COM407: Introduction to New Media


Quick links

Course syllabus

Course schedule

Professor Natt's home page


Beat blogs
Adeyo, Olaoluwa Braithwaite, Callie
Ceylan, Azra Erdelac, Katelyn
Froelich, Aleksandra Frose, Ida
Henery, Sarah Hossain, Wais
Jones, Leah Konecnik, Christopher
Lee, Ryan Logan, Austin
Salske, Callie Woodcock, Robert
Whitaker, Cole Wu, Jiaxing
Wu, Zifan Xu, Huiyan
Yan, Yunfan  


In class blogs
Adeyo, Olaoluwa Braithwaite, Callie
Ceylan, Azra Erdelac, Katelyn
Froelich, Aleksandra Frose, Ida
Henery, Sarah Hossain, Wais
Jones, Leah Konecnik, Christopher
Lee, Ryan Logan, Austin
Salske, Callie Woodcock, Robert
Whitaker, Cole Wu, Jiaxing
Wu, Zifan Xu, Huiyan
Yan, Yunfan  


Week 1: Media Trends/Uses of Social Media Week 2:No class MLK Day/Blogs
Week 3: Blogs Week 4: Blogs; Images & Instagram Photos
Week 5: Images & Instagram Photos Week 6: Facebook; Pinterest
Week 7: Twitter Week 8: Twitter & Hootsuite
Week 9: Aggregation and Curation & Storify; LinkedIn Week 10: Spring break
Week 11: Interviewing; Snapchat & Video Week 12: Video
Week 13: Audio Week 14: Audio (if needed)/Soundslides
Week 15: Soundslides Week 16: Soundslides

Week 1: Welcome; Media Trends/Uses of Social Media

Day 1: Media Trends

Readings: 10 tips to optimize your social resume


"Reporters from digital outlets and niche publications now hold more seats in the U.S. Senate Press Gallery than reporters from daily newspapers do, according to a new report from Pew." Source

Social media numbers 2016

"Now in the era of 24-hour social media, with both professional and citizen journalists, more people than ever are turning to alternatives to traditional news media for their information. Some studies show that many people trust social media more than the traditional media sources."

A new study finds millenials are strong news consumers, they just take an indirect path. Instead of newspapers or digital home pages, they use social media and search as the two top avenues for finding news. Facebook is the top way of encountering news.

Media Trends

And it's not just once you get the job:

10 Reasons I ignored your resume

No more resumes, instead: instead it's a social media resume many are looking for. Make sure you have one uploaded to LinkedIn. Social proof for job success. Here is a former student's Wordpress resume.

And I don't want this to happen to you

Day 2: Uses of Social Media



Uses of Social Media notes

Daily Assignment (to be done in-class): Let's look at the J&C's Twitter account, the Exponent's Facebook page, American Farmer's Twitter, and ESPN Facebook. What "uses" can you identify?

Week 2 Blogs

Day 1: No class, MLK Day

Day 2: What is a blog; your Weblog assignment

A journalists's guide to Tumblr
Getting started on Wordpress
The best Tumblr tip page
Blogging Your Way to a Dream Job at a Startup

In class:

You read professional blogs. You just don't know it. Blogs you know: Huffington Post, Jezebel, Wired and Buzzfeed. The renown Wonkblog. Many online publications have blog "elements" like Slate and Gothamist. Mashable and Social Media Today you should be reading. Top 15 Most Popular Blogs this month. Blogs by topic like the top science blogs or agriculture blogs. Popular blogs include: Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos and boingboing and TechCrunch and Food Babe and Scary Mommy. Corporate blogging is big. Medium is a popular site. And personal blogging like Dooce is still popular.

So tell me about a blog. Blog trends.

News report vs. blog

Let's go over our blog criteria and our blog schedule

(All Daily Assignments are done in-class unless otherwise stated)

Major assignment, semesterlong:

  1. You will be assigned a blog beat from a list provided or from a suggestion you make. This blog is to be maintained from Week 4 through the end of the semester. See blog grading criteria and blog schedule.
  2. Blog posts cannot occur with 12 hours of each other. And no more than 72 hours can elapse between blog posts (this is from week to week, not just within a week).
  3. You must follow the blog schedule of posts. You must tag each post with what assigned post (i.e. sharing news, or funny list) it satisfies from the schedule.
  4. It's all or nothing. If you don't make your posts that week following the above rules, you recieve NO credit for that week.

Daily Assignment (Day 2):

  1. Choose 2 to 3 options for your "beat" blog.
  2. E-mail me your ideas and support.
  3. I will then assign the blog beats.
  4. Here's a strong sample from a previous semester to peruse.
  5. It's a good idea to get the Wordpress and Tumblr apps (free) for your smartphones. Quick and easy way to make (and schedule) posts on the fly.

Week 3 – Blogs

Day 1: Setting up your blogs

Where to get a blog:

Here is a list of a few places to obtain a blog.

You can also use most, including WordPress, to create a Web site

Daily Assignment (Day 1):

  1. Sign up for your beat blog (Wordpress)
  2. Customize it (here's some help for you).
  3. E-mail me the URLs

Day 2: How to write a blog post

Spotlight on Research

Why do we keep our blog posts tight? New research shows that:

  • 10 percent of readers won't scroll through your blog post at all. (Overcome this by writing an exceptional blog title, writing tight).
  • Those who do read only get through 60 percent of your post (So, to get them to read it all, break up your content with visuals, headers, bullets, bolded text to highlight stats or quotes)
  • Most visitors will scroll through an entire post made up of photos and videos (more engaging, easier and faster to get through). (So obviously, incorporate visuals when possible)
  • Articles that get tweeted a lot don't necessarily get thoroughly read and vice versa.


Tips for Writing a blog post

  1. Write with passion. Actually write. Be creative. It shouldn't read like an encyclopedia entry.
  2. Use second person, or first person, in addition to third person. You can address the reader as “you”; you can talk about yourself and use “I.”
  3. Be more informal. You can quote people using Twitter handle, etc.
  4. Make your opinion known (a rule you can break when blogging)
  5. Interact or invite participation
  6. While always staying on topic, your definition of news is no longer what would be in a standard newspaper. Have variety. Topics are key. Finding new, interesting stuff you blog about, or a new take on an old topic. Writing about one aspect of an event and bringing your personality in to it.
  7. Vary your format and topics. You can have light lists or serious lists.
  8. Links. Almost every post should have one. You can link to background rather than repeat it, link to a news release or report rather than rewrite it, link to other sites, competitors)
  9. Write good link text. Click here is bad link text (where will you go? You don't know!). This is good link text: Lyndon gave us 10 tips that help him write his blog. Why is it good? Because the text of the link gives you a reasonable expectation of what you will see if you click.
  10. Length. There is debate. Most professionals are 500 to 1,000. Many say shorter, like 250-300, however. Now, there is a new movement to longer, 2,000 words. Depends on blog, depends on post.
  11. No block of text more than 5 lines
  12. Make blog post titles SEO friendly. Every word counts. The title also needs to be short — five or six words is an ideal length. Downstyle. It's important, like a headline.
  13. Make your post easy to scan (e.g. use bullet points if applicable)
  14. Edit your post
  15. Litter the post with keywords
  16. Post regularly. This keeps your blog fresh and interesting.
  17. Tag your posts. Tags vs. Categories on Wordpress.

Some blog dos and don'ts for your assignment.

If you would like to have your own domain name on Wordpress.

Daily Assignment (Day 2):

  1. In class: Blog activity



Week 4-5 – Blogs; Images & Instagram

Day 1: Blog uses; Publicizing your blog; Your first blog post

Blog uses

Tumblr vs. Wordpress

Fun with Tumblr

Publicizing your blog:

An Exponent article doesn't hurt

Remember: "Blogging isn't a sprint, it's a marathon" Source. How to get attention for your blog. Once your blog is established you can take additional steps (Register your blog on blog search sites, don't forget Digg, etc., Blogengage, other blog directories and Bloghub)

How to search for blogs:

Blog Search Engine or you can find blogs on Tumblr, etc. Or just to a site like Christian Science Monitor

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 1):

  1. Find at least five blogs related to the "beat" you would like to do your blog on. (You can check to see if organizations you know have blogs by going to their home pages). These can be valuable sources of information, possible posts, writing examples, etc. Follow these blogs on Wordpress or Tumblr. In addition, scan these blogs' recent posts. Come up with a list of 5 ideas for posts you could match/share on your own blog. (See previous example) Post these on your in-class (Tumblr) blog.

Daily Assignment 2 (Day 1):

  1. Make your first post to your beat blog, a kind of introductory post. Let them know what you hope the blog will be. We will do this IN CLASS. In addition, if you have not done your "About" page on Wordpress, do it as well (if your theme has one).

Day 2: Images & Instragram

Readings: Beginners Guide to Instagram; Instagram Direct; Reporter's Guide to Multimedia Proficiency, Sections 7, 8 and 9, pgs. 13-20
Photoshop tutorial
Copyright, Fair Use and Online Images
Principles in Fair Use for Journalists
5 Ways Newspapers can Use Instagram
12 Essential Photoshop skills


Top image blog: The Big Picture

Free stock image sites and another and 5 more and the issue of Fair Use and screengrabs. Twitter photo ruling vs. this decision and Gettys 35 million free photos. And apps like Repost for Instagram.

Reporters are being asked to do more like at this Georgia chain that eliminated its photographers. (So have have the Chicago Tribune and Sports Illustrated, to name a few). So you need to know how to avoid the cliche photo. The right photo (taken on an iPhone, edited using Instagram) can take off. And Instagram (and iPhones) are replacing fancy cameras.

The Golden Globes Instagram stunt and the great photo ideas you can have. Like @mynytimes.

The size of social media images

Sharing images on Facebook and Twitter
"What I’ve observed from managing Twitter and Facebook accounts is that compelling images seem to lead to more knee-jerk retweets, favorites, likes and shares. That doesn’t always translate into more clicks if you include a link to a story — and, of course, we know that people often share content without actually consuming it anyway. But viewing a photo on Twitter and passing it along to your followers takes a lot less time than reading a story and then retweeting it."

Jonas and Instagram. A good photo tells a story. A lot of reporters are using photos/words together in new, interesting online combinations. Or breaking news photos. Or using multiple photos to accompany a word story. Or the Washington Post's visual stories. Photos are a key role in Soundslides productions. Slideshow from Venice floods does what words cannot. NPR mixes iconic photos and words in a look back at Chicago public housing. And of course the standalone photo blog like Humans of New York and its Facebook page. Or mobile news providers like NowThis.

14 Instagram Photojournalists. See this example of Washington Post reporters using Instagram to upload photos from the campaign 2012 trail. And an AP photographer returns to Vietnam using only Instagram. Using Websta to search Instagram.

Using photos on your blog examples: You can share others photos; you can use them to illustrate your post. Photos can provide really creative posts. FYI you can embed a photo from Instagram on your beat blog.

For a little fun, the 12 most cliche photos on Instagram

Be careful of the liberties you take and the ethics behind photos.

Example Instagram pages: Purdue Exponent, Indy Star. Chicago Tribune invites participation with Theme of the Week instagram and Fayetteville Flyer (an online only publication) does, too. (This is creepy or cool?)

Flickr still has pages: U.S. Department of State.

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 2): If you don't have it already, download Instagram onto your smartphone (it's free). Same with Photo Express or Snapseed or Vintique or another editing app. Send me your account information so I can follow you.

Daily Assignment 2 (Day 2): Let's judge some of these photos people uploaded for the weeklong Instagram assignment.

Major assignment I: Using your smartphone, take photos to accompany a post to your beat blog (or to just serve as a post). Due Week 6. (This counts as one of your beat blog posts for the week). See assignment details here.

1. You must have a minimum of four photos.
2. Edit them using Instagram, or Photoshop Express app. (Use the best application for the job).
3. Then create a Wordpress slideshow. Sample 1 and Sample 2 from students (these were Flickr but you get the idea). Grade this attempt from last year with me. What about this one?
4. Don't forgot to check the grading checklist for this assignment.

Major assignment II: Using your smartphone (or camera), you must maintain a professional beat presence on Instagram for one week. See assignment details here. Due Week 7.

1. You must have a minimum of one post per day.
2. Edit them using Instagram.
3. Photos must be beat-related, professional and of good quality.
4. Don't forgot to check the grading checklist for this assignment.

Day 3: Taking good photos

Photo tips. (Illustrated in this awesome video). Two great articles a former student found: Disney advice on taking pictures with your cellphone and on framing. Remember to use hashtags on Instagram! The 5 types of photos that make great photos slideshows.

Infographic on photo sizes on social media

Options other than Photoshop program for editing on your computer include the free Photoshop Express Editor , the new Photoshop Fix and Pixlr and and Picasa. And for those of you interested in creating GIFs. And cool apps like Colorsplash for your smartphones. And to share Report for Instagram app.

Wordpress and photos: Aligning images, resizing images and using galleries. Great use of gallery for a "job" site.

It's not just the photos. You need to pay attention to the cutlines as well.

The feature photo feature on Wordpress (changing the main image on individual posts). How photos can aid a blog post.

Let's grade those two Slideshow samples now.

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 3): Keeping in mind the photo tips we discussed in class, take two photos with your smart phone that in your view "illustrate" Purdue. These must be photos you take now, not photos you have previously taken. Sample from last semester. Edit using Instagram or Photo Express (or other app). Upload to Instagram before class. We will be discussing these in class next class period.

Day 4: Images

Let's have a look at those amazing photos you took!!

Week 6 – Facebook/Pinterest

Readings:Reporter's Guide to Multimedia Proficiency, Section 1, Reads Blogs and Use RSS, pgs. 2-3; Mashable's Facebook guide;

Day 1: Facebook

FB Newswire and Instant Articles

"About 30 percent of adults in the United States get their news on Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. The fortunes of a news site, in short, can rise or fall depending on how it performs in Facebook’s News Feed." Source

When to post:

Spotlight on Research

How often should a news organization post?

Facebook had some advice to media firms: Post more. Facebook worked with 29 media sites over a seven-day period recently and found a greater number of posts "frequently" increases referral traffic by more than 80%. At some point, you can overload fans with too many posts. Media properties will have to figure that out on their own. Shoot for 5-10 if a news organization.

Business/organizations not more than two, usually.

What to post:

Writing the Facebook post

Let's look at a few on NPR?

Spotlight on Research

The Pew Research Center in 2015 released a 14-page report examining how people use Facebook and Twitter to consume and share news. It found more people are turning to Facebook and Twitter for news — but the report also draws an interesting distinction between the two social networks.

The report says that slightly more Twitter users reported seeing a diverse mix of news topics than Facebook users did. Of the Twitter users surveyed, 67 percent said they regularly saw at least six of 11 common categories of news, compared to 57 percent of Facebook users. Although users of both platforms saw roughly the same amount of news about science, the environment and local government, Twitter users reported seeing more news about sports, business, national news and national politics.



Spotlight on Research

A study of engagement with journalists' pages reveals that incorporating personal analysis (opinion) increased sharing of posts by 20 percent. In addition to commentary or analysis, posts need to be more informal and conversational, and invite people to participate (ask questions, provide suggestions)


Remember our "Next Journalism" (service to citizens)?:


You can really really write on Facebook, too.

The types of stories that get shared most on Facebook:

The NPR Study

More Facebook uses:

Don't forget our other uses from Day 2:


Facebook pages you need to be following: Social Media Today and Mashable

Facebook has lists, too

Some local Facebook page examples:

Other issues:

Daily Assignment 1: In class today, find an upcoming event related to your beat or an article to share (you can use last week's events/articles). Come up with a Facebook post you might make about the event if you had a professional Facebook page (i.e., you were a beat reporter for the J&C and had a Facebook page in that capacity) or you wanted to share this new information. This is NOT a link to your blog post about the event. The post must include a URL. Next, make a post touting one of your beat blog posts and link to the blog post. Take screenshots of both these posts and post them to your in-class (Tumblr) blog.

Daily Assignment 2: In class today, find 5 new Facebook accounts you want to follow (I suggest Social Media Today and Mashable be 2 if you aren't following them already). If you want, you can create a Facebook list. Share these 5 on a post on your in-classa (Tumblr) blog. Then, on one of these accounts, find what you think is a great Facebook status. Share it via screenshot on your in-class blog. Answer these questions about it: What was its main use? Was it creative? Did it generate any comments or shares?

Day 2: Pinterest

Readings: Mashable's guide to Pinterest; Learn Pinterest (from a Pinterest page!!) Pinterest basics and beyond

As before with Twitter and Facebook, verify whose Pinterest you are actually viewing.

It's not just recipes!!!

Spotlight on Research

A study from Gigya, a social login provider for many media companies, including ABC, NBC, and FOX, found that 20% of all "media/publishing"-related content shared to social networks in Q3 was shared on Pinterest. Facebook (40%) and Twitter (30%) maintained leads in the category, but Pinterest gained some ground after accounting for 18% of media and publishing shares in Q2.

Uses of Pinterest

Pinterest's article pins were big news for news organizations (so you can Pin a blog post if there is a photo in it ....)


News organization use of Pinterest

Tips from a journalist with 1 million followers:  

tips Source

A couple more tips:

  1. This means that you need to have photos with your content if you want people to pin it
  2. While keeping it simple, write interesting copy with anything you pin. We should make those sentences as interesting as possible.
  3. Make sure you fill out your profile and add a logo or picture (professionalism)
  4. Share content other than your own (like any social network, only sharing your own copy is bad)
  5. Be creative with your board names
  6. Follow others in your field/area. Just like you would on Twitter and Facebook.

List of newspapers on Pinterest.

The Pinterest browser button

Daily Assignment 1:Let's create your Pinterest account (if you don't have one). If you need help as you get going, the Pinterest help page is just that, helpful. Download the Pinterest app to your smartphone if you want. Create a board for your beat. Put some thought into the topic. You might need a narrower topic than your overall beat. a) Pin at least 15 photos and add your own description for them. b) Find at least 5 people/accounts to follow and repin at least 1 photo. c) Add the Pin it button to your blog sharing d) Embed a pin or the board to your blog to let your followers know it's there.



Week 7-8 Twitter & Hootsuite

Twitter Guidebook from Mashable and Steve Buttry's Expanded Twitter Tips?

Twitter Day 1:

Whose using Twitter?

Social media is still "reporting"

Spotlight on Research

Journalists make up the largest category of Twitter’s verified users, according to a report from Triggertrap CEO Haje Jan Kamps published on Medium.

The report, which is based on a sample of 15,000 verified Twitter accounts, shows that journalists make up nearly a quarter (24.6 percent) of the service’s authenticated users. The next-largest category is sports teams and athletes (17.9 percent) followed by actors and entertainers (13.6 percent).

Although journalists make up a significant proportion of the Twitter’s verified userbase, they have relatively few followers (140,000 on average) compared to their higher-profile counterparts in music (more than 1.2 million on average) and acting (more than 400,000 on average).

The report also says journalists and news organizations are the most active group on Twitter.

So Twitter has a blog, fyi.

Remember our new "getting the message out" use of social media? Detroit school teachers do. Or our "interview" use. Helps in a snow apocalypse. As does using social media to find reaction:

My favorite use of Twitter recently

Wanna work at Twitter?

It takes a lot of time to maintain social media

The basics:

The big news at Twitter from this week and how to adjust your settings

Twitter facts

Anatomy of a tweet:


Types of tweets and where they appear.

Let's get you a Twitter account if you don't have one.

How to write a good tweet:

More tips for journalistic tweets: Tips for Storytellers

Spotlight on Research

What should you tweet?

Researchers found that followers rated only 36 percent of 43,000 tweets worth reading. The authors conclude with a list of “best practices” for Twitter content: “[Posters should] embed more context in tweets (and be less cryptic); add extra commentary, especially if retweeting a common news source; don’t overuse hashtags and use direct messages (DMs) rather than @mentions if more appropriate; happy sentiments are valued and ‘whining’ is disliked, and questions should use a unique hashtag so followers can keep track of the conversation.”

Source: Who Gives a Tweet?

Spotlight on Research

What does the most annoying tweet look like? Watch overusing the hashtags and sharing personal, stale info. The best tweets: informative and funny.


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Jay Rosen's types of tweets

Spotlight on Research

Study: Here are the factors that impart the least credibility to a tweet:

  1. Non-standard grammar or punctuation (2.71)
  2. Author has the default Twitter user image (2.87)
  3. Author has a cartoon or avatar as user image (3.22)
  4. Author is following too many users (3.30)

Another study found an author’s influence, topical expertise, and reputation all enhance a tweet’s credibility; other perceived markers of credibility include the public profiles of tweeters and how often their posts are retweeted.

And just for Ryan:


Twitter resources from Journalist's Toolbox

Some local twitter sites:

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 1): Sign up for a twitter account and customize it. (If you don't want course materials on your Twitter feed, sign up for a separate account) Email me your Twitter handle. Obviously, I think you should have the Twitter app (free) on your phone.

Daily Assignment 2 (Day 1): Let's see how you are at recognizing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. You and partner are to do this assignment together. You will turn in your assignment, so please write this down. But we also will hopefully have time at the end of class to go over these together, so work judiciously.

Day 2: Tweeting live
Online reading: A case study in using Twitter on breaking news and Andy Carvin test pilots Twitter journalism

Everyone can tell a story using Twitter

Live tweeting Sochi and non-hotel related. Great examples of transparency, of using Twitter to give us an inside look.

The ethics of live-tweeting

Be quick but try to avoid a grammatical error that has people giggling:

And of course the errors that come from tweeting a live disaster

The Joplin, MO, tornado coverage by New York Times’ Brian Stelter: "It was, after all, the place where my latest reporting was being posted. … Looking back, I think my best reporting was on Twitter. … People later told me that they thought I was processing what I was seeing in real-time on Twitter. I was." He archived his tweets on his Tumblr.


Tweeting Live notes

Don't hog the Twitterstream

Live tweeting poses particular problems for students (and anyone, really); their regular followers can feel spammed when they’re suddenly exposed to a stream of live tweets.
Leslie Thornton (@ljthornton) suggests that students let their followers know that they’ll be live tweeting. “It should be clear why you’re flooding Twitter with tweets,” she said. “If you can, give people who want to follow all those tweets a hashtag to follow.”
Andy Bechtel (@andybechtel) agrees: “If you are going to tweet frequently from a live event, give your followers a heads-up with an introductory tweet. That way, they’ll be ready for a lot of tweets from you in a short period. (Example: “I’m at a social media workshop. I’ll pass along the best tips as I hear them.”)


The Twitter mute button can help during live tweets.

Using Twitter to mass communicate: Angie tweets her abortion and this:

surgery surgery

How did Ron Wilkins handle the MLK celebration on Jan. 18?

The J&C livetweets a press conference. Sports live tweets can be tricky. Tweeting before and other non-event items.

How did a former student do at the polar plunge? And Nick's Flicks. And "Fault in Our Stars" speech.

Twitter chats. When live Q&As on Twitter go very wrong

Programs like TweetChat can help. Search for them on Twitter.

Major assignment, due Week 8 or 9:

  1. You must cover an event, meeting, forum, speech, etc. relating to your beat. (If you absolutely can't think of anything relate to your beat to cover, this is a default assignment: March 2, New York Times reporters Ian Urbina forum sponsored by the Purdue Institute for Civic Communication, Krannert Auditorium).
  2. Minimum of 10 tweets from the event.
  3. You must notify me in advance what event you plan to cover, when it is.
  4. Do backgrounding for your event you will cover (agendas, bios, previous newspaper articles, articles from other towns, etc.) Make sure you ask for any information they may have available, i.e. Web pages, brochures, fliers, news releases (what kind of information did you find on social media?). You need to be able to effectively convey who is sponsoring the event, what is planned, why it is being held, the impact of the event, who is particpating, etc. You need to have background information (names, etc.) ahead of time. You won't have time when you are live-tweeting to find information.
  5. You must promote on your beat blog that you will be tweeting the event and encourage readers to follow you. You must also promote the live tweet on your Twitter account.
  6. Post a blog about your experience on your class Web log. What were the difficulties covering the story this way? What were the benefits? Would you personally rather read a news story in the newspaper or online, or via Twitter? Why? Blog posts due midnight day after event.
  7. Remember to review the assignment grading checklist

Day 3: More Uses
Reading: What Twitter teaches us about writing short well ; How to guide on Twitter Lists

Uses for Twitter:

A reminder of our Uses of Social Media from Day 2. 9 Breaking News Tweets that changed Twitter

Twitter can actually be a tool for some great writing

The NYTimes experiment with tweetable text and LA Times suggested tweets and the PR "click to tweet" movement ( has a plug-in for this). It never really caught on.

Spotlight on Research

What is transparency?

A growing argument in new media is that quality journalism in all its new forms can distinguish itself by being transparent. First, it can aid credibility and distinguish itself from rumor and unchecked information by being transparent, revealing how information was obtained so audiences can see its origin, help correct errors, etc.


It can also give more insight into the reporters themselves (and thus aid their credibility, relatability) with more sharing of behind-the-scenes information. A recent study found female journalists were significantly more transparent than males. "They revealed more about their jobs, personal lives and everyday activities, and linked to more external websites, all indicators of greater transparency."

Source: Transparency and Other Journalistic Norms on Twitter, Volume 13, Issue 3, Journalism Studies

Using Twitter in news coverage
Twitter will be useful to reporters and other journalists in a variety of ways:

  • Obviously to share what you have written/others at your paper have written
  • Reporters should follow the feeds of any officials on their beats using Twitter. They may break news on Twitter, using it as a format for press releases or quotes. Lists is a great way to do this. Newspapers/organizations often use lists so you can follow all their tweeters.
  • Backgrounding. Search Twitter. Topsy.
  • As you build a following of people in your community, they are a quick resource when you’re seeking sources, examples for a story, questions to ask in your reporting or even story ideas.
  • Twitter is valuable for story ideas, either to ask people about a good angle to take on one of those routine or annual stories or simply to follow the community chatter on Twitter and be alert for tips and ideas as they pop up/
  • Tweet live coverage of an event, either on Twitter alone or as a feed into CoverItLive.
  • Curate tweets (yours and/or the community’s) on a topic you’re covering, using Storify. (more on this later in the semester)
  • Followers want to know that there’s a person behind a Twitter account, and they want to hear that person’s voice: Instead of always tweeting headlines, try starting a conversation about your stories. Tweet about your favorite part of a story, share a detail about the reporting process, or pose a question. When someone answers the question, respond to them. “If I am watching an accident on our chopper feed and it’s hard to look at, I’ll tweet that." Remember transparency.
  • Twitter can make you a better writer.
  • Reaction is the name of the Twitter game. (But Poynter warns don't let it become the story.) Or localizing with advanced search.
  • Credibility. "You can phrase your tweets by saying something along the lines of, “X is reporting Y, but we haven’t been able to confirm this information yet.” Or send a couple of tweets saying: “We are working on this story and will tweet updates as soon as we have them.” … “Here’s what we do know …”

    Careful what you retweet. Should journalists verify before they retweet? See's AP's rules And how to verify tweets. In addition, tweeting gets erroneous news out there more quickly.

Source: Steve Buttry and 10 Ways Journalists can use Twitter

Twitter troubles and hacks

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 3): Set up Twitter lists. Find at least five people you want to follow on Twitter related to your beat and create a Twitter list. Post this list to your in-class blog. Tell me why you chose to follow this account. (Besides following people and retweeting is a great way to get more followers). In addition, make sure sharing on Twitter is an option on your beat blog posts. Twitter has dozens of tools/apps (including Click to Tweet) that you might check out on your own and see if they are useful to you.

Daily Assignment 2 (Day 3): It's time to Tweet. Come up with a couple of Tweets from your "beat" that encompass two uses. Let's use a common hashtag so we all can see #com407. Do you need another hashtag? Send them flying from your account. Don't forget to use URL shorteners like bit ly and and Google's shortener and has its own (when a reader hits the tweet button on the post it provides a shortened URL) Previous class efforts: Nick found something unique to share; as did Sarah (very creative wording) In addition, retweet from at least 1 of the Twitter accounts you chose to follow.

Day 4: Hootsuite and Tweetdeck

Readings: Beginners Guide to Hootsuite; Beginners Guide to Tweetdeck;

So Hootsuite has a blog to keep you updated

Spotlight on Research

Study: When should you tweet?

On Twitter, the best window is 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Facebook was hot at 1 to 4 p.m. And Tumblr is a night owl, with posts doing best after 7 p.m.

Spotlight on Research

Normalizing Twitter:

Through a content analysis of more than 22,000 tweets on Twitter, a study found that journalists more freely express opinions. To a lesser extent, they provided accountability and transparency. Local media more likely than national "elite" to provide information about their jobs, engage in discussions, write about personal lives or link to external websites.

Source: Volume 13, Issue 1, Journalism Studies

Funny Twitter reax to Superbowl blackout and #lightswentout

Daily Assignment 1 (Day 4): If you don't already have one, let's sign up for a Hootsuite account. Add your Wordpress blog and your Twitter. It's a good idea to have the Hootsuite app (free) on your smartphone.

Daily Assignment 2 (Day 4): It's time to tweet again. Go ahead and come up with two tweets "related to your beat." Remember what makes a Good, Bad and Ugly tweet. But instead let's use Hootsuite instead. Fire off one right now and schedule one for later.

Major assignment, due Week 11:

  1. For one week, you must maintain a "professional" presence on Twitter as it relates to your beat.
  2. You must tweet at least twice a day. No lump tweeting.
  3. Need minimum of 14 tweets in the 7-day period.
  4. You will be judged on your content and professionalism.
  5. You should vary your tweets (retweets, links, shares, seek ideas, etc.) Think Jay Rosen's types of tweets and our USES of social media from Day 2.
  6. Remember to review the assignment grading checklist


Week 9 – Aggregation & Curation & Storify; Interviewing

Day 1:

Readings: Sharing other people's content. For review, the Storify tutorial

Aggregation & Curation:

What is the difference? Curation vs. Aggregation

A recent example of curation: Keisha and this farm blog curates

“Aggregation and curation are techniques of using content from other sources to provide content for your audience. They occupy overlapping spaces on a spectrum with original reporting at one end and mechanical aggregation at the other." (Buttry)

Curator sites: Upworthy

Spotlight on Research

Journalists as Community Managers:

"Journalists will not longer focus exclusively on gathering information and producing a story. Now they're managing and amplifying the conversations the community is having; conversations that will happen with or without them.

Journalists will also have social content creation more integrated into their workflow, whether that means creating content for specific platforms or using the content from that platform for the purposes of curation."

Source: The Future of Social Media in Journalism

Link, attribute, add value:

Aggregation can be done ethically if you follow these guidelines:

  1. Always link to the original source.
  2. Always include clear attribution (in addition to the link). For an example, see the first paragraph of this post.
  3. “Attribution helps consumers evaluate the reliability of information.” (Buttry)
  4. Always use quotation marks (as in the previous item) when you copy and paste someone else’s text.
  5. Add value to the material — add original reporting (you may even talk to the same people), updates, analysis.
  6. Another way to add value is to summarize and/or compare reports from several other sources.
  7. Do not simply copy information, especially from unknown or unreliable sources.
  8. Part of the value that you add is that you are using only sources that you trust.


Examples: Giant Panda slideshow (no photos by WP photographers), Huffington Post, (See how Huffington Post curates reaction at end of Bachelor story), data analysis. And Mediagazer.


What is Storify? It's the compiling of social media (Twitter, YouTube, etc.) to tell a story (without or without comments). (Think Buzzfeed) Storify sifts through all that's out there. There's even a bookmarklet under tools (bottom of page, just like the Pin It button).

The 5 types of stories to use storify on.

So: Breaking news: The Purdue shooting Storify & Newtown Shooting (he only used Twitter). Or Storifying local news events. Or a a live tweet.

And it can be humorous: Alec Baldwin.

It can be used to instruct or recap a meeting/class

You want to be:
*long enough
*ask people to use a hashtag
*make use of at least transitions for readers: Colorado theater shootings

You don't have to lose your voice. You can "write a story" : Gay Girl in Damascus.

2014 Storify Year in Review and even companies do a year in review

Other entries: Rebelmouse has followers. Example. And Medium.

Twitter has Curator but it only allows curation of tweets.

Newsrooms say referrals from Reddit are increasing. But Reddit also has a reputation problem. Mashable's beginner's guide to Reddit (at end)

Daily Assignment 1: Your storify assignment. Some nice efforts from students with interesting ideas: Rain Delay and Oscar Wedding Influence. Unfortunately, does not support the embed code from storify. You will need to export, HTML, and just pass along the URL to readers.

Day 2: LinkedIn

Readings: Complete guide to LinkedIn etiquette; and Beginners Guide to LinkedIn

Status updates vs. Posts on LinkedIn

A year end review on Storify promoted on LinkedIn. LinkedIn's curation of LinkedIn is Pulse

LinkedIn and mistakes to avoid on your LinkedIn profile. How journalists use LinkedIn. Also what college students should have on their LinkedIn. Now on LinkedIn, video and photos to illustrate your work. Here's how.

You can use the LinkedIn bookmarklet to share articles on your account.

And don't forget you can use LinkedIn to share your blog posts just like you do othe media:

Daily Assignment 1:If you don't have one already, create a LinkedIn profile. If you do, 1. look for new contacts and send out requests or find a new company/group to follow. 2. Share a post from your class blog as either a LinkedIn post and/or upload (or link to) a sample of your work 3. Find two ideas for future blog posts. Once you do all this, just let me know on your Tumblr what you did/who you followed/what you found.


Week 10 – Spring break

Week 11-12 – Interviewing; Snapchat & Video

Day 1: Interviewing  
Reading: Don't be Boring & Attribution rules

The Richard Sherman interview

How to interview:

You get information: Listen to these answers. Why did he use these clips?
You are going for the "Oh."
What makes a good soundbite? Think about the medium and purpose. I love the interviews in this story about McDowell County, W.Va.

"Another great trick for audio interviews is to have your subject re-enact the story. It makes for good sound and helps you avoid having too much of your own narration later on."

The best:
Terry Gross and Fresh Air on NPR. Look at her interesting questions and follow-ups.
Humans of New York's Brandon Stanton at SXSW

Daily Assignment 1: Take 10 minutes. Review your previous posts. Determine one that could benefit from an interview. Who would it be? How would you find them? What would you ask them? We'll come back together and discuss this.

Daily Assignment 2: Think of a post topic. Then, think how a "real person" interview would aid that topic. Then find a classmate to interview. You should not pick the person next to you. You should not pick a friend. Try to find the best person. So for example you have a book blog. This week is Dr. Seuss' birthday. Your post idea is to list his most popular books by sales. That is the main point of the post. You could ask classmates what their favorite Dr. Seuss book is and why, and weave those responses into the post. (You can interview one or more than one if you'd like to go for a "list" post or a post that needs more reaction). Record on your smartphone to make sure you get the actual quote. You decide and you decide the questions. Then, evaluate the answers you receive and chose one. You don't have to do the post in class, but it must be included in a post this week. This counts as one of your assigned blog posts.

Day 2: Snapchat & Video & Apps & Alternatives:

Readings:Reporter's Guide to Multimedia Proficiency, Sections 12-15, pgs. 28-38
Five shots, 10 seconds
Inserting YouTube video into blog
10 Excellent video editing apps and Editing iPhone in Adobe Premiere or the new Premiere clip app for iPhones
How to download Snapchat, etc. video to your iPhone

Periscope and Facebook live:

You can be creative:

Snapchat:Yup the prez is on Snapchat now. Here's how to use it, Poynter says. And tricks everyone should know. And the Snapchat chat function is a useful reporting tool. It's becoming more mainstream because of Snapchat Stories. Article on Snapchat stories. Yes, even the New York Times and The Washington Post are experimenting. One result. It's important to help readers out with some new apps. Ron Paul's snapchat interview and Washington Post reporter uses it on campaign trail (example) In Norway, news stations are reaching young people with Snapchat. Oscars and Snapchat

Periscope for beginners

Why Video?

mobile chat


Laying off photographers in favor of video. In response some papers, like the WSJ, created an app that allows reporters to use cellphone video to report. The result is Worldstream.

Spotlight on Research
A 2015 study published in the Newspaper Research Journal, “Longer, Higher Quality Videos Preferred by News Viewers” sought to determine whether shorter news videos really are better.

Key findings were:

  • Viewers preferred high-quality videos over low-quality videos. While prior research indicates that people can tolerate lower-quality videos if they like the content, this study suggests viewers “would not tolerate content they found uninformative, bad, not enjoyable or not worth recommending to others.”
  • People liked longer videos better than shorter ones. Long videos averaged 2.08 minutes in duration. Short videos averaged 24 seconds.
  • When both quality and length were considered, people preferred long, high-quality videos to other types of video, including short, high-quality ones.
  • A video’s quality influences what audience members think of a news organization, and having longer videos heighten that perception.

Irony: A reporter from a competing newspaper must get video for a story on how photographers at rival paper laid off so reporters could do their job, including getting video.


Video notes

The action shots:

Five shots, 10 seconds

The interview shots:

What journalists need to know about interviewing for video. Studying commercials for narrative storytelling.

Poynter chat on mobile video skills

Social media "selfie" videos

What is a video illustration? It's the simplest type that complements or illustrates a text story. It enhances the print story by showing something that is not as effectively described in print as by video.

Let's look at some examples. The Chapel Hill shooting. Examples from Worldstream (WSJ) (This is a lot like your major video assignment, both interviews and illustrations).

Let's look at these example together.

Why we do it:

Brussels raw (even with the photog's finger) and raw interview


The Apps to do it:


Options for editing: Videolicious (free, let's you record yourself, narration over videos, add music, can't really edit), and iMovie for iPhone ($4.99) or WeVideo for Android allows more editing. Splice is another recommendation. Voddio is a multi-track editor (more advanced).

Alternatives to regular video like Instagram video (or visually) and 10 editing tips vs. Vine video and tips of effective Vine videos . Vines and Instagram videos can make good, quick "on the scene" news shots. Downloading videos from these to your phone. They are also good for PR.

Live video:

Facebook's new Live Video to compete Meerkat and Periscope (The new app beats the news agencies on the campaign trail).

The ethics of raw video:

South Carolina shooting

The car crash and NASCAR death

When raw video gets a company in trouble


Contiguity is the process of adding multimedia elements and combining them with text at just the right place in a story. The most effective multimedia story quickly provides key connections between text, video, polls, etc. Research shows that readers will spend more time on a site when it includes text explaining how all the story's elements relate to one another. And users learned significantly more from the contiguous stories.

Source: Mastering Multimedia, AJR

Daily assignment 1: Sign up for a account. You should have an Instagram account already.

Daily assignment 2: Upload iMovie (or this later version) or whatever app you plan to use. View a how-to video. Become familiar with it. Shoot some test videos. Edit them using the app. When video is done, upload to YouTube from your phone.

Day 3: Your video assignment

Major assignment, due Week 13:

  1. Record two videos at an "event" (one will be interview/testimony and one will be natural sound. Do not combine the two into one video). Event is used loosely. A dinner with friends is an "event." Shopping is an "event." It depends on your blog.
  2. These must be videos you shot and you shot specifically for this assignment (and since it was assigned).
  3. Edit the videos (less than 2 minutes each) using iMovie or some other editing app on your phone.
  4. Post the videos to YouTube.
  5. Post a link to the videos on your blog post (embed). A reminder, the video adds to the blog post. It is not simply the post.
  6. Sample videos from previous semester: Needs improvement: Wines on the Wabash, Pie fundraiser and swim practice and interview. Good efforts: Theater interview or Thursday dinner for interview and Milk Monday or Thursday dinner for natural sound. Matt Maher or barrel racing.
  7. Remember to review your video assignment grading checklist
  8. This counts as an assigned blog post for the week.

Daily assignment 3: For next class, Take an "action" video that "relates" to your blog. Embed it in on your class blog. This counts as a blog post. We will be viewing these posts in class, so make sure you have uploaded the post to Wordpress by class time

Day 4: Your video shoot

Let's see those videos you shot.

(Bring headphones next week to class!)




Week 13 - Audio

Readings: Super-fast guide to Audio Editing YOU NEED TO BRING THIS TO CLASS If you like video instruction better, watch this
Journalist's Toolkit Audio site
Complete Guide to Podcasting audio support and embedding Soundcloud
Great Audacity online reference guide and #1Audacity tutorial and another


Uses for audio:


Poynter: Writing stories for the ear

Mark Maron's "WTF" podcast and a president
Buzzfeed gets in to Podcast game
Purdue sports

Why doesn't audio go viral? Great uses of short audio: What does a hurricane sound like? Or the sounds inside a prison?

Brand new: audio streaming of newspaper stories from the Trib

Using audio (language) to accompany photos/print
Audio Public Service Announcements and another
Soundbites for radio like from CMS
Pass along information, like health information in podcasts
Comment in your own blogs

What is a Podcast?

Podcasts are audio programs that are broadcast over the Internet. They can be downloaded onto your phone, etc., or played on your computer. You can download one or many, for free (generally), or you can subscribe to an RSS service for downloads so you can be alerted when new postings are made available. The name podcast comes from compounding the words iPod and broadcast.

They can be longer, like's podcasts or NPR's or ProPublica's or from newspaper reporters like The Guardian's (long and short) or informational like the Office of Inspector General's or the White House's or CDC's, or entertaining like BBC's. Did you listen to Serial?

Why podcast?

  • Marketing
  • Web presence
  • As part of your overall communications strategy
  • Because your patrons are looking for varied content

For those of you who want to record and post audio to SoundCloud from your phones, Retronym’s new AudioCopy app (Here's a how-to video) or VC Audio Pro – VeriCorder Technology’s $6.99 VC Audio Pro app was designed for broadcasters, but is a powerful and functional tool for anyone that needs to record and edit audio with their iPhone. Itools or IExplorer for getting your Voice Memos off iPhone to computer (I actually email it).

Daily Assignment 1: Let's practice. Sign up for a Soundcloud account. Then, interview a classmate, trim their answer using Audacity, and upload it to Wordpress. (Here's how to upload to Wordpress. You have to save it first onto your Soundcloud).

Daily Assignment 2 (you will need to bring the audio to class with you):

  1. Interview an organizer/participant of an upcoming, blog-related "event."
  2. Write a post (for Week 14) previewing/about the event. Include at least one, strong soundbite from the interviewee.
  3. That soundbite should not be longer than 30 seconds. It should ADD to the post.
  4. If you have no upcoming events, you still need to find a way to get sound from an interview into a blog post this week.
  5. Let's look at some past efforts: Backyard movies and commitment week

Week 14-16 – Slideshows/Soundslides

Readings: Reporter's Guide to Multimedia Proficiency, Sections 10 and 11, pgs. 20-28 and section 15, pgs. 39-42 (BRING THIS TO CLASS WITH YOU)
Soundslides manual

Soundslides storytelling
Soundslides embed code and embedding it
10 Tips for Using Audio More Effectively in Multimedia Shows

Do's and don'ts of slideshows.

Some slideshow examples: Dying business is an example narrated by the reporter. A Decade in Space is narrated by the subject. Chinese ball and Biking and The Clarks is just slides and text (no natural sound, interviews or narration) as is the Hula Hoop History. This Vegas slideshow with no sound doesn't even use captions. And a little fun with slideshows from the New York Times.

Should we add music?

This is what you will do. Combination natural sounds/interview. Example Soundslides projects: Baptism and Beekeeper and Niki's Ability (interview only). Notice here in the Guitar Lady how captions are used. Compare to Baseball School.

Combining slideshow with other elements (video and words)

Let's critique some efforts from previous semesters

Even "magazine-length" slideshows

Go back and review your tips for good photos.

Major assignment, due end of class period April 27:

  • Cover an event on your beat (default assignment is a Grand Alternative event the week leading up to Grand Prix, April 16-23 or a Springfest event April 16-17). From this event you must construct a 2-3 minute Soundslides show. See details on assignments page.
  • You may not use previous sound/photos you have taken, or photos/sound taken prior to this being assigned.
  • Upload project to your career account
  • Post URL on beat blog. Due end of class period on April 27.
  • Don't forget to review the assignment grading checklist