Tuesday, September 25, 2007
World Center for EFT is a site hosted by Gary Craig, an ordained minister who claims his “emotional freedom techniques” can help cure many ailments including allergies, stress, headaches, drug addiction and so forth. It isn’t until you see the homepage of the site and look at the small print at the bottom that one finds out he is not a medical practitioner and this “therapy” has not been proven to work. Now I’m all for alternative medicine. Sometimes it can help someone with an illness, but usually not on its own.
The site claims it can help problems vanish in a matter of minutes after applying EFT. Asthma can be stress-induced, but as a disease, it does affect you internally in terms of the size of your breathing ways. Now if you want to be suckered into buying the 5 Star DVDs, the site sells them for $60 a set. Otherwise, save your money for those physician co-payments and ask for some stress-reducing tips from your doctor. It will save you money and perhaps your health.
Arianna Huffington's blog, The Huffington Post, is quite obviously a credible Web site. While the nature of any Web blog can be questioned because of the political agenda behind the posters, Huffington's is in unique company.
Huffington works for The New York Times, and because of this, has daily contact with some of the top journalists in the country. This is reflected by the variety of posters on her blog. While other blogs present just her point of view, Huffington includes those of other top journalists and writers. The material The Huffington Post covers is extremely varied. International, national and local New York news are all covered and easily accessible.
One would also be hard pressed to find a spelling error. Another reason this is a highly credible blog is because of the links she presents to visitors. Every major media outlet is linked to in a clear and easy manner. This shows a fearlessness in presenting opinions, as she offers those interested in more information to read the (mostly) unbiased accounts on other sites.
While it could certainly be argued Huffington's posts are inextricably linked to her political agenda, the same could be said about all other bloggers. Her attention to detail and variety of staff make this blog a very credible one.
Reuters is a company staffed by 16,900 employees in 94 countries, and of that staff, 2,400 belong to the editorial staff. All of the stories featured on the Reuters website are written by Reuters employees and contain the time and date that the stories were submitted. The news provided on the site ranges from Politics and Technology to Health and Science.
The website’s appearance is very simple and contains mostly texts, with a few pictures to correspond to related stories. Advertising on the page is extremely minimal, almost inexistent, and is by no means distracting from the editorial content. In addition, all of the links and pictures on the website appear to be working.
The site is very easy to navigate and near the bottom contains links where you can learn more about Reuters, it’s history, management, and ways of contacting them. The site also hosts links that allow you to visit the 18 other international editions of reuters websites.
Overall this websites appears to be credible in that the overall appearance of the website is very professional, the information is provided on a timely basis, contact information is provided, and numerous links allow you to learn more about the companies history and objectives.
For my website credibility blog post I have chosen BeerAdvocate.com. While beer advocate is not what most people would call a “news site” its content is updated regularly and it offers visitors to the site a world of things to do, such as learn to describe beer, learn to pour beer and learn to brew beer. BeerAdvocate is also a monthly magazine, but the website is updated more often with ever-changing beer news.
As far as credibility is concerned, I trust BeerAdvocate. Here’s why.
The page consists of probably four divs, one for logo, nav on the left, and two content divs. The layout of the website makes it easy to find your way around. The color of the background on the sides and top is black with either white or peach colored text, which I know, some people do not like, but I think it works well with the theme of the sight.
The navigation on the site works splendidly, I have not found any broken links, or missing images. The site hasn’t been over run by any crazy number of ads. In fact the only three ads on the page are BeerAdvocate sponsored.
BeerAdvocate is not only where I go to learn about new beers, its where I go to learn about the beer drinkers’ culture. How can you not trust a site who’s motto is “Respect Beer.”
I decided to do my credibility assignment over Soccernet.com. It started out as a soccer news site for English Scottish leagues. In 1999 is was bought by the Buena Vista Internet group. Years later, it was purchased by ESPN and it is now a part of ESPN's website.
It has since expanded to news for all soccer leagues all over the world.
Soccernet is a very credible source. It provides accurate news for the most part free of opinions and biases. And now that it is owned by such a credible source as ESPN, Soccernet's own credibility has skyrocketed. But it has a history of providing accurate information, so be acquired by ESPN has only helped.
I decided to blog on the credibility of News 8 Austin’s website because I was curious as to how my opinion of the television channel would hamper my views of their website. If, perhaps I had gone to the website and been somehow surprised or impressed maybe I would have felt not only the website was more credible but also the channel.
Regardless, the News 8 Austin website initially does seem somewhat credible if not spectacular. Each story shows a date and time stamp of when it was last updated and you can easily click to email the journalist in charge of the story.
The URL clearly belongs to the same News 8 we all know as it carries their logo in the address bar and the web address is simply www.news8austin.com.
There is a readily available and easy to find link on every page to the About Us section which takes you to a page that is obviously still within their website. This page is titled Contact Us though, which I thought was a little confusing as the link and the page should be titled the same.
The Contact Us page lists several addresses and phone numbers for their main location, satellite locations, various departments and even a map to find them. If you scroll down below that you will see a short history of the station, which is said to have begun on September 13, 1999. This certainly hampers their credibility, as I prefer to get my news from reliable sources that have been around decades. Further hampering their credibility is what you learn next, they are owned and operated by Time Warner Cable of Austin.
With little history to exemplify objective reporting and being owned by a large conglomerate I question News 8 Austin’s website credibility. It is too hard to be sure whether they skew their reporting based on personal politics or the politics of the company which owns them.
Anyway, I have found it hard to seek out professional publications that are not biased towards metal already, yet still offer many reviews of this music style on a regular basis. This is the problem with a site such as RollingStone or Sputnikmusic. One Web site I have found is Lords of Metal, which by name alone may turn some away. But the site's quality content and consistent updates allows me to give it a passing grade on credibility.
The Web site is presented in a simple layout that is easy to read, yet does not look too basic as if the creators know little about what they are doing. Links are generally good and working, another positive. The site offers updates at least once a month, operating basically like a magazine. Each month it brings forth a slew of new reviews and interviews with bands, so one can conclude the site's owners are actually reporting and not simply reviewing CDs in their own catalog.
Perhaps the biggest evidence for me is the grammar. Even though the home page is in Dutch, users can click on the English version to read reviews in crystal-clear English. This is not so for other sites I have gone to, such as The Metal Observer, where it is routinely obvious that English is not the writers' primary language. The Metal Observer's reviews also include biased language in its reviews, using exclamation marks and other devices that leave me to believe the reviewers are coming in on an even keel. Plus, the site does not always have reviews of the latest albums.
Seeing as Lords of Metal is a monthly web zine, it is done professionally and includes contact information, "about" links, calenders and other features that exude a feeling of completeness. All of this combines to give LoM a passing grade in my book.
Monday, September 24, 2007
The British Broadcasting Corporation, also known as the BBC, provides countries with continually updated news and a well organized web site for Internet-users across the globe. The BBC's stated mission is "to inform, educate and entertain." The BBC's news and audio can be viewed and heard in 33 different languages. With a budget that exceeds more than 4 billion, BBC has the largest audience numbers and revenue than any other broadcasting corporation.
The British government created a department known as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or FCO, with its purpose being to promote the interests of the United Kingdom abroad. The BBC World Service is funded by the FCO, a government organization, while BBC's domestic radio and television services are funded through a licensing system . The BBC corporation operates under a Royal Charter that is reviewed every ten years. Up until 2007, the government appointed people to positions in the Board of Governors which was replaced in January of this year. The BBC Trust is the new overseeing body that replaced the Board of Governors and promises a new and revised system. The trustees are still appointed by the Queen on advice from ministers. The corporation claims to be independent but when government organizations are paying bills and appointing trustees to oversee the corporation, how free and independent are they? I find this interesting because in the U.S. we have had dozens of court battles concerning the rights of the Press and the first amendment. The separation of the press from the U.S. government has been vital for the free flow of information and the role the press has played as a watchdog has kept the government on its toes.
As far as credibility is concerned, I don't see a huge issue with the BBC, however it concerns me when the government has any role with a media outlet as huge as The British Broadcasting Corporation. In the U.S., people fight for the separation of business and state. The U.K. system is clearly different and I think it is important for people to realize this.
Austinist is a website where its audience is purely Austinites or people who want to BE Austinites. They have news, community events, music, theatre, movies, fashion, gossip, photos of graffiti and reviews of Craigslist's famous Missed Connections.
However, I'll ignore all the fun references and just focus on their news coverage. Instead of shoveling stories from news sources onto their page, Austinist provides a list of links to the news stories with a brief headline. Considering that the site seems to cater to the 21-35 crowd, I know they'll pick stories that I'd be interested in reading. For example, when the story on the Taco Bell Python broke, it was a link that took you to the story on the Austin American-Statesman's website. I regularly check statesman.com, but that story must have slipped by me. Austinist found it, I read it, I laughed heartily. I would have missed that completely had it not been for Austinist's little spiders.
As laid back and liberal as Austinist can come off sometimes, the site is completely credible to me. There are links on the side to all of the staff members' bios, email addresses, AIM ids, flickr accounts, etc... If you had a question or problem, you could contact the author or editor immediately.
Austinist seems to be fueled by the ads on the site, which I must admit, don't detract from the content. I took the liberty of circling some ads for your viewing pleasure:
Overall, Austinist is a credible, if laid-back, website. They source everything. You can contact anyone. No smoke and mirrors here.
With an hour-long drive to work every other day, I soak a lot of National Public Radio while in my car. I download about seven weekly podcasts and my home radio is set to 90.5 FM, the
Occasionally, I visit the NPR Web site, which is why I’ve chosen it for this assignment.
I am usually impressed with what work NPR does, so I have pretty high expectations of them. NPR is a nonprofit organization that produces news, talk and entertainment programming. NPR has a partnership with noncommercial independent radio stations — about 800 — that provide much of their own local programming. Unlike most news Web sites, NPR relies on donations instead of advertising. It can come from individuals or major corporations, and I have yet to see any sign of favoritism that NPR shows toward donors.
NPR easily has the best, most credible news site for a radio organization. Like any other news organization, it covers anything from breaking news to features. The main story Monday evening was about
The stories are fair and unbiased. They’re straight news reporting without the author’s opinion, unless the opinion is clearly labeled so. NPR also offers analysis and perspective from reputable journalists like Daniel Schorr and Ted Coppel.
As far as its radio shows go, Terry Gross, host and co-executive producer of Fresh Air, is the most skilled interviewer I’ve heard. She is almost always prepared with a wealth of information about her subject and an arsenal of insightful, provocative questions. She is evidence of the quality and fairness NPR aims for in its radio and Web programming.
NPR subscribes to the Associated Press, so it has a news feed on the right part of its site that keeps readers updated on breaking news.
From the Web site’s homepage, you can scour programs, stations, transcripts and archives. NPR does a good job of making its information accessible. You can also click on most of the stories for an audio version.
The look of NPR’s Web site is clean, navigable and somewhat stylish. There aren’t nonfunctional links or pictures that won’t load on the page. The NPR Web site has a consistent style. Everything is organized in a clear manner. The news stories are in the news section, the music stories in the music section, etc.
What especially makes NPR is that is has an ombudsman, the public’s representative to NPR. Reputable news sources need ombudsmen to look out for readers and ensure that news publications are reporting fairly and accurately.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
CNN.com is probably one of the most reputable online resources because it’s updated constantly through out the day. In addition to this all of the stories contained on this site have the dates they were written included at the top and also the dates that they were updated. CNN’s world headquarters, which is in Atlanta, Ga. is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by over 4000 news professionals. More information about who contributes to and runs the site can be found by clicking the about us link at the bottom of the Web page.
I read CNN.com everyday and I have yet to find a typographical error. While I honestly have no idea whether the content of the site is accurate, I have been unable to identify any grammar or spelling mistakes. Credible Web sites will always contain this type of quality in their content. If you visit a site that has a proliferation of mistakes then that’s a clue that the site may not be all that credible.
The appearance of CNN.com is another factor that contributes to its credibility. The Web site is rather plain to look at which is a good thing because it doesn’t try to get you to pay too much attention to too many things at once. It’s not at all confusing. The information is clearly laid out in a manner that is accessible. The site is easy to navigate and there aren’t any tacky, blinking adds jumping out and distracting the viewer from the actual content of the site.
Note: it did not catch my eye because of the name. There are a lot of individuals who share my same last name. Just because we share a common name does not mean we share a common belief. I’m my own woman!
The site was interesting, to say the least, the homepage takes you through a ‘briefing’ in which the authors attempt to tell informatively the “facts” of the political stances of beings such as: Hillary, Cheney, Obama, more Hillary and so forth. Funny thing is, I’m not sure which way the site is leaning to, the political cartoon illustrations bash republicans and democrats alike.
I know what you’re thinking, that’s why they call it an “independent” site, but for the most part, all independent sites have some political mojo going for them.
The fact that the site told information on political namers lent its credibility, BUT the illustrations completely knocked what little credibility I had established of the site.
[Example to the right].
When I went to the ‘About Us’ tab at the top I was fully insured of the non-credibility of this site. Not only did the first line state: “independent nonprofit whose roots lie in a commitment to social justice…” What really pushed me over was the following paragraph:
This is what I concluded:
The site, which is strictly run by donations from viewers, could NOT be credible if the donators have a possible chance of being ripped off by giving their contributions. That alone makes me believe it is un-credible all of the other signs could be disregarded.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I wanted to let you all know that the Society of Professional Journalists Texas State chapter will hold a panel discussion on "How to get a Journalism Internship," 5 p.m. Thursday in Old Main, Room 234. Speakers will include . Free pizza will be served. All interested students are invited to attend. For more information, contact me or SPJ faculty co-advisors Kym Fox, Gilbert Martinez or Sue Weill.
SPJ student chapter president
Perezhilton: The author of this blog is actually a man named Mario Lavandeira, but he adopted the name Perezhilton after Paris Hilton, which he uses for both his blog and new VH1 show. He considers himself to be a gossip columnist and has this past year risen to himself become a celebrity through his scrutiny of Hollywood. On his website he boasts that he receives 4 million hits a day.
Best Week Ever: This blog is written by a team of bloggers, many of who are also tv personalities and comedians, all who also appear on the show. The blog is a spin off of the Vh1 show and also pokes fun at those in the media spotlight.
The two websites share many similar blog posts. Both sites often comically compare the photos of some celebrity to another character, usually quite hideous, but equally hilarious.
The Britney Spears/Ms Piggy pic appeared on Perezhilton a few weeks ago, and the Fred Thompson/Vigo the Cruel (Ghostbusters II villain) pic was on Best Week Ever yesterday.
Both sites have in common that they frequently link to video, on Perezhilton, there are often links to youtube videos that relate to the particular person or event he's commenting on.
The Perezhilton site does provide a few of those multimedia options, such as a search bar, linking, and video, but as far as the mobile and radio options go, the Best Week Ever site is more multimedia inclusive.
Personally, I like a little bit of sarcasm mixed in with my daily political briefing over the web.
Wonkette is the perfect place to get that. Is it liberal? Yes. Is it crass? It can be, but probably for a good reason. What I love so much about the blog is it points out the obvious and ridiculous happenings of Washington politics and its society. Whether it is Wonkette’s coverage of obscure presidential candidates like Ron Paul or reports that Michael Chertoff is a blogger, nothing goes uncovered or un-ridiculed. Wonkette is essentially the Perez Hilton of D.C.
Now, if you like to take your politics a little more seriously, the New York Times has The Caucus, a blog set up specifically for the 2008 presidential election. Now it doesn’t offer up juicy tidbits such as Wonkette does, but it will give you some pretty straightforward coverage of big ’08 news. The fact that it can pull from the Times’ library of multimedia helps as well.
Whatever way you take your politics, each blog will give you a taste of important political news. OK, maybe Wonkette doesn’t always give important, you-need-to-know-this news, but it’s still funny as hell.
A comparison between Arianna Huffington's Presidential election coverage and Texas Rainmaker's clearly exposes the very opposing political views of the bloggers. The best contrasting posts pertain to Hillary Clinton. Both her election platform and moral beliefs are the subject of speculation in either blog.
Huffington's blog attempts to present a balanced and logical view of the candidates. In a post by Leonard Greene (hosted on Huffington's blog), Clinton's fundraising is under scrutiny. According to Greene, her Las Vegas trip was funded by a "disgraced" man named Norman Hsu. Although the post is clearly meant to tease a New York Post story, the information presented is clearly detrimental to Clinton and raises questions about her morality. According to the article, Hsu was jailed last month on investment-related charges.
"Hsu - who raised more than $850,000 for Clinton before being jailed last month on charges related to an investment scheme - treated the senator's campaign staff to several days at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, complete with free show tickets and dinners at posh restaurants," the Monday article said.
Huffington's blog also hosts pro-Hillary material, best displayed in the form of RJ Eskow's Monday post. Eskow lauds Clinton's plans for health care reform.
"Her plan is solidly in the center of Democratic proposals. It emphasizes mandated coverage, cost reduction measures, and the elimination of predatory insurance underwriting. At first review, it reinforces the sense that she and her staff are knowledgeable, highly competent, and incrementalist in their approach," Eskow's Monday article said.
Texas Rainmaker's blog contains overwhelmingly negative coverage of Clinton. It is important to note the blogger does not provide his name, but lists the name "Jason" and promotes himself as a conservative lawyer. In a Friday post, Clinton's choice of advisers and friends is clearly questioned.
"Her advisors include someone who negotiated a deal with North Korea to provide them nuclear fuel which they used to build weapons, someone who traded campaign donations for burial rights at Arlington National Cemetary from someone who never served in the military, and someone who pled guilty to stealing and destroying classified documents detailing the response to terror threats," the post said.
I was hard pressed to locate a pro-Hillary article. It is obvious in the wide spectrum of politics and blogs that balanced coverage is a rarity. I would much rather read the Huffington blog, and be more receptive to information located in the posts because of the balanced coverage. Texas Rainmaker is too one-sided for my tastes.
Since I attended this year's ACL Music Fest, I decided to take a look at the blogs that have posted their comments about the event already. Most blogs I searched for just offered photos and a couple of comments, but there were a couple that actually delved into their opinion of the festival.
The first is by a girl named Heather who writes a blog called A Comedy of Errors, hosted by LiveJournal. She talked about how she thinks that ACL is overrated:
HOWEVER I do not think ACL should be hyped up as much as it is every year. Yes, it's great. Yes, there are a lot of great artists. Yes, weird people come in from all over the world to over-populate Austin. But it's a music festival, not the first/second/third (depending on who you ask) coming of Christ.Whatever. It's not the coming of christ, of course, but I think it's hyped as it should be. She did throw some love out for Regina Spektor, and I can appreciate that. Yay.
Another blog, Texas Oasis, had an entry for all three days of ACL. Texas Oasis is written by an older lady called Blueberry. She enjoyed the festival and had a few pictures, video and mp3 files to share on the blog.
Both bloggers mentioned the fire that exploded behind the port-a-potties that injured a few people during Bela Fleck's show. Neither one of them seemed too sure about what happened, but it was interesting to see both people's perspectives.
Here in Texas we have a thing about our BBQ (shocker I’m sure) but here in Austin we also happen have a thing about our Tex-Mex. So what an awesome job is it to spend your days searching out the best of either and then reminiscing about your finds to the world via your blog. I found two such blogs:
• Taco Journalism, written by a team of bloggers who are in constant pursuit of the best tacos in Austin
• Urbangrounds, written by one BBQ loving biker dude who touches on many topics but weekly (approximately) tells his tale of a search for the best BBQ in Texas
Taco Journalism is updated approximately once weekly with a new eatery featured and reviewed. The best and worst part of Taco Journalism, though, is the pictures. If you want to see what you’re reading about and imagine the experience before hand than these pictures are an accurate portrayal. On the other hand if you’ve just eaten, presumably some crap from another drive-thru, and you log on you’re likely to feel at least a little slighted. That being said, the articles are reasonably in depth if a little long for a blog. Comments are welcome, but rare. They have a cool Google map of all of the taco joints in Austin they have reviewed as well as a list of the restaurants below the map. Each title in the list shows the name and rating (in form of stars or estrellas) of the restaurant and is a link to that particular blog entry.
Simply stated, Urbangrounds is all out blogging at its best. The comparison might be a stretch as Urbangrounds blogs on all types of topics, many of which have nothing to do with food, but the coverage of Cooper’s Old Time BBQ in Llano is pretty good. The blog style of this post to that of the majority of the posts on Taco Journalism is similar. There is a conversational tone that lends itself to a good friend telling you about this great new food place they just discovered. Urbangrounds, though, not only welcomes comments – he gets comments. It is clear that his readers feel a sense of community on his blog that Taco Journalism hasn’t quite captured as of yet. Additionally, Urbangrounds has more pictures on his blog, which admittedly add little to the actual content of the blog, but are nice to look at it. Urbangrounds also has an extensive blog roll and history for perusing in your abundant spare time (wink, wink). The post does seem a little on the long side, especially in comparison to those over at Taco Journalism, but because of the pictures and the only once weekly factor I think it's a nice length.
All in all I’ve determined that what I’m looking for in a good blog is regular entries that are detailed but succinct, as well as some pictures and comments to expand the experience.
I AM Fashion is a blog named after a CoCo Chanel quote and was created to fulfill the need for fashion blogs by real people. The blog is posted by two women who call themselves Harrod's Girl and Barney's Girl, named after their favorite stores. The girls mostly blog about fashion events like award shows or style week. They try to keep their topics on higher end of the fashion trends. The Emmy blog, "Emmy Awards Fashion 2007", was posted by Harrod's Girl.
The comparison site StyleCritics markets their blogs as shameless apprasisals of celebrity fashion. The purpose of the blog is to point out celebrity Style IQ, so the public can learn from celebrity fashion mistakes. The writer of the blog is named MeanCritic.
I AM Fashion starts the blog by noting that all the Emmy dresses were pretty this year, and then Harrod Girl goes into depth on why certain dresses successful. She points out the use of strapless dresses along with the bold colored dresses that stood out. Further into the column, Harrod Girls nicely transitions from Best Dress to Worst Dress by discussing basic black dresses in between. Harrod ends the blog by asking for Best/Worst dress comments.
StyleCritics focused on the Emmys too but in an uninhibited, rustic style. StyleCritics treated each fashion subject as a short blog, like "America In Tears" and "Felicity Red Hot In Pink", and gave the reader some background info, instead of just commenting on the dresses. The Mean Critic uses a rating system, but never really clarifies what dress makes a 10 or what the number systems scale goes up to. The highest rating on the site was a 4 for Felicity Huffman's pink dress, so I assumed the rating system stopped at 5. The site also provides a source link for each photo.
BlogActive is clearly a more opinionated blog site and the way he chooses to deliver the story over Senator Craig comes from a completely different angle. When viewing the site you can easily see from the ads and links that this is not a conservative blog. His story over Senator Craig is basically calling for pubic servants to be honest and to be open about their homosexuality like he is.
"I have been calling on gay Republican representatives, senators, and high-level staffers to stand up and be proud of who they are, to level with voters about the truth, and to let people decide on their politicians based on truth, honesty and openness," quote by Michael Rogers from BlogActive.com.
AMERICAblog chose to deliver the story in a much more factual manner and does not include much bias or opinion. They provide their readers with Senator Craig's voting record on issues concerning homosexuality and gay marriage. The information was direct and the story delivered the events of the arrest and the facts of the sentencing for Senator Craig.
Monday, September 17, 2007
I find the above three of the most intellectual and humorous people on the blogosphere. On the otherhand, I easily make the assumption that most of the blogs on the Web are too boring to bother with.
Since the most recent post on inthepinktexas.com, titled “Cover Girl,” is about Hillory Clinton revealing her universal healthcare plan, I will compare that to a blog called Cato-at-liberty.
Cato-at-liberty is an official blog of the Cato Institute and the latest post is title “Hillary Clinton’s Health Plan.” It’s important to note that the Cato Institute is a Washington D.C.-based libertarian think-tank. Of course, the organization commonly collaborates with right-wing groups.
The Cato blog is briefly recaps the issue (let’s say one sentence) and gives its opinion. The blog has links, such as Michael D. Tanner’s full statement (He’s a Cato scholar), Son of HillaryCare, featuring Tanner (a Sept. 17, 2007 MP3) and “Hazards of the Individual Health Care Mandate,” by Glen Whitman (maybe Eileen Smith would call him some . The blog is posted by Cato editors, not a named human being. It also provides an opportunity to Del.icio.us, Digg or reddit the post.
Both blogs mention that Monday Clinton announced her plan for universal healthcare, in which she proposes that all Americans to carry health insurance and offer federal subsidies to help reduce the cost of coverage.
Cato quotes its so-called scholar as saying “Once again her plan, which would cost $110 billion per year in new taxes, calls for greater government control over American health care. If her plan were to pass this time, it would mean higher taxes, lost jobs, less patient choice, and poorer quality health care.” It doesn’t prove how or why, just socks on the anti-liberal gloom and doom.
That’s the main problem I have with this blog. It’s just propaganda that provides no real insight to any issue. There aren’t too many blogs that can see the faults concerning all sides of the issues, even if Smith is rarely showing herself as a serious political junkie, and she does generally lean toward the left.
But she doesn’t put divide everything into a left and right category. Smith is just as ready to poke fun at Hillary Clinton as she is any other politician. Though in this blog, she asks what could possibly be worse that today’s American healthcare system, and the answer isn’t
Smith also incorporates links, images and videos in her blog. This one includes a YouTube video of the right wing response to
I haven’t found a political blog that can match the self-deprecating humor of Smith’s. In her post, Smith writes that she likes to promote
Smith writes: “Last time that someone told me that Rudy Giuliani would kill her in the general, I threw my pinot in his face and broke a bar stool over his back. Needless to say, my husband brought it up with our marriage counselor the next week.”
Smith even carries more credibility than she lets on. She recently became the first online editor for Texas Monthly. And there is something cool about the Eileen Smiths, Naomi Kleins and Molly Ivins of the world, the women who have been influential in political journalism.
With news that the #1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft forced to undergo surgery that will put him on the chillin' list for the entire 22007-2008 NBA season, the bloggers were out in full force.
Henry Abbott, mastermind behind the TrueHoop NBA blog is a lifelong Portland TrailBlazer fan, so his coverage of the Greg Oden news was in depth.
Actually, his general coverage of the NBA is deep. He is one of the best bloggers out there. There is a reason he was hired by ESPN to bring his blog to them.
Abbott reported early news the Oden needed to have his knee looked at under the knife, then reported news that they weren't sure how bad the injury was after surgery, and then finally reported news that the surgery was worse than people expected and it's going to cost him his rookie season.
Marcel Mutoni, the blogger behind SLAMonline's "The SLAM Wire," reported the severity of Oden's surgery after news was broke that the injury would sideline Oden. There were a couple of small links about Oden's potential surgery, but nothing to the extent that Abbott reported.
Now both bloggers are linking to reports that Oden may have known about his injury before the draft, causing conspiracy theorists to have a field day and claim that he duped the TrailBlazers and their fans. Either way, there's a lot more to come from this story and both bloggers should have plenty.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I then found a second Houston sports blog, on KPRC Local 2's Web site. It's written by Randy McIlvoy, the Sports Director and an anchor for the television station. I wasn't familiar with it before this assignment, and from what I read I wasn't missing anything.
It's easy to see that Richard knows better how to use a blog, as his includes long entries, viewable reader comments and at the top of the most recent one he had links to interviews with Texans players commenting on the latest win. While on this latest entry I didn't notice any replies from him to reader comments, I know from reading it in the past he will respond. I've always enjoyed reading his columns and the blog is no different. He may be a columnist, but he still attends practices at times, and interviews top officials with the Astros, Texans and Rockets, which goes a long way in legitimizing his opinions on the teams' respective front offices.
McIlvoy's blog on the other hand, was not very good. There was a link to send him a comment via e-mail, but nowhere on the site were readers' comments visible to the public. The entries were also generally shorter and did not provide links to past stories or articles written by others in the industries (which Justice does; he's even provided links to YouTube in reference to high school performances). "Randy's Rants" seemed to be more about...well, Randy, instead of being an area to converse about Houston sports. His "about me" bio page is long as any entry I saw, and in the top right corner of the site is his mug.
I've read Justice's columns for a while now and there's usually good reads. They provided substance whether the reader agrees with him or not, and that carries over to the blog. Rand's Rants focus more on upcoming content on other forms of media: radio, TV highlight packages to look out for, etc. In this regard Justice is more entertaining to me.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Since my ultimate goal in life is to find myself working in fashion magazines I decided to pick two entertainment blogs to compare. Just as almost everyone in our society is interested in the celebrity aspect of life, I am too, but for a different reason; I like to laugh and whenever I’m in a bad mood I can always go on to one of these sites to look at the failings of the millionaires.
The Perezhilton blog and a blog called Popbytes have a bunch of unimportant information relating to celebrities, movies, TV or anything of that nature featured on their sites. I like to read these in particular because they, the bloggers, are either making fun of the sticky situations of the famous or stating it in a humorous way.
For this post I will be comparing the reporting of the most recent O.J. Simpson debacle. As background for those who don’t already know, Simpson was just recently named as a suspect in a casino break-in case that dealt with some sports memorabilia.
On the Perez blog an entire folder is dedicated to this…person, detailing all of his past mishaps, run-ins, etc. but on Friday half way down the homepage a picture of the man was in full display with the word ‘idiot’ written in white across his forehead [See right picture]. The title of the piece read: “O.J.’s Confession.” The short, short summary consisted of barely eight lines with a link to an ABC source in the midst of the sentences.
On Popbytes this same story was a bit more difficult to find. On this homepage under daily_pop_nosh a short blurb states, “besides murderer - you can add burglar to this asshole's name” with a link to a different bloggers page. I found it interesting that this blogger didn’t even care to write up his own short, short blurb as Perez had. He basically calls him an asshole and leaves it at that. Just to see where the story went I clicked on the link and was take to a blog titled holycandy. On this blog the summary was longer than Perez’s and had a different picture with a link to an AOL source.
Both blog sites allowed for their audiences to comment on their sites. Most of the comments were a bit inappropriate but still funny given this man’s situation.
I liked Perez’s approach to the topic a bit better than I did for popbyte’s. I think it was more effective and depicts what most Americans already feel towards ‘the juice.’
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Anyone else, feel free to blog about ACL here or post a link to another blog that you are using.
You can use Technorati.com to find popular blogs, or seek them out yourself. Make sure that you are comparing blogs, not just regular columns on newspaper sites. Do this before class on Tuesday.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The first piece of multimedia would have been easy: show the video of Britney's performance. It's pretty painful to watch, as you can see here, but it would have perfectly demonstrated why people were hurling insults at her. While to me Spears doesn't look fat, she certainly looks out of shape and practice, wobbling around on stage.
The second piece of multimedia would have been audio clips of people (normal people, not celebrities) who saw Spears' performance. Perhaps the AP writer could have made contact with some of the most critical and most defensive bloggers and made their comments available in audio format.
Third, I would have put an online poll next to the story. People could vote and see results right away of what the general public thought of Spears' little romp on stage. A) They hated it and she looked awful, B) It was bad, but give the girl a break, or C) I've been living under and rock and don't know or care what she does.
Lastly, Spears has had a history of bad public events. The baby on her lap, the crotch photos, the shaved head, her husband... An interactive flash choose-your-own-adventure package would be fun to see. Perhaps it could start way back at the beginning of Spears' career until the present, and along the way you would be able to choose options, as if you were Spears, to see where you end up. It'd be childish and a waste of time, but what else do you have to do at work?
Since the 2006 ended with the snap heard around the NFL, first-year quarterback, Tony Romo, spent the entire off season talking about the hard loss. Romo needed his season opener to be a game the fans would not forget-in a good way. With his need to prove himself as the real deal, Romo should have been the headline of the day, but the San Antonio Express-News folks continue to follow the herd and report on Terrell Owens as the player to watch in Dallas.
In Tom Osborn’s story, “NFL: Cowboys Win Offensive Opener”, the reporting carelessly leads to the reader into the Cowboys season opener by using insignificant quotes from Owens and other players that portray the game’s highlights as uneventful. Owen’s pre-game quote about picking up the slack is insignificant, because he was shut out of the first half of the game by the Giants defense. Adding a multimedia content to the story could have helped translate the team’s excitement as well as the crowd’s support during a crucial division win.
First, after focusing on significant quotes that captured the team’s momentum in the story lead, I would have add a link to a video of Romo commenting on the game, the game’s turning point, and being named the Player of the Game. The video would show Romo with Madden by the trailer of where his picture is posted as a stand-out player of the game. Romo would give Madden details of how the game changed at the half and what his concerns were when the score was so close at the half. He would also give a spontaneous response the being the player of the game when just a year ago he wasn’t even a starter. Since the game had the highest score ever between the two teams, a second video link would be in the story to show the Giants/Cowboy rivalry history.
The second piece of multimedia I would add would be a two mini-timeline’s showing the comparison of plays that came out in the pre-season in comparison to plays that were used in Week One. The chart would have a link to the name of each preseason game. Then, the link would show two graphics of the play and how it was used. The link would also label the play a success in a green highlight or unsuccessful in a red highlight. The chart would help fans learn the Cowboy playbook without having to study the game.
The third piece of multimedia would be a link to certain names in the story that would give a history piece to fans. The team is starting with a lot of new key positions in a team that has a respected history in the league. The links would be to head coach, Wade Phillips, and the link would show Quick Facts bulleted on Phillips football career. Tony Romo would have a link to show Quick Facts on his quick rise in the NFL and how he arrived at the NFL. Lastly, Quick Facts will be applied to the offense, defense, and special teams.
The final piece of multimedia would focus on the game’s injuries. Each player that went out on both sides would link to a description and diagram of the injury and possible recovery times and treatments. Since Eli Manning when out with a bruised shoulder that would be a link with a recreated picture of Manning’s should and details on possible treatments.
In my treatment of the story, I chose video over photo, so the viewer can feel the rush of game day by hearing the crowd sounds. Then, I chose timeline links, because fans enjoy dissecting the players and the game.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I was surprised the story had no multimedia because there are many things that can make it more interactive. The easiest multimedia content the Express-News could have added was a map outlining the route of the bike tour. It could include an infobox on the map which gives the dates of the tour, who is sponsoring it and a legend. The map can have mark stars with each of the stops that will be taken on the tour by riders. At each stop, which I assume it will be a city or town, when the mouse rolls over the star, it could bring up a box with statistics showing the number of people living with MS in that area.
Another piece of multimedia I would include is a video clip showing a day in the life of Guerrero. The story provides details about how it is a struggle for Guerrero to do things such as going to grocery store or shopping for her children’s school clothes. It could begin with Guerrero getting up in the morning, getting herself and children ready for school and then how she goes through her day to day. There could be shots of Guerrero doing exercises, taking medication or planning her diet to deal with her MS. More importantly, it could show how her family keeps things together through efforts such as the “believe” maxim her daughter began, which appears throughout their home, according to the story.
The third piece of multimedia content could be a graphic showing how to do exercise that alleviate pain associated with MS. The National MS Society has an illustrated manual on their Web site with stretching exercises beneficial to those suffering from the disease. I would include three different stretching exercises, one on the neck and shoulders, another on arms and the last on legs, which would cover most of the body. I would have the graphic show each exercise with numbered steps with a small description under each illustration explaining what to do. I would include a link to the illustrated manual at the bottom if people want to learn more exercises.
The last piece of multimedia would feature an interactive graphic of a person who suffers from MS. It would be like a video game, in the sense that you can move the person around, but it would basically be a graphic that moves. Initially, the person would be shown as a someone who was just diagnosed with the disease. The user could have the person trying to do the dishes or pick up a box in their home and showing how they become fatigued faster or feel pain in their arms or legs. When the pain becomes to great after the person attempts to do the activity, a screen can come up which shows the central nervous system of that person. It can give a breakdown of what is happening internally to nervous and signals that are being sent to the person’s brain. Then it could show someone with a the disease more progressed, who is trying to comb their hair or get dressed in the morning. Once again, when the person gets too exhausted and in pain to continue their activity, the screen will give another breakdown of what is happening to the person internally.
A column containing a series of bullet points that detail what a “Noob” is (a casual gamer). This would contain information such as specific examples of casual games. Other bullet points might include the birth and growth in popularity of services such as Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade, Nintendo's Virtual Console, or Sony's Playstation Network. Though all three services are relatively new, each one has become incredibly popular, and each caters primarily to casual gamers by offering a host of simple, pick-up and play games.
A time line illustrating a history of the video game industry, specifically the history of home consoles. This would begin in the 1972, which marked the release of the first home console: the Magnavox Odyssey. Users could view information detailing important events that occurred during a given year by clicking on that year of the time line. For instance, 1975 would be a highlighted year because it marked Atari's first entry into the home console market with a machine dedicated to playing Pong called The Sears Tele-Game System. Other highlighted years would include 1983, which saw the collapse of the video game industry as a whole, and 1985, which saw the revival of the industry with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Mario Bros.
The most difficult multimedia treatment to put together would be a “Casual Game Player.” This would be similar in use to the video player on YouTube, but instead of being a simple interface for watching videos it would be a simple interface for playing various Flash-based games. A large number of these games are available free of charge, and it wouldn't be very difficult to put together 3 or 4 examples of “good” Flash-based games that users would be able to play. These Flash-based games are important because they paved the way for casual gaming.
The simple step of a reporter arriving early at Bobcat Stadium’s parking lot and looking out for colorful tailgating characters to interview on camera would have been excellent. I tailgated at both home games this season, and there is no shortage of colorful characters in the parking lot. Face and full-body painted Bobcat super fans are aplenty, and self-proclaimed barbecue experts are even more abundant. The sound bytes alone would have made the extra time worth it. A narrator’s personal account of his preparation, interlaced with some video footage of him being painted would be a great addition.
Adding a comment box at the bottom of the page would take a step toward the future of journalism. By adding interactivity, readers would have the opportunity to share their secrets to tailgating, showing school spirit and barbecuing. The growing Internet trend of interactivity and online communities is the best example of how successful a simple comment box can make a story.
Other tailgating sites, including those for other sports would also give readers interested in becoming game day champions more information to absorb. This site list could include more than other articles. Forums and blogs would go two ways, as both more information and another venue for interactivity.
The use of graphics charting tailgaters’ attendance for Texas State football games would also be another good choice for this article. An effective graphic can go a long way toward sending a message to viewers and readers — often times more than the article itself. An overview map of the stadium, with fans in the stands (more fans reflecting higher attendance numbers) would be cool. Finally, a poll asking readers’ opinions about tailgating or barbecuing methods would fall under both graphics and interactivity. The results of the poll could be sent back to readers in an unusual way. Instead of displaying a bar graph, a simple flash mini game of possible popular answers would be entertaining and informative.
The first piece of interactive multimedia would be a slide show. But this isn’t your aunt Fanny’s slide show from her cruise to Alaska or bingo night. This would be a slide show with pictures, quotes, and audio from the characters of King of the Hill. Just imagine it, a slide of Hank Hill comes on the screen and you hear, “Damn it Bobby,” or “I sell propane and propane accessories.” Or better yet, a picture or two of Bobby Hill, accompanied by several of his more outrageous quotes, such as, “That’s my purse, I don’t know you.”
The second interactive feature would be a map of the Hills’ neighborhood in suburban Arlen, Texas. Using a flash animation that looks like Google Maps, have an overhead view of the neighborhood. Special locations could be the houses of the main characters, the beer-drinking fence (not a fence that drinks beer), the propane business where Hank works, or Bobby’s school. Other possibilities include Bobby’s route to school, or Hank’s route for walking the family dog, Ladybird.
The third piece would be more interactive. I would have a flash “game” where the user could select one of several memorable King of the Hill backgrounds, say, the fence in front of the Hills’ house. On top of their chosen background they would build their own King of the Hill scene. Yes, just like those sticker books we all remember from childhood, but now the user can recreate their favorite scene from the show, or make a new favorite. Additional features would include “speech bubbles” that the user could fill with hilarious dialogue.
The fourth and final feature of my interactive King of the Hill experience would be a magic 8 ball, Dale Gribble style. The user types in a question, submits it, and based on certain key words in the users’ question, the 8 ball feeds the user a response, either in text, or better, in the voice of the ultimate conspiracy theorist himself.
No. 1- The first multimedia element that could be included in the story is a slideshow. Pictures taken at different angles, and of people at the scene of the accident would give the story more detailed, especially with the inherent lack of specific information in the text of news stories of this nature. Also, captioned photos taken at a later time in the same area and at other streets surrounding campus, would show the amount of automobile and pedestrian traffic that is typical.
No. 2- Because the story included remarks regarding the safety of students walking on and around campus, I think it would be interesting if the story included an opinion poll. Similar to the simple and straight-forward opinion polls that already appear on the Star website, this story could include a one-question poll showing the split among the Texas State community’s concern for safety. For example, questions like: "Is it dangerous to be a pedestrian at or around Texas State?" or "Do you think the City of San Marcos and/or Texas State University needs to take action to ensure the safety of students walking to and from campus?" show the percentage of readers that are satisfied with the current conditions of the campus-area and those who would advocate changes.
No. 3- This article also mentions a number of eyewitnesses present at the time of the accident. A third multimedia element that would be appropriate for this article, is the inclusion of eyewitness input. Audio and/or video components of onlookers’ accounts could have been collected and included, as well as any existing eyewitness- generated media like cell phone pictures, or digital video.
No. 4- The final multimedia addition that I thought of was a digital re-enactment of the accident. It’s a little bit out there, but I got the idea after I read the police report. The last page had a drawing of Chestnut St with little cars, a stick figure (me), and a bunch of arrows, and I thought it would be interesting if I could watch a CGI-like video of what happened.
While I found the article very interesting, providing mulitimedia treatments could provide more information and color to the article.
In the article, David Retano, who suffers from Tourette Syndrome, provides a brief personal experience growing up with Tourette and it's symptoms. The article could include in it, a message board like feature, where others suffering from Tourette, or simply just people wanting to comment on the story or sydrome could do so. This feature would be not onlike the blog we use for class, and would add a more personal feel to the story by allowing the readers to share their own stories.
In the article, another article in "Newsweek" pertaining to the study treatment is named, but not linked. This article could benefit by adding links to it and thus providing the reader with more related information. This specific "Newsweek" article could be linked, as well as links to the UT Health Science Center, and other sites devoted to educating and supporting people with Tourette Syndrome.
Another multimedia piece that could be added is an interactive feature where the different types of already available treatments are listed and pictured, and upon clicking them a brief description of the treatment is given. This would include how common the treatment is, the price range of the different treatments, their effectiveness and side effects.
One last multimedia piece that could be used to make the article more personal and relatable to the reader is interviews with people suffering from Tourette Syndrome. I imagine the set up of this feature to be very similar to the Washington Post's "Being a Black Man" interactive feature. About ten different people suffering from Tourette Syndrome, of different ages, ethnicities, and age would be pictured. Upon clicking on any one, a different window would open with a few different topic choices for you to select. Ex. How has Tourette Syndrome effected your life and personal relations? What treatment if any are you currently undergoing and are there any negative side effects? You could then select a specific topic and see a video of that specific person's answer to the selected question. This would answer many of the questions the reader is perhaps wondering, and if could come from a patient first hand.
All these multimedia features that could be added to the article would allow readers to spend more time with the piece and the subject overall, past just reading the story. The more options and information you present to your reader, the more interested in your piece they will be.
I’m usually not a sports girl, but I am actually interested in football. This year I’ve decided to pay attention to Bobcat Football. I was really interested in this story by Scott Strickman in the University Star called “New Football Staff Sets High Goals for 2007 Season.” I am curious to see how the Bobcats will do this year with Brad Wright as the new coach, especially after doing so well with previous coach David Bailiff.
The story was well-done and explored information on the recently discovered virus, but I thought of some multimedia projects that could accompany the story on the Web.
No. 1: I would create an interactive map of where reported beekeepers in the
It can be a simple geographical map of
When you click on the icons, it can have information to the side of the map, such as the precise number of beekeepers in the area and a breakdown of how many are hobbyists and how many are commercial. This would give readers a good idea of which areas of the state are more dependent on this industry.
No. 2: Images are always popular, so I would propose a slideshow. It would be photographs of the process of beekeeping. There could be close-up shots of the bees along with shots of beekeepers covered in bees.
It could be mixed with sound in a program, such as Sound Slides, so that people can hear the buzzing of the bees and the workers talking about their jobs. Since this is a seemingly uncommon job or one most people would find dangerous, the photos audio and visuals would be a strong combination.
No. 3: An interactive feature on how exactly bees produce honey or pollinate crops would be fascinating. It could be a number of graphics put together and could have text on the graphics, such as “First, the honeybee must …” The second slight could illustrate the second step, and so on.
No. 4: For something more extravagant, I would propose developing a Web page on the Express-News site on more in-depth topics concerning the bees. It could explore the origins of the bees the U.S. uses, the possible causes of disappearances and affects of the missing bees.
One somewhat off-topic but interesting idea that the story didn’t get into was the origins of the bee. The reporter mentioned that this bee virus may have become a problem after the U.S. began allowing imported bees from Australia. But, our bees are not even native to America. They were European bees imported to America by early colonists. And they completely revolutionized the physical landscape of this country. They also changed the country’s agriculture and commerce. National Geographic often does beautiful computer-generated graphics and illustrations depicting what places we can’t photograph look like, including places of the past. I would like to have illustrations of what
Most people don’t know bees are used to pollinate so many of our crops, and the story mentions this in a later paragraph. There should be infographics of the crops they pollinate, how many farmers depend on them and how much that industry makes, so we can see the economical aftermath of lost honeybees.
There could also be a timeline/infographic of different types of honeybees, where they are located, when they were imported or migrated to other countries and other pieces of information. This could have something similar to the flash video we saw in class of the African elephant that a poacher eventually killed. It can have dotted lines representing bees crossing countries and continents.