington Post remains hard lined. Both state a journalist should not affiliate with a group that can compromise partiality or post something that can damage credibility to the news outlet. I like these guidelines.

    Using social media as a personal tool to express one’s feelings can be a valuable resource for the public. For example, Post journalists are not allowed to post anything that can show a bias or affiliation. As journalists it’s our job to remain objective and we will always strive too, that’s why we have numerous editors.

    However, social media allows readers to get to know their journalist and build a relationship – this I think is a fundamental element. If I post on my blog how Ford is the best American car company then the public will know where I stand. This will surely win over my smart readers but create discussions and debate – which is essential to this business.

    The other benefit is readers know where I stand but can still read the objectiveness when I report on Honda. They may also find this amusing or it could create more debate – which is good.

  10. Veronica Libman says:

    I think that both readings were pretty similar, though there are differences between the Washington Post and NPR. It seems to me that coding is a growing part of our industry and is important for all journalists to know.

    As for social media, it is important for news outlets to use and I think it’s great that both the Post and NPR are discussing it. It’s important for the integrity of the reporter and journalism to try and be as professional as possible on the job and away from it.

  11. Megan Owen says:

    So the idea of learning code terrifies me. But after reading the 10,000 words article, and Journalism 2.0, I’m pretty resigned to the fact that I’m going to have to – and that it will be really useful in future. That was part of the reason I decided to take this class in the first place.

    The comparison between NPR and the Washington’s Post’s guidelines for social media use were very reflective of the kinds of new organizations that they are. This is an issue that media outlets are still figuring out – but I think it’s pretty clear that the answer is to embrace, rather than reject, this sort of tool.

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