Category Archives: Uncategorized

Video Storytelling for the Web

Standard

I recently completed a self-guided course called ‘Video Storytelling for the Web’. It pointed out the keys to formulating a successful web news video. I learned how important it is to select the best stories for the web, plan out the story beforehand, know the equipment and conduct a proper interview. I found the course to be helpful in the fact that it stated the difference between a web video and a standard news video in each section of material.

Before the course, I had never put deep thought into web videos or video journalists. I had not considered a web video to be a story and always thought of it as an assignment. The course pointed out that it’s important to capture a moment in time and include the four key factors to achieve success. The factors include visual appeal, emotion, character and news value. For example, sports coverage requires excellent visual appeal in its movement, emotion requires going beyond the facts and character allows the people to tell their story, often connecting with viewers.

Web video often surpasses the standard news video by featuring topics viewers wouldn’t see on the 10 p.m. nightly news. Also, it requires much less structure and can be posted at any time of the day rather than waiting for the 6 p.m or 10 p.m. news. For example, a man covered in tattoos or a woman with a pet pig. These examples prove that what you can do for the web, you often can’t do in television or print media.

I believe it is most important for a web video to be able to stand alone. Standard news videos are usually complimented by the print or online version or attributed by a narrator. I learned how essential it is for a web video to cover all aspects by itself with a clear storyline, good audio and good video.

I enjoyed the hands-on activities throughout the course. It was neat to physically apply the light, atmosphere and noise elements to a video interview setting. Condoleezza Rice’s vice president interview exemplifies a rich yet simple setting, good lighting and good audio. The camera catches Rice at a correct angle and maintains it consistently throughout. Short, productive questions are asked and the video gives a clear message.

As with most careers, video journalists carry a lot on their shoulders, literally. They work hard for every web video story by collecting the footage, editing the audio and video and maintaining consistency between the audio and video components. Web videos really are more than assignments, they’re stories!

Alaskan Adventures

Standard

I lived an Alaskan adventure this past summer in the North Pole/Fairbanks area. I had a retail management internship on Eielson Air Force base at their base exchange store. I was employed by the AAFES (Army Air Force Exchange Services) Corporation. My fiance is also a firefighter at Eielson Air Force base and we were often able to make our daily commute together. In this “my” Google map, I highlighted a few tourist places my fiance and I visited, shopping places of choice and both the Army and Air Force bases in the area. As seen on the map, I experienced a balanced summer full of beauty, wildlife, work and leisure. The map features a photograph of Chena Lakes & Recreation Area and a Youtube video with footage of Eielson Air Force base.

A classic Alaskan motto: “Always make the MOOSE out of life” 🙂

Favorite saying by all native Alaskans (when referring to any other state): “The lower 48”

Lavish Linking

Standard

Linking on the Internet creates profound opportunity. It allows users to display their own information and accredit others at the same time. In our textbook, Foust discusses the 4 types of linking: deep linking, inline linking, associative linking and illegal linking.

Deep linking occurs when a user is taken to a page deeper into a site than its homepage. This type of linking creates convenience for the viewer and is quicker than using multiple clicks to reach the same page destination. However, this does decrease page views and the number of clicks by users, which is why website operators view deep linking negatively. For example, when a viewer finds them self interested in checking up on Kathryn Gavin’s tennis career at Minnesota State University, Mankato, a deep link could be used to get a direct update. If a deep link wasn’t used, the viewer would have to go to the MSU homepage click “Athletics”, click “Women’s Sports”, scroll down to “Tennis” and then view the article (a much more complex process).

Inline linking focuses on incorporating an image into the journalistic piece. It occurs when an image is linked without the actual file being copied. The kicker is, the image doesn’t belong to the journalist; it belongs to someone else, yet isn’t  fully copyrighted. To allow for a freer flow of information and images, Lawrence Lessig founded the Creative Commons concept. Creative Commons provides an advantage when it comes to inline linking. Sites like Shutterbug, Compfight and Flickr contain Creative Commons images with various copyright levels, available for use by anyone.  The downside to inline linking becomes a factor when copyrighted images are displayed without permission from the copyright holder or when images with all rights reserved are used as Creative Commons images. As with all types of copyrighted materials and plagiarism standards, journalists should not include any content if it’s not ethically or legally acceptable. To experience a player’s dedication to tennis a viewer may enjoy a specific image. This image was shared via Creative Commons on Flickr.

Associative linking revolves around reputation. If a user is linked to a website that includes links to degrading, inappropriate, illegitimate sites, the original site loses all respect and credibility. This type of linking is a touchy subject and should be dealt with carefully. In fact, court cases and prohibitions have resulted from associative linking incidents. Unauthorized uses of trademarks can easily destroy reputable sites. I see the Austin Catholic Community facing associative linking issues by linking to a contraceptive mandate, including a link that further suggests writing to Congress. I understand it is a pressing issue for both my hometown community and the Catholic religion, yet viewers may be intimidated or offended by being lead to such extreme congressional action. As mentioned in Chapter 12, excessive linking processes lead to less connectivity in the end. A Catholic family new to the Austin area may be disgruntled by visiting the homepage and following the extensive linking process, possibly causing them to seek a different parish. This would be a prime example of negative associative linking.

The final and most controversial type is illegal linking. We are all aware of the endless amounts of illegal material that exists on the Internet in today’s world. Under no circumstance is it legal, ethical or acceptable to link to infringing material. If or when an online journalist links to illegal content, the credibility gap widens, trust is lost and legal court action is likely to occur.If a journalist even links to a site, that links to a site, that links to a site, and so on, that includes a link to illegal material, the original journalist and site will lose the battle. To ensure I fulfill my graduation date this May, I will avoid an example of this form of linking.

Personally, I view linking as an opportunity for numerous uses. Linking is effective for informational, recreation, event, professional and personal purposes. In many cases, linking helps to prove points, back up statistics, share other views and lead to multimedia functions of all sorts. Instead of reading an entire page, the viewer is able to technologically interact via linking. Linking is a great skill to learn and quite simple once physically doing it. I am running in the Mankato Marathon 5K next week as part of the United Prairie Bank team. If the bank had not included a link directly to the marathon registration page (an example of a deep link), I may not have followed through on my initial interest in the event. This is just one personal example I recently encountered, which leads me to realize how much of an impact linking makes on a daily basis!

Social Media. Where will it lead us next?

Standard

Today’s world is ever-changing and endlessly advancing in both the technological and professional aspects. The improved use of mass media and social media has changed the standard interview, recruit and career paths as we know them. As a member of Generation Y, I am stereotyped to thrive for and be a fan of technological advancements. Personally, it’s a bit of a different story. I appreciate the amount of technology and what it allows us to do in today’s world. However, I do believe it has reached too far in certain places, making it unnecessary for basic human interaction for the upcoming generations. Saying this, I mean the children of today’s world no longer find it necessary to show enough respect, hold face-to-face conversations, make phone calls or make literal visits to locations. Instead, they treat all their peers, regardless of age the same, choose a text or multimedia message to contact anyone and accomplish tasks via internet technology instead of making an effort to reach out. The YouTube videos got my fired up about this rant, yet also opened my eyes to the bigger picture, my future.

As a mass media, public relations – marketing student, I see a bright future ahead of me. I realize I must make a continued effort to keep pace with the advancing mass and social media world that surrounds me. As the video mentioned, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today’s learners will have 10-14 jobs by the time they are 38 years of age. This is neat and gives an optimistic scope to look through. I like change and look forward to experiencing various professional experiences throughout my career.

The statistic in the social media clip definitely surprised me. Fifty percent of the world’s population is under age 30. To me this means it is my peers and I who hold the power to the social and professional future. The Facebook statistics are downright crazy. It is a neat social media site created for both personal and professional use. Some use it. Others abuse it. If people continually share EVERYTHING with outsiders, what will out “personal” lives be like in 20 years? Being introduced to GooglePlus is class was invigorating. It has a much more organized setup, logical settings and provides great professional advantages.

Technology and social media are taking over. Our great-grandparents didn’t know what a cell phone was. Our grandparents can’t wrap their minds around social media sites. Our parents choose face-to-face interaction. Generation Y views a text message acceptable in all conditions. This trend includes tons of technological advancements, yet has a negative connotation when it comes to societal norms. My peers and I hold the power to turn this around, combining technology with more positive uses. My mom always said: “Life is a crazy ride. Hold on tight.” Yet, I always remember her number one motto: “If you can dream it, you can achieve it”.

Twitter, Tweets, Re-tweets, Mentions..I prefer Birds

Standard

As the title explains, Twitter intimidates me. It scares me that a six-year-old can explain a better definition of “tweet” than I can. The six-year-old would most likely refer tweet to Twitter. The first thing that comes to my mind? A bird. I have been working hard at familiarizing myself with Twitter and have definitely learned a lot along the way. I keep telling myself, just like anything else in life “practice makes perfect”. Last class period I learned you can hashback any word or phrase you would like (very interesting)! I thought hashbacks had to refer to a group or already be developed in order to hashback (referring things to the Facebook world).

My Twitter assignment for MASS 330:

Prior to Writing for Online Multimedia, I had an existing Twitter account, yet had only tweeted three times total in the span of a year. Since updating my account for this class and better familiarizing myself with Twitter, I have learned a lot and am beginning to enjoy the Twitter world. I had always thought it was a knock-off on Facebook until I learned the business and professional advantages Twitter has to offer. I can use my Twitter account as a professional profile, positively portraying myself to the professional Public Relations and Marketing network. My favorite feature of Twitter is that I can follow PR agencies, Marketing firms, renown news sources, distinguished professional in the area and nationwide, etc. I am also fond of the fact that employers can follow me and I may be flagged as a prospect for a job opening or internship by them. By following my classmates and having the MASS330 hashback, I am continually advancing my Twitter skills and enjoying the process in the meantime!

Time to get back to “tweeting” my life away!

ABC News

Standard

News is a constant, unavoidable source surrounding us. News should be reliable, true material provided to inform citizens of both good and bad happenings. In today’s world of technological advancement, it is extremely crucial for media providers to guarantee fair, accurate, relevant news to the correct audience at the best time and place.

My news source of choice is ABCnews.com. ABC does a great job of sharing recent news in an organizational pattern that is simple for citizens to view. At the ABC News homepage, the viewer’s attention is focused on the featured story of the day, appearing larger than all other stories. If the viewer isn’t necessarily interested in the feature story, specific stories/topics can be searched for at the top of the site or the viewer can select from fifteen other topic tabs. Personally, my favorite part of the site is the hot topic suggestions and “Must Read” tab options. The site has a perfect balance of stories, pictures, slideshows, videos, polls and tweets. Another neat feature is the “Change Location” option located towards the bottom of the homepage. This tool, called ABC News Local allows viewers to seek local news happenings right in their area.

When evaluating online multimedia news sites, it is important to consider a variety of traits. These five basic traits include fairness, attribution, accuracy, relevance and newness. ABCnews.com has a fair, unbiased feel. All articles are written with basic headlines, always providing fact rather than opinion. Headlines are followed by efficient summary text written in the inverted pyramid style. When discussing fairness it is important that the source approaches all sides of an issue, rather than just choosing one. With the 9/11 anniversary quickly approaching, ABC News is currently featuring various 9/11 pieces, covering all sides of the story. Attribution is similar to fairness, yet focuses more on citing where certain facts, photos and videos come from. ABC News does an acceptable job with attribution. For example, in the feature story about the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the photo on the homepage states that it is from the Associated Press.

Accuracy is self-explanatory, simply meaning that the facts reported need to be right. A news source immediately becomes untrustworthy if an important fact in a story is stated incorrectly. For example, as mentioned in the book, if a story informs viewers of a fire that occurred and stated the incorrect date, the source will no longer be viewed as accurate or credible. According to some, relevance may be the weakest point of ABCnews.com simply because of the vast variety of information it provides. Relevant material should mean something and be of importance to the audience. I believe relevance can vary from viewer to viewer, depending on their point of greatest interest. For example, on today’s homepage of ABCnews.com, I first clicked on the Katy Perry picture from last night’s VMAs. To me, this provided relevance, yet many other viewers visiting the site may see that as irrelevant and would choose to click on the Hurricane Irene story.

Newness is of utter importance when it comes to reliable online news sites. Viewers aren’t interested in old news that journalists try to bring to public attention for the second time. Newness literally means news that has not been given before. This doesn’t mean that reporting on the 9/11 tragedy is not new. As long as journalists are providing fresh, new views on important events of the past, viewers will appreciate it and show continued interest.

After carefully evaluating ABCnews.com, I will definitely continue to visit the site as my number one news choice. I like the setup, navigational settings and believe it provides the perfect amount of audience control, including information for viewers of all types.  The only suggestion I would make for the site would be to make social media connections more prominent to viewers. By adding bigger, more obvious Facebook and Twitter options, viewers are more apt to get involved and share news with others!