Archives for the month of: February, 2014

I’ve already distributed this assignment via class email, but here it is online as well. Your assignment is to critique two audio slideshows that inspire you. Your post must meet each of the following requirements to receive full credit:

  1. They must be relevant to your blog topic.
  2. They must have captions on all photos.
  3. Provide their titles. In the titles, link to them using inline links. Don’t just type the URL in your post. It’s unprofessional.
  4. Identify the people who created them. Include the name of their news organizations.
  5. Briefly describe and critique their content. How well do they synchronize sound with pictures? Is each image onscreen long enough for you to “read” the image? Or are they up for too short of a time? How well are the captions written? Use “Writing photo cutlines (aka captions).pdf” as your guide to good captions.
  6. Briefly explain the journalistic value in their content.
  7. Explain what you find inspiring about them.
  8. Ask your readers a question related to the content in one or more of the slideshows you identify.
  9. Assign categories and tags to your post.

Deadline: Post by 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24. Email link to your post

Example of the kind of slideshow I want you to write about:
The Girl in the Window: Danielle, 6, was rescued from unfathomable living conditions. Can the love and care of her adoptive family compensate for a lifetime of neglect? An audio slideshow by the Tampa Bay Tribune.

Some good places to find audio slideshows to critique:
New York Times Multimedia/Photos page online: The Times has wonderful examples of audio wedded to beautiful photography with excellent captions. But be careful what you pick here; lots of simple slideshows with just photos and captions live here. For this assignment, please remember that you must critique slideshows that have audio tracks as well as captions for each photo. A Google advanced search can help you find that.*

National Geographic: I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again: This is the gold standard for technically excellent and vibrant photography.

Online News Association Social Shares: Top Audio/Photo Slideshows:  It’s only appropriate to tap the wisdom of a very wise ONA crowd to locate the best multimedia journalism content online. If you go here, for this assignment, be sure to pick a photo slideshow. Do not pick video to write about; video will be the subject of your third mandatory critique blog post.

Jedi search tip for finding audio slideshows: You can also do the following search in Google to narrow the search results to nothing but audio slideshows on a given site by searching for the exact phrase “audio slideshow” and the word “site” followed by a colon and a url. Example of what to type in the Google search window: “audio slideshow”

Assignment: Blog about three photo slideshows that inspire you. We’re just interested in slideshows or galleries that have photos and captions, but not audio. We’ll save the audio slideshows for your next mandatory critique post. Your post must meet each of the following requirements to receive full credit:

  1. They must be relevant to your blog topic. The idea of this assignment is to point you toward good examples for you to emulate in your own work as you develop an online audience.
  2. Provide their titles.
  3. Identify the people who created them. Include the name of their news organizations.
  4. Briefly describe their content.
  5. Briefly explain what you think is the journalistic value in their content.
  6. Link to them.
  7. Explain what you find inspiring about them.
  8. Ask your readers a question related to the content in one or more of the slideshows you identify. Why? To get you in the habit of talking with your readers, which is a critical part of Web 2.0.
  9. Assign categories and tags to your post.

Example of the kind of slideshow I want you to write about:
Pictures of Typhoon Haiyan: The New York Times compiled several captioned slideshows on the devastation the Philippines felt from the strongest storm ever to make landfall.

Good sources of photo slideshows:
New York Times Multimedia/Photos page online: You’ll find a mix of still photo galleries with caption, audio slideshows and video and interactive graphics here. For this assignment, limit your choices to slideshows without audio.

Online News Association Social Shares: Top Audio/Photo Slideshows Chosen by ONA’s Community
Note: This has a mix of video and photo. Pick photo. Do not pick video to write about.

National Geographic: Take heed: This is the gold standard for journalistic and documentary photography.

Sports Illustrated Slide Shows: For the more athletically minded aspiring visual journalist.

Deadline: Post by 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1. Email your link to
Note: This was assigned during the third week of class.

It’s frustrating as all get-out that NBC isn’t providing live coverage of the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics. I’m sure I have that in common with millions. But three news outlets’ live blogs are giving us what the network refuses to provide.

These are my three favorites at this moment in case you just can’t wait to watch tonight:

  • The Guardian: The place to look for thoughtful and cheeky commentary and vibrant photography. Location: United Kingdom.
  • New York Times: Look no further for a rapidly updated streaming photo gallery coupled with meatier posts by a variety of NYT staffers. A classic American new media approach to the Sochi Winter Olympics.
  • Wall Street Journal: It’s terse. It’s rapid. It’s informative. Feels more like a microblog (which is what Twitter is for), but concentrated in one place. Seems more optimized for maximizing hits for than for fitting the audience’s needs, but hey, it’s a business! And WSJ is all about the Benjamins (well, more like the Salmon P. Chases), yes?
  • NPR: National Public Radio’s live blog from Sochi is wonderfully descriptive and quickly updates. The emphasis is more on writing that appeals to the senses than photography. It feels very much like radio voices translated to text, and it works. I’m constantly telling my reporting students the advice Charles Kuralt’s blind editor early in his career gave him: “Make me see it!” NPR’s writing embodies that advice.

Let the Games begin!

My Multimedia Journalism students have written about some dynamite photo galleries and slideshows for their First Mandatory Post assignment of the semester. In this assignment, I’ve asked them to find three photo galleries from online journalism sites that inspire them and to critique their content in terms of journalistic value and other factors. Their writing and ideas are pretty awesome! Yet some didn’t take advantage of all the features that make blogs easy to find, easy to read, and interesting to look at. This post provides reminders on how to do those things.

Beloved Multimedia Journalism students, here are some things to add to your repertoire next time you do a blog post:

Break up long paragraphs: Long paragraphs fatigue the online reader’s eye. They make even the most excitingly written content appear long, ponderous and dull.

Use bold in posts to signal the transition from one section to the next: In a blog post critiquing galleries about wine, for instance, you could do that for each of the galleries you critique. It can be a subhead or just the first three to five words of each critique. Here’s how make words boldface in WordPress:

Link back to the sources you write about: Do this to make it easy for your readers to find more interesting stuff. But you also do this in order to attract traffic from those sites via linkbacks. That was the case when I linked back to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution from my Snowpocalypse post. Not only did I send readers to, but the linkback on the AJC post I linked to sent me some readers, too.Here’s how link back to your online sources:

  1. While editing your post, highlight the name of the source (e.g., the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times) or a few key words pertaining to the content you cited from another blog or website.
  2. Click the chain icon in the tools bar above your post (the same place where you would click to bold, underline or italicize type). This should summon a popup box.
  3. In that box, paste the URL for the blog or website you referred to.
  4. Click the blue “Add Link” button.

Add tags and categories: Tags and categories help boost your SEO ranking in search engines, making your content easier to find and driving more traffic to your site. They also make it easy for a reader already looking at your blog to find content related you’re written previously on the blog.

Do these things, and your posts will be readable, easy to look at and easy to find. You’ll also attract more readers.

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