Resources to learn software and coding

By Ashley Crockett

Photo courtesy of Best PSD to HTML
Are you ready to take the first step in learning software and programming languages? If so, read on to learn how.


JOURN 4502
Multimedia Planning and Design
Learn to build websites using HTML5, XHTML, CSS3 and jQuery. Secretary Nicole Garner and I just completed this course and loved it. Rob Weir, the director of digital development for the Columbia Missourian, will teach the class in the spring. He starts by teaching the most basic tools, so his students can build beautiful websites by the end of the semester.

JOURN 4430
Computer-Assisted Reporting
Data journalism takes tons of information and breaks it down into bite-size pieces for people to understand. In CAR, students use everyday programs like Microsoft Access and Excel to turn data sets into stories. Students learn how to pull information from databases using Structured Query Language (SQL) as well as how to think critically when analyzing findings. CAR isn't just for investigative reporters: It offers a variety of skills every journalist can use.

Three things student journalists should know about retweets

By Andrew Gibson

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Josef Dunne
One of the first things I did after taking over as ONA Mizzou social-media coordinator was read about retweeting best practices. That turned out to be some of the best time I've ever spent. 

Proper attribution, adherence to organizational guidelines, and conciseness can define an effective Twitter presence. We want your handle to stand out on the Web, so here are three things you may not know about retweeting.   

RT isn't the only important two-letter combination

If someone points you to a link, but you don't want to retweet that person verbatim, use a "hat tip." You can abbreviate it as "h/t" or "HT." This sign of Twitter politeness allows you to introduce links in your own words while maintaining the attribution chain. 

Here's a tweet from Jeff Jarvis:

And here's how we rephrased it:

Online sports journalism at its worst

By Addison Walton

Imagine it's a normal day in your newsroom. You've got some ideas for a column, and you've got some thoughts down on paper, but nothing has clicked yet. Finally, it comes to you: Throw something against the wall to see if it sticks.

Stony Brook Wolftank blog
Meet John Steigerwald of the Observer-Reporter newspaper in Washington, Pa. Stiegerwald is the Pittsburgh-area columnist most famous for writing that a San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten into a coma brought the attack onto himself. He also libeled NHL player Alexander Ovechkin both in print and on the radio.

Build your digital-journalism brand during winter break

    By Andrew Gibson

Photo courtesy of Flickr user William Brawley
You probably think I'm crazy for telling you to engage in educational journalism activities during winter break. And it's true: we all need a break after final exams.

But after you've polished off four or five bottles of eggnog, you might realize that four weeks without classes is valuable time for building your digital repertoire. Below are five ways to do just that:

Join the blogosphere

This isn't the most original advice, but it's the most essential. You can build a website in under an hour with Blogger or WordPress, and doing so could lead to a job. Just ask Gemma Cartwright. Catwalk Queen, the blog she built as a teenager, "helped propel her into the world" of "fashion journalism," according to Press Gazette.

As ONA Mizzou adviser Amy Simons will tell you, a successful blog starts with a niche. Find your passion, and then post at regular intervals. People will return to your page if they can expect new content on certain days of the week.

Stay alive (online) during crunch time

By Nicole Garner

Photo courtesy of hellofromjennysmith on Flickr.
We’re in the midst of it. That time where you’ve forgotten what sleep, showering and balanced diets are – commonly known as the last weeks of the semester. But just because you’ve (temporarily) given up on anything non-caffeinated doesn’t mean your online presence has to go, too. It’s easy to Internet hibernate when the physical world has deadlines breathing down your neck, but there are a few things you can do to avoid disappearing from the cyber world for a few weeks.

Work ahead of time to schedule tweets, posts or blog updates. Just like studying ahead of time for a final is a good idea, so is working ahead of your exam schedule to prepare blog posts and other social media updates. Programs like Hootsuite and TweetDeck are useful for scheduling tweets or Facebook posts, and many blogging platforms have functions for queuing up posts for publishing. Scheduling social media can take some effort before a time crunch, but ensures your online profiles will be set to weather any posting lulls.

Tips for success in journalism studies

By Andrew Gibson

Entering my emphasis area at the Missouri School of Journalism has always seemed so far away.

Well, it did until Halloween. That's when I registered for convergence reporting, the first class in my emerging-media emphasis. Although the course has a reputation for brutality, I feel strangely confident when gazing at my spring schedule. I realize now it's because of the amount I've learned in journalism-studies classes.

I can't pretend to be an expert on these classes. For one, I'm in one of them: Journalism 2150, Fundamentals of Multimedia. But I'd still like to share my advice about how to succeed in the four classes leading up to the Mizzou J-school initiation. I might forget if I don't.

ONA Mizzou going on Thanksgiving Break

Photo courtesy of antonellamusina

It's been a long semester, and the four ONA Mizzou student leaders are going home to eat turkey and watch football.

Andrew will tweet occasionally, and we'll have a blog post for you Monday. But please don't expect social media to fire at normal levels.

We want to thank everyone for a great semester so far, and we hope your break is relaxing and enjoyable. See you soon!

Live Blogging: ONA Mizzou Meeting 11/17/11

6:06: Thanks for coming to today's meeting. See you soon. Tweet @ONAMizzou with any questions.

6:05: Q: Flash is dead. Explain please. Weir answers with an important comment about mobile devices connecting to the internet more in the next year. It's more touch screen than hover.

6:04: Web 2.0 Tools are on slideshare and they can be Googled.

6:02: Weir- "To learn more join Hacks/HackersIRE."

5:58: Computer assisted reporting tools involve web browser, spreadsheet, and database managers

5:57: Working with data requires finding it then negotiating on how to investigate it. Then evaluate the data along with analyze it.

5:53: Weir goes into the history of Computer assisted reporting.

5:49: Pro Publica is a national organization and makes more journalism public.

5:47: "Web apps love data."- Weir. He shows an example from the NYT Election page and how candidates are raising money. The Election page is getting it's info from different sources, no one is inputting it.

5:46: Computer assisted reporting helps in many different facets of journalism.

5:45: David Herzog is know speaking about Data Journalism.

The live tweeting handbook

By Ashley Crockett

We've already covered how to verify the credibility of real-time news on Twitter. But what if you're the one tweeting live coverage?

During every ONA Mizzou meeting, our social media coordinator, Andrew Gibson, sits with fingers poised, ready to share the events unfolding before him with @ONAMizzou's Twitter followers. He even makes it easy to search specifically for live tweets by using the simple hashtag #ONAMizzou.

As part of an RJI collaboration with Illinois Public Media, student volunteers will help live tweet during a webcast event today, Nov. 15. Opportunities like this are a good way to show potential employers that you have experience using social media to deliver news and information for a professional news outlet.

Read on for guidance in the still-evolving art of live tweeting.

Calendar Alert: Don't fear tech tools! 5 p.m. November 17

Picture courtesy of Brett Jordan
Hey, journalist! Don't let the word "programming" scare you. With a little help from ONA Mizzou and our panel of presenters, you'll walk away feeling like you can take on the technology world! Bring friends, bring a laptop, and bring questions to Don't Fear Tech Tools!

5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, in Reynolds Journalism Institute 100.

Tweet us questions now, so we have a list before the event kicks off!

Here's a list of the technology experts that will be joining our conversation:

  • Mike McKean, Futures Lab director, who will talk about mobile-app development for journalists.
  • David Herzog, academic adviser to the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, who will talk about computer-assisted reporting.
  • Rob Weir, Columbia Missourian digital-development director, will talk about programming and coding for journalists.

Digital attribution adds to transparency

By Ashley Crockett

"He said, she said" -- that's pretty much the extent of attribution in print.

But online? Link away!

By linking directly to articles or anything else that you're referencing, you give your readers the chance to go the next step in learning about something. If people have the opportunity to read one or all of the original sources you used, it helps them to make a better-informed opinion of the issue at hand.

As Steve Buttry of the Journal Register Co. writes, "Even when readers don’t click links, the fact that you are linking tells them that you are backing up what you have written, that you are attributing and showing your sources."

Linking to other pages can even help your piece rank higher in Google searches. Just like with headlines, the text you're using to link should include keywords that could draw in more viewers.

Another important detail is making sure each and every link opens up in a new tab or window. Why? So that even if your reader gets distracted by the content from a link, they won't lose your page.

Now, there is one caveat: not all links are good. If you're going to link to another page, it needs to be a "good" page. That means that you need to make sure the site you're linking to won't be shut down. If a site does go down, hopefully you've been periodically checking the validity of old links and can remove that one.

So remember: "Cover what you do best. Link to the rest." - Jeff Jarvis

How social networking is transforming television

By Addison Walton

Over the last few years, social networking has done many things for journalism. From Facebook Pages to Twitter click-throughs, many are aware of the wonders social media has done for journalism. What some people might be surprised to find out is that social networking is doing a lot more than we thought for television.

From basic cable to ESPN3, social networking is playing a huge role in all things television. A study from Nielsen recently revealed some interesting statistics regarding social buzz and ratings that might surprise some folks.
A "hashtagged" dugout in the most recent World Series.
The study found a number of interesting tidbits, including the fact that women ages 18-34 drive the ratings of certain shows more than men do. They also found that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the two most popular days of the week to talk about on TV on social networking sites. This statistic coincides with another interesting finding in the study. The word most associated with social buzz was winning (not bi-winning, sorry Charlie Sheen). Again, this makes sense because the most heavily watched reality shows ("American Idol," "Dancing With the Stars," "The X Factor" and "Survivor") air on these two days.

Use Google Trends to develop story ideas

By Nicole Garner

While working in a television newsroom over the summer, I learned a tactic for finding story ideas for that day's newscast: Ask yourself and colleagues, "What are people talking about today?"

Whether you're working in a day-turn newsroom or starting to scope out ideas for a long-form journalism project, finding out what people are discussing can lead to interesting stories. But how do you do that on a large scale? It has become routine to check out Twitter trending hashtags, but you can also use Google Trends.

Why hashtags are important for #journalists

By Andrew Gibson
Photo courtesy of danielmoyle

One of my favorite quotes about Twitter comes from Megan Garber, an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab:
"Twitter, like many other subjects of political pique, tends to be framed in extremes: On the one hand, there’s Twitter, the cheeky, geeky little platform — the perky Twitter bird! the collective of 'tweets'! all the twee new words that have emerged with the advent of the tw-efix! — and on the other, there’s Twitter, the disruptor: the real-time reporting tool. The pseudo-enabler of democratic revolution. The existential threat to the narrative primacy of the news article. Twetcetera."
Hashtags embody the dichotomy of Twitter better than perhaps anything else. On one hand, they're a powerful way to restore information order because they let users categorize content with just a few keystrokes. But hashtags are also cultural symbols and have even stretched into spoken conversation. You might finish a sentence with "hashtag awkward" while recalling an uncomfortable experience.

Fortunately, journalists can take advantage of both the fun and the serious sides of hashtags. Here are some tips for turning the funny pound symbol into a powerful online tool.

Live Blogging: ONA Mizzou Meeting 10/20/11

Thanks for coming to our meeting. Tweet @triblocalPat and get on the Mizzou Mafia board.

5:45: "At Mizzou, I should have overcome fears to do events that may seem dull."- Rollens

5:43: Rollens' favorite story- Commercial real estate magazine where he got to travel a lot. Rollens went to Iowa and was supposed to tour a developer. The developer turned a concrete bunker into a great development.

5:39: "I've learned so much about what things people want to read. We use daily hits to see how well we are doing and how stories are doing."- Rollens

5:37: Aggregation has become a big topic with advisor Amy Simons leading the discussion.

5:35: "Our websites are a little text heavy but I always try to find YouTube videos to post. Also our photo galleries are the bomb."- Rollens

5:30: Q: Some things you learned at Mizzou that you use at TribLocal? A: Working on Vox was a great experience. Small, scrappy staff that can work remotely. Sense of camaraderie. Be comfortable wearing a bunch of hats.

5:28: Q: Would you consider advertising to businesses in the area that you run? A: Ad reps go after local businesses all the time. And we hope they convince them to run ads in both print and on the website.

5:26: TribLocal uses Twitter for serious and breaking news. They use Facebook for more slideshows and events like that.

5:24: "I use Twitter to push out news as much as I try to hook in news."- Rollens

5:21: The social media is left to the producers. It's one main Twitter account called @TribLocal.

5:20: "At the end of the day, you have your authority on your website. They don't have their 1st Amendment right on your website."- Rollens

5:16: Q: How would you go about starting a hyperlocal site in a smaller town? A: A simple Blogger or Wordpress. It would help to have citizens participate.

5:15: TribLocal is always monitoring our postings.

5:13: "Their is no approval process for getting an online contribution account. Then I contact the person that signs up. It's help when I perform one on one customer service."- Rollens

5:11: Q: How did you get citizens to write for TribLocal? A: Call up local libraries, park districts etc... and gave them a way to get their message out not only online but in print as well. The OPRF high school do not want to use the website and that's their choice.

5:09: TribLocal journalists are trying to become more and more hyperlocal.

5:08: Citizen journalism, social media, print component all make up TribLocal's cycle.

5:07: "I don't tweet about journalism. I tweet for journalism."- Rollens

5:05: Rollens breaks down his schedule and what he does for the week while working with the TribLocal site.

5:03: Rollens works on Oak Park and River Forest and Elmhurst pages.

5:02: Go to to follow along Rollens' discussion go to this page. Click on the Find Your Town on a List to see all the towns in TribLocal's web.

5:01: "Social media is a big part of my week. Nice Facebook page as well. Not to share just breaking news but also highlight citizen contribution."- Rollens

5:01: Rollens is a Mizzou grad of '04.

5:00: Rollens met a bunch of ONA people at the conference in Boston last month.

4:58: History of TribLocal: 3-4 years old, since '09 they have been investing time and money into TribLocal.

4:57: The Skype connection has been established with Patrick Rollens.

4:53: Guests start arriving and snacks are put out.

Welcome to the third meeting of the year for ONAMizzou. Today we are Skyping with the Chicago Tribune's TribLocal Community Producer Patrick Rollens.

Tips for evaluating the credibility of real-time information

By Ashley Crockett

Everyone is plugged in these days, consuming news at lightning-fast speed. Even the news of Osama bin Laden's death broke on Twitter before President Obama announced it.

This photo of a shark in a Puerto Rican street after Hurricane
Irene was nothing more than a clever editing job.

At the 2011 ONA Conference in Boston, Craig Silverman and Mandy Jenkins led a session called "B.S. Detection for Journalists," which was full of tips for quickly determining a source's reliability.

For breaking news on Twitter, try to track down who first reported the information. Then, go through this checklist:

- When was the account created?
- Is this a regularly updated account?
- Is there a picture?
- Do they have "normal" followers?
- Do they interact with other users?

If all that checks out, find the person's Klout score, or Google the name and handle of the account. If nothing seems suspicious, contact the user.

This next step is critical: get the person's phone number and call them for more information.

Find out where the information originated. Ask, "Did you witness this? Can you tell me what exactly happened and when? If not, where did you get the information?" Follow up by asking who else might have the information.

Now, you're still not ready to completely trust what you've been told. Look at the tweets leading up to and following the breaking news to see if they follow a logical order.

If that all seems legitimate, contact official sources and search Twitter to see if any reputable accounts are reporting the same thing. Don't forget to try reaching out to your followers for help verifying the information.

The biggest step in determining whether or not you should share the information is answering one question: Is it worth the risk if the information is wrong?

For even more tips for credibility checks online, take a look at Silverman and Jenkins' presentation slides.

Calendar Alert: Hyperlocal comes to Mizzou at 5 p.m. Thursday

Who says major newspapers can't deliver neighborhood-level news? Patrick Rollens, TribLocal community producer, will Skype with us at 5 p.m. Thursday in Reynolds Journalism Institute room 200A. He'll talk about how the Chicago Tribune-owned outlet uses the Web as a medium for delivering information specific to small communities. Who knows -- maybe you have a future in hyperlocal!

Tweet him questions and discussion topics now to @TribLocalPat. He'll answer them Thursday!

Photo courtesy of TribLocal

M-I-Z, Net-work-ing!

Image courtesy Mizzou Alumni Association
It's Homecoming here at Mizzou - meaning skits, philanthropy and tailgating are on everyone's mind. But, with this year's centennial anniversary, don't forget about one of the biggest perks of the season: alumni networking. 

While it seems nearly every event held at the Missouri School of Journalism is an effort to rub elbows and make contacts, Homecoming week offers a few unique opportunities:

Career Fair - Thursday, Oct. 13
Stotler Ballroom, Memorial Union
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

You've probably seen the announcements about the journalism job fair happening today, but if not, grab your résumé and head over (in business attire, of course). At least 12 journalism-related organizations will be there, including:
  • Fleishman-Hillard
  • k-Cura
  • American Junior Golf Association
  • CGX Consolidated Graphics

How ONA Mizzou does social media

By Andrew Gibson
There's a good chance you're reading this post because you clicked one of our Twitter links. We tweet quite a bit -- sometimes more than 10 times a day -- but the timing and content of each 140-character message is far from random. The same goes for Facebook posts. If you've wondered why you're seeing a certain tweet at a certain time, keep reading, because this is a brief look at the ONA Mizzou social media strategy.


Our tweets usually contain links to digital-journalism stories, promotions for our events or opportunities for our followers (like writing for this blog). Before I tweet, I check the Missouri School of JournalismReynolds Journalism Institute and Columbia Missourian websites to make sure I'm aware of any local news related to Mizzou or the journalism school. Next, I search for interesting links by reading tweets from the people ONA Mizzou follows. Lists like Top Journalism Linkers, compiled by Jay Rosen, a New York University journalism professor, are good places to look. I also have 45 websites and blogs -- including Mashable, GigaOM and NewsFuturist -- bookmarked for this purpose. ONA Mizzou tries to appeal to people of varying journalism sequences and majors, meaning that, while many of our links relate to topics like social media and digital engagement, some will relate to photojournalism, advertising and ethics.

I start tweeting around 10:30 a.m. on weekdays. This gives college students time to coffee up to the point where they'll actually want to learn about digital journalism or write our next event in their planners. When noon comes, I pick up the pace and try to tweet at least twice and post on Facebook at least once before 1 p.m. This is a good time to promote club events and opportunities because many Mizzou students browse social media while eating lunch. Tweets continue about once hourly through around 4 p.m. Then I stop for a few hours because, well, I have to eat dinner, and so do our followers. Many students have Facebook or Twitter open while studying or watching TV later in the night, so 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. is another high-exposure period for spreading word about events and tweeting links.

Additional Information on the ONA Conference

By Addison Walton
At the 2011 ONA Conference recap held by ONA Mizzou on Oct. 6, panelists Brian Steffens and Jen Lee Reeves provided the audience with many different links from their ONA Conference experiences. 

Brian Steffens passed along his blog posts from the Reynolds Journalism Institute website:

Jen Lee Reeves listed all the great resources she found at the ONA Conference on a Pinboard:

Live Blogging: ONA Conference Recap 10/6/11

By Addison Walton

6:05- Thanks to everyone who came to the ONA Conference Recap Meeting! Follow us on Twitter @ONAMizzou. See you on October 20.

6:03- "The ONA Conference is the Journalism SXSW (South by Southwest)"- Reeves

5:58- Why join ONA? Hibbard- "Networking. This is the place to talk journalism. Access to ONA national resources" Gibson- "Huge for networking. This was my first conference and it was an incredible opportunity to connect with people." Reeves- "Focus on telling stories in journalism not just finding ways to tell it." Steffens- "Gives quick snapshot of state of the art journalism. I love to explore possibilities."

5:56: Augmenting Reality (experiencing things how they would be in fantasy) is something that should have showed up a little more during the conference says Reeves

5:54: "What you did yesterday is not what you're going to do tomorrow."- Steffens.

5:53: Steffens- "Everything was getting mashed up together (i.e. Facebook, Twitter) and now it's separating a lot more." 

5:50: Amy Simons asks "One takeaway that you can improve in your journalism day to day?" Reeves- "Post all the time on Facebook because now the timelines it's based on your friends preferences." 

5:48: RJIOnline.Org has some good takeaway videos, blogs and links from the ONA Conference if people are interested. 

Convert the Twitter nonbelievers

By Ashley Crockett

It's fine if you aren't using Twitter. Really -- you're free to make your own choices, after all.

Just know that you're missing out on a wealth of information and sources.

For instance, you can witness real-time global dialogue about whatever your heart (or your editor) desires, which is great for finding new sources or new twists on old stories. It's also excellent for finding new ideas -- if your newsroom seems stuck on repeat, find inspiration with a (free!) glance at what your audience is talking about and what it's curious to learn.

If you don't believe me, maybe Poynter's article "10 ways journalists can use Twitter before, during and after reporting a story" will convince you. I chose three items (below) from this list that I've used while studying journalism at the University of Missouri.

What do Mizzou journalism students think of Google+?

By Andrew Gibson

Two giants were at it again last week.

Facebook released a slew of new features, the most significant of which lets users customize the amount of News Feed updates they see from each of their friends. Google made headlines by opening social network Google+ to everyone and by announcing that Hangouts, the site's video-chat tool that lets up to 10 people talk together, are now available on Android devices version 2.3 or above, according to Mashable.

Facebook has the clear upper hand in the news industry because it's been around so much longer, but there's no doubt its feeling pressure from Google+. Jen Lee Reeves, Missouri School of Journalism associate professor and KOMU-TV interactive director, has championed Google+ as the perfect combination of Facebook and Twitter, pointing out in a PBS MediaShift story that users can conveniently share content only with people to whom they're connected (or "circled," in Google+ lingo) or with the entire Web. Facebook's News Feed upgrade is an attempt to rival this granularity, according to Mashable.

But while KOMU has begun regularly incorporating Google+ into its newscasts, some journalists have dismissed the service completely. Dan Reimold, a University of Tampa assistant journalism professor, wrote the following in a PBS MediaShift article:

Google+ is dead. At worst, in the coming months, it will literally fade away to nothing or exist as Internet plankton. At best, it will be to social networking what Microsoft's Bing is to online search: perfectly adequate; fun to stumble onto once in awhile; and completely irrelevant to the mainstream web.

Another journalist, Mathew Ingram of GigaOM, doesn't go as far as to write an epitaph for Google+, but he does note that the "substantial changes to the way users interact with Facebook and Facebook-based apps are a significant threat to Google in trying to grow its Google+ network."

My future with Google+ is undecided. Circles and Hangouts seem like they can be useful reporting tools, but the thought of managing another social media account is, well, overwhelming. But my opinion is only one of many, and because I live in a city -- Columbia, Mo. -- full of Internet-savvy college students, I set out to interview six journalism students and six non-journalism students about the service. Here's what I found:

Guide to the 2011 Online News Association Conference

By Andrew Gibson

Some of digital journalism's most innovative minds, including Facebook + Journalists Program Manager Vadim Lavrusik and NPR social media strategist Andy Carvin, are in Boston this week for the 2011 ONA Conference, which runs through Saturday. Below are a few ways you can take a virtual seat at the conference:
ONA Mizzou President Melanie Gibson is also at the conference, so you can check her tweets for updates.

And, take note of this: Laura Hibbard, ONA Mizzou founding president and current Huffington Post assistant social news editor, is speaking at the conference Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CST. Laura will share what she learned about community building through starting ONA Mizzou. Another Mizzou presenter is Samantha Kubota, MU journalism student and KOMU-TV Web editor/producer. She'll speak Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CST about what she would change about the digital-journalism industry.

You'll be itching to be in Boston after seeing the agenda. There's always next year, right?

Finding new media internships in traditional newsrooms

By Nicole Garner

Image courtesy kenyatousant on Flickr
With most summer internships having ended about a month ago, it may seem like next summer is, well, a year away. But just because classes are back in session doesn't mean it's too early to begin searching for your next internship.

If you're already exploring opportunities for next summer, take a glance at news organizations under your interest radar. As news organizations move to accommodate social media and online news, new opportunities are arising at traditional stations for journalism students who aren't only interested in reporting or producing.

Internet safety and journalists

By Ashley Crockett

Image from Jamadots

By now, most Internet users know not to wire money to Nigeria to help out a great-aunt or to click a link in a suspicious email. Those with accounts infiltrated by spambots (hopefully) learn from their mistakes and switch to a stronger password. But when social media outlets are vital to your profession, preventative measures need to be taken to avoid potentially time-consuming battles to regain control of your accounts.

Live Blogging: ONA Mizzou Meeting 9/15/2011

5:33: Thanks for coming out everyone. Eat the tasty cupcakes and cookies. 

5:31: Simons mentions last year's contributors like Scott Woelfel. 

5:27: Amy Simons talks about our brand new Blogspot blog. She wants this blog to be for everyone. Any student can write for the blog.

5:26: Crockett lets the crowd know how the future meeting with an ONA National recap will work.

5:24: Amy Simons talks about Trib Local and how they will be presenting at a future ONA Mizzou Meeting. All Trib Local employees that will be speaking are Mizzou Grads who work in the Chicago area. 

5:23: Oshinsky introduces his company Stry and what it does. They will go live with Stry in 2013.

5:22: "Come have a beer with me."-Dan Oshinsky. Oshinsky will be tweeting his office hours/drinking hours and would love to have visitors come join him.

5:20: Crockett introduces RJI Fellow Dan Oshinsky who will speaking to the crowd. Dan is an University of Missouri graduate and will hosting his #BergChats at the Heidelberg Restaurant across the street from the Reynolds Journalism Institute. 

5:19: Andrew Gibson, Addison Walton, Amy Simons and Nicole Garner introduce themselves to the crowd of 35.

5:17: VP Ashley Crockett welcomes the roughly 35 guests to the Fred Smith Forum. Crockett explains what ONA does locally and nationally. She mentions the ONA Conference in Boston coming up in one week.

5:15: Sign in sheets are passed around.

5:08: ONA Guests arrive and are treated to cupcakes, cookies, snacks and drinks.

Journalism doesn’t need a eulogy

By Andrew Gibson

I’ve heard the question too many times: “Why are you going into journalism?”

It usually comes from people not in the profession who hear about the decline of print newspapers or conclude that online news is an impossible business model. However, I read a post Sunday from a journalism insider. Dave Winer, who “pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software,” according to his website Scripting News, posted this Friday:

“Journalism itself is becoming obsolete. I know the reporters don’t want to hear this, and they’re likely to blast me, even try to get me “fired” (it’s happened before) because at least for the next few months I hang my hat at a J-school. I happen to think journalism was a response to publishing being expensive. It cost a lot of money to push bits around the net before there was a net. They had to have huge capital-intensive printing plants, fleets of trucks and delivery boys with paper routes. Now we can hear directly from the sources and build our own news networks. It’s still early days for this, and it wasn’t that long ago that we depended on journalists for the news. But in a generation or two we won’t be employing people to gather news for us. It’ll work differently.”

Center for Sustainable Journalism publishes list of potential newsroom positions for the digital age

By Melanie Gibson

As I begin my senior year of college, I’ve been thinking about the job hunt a lot lately. But honestly, I’ve been thinking about entering the world of the working journalists since I started college in fall 2008. One of the most memorable moments of that fall happened in a once-required Career Explorations in Journalism course in which the students were told at the beginning of the class that many of us would not actually graduate from the world’s first journalism school, let alone go into the field.

Instead of getting scared, I taught myself to diversify my skills, and eventually, my classes helped me to refine my skills in multimedia reporting and producing. But, as I’ve advanced through my courses, I’ve realized that what we learn in required courses is not quite enough to make us stand out. What makes a good journalist stand out above the rest is the ability to innovate and move forward. But what jobs in the newsroom are there to accommodate these new talents?

The Worldwide Leader Makes a Huge Mistake

By Addison Walton

Social media and ESPN have had a very testy relationship during Twitter’s ascension as a convenient source of information and verifiable journalism. Over the past two to three years, ESPN has had its share of problems related to tweeting.

One of the first well-documented cases of the ESPN/Twitter problems involved popular (now writer Bill Simmons. In October 2009, Simmons, who grew up and went to college in the Boston area, tweeted, “WEEI’s ‘The Big Show’ was apparently ripping me today. Good to get feedback from 2 washed-up athletes and a 60 yr-old fat guy with no neck.” WEEI, an all-sports Boston radio station, signed an agreement with ESPN radio only three weeks before Simmons bashed the station. Editor-in-Chief Rob King suspended Simmons for two weeks because of the tweets, with the only exception being the promotion of his book tour via Twitter. But Simmons would continue poking the fire about one year later.

The Five Hardest Things About Journalism: No. 1

By Andrew Gibson

This is the fifth post in a series about what I think are the five most difficult parts of journalism. My opinions are based on one year at Mizzou in Columbia, Mo., and a summer internship at KCNC-TV in Denver.

Journalism decided to throw me in the fire last semester.

I had to write a story about teen pregnancy in my News (Journalism 2100) class. It’s a challenging and sensitive topic, especially for a 19-year-old male who had never reported before January.

Which takes me to challenge No. 1: sources.

Finding teen mothers who would talk took weeks and weeks of persistence. I called and emailed places all over Columbia — My Life, Planned Parenthood, Lutheran Family Services, Columbia Housing Authority, Rock Bridge High School and Douglass High School, to name a few — looking for someone who wasn’t intimidated by a notebook and voice recorder.

The Five Hardest Things About Journalism: No. 2

By Andrew Gibson

This is the fourth post in a series about what I think are the five most difficult parts of journalism. My opinions are based on one year at Mizzou in Columbia, Mo., and a summer internship at KCNC-TV in Denver.

People often shrink away in terror when I tell them my major is journalism. Following the shock, a common question is, What do you want to do with that?

My response usually has two parts. I say, ideally, I’d like to be a political columnist, but my realistic goal is simply to land a job.

Journalism has an uncertain future, and I can’t afford to be picky right now. I’ve accepted, and even embraced, that my first job will probably be a general-assignment reporter at a small news outlet.

That means I’ll need the skills to gather information about almost everything. If there’s a fire, my editor will likely give me the story. Is the local grocery store recalling its green onions? I’m on it.

Which takes me to challenge No. 2: Journalists have to know a little something about everything. Our job is to observe the world and then present it in a way that people can understand.

If we don’t get it, can we expect the same of our audience?

The Five Hardest Things About Journalism: No. 3

By Andrew Gibson

This is the third post in a series about what I think are the five most difficult parts of journalism. My opinions are based on one year at Mizzou in Columbia, Mo., and an internship this summer at KCNC-TV in Denver.

There’s a great irony in reporting.

Journalists are expected to dig into the depths of a story, examining every relevant angle, yet condense what they find into something readers can skim in minutes.

That’s challenge No. 3: judging what information is important. And doing so quickly.

I learned to use this reporting skill in News (Journalism 2100), and one experience called “man on the street” sticks out in my mind. Everyone in my class had to draw a story idea from a hat, gather background information, interview two people and write a 250- to 350-word story, all in 90 minutes.

The Five Hardest Things About Journalism: No. 4

By Andrew Gibson

This is the second post in a series about what I think are the five most difficult parts of journalism. My opinions are based on one year at Mizzou in Columbia, Mo., and an internship this summer at KCNC-TV in Denver.

Starbucks Via was a good friend of mine last semester.

This was especially true when my News (Journalism 2100) instructor,Karon Speckman, assigned everyone in my class to cover a Columbia, Mo., City Council meeting.

It started at 7 p.m., so I figured I’d be done two hours later. That would leave me plenty of time to get a quote from someone in the audience, write a 400-word story and check my grammar before midnight, I thought.

Instead, I walked out of the meeting, which was still going on, around midnight with rings around my eyes, an audio recorder with maxed-out memory and a notebook with smeared, illegible notes.

“Welcome to the world of public meetings,” Speckman said in class the next day.

And welcome to reality, Andrew, because you want to be a political reporter someday.

The Hardest Things About Journalism: No. 5

By Andrew Gibson

Please know that this post is a time capsule.

I’ve only completed one year of college and just one media internship at KCNC-TV in Denver.

In fact, I haven’t even declared an emphasis at the Missouri School of Journalism yet.

That makes me about as much a journalism expert as I am a Kansas Jayhawks fan.

My reason for writing this post is so I can look back 10 or 15 years from now and see how my reporting strengths and weaknesses have changed. I’ll probably have no trouble with Associated Press style by the time I graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism, but right now it’s somewhat overwhelming.

So, if it sounds like I’m pretending to be a know-it-all, please realize that’s not my intention.

I’m only 19.

Without further ado, here’s the first post of my series “The Five Hardest Things About Journalism.”

Offline success in the online age

By Nicole Garner

Image Courtesy of ChocoNancy1 on Flickr

It’s become a common practice for journalists to tweet from the field, find sources through social media and engage with audiences through their online profiles. But what happens when you work for a media outlet that doesn’t have a social media presence?

This summer, I interned at WEIU TV, a news station in Charleston, Illinois, which didn’t jump on the social media bandwagon until after I arrived. The news director hadn’t used any form of social media before and was hesitant to start Twitter and Facebook pages for the station (for reasons unknown).

If it's allowed on TV, is it allowed online?

By Andrew Gibson

Have you ever seen the episode of “Family Guy” in which Peter Griffin goes on a musical rant about the Federal Communications Commission supposedly ruins all of his fun? The lovable cartoon dad does his best Ethel Merman impression and sings about how the FCC ruins his fun by censoring crude humor on TV. He goes so far in the episode as to start his own “scandalous” network that challenges FCC regulations. It’s hilarious, really.

Lessons from journalism on the big screen

By Andrew Gibson
Movies are meant to entertain. Journalism’s duty is to inform. So, when you look to Hollywood for an accurate portrayal of a newsroom, you should take it with a grain of salt.
But the best journalism films move beyond shallow thrills and sensationalist scandals to underscore the truths of the industry.
Here’s what you can learn from three of the best flicks in the genre (spoiler alert).

The left and right of news sites

By Andrew Gibson
The debate will never end.
Many say mainstream media are liberal. CNN faced criticism for being too friendly to now-President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign.
But others fire back, saying the media lean right. Watch Fox News, they say.
The Washington Post has a completely different take on this dispute. It goes like this: Why let people speculate?
A July 11 Poynter article spotlights the Post’s strategy of explicitly identifying whether its columns are liberal or conservative. The policy has faced some criticism, according to author Mallary Jean Tenore in the story:
But Tenore also cites a Washington Post conservative blogger who says labeling the left and right is an example of transparency.
Also from the article:
The website also has a main political opinions page that features the more centrist columns, according to the article.
But the Post is just one of many outlets that report on the government. Here’s a look at how another newspaper, a niche publication and two TV networks show — or hide — contributor opinions.

Welcome to the age of #TfN

By Addison Walton
It’s been quite the last few weeks for social media. First, Facebook+Journalists has become a great way for journalists to connect on the world’s leading social networking site. Then Google launched Google+ into its beta phase and people around the world are “hanging out” and learning of the benefits of this new tool.

Of course, Twitter got in on the action as well. It has developed tools and guides to make newsrooms run more smoothly and information flow more accurately. It’s called Twitter for Newsrooms or #TfN for short.

Free journalism training through... Facebook?

By Andrew Gibson

Twitter has been in the news a lot lately.

When Keith Urbahn tweeted the first news about Osama bin Laden’s death, “over 300 reactions to the original post were spreading through the network” within two minutes, according to SocialFlow.

And Weinergate wouldn’t even have existed without Twitter.

So, what about Facebook?

Perhaps that’s a question best saved for Vadim Lavrusik. Facebook hired the Columbia University journalism professor and former Mashable community manager to lead its journalists program, of which the “Facebook + Journalists” page is an integral part.

Interactive Narratives -- the online documentary

By Melanie Gibson

Being a convergence journalism major at Mizzou, I’ve learned a fair amount about the importance of multimedia storytelling. To be honest, it’s gotten to the point that I can’t think that a story is complete with out a visual component, text and some form of audio component to really tell a story. Because that’s what we want to do – as journalists, we want to tell stories that are as rich in content and context as the individuals that we interview. And sometimes, the stories we find are far too big and rich to be contained in 1:30 radio news piece, a photo and text. This is where the documentary-style of reporting comes in. The documentary gives the reporters and producers a more time and space to be creative and tell the story, but the documentary is out and the online interactive narrative is in. This form of storytelling brings the documentary online to a wider audience and lets them interact with the story material.

The domino effect of online comments

By Ashley Crockett

Navigating the often harsh world of online comments can be like watching a train crash — you don’t want to see it, but you can’t look away as the sparks fly.
Thanks to the anonymity available on the Internet, anyone — from gas station attendants to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies — can hide behind a computer screen and comment about anything, in any way they want.
Could this system of expression be driving away potential sources for reporters?
Alex Schmidt, a freelance reporter and producer working for NPR, Spot.Us and other outlets, thinks so. She’s dealt directly with what she calls “broken commenting,” so-called because of the negative impact it has on her ability to do future reporting in certain areas.

Attention sports writer: MVP now means "Most Valuable Participant"

By Andrew Gibson

When national baseball editor Rob Neyer joined SB Nation, a sporting news website made up of a community of bloggers, he wrote a column representative of new media.

Keeping SB Nation’s focus on reporter-reader interaction in mind, Neyer wrote:

Twisting in the flashbulb

By Addison Walton

“Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes” sang David Bowie on his famous 1972 song. In Bowie’s context, he uses the song to refer to the reinvention of his artistic self. Yet, this changing of medium is currently happening in the journalism community.

I was reminded of this again after examining Bob Shullman and Stephen Kraus’ blog post for AdAge on how affluent households learned of Osama bin Laden’s death. What draws this piece together is the references to bin Laden’s death as a “flashbulb moment” and drawing comparisons to other moments. Some examples of past flashbulb moments include 9/11, Michael Jackson’s death, and the O.J. Simpson car chase. Ask anyone where they were when these events occurred and chances are they will give you a more precise location than Google Maps.

According to the study, 57 percent of households with an annual income of more than $100,000 learned of the bin Laden breaking news through television. Granted, the announcement of bin Laden’s death occurred late on a Sunday night, but this number seems rather low to me.