7-2 Blog Best Practices

Example Logo

After reviewing the article 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog there are few “best practices” I believe bloggers should have to follow when creating a blog to ensure that appropriate form, function and substance are accomplished. In regards to the form and style of the website there are a few things to keep in mind. According to Chelidonis (2011) there are few steps that have to be considered, “[When designing a blog a blogger must consider] the blog’s name, a professional blog theme, and a professionally designed logo” (Chelidonis, 2011). Without keeping in mind these important design elements a reader of your blog could get lost in the message you are trying to portray. You want make sure your blog is designed around your subject matter you are discussing.

The second thing you need to look at when considering your blog is the function of your blog. In order for your blog to perform well you have to be able to consider your web host to make sure they are reliable to host your content and you have to consider the amount of plugins and social media widgets you have on your blog. According to Chelidonis (2011) “Avoid stuffing your blog with as many plugins as possible because they will eventually make your blog hard to navigate and make readers lose focus” (Chelidonis, 2011).

(Fakhraie, 2013)
(Fakhraie, 2013)

When considering the function of your blog you want to make sure that your links and additional plug-ins on your blog are pertinent to your topic. While social media tools do in fact draw the reader in to learning more about your topic, you do not want tons of social media tools on your blog to draw your audience away from your message you are trying to depict to your readers.

The third thing you need to consider when creating a blog is the substance of the blog. This includes the content of your blog, the source information within your blog, regularly interacting with posting in your blog and getting new content ideas (Chelidonis, 2011). You want to make sure you are spending the time to research the content of your blog and you are regularly interacting with your readers. According to Chelidonis (2011), “Blog as often as you possible can but try to have a post at least 3 times a week, do not expect to build a successful blog if you have just post once a week, blogs need content and lots of it” (Chelidonis, 2011). In my opinion if you want to consider your self a frequent blogger you need to be able to work for it. You have to show your readers that you are care about the subject you are writing about and you are considering the “best blogging practices” to make your readers want to read your blog on a weekly basis.

In the article DM Best Practices: Writing for the Web (2013) it discusses the importance of formatting when creating your blog. The article states, “Reading long paragraphs on a screen hurts the eyes, it is laborious and time consuming in a medium known for speed…catch your readers’ attention in the first few words, start with the conclusion, follow with the details and [concentrate] on one idea per paragraph” (“Writing for the Web, 2013). In addition to keeping the form, function and substance in mind bloggers need to focus on the format of their blog posts. If it does not grab the attention of the reader and the blog has paragraphs upon paragraphs of text the reader could get bored. As long as a blogger keeps the above things in mind when creating a blog they should be successful in launching a successful blog for their readers.

World Wide Funding Blog

The website I have chosen to analyze on Best Practices for this week’s blog is World Wide Funding Blog for the United States. I have chosen to analyze this blog, as I believe the World Wide Funding Association is extremely powerful and it is one organization that I have donated to previously.

(About Us, 2015)
(About Us, 2015)

When looking at the form of the blog the blog certainly catches your eye. The blog has a catchy logo on the side of the screen, which many viewers can associate with the mission of the organization as this logo is being displayed in many other forms of media such as television commercials.

The blog is also extremely easy to navigate. At the top of the screen you are able to view information about the organization, which species they support, about the organization and how to get involved with the organization. By having easy navigation around the site this makes this easier on the reader.

(About Us, 2015)

The function of the blog proves to be easy for the reader. In addition to the main menu options that are shown at the top of the screen, the user is able to share the blog information with friends and family by using the social media tools at the bottom of the screen. I enjoyed viewing this website because all of the social media pictures, links and content were pertinent to the mission of the organization.

The substance of the blog pertains to the mission of the organization. According the WWF funding About Us page:

“[The World Wide Funding organization is the] world’s leading conservation organization, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.1 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature” (About Us, 2015).

All of the written blog posts pertain to conserving our environment through nature and our societies actions. I was impressed to find that each of the blog posts mixed text with the appropriate amount of media to the subject of the blog post.

Does my blog meet best practices?

When looking at my blog there is definitely some work that needs to be done. When reviewing my blog against the 12 Best Practices the form and function definitely stick out to me as areas I need to work on.

Amanda Blog

When starting this course I decided that putting tulips as my header pictures would look “pretty” and draw my audience in to my blog. In reality “tulips” have nothing to do with the substance of this blog. Since this course is all about design and substance to the readability of my audience, I should have chosen a better logo and picture that was related towards my main topic which is Knowledge in New Media. If I had chosen something aimed towards journalism and best media practices it would have aligned more with my readers.

The second thing that I think could have been improved in the content of my blog is the media to text balance ratio as well as the media plug-ins on my blog. Up until last week I really did not use a lot of media or pictures in my blog. The only form of web widgets I included was a calendar to view previous blog posts.best-practice It was mostly all text and formatted for print reading. According to the article, DM Best Practices: Writing for the Web (2013), “If the content was written for print, chances are it’s not appropriately formatted to your website” (“Writing for the Web,” 2013). If I were to continue on with this blog after this course I would be focusing on the layout and overall mission of the site to something I was interested in writing about.

The one area where I think I have a good grasp is the overall substance of my posts. I have provided links to all of my sources in my blogs and I view this to be highly important when being a credible and honest blogger.

I personally wish there was a Code of Conduct out there for new bloggers like myself. Before taking this course I was not familiar with journalist ethics and I have learned that you really need to dig deeper to gather the evidence of your story before publishing it. As indicated in the article Food Code of Ethics Burton and Greenstein (2009) state, “People who write comments and publish their opinions should be aware that they are accountable for their actions” (Burton and Greenstein, 2009). Whether someone is writing about food, politics journal articles etc. it is important to have guidelines to be an ethical, credible and honest writer.

Works Cited

About Us. (2015). Retrieved June 15, 2015, from https://www.worldwildlife.org/blogs

Burton, B., & Greenstein, L. (2009, April). Food Blog Code of Ethics. Retrieved June 8, 2015, from https://foodethics.wordpress.com/

Chelidonis, I. (2011). 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog. Retrieved June 9, 2015, from http://www.dailyblogtips.com/steps-to-successful-blog/

Fakhraie, F. (2013, June 18). Best Practices Resources for Your Social Media. Retrieved June 15, 2015, from https://www.brassmedia.com/best-practices-resources-for-your-social-media/

Writing for the Web. (2013). Dot Marketing Best Practices, 1-15. doi:10.4324/9780203845257

6-2 Blog: Using Social Media Tools

twitter logo


The first tool that I decided to try for social media tools is Twitter. In my personal and professional life I am connected to Facebook and LinkedIn but I have never used Twitter as a social media tool to connect with an audience. What I found interesting is the minute I logged into the Twitter website it suggested 40 contacts for me to add based on putting in my phone number and email address. The website recognized my friends simply through my phone number and email address. The walk through process of setting up my personal Twitter page was fairly straightforward. It starts with customizing your profile with your picture and adding people as suggestions based off of your personal email address. When I logged into my Twitter I was able to see personal Tweets and advertisements for a Premium business card company.

Twitter Post
Twitter Post

While I personally did not like Twitter from a personal standpoint as I found it very similar to posting status updates on Facebook, I could see this as a benefit to businesses looking to get their product out their to potential consumers. According to the New Media tools resources of the Aids.gov website:

Who is using Twitter?

  • 8% of U.S. Internet users use Twitter on a typical day;
  • 20.6 million U.S. adults access Twitter at least once a month;
  • 24% of Twitter users check tweets several times a day; and
  • 177 million tweets are sent every day.

(Twitter, 2015).

With the Twitter website producing more than 177 million Tweets daily this could be beneficial for any business looking to get their name out there.



The second social media tool that I decided to try for social media tools is Instagram. As mentioned previously in this blog I do use LinkedIn and Facebook on a regular basis but do not use Instagram because I heard it is very similar to the way Facebook allows you to post pictures and comment on them. When logging into Instagram I was able to post a picture of myself after my gym session and one of my friends “liked” the picture instantaneously. This is very similar to Facebook. Although I think Instagram is great for staying in touch with friends and family I also wanted to see how the application was used by a larger corporate organization. I decided to focus my attention on Disney since Disney is one of my favorite places to visit for a family vacation.

Disney Instagram
Disney Instagram

Upon viewing the Disney Instagram page it was interesting to see that they posted pictures from around the park for potential vacationers to see as well as characters from their upcoming movies. This could be helpful to get people to visit Disney Parks. According to the article Picture Perfect, Holtz (2012) states,

“As for infographics and infoposters, people will soon grow weary of ceaselessly scrolling through towers of text and data. If you take the infoposter approach, try to keep it short and simple…Whatever you do, make sure you establish a visual identity so that people begin to associate the look and feel with graphics of your organization” (Hotlz, 2012).

While I will use Instagram for social purposes in the future I do think that Instagram has a benefit to branding because people are so attracted to images and visual identities. This could be a pay off for a new organization looking to brand their products and get their name out to their audience.

Vine logo


The third social media tool that I decided to try is Vine. Vine allows you to create beautiful short looping videos to share with your friends. Upon visiting the website of Vine, I was presented with various social event videos such as videos of fireworks, a man in a gorilla mask (yes, seriously) and a DJ playing music. I then clicked on the login button on the page and was directed to login with either my apple login, android credentials or through Windows. I did find this to be a problem for this application because it does not allow you to log in without doing so through these different login methods.

Vine 1

Upon logging into the application on my Apple Iphone I found the website to be aimed towards viewing short videos on comedy, art, family and news along with various other social categories. I did not find any channels aimed towards business.

IMG_0091In my opinion this is very much a social site and would be effective if you are trying to get out a message to your friends and family. According to the New Media tools resources of the Aids.gov website:

Who is using video sharing sites?

  • Over 4 billion hours of video are viewed on YouTube per month; and
  • Seventy-two hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • Persons of color view an average of 6-10 hours of online video a month.

(Video Sharing Sites, 2015).

Based on these statistics it may be helpful for fundraising campaigns to use Vine to reach out to younger audiences. This could help them with earning valuable dollars for their organization.

Works Cited

Holtz, S. (2012). Picture perfect. Communication World, 29(6), 8-10.

Twitter. (2015). Retrieved June 7, 2015, from https://www.aids.gov/using-new-media/tools/twitter/

Video Sharing Sites. 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2015, from https://www.aids.gov/using-new-media/tools/video-sharing-sites/index.html

5-1 Blog Oconee County Observations

About the Author

Looking at the Oconee County Observations website the author of the blog is Lee Becker. According to the Oconee County Observations website Lee Becker has his PH.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Mass Communication, his M.A from the University of Kentucky in Communications and his B.A. from the University of Kentucky in Journalism.

On the blog it states the following about Lee Becker in regards to some of this achievements and awards:

  • The Association for Education in Journalism named [Lee Becker] the 2013 recipient of the Paul J. Deutschmann Excellence in Research Award at the association’s annual conference on Aug. 10, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
  • [Lee Becker] was given the Doctor Honoris Causa by the Senate of the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration on Dec. 4, 2012, in Bucharest, Romania. The Athens Banner-Herald wrote a story about the award.

(Becker, 2015).

Do I consider Lee Becker to be a professional journalist?

I do consider Becker to be a professional journalist because of three reasons:

  1. He has multiple degrees that are focused around journalism, media and communications.
  2. He shows accountability for his content he is publishing
  3. He shows dedication to interact with his community.

Within the article 7 Signs You May Be a Professional Blogger Ashley Robinson (2015) discusses 7 things that may make someone a professional blogger. Two of them stick out to me in this article:

  • You may be a professional blogger if you spend as much time interacting with your community as you do writing content
  • You may be a professional blogger if you hold yourself accountable.

(Robinson, 2015).

Looking into the history of Becker’s posts he makes the comments of his audience public and he does occasionally comment on the posts of his audience. Becker also makes himself accountable for the content he is posting. On the blog Becker (2015) states: “ I strive to be accurate, fair and transparent. Comments are encouraged. I attempt to apply the standards of accuracy, fairness and transparency to them as well” (Becker, 2015). In my opinion these are two vital things that would make a blogger and journalist appear professional on media websites and blogs.

Oconee County Observations – Purpose and Bias

The purpose of the Oconee County Observations website is to inform others about the news and comments made in the developments of Oconee County Georgia (Becker, 2015). There may be a bias to this blog as Becker states the following to his audience, “I am a citizen of Oconee County. My experiences and aspirations for the county have influence on what I post here” (Becker, 2015). While the author does make a point to tell his audience that he strives to be accurate and transparent in his news and comments, since he is a citizen of Oconee County his information he is providing could be skewed. This could have an influence on what he is posting to his audience. What I do admire about the author however is that he cites his resources and spends the time to include links to his sources in his blog.

Does the Becker adhere to SPJ’s Code of Ethics?

As a journalist and blogger I do believe that Lee Becker adheres to the SPJ’s Code of Ethics. Becker takes the steps to verify information and tries to report information truthfully and accurately. The following codes I believe are evident within Becker’s blog:

  • Seek Truth and Report It– Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
  • Be Accountable and Transparent—Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public. Journalists should explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.

(Society of Professional Journalists improving and protecting journalism since 1909. (n.d.)).

When viewing Becker’s blog Oconee County Observations I was impressed to find that Becker listed a link to his complete profile. When clicking on Becker’s complete profile I was able to follow a link to his webpage. When clicking on his webpage you are directed to the website Oconee County Observations II. On the webpage you are able to find source materials related to Becker’s blog Oconee County Observations. On the website Becker states the purpose of the page as the following: “This web site was created to provide materials referred to in the blog, Oconee County Observations. For more information, go to that blog” (Becker, L. (n.d.). I was impressed to find links to budget summaries, organizational charts, meeting minutes and email records. This in my opinion helps build the creditability of the journalist.

When viewing each of the blog posts I was impressed to find that Becker did not use a lot of anonymous quotes and he used the names of people making statements in his blog posts. He also provided links to videos in his blogs. An example of a video being posted would be in the blog titled A Small Truck Repair Facility is Coming to Oconee County Because of Caterpillar, Developer Told Planning Commission which was posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 (Becker, 2015). Within this blog Becker includes the video of the statement being made. This is a great example of a professional journalist providing evidence to make his blog more creditable.

If someone is reporting news should they be labeled as a “professional”?

In my own opinion it should not matter whether someone is labeled as a “professional” or not when reporting news. A person can be labeled as a “professional” and have multiple degrees but that does not make them an ethical journalist when reporting news. Everyone should be held to the same ethical standards regardless of their professional classification.

In this week’s reading resources there is one quote that sticks out to me as defining a good writer. In the article E.B. White on the Responsibility and Role of the Writer Popova (2012) states:

“A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter. A writer has a duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they interpret life, they inform and shape life” (Popova, 2012).

As long as someone is being ethical with his or her work, they know how to write about issues from both sides and they provide their audience with source information and verification of their work this in my opinion makes a journalist.

In my opinion whether you are working for a media organization or you blog about something you are passionate about you should be required to take training in media and journalism. Blog websites should provide tutorials and trainings on how to be an ethical journalist.

Citizen Journalists and Bloggers

With the rise of the Internet and Technology being made available to more users more citizen journalists and bloggers are putting their name out there and publishing more articles for society to view. According to Barnes (2012) “Traditional journalism is the outside looking in. Citizen journalism is the inside looking out. In order to get the complete story, it helps to have both points of view” (Barnes, 2012). This is changing the way that we are able to view media and stories because it allows people to voice their opinions and change the way we receive knowledge and what we know in society outside of traditional journalism. It allows for the “voiceless” to get their opinions out there outside of the traditional news reporter.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are both advantages and disadvantages of citizen journalists and bloggers.

Some of the advantages of citizen journalism are that it allows for people to write about topics they are interested in, it allows for citizens to spread information while there are many newsroom layoffs, and it allows for citizens to feel part of their communities by participating in news they are interested in. It allows for the “voiceless” to offer an alternative perspective to online media. According to the article Using Citizens For Community Journalism D’herr and Paulussen (2013) state, “A steadily growing number of online media initiatives engage and reach local audiences. Online news media are not constrained by spatial limitations and the emergence of citizen journalism offers new opportunities to cover news on a town, neighborhood or even street level” (D’herr and Paulussen, 2013).

Some of the disadvantages of citizenship journalism is the news can be interest based, the author can be biased in their writing and the blog or news story they are writing about can be more about speaking their mind on a subject than maintaining neutrality. The facts and sources in a news story can be skewed and could contain inaccurate information.

According to the article Citizen journalism: How to encourage critical reading and viewing? Van Kooten Niekerk (2013) states,

“A huge constraint facing citizen journalism is that it is almost never neutral. People report only the items that are of interest to them. Hardly anyone posts news items because they can, but only because they feel they need to. This entails that citizen journalists are always deeply involved in the news they report – which puts pressure on its neutrality” (Van Kooten Niekerk, 2013).

Good Judgment

In my opinion a non-professional can show good judgment and assemble information for balanced stories to build credibility for their stories. As a society we should be publishing tools and resources on ethical journalism on blog websites for people to use when they publishing their stories. I do believe however that whether a journalist is traditional or a non-professional there will never be 100% neutral and non-objective new stories. It is the responsibility of the consumer to check their sources and the credibility of a story.

According to Van Kooten Niekerk (2013):

“We ought not change citizen journalists, as they have everything on their mind except a neutral report of what’s going on. We ought to focus on changing the people on the receiving end to be critical about what they read and not to believe something simply by virtue of seeing it on their screen” (Van Kooten Niekerk, 2013).

Moving forward we should be focusing our attention on educating society in classrooms on the importance of media literacy and professional journalism. This may help with reducing the spread of false information online.

Works Cited

Barnes, C. (2012, September). Citizen Journalism vs. Traditional Journalism: A Case for Collaboration. Retrieved May 31, 2015, from https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-2839151391/citizen-journalism-vs-traditional-journalism-a-case

Becker, L. (n.d.). About Me. Retrieved May 15, 2015, from http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org/

Becker, L. (n.d.). Oconee County Observations II. Retrieved May 30, 2015, from https://sites.google.com/site/lbbecker48/

Becker, L. (2015, May 20). A Small Truck Repair Facility Is Coming To Oconee County Because of Caterpillar, Developer Told Planning Commission. Retrieved May 30, 2015, from http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org/2015/05/a-small-truck-repair-facility-is-coming.html#more

Paulussen, S., & D’heer, E. (2013). USING CITIZENS FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISM. Journalism Practice, 7(5), 588-603. doi:10.1080/17512786.2012.756667

Popova, M. (2012, April 17). E.B. White on the Responsibility and Role of the Writer. Retrieved May 31, 2015, from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/04/eb-white-on-the-responsibility-and-role-of-the-writer/256005/

Robison, A. (n.d.). 7 Signs You Might be a Professional Blogger. Retrieved May 31, 2015, from http://heartifb.com/2013/04/15/7-signs-might-be-professional-blogger/

Society of Professional Journalists improving and protecting journalism since 1909. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2015, from http://www.spj.org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/ethicscode.asp

Van Kooten Niekerk, G. (2013). Citizen journalism: How to encourage critical reading and viewing? Media Development, 2013(1), 15-18. Retrieved May 31, 2015, from Communication and Mass Media Complete.

3-1 Blog: Sources, Credibility, and Social Media

Source Evaluation

The online news article that I have chosen to analyze is Amtrak Train Was Going At Twice the Speed Limit Before Philadelphia Crash. The article was written by Alana Horowitz and Dana Liebelson on the Huffington Post website on May 13th, 2015. To determine if the article was creditable or not I researched the sources and the validity of the sources. I used the following resources as guides in what to look for to determine if the source was credible or not.

  • Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources (Montecino, 1998)
  • Critical Evaluation of Information Sources (Bell and Franz, 2014)
  • Blur How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload (Kovach and Rosenstiel, 2010)

The first source cited in the article was the National Transportation Safety Board. In the article the National Transportation Safety Board are notated as stating, “[The Amtrak train was going] more than twice the legal speed limit” (Horowitz and Liebelson, 2015). When you click on the link of the statement it directs you to Twitter page for the National Transportation Safety Board. When researching the National Transportation Website it states the following, “The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent Federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation – railroad, highway, marine and pipeline. The NTSB determines the probable cause of the accidents and issues safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents” (About the National Transportation Safety Board, 2015). I did find it credible that the authors were able to link the story to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The National Safety Board has the following members:

  • Honorable Christopher Hart, Chairman
  • Honorable T. Bell Dinh-Zarr, Vice Chairman
  • Honorable Robert L. Sumwait, Member
  • Honorable Earl F. Weener, Member

(The NSTB Board, 2015)

Upon looking at the biographies of each of these members I found it creditable that each of the members had a background in the transportation industry.

The second source cited in the article however is remaining as anonymous. In the article Horowitz and Liebelson (2014) state, “ Sources familiar with the investigation of the crash told the Wall Street Journal that the train hit a sharp curve and failed to slow down. As NBC News reported, the speed limit on the curve itself was 50 mph, while the limit on the track preceding the cure was 70 mph—still far below the train’s apparent speed” (Horowitz and Liebelson, 2015). Where did these sources come from and is the validity of the sources accurate? Did the train really fail to slow down? In the book Blur Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) state, “[With anonymous sourcing] we should ask why we should accept the source’s information as credible…you would be wise to reserve judgment until further evidence detailed in the story supports the information” (Kovach and Rosenstiel, 2010, p. 88). While the article does point to the Wall Street Journal and the NBC News as reporting the investigation of the crash, since the sources are not named and we do not know the credibility of the sources we cannot view this account as reliable.

The article continues on anonymous sourcing in this article by stating that “7 people were killed and at least 200 were injured during the train being overturned” (Horowitz and Libelson, 2014). This article points to yet another Huffington post article written about how many people were killed in the accident and how many people were injured. There is no creditable source for proving that this fact is accurate. As a consumer we would want to view many different information sources to determine if there were actually 7 people that died in the accident.

The third source cited in the article is the Amtrak newsletter. Horowitz and Libelson (2014) state, “A key safety system that slows down trains on curves was not yet installed in Philadelphia when Tuesday’s disaster took place, according to an Amtrak newsletter earlier this year. The Positive Train Control technology is supposed to be installed on U.S. freight and commuter lines by the end of the year, but according to the January/February newsletter, it was only operational on 400 miles of track” (Horwitz and Libelson, 2015). While the authors did link the Amtrak newsletter to this article where did they get the information that the Positive Train technology is supposed to be installed on U.S freight and commuter lines? There is no credible source or link that is provided for this comment. It even states in the article that Amtrak did not immediately respond to the comment. If Amtrak did not make any comments to the Newsletter or the advancement of Positive Train Control technology can we determine this article as credible?

Throughout this news article in the Huffington Post the authors note one credible news source, which is the National Transportation Safety Board. Other than this article sourcing biographies of the members of the Safety Board, the entire article is made up of anonymous sourcing and linking facts and statements to other information sources such as The Wall Street Journal and NBC News. I cannot determine whether this article is credible or not because I cannot rely on the accounts of anonymous sourcing. There needs to be links and statements from more credible sources in this article to trust it as being reliable.

Trusting information from Non-Professionals

When you are looking at any information source whether it is a professional or non-professional you need to question the validity of the information.

When looking at information from non-professionals it is important to look at a few different things when evaluating either a blog, personal website or news article:

  • Who is the author?
  • What are the author’s credentials? What is the reputation of the author?
  • Who is the publisher of the article?
  • Does the author exhibit a particular bias when writing?
  • Are the sources that are being used credible and does the author choose to write from both sides of a story?
  • What is the time frame of the story? Do the facts and time frame align with the conclusions made?

(Bell and Frantz, 2014).

Before taking this course I assumed that all of the information I was reading was credible and I did not have to question the information I was reading. I now know how important it is to question the sources, the author and the publication in which I am getting my information from. You cannot rely on the accounts or statements from professionals and you cannot rely on the information being presented as being accurate. I enjoyed reading the article Critical Evaluation of Information Sources (2014) and will continue to use this as a resource when evaluating an information source whether that is an article, blog, newspaper or news broadcast.

Social Media Influence on the Spread of Information

Social media has immensely influenced the sharing and receiving of information whether the information is accurate or not. Social media is easily transferable online because of how fast you can post information. Reading the article How Does False Information Spread Online (2014) I was surprised to find the following statistic: “[In the World Economic Forum the 10th top trend] was the concern over the rapid spread of misinformation online, specifically social media’s role in this. At a value of 3.34 this was seen as somewhat to very significant (Vis, 2014). While the Internet allows users to rapidly report information online we have to remember as consumers that not all information we are viewing is accurate. We need to participate in online verification to determine if the online information is in fact accurate.

We also need to expand our knowledge past our user preferences. According to the article The Dilemma of Group Membership in the Internet Age: Public Knowledge as Preferred Information Vahamaa and West (2014) state, “As an adjunct to the digital divide theory, another paradoxical result of ubiquitous media availability and use is an increase of knowledge gaps caused by user preferences” (Vahamaa and West, 2014). Before taking this course I would often click on articles shown to me within my Facebook profile everyday. I would not question the validity of the article shown in my profile by my user preferences. Upon taking this course I now look at articles that are not preselected by my user preferences and I question the validity of the information being shown to me.

Works Cited

“About The National Transportation Safety Board.” National Transportation Board. Web. 17 May 2015. http://www.ntsb.gov/about/Pages/default.aspx

Bell, C., & Frantz, P. (2014, December). Critical evaluation of information sources. Retrieved May 13, 2015, from http://library.uoregon.edu/guides/findarticles/credibility.html

Horowitz, Alana, and Dana Liebelson. “Amtrak Train Was Going At Twice The Speed Limit Before Philadelphia Crash.” Huffington Post. 13 May 2015. Web. 17 May 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/13/amtrak-crash-speed-limit_n_7276902.html

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). Blur: How to know what’s true in the age of information overload. New York: Bloomsbury.

Montecino, V. (1998, August). Helpful hints to help you evaluate the credibility of web resources. Retrieved May 10, 2015, from http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/web-eval-sites.htm

“The Monthly Publication for and by Amtrak Employees.” 20.1 (2015). Amtrak. Web. 17 May 2015. http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/774/37/Amtrak-Ink-Jan-Feb-2015.pdf

“The NTSB Board.” National Transportation Board. Http://www.ntsb.gov/about/board/Pages/default.aspx. Web. 17 May 2015.

VÄHÄMAA, M., & WEST, M. D. (2014). THE DILEMMA OF GROUP MEMBERSHIP IN THE INTERNET AGE: PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE AS PREFERRED MISINFORMATION. Javnost-The Public (European Institute For Communication & Culture (EURICOM)), 21(1), 5-101.Train

Vis, F. (2014, April 16). How does False Information Spread Online? Retrieved May 17, 2015, from http://www.socialsciencespace.com/2014/04/how-does-false-information-spread-online/

Blog 1: Examining Media Use and Influence

Using new media is something that I use every day in both my career and in my personal life. Let’s first start with my personal life. In my personal life I currently post to social websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. On these websites I connect with friends and family about my personal and professional endeavors. I also use the Internet daily to access my favorite music via Pandora online or I stream funny videos whether that is on YouTube or Netflix. I consider myself to be a new media and technology fanatic. I love buying new technology such as the Apple TV, IPad and Apple computer to access new media at the tips of my fingertips. New media consumes most of my personal life outside of working and participating in my graduate course.

In my professional life I use new media to communicate with my coworkers on a daily basis. I currently use Microsoft Lync to communicate with my coworkers on team assignments, I use email to correspond between those in my office and I use Microsoft Dynamics CRM system to communicate with my processing team on difficult financial aide processing issues. I even check my email on my phone for work purposes when I know I am going to be out of the office. Even though technology has advantages to accessing new media at a faster rate, I do find that being able to access work from anywhere can be stressful. In the article The Impact of Technology on our Work and Family Lives, Judi Casey (2012) states, “A 2010 study found that more frequent use of ICT (information and communication technology) (computer, email, cell phones, Internet) results in being more effective at work, but also generates increases in work load and the pace of work demands. In a subsequent paper, 83% of workers indicated that ICT increases productivity, but 53% describe greater stress levels” (Casey, 2012). Since taking COM-500 last term and learning about the effects of technology and new media I have tried balancing the amount of time I am using new media on a daily basis.

Media reaches me indirectly through others on a daily basis. Each day in our morning standups our Financial Aide Communications Coordinator presents us with recent news stories. He then sends the news stories to us via email. My mother is also a new media fanatic on news events. I will admit I do not spend as much time as I should looking at news events globally, but I know almost everyday my mom will send me interesting news articles on world events through email. My boyfriend similarly uses new media to text me throughout the day to send me funny videos or pictures. New media indirectly impacts me through advertising that I see on Internet sites I visit daily. According to Curtis (2012) “After seeing thousands of persuasive advertising messages, we make buying decisions based on what we [see] in newspaper and magazine ads” (Curtis, 2012). I will admit that some of my buying and personal decisions have been made indirectly because of the advertising shown on new media websites.

Media influences my perspective on world events. I can clearly remember when I was in the 8th grade and the 9/11 World Trade Center attack occurred. I will remember that day vividly in my mind forever. Shortly after the attacks Al Qaeda and the Muslim race was portrayed negatively in society. According to the article Critical analysis of Islamphobia in the West and the Media Siraj (2012) states, “Reporters who cover the Muslim world often know very little details about it. The major factor that contributes to Islamic stereotyping in the West relates to the selection of words in media. Some common names heard or seen in the news about Muslims are “extremists” or “terrorists” (Siraj, 2012, p. 27). After viewing the way that Muslims were displayed in the media I was afraid of them. Since I was only in the 8th grade I did not have the tools and resources to view media events like I do now. I personally believe that our Western culture news reporters only briefly show news events to us. After taking my last course COM-500 I know how vitally important it is to research many news stories before making an opinion on a world event.

Media has the power to tell us what to think about and not what to think. Every day we are bombarded with news stories and advertising that agenda sets what we should think about. In 2014 the coverage of Robin Williams suicide caught my attention. There was many that called Robin “selfish” while others thought it was sad he was found dead because of suicide. One in particular was through TMZ, a celebrity news site that some may view as a “credible” news source. TMZ is not like Times, Boston Globe or the Wallstreet Journal but it is a source of media people turn to for information.  In the article Robin Williams ‘selfish’ for committing Suicide says Todd Bridges, TMZ staff (2014) state, “Robin Williams’ death had been reported for just minutes, when “Diff’rent Stroke” star Todd Bridges bashed Williams for committing suicide…calling it a “very selfish act” (TMZ, 2014). Those who are not media literate may look at this website and assume either one of two things: Todd Bridge is a mean person because he commented negatively on Robin William’s suicide, or Todd Bridge is correct for his comments. What if Todd Bridge didn’t even make this comment? This news story got us to think about Robin Williams as someone who committed suicide because he was selfish, relying on the media to tell us what to think about. It is extremely important for society to question the credibility of the media they are exposed to today and view media from multiple different viewpoints.

Media has the power to shape our beliefs over time. Most of society’s beliefs are cultivated over time through continued exposure, resulting in small but measureable effects. An example of exposure to media that shapes beliefs is the beautiful and handsome men and woman that are being plastered throughout media and advertisements today. This is having a slow but negative effect on young woman today. According to Curtis (2012) “Teenage obesity and anorexia have been identified in recent years as nationwide problems. Even while millions of adolescents presumably are fighting obesity, they are exposed to countless advertisements for fattening junk food juxtaposed against countless idealized images of successful people appearing thin” (Curtis, 2012). Since people are constantly exposed to media it is highly important for people to have strong interpersonal relationships outside of media influence to make ethical beliefs and decisions.

While media certainly has an effect on some of the items I purchase and some of the decisions I make; it would not make me jump off a bridge so to speak. Since I have the strong interpersonal relationships of my family and friends around me it helps me balance my decision making against the influence of media. Media can have both positive and negative influences on decision making. In order to be a media literate person in the 21st century you have to be able to have the fundamental skills of understanding media from multiple points of meaning. According to Baran (2015), “Learning to enjoy, understand and appreciate media content includes the ability to use multiple points of access—to approach media content from a variety of directions and derive it from many levels of meaning” (Baran, 2015, pp.22). Being media literate in the 21st century can help us from creating stereotypical dominant stereotypes in the 21st century.

Information revolutions in ways of knowledge changing have changed over time making the exchange of communication much easier. According to Kovach & Rosenstiel (2010) “Communication of shared knowledge and shared curiosity brought people together in larger and larger communities based on common ways of knowing. Each advance in form and efficiency was also a democratizing influence: As more people became more knowledgeable; they also became better able to question their world and the behavior of the people and institutions that directed their lives” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2010). With each advancement in technology and communication society was able and is still able to question the media and information they are receiving on a daily basis. This will be highly important in establishing media literacy against authority and conglomerate companies in the future.

The power of media has changed throughout history. Written communication allowed for words to be written down and not forgotten. The printing press allowed for many copies of written documents to be produced. The telegraph allowed for communication messages to travel across long distances, and the radio allowed for people to hear the news versus reading it (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2010). While these communication techniques all allowed for communication and media to be shared at a quicker pace, the introduction of cable television pushed the envelope on the power of media. “Unlike newspaper readers, television viewers could not pick and choose what they wanted to watch. They had to watch the programs as they were designed or turn them off” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2010). Since people can now access information faster with the television and the Internet today they are being more exposed to the power of media and what to think about while viewing media.

The similarity in information revolution is the ability for society to clearly see the world and authority figures around them easier. “Each advance in communications technology has made it easier to learn about the world around us, to more easily become involved, to challenge and even dismantle old authorities who once controlled the flow of information, and to create new authorities” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2010). The primary difference of media being accessed today is the ability to access news and media from virtually anywhere. “Previously with the exception of rare moments of breaking news on cable and some all-news radio, people acquired news primarily around the breakfast table…[this is] no longer. Websites began to chart news consumption throughout the day” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2010). With the tools and resources to access media at a quicker pace we have to now start looking at the reliability of our resources.

Works Cited

Baran, S. J. (2015). Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Casey, J. (2012, October 2). The Impact of Technology on Our Work and Family Lives. Retrieved March 9, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judi-casey/the-impact-of-technology-_b_1932974.html

Curtis, A. R. (2012). Mass media influences on society. Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www2.uncp.edu/home/acurtis/Courses/ResourcesForCourses/PDFs/Mass_Media_Influence_on_Society.pdf

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). Blur: How to know what’s true in the age of information overload. New York: Bloomsbury.

Robin Williams ‘Selfish’ for Committing Suicide Says Todd Bridges. (2014, August 11). Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://www.tmz.com/2014/08/11/robin-williams-suicide-dead-todd-bridges-twitter-selfish/

Siraj, S. A. (2012). Critical analysis of Islamphobia in the West and the Media. Global Media Journal Pakistan Edition, 5(1), 26-37.