A recent topic of debate among journalists is, is SEO more important than the AP Style?

For myself, it’s hard to conjure Search Engine Optimization or SEO is more important than the AP Style. Especially having grown up in an environment where English teachers adamantly emphasized the importance of the AP style. Therefore my knowledge of SEO has always been diminutive until recently.

In conjunction to my recent blog post, Modern Problematics of the Journalism World, SEO does entail many benefits for modern journalists however there are negatives factors.

Because of the dissolution of news on print and the new desire for news on the web subsequently anyone can be a publisher. Fortunately this is why SEO is influential. SEO is a great tool to master that indubitably enhance journalists. SEO is a format that essentially caters for search engine users. Therefore if a journalist implements SEO skills into their articles thus attracts search engine users to easily find their article(s) online and essentially outwit their online competitors.

SEO educates journalists to be clear and concise, however SEO disregards ethical implications of sloppy SEO. SEO can be a tricky concept to grasp, and many journalists have become careless because of sloppy SEO. The ethical implication of SEO has signified a increase amount of  distorted facts, and fact-checking rumors in journalists’ writing.

Many journalists are opposed to SEO and think it isn’t fair to have to cater their articles for search engine user to find it easier. However it seems feasible for journalists to follow the SEO structure if they want to be a successful and renowned writer.

In an article How to: get to grips with SEO as a journalist, Coles stated ” as a journalist, SEO doesn’t have to mean you compromise what you do. It is just a way to make sure that your content has the best chance of being found by new readers.”

Which verifies that SEO is not a valid excuse to neglect ethical implications or compromise yourself as journalist.

In SEO Makes It Too Late for Truth for ‘Ground Zero Mosque,the article discusses an obstacle journalists face with their headlines today. From beginning of time, journalists are taught that accuracy and liability is vital. More than ever journalists are torn, being accurate and following the AP style or referring to SEO and possibly neglecting the ethical implications. Journalists are struggling to find a happy medium of using SEO and being accurate in their headlines. Unforunately it seems that using SEO and accuracy  sometimes can’t intermix in their writing and headlines.

Many journalists believe that following SEO format is more important than being accurate. Quoted from  SEO Makes It Too Late for Truth for ‘Ground Zero Mosque, Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, explained in an email:

““It may be inaccurate, but if that’s what the public is searching for, then using it speaks to what they seek. Once they arrive they can be further educated.”

In conclusion some journalists may always be skeptical of SEO because of the possible ethical implications. Some journalists are confused as to which one is more important and others believe SEO is the only option. In the article Student journalists need to learn SEO more than they need AP StyleMindy McAdams believes using both styles are equally important.

The inevitable demise of newspapers is apparent for today’s journalists. However the creation of Web 2.0 and the arbitrary advances of technology has significantly benefited the journalism world today. Subsequently, along with these beneficial outcomes unleashes an array of new glitches. Finally modern-day journalists can  stop dwelling on the dissolution of newspapers and move onto the present problematics journalists face today.

Living in the 21st Century can be a gift and at the same time a curse. The gift is the simplistic accessibility to the vast amount and variety of news media outlets. The downfall is living in the era of instant gratification. For the  first time audiences is consuming news media more than ever. Mainly because of the capability of being able to receive any information in the palm of a hand.  Journalists captivated this is as a new revelation. In return Journalists new desire is to meet and maintain the high demand of instant news that their audiences are desperately seeking for. However with this new desire comes the array of technical glitches from trying to meet these high demands.

An unfortunate but important lesson that the Journalism world should learn from was the recent false report’s of Joe Paterno’s death. Within moments of the first false report of Paterno’s death, the story began to spread like wildfire. This story unraveled very similar to a game that children play called telephone.  The children whisper a phrase to the person next to them, then that person forwards the message to the person next to them and so forth. The last person reveals the message to the group, and typically the message is distorted from the original message.

The false report of Paterno’s death began on a Student-Run Web site affiliated with Penn State, reported by ‘at the time’ managing editor of Onward State, Devon Edwards. The mistake Edwards made was never back tracking the source to verify that his statement was accurate. Unfortunately Edwards heard of an email that stated Paterno’s death and was distributed to Penn State football players.

Within an hour of Edward’s false report, several other media news outlets chimed in and reported Paterno’s Death even added additional details. Thus is why technology has become problematic in the journalism world. Technology is instant and because of the high demand of news media coverage, journalists are rushing to disseminate the information before anyone else does.  This notion of ‘being first’ is dangerous, for it can impair journalist’s judgement, blind their ethic implications and ultimately hinder their reputation.

Last night, guest lecturer and NPR’s Managing Editor for Digital News, Mark Stencel guest briefly touched upon the ethical implications of journalists. Stencel believes it’s an understatement that journalists make mistakes, and its inevitable because journalists are human and all humans make mistakes. Although Stencel said it’s not an excuse for journalists to make mistake  but if a mistake is made, it’s the aftermath that matters.

When Edward realized his error,  Edward’s profusely apologized  and released a statement that regarded the situation and was specifically meant for the family members of Joe Paterno. Further more, Edward later resigned but continued to remain on staff.

Indeed this particular story taught journalists a valuable lesson. Accuracy, back tracking sources and liability is vital and matters. This is why living in the 21st century can be a curse because publishing can be too easy, too fast and accommodating. For instance once something becomes published, it can become viral with minutes. Even though the internet provides a delete bottom doesn’t mean it went it went unnoticed. Stencel stated by deleting a published work makes readers suspicious if there’s something to hide.

In conclusion, the modern problematics journalists face today is the possibility of getting engulfed by the instant news media craze, neglecting ethical implications and ultimately becoming a careless writer.

 

A recent UMass graduate, Will McGuinness graced us with his presence in last Thursday’s  Multimedia Journalism Class. Will McGuinnes is currently a Digital content producer at CBS Local and a Freelance Journalist at Self. His experience includes a contributor writer at The Advocate magazine, online Product Manager – Taunton/Fall River at GateHouse Media New England and much more.

All of McGuinness’ recent experience needed the skills of multimedia. McGuinness believes the direction journalism is  “it’s breaking away from the newspaper model of slapping the content on the page and letting the audience just read it.” This is where the role of multimedia journalism becomes crucial.  Since the new trend these days is everybody wants the idea that everything ‘moves around’ and is interactive.

This is huge for the journalism field because it seems people have this preconceived notation that the journalism field is deteriorating. When in actuality there is an increase because of the attentive readers that are eager to receive information in the many infinite ways of news story is being distributed. The multimedia aspect has increased a number of new journalism opportunities since aspect multimedia is still growing and seems endless. It seems that there is always something new to be discovered or experimented in the multimedia side of journalism.

A problem multimedia journalism faces and McGuinness advocates is the cost of multimedia versus the standard writing an article for print. The things that need to be considered while producing a multimedia journalism story is the cost of equipment, video editing software and the amount of people hired per story. Lastly it’s more time consuming to produce a multimedia story compared to writing an article for print. This is since a multimedia story requires video editing, interviews and good audio enhancements and it’s better to have more than one person working on a multimedia story versus someone doing it all on their own.

By the time McGuinness graduate from UMass, his resume included 7 internships. The 7 internships included:

When McGuinness graduated in 2010, he was adamant to find a job. At one point McGuinness made a goal,  to apply to five different jobs a day. Since the newspaper industry and other news organizations have cut back mostly on their staff, McGuinness admits that it is hard to find a job. Typically because the small business is already short staffed and many of the people who are on staff are the people who have been working there for years.

But McGuinness also wanted to emphasized that there is  job opportunities out there and sometimes when applying for a job, it is possible to be hired for a different job then the job that  you were initially trying out for.

This happened to McGuinness when Gatehouse Media hired him in August 2010 but didn’t receive the job that he was applying for instead they hired him to be an online Product Manager in Taunton/Fall River. McGuinness worked at Gatehouse Media for more than a year and gained informative knowledge. McGuinness learned the ins and outs of the newspaper and quickly became familiar with the online website.

A major story, McGuinness covered during the time he worked at Gatehouse was the incident of  the Fall River Drowning in the Summer of 2011. The social network of Facebook played an important role in cracking the story because the first ID and picture was able to be compiled from the victim’s Facebook page.

Anything on Facebook, McGuinness states is public content and while working on the Fall River Drowning, he learned it is important to ask permission before publishing. Another reason Facebook contributed as an important role when covering the Fall River Drowning, was the  Facebook video chat that allowed them to get in contact with victim’s family members.

Overall, it was a delight to have McGuinness guest lecture. His presentation was very informative and interesting. The last major thing McGuinness emphasized is connections and how vital it is in the journalism field. By building connections early on can help  later on when looking for job opportunities.

In Life, Interrupted: A Video Portrait of Cancer in Young Adulthood, this documentary-style video portrays the essentials of a well produced and effective news package.

The video chronicles the story of a young women in her twenties whose life is interrupted when she gets diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

In the first twenty seconds of this video the voice over/ narrative establishes the story and hooks the audience. The news package video has an array of standstill photos, of before her illness, and present photos of herself.

Suleika Jaouad, the narrator of video, slowly speaks with fluidity, and emphasis. It is a heart wrenching video to watch.

Similar to a news feature story, many viewers will be enticed to watch this video because it’s a human interest story.

In the book Journalism NextBriggs states there are  two types of video assignments, a full documentary-style video or breaking news and highlights clips. Both types of video assignments require the same thinking as if it was to be written. The things to brainstorm before making a video, is thinking about how the video will tell the story and what is the message being portrayed throughout the video.

What makes this video an effective news package?

It focuses on one central idea, and it uses an array  of short clips in chronological order. Lastly the video has a clear beginning, middle and end. The short clips display an array of different angles, wide-angle shots, medium shots and close-ups zoom. Also the short video clips was able to include the five-shot sequences:

  • Close-up on the hands: Example: The Nurse inserting a needle into Jaouad‘s arm or typing on her laptop.
  • Close-up on the face: The last video clip, shows a close up of Jaouad’s face and discussing about her difficulties and fears.
  • Wide Shots: Showed the view of the doctor’s room.
  • Over the shoulder shot: The shot when the mother was talking, the angle shot was over the shoulder of Jaoud but focusing on the shot of her mother.
  • Creative Shot: Receiving a Hair Cut.

Another reason this video is an effective news package is all video clips have good lightning. Also the video clips have good focus and exposure.  The video, also mixes in still images at the appropriate time, making the images very purposeful. The video editing was well though out, with pleasing transitions and purposeful timing. Lastly, the video has an array of good audio, from coherent narration, intersecting music and natural sound.

Some criticism of the video:

  • The Length: It is rather on the long side, maybe not because it’s a documentary style video but it could hinder viewers from watching the video.
  • Rules of Thirds: I noticed some of the video shots were not angled according to the rules of thirds. Example: In the last clip when Jaoud talks about how she overall feels. The shot of the video frames her dead center and if it followed the rules of thirds, Jaoud should have been angled on the far right side of the shot.
  • The Music: This is a taste preference but I thought there could be a better choice of the music used in the video.
Overall this is a great news package video that is effective. Although the video probably could’ve been edited more, making the length of video a little shorter. The video does contain every element a  good news package should have!