SJU Online News

Exploring digital journalism

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Final project assignments

Students - sorry for the delay on these. NOTE: I am out of town this week and will not hve as much access to email. If you have questions best to use my work address

To recap - you are to “live tweet” an event relating to your blog before next class.

This will include at least one link from a blog post you write, links to related sites and attempts to interact with others online during your event. your event should last at least 30 minutes.

For example, I might “live tweet” the nyc marathon lottery this week. There is a live video stream to announce who gets in. I would write a blog post to announce I will be live tweeting using a hashish like #nyclottery then tweet the link to that post and put the link on FB. I would also ask followers to RT me.

Then during the event I will send tweets as things happen & also tweet a link to the video stream, etc.

Now for your finals: you will do the “blog improvement” project Anjali suggested for you last class. Those of you who were absent, late or left early, I will assign you. These projects are due by Friday may 6. No extensions, Bo exceptions. Use a variety of the tools we learned. Qik, soundcloud, polldaddy, etc.

Meaghan: attend a cooking event of some kind - interview someone there, take photos, video if possible, send tweets from the location, blog about it. Do the proper promotion on your blog and twitter in advance.

Chris: find a twitter chat to join. Do another podcast where you interview someone. Give your podcast a name to start to give it a brand. Post to your blog using soundcloud.

Saida: join the live video site I showed you in class. So a reading of your stuff! Invite people to watch your live event. That tool captures your video so post the link to you blog after. Then encourage others to do “qik readings” - maybe it will become a series? You could livecast another writer from your account too.

Mike: it’s time to build your cred and body of work in this off season. Start the new player database we talked about. Interview a new recruit and write a profile of this person.

James: attend a tech event (for example there is a CuNY hack-a-thin this weeked) look at what I wrote for meaghan above and do the same thing for your tech event.

Kristen: look at saida’s assignment. Do the same thing with a video account - the tool I showed in class. Start a “confessional” series a la reality tv so readers get to know you. Put it on your blog and tweet it. Part of the assignment is figuring out the technology.

Laura: find a fresh way to cover tattoos so your blog becomes a go to spot for a particular kind of tattoo news. Maybe it’s innovation and technology as we discussed in class. Write about the chips and LED Anjali mentioned. Find a person who has something like this to interview with video & photo.

Matt: you need to get personal and write more about your plans intermixed with all the advice you give. Please also do a video and invite other students to do videos on their post college plans (see saida instructions above on

Katie: I thunk you try to look bigger picture with your topic. New York loves a big name athlete. Why? What does it do for the city to be able to root for a star and pin our hopes on a win? You’ll need to crowdsource. Include a poll. Use video phone app if you can. You will need to interview a sportwrite maybe a student athlete maybe a historian. You can use st. Johns professors. Be creative. Why do we love melo? What does he symbolize? Get info via twitter crrowdsourcing and just go around and ask a lot of people - one word that makes them think of melo (or ask on twitter) then make a word cloud.

Christie: Your blog has potential to become a rallying point for young women activists. Is there an event or rally you can invite followers to meet for? Then write about it and do some video and reporting from the scene. find some event related to your topic to attend.

Jose: please do something similar to mike’s assignment. You were not in class so missed out on the blog critique. You should make a “yearbook” of departing seniors. Try to make it look like a yearbook. Photo, stats, what they are doing after graduation and their advice for incoming freshmen. At least 5 players And posts must include multimedia of some kind.

Josh: your blog was supposed to also cover music at st johns. For you last project please interview and post music by a st johns artist or more than one. Record their performances and post with video or audio via soundcloud.

Duane: you need some reporting. Go to some sneaker stores… The underground ones that have the collectibles. Talk to at least 5 sneakerheads. Get the story of their obsessions. How does it begin? When do you know you’ve become a serious collector. Video or audio necessary.

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Homework for last class + some explanation of your finals

Students -

Sorry for the delay on this post - I have been giving some thought to the structure of your final projects for the class. We are going to do them in 3 parts. First off, a homework assignment for you:

1. The last chapter we read in the Briggs book was about the importance and influence of analytics in news decisions online - THUS - you will start tracking your OWN analytics by installing Google Analytics to your Tumblr. INSTRUCTIONS HEREL

Your final will be in three portions - two you will work on before the next class - they have different due dates.

1. You will LIVE TWEET an event before the next class. Choose something - tell me what it is and then live tweet for 30 minutes - maybe it’s something on TV, maybe it’s a reading, maybe it’s a cooking show, maybe it’s a concert. You will a) advertise on Twitter that you are doing it b) include a hashtag with the promo tweets and every tweet you send i.e. #tattoolive or #budgetbitechat - whatever it may be c) live tweet! include photos from your phone if you attend an event and links of some kind of you are watching TV.

2. We will put Anjali Mullany’s suggestions to good use - You will do the project we brainstormed for you in class - I kept a list which I will send to you tomorrow (left it at work, oops) - she had great ideas for all of you, so we will make them happen - this means everyone is doing a slightly different project, which I like. THIS MUST BE COMPLETED BY FRIDAY MAY 6!!! NO LATER - that way if you have questions you can still ask me during our last class.

3. Part III of the final happens in class on May 2 - our last class.

As usual, let me know if you have questions and keep your eyes open for the emails about your projects for the final.

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Reporting resources available online: NYC data

Department of Buildings website
This site is helps you look up certificates of occupancy, building owners and violations at addresses throughout the city. Type in the address along the right side, then view the property profile. The interesting stuff is at the bottom of the page — complaints and other actions.

ECOURTS is a treasure trove of information about the New York court system. You can look up civil lawsuits, criminal defendant information and address/phone numbers of attorneys.
Specifically, use Webcrims to look up defendants:
And webcivil is for civil suits

NYC inmate
Find out if someone is in the city jail system, when they have court dates, what they are charged with, etc.

State inmate lookup
This isn’t all-inclusive, but you can find where folks are in jail and limited info about criminal records. Mainly, you can get a NYSID number, which can help deal with agencies when looking for information.

NY sex offender database

NYPD precinct map

The New York City Map Portal
This is a great way to find the near school, fire house, police precinct, etc.

New York State physical look-up
You can find out if doctors are facing malpractice suits, where they went to school, etc.

New York State Hospital look-up
Some in-depth info on hospitals

NYCHA website
New York City Housing Authority building lookup. You can type in an address and find out what developments are near it.

For education wonks, this is a great way to look up how much the Department of Education spends on different projects.

Court Documents/Mug Shots
The Smoking Gun

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Homework for 4/18


This week you will have some fun with your blogs and in class we will have an excellent guest speaker: New York Daily News Social Media Manager Anjali Mullany (@anjalimullany)

Students – for Monday’s class (4/18) – please complete the following

1.      Rd. Chap. 11 in the book and we will talk about web analytics

2.      Come prepared with questions for our guest speaking Anjali Mullany (at least 2 per student)

3.      Create accounts in PollDaddy, SoundCloud and practice the word cloud tools (see previous tumblr post) – you should have 24 blog posts total by next class (3 per week since we started them) – Use these tools in your posts – especially polls.

As usual let me know if you have questions.  There is no class 4/25 for Easter break so we have only 4/18 and 5/3 left. I will also lay out the assignment for your finals on Monday.

Have a great week, Prof. J 

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Adding multimedia to your blog posts!

Students – Here are the tools we learned in class Monday that will allow you to easily add multimedia extras to your blogs – like polls, PDFs, audio clips and video.

Here are the URLs to get you started, but there are so many more new tools out there. Please try to discover new ones!

Resource list!

For Online Citizen Journalism - videos

YouTube’s citizen channel

Finding photos on Twitter:

LiveStream a video feed:

Photo Galleries: ,

How to get embed codes for a PDF:

Crowdsource mapping:
Poll embeds:

Audio embeds:

Video embeds:

Word/ Tag Clouds:

Filed under multimedia

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Crowdsourcing demo: Name that Cobra project

It has to be methodical and frequent - repeated posts on FB with  links - repeated post on twitter with specific calls to action!

1. Intro post - saying what we will want and what we will do!

2. Follow up posts to let readers know of progress

3. Twitter efforts #cobraname
We announced it - sent tweets using the @Mentions + creation of a hashtag and sent it from as many Daily News accounts as possible, specifically asking for RTs - responded to people who sent us ideas and reminded people how much time was left to submit.!/search/%23cobraname

4. Facebook efforts - we started with a link post, then reminded people that time is running out!/thenewyorkdailynews

5. Now voting begins! story with poll

Filed under crowdsourcing

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Homework due 4/11 - crowdsourcing do-over + web newsgathering drill

STUDENTS! If you were in class you know what we are doing - if you missed you have more catching up to do.

We did a do-over on the crowdsourcing homework IN CLASS since only 2 people did it before class (that I saw). SO - Please do your 6-step crowdsource assignment starting now. They steps are outlined HERE.

Write your initial blog post, tweet and FB it. Check in EVERY DAY after that whether with update posts or with tweets and facebook posts. I will post my own example in a separate tumblr posting.


ADDITIONAL HOMEWORK - breaking news web drill assignment!!

This assignment mimics and everyday scenario you will encounter as a web producer or web reporter. News breaks.  You have very little information so you use the web as a tool to gather data as fast as you can - you check twitter, facebook, google news, google trends and then once you have some basic facts, you start writing and figure out other sites that might provide information.

Example: Elizabeth Taylor dies - you can get the confirmation on the news from AP, then you use Twitter and Facebook to look for tribute quotes, use for help on her filmography and career highlights, read her wikipedia entry.  then you write a few graphs and package it with as much multimedia as you can (photo, video embed, poll, photo gallery, list of all films, list of all awards, etc. etc.)

You are learning to find information on the web so you can start to use those tools as a reporter, web producer or social media manager.  Your homework is to do a news drill using these skills.

THE TOPIC: Obama announces 2010 run on Facebook

TIME LIMIT FOR EXERCISE: one hour (honor system people)

Build your story from info on the web. You must use: Twitter, Facebook, GOP sites for reactions, YouTube,, whatever helps you put together enough information to piece together a short news story that covers the usual 5 Ws.

Your email to me will include the following elements:

250 to 300 words - Lede - quotes - what he did, how he did it

Create a Poll Question - write a question and give 4 choices 

Find a Video to embed - Include the URL so i can see it


Write an SEO headline

We are imagining that this is the first pass at a story that will be updated many times.

A link to get you going 

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Crowdsourcing homework due 4/4 + tips to make it work

Students -

Here is the crowdsourcing assignment we laid out in class.  You all chose a topic and are now tasked with getting readers to interact with you. Here is your six-step plan to getting started - i addition you will READ CHAPTER 10 of the book!! And also this article by Jay Rosen

1. You will post an item on your blog explaining your project with very specific instructions for readers - tell them what you are doing and ask them for help. Tell them how long you will be accepting submissions and what you will do with them. For example - a post saying you are accepting tattoo photos for the next three days and will them create a gallery and post THAT on your blog.

2. Tweet and Facebook the link to your explainer post

3. Retweet and repost it several times reminding people what you want and how much time they have left to send you materials.

4. As materials trickle in - Tweet, blog, & facebook your updates - i.e. “I’ve got 3 awesome photos so far, thanks everyone! How many more can we collect together!”

5. When you have all of your materials - do another blog post. Congratulate your readers for helping you - include them and write about the process of it coming together - post the materials they provided whether it’s photos, video, infor for a list or whatever]

6. Tweet and Facebook the link to your results post thanking your participants!