Covering the color of that mystery dress


It was on a Thursday night when everyone was on their phone and staring at a dress, which was either black and blue or white and gold, depending on the viewer.

Pathetic, it was just pathetic to view how people made a big deal over a worthless dress that had no significance what so ever. It was on all Web news sites. And it got considerable mainstream news media attention. Even the national TV networks gave it attention.

Everyone was all over the place about it and yet, if it were to be about the wars and political disputes happening in Arab world, no one would have cared.

The social media’s main topic on Thursday night and all of Friday was the dress and the color perceived by each and every person.

It is insane and foolish how everyone was on his or her phone Thursday night talking about this mysterious dress that was both black and blue or white and gold. Everyone spent an hour or two or even the whole day just to figure out the mystery and Googling the reason why they saw what they had seen.

The image contained a striped dress, a dress that was seen to be white and gold in my perspective. The controversy was all over how one perceives the dress color differently than another. Many argued it was white with gold stripes or blue with black stripes.

The mystery dress was a sight test to test how people view colors differently. The dress is actually known to be white and gold, but there is an explanation why some viewers, viewed the dress to being black and blue.

As some people go through hard negative events in their life they start to see colors a different way. This proves why many people believed that the dress was black and blue rather than white and gold.

Whatever color you saw depended on the emotion you were feeling and the type of mood you were in, and that is the primary reason why people argued about the actual color of this mystery dress.

Net neutrality and journalism


On Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to implement new rules regarding Internet neutrality. These rules make sure that Internet service providers allow open access to all legal content and applications.

What does this have to do with journalism you ask?

In the digital age that we live in, half of all Americans use the Internet as their main source for news. For the younger generations, up to 70 percent say it’s their main source for information.

Imagine if Fox News used Comcast as a service provider while CNN used AT&T. Depending on the amount of money either service provider could pay would determine the kinds of stories you are allowed read and block the ones they didn’t want you to see.

Big companies would be able to spend larger amounts of money for faster services while smaller, independent companies would be stuck with slower access because that’s all they could afford. People would prefer going to the larger company’s site because they would rather not have to wait longer for their videos, pictures or stories to load. In some ways that is a form of censorship. That is a clear violation of our First Amendment.

Thankfully, due to this recent ruling all information will still be available to everyone will any kind of Internet service.

What’s trending? Ask Facebook


When you look up a particular news article, it is because you want to know more about what people are talking about today.

A couple of years ago, I would have gathered this information by what was on the front page of my local newspaper, by what my parents and friends were talking about or what I saw on television.

These days, however, I know what’s  “trending” thanks to my Facebook news feed. What’s best about the “trending” section on Facebook is that it combines news both in the entertainment area and world news.

For example, this week I was informed about Kim Jong Un’s new haircut from “Kim Jong-un Takes Cue From Fashion Week, Reveals Ambitious New Haircut” as well as the death of Harris Wittels from “Parks and Recreation’ Executive Producer Harris Wittels Found Dead.” My point is that you’re being told what you need to know in every aspect of your life now and, to some extent, it’s great. But there are some issues that come up.

Once again, Facebook makes it easier to avoid interacting directly with other people in order to make friends, connections and now get our daily news fix. We are being fed what we need to hear, need to know and need to see. It is removing our ability to make our own decisions, start our own interactions and discussions with others. In a world where everything is being handed to you, how do you step back, analyze and maintain your media literacy in order to take control of the information you take in today?

Yahoo! News has a problem


If I’m feeling crotchety and in the mood to get myself all disgruntled about journalism, I know the first place I need to visit: the Yahoo! News homepage.

On the screenshot below, I invite you to marvel at the juxtaposition of headlines:

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 6.46.34 AM

A story about what could possibly be the largest-ever human exodus — I repeat, the largest-ever human exodus, a staggering story with widespread societal and environmental implications for more than 13 million people—is sandwiched between stories about a celebrity and an infamous dictator marketed like a celebrity. Without discussing the merits of entertainment journalism as a whole, I think it’s safe to say that those headlines should not be grouped together in the same category, at the bare minimum.

What’s more, we need to keep in mind the way that a company like Yahoo! structures its homepage. Headlines are placed in a purposeful order of importance, based on which articles the company thinks its readers should see most. According to the above order, Iggy Azalea’s absence from social media deserves more exposure than human-inhabited islands’ absence from the face of the planet.

Call me remarkably crotchety for my 19 years of age … but by golly, what the devil is going on here?

What is the buzz about?


Buzzfeed, a name I am sure you have heard of before, is a name I see everyday. As a journalism student I have always aimed of writing in a way that is both entertaining and informative and I feel that Buzzfeed encompasses just that.

If you have not heard of Buzzfeed, it is essentially an American Internet news media company, created and founded by CEO and co-founder Jonah Perreti. Although Buzzfeed originally seems just entertainment oriented, at the root of it, it is an extremely multi-faceted Website where you can either take fun quizzes like ‘Which “Which ‘SNL’ Icon Are You?,” look up articles based entirely on cats “17 Extremely Helpful Cats” alongside articles about ISIS “U.S. Condemns ‘Despicable’ And ‘Cowardly’ ISIS Beheading Of Egyptian Christians In Libya.”

What makes Buzzfeed so buzz worthy is that it is one of a kind, audiences can interact with the website by clicking buttons like “OMG” or “LOL” depending on the article. In addition comments by viewers are taken seriously and Buzzfeed take the extra step to acknowledge the readers for noticing these errors.

Recently, Buzzfeed uploaded a video involving President Obama “Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About, Featuring President Obama.” Buzzfeed managed to not only provide an entertaining video featuring the most powerful man in America but editors also managed to inform the public about ObamaCare.

In an age where media are merging, so are the aims of articles. In today’s world, you do not need to choose between CNN and ENews. Buzzfeed is a one-stop shop to newsworthy stories whether its entertainment or serious news.  It is all about latest the buzz.

Journalism: Is it dying or evolving?


Today, I had a rather depressing conversation with an older neighbor. She was asking all the typical questions most 20-something-year-olds get: How’s school? What are you studying? What do you want to do? The conversation was light until I answered a question with “I’m a journalism major.” I was met with a passive aggressive, “Well … isn’t that a dying field, sweetie? Anyone can be a journalist now.”

My heart sank a little and every fiber of my being wanted to rip out the flowerbed that judgmental woman was watering. I held my breath.

Social media, YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and other blogging sites are available to anyone who can afford the technology. While even I can admit that the prospect of iPhone-wielding teenagers becoming the majority of our news sources is fairly terrifying, the notion of journalism dying just because there are more means of “reporting” is, frankly, a cop out.

The way I see it is that journalism is not dying, but the playing field is getting increasingly larger and so is the number of players. The problem therein is competition. We need writers that can pull audiences away from what their sorority sister re-tweeted, what’s being shared on Facebook or re-posted on Instagram. I do believe that the challenge is not simply no one caring- its that everyone has media-induced attention deficit disorder.

The field of journalism is still alive and kicking-fighting actually. Fighting through the hoards of meaningless personality quizzes, “like if you agree” posts, and celebrity gossip to get to what is happening in the real world.

Ignorance about public records


This week, the topic of public records and the information people can gather by looking at these documents came up in not just one but two of my classes. By just logging in online, a person can find out if you own a house, if the house is paid off, what kind of car you have, your tag number, any criminal charges against you, whether you own a gun and much more.

The thought that so much of your personal information is available online for anyone to see can be a little daunting. I know I think it is, even though I know I have nothing to hide.

The uses of these tools for a journalist are invaluable to finding out basic background information before delving further into a story. Some people just fail to realize that this is all public information and become upset when certain information, such as a map of all the gun permits in their area, is published.

Despite the fact that it’s scary to think your information is open to anyone, I think the use of public records to gain more knowledge on a story is a great tool. It can lead to new information in a story that you wouldn’t be able to find otherwise and can give a great background toward any kind of story.

It’s your Internet, use it without limits


The creation and development of the Internet has made many people’s lives so much easier. You can find literally anything that you are looking for, with the exception of some private documents held by the individuals or the government. Businesses, organizations and people alone use it for everything.

On Feb. 26, 2015, there will be a debate as to how fast the Internet can be for certain Web sites. It’s kind of like how a cellphone company promises you unlimited data but slows down after you have used a certain amount of LTE, or long term evolution. It basically determines the speed of how fast your phone processes information. Same goes for certain Web sites.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will meet to discuss whether the Internet will remain open, or net neutral, and continue to give all Web sites the same speed, or give the Internet providers the right to determine which Web sites are their priorities.

Some members of the FCC will be fighting for net neutrality, which is the open-ended Internet that we all now use and love. The others, including Tom Wheeler, chairman of the FCC, will be arguing for an Internet that is overseen by the government. He wants an Internet that prioritizes Web sites. In other words, Web sites that are used by a lot of people will get the higher speed while others will be slowed down or won’t be able to be used at all.

This change could cause havoc for people around the world. The Internet is not only for business but also for entertainment. Let’s hope for the best and keep the Internet in the hands of the people.

Today, anyone can write an article


I am a freshman who hopes to major in journalism one day and, even as I write this blog post, I am still learning, growing and improving. Writing is not just about putting words on paper, it is about using accurate sources and grammar and essentially being able to communicate a story in the best way possible.

In a world where online media are the No. 1 source for information, anyone can post an article and often times it is difficult to tell whether the information you are receiving is credible or not.

Oftentimes, when we see an interesting article posted on Facebook, we tend to click on it right away and, more often than not, these articles tend to either be advertisements or even mischievous viruses of some sort. Most of these articles contain incorrect information, wrong sources and are, at the core of it, poorly written pieces.

You can argue that media such as Google allow us to consume more information than ever before. However, if the information we consume is incorrect, how does it impact the way we view society?

Along with Photoshop with tools for editing, we cannot completely trust what we see. That is where the problem lies in journalism today. There are many news and information Web sites; therefore, there are numerous platforms for anyone to showcase what they have written. And anyone can create a new Web site, too, if that is the desired way to publish.

However, when does this start to devalue journalistic work? And in today’s world, what criteria can we use to decide what is and is not real journalism?

Can news keep pace with social media?


One of the great things about social media is that you can post something and instantly everyone whose interested can see it. It has created a window of opportunity for information to be spread far and spread quickly.

The way I first heard about the tragic shooting at Florida State University was not via CNN or ABC, but on social media. I always check my phone first thing in the morning, not turn on the news right when I wake up (and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this), so social media sources were how I first heard about what happened.

People who were actually in the library when the shooting took place were sending out texts and tweets, and the news of the incident spread like wild fire across mediums like Facebook, Twitter and even Yik Yak.

There is no way that a journalist could have learned about the event and written an article faster than someone could have written a tweet.

Social media are changing how we get our information in this day and age. Of course, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, so social media don’t have as much credibility as an actual news source, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still getting their information from people posting on the Web.

Social media are changing how reporters do their jobs. Everyone wants information sent directly to their phones right as it is happening. We want everything right now without having to wait.

Reputable news sources are beginning to take advantage of social media and it is shaping the future of journalism.

Technology and journalism — ‘BFFs’


There’s no doubt about it.

Over the past few years, journalism has changed and partly it has been because of its continuous effort to stay on track with its “BFF.”


So let’s face it; we all have tried to be like somebody else in our lives so there’s nothing wrong or to be ashamed of. (You are forgiven Journalism!)

Essentially what journalism has attempted throughout the course of the years is to fit in into the current society’s needs and wants. Or at least try to juggle with them.

So in a world were we find ourselves continuously dissatisfied and looking for the next “big thing”; that which increases our efficiency and makes our life easier, you might ask yourself what could be journalism’s next card?

Well, believe it or not it might be wearable technology.

It might sound odd at first, be the thing is that wearable technology is here. And is here to stay.

Wearable technology goes beyond just smart watches; it could includes other smart jewelry, Google Glass, fitness trackers and beyond.

Therefore, with the increasing popularity these items are experiencing, journalists should start focusing their effort on how to best format content to all of these different types of technology.

Because, again, let’s face it as people start using this items and as long as the trend and interest keeps on, they will become an everyday staple.

Hence, wearable technology may open the door for new platforms and ways to deliver information, forcing reporters to adjust getting the most pertinent details of a story across in the quickest way possible. One thing is for sure though; it will push journalism even further into the world of “at a glance.”

“Backpacking” — not just for tourism


Journalism has entered a new era. With tight budgets and evolving technologies, adaptation has become a staple. (Adaptation towards the “minimalist” for the most part, though. Cutting on the middlemen, who represent “unnecessary” expenses when having technology handy that make things easy.)

As a result, efficiency and productivity has boosted within the industry. Tools for instant, global, visual communication have paralleled and managed to adjustment throughout this evolutionary process destined  for convenience.

Unintentionally, this has propelled a new form of journalism.

As mentioned before, the countless benefits of new technology continue to open up the door to better and improved tools for journalists and thus the industry.

Now we can all easily fit a video camera, laptop, editing software and hard drive into one backpack. And with this concept in mind people started to wonder … if you already got it all wouldn’t you be also able to do it all?

Here the birth of “Backpack Journalism”

The term expects for one to be an “all-inclusive journalist.” A multi-tasker. A complete combo.

It requires for the journalist to be a reporter, photographer and videographer, as well as an editor and producer of stories. It is a one-person team. This takes out the cost of having other members of a “crew” on site.

Some producers see the method as a key to unlocking new techniques of storytelling and certainly, for some instances, developing personalized or in-depth approaches to the occurrence of the event.

Agree or disagree one thing is certain.You’ll be traveling for many miles if you really want to “get the heart of the matter” of your story no?. And hey, wouldn’t this be an alternative form of tourism? Time to pack those bags!

The changing face of online news


With the transformation of news reporting to an online medium, traditional forms of breaking the news have been replaced by new, constantly updated platforms. The pervasiveness of these platforms is enhanced by their interactivity.

However, while in the past the online news environment was dominated by the same news corporations that controlled print news journalism, recently the online shift has enabled new forms of news websites to emerge.

One particular website that has infiltrated the online news arena and is fighting to claim its place in the list of reputable news sources is Buzzfeed. Originally, Buzzfeed’s main purpose was providing information that already existed on the Internet in an entertaining and engaging format. However, after establishing Buzzfeed News, the website has transitioned into breaking news in a similar manner to other online news sources.

Buzzfeed appeals to a younger audience through its informal format. The high use of images, videos and gifs presents human interest news stories in an compelling way. This is furthered by the ability for users to comment on the stories, often leading to incredibly high levels of shares for many news articles.

This highlights the main attribute that sets Buzzfeed apart from its competitors, the way that it capitalizes on the blurred boundary between print and online media that has been created by social media.

However, while this format has gained popularity with the younger generation, which consists of heavy social media users who favor interactive articles, the lack of a traditional news format can force readers to question the credibility of the news reported.

What will you earn as a journalist?


Since the decline of newspapers, less people watching TV and the rapid growth of digital media, journalism salaries have been falling. Today, new graduate journalists are notorious for low salaries.

If you really want to be a journalist, you must be passionate about the career and must be willing to start from scratch with “not the best expected salary.”

Federal data show that news reporters are falling further behind workers in other occupations. The mean annual salary for reporters in the U.S is below the national average for all jobs.

As it turns out, a decade ago journalist earned more money than they do now. Reporters, on average, earn $2,080 less than the national average.

Certainly, journalism is a field where the competition is immense. The competition is increasing now even more because positions in this field are less. We probably have heard about the economic issues hitting the news business nowadays. Many newspapers with financial trouble have been forced to stop hiring new journalists and even lay off journalists that already have a job in the newspaper.

Not to mention, beginning broadcast journalists earn almost the same money as a beginning reporter in a newspaper. Although the competition for jobs in broadcasting is high, if you become an important anchor in a big media market, you’re going to have a high salary.

There are undoubtedly other careers such as medicine, business, architecture and law that pay much higher than journalism. However, journalism is a wonderful profession where you are always learning new things, meeting new people, traveling, exploring new things and doing interesting things. Despite the old journalism jobs being destroyed and many people fighting for these job positions, journalism is a great career to pursue when you really love what you do.

Yes, there are scarce career opportunities in this job field, yet if you want to be in journalism, you have to be willing to work harder and harder to be better than the other journalists fighting for the job you want.

Jurnid: Self-marketing for journalists


All aspiring freelance journalist should acquaint himself or herself with this groundbreaking creation.

Jurnid; set to be “the next big thing,” is a platform aim to connect journalists with outlets in need of content creators.

Founded by Miami-based freelance media creative Andrew Quarrie, Jurnid works as a platform for students and professionals to showcase their talents and build an audience that is interested in publishing their content.

The site welcomes all journalists regardless of specialty and it’s free to sign up to be a contributor.

It serves multiple purposes. You might want to use it as a blogging platform or as a place to find worthwhile paying projects by connecting with business and branded newsrooms. Or it might also work the other way around.

People might take a glimpse at your posts and then ask for a helping hand. Even to the point that, you can establish a pay plan for your readers if they are finding it so interesting to whip through your writings.

Either of the ways the application has the added benefit of dealing with payments, that to be honest, they just don’t tend to come always on time on the real world. The service is designed to provide a low-cost way for either print or photo journalists to monetize their work.

And why should we students care? Not just for early exposure, but for the further ‘prep’ and training it has to offer. The site provides a mentoring community between journalists and professionals. This for providing feedback(mainly aimed at beginner and journalism students) as they publish their portfolios on the platform to help them thrive as self-managed entrepreneurs.

On an era were everything seems to be shifting towards the digital, you sure want to keep an eye on this. Word of advice.

Documentary, journalism share much


Basically, journalism and documentary film own many common characters. According to Wikipedia, journalism is gathering, processing, and dissemination of news and information related to the news to an audience. The function of journalism is similar to documentary film. Only difference is that the journalism is real-time reporting and the documentary film is a historical record.

Nowadays, many documentaries are finding news publishers to build the ideal platforms for their work. At the same time, schools of journalism increasingly offer courses related to multimedia production and film editing.

Journalists and filmmakers are increasingly using the same methods to tell stories. For instances, “A Short History of the High Rise” is a documentary film which tells ts istory in a reporter’s tone (

One of the reasons that journalists began to tell stories in a different way is that images and videos contain a power to move and persuade audience to believe the fact. Conversely, the words and data are not convincing enough for the modern society.

People are able to see many news videos on CNN, New York Times or other news websites. Journalists are more and more adapt to use these technologies to tell a story.

Like Andrew DeVigal, the chair in Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement at the University of Oregon, posted on Twitter “I came for the technology and stayed for the story.”

An interesting fact is that “storytelling” is the word of the day. Journalists and reporters are preferred to be named “storytellers” and “story-makers” rather than the original names “journalist” or “filmmaker.” No one wants to be maligned as a “content creator.”

Journalism and documentary films are gradually combined and build a clearer picture for their audience. As DeVigal posted on Twitter “Let’s move from ‘public service media’ to ‘public participation media.'”

The age of 24-hour news filler


News used to be delivered in the form of daily newspapers. First with cable television and increasingly so with the Internet, coverage has become nonstop. 24-hour news channels are constantly on the air. Ironically, as Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, authors of “Warp Speed,” comment, news is delivered less completely as a result of 24-hour coverage because stories are now often presented in little pieces interspersed with speculation.

The concept of newsgathering is becoming distorted. What once valued significance and thoroughness becomes a waiting game with superficial filler. This is heightened by the desire to be broadcast live. Reporters may stand around waiting for breaking news to occur.  As Richard Sambrook and Sean McGuire at noted, “when a presenter feels compelled to say, ‘Plenty more to come … none of it news … but that won’t stop us,’” while waiting for the royal birth in 2013, “then there really is a problem.”

This deterioration is further driven by the desire to be first. The Internet enables videos and other forms of communication to be transmitted instantly. It is a race between channels to be the first to air breaking news. This has ethical implications since speed often correlates with inaccuracy. The traditional function of journalism, which is to share true, reliable accounts, is sometimes replaced by journalism in which the information is published before being verified.

Not all inaccuracies can be easily erased. Such was a case with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The media repeatedly misreported information in the rush to share new discoveries. In addition to erroneously reporting 12 dead, The New York Post linked Salah Barhoun to the attack. The innocent 17-year-old was featured front page as one of two “bag men,” suggesting that he was a suspect in the bombing. You can imagine the toll this false accusation took on his reputation, which may follow him throughout his life.

We need to be fact checking photos, too


Part of being a journalist is knowing how to check your facts before you publish an article stating that the facts are true. You make sure they came from a reliable source and, if possible, that other sources agree with this information.

But how do you check the credibility of a photo you want to publish? Do you even need to?

“A pictures worth a thousand words,” the expression goes. So, photos should be showing you what the facts are, because it’s right there on the screen for you to see. However, digital photography and Photoshop are making it nearly impossible to find a photo that has not been edited in some way.

Correcting color, brightness, contrast and other technical details is expected of photographers. These details, however, do not impact the content of the photo, just the quality.

Now, it is so easy for anyone with basic Photoshop skills to edit in something that was not originally there, or erase something that was. This makes it extremely difficult to tell what is real and what is exaggerated.

If you publish a photo that has been altered, you are supposed to specify that the content has been changed, but is it really possible to regulate that? If you find a free domain image you want to attach onto an article, how do you know if it has been altered?

The digital age is making it easier to share and show what’s going on all over the world, but it is also making it harder to believe our own eyes.

Infographics help tell the story


News reporting does not just mean providing the facts.

News reporters are responsible for providing factual information about events occurring in the world in an easily comprehensible manner. All too often, news reports complicate the matter further, distorting the public’s perception of the issue at hand.

A particularly relevant example of this is the reporting on the spread of the Ebola virus, that has been covered by the media during the past month. Updates about the disease are continually reported, however, instead of providing information about the disease, many of the articles are written in a way that increases fear in the public about the disease and how it can affect them.

However, a recent notable exception was the The New York Times article that provided more in depth information about the disease, particularly through the use of infographics. Aptly titled, Q & A, the article refutes rumors about the scale of the outbreak of Ebola around the world by using a question and answer format.

The graphic answers the most common questions that are currently being asked about Ebola and provides simplified explanations about the science behind the disease. This format demonstrates the fundamental principle of news reporting in informing the public, rather than providing misleading information that complicates the situation through the use of scientific jargon.

Answers to the questions are further enhanced through the use of graphs, tables, timelines and diagrams, which clarify the situation for the reader. By presenting the facts in this way, The New York Times illustrates the situation in a more clear and concise manner and ensures that readers are informed.

While creating these visual representations of the facts and figures is time consuming, it ultimately provides a more valuable news report for the public while simultaneously foregrounding the publication’s position as a reputable source of information.

Site exposes false facts online


The Internet is possibly the easiest place to spread rumors and false facts.

News stories that have incorrect information are easily transmitted online, social media sites like Twitter allow rumors to go viral extraordinarily fast, and above all, few Internet users actually check to confirm what they’re reading is, in fact, true.

A new website, however, may change all of this. tracks the most popular stories swirling around the Internet, and deems them true or false.

The website is associated with Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism. According to the website, it “aims to develop the best practices for debunking misinformation.”

On the site’s homepage there is the list of rumors, along with their status – true, false, or unverified. The site also displays how many times that story was shared, essentially its popularity, and a further breakdown of how the story was spread if you click on it.

In general, the concept seems like a great idea. It exposes sources for misinformation and falsehoods, therefore further inspiring the Internet to be more credible. The website is a good start for digital journalism, to put more responsibility on journalists to make sure their information is correct and to double-check their sources. Although the website mainly focuses on absurd rumors now, hopefully it will extend to all news sources and in more depth in the future. But for now, it’s a great addition in the credibility of digital journalism.

Visit the website here: