Crowdsourcing? What’s that?

In Chapter 3 of Journalism Next, Briggs begins the chapter with a reference to Precision Journalism, a book written by Phil Meyer. He uses a quote from Meyers book that talks about how the ante has risen on what it takes to be a journalist. With budget cuts and less staff, journalists are having to do a lot more than they used to.

One thing he notes is that journalists are finding new ways to bring journalists closer to readers and vis versa. One way to do this is crowdsourcing.


He defines a couple terms as such:
crowdsourcing- focuses the community power of the internet on a specific project and demonstrates how a group of committed individuals can outperform some paid professionals
open-source reporting-
refers to design, development, and distribution offering practical accessibility to a product; this means using transparency in reporting to provide a benefit to your audience
pro-am journalism-
the most unfiltered form of journalism; posting directly to the same platform to publish news

Crowdsourcing in journalism is still a trial test run. They are seeing what works and what doesn’t- in order to keep up with the technology revolution. The issue with using the community for news is that citizens tend to stray away from journalistic methods to get stories. Most stories would be something you could “put in a scrapbook” and not actual newsworthy events.

Tools like Twitter and blogs have become really important to news stations because it brings readers closer to the news. Briggs doesn’t say that crowdsourcing will take over journalism, but surely helps in some aspects of the process.

“The change isn’t a shift from one kind of news institution to another,” Shirky wrote, “but rather in the definition of news: from news as an institutional prerogative to news as part of a communications ecosystem, occupied by a mix of formal organizations, informal collectives, and individuals.”
So Briggs raises the question of how do we use this to create better journalism?

Beatblogging is another idea that reporters can use to interact with the community. A website such as linkedin, Facebook, or Google Groups can be used to create a group based on a specific beat. The reporter would put together the story and people then facilitate discussion in the group and see what others are saying.

Towards the end of the chapter, Briggs talks about how print can still be important. He gives examples of websites that have used the power of the internet to create a community. They share stories that are written by the audience and the best materials are then used in a print version. The user generated content allows the audience to engage and become loyal to the site. The site owners also interact heavily within the community. They respond via email, text message, replies on the site, and even face to face.

This new layout is much more open to the free flow of information, which I like. It also allows for the audience to actually engage with the story and for the news stations to engage with their audience.


Let’s tell a story.

Chapter 8 begins with the story of a man filming a handicapped boy playing baseball. They may say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, pictures could not do the story justice. A video had to be done. Without commentary, without interviews, without distractions, the boy running the bases stood on it’s own. In this chapter, Briggs talks about using video to tell a captivating story.


The video revolution has helped many people be able to make video much cheaper than before. Now it’s as easy as filming from a basic camera, uploading to your computer, and posting on a site such as Youtube. It’s that easy.
I even remember back in middle school, me and my friends used to make funny videos in our free time. It was much more complicated back then to get our videos online, but nonetheless we managed. Now it’s as easy as the click of a couple buttons.

Briggs also talks about how quality doesn’t seem to matter to the audience any more. The audience today is much more forgiving and will accept many different types of video and quality. Although, I would say that the more entertaining videos would be much more likely to get higher views. Many news stations are changing they way they think of this as well. Some are even publishing videos sent in straight from cell phones. Much less time is wasted on the editing and they news still gets to the audience.

Briggs gives tips on how to best make a video. He states that after the initial vision is complete, the only thing left is filling in spots with footage.
1. Use different approaches for different projects
2. Try storyboarding
3. Mix your shots
4. Build five-shot sequences (close-up on the hands, close-up on the face, wide shot, over-the-shoulder shot, creative shot)

I personally enjoyed this chapter because it lays out exactly what you need to know about filming a story. It’s an easy, but quick read that is extremely helpful for a beginner.

Next subject Briggs talks about is voice in video and how to do effective video interviewing. An interesting thing he notes that I didn’t really think of before is that fact that during in an interview, you must switch to non verbal cues for communication. So instead of saying “yeah and right,” you would switch to a simple head nod.

He lists some tips for filming:
1. content
2. write a script and warm up
3. be stable, breathe easy
4. don’t be afraid to talk with your hands

He also talks about camera choice, editing software, and other filming techniques.
Overall, this chapter is definitely interesting for the beginner. I enjoyed it.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

There are tons of blogs out there. So many that it could possibly become overwhelming. Public sites (WordPress for example) make it extremely easy for anyone to become a journalist or even a writer. Not all of them are award winning blogs however. I have my favorites and of course my not-so-favorites. Let’s take a look.


Betches Love This is a blog that I believe is a good example of a blog. It’s user-friendly, visual, and humorous, which are a couple things I must have in a webpage. They also have a bar on the top of the page that allows you to easily navigate the page according to your interests. I recommend going to this site and seeing for yourself. Maybe even follow their social media sites, which are so conveniently located on the top right of the page.


Perez Hilton has a gossip blog. Shocker right? I’m sure most of you have heard of it, but may not follow it intently. There’s a reason for that. It’s because the site is poorly laid out and quite frankly, it LOOKS like a gossip blog. I like to compare it to the magazines you see at the grocery store. There are the beauty magazines like Cosmo, Vogue, and even Seventeen. Then you have the ones that are purely about celebrity gossip (are they even real?) Same goes for this blog unfortunately. In my opinion, it’s just plain ugly.


Now in direct comparison to Perez, we have Tyler Durden. Which in comparison, Durden has my favorite blog. What Would Tyler Durden Do is a celebrity gossip blog that has a much better layout and better information in my opinion. I personally like how he includes links to other blog posts he’s written and links to read more about what he’s talking about in his posts. He also has a sense of humor that is easily understood in ever post. It’s very sarcastic and sometimes raw. Definitely not for the weak hearted.

Now, I would like to say that I don’t keep a mental note of bad blogs in my mind. What do we do when we see a bad blog? We simply leave the page and move on. I like to find better blogs and of course, only visit those pages when seeking information or entertainment. Whatever the case may be. Well, sadly, I had to google an example of a bad blog. Listed below I have my final bad blog example.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 11.57.05 AM

StevendKrause was a blog that I searched for on the internet and came upon it. Now, the content may be decent, I’m not sure. I clearly don’t visit this blog. It’s unknown to me. But I can say that I am a visual person. I love visuals. This site is lacking in visuals and that’s why I believe it’s a bad blog. It’s an ugly blog. The site just shows a bunch of words, which is no good to me. What’s funny is I was actually at this page first which led me to his actual blog. Both are pretty ugly in my opinion– although the one above is much better.

What are your favorites?

Welcome to the New Age

In the first chapter of Journalism Next, Briggs makes a statement that we are living in a digital world. I fully agree with this statement. Everything we do now has to do with using something digital. Whether we’re ordering clothes online or reading our textbooks from a Kindle, it all is intertwined.

            Digital information is another subject mentioned by Briggs. In having an online existence, it takes a certain bit of basic knowledge of simple terms and systems to understand the online world. I do understand what Briggs is trying to say, but in all reality, most people have little to no knowledge of how online systems work and they function quite well. Of course, it’s beneficial for an individual to know as much as possible to be an expert in their field.

            Briggs then goes on to inform readers how the internet works. He speaks on web browsers, servers, and web caches, giving basic knowledge of what these things are. He compares knowing this information much to like driving a car and knowing the basic workings of a car.

            Syndicated content with RSS was another topic of discussion. He explained that a RSS feed is beneficial to a journalist naturally because we are information seekers and this feed allows you to personalize and organize the information you receive as well as the quality. I personally like the instructions that Briggs gives on how to set up the RSS feed and how to use it specifically.

            He also discusses web design basics. He says that the best advice for a journalist is to learn to code, because these skills set you apart from others and allows you to perform your best when using blogs. I do agree with his statements on learning different skills and I think it’s very important to do so – especially in a field that expects you to do a number of different things all at once.




            Briggs begins the second chapter on the basics of blogging. Going over why blogs are important, he explains how blogs changed web publishing and how blogging changed journalism. Anyone can be a journalist now. Blogs are so easy to set up and obtainable now that any one could be a citizen journalist. Of course becoming a blogger and learning the language are two things he points out as being necessary.

            Making a plan and creating the blog are obviously the first steps in the process. Customizing the appearance is something he notes and I believe is the most important aspect. It’s like a book cover. It sets apart your blog from the rest of the internet, which is overrun with blogs.

            His tips for maintaining an audience are also understandable. Using photos and screenshots enable the reader to have visuals and find your blog interesting. Posting early and often is another way to build your audience as well as participating in the community. These are both tips that I noticed from previous experience with WordPress. I notice you get more coverage when you communicate with other bloggers and they become fans of your page. The RSS feed is also brought back up as a way to beat competition with your newsgathering and quality of information.