Personal Portfolio Site

Ladies and Gentlemen, you can now  view my personal portfolio site at djbarger.weebly.com.

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What’s for Breakfast? Website Content Analysis!

In this post I will look at three websites, one non-traditional news site, one digital portfolio and one that has content I like.

1)  Non-traditional news site: Reddit.com or reddit.com/r/news

Reddit is a website that is built on user-submitted content. It allows users to post pictures or information and other users can vote up or down the content as the see it. Here are the main points to remember about reddit:

Pros

*Reddit does not filter out content based on political leaning of the poster

*Reddit allows the users to determine what they feel is important

*Reddit routinely gets breaking news faster than television and often faster than journalists on Twitter

Cons

*The layout of Reddit is terrible. It feels like being in 1995.

*Anyone can have a voice, so racist, sexist and homophobic language will sometimes show up (although it is usually down-voted)

*While the real news does come faster than on TV, often time you have to sift through fake stuff and conspiracy theories to find it.

*There usually are no social media links since Reddit acts as its own social media site.

2) Digital Portfolio: jameswarfield.com

James Warfield is a designer, photographer, director and digital media producer. He does a wide variety of things which can be viewed on his website.

Pros

*The site is very well organized and it is easy to see what he has done

*There are Twitter and LinkedIn links on the front page, plus a ‘share’ icon that has links to every social media site imaginable.

*The site is very aesthetically appealing

Cons

*The copy write on the site is for 2011, so it might be a little old.

*There is only one picture on the front page of the site.

3) A website I like: Memebase.com

Memebase is a site that compiles ‘memes’, a type of widely-circulated internet humor. While memes can be pictures or video, memebase usually sticks to pictures.

Pros

*Memebase has its social media links at the very top of the page, plus it has one for each post, so you can share them easily.

*Each post also has a permalink, making it easy to identify a certain post and find it later

*There are easy-to-navigate tabs at the top of the page that will help users find content that is as specific or general as they like.

Cons

*Because memebase is more of a compilation site and less of a user-generated site, the images there have usually been circulating on reddit or imgur already. They are old.

*There are a lot of pages to click through, so while finding a certain type of meme to view is easy, scrolling through all of them is not

*The ads for the site are embedded to look like the actual memes, making it hard for adblock to get rid of them and easy for you to accidentally click on one.

My Top 5 Ways to Avoid Copyright Violations

An increasing problem in online communication and publication is copyright violation. Many texts are available to Internet users and the temptation is there for people just to copy and paste what they have read into their own work. Even if you had free access to the document, this kind of action is usually in violation of a copyright law. If you get caught in violation, even if it was unintentional, you stand to suffer academic, professional and legal repercussions. In order to help you avoid violating these laws, I present this list.

1. Use a site that supplies copyright-free material like Creative Commons.

If you use a site that supplies copyright-free material, you will never violate copyright laws. It’s ok (legally) to use that text.

2. Assume anything you read online (and certainly anything in a book or magazine) is copyrighted and treat it as such.

Never make the mistake of thinking that something is not copyrighted just because you can’t see the © symbol. There are many types of content that are Intellectual Property and copyright-able.

3. Always cite ideas that you got from another text.

It’s perfectly fine to be inspired by the ideas in another text for what you want to do in your next research proposal or paper, but you need to acknowledge where those ideas came from. Don’t pretend like you made up the idea because a( you probably didn’t, and b( even you did, you should still acknowledge other people who have done similar work.

4. When using text from a source, always put that text in quotations.

It’s never a good idea to pretend like someone else’s phrases and sentences are your. Make sure that anything taken word-for-word from another source is put in quotation marks to indicate that it’s not your own.

5. Cite quotations.

This follows from the previous point. You should always cite your quotations from other texts. Never quote something and then forget to put down where you got it from.

Relay for Life Members Work to Support Fundraising, Awareness and a Cure

As Relay for Life draws closer, Saint Louis University is in the midst of one of its biggest student-led fundraising drives. Each year, Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society Program, raises money to find a cure for cancer and raise cancer awareness. There are many separate events that take place all over the country and world, including at Saint Louis University.

This year’s event will be held on April 20 at Robert R. Hermann Stadium on the Saint Louis University campus, but much of the work takes place before that.

“We start planning in September and we begin fundraising in November, and it runs through August,” said Junior Megan Strole, Fundraising Chair.

Relay for Life, or ‘Relay’, is highly visible on campus and its fundraising promotions are a regular occurrence. These promotions do bring in money, but many of them contribute to the ‘raising awareness’ part of Relay. The real money, according to Strole, comes from online donations.

“Online last year we raised $109,000. I think a lot of that is from participants,” she said.

This year, Strole estimates that the current total is about $30,000 (as of Feb 25), with a goal of $150,000. They have significant ground to cover, but Strole isn’t worried yet.

“The biggest push comes after Spring Break, because that’s when people go home and get a chance to ask for donations,” she said.

When students come back from break, one of Strole’s favorite fundraising events will start, 48 in 48. The goals of this promotion are simple, to encourage all participants to raise $48 for Relay in 48 hours, and also to gain more participants.

People interested in Relay can join teams or take part individually. In both capacities, they try to raise money and promote Relay leading up to the April 20 event. Senior Victoria Hensley, Co-Chair of Relay for Life, says people looking to participate can sign up either online or in-person at Relay tables in the Busch Student Center. Cancer survivors can sign up for free, and others can sign up for 15$.

Hensley says that last year there were about 1,300 participants, but this year they are hoping to reach over 1,500. The participants are all led by a 53-member steering committee that is responsible for the promotions, event planning and communication. These members are what makes Relay a mostly student-led event.

Hensley elaborates, “The event is a primarily student led initiative, but we do receive support from our advisors. Andrea Gruger is our collateral advisor that helps us deal with student incidents, Justin Vilbig is our advisor from the Center for Service and Community Engagement (this is where our organization calls home), and Bobby Wassel is our financial advisor.”

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ST. LOUIS-Wilson Fulk (L) and Victoria Hensley (R), Co-Chairs of Relay for Life, participate in a meeting.
Photo Credit: SLU/DJ Barger

Once participants sign up, Relay and its committee want to make sure they are well-connected. Amanda Eagan is Communications Chair and works to keep participants up-to-date with everything going on. She uses a variety of methods to accomplish this.

“ We do a lot of flyering and digital signage for big events. We have a sheet sign in the BSC and a banner in the quad. We have text messaging systems to let participants know about meetings. Social media is really big for us,” she said.

While Eagan uses many online forms of communication, she believes in the power of face-to-face interaction as well.

“We tried doing both. In person works better,” she said.

Eagan enjoys using the connections of the steering committee in her role.

“Everyone on our committee can get involved. They all have a passion for what we’re doing.”

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ST. LOUIS-Clockwise from bottom-right, Andrea Gruger, Collateral Advisor, Wilson Fulk, Event Co-Chair, Victoria Hensley, Event Co-Chair, and Steph Hadfield, American Cancer Society representative participate in a Relay for Life Co-Chair meeting.
Photo Credit: SLU/DJ Barger

Through all the work that Strole, Hensley and Eagan put in, they stay focused on the goals, increasing cancer awareness now, and finding a cure for cancer in the future.

Relay for Life’s main event will take place April 20 in Robert R. Hermann Stadium. 

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ST. LOUIS-Robert R. Hermann Stadium, the site of the 2013 Relay for Life on April 20.
Photo Credit: SLU/DJ Barger

Visual Storytelling

After reading through the tips on visual storytelling, I came across this video that is a good example of visual storytelling. The video is actually an ad for a non-profit that is trying to provide clean water to children in poverty-stricken areas of Africa. What struck me about the visual aspect of this piece was the good closing and opening shots. As we know from Deborah Potter, getting your shots to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end is important. Because of the good opening and closing shots, this video was able to accomplish that very well. The beginning of the video is a shot of the ocean, emphasizing the water. The last shot (before some text at the very end) is of happy children dancing around. This plays up the good that can come to them if they get the water that was seen at the beginning. Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable piece and a good example.

5 Helpful Online Writing Tips (a very romantic gift for your Valentine’s Day)

As a novice online writer, one needs to gather some tips from the pros in order to succeed. Here are five things I’ve found so far that I think are pretty useful.

1. Place your lead high up, very high up in the article

Online readers do NOT have very large attention spans. If you go to a coffee shop, especially one with nice fireplace seating, you might notice an elderly couple pick up a newspaper, sit down, and spend a couple hours perusing and doing the crossword. This is not how people consume online news. There are so many articles they can look at, even on one topic, that they don’t have time to wait for the lead of yours.

2. In general, make your point quickly 

This follows from the first point, but you should also apply it to individual paragraphs. They need to have their own points that are made in the topic sentence and made clearly.

3. Change your font sizes on headings

If readers skim your work, and the will, they will look for an indication that something is important. Give them that indication by making your headings and new points bigger.

4. Link to everything

Linking will not entice people to other sites. Rather, it is more likely to raise your profile because the writer you linked to can usually tell where his readers came from. He might send you some love with a link as well.

5. Keep it short and simple, stupid

In order to combat serial skimmers, make your paragraphs and stories as short and sweet as possible.

The 10 professionals in my field that I follow on Twitter.

I recently got a Twitter account for school/business purposes. There should then be no surprise in the fact that a large percentage of people I follow are people I look up to professionally. Here are ten specific ones.

1. Buster Olney

-Buster Olney is a sportswriter for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. He has provided quality writing for a long time and is active on Twitter, plus he focuses on baseball.

2. Bernie Miklasz

-Bernie is the Saint Louis equivalent of Buster Olney. He writes for the Post-Dispatch and hosts a radio show. These are both things that I am interested in doing.

3. Tim Kurkjian

-He is another baseball writer for ESPN. He writes for baseball specifically. He also is a frequent guest on radio shows and breaks trade news on Twitter.

4. Dr. Dan Kozlowski

-SLU Prof with a background in Journalism. Ten to 15 years down the road, I most likely see myself doing what he does now.

5. Dr. Lisa Nakamura

-A communication researcher specializing in online gaming communication. Dr. Nakamura’s work has come up in three of my classes so far. Her research involves the ever-growing and evolving field of online communication.

6. Joe Strauss

-He is a sportswriter for the STL Post-Dispatch

7. Jayson Stark

-Another ESPN baseball writer. He often throws out trivia questions, something I really like.

8. Peter King

-A longtime football writer for Sports Illustrated.

9. Peter Gammons

-Formerly a baseball writer for ESPN, he now works for MLB.com (Major League Baseball). He is older than the other writers in the group and has better historical perspective.

10. Tim McKernan

-He is a local media personality that hosts a sports talk show and runs his own website. His website is one of the most popular STL-specific sites and appeals to much more than just sports fans. He frequently engages followers about a variety of topics.

Your daily dose of social media analysis (part of a balanced breakfast)

I thought it would be interesting to pick two local news organizations to compare for this short project, so chose KSDK and KMOV. I took a look at their Twitter and Facebook pages, the stories they covered/linked to, and the ways they used their social media accounts.

First, KSDK. KSDK’s twitter feed seemed to be ran pretty well. They were linking to stories on their website, teasing stories that were going to be on air, and interacting well with followers. There were several ‘thank you’ tweets to followers who were sharing their stories. One thing I especially liked was that they used several types of hashtags with their tweets, ones that were not specific to KSDK like #KSDK (they used this too, but definitely not exclusively) might be. For instance, they used #STL and #oddnews. Someone who does not normally pay attention to KSDK might be able to come across them by searching those hashtags, which of course is the whole point. All of these things come together to mean a very successful Twitter account for KSDK. What is more, all the work they put into the account is likely to lead to them getting many more hits on their website and thus more ad money. Alissa Skelton has a piece about a study that shows exactly why this is the case. Applying those principles here, it’s easy to see why KSDK’s Twitter account is four times as popular as KMOV’s.

KSDK’s Facebook page was not as well ran, however. With the storm happening last night, they used Facebook to keep everyone up to date. Unfortunately, it is not good Facebook etiquette to publish more than 1-2 posts per hour. What might have been more appropriate would be to link to the channel’s Twitter feed. Another Facebook no-no was the frequent use of hashtags, which do not have any power on Facebook. KSDK’s Facebook was well-done in how it encouraged interaction and linked to reporters’ pages. There were several posts requesting followers’ input and others that tagged relevant reporters.

Overall, I would say that KSDK did a fairly good job connecting with their fans and followers and encouraging interaction.

The other news channel I followed was KMOV. KMOV’s Twitter feed was a little different from KSDK’s. They have three main feeds, one for programming changes, one for news and one for Cardinals news. All three were disappointing. The programming one is helpful in that it lets followers know about schedule changes, but that’s it. The Cardinals feed just sends out news about them, and since it’s the middle of winter, it was very quiet in the last 24 hours. The general news feed was just not very good. It got the job done in that it told the news and linked to stories, but it never once tagged a reporter or a follower. What was worse was that it only used the hashtags #kmov and #News4StLouis and it put them on every story. These are specific to KMOV and will not help anyone find out about the station or its website.

KMOV’s Facebook site was much better, however. They avoided the error of posting too many times about a certain story, but they did participate in using useless hashtags. The Facebook page had a variety of stories with pictures and video. There were links to interesting things, including giveaways and their reporters’ pages. There was very good viewer/follower interaction going on.

In all, I would say that KMOV’s social media management was average. They clearly have not caught on to Twitter yet, so it’s no surprise that KSDK has more than 4 times as many followers.

 

 

 

Self-Promotion 101 (How to make yourself look awesome without trying too hard to make yourself look awesome)

A large part of being a multiplatform journalist today is developing one’s personal brand. What does this mean? In short, I think this means that people know you for you and your work first, not the company you work for. Having a personal brand manifests itself in variety of ways. Some good ones are listed in this article by Mindy McAdams. She gives some technical tips like making sure your resume can be viewed from different devices, but she also makes some good theoretical points. An indication that you have become established with a personal brand is that people in your field know who you are and you have a reputation as having done good, ethical journalism. Something I would add that I think is even more relevant to MPJ is that you need to have a distinctive style to your journalism. With the increasing amount of media on which journalism is performed, this shouldn’t be too hard to establish. In light of this, if your work looks and sound stylistically like someone else, it’s probably not a good thing.

One journalist who has established a personal brand is Steve Buttry, who also has written about personal branding. His thoughts echo some of the things already said here in his piece “Confessions (strategies) of a branded journalist (or a journalist with a reputation, if you prefer)”. One point that he makes which I think is important is that you need to be authentic with your branding. Deliberate self-promotion is probably uncomfortable for many people. I know it is for me. But you have to be honest without selling yourself shot.

For me going forward, a personal brand starts with what I do with this blog. I am currently formatting it to be a place where I can house links to the work that I have done while I’ve been at school. So far my writing for the UNews Sports section has focused on the less-popular sports. I’m finding that I like the work a lot and I am trying to develop a niche there. I would like to develop expertise in linking various media together and presenting them in an accessible way for all devices. This I think is a good skill to learn for sports journalism and will go a long way toward establishing my personal brand.