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.