Thursday, March 31, 2011

Resume Link

My Resume

Case Study 12: Wordled Speeches

When I first visited Wordle, I just thought it was a tool that created cool-looking collages. But then I read further and learned that “the clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.” I think this could be an incredibly valuable tool for journalists.
    It can show what people, politicians and leaders deem most important, what issues are most prominent in the world. For example, the Inaugural Speeches link reveals how the tool can be used to compare the inaugural speeches of various presidents. By examining which words are most prominent, the reader can easily see what is most important to the leaders of their country. The New York Times does this to compare a speech by Obama with one by Bush, both on the economy. The Times concludes: “The objectives of the two speeches are of course different. Mr. Bush’s speech was intended to explain and calm anxieties, whereas Mr. Obama’s speech was intended to make the case for significant, permanent policy changes (which perhaps explains Mr. Obama’s relatively greater willingness to use terms like “crisis” and “failure”).”

Blog No. 6

    The future of newspapers has been the topic of conversation since The New York Times announced that it would be charging readers for online access if they view more than 20 articles per month. The question is, will people be willing to pay for their news? Are readers that loyal to The Times? As much as I would love to say yes, I don’t see this benefiting The Times. At first I thought it might work IF they included video in the 20-story limit. The Times has video that other newspapers can’t even begin to compete with. And although their writing is extraordinary, people can find these stories anywhere. The video, however, they can only find at The Times.
    Why would readers pay for something they can easily find elsewhere? To me, it seems counterintuitive to charge for stories but not for video. As Schaffer puts it in her response to our previous reading, “In looking to reconstruct journalism, I’d start not by asking how do we get money for what we’ve always done. I’d ask instead: How do we provide something worth paying for?” To me, outstanding video and multimedia is worth paying for. The LA Times makes an interesting point, too: “Journalists and media outlets will have to plunge into new territory and do it without any assurance that the extra work will make them enough money to keep reporting the news.”

Sunday, March 27, 2011


During my internship this summer, the editorial interns (the mere 12 of us) had lunch with interns from other departments of The Times. We went around and introduced ourselves and stated what department we were working with. At least one-third of them were social media and marketing interns. It became a joke, almost, among us editorial interns. Many of these interns were responsible for maintaining The Times's Facebook page and Twitter accounts. It became very clear to me that social media is becoming a huge part of the news industry, even at the most traditional newspapers. I would define "social media" as any website that promotes interaction among users.

Journalists are now using Facebook to promote their own stories and gain a more loyal readership base. Facebook allows them to see what their readers think of their stories, whether they "like" them or not, what comments they post. There is more interaction between the providers and recipients of news. And it's free, which is a major plus given the state of the media industry.

Many journalists (at least a lot of my fellow student journalists) also use Facebook to find sources. So many times I've seen statuses by my fellow J-Schoolers asking for help finding subjects ("Does anyone know anyone who ______?" "Have you ever ____? If so, message me!") This use of Facebook does raise some ethical questions. Is it acceptable to scope out sources through Facebook? I personally have never used the site in this manner, because I personally think it's a bit unprofessional. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's unethical. I think people at traditional media outlets would frown upon it, but as times change, I believe these methods of newsgathering will become more and more acceptable.

I think Facebook could be used to see what readers want to read before a journalists starts a story. The journalist could pose the question on their page, "what do you want to read?" and see how people respond. This would be a good way of maintaining a good relationship with readers and ensuring that they stay loyal as long as possible.


This is a story I wrote for Orange and Blue magazine.

    “Welcome to my castle,” Dragan Kudjunzic says with a smirk, beckoning me into his cave-like office for what he calls our “intravein.” He removes his black jacket to reveal a charcoal shirt, buttoned to the brim so his neck is hardly visible. There are three jars of chocolates at the edge of his desk, and he signals me to try one of the round ones in the middle jar. 
    “I like to give my students something to sink their teeth into,” he says, the smirk reappearing.
    Dragan is a professor of Slavic and Jewish studies at the University of Florida and the pioneer of the undergraduate course Vampire Stories: Jewish and Christian Studies. He even has an Eastern European accent eerily similar to Count Dracula’s. But he made it clear that he doesn’t actually believe in vampires – except, of course, the ones that live inside every one of us.
    “There is something in vampires that are a part of us,” he said.
    Every human, fully fanged or still teething, has instinctive desires similar to vampires, he says. Even his students – whom he calls his “children of the night” – come to him with a hunger for knowledge. They crave the truth about the bloodthirsty villains haunting recent television shows and movies. 
    But Vampire Stories allows them to indulge in more than just the taste of the pop culture vampire and leaves them satiated with a deep knowledge about the real-life significance of the classic vampire tale.
    Christine Farina, a sophomore nursing student, said vampires had always been her favorite creatures of the night, a fascination that sprang from her adoration of Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 novel, “Dracula.”
    “I saw a course about vampires, and I figured you really can’t go wrong there,” Farina.    
    She expected to study the classic and contemporary vampire novels and films. What she didn’t expect was to learn how vampires shape modern culture, and that they roam our own country.
    “Before, vampires were just mythological creatures with no ties to real life,” she says. “Now I feel like I take them seriously.”
    “I urge my students to sink their teeth into the rich vein of vampire narratives,” Dragan says. “Once they do, they’re hooked.”
    He knows from experience. Because he’s been hooked for over a decade.

vEmpire: The Monstrosity of Our World
    He sunk his teeth into that rich vein back in 2000, when he was teaching at the University of California, Irvine. Born in the former Yugoslavia, now Serbia, Dragan moved to the United States in 1986 and graduated with a Ph. D. from the University of Southern California.
    After a close study of Stoker’s novel, Dragan was intrigued when he learned that the count, a 15th century Romanian prince, was avenging the battle of Kosovo. That battle, he said, fought by the Serbian troops in 1389 against the Ottoman empire, ended up in Serbian defeat but stopped the onslaught of the Turkish empire into Europe.
    Dragan started looking at the vampire’s presence in geopolitics, examining the rise and falls of the world’s empires, past and present. The more he researched, the more he started to believe that vampires do, indeed, exist.
    “I believe what vampires stand for. I know that to be real.”
    It’s a concept he coined vEmpire. Examining both the historical and modern geopolitical climate, he sees that humans have been waging the same war since the beginning of time: “good” versus “evil,” a dominant force versus “the other.” The vampire narrative is legend of this battle, though perhaps a bit more romantic. The world, Dragan says, views the vampire as something that must be destroyed or purified. In the real world, nations view their enemies as monsters, as entities that must be destroyed or, perhaps, democratized.
    “There is a constant monstrosity of ‘the other’ as repugnant and threatening,” Dragan said, citing the Holocaust as an example. The Nazis had their own definition of what was pure, and anyone who did not fit the blue-eyed mold was eliminated. The Holocaust is a disturbing portrayal of the vampire tale, he said. It’s chilling proof that the desire to purge evil is deadlier than any vampire figure, that human desire to destroy anything unordinary is eviler than any monster.
    But in reality, he said, there’s no one “good” side in the battle, as every culture – and every human – has a dark side.
    “Every culture is a culture of blood,” he said, adding that blood can stand for several resources, such as oil.
    Every culture, Dragan emphasized, including the United States. And what is the stage for a America’s production of the classic vampire tale? The South, slavery’s stomping grounds. And in this rendition, the whites are the monsters.
    “The white folks were feeding on blacks, and the blacks were left drained,” he said. 
    And though slavery is gone, vampires still roam in our own backyard. They even walk among us on campus. They sit next to us at football games. Take a closer look and you’ll notice that Albert’s and Alberta’s razor-sharp teeth may resemble those of Edward Cullen in the “Twilight” series. The seemingly harmless Gator chomp so many fans perform is alarmingly similar to a vampire’s bite.
    “Our university has a jaw as its totemic emblem; we want to devour the competition,” he said.

It’s All About Sex
    Destruction isn’t the only thing vampires want.  They want what everyone else wants. They want what every teenage boy daydreams about in Algebra II. They want sex.
    And luckily for them, vampires are downright sexy.
    “Vampires are frightening but enticing. They’re terrifying yet erotic,” Dragan said. “Everything about them is sexual.”
    Vampiric desires dwell in even the purest forms of affection, kissing. He says even most innocent pecks stem from our inner desire to eat one another.
    The vampire bite itself is a metaphor of sex, sex that sees no gender.
    “The mouth is not gendered,” he explained. “There is a unique fluidity of gender in vampires.”
    This sexy side of bloodsuckers is one of the main reasons the vampire narrative has become so popular in literature and film, Dragan says.
    But he makes it clear during the first day of class that “no bodily fluids will be exchanged in this course.”
    Farina said she knew Dragan was a different breed of professor on the first day of class. He walked in and immediately requested the class to pull down the light shades because “my skin is sensitive to light.”
    “He’s humorous in a different sort of way,” said Brett Pokorny, a senior journalism major enrolled in the course. “He does make some pretty bad jokes here and there.”
    Along with an abundant stock of tantalizing candies, Dragan promises an exciting course, and eternal life.
    “I guess that is why they keep coming back, the children of the night.”

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Although this is a clarification rather than a correction, this shows the holes and bias present in the original version of the story. The story was about a debate at a student Senate meeting about a proposed legislation that would allow guns on campus. The story includes only one source for The Unite Party and one for The Progress Party. Carly Wilson, with Unite, supported the legislation, and the Progress Party senator did not. Although there is nothing factually inaccurate, only relying on these two sources makes it seem like The Unite Party is fully in support, but in reality the majority of them are not. The writer should have realized this. Skeptical editors would have questioned it too, especially if they had been keeping up with SG politics.

Blog No. 5

Even though there were only two readings this week, I learned a lot about the future of journalism. The most important lesson is that the journalism of the future needs to rely on the participation of the community and the cooperation of various organizations and the government. Newspapers can no longer expect to be able to report the news without the aid of these key players. Unlike in the past when people looked to newspaper editors and writers as people who were more knowledgeable, newspapers are now going to have to rely on readers' knowledge and cooperation to provide information in an accurate and timely manner.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Editing Exercise and Case Study

Chicago Murder Trial Begins for Former Model
Jeanette Sliwinski Killed 3 Beloved Musicians With Car in Bid to End Her Life, Prosecutors Say

They probably never saw her coming.
It was July 14,  2005. Lunch hour in Chicago.
Three local musicians who worked day jobs together at an audio electronics company were stopped at a traffic light in a Honda Civic in a suburb north of the city.
At a speed authorities estimated at 70 mph, a former model who police said was trying to kill herself ran three red lights and slammed them from behind in her red Mustang convertible.
Both cars flew airborne on impact, witnesses said, landing crushed upside-down on the pavement.
The three young men died. The woman walked away with a broken ankle.
More than two years later, Jeanette Sliwinski’s murder trial begins this week.
Sliwinski's lawyers have denied that she was attempting suicide. Her current lawyer did not return a call seeking comment on the case.
The crash and subsequent arrest brought Sliwinski Internet fame. Many blogs and Web sites have posted modeling pictures of Sliwinski since she was arrested.

Case Study
Especially after taking a look at the readings about linking, I would definitely not have included the links to the pictures of the model. A lot of the pictures are very risque, and I don't think they should be linked to on the website of a professional news organization. Also, the pictures just aren't necessary. The reader does not need to see these pictures to gain a better understanding of the story. A more appropriate use of linking would be to provide the link to the original story. That way, the reader could gain more background information about the case. If the reader really wants to see pictures of her, he or she can look it up. It's not worth it for the newspaper to damage its reputation, even if the website it is linking to is completely separate.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


The Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Monarch of
the Seas, sits docked at Port Canaveral prior to
embarkation on March 7, 2011. 

A towel animal, suspected to be a swan, rests on
a bed in a room of Royal Caribbean's Monarch
of the Seas cruise ship on March 7, 2011.

Charlotte Smith, 21, left, and Emily Blake, 21, right, head into
the crystal blue waters at Coco Cay, a small island in The Bahamas
owned by Royal Caribbean, on March 8, 2011. 

Cruise guests enjoy the sun by the pool on the
Monarch of the Seas on March 9, 2011. Guests
could also relax in one of the ship's two hot tubs.
A view of Nassau, The Bahamas, from the Royal Caribbean cruise
ship the Monarch of the Seas, on March 10, 2011.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Team Story ideas

Kofi Protests Continue – The buzz on the plaza is about today’s protest by The Coalition for Justice Against Police Brutality on the one anniversary of the shooting of a UF graduate student by the University Police Department. Instead of just covering the protest, we would expand the story to discuss recent administrative changes in UPD and whether or not the department has followed through with its promises. The bigger picture is how UF is different a year after the incident. Photos of today’s protest could run alongside an infographic on the UPD changes. Sources: UPD Information Officer, Protest Organizers, SG liaison to UPD.

Florida Alternative Breaks – As many UF students are preparing for a week of debauchery, several hundred will be spending their time off volunteering. The Center for Leadership and Service is sponsoring 15 trips this break. The bigger picture is what students can do on their breaks besides getting drunk in Mexico. We could try to find photos from last year’s trips, photos from their training or perhaps an info box with a list and synopsis of each trip. Online: a slideshow of pictures and video interview with previous participants. Video interviews with those who were helped last year. Sources: Center for Leadership and Service, Trip Organizers, Trip Attendees, those who were helped.