Online Journalism: Thursdays 2009


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

in light of our discussion today

about geo-locational technology and mobile technology blurring together to become one, here’s a pretty amazing example of what can be done with GPS-enabled phones and desktop-based tracking software, released today from Google:


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The map we built

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the Site Community Presentation explained

Next week is our first of a few graded check-ins on your site. Driven by our focus on social media and community engagement, it is a check in that’s centered around the audience/community that you hope to reach with your site.

Next week we will have presentations and you will turn in a report. Your report and your presentation should encompass:

presentation & report

Who is the audience you’re targeting?
— what age/gender/etc are they?
— what do they do, both for a living and also for fun?
— what are their hopes/dreams?
— why are they interested in the things they’re interested in?
— where do they go? (both in real life and online)
— why are they a part of the community(ies) they are a part of?
— what will they gain by visiting your site?
Give three specific examples of people, complete with photo documentation. For your written report, write a short profile of each person.

Where is the community that already exists around your site’s topic?
— where do they go online?
— where do they go in the real world?
— what do they do when they’re there?
For both locations, please cite three specific examples of each (both virtual and real), explain the motivation your audience/community has in going to those places, their activities once they are there and what you can learn from these things to apply to your site. For the real-world place, please include photo documentation of your visit there: show us your community “in the wild”.

Who are the influencers in your space?
— identify three people who help to drive interest and people towards other sites, places, and concepts within your topic space
— talk with two of them (this can be a virtual conversation over Twitter, e-mail, or wherever)
— where do they go online? Why do they go there?
— what do they feel are the needs within your space?
— what leads them to recommend certain things?
— why do they believe they’re influencers?
In your report, be prepared to explain why you’ve identified these people as influencers.

Who are your competitors?
— give three specific examples and list their Google PageRank score
— how are you different?
— what are they doing right?
— what are they doing wrong?

What keywords are people searching within your space?
— how can those keywords influence your content?

Bring it all together
With all this information about your audience/community, explain how you will reach them and engage them with your site.
— three specific online examples
— two specific real-world ideas

Your report will be handed in, but please paste a copy in the comments section below. Be sure that every member of your team signs the report.


You will make a number of slides for this presentation. You will upload them to the photo-sharing site Flickr. Flicker will automatically make a slideshow of your photos, though it’ll help if you arrange them in a set so you can reorder them as you see fit. Your slides need to cover:

  1. Intro to your site with a one-sentence description
  2. Your audience defined, with photos
  3. Their community defined, with images of them in the locations you identified
  4. The influencers in your community
  5. Your competition
  6. The keywords around your space
  7. A slide for your conclusion

Your slides can contain as much information as you want (though remember: less is often more, you will be talking along with them), but need to cover these eight points. Link to this slideshow on the class blog.

If you don’t have a good image editor for making slides, check out Picnik, a web-based image editor that’s surprisingly robust (and free!).

Presentation specific notes

–Your group’s presentation should not last longer than 10 minutes, that will leave plenty of time for questions from the class and our panelists.
–Plan your presentation out in advance, and make sure everyone’s practiced it as well. Rambling doesn’t help anyone.
–Be prepared to answer questions with further detail about your site and your strategy.
–Finally, you will end your presentation with a brief look at the site. So, you know, you may want to have some stuff on it, huh?

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Our guest for Thursday

We will be joined on Thursday morning by Georgia Logothetis, better known as Georgia10. She is very possibly Chicago’s best read blogger, writing for the political blog the Daily Kos.

Please familiarize yourself with her work by reading some of her pieces. Come to class with plenty of questions!

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Also: Your proposals are graded

To the stragglers who got me their proposals after hours last night, they’re graded and ready for you to pickup. I strongly urge you to get them and look at my feedback before moving forward on your final pitches next week.

You can pick them up by requesting them from either Jodee, the department secretary or one of the work aides in the Journalism office.

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All you need to know about online journalism

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