Web Stats

It’s really amazing how far we’ve come with our understanding of the Internet.

At first, we simply just visited our favorite web sites, without a care in the world who else was actually visiting it. Nowadays? It’s quite the opposite.

Today’s sites feed off of hot buzz and millions of clicks. While we never really noticed back then how many people were visiting a site, the web masters behind the scenes knew exactly how many of us were enjoying our cyber pleasures. Back then, I bet most would’ve thought it was unthinkable for us to have access to such information.

Well, times have changed. That information is readily available for any citizen to have. If they want to see how much traffic they’re creating with their own personal blog, the blogosphere will happily provide them with the figures. It’s quite stunning sometimes to look at the numbers and know the influence you are having.

But that brings me to another point: how meaningful are each of these hits? I mean, they can most certainly vary in length. Someone might only be on for mere seconds before leaving, or they may be on it for hours to read one of your longer posts. Can we distinguish those two visits?

That’s why hits are great and all, but you really need to dig deeper and see the average amount of time someone is spending on your site. Don’t get me wrong, creating any type of traffic is great, but if that traffic is gone quickly, then you’re not truly engaging your audience with information.

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Narrowcasting

Let me start off by saying I absolutely love broadcast journalism. There is nothing I want to do more than report and give analysis on camera. But that doesn’t mean my field doesn’t have its shortcomings.

Too often, great stories are condensed to fit into an evening news time slot. These stories, with so many elements and views, could be told in much more detail. I saw a perfect example of the contrast between a feature story, and then the same story told on the local news in their format.

MediaStorm produced this tremendous feature on Walter Backerman, a run-of-the-mill seltzer man in New York City. Backerman treats his simple, yet rare, occupation with the utmost respect and sacrilege. To him, a mere seltzer bottle represents the legacy of his family, whom he inherited the business from. Please watch the actual story here: http://mediastorm.com/training/remember-these-days

The story, told by so many different shots, angles, and views, is crafted masterfully. We then watched the same story told on a local news station somewhere (I can’t find the link), and it wasn’t right. 

The whole tone and meaning of the story was just plain off. Since you had to take an original 12 minute piece, and turn it into a 2-3 minute piece, you lose the real depth of it all. It all feels rushed, pushed along with no delicacy. Backerman really cares about his craft deeply, and while you definitely saw some passion in the news piece, you just don’t get the same feel as you do from the MediaStorm piece.

Really, there’s nothing more the news station could’ve done. They meet different requirements than a website does. If you have a 12 minute piece on the news, that could be three or four stories getting cut off of the news. 

Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the beast. Maybe one day it will change, but I don’t think it will. Hopefully, people just know that there’s always something deeper to every story. 

Even the one of a seltzer man. 

Students Keep Faith in Franklin

COLUMBIA, MO – After another disappointing loss in the Southeastern Conference to the University of Florida this past Saturday, many Missouri fans found a target of blame: junior quarterback James Franklin. 
Franklin threw four interceptions in Gainesville, Florida, as the Tigers lost by a score of 14-7. The Tiger fan base has been placing a lot of blame on him due to the impressive performance of the rest of the team.
Missouri outgained Florida in terms of yardage and also had the ball longer for the game. They converted more third downs, as well as earned more first downs. The only category they were outplayed in was turnovers, due to Franklin’s four.
Even with that though, Missouri student Mike Bonomo thinks the Tigers should stand behind Franklin.
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 Mike Bonomo (pictured) browses on his laptop in the MUTV studio on Nov. 6, 2012. Bonomo, a freshman at the University of Missouri, works in the sports section at MUTV, a student broadcasting organization at Missouri. 
“I think he’s the most talented quarterback they have, as well as a good leader,” Bonomo said. 
Bonomo, a freshman journalism major, thinks Missouri fans should not forget about the knee injury Franklin sustained earlier this year against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Oct. 16, 2012. He thinks it had an effect against Florida. 
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Students at MUTV prepare for the sports programming being filmed at their station on Nov. 6, 2012. James Franklin figures to be a major topic of discussion on the shows. 
“You could tell the injury was still bothering him,” Bonomo said. “He couldn’t put enough weight on his injured knee, which is why he was overthrowing receivers.” 
Franklin is still first on the depth chart at quarterback, but time will tell if the supporters like Bonomo, or the detractors, win out. 

Writing With Your Senses

Our lecturer this week was definitely a personal favorite of mine. He discussed the importance of the quality of writing in journalism, which to me, seems to be a little lost on some these days. 

With all of the emphasis on video and photos, many forget how a great story can be told simply through words. Think about how storytelling started in the first place. Our history, and all of its entertaining events, was taken down in writing. Those prove that while the visual aspects of journalism definitely help, the core of it is still writing. 

To write well though, your senses are integral. How’s anybody supposed to know how the setting of your story is feeling or looking without your sensory experience. Reporting stories really brings together many different aspects to make a common thread. To do that, the senses have to be used at a high level. 

A community is made up of thousands of people who come from so many different walks of life. Stories come from these people having a common interest or shared experience. You have to recognize what they all are interested in seeing, smelling, hearing, etc. Everything YOU have gone through and noticed, combined with the community, will surely make one hell of story.

To bring all of that together, there is always one common method of communication that will always be there. That will always be writing. It doesn’t require an Internet connection or WiFi password, no cameras or recorders. All it needs is a pencil, piece of paper, and the content to make up the piece. 

You’ll always need it because everything you speak starts out as being written. Anchors and reporters who make it big are always the best writers. Their diction is unparalleled, structure is impeccable. Oratorical prowess starts with a strong ability to write. It all starts before they even stand in front of a camera. I’ve always thought it’s easier to turn a great writer into a good broadcaster simply because they have the hardest aspect of it down. 

So when you’re contemplating how to make your story better, always go back to the basics. The simplest form of communication will always be the best. 

 

Photography

Ya know, I know how our first-time lecturer felt this week.

When I first checked out a Nikon for 2150 to go do my Seeing Red project, I was a little lost. I’m a broadcast major, so needless to say, I’m a little more apt at capturing motion by recording than snapping a photo. 

I don’t think many people really know how much really goes into taking a good photo. Some think it’s just being in the right place at the right time, keeping your camera still, and snapping at the right moment. That’s way too simplistic of a view.

How about knowing when to adjust your aperture? Maybe your ISO? Perhaps the F-stop? 

Yeah. I knew none of that. 

It’s safe to say that I have become more familiar with these settings, and in turn, become a better photographer. But I am nowhere near calling myself good at it. I think it’s definitely something that you can only get better by going out there and snapping away. You don’t realize how many photos you’ll end up taking, and then not even using.

It’s all necessary though. As our lecturer said, your framing really begins to improve as you go on. You start to get your Rule of Thirds down, which is a little frustrating to think of at first. For your whole life, you are always taught to center everything to make it easier on the eyes. I couldn’t get over that, but the Rule of Thirds definitely makes it look better.

All in all, I’m sure there will be many more lectures for our lecturer to improve. And as he said on Monday, there will be many opportunities for us to become better photographers. Just go out there and shoot away.