Online Journalism: Thursdays 2009

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

California dreaming

By the way, for those wondering what to do once they graduate (for those that are) Wired magazine is offering PAID six-month internships in San Francisco. Deadline is May 20th. Hustle!

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Filed under: class stuff

last day of class–a question

So as you know, I teach two sections of Online Journalism, on Thursday morning and Friday mid-day. As we launch our sites, I think it would be great if both classes could share the work that they’re doing with each other. As a result, I’m taking a poll to see when people are available and if it’s possible to find a time on the last two days of class (and the semester) that everyone has even an hour free. I think it could be great and a lot of fun. Please fill out the poll with ALL the times you’re available (include the time that your class normally meets as well). If there’s a time that works for everyone, I will let you know in class next week.

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our guest for Thursday

We are very lucky to be joined this Thursday by Richard Koci Hernandez, one of the true trailblazers in journalistic multimedia production. As we discussed last week, Richard was one of the driving forces in the unstoppable awesomeness that was the San Jose Mercury News’ photography team (the folks that made the Flick’s Mobile Home pieces we watched last week) and is now a multimedia fellow at the J-School at the University of California Berkeley.

Come to class prepared with questions–AND ASK THEM

Familiarize yourself with Richard’s work at his personal website.
Revisit Flick’s Mobile Home

We’re VERY lucky to have Richard, and so I’ll say it again: Come to class prepared with questions–AND ASK THEM

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link up your videos here

Put a link to the YouTube or Vimeo uploads of the videos you made this week. Can’t wait to see them! (unfortunately, embedding won’t work in the comments, so just paste in the URL)

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Twitter: 21 days

I said it in class, but I’ll say it again: Twitter is hard to explain. It’s kind of like Facebook’s status update. It’s kind of like IM. It’s sort of like texting on your phone. And it’s a little like a teeny, tiny blog. Plus a bunch of other things. There’s one thing that is true though: It’s a new paradigm for communication and community, and it’s reaching critical mass.

Because of that, we’re going to do a deep dive into Twitter. The thing about Twitter is that it takes a little time to “get it” (and, even more importantly, what that “it” is will be different for each person). As a result, we’re going to follow the “21 days” concept: It takes 21 days of doing something regularly for it to become a habit.

So let’s form Twitter habits:

  • Starting by March 1st, you’ll need to sign up for an account on Twitter.
  • Follow me. My Twitter page is here. I will follow you back.
  • Look at my list of followers–you will quickly see your classmates. Use Twitter Search to find other interesting people to follow (type in keywords of things that you find interesting, for example).
  • You need to post to twitter at least 3 times a day. In addition, you need to @ reply to someone at least twice a day. That’s a MINIMUM of five tweets a day.
  • Follow new people very day
  • Every 3 days, in 140 characters, sum up what you’ve learned and include the hashtag #onlinej09 in your tweet. For example: retweeting can really spread a message quickly #onlinej09
  • Follow your classmates’ revelations by doing a twitter search for that hashtag
  • We’ll have a pretty good list of things we’ve learned on Twitter at the end of this experiment. Plus, you’ll have developed a pretty healthy Twitter habit by then.
  • At the end of our 21 days, write a 500 word summary of your time on Twitter, what you think it’s useful for, and how you see Journalism intersecting with it.

Another great thing about Twitter is that there are any number of ways to access it outside of the homepage. There are some great applications for accessing your tweets, like:
Twhirl
Twitteriffic
Tweetdeck

Other applications for discovering people, doing interesting things, and more:
Twitpic
Twitter Grader
TwitterVision
(there are an almost countless list of interesting Twitter apps–feel free to link up ones you find in the comments)

Finally, one thing about having only 140 characters is that it makes it hard to paste in a real link. You’re going to need a URL shortener to do so. Personally, I like bit.ly, but people also use tinyurl and others.

See you on Twitter!

Filed under: class stuff

Our Post-It Clouds

Our Post-It Clouds from today are up on Flickr now.
clouds1

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What’s a persona?

It is always easier to create a site when you’re creating it for someone.

For many developers, this means creating a few personas, fictional stand-ins for the many real people you speak to when developing the site. These stands-ins need to have enough reality behind them to push your ideas toward real people, instead of stereotypes. As a result, your personas should have:

Names
Genders
Relationships (or lack thereof)
Incomes/Jobs
Education
Interests/Hobbies
Attitudes towards technology
A reason for coming to your site/goal to achieve there

Please think of three different personas that are rooted in reality (can and should base them on interviews you conducted—they can be amalgams of multiple people, if there are through-lines that connect them. They should have varying levels of computer literacy, and varying interest in the topic your site is built around. Think in terms of a “super user” a “casual user” etc.

For more about personas, you can read here and here

Filed under: class stuff

for your pitches next week

Next week is a big week: It’s when we pitch our final site idea to the class, the class votes, and the four left standing move forward through the next stages as team-driven sites.

Here’s how it will work:

1) Have a name for your site
2) Give a clear and precise one-sentence description of the site
3) Give a description of a three personas—analogues for some of the real users you have talked with—following the guidelines set out in the class blog (below).
4) Write a brief narrative of how these personas interact with your site. They may do so in different ways (a “super user” for instance, may access and work with your site in a different way than a “casual user”).
5) Post all this to the class blog. Also be prepared to give a similar presentation live and in person in class.

Accompanying this information will be ONE slide, sized 800px x 600px saved as a JPG file, that includes the name of your site, the same brief description, and any graphics or other information you’d want (don’t cram it full of text, as it won’t be legible). This will be projected as you present in class. E-MAIL YOUR SLIDE AT LEAST 2 HOURS BEFORE CLASS TO: onlinej09t@drop.io

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Guess who forgot to collect your homework?

Me, that’s who.

Please e-mail me your site proposals that you presented in class yesterday. Please do this ASAP, so I can give you written feedback in class next week.

Thanks!! Dan

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simple site structure

<html>
  <head>
    <title></title>
  </head>
  <body>
  </body>
</html>

feel free to copy and paste

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