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Check out my Dad’s blog – Just Ticking The Box

My Dad has a very funny cycling blog – take a look – he would really love to get more readers.

JUST TICKING THE BOX

Online Journalism – What I’ve Learned

I have found the multimedia journalism module really interesting, it has opened my eyes to the power of online journalism. I was worried at first that I might not find it so interesting, but I have really learned a lot – now I can’t stop checking Twitter and updating my Google News.

I can’t believe how many column inches are dominated by twitter related content. I never realised before starting this module, but now I read a magazine or a newspaper and see quotes direct from a tweet or whole pages dedicated to twitter news.

Image from blog.bioethics.net

Blogging was something I had tried before university but before I didn’t know quite how important blogs can be. Authors of well-read blogs have as much influence (maybe more) as professional journalists and social commentators. I have researched live-blogging recently, and I came to understand how important it will be to be able to blog effectively in any future career I may have in journalism.

The recent Arab uprisings proves that social media and online journalism are extremely important in the modern world: journalists used Youtube and Facebook to smuggle content out of strictly regulated countries; dissidents used social networks to rally crowds, pass information and share ideas. Videos uploaded onto Facebook and Youtube made their way onto our TV screens and the fanpages and blogs of those suffering in the Middle East drummed up world-wide support for the cause.

Group Blog Analysis

SKINT BUT MINT

The group blog exercise was great fun, but quite a lot more work than I first anticipated. I loved working with the girls, bouncing ideas back and forth. I found working in a team gave the blog such momentum and I enjoyed reading the other girls’ pieces as well as writing my own.

I was the sub-editor for the group. Most days I posted a message from the team, stating the problem for the day and how we intended to solve it. I also edited all the posts. Editing the posts was quite a big job as I wanted to make sure that I caught all the typos and spelling mistakes, but I didn’t want to affect the author’s voice. It was really interesting to read all the posts in such detail. I’m glad this was my role as I don’t think I would have read every post otherwise and then I would have definitely missed out on some great pieces of work.

Coming up with ideas for the content of my posts was tricky at times, I wanted to make them as light-hearted and funny as I could while also giving the best advice and ideas. I really enjoyed doing the recipes and it was great to get comments on those posts.

I tweeted most days from my personal twitter account and I tried to update the group on Facebook as often as I could. Maybe we could have done more on the social media side of things and found more readers, having said that I think we did OK on that side of things.

Maybe in the future - image from edublogawards.com

Overall I was really proud of what we achieved – I think that the blog looks clean and attractive, the layout makes it easy to find what you want. Viktoria did a great job on making the blog look good and she really kept us up to date with the social media side of things.

I don’t really think there’s much I would have changed about my group or the blog. However maybe next time I would have liked to have a clearer idea of what everybody would be doing, as at times the work load seemed to be a little lopsided.

Audio and Video Work Analysis

Video

Image from pyramid-presentations.co.uk

When I first started this Journalism course I was convinced that I wanted to work in print media and nothing else. However, when I got my first taste of venturing into the world with a video camera I became hooked.

I absolutely loved doing the video project. I found using the computer software tricky at first, but having edited my film I feel more confident.

My film was about unemployment in the UK, specifically youth unemployment. I got the idea from headlines at the time – it was shortly after those shocking unemployment figures emerged.

My strategy was to get interviews with as many people as possible who had had experience of being unemployed or were currently claiming unemployment benefits. This was not as easy as I had first hoped! I don’t know many people who are unemployed and of the ones I did know, most were not prepared to speak on camera. I had not realised before quite how sensitive an issue it is.

Eventually I convinced Salem (a family friend) to talk about his experiences of unemployment and the benefits system. He gave a fantastic interview, with plenty of interesting detail.

Next I went to my local job centre and stood outside asking people to talk to me about their lives. Some were reluctant but in the end I managed to get enough footage and I was happy with what I had.

I finished recording my piece to camera and voice-overs, then I began the editing process. As I said before, I found the software difficult to get my head around at first, but finally I think I cracked it and I produced something that I am quite proud of – for a first attempt!

Looking back at the video now there are some things that I would change. For example there are a few parts where the editing isn’t seamless and I would have (in hindsight) asked more probing questions to the people at the job centre, but I know for next time what I would like to improve.

Audio

Image from textually.org

I was as captivated by working with the audio equipment as I was with my camera. I came up with the idea that I would interview my friend from home for the first part of the task. She is a 22 year old single mother, the interview went really well and I was very happy with the quality of the recording. One particularly nice aspect is that you can hear her baby daughter making little noises in the background as my friend describes life as a single mum.

For the podcast part of the assignment I decided that it would be interesting to ask people about their earliest childhood memories and then put them all together. I recorded the memories of a range of people – from an elderly lady to young university students. I put the memories together over a recording of a friend playing the piano.

I found the audio software much easier to use and quickly got the hang of it and I was very pleased with the outcome. Looking back at the assignment I don’t think I would have changed a lot, but I would have liked to have more than 2 minutes for the interview – there was so much more good material that I would love to have used.

My thoughts on Google News and Google Reader

Reader

I found Google Reader to be a great tool for sourcing information and keeping on top of what’s happening in the world. I really like the way you can pick and choose what you want to include. This site makes keeping up with my fav online content quick and easy. However it can sometimes be overwhelming to be faced with thousands of unread items.

That aside, I really liked using Reader instead of visiting loads of different websites. Recently I worked on a project about the use of social networks in the recent Arab uprising – I added a load of live-blogs and news agencies to my Google Reader and I was able to access specific information quickly and efficiently.

News

To be honest I much prefer using Google News than Google Reader. The layout is much neater and less daunting. I really like the way you can prioritise what kind of news you get at the top of the page (and I love that it makes you see the serious stuff first).

Since I started using Google News I don’t that I’m missing anything. The site makes viewing current events manageable and fast. You can browse the headlines and get up to date on the days happenings in a matter of seconds.

It’s great that you can be really specific about what you want to see. I have Cardiff as one of my first entries as it is my home city. All I have to do is browse that little section and I can get all the news I want from my home town.

Group Blog

So we have decided upon the subject of our group blog: Student Lifestyle

The group consists of Tatiana, Emma, Emily, Victoria and Me!

Everyday we will think of a problem or issue that the average student may have and we will attempt to solve the problem by writing about places to visit, ways to save cash, cook tasty food and look great!

It will basically be a magazine for students, I suppose mainly female students, but it won’t be very girly and I’m sure that we will get lots of male readers.

Our content will concentrate on 4 key areas: Food – Travel – Lifestyle – Fashion/Beauty and there will be a comment section as well.

Everyday we will post a message from the team, introducing the problem to be solved that day and commenting on any current affairs that will be affecting students.

To complete the assignment we must run live for 2 weeks. I am really excited about the prospect of running an independent online magazine by ourselves, I just know it’s going to be a lot of fun.

There aren’t many similar blogs running at the moment (that I can find anyway) so I hope that this fairly original idea may catch on. The only one we have found that resembles our blog is an American site called Her Campus. Looking at this blog has helped us find some good ideas about how to structure ours and what content to produce.

Now all we have to do is think of a name……..

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