SOUNDSLIDE ASSIGNMENT: Pumpkin Parade

Here’s my SoundSlide, enjoy! 

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STORIFY: The Death of Paul Walker

For my Storify assignment, I decided to cover the death of actor Paul Walker.

I chose to cover this story since it was so current and relevant, having happened only last night. There’s still a lot of confusion over his death so I thought it’d be really interesting to compile all of the conspiracies and reports together so that you could get an overview of what is going on over Twitter right now. I can’t say I was a fan of Paul Walker’s films, other than a select few, but it’s still heartbreaking when a public figure dies. A lot of people idolize them, so you can’t even imagine how they’re feeling about it.  Not to mention how his family must be handling it.

While covering this story, I learnt that you have to know what you’re looking for. When compiling Tweets, there are hundreds and thousands of things that people have said over the past 24 hours. Most of those Tweets were of little importance, too. So I needed to be smart about it, and look at the sources that I figured would have what I needed, then look for reactions to those reports. With Twitter being so instant, I had to go through a lot just to get to results from last night. I had already seen some reactions on my own Twitter timeline, so I was able to pull from their. It’s important to anticipate what you’ll need so that you don’t waste a lot of time just finding a single tweet.

LIVEBLOG ASSIGNMENT: American Music Awards

For the liveblogging assignment, I didn’t even hesitate when asked to choose an event to cover. I am a pop culture junkie, and hope to work in entertainment journalism one day, so choosing to cover the American Music Awards was an obvious choice for me. I also would’ve been livetweeting the event on my personal twitter anyways, so I figured, why not just clean it up and do it for this assignment? You never know what will happen at these award shows; one of these performances could be one that goes down in history. Or something could unexpectedly happen, it is live TV after all. One day I will be able to say “Hey, remember ______’s performance at the AMAs in 2013?! That was incredible, I’ll never forget it!” That’s not even an exaggeration. Remember the performance at the Super Bowl when Janet Jackson’s nipple was accidentally revealed to the millions of viewers around the world? Or when Lady Gaga committed artistic suicide on stage during the 2009 VMAs? Or what about Britney Spears’ infamous performance at the 2007 VMAs? Those are all going to go down in history, and I witnessed them.

The major thing I learnt in covering this event was just to control myself. Sometimes when you’re watching a live show, you get worked up and you want to just say whatever’s on your mind, but if you’re a working journalist, you can’t always do that. I didn’t want to write anything offensive or anything that would be considered inappropriate if I worked for a media outlet. When certain artists I didn’t like would be on screen, I restrained myself from making jokes at their expense. Or if an artist I’m obsessed with was performing, I tried not to let my excitement show too much (though at some points, I did let it out…). I would say this assignment will really help me down the line. I’m sure one day in the future when I’m working for some magazine or online publication, I’ll be asked to liveblog an event. If I remember the restraint I learnt from tonight, then I’ll be ready! I also realized the important of using other sources. There are so many genius tweets out there that I was able to integrate into my own liveblog, not to mention the number of other sources that helped make my stream both entertaining and informative.

Excel Assignment Screenshots

“For instance, assume that we wish to calculate the total number of crimes in all the provinces. To do this, we would go to the bottom of Column C, skip a row, and then enter this formula IN Cell C106: =SUM(C2:C104). The equals sign (=) is necessary for all functions. The colon (:) means “all the numbers from Cell C2 to Cell 104”. The result is this:”Image

Social Media in the Newsroom: Handy or Problematic?

Social media is everywhere we look nowadays. Most of us have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress blogs, and god knows what else. It’s not shocking that this social media obsession has made it’s way into the way we work. Even though the younger generation is accustomed to these things and can’t imagine their lives without them, they still pose a problem. Social media is a new thing; we don’t have guidelines on how to use them professionally. Journalists need to follow a code of ethics, but if they’re using a Twitter, do they have to respect the same code? How do we know what we can or cannot say? That’s where things get blurry.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) actually has several points in their Ethics Guidelines about social media. One point states: “we encourage the use of social networks as it is one way to make connections, which is part of our core work as journalists. However, we keep in mind that any information gathered through online means must be confirmed, verified and properly sourced.” That’s a very important point to make. Social media, or social networks, are a great tool for journalists, especially aspiring ones. It opens you up to a whole different audience, and allows for you to interact with that audience. It helps to get fresh perspectives on things, too. And don’t forget how instantaneous it is: as soon as something happens in the world, somebody could Tweet about it or post it on their blog instantly. Social networks have revolutionized the way journalists cover major news events while they’re in progress. But again, the downside to that is, you don’t get verified news. You get answers quickly, but in turn, they may not be completely accurate.

As far as social media in the workplace, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a journalist or you work at McDonalds. The same workplace ethics should be in place. You shouldn’t be Tweeting out important information from a meeting, you shouldn’t add your boss if it’s not appropriate, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your employers to see, etc. At the Associate Press offices, news broke on Twitter about an AP staffer being arrested at a protest. The problem was, that was before AP’s news wire even got the information. Think before you Tweet. I can’t say the same for everybody, but those are things I learnt in high school. This generation has a tendency to put too much online, so it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a journalist or not. Any professional employee should use some discretion online.

When it comes to journalists who are supposed to remain impartial, sharing opinions online can get tricky. According to the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism, you should watch what you tweet. They say “whenever you start to write or share something, think about how whether it might cast doubt on your ability to do your job professionally and impartially.” Your words can be misconstrued, they can be used against you, and they can never be completely erased once they are online.

With all of that said, just because there are downsides to using social media, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use it. We can’t be afraid of new mediums, we have to embrace them, but with caution. These tools can be a great thing, you just have to know how to use them right and remember that you’re a journalist. In case you forget, here are some guidelines from the American Society of News Editors:

  1. Traditional ethics rules still apply online.
  2. Assume everything you write online will become public.
  3. Use social media to engage with readers, but professionally.
  4. Break news on your website, not on Twitter.
  5. Beware of perceptions.
  6. Independently authenticate anything found on a social networking site.
  7. Always identify yourself as a journalist.
  8. Social networks are tools not toys.
  9. Be transparent and admit when you’re wrong online.
  10. Keep internal deliberations confidential.