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A blog for Multiplatform Journalism.

Website content analysis

For class, I evaluated three different digital portfolio websites.

Kate Essig (Professional)

Kate Essig’s home page was rather blank, and I assume this was by design. That said, I do wish there was some sort of imagery on the front page, because it almost feels like the page is still waiting to load while it’s fully loaded.

That said, I was happy to see imagery on other pages, and was happy to see the minimalist design carry over to other pages.

The font was rather bald and boring, but again, went along with the minimalist way of the site.

Her “my work” tab made it easy to find work relevant to what a certain employer would be looking for, and it’s not all jumbled up in the same tab, it is nicely organized.

Her resume looks very readable on the site and also includes a PDF version.

Lauren Bohn (Professional)

There were many different images on the front page of Bohn’s profile, which were pleasing to look at and were all of high quality. Her home page includes a lot of information, plenty of sidebars, and while I appreciate the content, I can see why a prospective employer would be a bit overwhelmed with everything going on.

Her about me page has a lot of good information and good imagery, but the imagery is oriented left and right, and this makes it difficult to read as it feels like the eyes are zig zagging all over the place.

Her “Foreign Policy Interrupted” page was informative and had a call to action, really giving me a feel for what this writer was all about. I appreciated that, and appreciated the description of the movement. Additionally, there is a page about SchoolCycle, which is a campaign in Malawi.

I found that this writers’ portfolio didn’t have a resume, but at the same time, I didn’t find it necessary for their site. Their entire site really acted as their resume, and I felt like anyone who took the time to actually look at her site would not have needed a resume to supplement the information provided.

Tess Brock (Student)

Tess Brock’s home page was minimalist similar to Essig’s, but it included more imagery and more information (email address, phone number). I think it accomplished the same design appeal that Essig had, while providing more for the observer without having to click other links. Brock’s was more effective than Essig’s.

At the end of every page, there is a link to the next page, which I think is helpful because the whole website really acts as a book and encourages you to read on. I would imagine Brock sees more reader retention than other portfolios.

Her portfolio was simple and easy to navigate.

Having references right on her website was special, and really gives you a feel for how important she is to the different organizations she’s been a part of.

My portfolio

Since I don’t have quite as many accomplishments to jam pack a page like Bohn, I would like to go with a minimalist type of portfolio like Brock and Essig. I would still like to have imagery and provide all the necessary information, but I just think it is easier on the eyes of the reader to have a minimalist design. I believe I will retain more eyes for longer periods of time this way.

A rough draft of my portfolio can be viewed here.

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Videos: How to Make Them Newsworthy

A blog discussing how to make class video projects more newsworthy.

ASC and SUNY Cortland (Ben Phillips)

I felt that this story was very well done, and I enjoyed the various different shots, as well as the overall theme of the story. Having a perspective of a student employee was good, and I felt like that made it more relatable and enjoyable from the prospective audience.

In order to make this more newsworthy, I think it would have been worthwhile to speak to someone in ASC or in upper-level campus management about the possibility of a competitive market when it comes to campus food service.

A look at Downtown Cortland (Dylan Peritz)

I enjoyed this video as well, and thought it was a relevant topic to student’s lives. I also appreciated the use of a wireless microphone, it made the audio more clear and crisp, something I think is very under-appreciated.

I think to make this more newsworthy, the story could have taken a stance on a topic within nightlife that makes it into the news — fake IDs and the aggressive attention local police put on fake IDs. It could have interviewed law enforcement or bar owners on the topic.

Cortland Meth Bust (Gregory Fingar)

This was a story that was fairly newsworthy because it had an actual news event embedded in the story. The interview with someone who was directly impacted by the event was helpful as well as far as making it newsworthy.

As someone said in the class, getting a police perspective would have made it even better.

Student Loan

Gender Neutral Bathrooms (Taylor Beaury)

I thought this video was great, and approached a very newsworthy topic around the country. I’m really not sure what could be done to make this more newsworthy, except maybe getting more voices, and perhaps a campus voice to speak on the matter.

Yards for Yeardly (Elena Grande)

I thought this video was well done, and the interview had some really good sound bites. To make it more newsworthy. it would have been beneficial to get some athletes interviewed doing the walk.

Cortland Dorm Life (Angela Palumbo)

This video was good, and had some solid interviews, but didn’t really have a news story to go along with it. With recent rape incidents all happening in dorms, I think it would have been good to also talk about that and see if there were any possible dangers that came up because of being in the dorms.

Being an RA (Vanessa Lachiana)

To make this more newsworthy, I thought it would be helpful to tell people the process of becoming an RA at Cortland.

Living off Campus (Vinny Romeo)

This video had some really unique and interesting shots. I didn’t think there was much news to it, however, and I’m not really sure how you could add that to this.

Snapchat, Twitter and Me

Snapchat and Twitter are two of the leading social media platforms. What are the advantages and disadvantages of both? Which is better, and why?

When Snapchat first came out in 2011, Twitter had been around — and leading social media among most of the younger generation — for years, initially debuting in 2006. For that reason, I, and many other users of Twitter, were skeptical of Snapchat’s ability to catch on and stay relevant.

In 2011 and the following years, there were plenty of social media swings and misses. While I could give you a list of everything that failed from 2010-2015 in the social media realm, I think this will just about sum it up — Google+, a social media platform led by Google, a company with all of the social reach and resources necessary to be successful, has failed miserably and been unable to catch on as a viable social media.

Side note: They’re still trying to push Google+ to an extent, and still failing. 

So, when Snapchat, an app that was used for sending pictures that would disappear in 10 seconds or less, came out, the concept seemed less than viable. Here we are, though, six years later, and Snapchat may become the leading form of social media, as well as news intake, very, very soon.

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Snapchat

Snapchat started as an incredibly personal social media. You could send picture messages to one person at a time that would disappear in 10 seconds. It was great for having quick, short, funny conversations with people.

Later on, Snapchat became much more robust as an application. Its addition of the Snapchat Story made it much more attractive, and made it less of a personal social media. The Story feature allowed people to put up pictures and videos that would be available to all of their friends and followers for 24 hours.

Side note: The initial confusion of the Snapchat Story saw some people posting pictures on their story that were meant for individual conversations. The rollout of many of their new features were explained poorly. 

In 2016 and 2017 so far, we have seen Snapchat become much more than an application or social media tool. While it continued to provide users the experience they knew, it added layers to the madness. Custom Geotags that showed up based on your location were a hit, and Snapchat filters — a face detection tool that could make it look like you were wearing sunglasses, or something similar to that — took the use of the application to a whole new level.

Spectacles

Finally, we saw the addition of “Spectacles” sunglasses that came equipped with a camera that recorded in a circle format. So when people watched stories recorded by Spectacles, they could turn their phone and view the action in either portrait of landscape mode.

This video did a decent job of showing what it looks like, but to get the true viewing experience, one has to see it for themselves on their phone, within the Snapchat application.

The only kicker? The Spectacles were only available in select locations, and cost well over $100. But Snapchat, who has maintained an attitude of not being a company that is looking to be just an app — dove into the wearable tech market, and did a pretty decent job.

Moments

The biggest thing that has made Snapchat become a leading force in the social media world is its “Moments” feature. This brings in outside news sources — ESPN, Mashable, The Washington Post, Complex, and BuzzFeed are just some of the outlets featured on this part of Snapchat — and these sources can essentially post their own Snapchat stories that are featured under all Snapchat users’ “Stories” tab, or even post their own articles there.

What this really did for Snapchat was it made it more than a communication application. It served as a one-stop application for contacting friends and holding conversation, checking news, and seeing what’s going on in the world.

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Twitter

Twitter has been around for a while, and has regularly made itself a strong shareholder in the social media world. It quickly grew after its debut, and has rivaled Facebook for quite some time. While it doesn’t seem to aim to take over Facebook — the two networks have completely different purposes — it does attract more of the younger generations than Facebook does.

Twitter prides itself on being a quick-use application. Since Tweets can not be longer than 140 characters, things have to be pretty quick.

The original Twitter is almost nothing like we know today. It basically was just text. Today, Twitter thrives off of pictures, videos, and media, something the application didn’t even support in-house when it first came out.

While links could be posted when the app first came out, they showed up as just that — links. Today, Twitter has auto-generated link previews that have been more intuitive.

Over time, Twitter use has become necessary for many professions. Journalism is perhaps the most notable, as getting timely news out is best on Twitter. There’s almost always people on and checking, and a lot of breaking news can be summed up into 140 characters or less. While full stories often follow these quick 140 character Tweets, news has changed mostly for the better because of Twitter.

While getting that news quickly is awesome, there is a downfall. With a need to push things out quickly often comes a larger error rate. Often, we see the initial reporting of stories have a thing or two off compared to what we know when the story is said and done.

Which is better?

When it comes down to it, deciding which application is better is solely up to each individual user. For someone who likes to communicate with their friends rather than the masses, and maybe just wants a general overview of what’s going on in the news, Snapchat is perfect.

Twitter, on the other hand, goes more in-depth with up-to-the-second news breaks, and is better for mass communication.

For me, personally, I like to keep up on the news, and I love that my Twitter can be customized so I can choose who I follow within the news world. Snapchat more or less decides that for me, and I’m not a fan of that. So for me, Twitter wins.

That said, I don’t think it has to be one or the other. One can use both applications — myself included.

Blogging Tips: What Makes a Quality Blog?

In today’s world, blogs are plentiful, but most don’t adhere to the “best practices.” Here’s a few simple steps to have a great blog.

In today’s world, the internet is king. But what’s awesome about the internet and even more cool than how much it’s become immersed in our lives is that anyone can post their own thoughts online for everyone to see as long as they have a device that can connect to the internet and an internet connection.

While that leads to some negatives — we have to decipher what’s good, quality news and what’s just mumbo jumbo — it also leads to some positives. Anyone can make themselves known online and also generate a following with little to no money invested. This can lead to jobs down the line that have to do with media.

But no one can do that without having a good, quality blog. There are some key elements that make a blog likable, and if one follows these three elements*, they are sure to see success with their blog.

*If these three elements are a bit too much for your blog to start, there are five quick things to remember (at the bottom of this post) when starting your blog that may be easier for the beginner.

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Consistency

No blog has success without being consistent. There are several areas that are crucial to demonstrate consistency in, but there are a few that are crucial if one wants to say that they have a quality blog.

  • Tone and style: Readers get attached to certain writing styles, and although a blog with multiple different staff writers would benefit from different tones, a blog with just one author should keep the same tone. A reader will get confused and jumbled if they come to your blog and it sounds like a new person is writing every day, and perhaps become concerned that you may be schizophrenic. That said, style should also be maintained as well. Although blogs don’t have to adhere to all of the AP Style rules, they should choose a style and stick with it.
  • Topic: In addition to wanting a consistent type of writing style, readers will keep coming back if one writes on the same general topic.
  • Post schedule: If you new have content up on a regular basis, readers will come back to read it. If you go months without activity, your blog will fail. Daily is best, but if not daily, maybe every few days is a great place to start.

Thomas Frank, the creator of College Info Geek, does a great job of making sure that his site is regularly updated, is all about studying skills or learning more information, and regularly puts up new videos and posts.

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Focus

As alluded to in the “topic” section of the consistency subheading, having a defined topic is a great way to make sure a blog is great. This allows the blog to carve out a niche and attend to a very specific audience, which will also help you figure out what type of tone to use, how high the reading level of your posts should be, and tell you what content to avoid.

Starting a podcast is a great way to focus even more your blogs topics. You can post podcasts on your blog, but podcasts should not be the main element of a blog, instead, they should be supplementary. Additionally, you can make videos too.

Travel Tall has a specific niche — he aims to get people interested in travel to read his blogs — but he caters to his niche in more ways than just blog posts. He posts videos, photographs, and even offers a detailed mapping of where he’s been.

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Willingness to learn and read other blogs

A blogger can only learn so much on their own. Without looking at what other blogs are doing, and seeing what other people are talking about and innovating in the blogosphere, there is no way to truly be a great blog.

While before, one would be better off searching the internet for different blogs to find some, there are now places that people post a lot of different blogs in the same place. Medium is one of the freshest locations that offers that type of experience for readers and writers.

Some quick takeaways for beginners

If you’re just starting on a blog, these three concepts may be too much to concentrate on until you’ve developed more of a following. Instead, you can look at these five tips and master them before moving onto the “big three” concepts.

  1. Carve out time each day to blog. If you don’t put time into writing, no one is going to put time into reading.
  2. Find time to read other blogs, and look at what you like about them. Inspiration can come from many places, but most bloggers will find their inspiration from other blogs, newspapers, and media outlets.
  3. Email other bloggers and make connections. Networking with other bloggers can lead to fun collaborations at some point.
  4. Don’t look at your page views too often at first. All blogs have to start low, so don’t get down on yourself if the page views aren’t coming in.
  5. Ask yourself what you’re doing it for, and come back to that regularly. You never want to forget why you started.

Who I Am, What I Do, and What the Heck is Next?

My name is Joshua Wilson, and I am a junior at SUNY Cortland. I am currently studying communications, and plan on adding a journalism concentration as well as a political science minor.

Prior to coming to Cortland in the fall of 2016, I spent a semester at Temple University in Philadelphia (Go Owls), and then transferred back home to a nearby community college for a semester before transferring to Cortland.

I’ve been all over the place in the last few years, but it seems like I’ll be sticking around Cortland long enough to actually get a degree.

My life goal since I was a kid has been to end up somewhere like ESPN or a newspaper writing about sports, so when I was in 9th grade my mom inspired me to start a sports blog in order to try and make some money. I made no money at all for the first several years, but did make some really good connections with people who were trying to create startup sports blogs in an already incredibly oversaturated market.

I worked as a volunteer sports writer for about four years, and finally ended up working as a staff writer and then editor for a few of FanSided’s team websites, which is where I still work now. The connections and experiences I have gathered there have taught me a lot, and they’ve supplemented my school work well.

My main goal is still sports journalism, but over the past few years, and especially within the recent election, I have developed an interest to politics, social issues, and things like that. I want to write about everything that happens in this world, take pictures of it, shoot videos, and just let people know what’s going on. The media fascinates me, and I want to make that a part of my life.

I have no idea what’s next, but looking back just one year in my life I’m still not really sure how I ended up in Cortland, so I’m excited to find out.

I’m looking forward to Multiplatform Journalism because the class seems incredibly hands on and much less like an information class, which I tend to not enjoy. I hope to bolster some skills I already have while also teaching myself new ones in the ever-changing world of journalism that is among us.

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