Online Journalism: Thursdays 2009

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the class blog for Columbia College Chicago’s Online Journalism class: Thursday edition

Your Presentations Next Week

As we approach the end of class, it’s important that we check in on your site as you prepare to populate it with content (or, in the case of the content that’s already there, evaluate its value). It is also a time to strongly consider the presentation of the site itself, and to fine-tune the look & feel, because content is only as good as the site that showcases it. And it’s also crucial, of course, that you consider audience at every juncture as well.

The format for this presentation will be similar to our last, with slides and a group presentation. However at this point you should also be able to walk us through various aspects of your site itself, and be able to answer questions about the content and the look/feel of the site overall. Because of this, we will reserve the end of your presentation for a walkthrough of the site. Prepare one of your team members to “drive” this walkthrough, taking over the projection computer. Map out what it is you want to talk about and highlight, however, so that your presentation remains professional and succinct.

As with last time, you will give both a presentation and hand in a report, signed by all group members.

presentation & report

The Site Idea and its Relationship to Content
–Be as succinct and clear as possible. Start with a one or two-sentence description of the site.
–Succinctly, how does content fulfill that mission?
–In other words: why are you featuring what you’re featuring?

The Content Itself
–What types of content do you see regularly appearing on your site? And why?
–Written pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Multimedia pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Interactive pieces: How? Why? What kind?
–Social media: What’s your strategy? Why? How?
–How do you plan on grouping the various content types?
–In other words, what are the various sections or categories on your site?
–How do these categories work to clearly state at a hierarchical level what your site is all about?
–Give seven specific examples of content currently on your site and ten specific examples of content still to come.

Content and its Relationship to Audience
This is important, so I will bold it: invite five members of your targeted audience to preview your site. Get as much feedback as you can from them regarding the content. For this section include bios/info about the people you talked with for the report and give their specific feedback there. In your presentation include photographs of these people interacting with your site.
–Who is the audience you are targeting and why? BE SPECIFIC.
–What content do you think they are looking for online, and why would they come to you to get it?
–How did you come to this conclusion?
–When you previewed your site to audience members, what was their reaction to the content?
–How did they feel it could improve?
–What other content did they feel could go in the site?
–What other feedback did they get?

Look & Feel
–Why does your site look the way it does?
–How does your site classify and display content?
–How can a user access the various pieces of content–is there a menu system that makes sense?
–How does the way your site looks compliment the content?

Walkthrough

The walkthrough of your site should highlight the following:
–demonstrate the way that a user would access various content types
–highlight some of the unique ways your site is presenting its content
–show off your site’s look & feel and explain why it works the way it does
–demonstrate the categories your content falls into

Slides

Follow the same process as before in terms of uploading your slides to Flickr and creating a set and slideshow. Your slides should correspond to the major sections of your presentation. Create as many as you see fit.

Link your slideshow and paste your report in the comments of this entry.

Your presentation should be no longer than 10 minutes, including the walkthrough.

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Filed under: group project work

6 Responses

  1. Molly Lynch says:

    Molly Lynch
    Brett Marlow
    Eve Fuller
    Megan Ferringer

    F Major
    Slides:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/35370619@N04/sets/72157617493479368/

    Site idea and its relationship to content

    In a succinct phrase: Getting in tune with Chicago’s emerging female artists
    We feel that this description best captures our site because our content is all service-based. Anyone who comes to our site can draw something from it. Our main goal for this site is to create a community. We are going out and talking to the community this site would directly affect and using their experience as a model for our site.

    Content itself:

    To date, we’ve integrated several different content types: Song of the Week (posting our favorite song of a local female musician), Coming to Town (listings of upcoming performances of our favorite female musicians), Q&A With…(question and answer article of interviews we’ve conducted) and video interviews with Chicago female musicians. Each of these things hold relevance to our audience: the Song of the Week gives a little glimpse to other female musicians into what their peers are doing (and hopefully provide a bit of inspiration), Coming to Town gives a heads up to our audience on certain shows that we think they would enjoy and to help integrate themselves into the female musician community, the questions and answers sections (both in print and video) gives a firsthand take from people that have experienced success in the community, and from that, they can share their own advice and ups and downs through the process.

    The written pieces range from question and answer articles with local musicians as well as our own write ups of album reviews and how-to’s (ex. find a record deal, promote yourself, etc.) Of course, each of these can only be obtained by talking to industry experts as well as musicians. These written pieces, in particular the how-to’s, will serve as a reference source, providing expert takes on how to properly navigate through the female musician community.

    The multimedia pieces include music clips of our favorite songs (mostly from women that we’ve interviewed for the site) as well as videos of their performances and personal interviews where they’re answering questions about their own musical career and providing advice to fellow musicians. Again, these serve as a reference, hopefully offering a bit of inspiration and advice to other aspiring or emerging musicians.

    For social media, F Major has set up a Twitter account. A typical post
    will either offer an update on our website whenever we post new content or highlight upcoming performances that we think our audience will be interested in.

    While all our content appears on the front page, we’ve also included separate tabs to reference. For example, under the parent tab “Resources,” our audience will find subcategories like “Take it from me,” where the personal interviews can be found. Other sections include “How-To’s,” “Booking,” “Press,” “Venues” and “Recording.” Another parent tab includes “Reviews,” which is pretty self explanatory. Other sections include “Listings,” which includes both concert listings as well as things like Craigslist listings for equipment needs.

    It pretty much shows that we’re here to provide a one-stop resource for emerging female musicians. The main section that we expect most visitors will be drawn to is “Resources,” and beneath that they’ll find the specifics that will pertain to what exactly they’re searching for.

    Currently, we have an about section (an attempt to show visitors how we’re passionate about female musicians), song of the week from musicians we’ve interviewed, question and answers in text form with musicians, question and answers in video format, upcoming shows that we think are worth checking out, YouTube videos of our personal favorite performances, a Flickr feed of musicians we’ve interviewed (the photos are of them performing and were taken by F Major), videos of private performances the musician put on exclusively for F Major. What we’re still looking to add fall along the line of how-to’s: such as, how to score a record deal, the best recording studios, the best venues for emerging musicians, booking information, where to find photographers for promo photos or album covers, promotional or press issues, listings of wanted equipment, album reviews, concert reviews and “Bust or Must,” a section that highlights our own favorite musicians that we think are worth checking out. Of course, we’ll include more interviews and videos along the way with other musicians.

    Content and its relationship to audience:

    For our site, our specific target audience obviously consists of Chicago’s aspiring female musician community. These women, likely ages 18-25, would use F Major as a place to connect with other aspiring female musicians, in addition to receiving up-to-date coverage of new and emerging female music acts around the city. These women are looking to connect, network and/or learn about how to break into the local music scene or how to get a demo tape out. Based on the interviews we have conducted thus far, we have gathered that the hopes and dreams of our users are to be able to hold their own in a music field that is most commonly dominated by men.

    When visiting the F Major site, our users are looking for something that is quirky, conversational and a little bit snarky. With that said, we have made efforts to make more of our content review-centric, which our surveyed users seemed to appreciate. Multimedia would also be a main draw for our site, with video and podcast interviews and performances.

    Opinions from some members of our target audience:
    • Rachel Kahn, 22, senior at DePaul University. Rachel began her solo singing/songwriting career at the start of college at DePaul four years ago. Rachel also plays guitar, and does whatever she can to heavily involve herself in Chicago’s music scene. When Rachel was initially asked how she felt about the idea of creating a site solely catering to Chicago’s emerging female music community, she seemed very excited. When we asked her to take a look at our site weeks later, she said that her favorite part was the most recent post we have with the sample track of Abbi Rajasekhar’s song. She also noted that she really likes the way our site is organized and said it is easy to navigate. The one criticism she had about our site was that she felt our Q&A with musician Heather Perry was too long, and that people might lose interest in it. Rachel also said that she would like to see more content on the site, but understands that since our site is still in its beginning phases, she understands.

    • Lindsey Hemmer, 21, senior at Columbia. Lindsey has been a singer/guitar player since the age of eight, and says that one of her life’s goals is to live in different cities across America to get a taste of their different music scenes. While Lindsey’s busy school schedule doesn’t allow her much time to play live shows, she still longs for a community to keep in contact with other aspiring musicians in the Chicago area. Lindsey’s first compliments of the site were that she loves the way it looks and thinks that the site has great potential to succeed. Like Rachel, Lindsey also said that the interview with Heather Perry was very long in comparison to the other content that is present on our site. She also said that our podcast was a little weird.

    • Abbi Rajasekhar, 23, solo musician. A recent grad of Columbia, Abbi’s passion for music has her playing small shows throughout the Chicago area and has even landed her a gig at New York City’s Piano on May 20. She resides in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, and says that she is constantly looking for new ways to connect with other female musicians in the city. Abbi said that the way she kickstarted her music career in the city was when she worked at Potbelly’s, playing acoustic music sets during lunchtime. Abbi really loved to concept of F Major and really appreciated that we had listings, videos and a presence on social networking sites like Twitter.

    • Heather Perry, 22, frontwoman of Heather Perry & The ___’s. Heather has experienced many struggles as an up-and-coming female musician in Chicago. The thing Heather wants most out of a site like F Major is information on where to go to release a CD, affordable recording studios and a chance to network with other female-driven bands. When Heather took a look at our site, she, like our other viewers, said she really liked the design and layout of the site and felt that we definitely hit a target audience that currently has little representation in the music world. She suggested that we add more multimedia to our site, since she feels that has been the most enjoyable part.

    • Emily W, 23, member of Heather Perry & The ___’s. Like Heather, Emily also thinks there is a strong need for a website catering to the emerging female music community. Emily’s one critical comment of our site was that she thinks we need a stronger presence on social networking sites, as that would be a way for us to generate more traffic to our site. Like the other ladies, Emily also agreed that the look & feel of our site matches our site’s goal.

    Look & Feel:

    Our site looks the way it does because it is both interactive and informative. F Major reaches out to female musicians and fans of female musicians in the Chicago area. Through up to date tweets, upcoming concerts, songs of the week, and classified listings, users can listen to artists perform on our site, watch their videos, and read about what they are doing now in Chicago.

Our site displays its content down the middle of the website in a blog-like format with the most recent content posted at the top of the page. There is a calendar on the right side of the page with marked upcoming show dates, the F Major Twitter feed, Flickr photos, and links to our most recent posted content. At the top of our website we also have a menu bar.


    Under “About” you can read about the FMajor family and a short bio about each writer. Under “Resources” a female musician can access our information database of different venues, photographers, producers, record labels etc. that are all local here in Chicago.
Under “Wanted” female musicians in Chicago can read classified listings of musicians who may be needed for a show, equipment, stand-ins etc. Under “Reviews” is where the FMajor staff gets to put their two cents in on shows, album reviews, and decide whether you are either a “bust” or a “must.”



    The way our site looks compliments our content because it is modern, colorful, yet organized and understandable. Our site is based around musicians, but we understand our readers only want to read so much. Our content not only has written articles and interviews, but it also showcases videos and audio for our readers to watch and listen to Chicago female musicians.

  2. Kate Spethmann says:

    Jennifer Nunez
    Kate Spethmann
    Lauren Wille
    Jennie Fajman

    Healthy Budget Chi is a guide for Chicago college students who are looking to eat healthy while maintaining a healthy budget. Since we don’t all have the wallet to support a Whole Foods pantry, we provide this community of 18-to 25year-olds with options for affordable and nutritious snacks and meals. We offer how-to tips as well as straightforward recipes of dishes they can make with whatever resources they have at their disposal…whether it be a full kitchen at their apartment or working within the limits of a dorm room. Healthy Budget Chi also provides its readers with restaurant reviews so they can always get the low-down on affordability and taste options for an occasional night on the town.

    Healthy Budget Chi is formulated and designed specifically to reflect our content. Our site has the theme it does to enhance the ideas such as fresh, healthy and happy. We are a healthy recipe site, so we want our readers to feel like they are already accomplishing something just by accessing the home page. Light pastel-like colors go along perfectly with what our site is all about: Light and healthy eating. Dark or gaudy colors would throw off our entire concept, and distract the viewer from accessing other parts of our site. People can lose focus subconsciously when things don’t make sense. If they looked at our site and saw darkness, they might automatically believe our site to be illegitimate.

    Our site classifies and displays content by separating everything into individual categories. Our site will also greet you with our own personal mission statement, explaining our intentions and what we hope to accomplish with the site, and what the site can do for you, the reader.

    Users can access various pieces of content by clicking on a link to whatever it is they are looking for. Our site currently has 5 categories: 5 ingredients or less, home favorites, snacks/desserts, podcasts, and restaurant reviews. When clicking on these, you will be presented with an archive of material that fall within these categories.

    Content is the core of our Web site. We gain more views and loyal users by constantly updating the site content. Fast and easy is what our audience wants. They don’t have time, or the money to buy a full shopping cart for a meal. Our content revolves around recipes, restaurant reviews, and interviews with local chefs.

    Most of our site has recipes that we have done ourselves, including some at home favorites. We do include some restaurant reviews, because let’s face it; no one likes to cook everyday. The restaurants we have reviewed so far are Cozy Noodles Thai Restaurant, Earwax, Aloha Grill and Epic Burger, all in relation to our audience. We want our audience to know that you can still eat healthy while out and about the city. You don’t have to give in to fast food.

    We have a podcast interview with Trump Tower’s chef Chris Parker. In this interview, our audience can gain insight from how a chef makes gourmet foods at home for a much more reasonable price. He also gives tips on how to cook with a microwave and limited ingredients for our dorm room readers or those who just don’t want to put forth too much effort for a tasty meal.

    One interactive piece we have is that our audience can write comments in all of the categories. If someone really liked a certain recipe, they can comment and ask if we know any more recipes that are similar. Comments from our audience are crucial: it tells us what they like, if they want to see more of something in particular, or if we’re doing something that doesn’t work for them. One thing I think would be great for this site is more interaction with our audience. Have them tell us their favorite summer treats and put up a “You Pick” category.

    At Healthy Budget Chi we target college students in the Chicago area who have a full blown gourmet kitchen or a dorm room with a mini fridge and microwave. We cater to those who want to eat healthy at home and on the go but on a tight budget.

    College students want to find quick, easy to make and low cost to buy meals. They are trying to get through freshman year without the freshman 15. They want to be conscious about what they eat, but don’t have a lot of time to think about it and plan out meals daily. They come to our site to find recipes they can cook and they can afford. We came to this conclusion after speaking with many college students around the Chicago area and they all found a need for a hub of information that catered to their needs.

    Brian Livingston, 22, Chicago, attends Columbia College Chicago. He thought the site had solid content and enjoyed listening to the podcast with Chris Parker. He also said he would use the 5 ingreedients or less section most because he isn’t a good cook and the less he has to do the better. He thought the organization of the categories could be better outlined and more visible. He said he would like to see a better dorm room section if there were more recipes to provide.

    Sylvia Morrow, single mother on the north side, going back to school part-time to finish degree. Sylvia works full-time and has a 3-year-old to take care of. On top of that, she is planning to attend night school next semester. She said the site would help her plan meals for the week on a tight budget. In this economy she says, we need to cut corners and make do with what food we have at home and not get McDonalds every day. It isn’t healthy. She liked the home favorite section and said if the site had constant updates she would visit weekly.

    Ola Osundairo, 40, mother of five. Currently taking night classes to get second degree. Ola has a lot on her hands. A full time job, 4 teenaged kids and one 10-year-old at home to take care of, while her husband works in Africa. She likes to spend her time doing activities with her children and doesn’t like to take too much time preparing meals. She is looking for easy, low-budget meals that won’t take away her time with the kids. She says 30 minutes is the max time she wants to spend cooking a meal. She would like to see a 30 minutes or less section to cater to the time-constrained.

    Mike Fischer, 21, UIC student says “Tactful, pertinent and concise; as plausible as it is delicious. Definitely could be expanded upon, with more recipes. More appetizing photography could be utilized (staged, with garnish, and without flash.)”

    Laura Matovina, 21, graduating college in the fall. Laura has a lot on her plate; a job, an internship and a full workload at school. Between all of this and looking for a job after graduation, she doesn’t have time to worry about calorie counting or long productions to cook a meal between all of her duties. She likes the idea of snacks on the go and would like to see some ideas on food to take to work or school that will keep her energy high throughout the day.

  3. Kate Spethmann says:

    Slideshow:

    SLIDE 5
  4. The Site Idea and its Relationship to Content

    ChiCharity aims to bring local volunteer opportunties to young people in Chicago. ChiCharity will raise awareness to local charity organizations, and profile those who are doing good in their community.

    The Content Itself

    –What types of content do you see regularly appearing on your site? And why?

    The site features information and stories on local volunteer organizations and opportunities narrowed down to a specific area. This kind of information is important to our viewers since the website is targeted towards young people, mostly students, who are interested in volunteer opportunities.

    –Written pieces: How? Why? What kind?

    Written pieces are mostly profiles of organizations and people who participate in them. Q&A’s are a great source of feedback for people interested in volunteering. This way they get to read what other people have to say about volunteering. Q&A’s provide a great source of information for someone who wants to know about real people and their experiences.

    –Multimedia pieces: How? Why? What kind?

    Photo galleries are a great way to visualize an organization. Viewers would be interested to see what these places look and feel like. Videos are also a great way to profile these groups and people who are a part of them. It’s always nice to get a visual and buy using such multimedia, the site reaches to more viewers. Podcasts could also have a place on the website. They can include mostly Q&A’s. We also have a calendar on the site that tells the viewers what is available on what day of the week.

    –Interactive pieces: How? Why? What kind?

    An option to leave comments is a great way to let the viewers give us feedback. Being able to see what other people have to say is a great opportunity for everyone.

    –Social media: What’s your strategy? Why? How?

    Twitter is a good opportunity to spread the news fast and efficiently. We’ve also created a Facebook group, YouTube page and an e-mail account.

    –How do you plan on grouping the various content types?
    –In other words, what are the various sections or categories on your site?
    –How do these categories work to clearly state at a hierarchical level what your site is all about?

    So far, everything is on one site. The best way to divide the content would be to have a specific section for written profiles, videos, galleries, and podcasts.

    –Give seven specific examples of content currently on your site and ten specific examples of content still to come.

    Currently on the site:

    · Sort out the resale shop Brown Elephant of Howard Brown-profile of a volunteer opportunity

    · Gardening at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago land-profile of a volunteer opportunity

    · Environmental opportunity at nature museum and volunteering at other museums-profile

    · The Act of Selflessness- Q&A with a volunteer

    · Chi Charity Podcast no. 1- info about upcoming opportunities

    · Greater Chicago Food Depository YouTube profile

    Still to Come:

    · An Investment in child care- opportunities for people who are looking into the field of pediatric work, child psychology or even preschool teaching.

    · What you can learn from tutoring- tutoring opportunity for 1 hour a week-profile.

    · Photo Gallery of volunteering at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum- a place for students to get their hands dirty while maintaining animals and plant habitats and giving back to the environment.

    · Immersion Trips to volunteer out of the area- ways to volunteer while vacationing

    · An online poll of several volunteer opportunities- what opportunities do the website viewers find most interesting.

    · “What’s in it for me”- Q&A with volunteers and experts opinions on young people’s involvement in such activities.

    · A map that will constantly be updated with volunteer opportunities

    · Video profile of Adler Planetarium and its volunteers who share compelling stories about NASA.

    · Adam S McKinley Community Services volunteer opportunity for artists-profile and informational piece.

    · Regular profiles of volunteers and their experiences

    Content and its Relationship to Audience

    This is important, so I will bold it: invite five members of your targeted audience to preview your site. Get as much feedback as you can from them regarding the content. For this section include bios/info about the people you talked with for the report and give their specific feedback there. In your presentation include photographs of these people interacting with your site. (A.Bacon)

    –Who is the audience you are targeting and why?

    We are targeting college students (undergraduate) who are interested in the possibility of volunteerism or students who have volunteered in the past. We are particularly targeting college students, because we are providing information on different organizations that offer a flexible schedule, appealing to college students who usually have the tasks of several courses, part-time jobs, and extra curricular activities such as internships.

    –What content do you think they are looking for online, and why would they come to you to get it?

    We believe that this audience is looking for content that is easily assessible and straight to the point. Most of the targeted audience frequent sites such as facebook, myspace, and twitter, so we believe they are interested in content that is engaging, relatable, and easy to navigate.

    –How did you come to this conclusion?

    When we first began working on the site, we asked our target audience what sites they visit most often, and the majority visited facebook, myspace, and news websites including nytimes.com and chicagotribune.com. There were also people who frequented google news, which gives short excerpts of news updates.

    –When you previewed your site to audience members, what was their reaction to the content?

    The audience members enjoyed the idea of the site, and were impressed with the various opportunities available that did not fall with the “typical” volunteer job.
    –How did they feel it could improve?

    Several audience members suggested that we make our titles for our entries catchier, a magazine style of writing. They also suggested that we include topics that are centered around volunteer jobs at schools in the Chicago area, if applicable.

    It was also suggested that we make our links more visible in the entry, because all of the audience members interviewed had questions about how they would go about getting information to volunteer at these organizations. One person was specifically interested in the nature museum job, but was not sure on how they would go about starting.

    –What other content did they feel could go in the site?

    Two members said that they feel that there should be less negative space on the site and that we should fill our sidebars with photos of young people who have had experiences at the shelters we have featured on our site.

    They also felt that there should be more feature stories, versus just putting up a place’s contact information.

    –What other feedback did they get?

    All the audience members we spoke with said that they enjoyed the site overall, and that it was a very exciting idea, because it’s not something they’ve seen before. One audience member asked if we would be advertising the site across campus.

    Look & Feel

    Our site features a few main content types. We have profiles, videos, and Q and A’s. We use tags to classify our content. We link our content from several social media sites to present it in a unique way. We like the way the site looks because it is simple and user friendly.

  5. Mike Purgatorio says:

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