Thursday, November 09, 2006

Reminder on Proposals

Remember that your group project proposals are due this coming Monday. Each group must submit one proposal, and each proposal should include:

  • Names of the participants

  • Project title

  • Description of the project (the issue or thing you will examine, and why it is relevant)

  • Description of the product (the format you will use, such as a written paper, group weblog, etc. and why you chose that format)

  • Statement of each participant's individual contribution (what each person will be responsible for in the project)

  • List of material consulted so far, and a statement about what resources you think you might consider as your work progresses

The proposal may be turned in on paper or posted to a weblog, but be sure to let me know where it is if you choose the latter. If you have questions about anything related to the project, please ask me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Daily Life of an Online Newspaper

The American Journalism Review has an article by Carl Sessions Stepp, Center Stage, describing the daily routine of online newspaper operations. In a previous piece he looks at the world of TV News Online. (From

Monday, October 30, 2006

Easy Publishing Tools for Online Journalists

Easy Publishing Tools for Online Journalists is a useful overview of some technologies for would-be OlJs.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Remaining Assignments

There are four remaining submissions for the term listed in the course outline: Assignment #3; Quiz #2 (proposal); In-Class Presentation, and the Final Project. This sounds like a lot, but it should be manageable. Here's how it will work:

Assignment #3: This assignment will be a continuation of the previous two weblog assignments. You will be required to write at least two course-relevant entries (approximately 300 words total) per week on your existing weblog for the remaining weeks of the term. Some entries will require you to respond to a specific question I provide to you. In addition, there will be some specific technical assignments. Review date for the assignment will be 24 November;

Project Proposal (Quiz #2): Instead of a quiz, you will write a brief proposal for the final project (see below) and submit it to me via email. The due date for the proposal will be 1 pm Monday 13 November. The proposal should be no more than three paragraphs long and should describe what you would like to do for the final project, what product you would like to produce, and what topic you will address. The proposal should identify each student participating in the group and what each student's contribution to the project will be.

Final Project: The Final Project will be a group assignment with each student contributing an individual portion of the assignment. The product of the assignment, due Friday 8 December, may be a paper (3 to 4 pages double-spaced, plus references, per student) or it may be posted online as a linked series of weblogs, a group weblog (a few individuals posting to one weblog), or some other format you propose. Whatever format you choose, each individual student's contribution must be clearly identifiable.

Any topic of relevance to this course is acceptable. Some possibilities include:
--New Information Technologies in Kazakhstan/Central Asia
--Online Journalism
--Public Relations and Weblogs
--NITs and Citizen Journalism
--Useful Tools

Presentation: Each group will do an in-class presentation of their project during the last two weeks of class. Presentation dates will be determined in-class on Friday, 17 November.

We will discuss these further in class.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Bloglines Blogroll

Here is a link to my Bloglines list of feeds.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PR and Weblogs: Ethical Issues

Journalists aren't the only media professionals who have discovered that weblogs can be a useful tool. PR professionals have as well. In some cases, though, they are used deceptively, as in this case in which a PR firm representing Wal Mart created a supposedly independent weblog to promote the company, and even hired a Washington Post photographer to contribute to the site while posing as just an average person. It's an interesting case in ethics (or better put, lack of ethics).

Update, 30 October: In a follow-up to the Wal Mart PR weblog blunder, Mediashift asks what impact the scandal may have on weblogs and the PR industry.

OhMyNews! and Korean Nuclear Coverage

In Poynter Online's e-Media Tidbits, Amy Gahran links to an OhMyNews! page focused on the issue of nuclear weapons in North Korea. She calls the page, which combines professional and amateur analysis, "a classic example of how traditional and citizen journalism can complement each other to round out a major story."

Also see Amy's post from the same day on collaboration between professional journalists and webloggers.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Wikiproject Central Asia

At Registan, Nathan Hamm reports that a group of people involved with Wikipedia are beginning a project to improve the site's coverage of Central Asia. According to its webpage, Wikiproject Central Asia "aims to expand, cleanup and wikify, better organize, and neutralize the point of view on articles related to Central Asia." There is an ambitious list of projected articles for the site. Take a look, and consider contributing something if you are so moved.

Tips for Good Blogging

From South Africa, Vincent Maher offers 11 Tips for Managing a Good Blog Entry. His focus is on weblogs as tools for community building. Although some people think this sets them apart from traditional news media, I tend to think that is an important part of what all news media ought to be doing. From Amy Gahran at Poynter Online.

See more tips in Seven Ways to Optimize Your Blog

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bloglines Subscription

Also for this week, please sign up to the web based RSS/site feed reader Bloglines and subscribe to some news feeds there. Also make sure that the site feed for your weblog is enabled. We will discuss how to do this in class.

Here's are some handy resources: tutorial from Better Days on setting up and using Bloglines (warning: lots of graphics make for a slow download); How to Set Up Bloglines as your Web Aggregator.

Required Reading for October 23 to 27; Quiz Style Guideline

Required readings for the week of October 23 to 27 are:

Dube, Jonathan (2005) "RSS for Journalists," Poynter Online, February 16. Available at:

Gillmor, Dan (2006) "What Ethics Should Bloggers Have?" in Reporters Without Borders (eds.) Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents. Available at:

Note that these two readings are presented in a formal style which you should use for your works cited list at the end of your quiz essay due later this week. The list at the end of your essay should include similar information for any work you used in your essay. Within the text of the essay, you should briefly identify each work as you use it as in this example:

As Dan Gillmor suggests, bloggers may not be professional journalists and may not need formal journalistic codes, but if they follow some of the ethical guidelines of journalism then they may gain the trust of their readers.

Using this style should allow your writing to flow while giving enough identifying information to ensure your readers can locate your sources, regardless of whether hyperlinks are working or not. We can discuss this more in class.

Friday, October 13, 2006

neweurasia on Kazakhstan Blogging and Media Law

Over at neweurasia Kazakhstan, Leila is wondering about what Kazakhstan's media law and a government promise to consider new policy on regulating the internet might mean for bloggers. She asks:
"What about blogs? A relatively new phenomenon in Kazakhstan ... There are about 16,000 Livejournals registered in Kazakhstan, 6,000 of them based in Almaty (the number of people actually maintaining diaries is not confirmed).* Only some blogs discuss politics and offer analysis of news and events. Could these diaries become subject to information and media laws? In my opinion, yes, and if so, this is not a good development for Kazakhstan."

The internet's greatest potential is also perhaps the most important cause of confusion about its legal status: it gives so many people the opportunity to act as their own publishers and to share their ideas widely with little oversight. This can create confusion in particular in a region without strong traditions of press freedom. Kazakstan's bloggers (and other internet users) would be well-advised to pay attention to concerns like those Leila raises. I recommend her post. (And note that her comments include some discussion of how realistic might be her estimate of the number of bloggers in the country.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Feedback on Assignment Two

I have reviewed the weblogs for Assignment Two and will provide each of you with feedback and grades today in class. However, there are a few pieces of feedback I will also provide here to everyone.
In general I liked the range of topics in student's entries. Most of you included issues relevant to the field. Most of you also did a good job of meeting the technical requirements of the assignment. I especially liked some of the conversations that emerged among people in the course. There are a few areas that need attention, however. Please take these requirements into account for all future work for the course.

  1. Acknowledging Sources: You must acknowledge all your sources clearly, and clearly indicate when you are quoting from another source.

  2. Cutting and Pasting: Use the cut and paste feature sparingly. There are too many cases of entries made up entirely, or almost, of quoted text. From this point on, each of your entries must include a minimum of 75 percent of your own words and all quoted text must be clearly offset from your own words.

  3. Writing for Other Courses: Treat material written for other courses as you would material written by other people. You may quote from it or refer to it, but you cannot simply post material written for another course on your weblog without acknowledging it as such.

  4. Post Consistently: Too many people rushed to post entries just before the final due date of the assignment. Assignment two was designed so that you would post at least a couple of entries each week. I only reduced grades a bit for posting deluges this time, but that will change in the future. When I ask you to post a couple of entries per week, that's what I want to see.

We will talk more about these things in class. Please ask me if you have any questions.

Top Three Things a Journalism Student Should Know

At :journalistopia journalist-blogger Danny Sanchez is writing (and asking for professional advice) on the question:
"What are the top three things a freshman journalism student should do or know to be a competitive job candidate three years from now?"
Sanchez will be giving a talk on the subject at a Florida j-school, and he is asking for suggestions from readers. One response I liked:
"Treat everything you produce as a piece of professional public work, whether it’s text or photos or a video you post on YouTube. Your Web presence is an important part of your portfolio. You will be Googled."
There are more worthwhile suggestions in his comments section. Check them out.

Thanks to Mindy McAdams for the link.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Quiz #1

Due Date: Friday 27 October, 1 pm

As we have discussed in class, your first quiz for the term will be a formal essay which you should post as an entry on your weblog no later than 1 pm on Friday 27 October. The essay should be approximately 500 words in length. In your essay you must make use of material from the required course readings (all of which are listed on this site). You should also use other material linked through the course weblog, and you may use other sources as you wish. All ideas and words you borrow from any sources must be clearly cited in the text of your essay (and supplemented with an online link if possible).

Your assignment is to write an essay exploring some way that new information technologies are changing (or might possibly change) journalism. This assignment is intentionally broad to allow you to choose a specific issue that interests you.

Be sure that your final essay is fully developed, with a clear opening position, supporting evidence, and a conclusion. Feel free to discuss your ideas for essay topics with me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Required Reading, 9 to 13 October

Reading for this week is:

"The Use of the Internet by America's Newspapers" (PDF), a report by the Bivings Group (read this one for major ideas) and "The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism" by Steve Outing. Read this report more closely, and follow at least a couple of links in each section of the paper to see examples.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Link Update

Please remember to update the link to Anel's site in your weblog. The old URL was:

Her new address is:

You can copy and paste the new address in your template, or simply add the "17" to the existing URL (in the proper location) in your template.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

New Links: and Global Voices Online

Nathan Hamm, who runs, visited our course weblog the other day. He wrote that he has found our sites and has loaded all of them into an online aggregator for potential use in his writing at Registan and at Global Voices Online. (We will be talking more about aggregators in coming classes.)

We have discussed Global Voices before in class, though this is the first time I have looked at The site seems like another very good resource on Central Asia. Nathan has an impressive list of links there in the sidebar. I'm adding both resources now to the sidebar on this site.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

More on Acknowledging Sources

Remember that there are two major reasons for acknowledging sources used in your writing: to give credit to the people on whose ideas you draw (an ethical foundation), and to make your own writing more convincing by demonstrating the strength of your research (a persuasive foundation). You should always give your reader enough information so that she can identify and locate as easily as possibly your research material.

There are different formats for acknowledging sources. Some are very standardized, such as those used in formal academic papers. Some are less formal, such as those used in journalism or online. But the ethical and persuasive reasons for recognizing your sources still apply no matter the style of writing you choose.

Publishing online allows writers a relatively easy way to acknowledge sources using hypertext links. Readers can simply click on a link to identify and access your source material immediately. But even though a hyperlink can usually do this, it is still good practice to give enough information in the text of your writing to identify sources without requiring your reader to actually click a link.

Why? Because sometimes links go bad; sometimes people are reading a printed version of what's online and cannot follow a link, and sometimes people simply don't have the time or patience to follow your links. In any of these cases, your writing will be greatly improved if you remember always to briefly identify in text the sources for your material.

You may use a formal academic style to do this if you choose, but for most of our online writing I suggest using a less formal journalistic approach and, wherever possible, using a direct link as well. Something like this:
In "You Can Quote Me on That," an article published on the No Train, No Gain journalism coaching website, attributing sources is described as "the difference between research and plagiarism."

You'll notice that I link only to the article itself here and do not link, in addition, to the main website of the group publishing the article. That's because too many links can get confusing, and seeing as the link to the article begins with No Train, No Gain's main URL I decided that was enough information. Usually it is preferable to provide the name of an author of a source, but because the author is not clearly stated in this case, I attributed the material to the publishing organization instead.

How detailed you get in acknowledging a source must depend upon how much is needed to reasonably identify and locate the source, and on how you are using the source in your writing. The more central the source is to your material, the more detail you may want to provide.

Usually a citation like the model above would be sufficient for our purposes, but use your judgment and please ask me if you have any questions. And when in doubt, make sure to attribute as fully as possible. For more discussion of attribution, see the No Pain, No Gain article linked above and explore their main site for other resources. (Notice how I sneak in a link to this main site at another point in the article.)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Backpack Journalism Online

A post at Mindy McAdams's site called my attention to Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone, a website where the intrepid backpack journalist Sites chronicles his year-long mission "(t)o cover every armed conflict in the world" using a backpack full of high-tech gear to produce multi-media narrative reporting and upload it to his Yahoo!®-sponsored website.

There may very well be some valuable information and compelling stories at the site, but I am skeptical of the project for a few reasons:
  1. It smacks of the ego-charged, adrenaline-fed variety of reporting in which the macho foreign correspondent charges into harm's way, risking life and studly limb to get the story under fire. The prominent placement of the ruggedly good-looking Sikes's photo on the website further promotes this image;

  2. The project promises in-depth reporting and involvement in finding solutions to the problems Sikes covers, but covering 20 international armed conflict zones in one year (which apparently he did) cannot give any reporter the context needed to fully understand an international story. This sounds like journo-tourism rather than deep reporting, much less problem solving;

  3. I'm all for celebrating the communicative potentials of new media technologies, but this project seems like one big advertisement for techno-gadgets. Wanna be a macho reporter just like Kevin? Then check out the list of gear he carried on assignment and get started shopping. I'm a bit surprised the list doesn't include links to buy each item from Yahoo! I'd much rather there were a focus on the application of technologies, rather than just the technologies themselves. A bitchin' gear kit does not a good reporter make.

Perhaps I've been harsh on Kevin and the Hotzone crew, but I think it's important to point out the issues I've raised. I'd be willing to listen to other perspectives, but as I said, I'm skeptical...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Assignment #2, Last Task

Due Date: Friday 6 October, 1 pm

For the third part of assignment two, be sure you have done everything outlined in the entries on task one and task two. Review to be sure you have used the correct links and that all your comments at other sites are directly linked from an entry at your site; that your formatting for sidebar links matches other elements of the sidebar, and so on.

Be sure to acknowledge sources properly and that every entry contains at least some of your own words, clearly distinguished from words and ideas borrowed elsewhere. This applies to your previous entries (which should be modified to ensure they are properly sourced) as well as to your new entries.

Review all the material posted on the course weblog since we began working on assignment two. Double- and triple-check to be sure you have set up your weblog so it works well, and ask me if you have any questions.

There are no new technical requirements for the third part of assignment two. Instead I want you to focus on developing content at your site. Be sure you have written at least a couple of entries per week over the three weeks we have been working on this assignment--about 350 words per week--and that a substantial portion of your entries deal with issues related to new information technologies, journalism, and so on. Use your weblog as your "thinking pad" for issues related to your field as well as other ideas as you see fit.

If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for topics, review the course readings and topical entries at this weblog. We can also discuss ideas in class.

More Networking Effects

The good folks at have mentioned our classroom network of weblogs in a round-up on blogging in the region. In the post, Ben at neweurasia writes,
"Blogging has made it into the classroom at one of Kazakhstan’s most prestigious universities. Frederick Emrich and his students at KIMEP all use blogs to discover new information technologies and share their experiences using them."

Be sure to check out the entry as it mentions other blogging initiatives in the region as well. I've found that neweurasia and its country-specific sites are great resources not only for news and views from or about the area, but also for discovering local voices online.

Ben's entry was also cross-posted at Global Voices Online, so there's yet another network that extends the potential reach of your course weblogs.

If you were wondering, I didn't do anything to inform either Ben or Mindy McAdams about our course weblogs. They found them on their own. I'm not sure exactly how Mindy came across our sites, but Ben emailed me after posting his entry and said he found us through Technorati, probably the most prominent blog tracking site.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Comment Tips

Don't forget, if you mention an entry at another person's site or if you make a comment on another person's site, be sure to create a link at your site to the specific entry (not just to that person's main weblog) and make sure the link at their site goes back to your specific entry as well. We will discuss this again in class to be sure it is clear.

Entry Tips: Acknowledging Sources

Note that the guidelines in this entry are required for all your weblog postings.

Although weblog postings are often informal and sometimes make liberal use of material found in other places, legally and ethically all your posts must clearly distinguish between your own ideas and words, and those of others. In general there are three categories that concern us here: Your own original ideas (which do not need to be attributed); ideas you have found other places and put into your own words (which must be clearly attributed in text and also, preferably, with a link), and direct quotes (which must be clearly attributed in text and with quotation marks and also, preferably, with a link).

At this point I assume everyone knows how to distinguish among these three categories when they write on paper (that is, you don't need a major refresher on when you should identify other people's ideas and words in your writing in general). These basic guidelines are meant instead to help you ensure you are properly acknowledging your sources in the somewhat informal and fast-paced atmosphere of weblog writing.

  1. Every entry you publish must include some of your own words (and preferably more of your words than words you have borrowed from somewhere else). This is good practice in general; anytime you use a quote you have to use your own words to put that quote into context.

  2. For ideas borrowed other places and for quotes, give your reader enough information so she can identify and (hopefully) track down your source. If you use an online link to the source, that with just a few words in the text should suffice for acknowledgment in most cases. For offline sources, you will need to provide a bit more detail.

  3. Always put quotation marks around direct quotes, whether single words, phrases, or longer text. For longer quotes (of more than a couple of lines of text) you should also use the blog editors quote tool to set the quoted text apart from your own words.

We can discuss this further in class, but be sure in all your weblog writing to follow these guidelines. On the last assignment I allowed a bit of leeway because you were just learning the blogging tools, but for Assignment Two and all future assignments you must follow these rules.

And Speaking of Networking...

Our class and associated websites have been mentioned by Mindy McAdams at her Teaching Online Journalism weblog.

Mindy makes specific reference to Anvar's weblog. And for her part, Soy has already posted an entry about Mindy's comments here.

Perhaps this is a lesson in how our classroom network, now in the online environment, can quickly connect us with other people and their networks...

New Resource: Media-News Kazakhstan

Media-News Kazakhstan is a site that offers news items related to media in Kazakhstan. There isn't much information on the site about who produces it, but they do say they are supported by the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Internet in 2020

A news story on the BBC World website describes a report from the Pew Foundation, which asked more than 700 experts on the internet to predict what the network might be like in 15 years (BBC World: Internet's Future in 2020 Debated). It's an interesting snapshot of what the experts are thinking. For instance, while more than half say the internet will thrive as a low-cost network, even more say people opposed to technological advances will commit acts of terror against the network. Still, it's good to be skeptical about predictions like this...

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has the full report in PDF.

Assignment #2, Second Task

By now you should have completed the requirements described in Assignment #2, First Task: Your weblog should be set up to allow other people to leave comments and links, and you should have visited several other course weblogs and used commenting to begin a conversation within our course network. When you comment, be sure you have an entry at your site linking to the material you are writing about and that you post a link to your entry at your colleague's site. There is an example on our course weblog demonstrating how to do this. You should also continue using your weblog to write about issues related to the course: I expect a minimum of about 350 words per week.

If you have not completed the things described in task one, please do so right away. And as always, if you have questions about any of the above, please let me know right away.

Plan to complete the second task of assignment #2 this week--by Friday 29 September. The task is as follows:
  1. Create a list of links to all our course weblogs (both student weblogs and this general course weblog) in a sidebar on your weblog (as opposed to putting them in an entry). For Blogger users, this will mean editing your template as I have demonstrated in class. You may copy and paste the list of links from the course site, either by using the text I emailed to everyone this weekend or by copying and pasting the source code direct from the website as I have demonstrated in class. When you make changes to your template, be sure to preview the changes you make before accepting them, otherwise you might cause some problems with your layout.

  2. In a separate list in your sidebar, add at least a few links you have found and that you think are relevant to the course. This will mean creating a separate heading and then adding links under that heading. I will demonstrate this in class, but in general the easiest way to do this is to open your template, then copy the course link list you already posted in your sidebar and paste a second copy in your template just below the first, then edit the heading and each link one at a time. Again, I will demonstrate this in class this week. Consult your weblog help service if you get stuck.

  3. Finally, continue using your weblog to post your thoughts on issues related to the course and, using commenting and linkback, to enter into discussions with other course participants. When you comment at another person's site, be sure you have a referral entry at your site (so I see what you did). Expect to write about 350 words per week related to the course.

Remember that there will be another task on assignment #2 for next week, and that the next graded review date for your weblogs is Friday 6 October. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Reading for September 18 to 29

Required reading: For September 29 please read "We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information." It is available either in HTML or PDF format at the We Media site.

The report is several chapters long, so don't wait until the last minute to read it. I suggest reading chapters one through three this week and the remaining chapters next week.

Wednesday Class

Today in class we will discuss Assignment #2 and particularly the first steps involved with the assignment. By the end of the day today you should have enabled comments and linkback at your site. We will review how to do this in class. (If you are still unsure, look at the Blogger Help material on comments.)

By Monday you should have posted a couple of entries on your site which refer and link to material at another course weblog and you should have posted links to your commenting entries at the other site(s). I have posted an entry that demonstrates one way of doing this.

Those are your immediate assigned tasks, but you should also continue working with your weblog in other ways, perhaps adding other entries or trying to add some other technical features to your site. The more initiative you take in this process, the better.

As class time permits, we will also review posting photos and perhaps begin looking at how to create a link list in your sidebar. Remember to look for material at Blogger Help. There is an FAQ (a list of frequently asked questions) about posting photos using Blogger available there, as well as an entry on how to edit your link list.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Korean Weblogs and Community: Preliminary Thoughts

Min-ah has an interesting post in which she discusses weblogs and community in Korea. We read about OhMyNews!, a citizen journalism site, in Amateur Hour, one of our course readings. But I don't recall hearing about Cyworld before seeing Min-ah's discussion of it. I'm curious whether experimental community sites like these have more appeal in Korea than they do in other places? Perhaps the report We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information (and which Aizhan linked to--thanks Aizhan) would have some insights...

Assignment #2, First Task

Due Date: Friday 6 October, 1 p.m.

A couple of days ago I mentioned that we would continue working with the course weblogs. At this point you should consider the weblogs your primary platform for presenting your work for the course and you should work on them consistently over time (meaning do that work day-by-day and week-by-week, rather than trying to do all your work at the last moment).

The next official due date for your weblogs (when I will review them for your next grade) is at the beginning of class on Friday 6 October, but I will be giving you tasks to accomplish once or twice a week leading up to that date. Each of these tasks will be clearly identified on the course weblog as requirements for assignment #2.

Your first task for assignment #2 has three parts:
  1. Enable your weblog so that it allows all visitors to leave comments and to post links at your site. (We reviewed how to do this for Blogger in class Monday. On the editing screen under Settings and Comments, enable Comments and Back Links.) Please try to complete this task by Wednesday 20 September before class. If you have difficulty making it happen, we can address it again in class. You may also look at the Help section in your blogging tool. (In Blogger click Help, then click Working with Blogger, then Comments for a list of relevant articles.)
  2. Browse through the material posted on your colleagues' weblogs. (Links to their sites are listed in the right sidebar of this weblog.) Look for something that sparks your interest and write an entry for your weblog that refers to, draws on or responds to that material.
  3. In your entry, be sure to post a link to the entry you refer to at your colleague's weblog. And use the linkback or commenting features at that site to post the URL of your new entry. Be sure you are linking to precise entries rather than just to entire sites. This will help your readers locate the relevant entries rather than having to search for them.
The purpose of this first task is to begin to develop our weblogs as two-way conversational media rather than as one-way broadcast media and to see them as part of a network of media (our immediate network being made up of weblogs written by people in our course) rather than individual media.

Please try to post one or two such conversational entries this week. Although the best entries will deal with issues of substance and thought, they don't necessarily have to be long. Please keep your discussions cordial and collegial. I am happy to respond to any questions you have about the assignment. Please try to have some fun with it.

Teaching Online Journalism

Anel found a very useful website, Online Journalism, which is written by Mindy McAdams, a journalism professor from Florida. There are lots of useful resources on OJ here. Check it out!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Assignment #1: Weblog Evaluations

I have evaluated the weblogs you created for the first assignment and am very pleased overall with the results. Explicit evaluations of your site (along with a grade for the assignment) will be handed back to each of you in class today. I have also posted handy links to each of your weblogs in the sidebar at the top right of this page. Use the links to visit and explore sites created by other students.

Notice that I identified each of your blogs in the list by extracting a segment of your blog's URL. If you prefer that I use some other text as your link--such as a first name--please let me know either by adding a comment to this entry or by sending me an email and telling me your preference.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Evaluating Websites

Anyone who uses the web for journalism research (or any other kind of research) must face the fact that not everything you find online is true. Today we will use some techniques to evaluate and learn more about online sources.

Tips for this process (following the UC Berkeley checklist below):
  1. Look at URLs (Uniform Resource Locators, or web addresses) carefully and use search tools to discover more information about your source
  2. Scan the page looking to see: Who wrote it? Is it current? Is there evidence of expertise?
  3. Look at quality: Are sources well-documented? Complete? Is there indication of bias?
  4. What do others say? Who links to the site? Is the page rated well in a directory? Look up the author in Google.
  5. What are your overall impressions? Why was the page put on the Web? Could it be satire?

Some useful sources:
The Onion
Central Asia--Caucasus Analyst
History of Space Travel

What's Next?

Now that you have (hopefully) managed to set up your weblog, post some entries and place your blog address on our course weblog, you may be wondering, "What's next?" Here's the answer:

Over the coming days I will evaluate each of your sites and give you feedback (we may look at some of your sites in class as well). We will continue to work with the weblogs as part of the course. You should expect to post something relevant to the course at your site at least once a week or so. I will give you suggestions or tasks from time to time, but you should also take some initiative on your own to use your weblog as a tool for thinking and writing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

More Journalism/Blogging Resources

Here are a few more resources related to blogging and journalism:

J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism, describes itself as "an incubator for innovative news experiments that use new technologies to help people actively engage in critical public issues. Its core mission is to improve public life by transforming journalism for today and re-inventing it for tomorrow." It is affiliated with the Pew Center for Civic Journalism. the Public Journalism Network, is "a global professional association of journalists and educators interested in exploring and strengthening the relationship between journalism and democracy."

Reporters Without Borders publishes a Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents offering advice on choosing blogging tools, setting up and using weblogs, ethical practices and other concerns.

Monday, September 11, 2006

For Wednesday 13 September...

...look at the readings assigned for September 4 and September 11 and the materials linked in Some Examples of News Oriented Weblogs and, and be ready to discuss the question: "Are weblogs journalism?"

You do not need to limit yourself to only this material (you may consult other sources if you wish). And you might consider posting an entry on the subject in your weblog...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Some Examples of News Oriented Weblogs

Our readings recently have focused on news oriented weblogs and their relationship to the practice of journalism. Here are links to a few sites you may wish to look at as examples:

The UK Guardian runs Newsblog and Comment is Free, two group weblogs where Guardian journalists and editors post entries and readers are invited to respond in comments.

Korea-based Oh My News! presents itself as an example of online citizen journalism managed in an open-source format. Editors working for this group weblog write entries of their own and edit material from volunteer reporters world-wide.

Jay Rosen's PressThink is a one-person weblog devoted to journalism criticism, while the newly-launched NewAssignment.Net is a Rosen project which is trying to blend open-source production, journalistic professionalism, and funding. is promoted as "a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth. "

Friday, September 08, 2006

Student Weblog Links

This entry is the place to put the link for your weblog (when you are ready to show it off). Be sure to post a link to your weblog in the comments section here by 1 pm Friday 15 September. Press Roundup

At, there is a press roundup which talks about the new media bill in Kazakhstan. The post states:

Across the border in Kazakhstan, President Nazarbayev has approved a new media bill, which according to the CPJ, gives his government “unlimited power to close independent and opposition media outlets for technical and administrative violations”. The Kazakh Minister of Culture and Information defended the bill, saying it will “safeguard the public’s trust in the Kazakh media”.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Required Reading for September 11 to 15

The required reading for the week of September 11 to 15 is Amateur Hour by Nicholas Lemann (The New Yorker, 7 to 14 August).

Assignment #1: 10 Tips for Your Weblog Entries

One of the major advantages of weblogs (and one of the reasons I chose this format for the first assignment) is that they allow users to begin actually posting information to the World Wide Web with a relatively small set of technical skills. They let writers focus on content first, and give them the option of taking on more complicated technological tasks as they gain those skills.

By now you have all created your initial weblogs and are continuing to develop them. Here are a few tips to consider as you put together the entries for your weblog:
  1. The minimum number of individual entries ready by Sept. 15 is two; the minimum total word count for your entries (new words, that is; not quotes) is 300. More of each would be better;
  2. Focus on quality (of thinking) and clarity (of meaning) in your entries;
  3. You may include entries on any topic you wish, but you should include material that is relevant to new information technologies, online journalism, or related topics;
  4. The course readings (which are available as links on the course weblog) are very good sources for material for your entries;
  5. You should also expect to look for other information sources on your own;
  6. Reactions and responses to material you read (questions, new perspectives, tips for supplementary information) are very useful topics for entries;
  7. Be sure to use links to point readers to information you write about, and apply other tools as you can;
  8. If you quote material in an entry, be sure you use quotation marks (or the "quote" formatting in your blogging system) to identify it as such;
  9. Look to other weblogs and web sources for ideas about how and what to write ( maintains a list of journalism blogs; use any search engine to find more weblogs);
  10. Take the assignment seriously--remember that you are writing as a journalist/media professional in training--but have some fun with it, too!

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Journalist's Toolbox

Our course weblog has a link now to a website called The Journalist's Toolbox. I found some useful things there. You might too.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Monday Class--Continuing with Weblogs

BAIJ1605 students should by now have set up a basic weblog (even if you haven't yet begun posting). If you still don't have a weblog running don't panic yet but be sure to let me know right away if you are experiencing difficulties.

This week we will explore some aspects of weblogs and ways they are being implemented that are important for new journalists to know about. We will also look at some specific tools you might choose to implement on your own course weblog.

For students interested in finding out about blogging services other than Blogger and LiveJournal, you may want to take a look at this article from Online Journalism Review examining features of various blogging services: "Time to Check: Are You Using the Right Blogging Tool?" (This is an optional reading--not required.)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Readings for September 4 to 8

For September 4 to 8, please read the following (required):

The Wikipedia entry on Blog

The Online Journalism Review articles, Blogging as a Form of Journalism and Weblogs: A New Source of News

Assignment #1: Weblog

Due Date, Friday 15 September, 1pm

Your first assignment (note: all assignments must be completed in English)

1. Create a weblog using Blogger, LiveJournal, or another blogging tool of your choice. We will introduce these tools in class and you will have some in-class time to work on this assignment, but expect to put in several hours of work outside class as well.
2. Work on your weblog for the next couple of weeks. We will discuss various features of weblogs (i.e. linking, commenting, blogrolls, etc.) in class. (Some helpful material will also be posted on the course weblog--be sure to check.) You should expect to use several of these features (and others you may find) in your own weblog.
3. Write at least two entries relevant to online journalism and post them to your weblog. (Some ideas for entries might be: Journalism and Weblogs; Online Resources for Journalists; Kazakhstan Online, etc.) (Expect your total word count for all entries to be at least 300 words—more is okay.)
4. Post the URL for your weblog to the entry “Student Weblog Links” on our course weblog no later than 1 pm Friday 15 September.

The assignment will be graded both on practical application of new information technology (how you construct your weblog, tools you use, etc.) and on theoretical content of your weblog and entries (relevance, clarity, etc.) Do not neglect either area.

If you have any questions, please let me know in class, via email, or during my office hours.

Frederick Emrich
410 Valikhanov
Office Hours: 2 to 4 pm, Tues/Thurs or by appointment

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

neweurasia Blogging Meeting This Thursday

Dear Students:

You are invited to attend a meeting sponsored by neweurasia on blogging in Central Asia this Thursday 31 August, 12 noon in 237 Valikhanov. The meeting is very relevant to our new information technologies course, and if you are interested and available I urge you to attend.

The text of the invitation I received is pasted below:

The meeting will be hosted by Ms. Leila Karsybekova, coordinator of Kazakhstan neweurasia blog and its Russian-language version:

Their professed goal is to give a space for self-publishing to young people in Central Asia and link them to their peers all over the world. The Russian-language blog started functioning 4 months ago, and they have several authors from Almaty and Karaganda now. They also review Livejournals in Kazakhstan, to present the voices of people directly, as use them as alternative citizen media.

They will be on an outreach trip in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan during late August and early September. They would also like to meet interested KIMEP students to promote blogging, as a tool for free speech, in Kazakhstan. I hope you agree that this is something that might of interest to our students. The meeting should take about one hour.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Reminder for Week Two

A reminder that the readings for this week are:

The Wikipedia entry on Online Journalism


First Monday: Online Journalism: Modeling the First Generation of News on the World Wide Web

You should have both read for today (Monday 28 August). If you have not read them already, please do so right away.

And for Friday 1 September (and future reference), please browse through the resources available at The Journalist's Toolbox

Also, there is no class this Wednesday (30 August) because of the Constitution Day holiday. Enjoy the day.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Welcome to New Information Technologies

This course, taught in the International Journalism and Mass Communication Department at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP), is designed to give students a basic critical and practical introduction to new information technologies (NITs). Students will develop knowledge and skills that help them to use NITs and to understand their importance to journalists and others.