Posted by: tjholmesjr | May 7, 2009

Multimedia Isn’t Going Anywhere

Multimedia makes the Web fun, interesting, and appealing for viewers. It gives people different ways to view news through photos, videos, sound bites, or user-generated content. But most of all, multimedia makes the Web interactive.

Multimedia is essential for online journalism in Web 2.0. Graphics can make a story pleasing. I know I don’t want to click a link for a story and only see text. I dread it. But if I see a couple of tables with statistics or photos on the side, I will be more inclined to read it because it catches my eye.

Along with photos, videos and sound bites, user-generated content is becoming more popular today. The hit television show American Idol is one example for people to text in to vote for what they want to see next. There is an ESPN commercial that makes fun of the user-generated content that has become so popular of recently.

Another form of user-generated content that is spread all over the Web is posting comments on certain Web sites. These comments allow readers to voice their opinions and they can be posted on online stories or videos from The Orion to ESPN to the New York Times. Even though people can do this through letters to the editors in circulation newspapers, the advantage of people doing it online is that it appears immediately for the next person to view and initially has no chance of being thrown out.

User-generated content is everywhere even in sports. On “College Football Live,” which is one of ESPN network shows, they have a segment contributed to only user-generated content called “Sound Off.” It allows users to post videos just like in YouTube! but one video is played on television during the show. Even more, members of ESPN.com can comment on the videos people can post.

I believe multimedia is essential to Web 2.0 and is needed for people to continue to enjoy online reading. With photos, videos, sound bites, and user-generated content, only the sky is the limit for the amount of multimedia in the online journalistic world.

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Posted by: tjholmesjr | April 30, 2009

Microblogging Spreading like Wildfire

I’ll come straight out with this, I was not very happy when Facebook came out with their new interface in March 2009 that lets people update you with what they are doing at any given second. They do this by typing anything into a box entitled “what’s on your mind?” When I would see some of the stuff people would post, I would get upset and get the ‘who cares’ mentality.

But Facebook isn’t the only social networking site to do this. MySpace does it too by letting people update their status and mood for all their friends to see. Again, I thought how it was a way for people to complain, brag or feel like other people really care what they are doing and how they feel at that specific time.

Then I found about Twitter.

Twitter has become the envy of these main two social networking sites. Facebook gets about 20 more hits then Twitter does yet Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg felt like he needed to change it to be more like Twitter. Since then, people all over television news shows, including ESPN, have been giving out their Twitter address for people to follow.

For these reasons, it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. But the Internet is accessible through phones and people can  give or receive information at any time.

In recent cases, jurors have been doing research on the cases they are seeing while they are still on trial through their cell phones. This brings up the question, are social networking sites that are fixated on microblogging really a good thing? For journalist purposes, yes because we can be updated on recent stories right then and there with the accessibility of the Web, just like RSS feeds. As for citizens, these microblogging sites are ways to compile all the updates for their relatives, peers, and favorite authors all in one place. It can save a lot of phone calls and wasted messages about how they are doing because they tell you.

All in all, Twitter is a way for people to stay connected through Web 2.0. Facebook and MySpace are just more advanced versions of it and sometime in the future, maybe Twitter will want to change their interface and allow photos, videos, and music.

Posted by: tjholmesjr | April 7, 2009

Screen Reading Only Going Up

The Web and technology have transformed the way people read.

Electronic books are becoming more popular to save paper and save money. Amazon has come out with Kindle, a device where consumers can read newspapers, books, and magazines that they download wireless for a fee. A Kindle can weigh less than a typical paperback and save power because there is no back lighting function according to an article from the Washington Post.

Not only do the Kindles create ways for people to download e-books, but Apple came out with a Kindle application for the iPhone and iTouch. Amazon believes that the iPhone application will persuade people to buy a Kindle because it uses less power and has longer battery life.

E-books are changing the way people are reading. One great benefit is it can be accessed from any Internet connection. E-books are becoming more popular even in colleges for textbooks. I have taken a couple of classes at Chico State where the professor has given us the opportunity to purchase the $25 cheaper e-book than the traditional textbook. Even though I wanted that $25, had to have the physical textbook because I would get easily distracted with all the other things I could be doing with computer and the Web right in front of me.

The Web has transformed how people read in other ways than just e-books. More computers with Internet access are in all levels of schools today. With more students spending time reading and doing research on the Web than in books, the credibility of the Web site they come across comes into question.

School librarians now are being taught how to teach Internet skills to students and not only about book researching skills. It is important to know how to find a credible and reliable source of information because there are plenty of Web sites that don’t have publishers and anything can be posted.

I personally can’t be around a computer when I am trying to read for any class out of a book. It poses a distraction and I’ll soon find myself on ESPN.com reading about the upcoming National Football League Draft or the start of the Major League Baseball season.

But even though I get distracted while I am near a computer with an internet connection, I still find myself ultimately doing the same thing – reading.

Posted by: tjholmesjr | April 2, 2009

Traditional Journalism Not Ready to be Put to Rest

Journalists can learn many different things from bloggers. The way blogs are supposed to be written are through anecdotes, claims, support for the claims, and it all has to have a purpose. Some bloggers write this way and they are usually professional journalists getting paid to do it. Other bloggers write personal blogs that report and update what they are thinking, and it usually is something that affects their lives in some way.

Journalists can learn from bloggers just like bloggers can learn from journalists. They are both very similar but have some differences. Bloggers support their argument through credible sources. Journalists do the same through research and certain people they attribute information to. The difference between traditional journalism writing and blogs is traditional journalism reports and informs the audience of the news where blogs take a stand on an issue and are used to support it.

Traditional media is still the main source of information today but according to an article on emarketer.com, media used by internet users in the U.S. shows that more people are turning to online for shopping, and social networking sites for conversation. One lesson traditional media can draw from the technological and social change that is facilitated by the Web is to embrace the change and not try to prevent it. People are adapting to online media with shopping and social networking as well as searching for the news because it is available at the time that individual person wants it. It is made ready for them to view information when they make time to do it.

The technological advancement of the 24 hour news cycle of the Web has put media outlets in a position to publish now. It is creating an atmosphere journalism that is relentless and careless pack journalism and media outlets scramble to cover every possible angle. Traditional media must obtain existing audiences and new ones by adapting to both online and physical communities through every way possible. If traditional media adapts to both online and physical communities then neo-Luddites can have more of a chance to use the best of both worlds. When neo-Luddites are at work, they use the online communities, and at home they use traditional media to inform them of the news because of use of the Web while at work. They want to interact with the physical communities that surround them at home.

Journalists need bloggers and visa-versa. People need journalists to be informed with the news and in order to see different sides of arguments and they need blogs to diversify angles to create the spectrum of ideas and solutions.

Posted by: tjholmesjr | March 27, 2009

Digging for Archives

The first place I go to find out what happened in any historical content is the Internet. And why not? The World Wide Web can take seconds to find what you’re searching for, depending on what type of Internet connection you have.

The Web makes it easier and quicker to find historical data. I can remember in elementary school using the card catalog just to go find a book in our tiny library. Of course it is hard for my generation to imagine trying to do that with the availability of the Internet. Chico State’s library still has a card catalog today but they also have an online version, which is the one everyone uses.

Online newspapers, social networking Web sites and YouTube make it easier for people to access archived files from the past. The Web allows you to view stories, photos, and videos at the click of a mouse that are of great historical importance. Videos are uploaded of President Obama’s inaugural speech, which is a historical landmark. Before the Web, you would only be allowed to read, hear, or see the speech live on television or in person. These videos can hopefully last for the future for people too see the first black president be sworn in.

It’s a major step in technology for the access of these archived files, but what about the importance of the physical newspaper? I was given a notebook of newspaper clippings that my father had throughout his high school and college days and I cherish every single one. It is a special bond I have with them. It makes it unique because I am probably the only one with possession of the newspaper besides some library in Iowa where it’s probably sitting in the basement.

With the rapid development of new technologies for the Web, newspapers are fading but the news is still there. Archived files are making it easier to find what you’re looking for. Within the archives, you can still read the story and do what you want with it, but you can’t get the personal satisfaction of it being published in print.

Posted by: tjholmesjr | March 12, 2009

Classes Shifting Online

Home schooling has a whole new meaning thanks to Web 2.0.

Online learning is becoming more popular as technology becomes more advanced. High school and college credit are both attainable through online classes. People can earn a degree from a number of accredited distance learning colleges like DeVry University, University of Phoenix, or Kaplan University.

Kaplan University recently put out ad campaigns to intrigue people to sign up for online classes. Distance learning can become more convenient for people who need to work to survive in the struggling economy or even people who can’t learn as fast as others. In 2001, according to that article, only 34 students were enrolled in online degree programs and now there are around 48,000 just at Kaplan University alone. That is an enormous leap in eight years and it can be attributed to mainly the technological boost of the World Wide Web.

People decide to take online classes because it fits into their time or because going back to school can cause anxiety as it did for Kristie Underwood. The article also describes how distance learning can also help stay-at-home parents achieve their college degrees when they don’t have the time.

Web 2.0 is increasingly bringing students over from traditional ways of learning to learning at their own pace and the online classes are not only offered for college credit.

Parents are starting to withdraw kids from their high schools because they feel like their children are not receiving the education they should be in public schools. Jayne Nilsen withdrew her son Erik from his high school and enrolled him in an online academy where he takes four classes online from home.

With this new definition of home schooling, people are becoming more dependent on the Internet. It may be more convenient for parents to take online classes when they have to work, but high school students should not get their education from a screen talking to them.

They need to be taught by a person, with other people around because a diverse student body is essential to the development of young minds. This being the case, peers can help you learn just as much as teachers do.

Posted by: tjholmesjr | March 5, 2009

Know Your Place Newb

When you post in an online community thread, you better know what you’re talking about.

It seems like users on these Web sites have a sixth sense for ‘newbies’ . Administrators or ‘admins’ can kick you out for a dumb comment or bad play in online games.

The problem with online communities is the anonymity of the users. They can be anyone anywhere in the world. This became popular when people began talking through AOL and eventually other social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. Since there are no security measures and online communities are self-policing, the media consumption is endless.

Web 2.0 is at the click of a mouse and countless online communities flourish in a cyberspace world. Online communities are niche markets. People can belong to a specific Web site where they can view information about topics they want. The subjects of online communities are infinite. They range anywhere from a certain sports team to television shows to furies, which I just learned about, thanks to my professor.

In contrast, my idea of community is where people live close to each other, exchange conversations about interests, share meals; celebrate events and a place where they enjoy the physical presence of each other. This of course is what most people refer to as a physical or traditional community. Other people can view communities in a different way.

I can see similarities between the traditional communities and an online community. In an online community, people can still talk to one another through message boards. I enjoy my online games where I get the chance to talk to people from other parts of the world – or so I think.

Posted by: tjholmesjr | February 27, 2009

This Just In: North America is Without Internet

The one short sentence that drives me up the walls – ‘Page Not Found.’

The failure of the World Wide Web would cause pandemonium all across the country, let alone the continent. The U.S. would say goodbye to the recession and face another Great Depression.

Each company with an operating Web site would lose money by the second. Businesses such as Google, Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo would eventually vanish. Not only would businesses be distraught, individual people would be devastated. And not because they can’t access their Twitter accounts.

Individuals trading online through sites like E*TRADE would lose countless money that is invested in stock, with only a faint glimpse of hope to someday recover.

This would set America back for years. But is it even possible? Can a whole continent lose their connection? It’s happened before.

The World Wide Web connects continents through undersea cables and because the Internet is available to anyone with a connection, maps of the cables are public. And since this information is public, terrorists can view it.

Not only will businesses falter. Layoffs would be colossal. Not only for all the online companies but careers in journalism would be gone. Besides the web designers, and online editors, a new breed of journalists would disappear. I’m talking about the mojos.

News wouldn’t travel as fast through cell phones as it does through the Internet, but it would make it around. Television stations would still dominate the news industry but newspapers would be on the steady increase.

America without internet is trying to sail a boat without the wind.

Posted by: tjholmesjr | February 19, 2009

Be Careful What You Search For

MySpace and Facebook are social networks we live on. We can claim it reality by communicating with other people about our daily lives and the events we encounter in them.

However, reality cannot be something where we don’t have to physically interact with one another. We say we emailed this person, I left him a comment, or I wrote on her wall. This proxy world we live in called Web 2.0 has made us less sociable and less interpersonal.

People can create a profile as one person but be someone completely different. They could be a real person impersonating another, or could just be an alias, maybe a fabrication.

Wikipedia is an example of this alternate view of reality. It is a 24-hour news Web site with one problem — people can publish or delete any information they want to at anytime because of the anonymity of Wikipedia. David Weinberger, author of Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of New Digital Order, argues that people need to recognize the source of where they get their information from. Wikipedia is only a place where unknown people with unknown backgrounds can come together and write whatever they want because of the anonymity of it. Weinberger compares Wikipedia to the Encyclopedia Britannica to show that it has been under “extensive editorial review,” and therefore is a creditable source.

Wikipedia contributors and citizen reporting are very similar in the fact that they both lack a form of professional editing. They are free to spread rumors and make mistakes due to anonymity and lack of liability for the work they create.

Valid arguments can be proposed on both blogs and Wikipedia and sometimes it can be pure garbage. But it is up to the reader to determine if it is credible and not only from the person, but from the Web site it is found at.

Posted by: tjholmesjr | February 12, 2009

The Dissolving Media: Newspapers

Everyone knows it so I am going to put it out there and say it…newspapers are dying. And it saddens me.

Few college students, especially Chico State students, are caught reading the Sac Bee, the Chico Enterprise-Record or even the New York Times. The Orion has a decent circulation not only because of their award-winning reputation, but because it is free.

Newspapers and print are becoming an unpopular media for the new generation because with laptop computers, WiFi hot spots and cell phones, people can have the information anytime, anywhere, and right when they want it.

Today’s college students think ‘why should I pay to get a subscription if I can just read it on the internet for free?’ I know because I used to think that way before I decided to be a journalism major.

There are ways for journalism to agree with the online world. Because if you can’t beat them, join them.

For my career in news-editorial, it’s looking bright for online news-ed with the numerous newspapers that maintain their own websites or even blogs. But as for print, it’s walking away from the light at the end of the tunnel and will be phased out.

The question remains, when will people give up on newspapers and what will be the determining factor to end the journey of print?

Hopefully not in my lifetime.

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