Posts Tagged ‘ journalism ’

How did Iowa State students follow election 2010?

I have been involved in two elections as a journalist: the 2008 presidential election and the 2010 midterm election. Each provided a very different experience for me. In 2008, I was a new designer and worked during the day to layout the entertainment and opinion sections. In 2010 and I worked about 12 hours straight keeping the website updated with fresh content and the latest results.

Just two years created a lot of new ways to follow the elections. Twitter wasn’t popular in 2008 and Facebook fan pages hadn’t taken off.

So, did the increase in technology matter? How did college students follow the election and its results, if at all?

Video shot, edited and produced by: Brian Smith, Tyler Kingkade and Cicely Gordon.


Expand your skill sets, try new things

With the media landscape constantly changing, no one can afford to standstill. Waiting too long to adapt to a new technology, technique or delivery method could lead to members of the community going elsewhere for their news.

Attend conferences

One of the best way to stay up-to-date on the changes in the industry is to attend conferences with your peers.

Last week I went to Louisville, Ky. for the National College Media Convention. This is the premiere convention for student journalists and their advisers.

Finding out what your peers are doing is a great way to expose yourself to new ideas and techniques. While in Louisville, I met student journalists from across the nation. I picked up a few ideas from people and helped share my knowledge with others. Where else can you critique newspapers over cereal at midnight,  spend five minutes geeking out about em-dashes or lead a discussion on how to utilize social media? Continue reading

Americans are going mobile — where’s the media?

Pew gadget study

Graphic: Pew Internet & American Life Project

Last week the Pew Research Center released a study called Gadget Ownership, that shows 85 percent of Americans own a cell phone and 96 percent of 18 to 29 year olds own one. The study also looked at ownership of desktop and computers, video game consoles, MP3 players and e-book readers and tablet computers.

The study’s findings show that cell phones are the most popular gadget among Americans. The most recent data available from comScore, which covered June through August, shows that about a quarter of the cell phones in the United States are smart phones. The comScore data also showed that smart phone ownership has increased by 14 percent since the previous three-month period.

People have cell phones. So what?

cell phone ownership

Cell phone ownership by age

Plain and simple, it means that the media should be using mobile devices, applications and websites to connect with people where they are. The Pew study showed that  young people aged 18 to 29, made up the largest group of cell phone owners coming in at 96 percent, and of this age group only 88 percent owned a computer. If the media are going to form a lasting connection with this age group, they need to be prepared to do so on a variety of platforms. Media must provide content in formats that are useful to their viewers.

Steve Buttry has been blogging since 2009 about the overall need for a mobile strategy in the news media. He has developed a strategy for mobile-first, but I think his overall philosophy sums up the problem quite well:

We need to become the mobile news, information and commerce connection for people with the latest iPhone, BlackBerry or Droid (and whatever comes next), but also for people with simpler phones that handle only phone calls and text messages and for non-phone devices such as iPods.

We need to figure the best ways to deliver news and conduct commerce effectively on mobile devices: text messages, email, mobile applications, tweets, easy-to-use mobile web sites, podcasts, location-based news and commercial information.

Media need to combat shrinking print circulation and decreased television viewership. Mobile devices are not the only answer, but the amount of people using them showcases that they cannot be overlooked.

What are local media companies doing?

This data isn’t anything new. Cell phone usage has steadily been on the rise. Steve has been blogging about this for more than a year and the growth was evident well before then. So, have any of the media companies in Central Iowa done anything about it?

The Ames Tribune

The Tribune has a basic mobile website that displays only one photo at the top of the page. The rest of the site is simply a list of recent headlines.

The Des Moines Register

The Register also has a mobile website that operates in a similar fashion to the Ames Tribune. The Register does take it up a notch by allowing readers to sign up for text alerts for various types of news. It has also developed mobile versions of its dining guide and a pothole reporting tool that use the GPS data in your phone to provide content based on your location.


KCCI-TV raises the bar even higher. In addition to a mobile website and text alerts, KCCI has applications for BlackBerrys, iPhones and Android devices. The mobile apps send alerts, provide photos with the article listings and provide weather and business closings.


WHO-TV also has a mobile website that displays photos and a iPhone, Android and Blackberry app. Although, it does not promote or advertise any of these on its main website.


The main media outlets in the area at least have something available for the mobile devices, but no one is a standout leader. All of these companies are missing an opportunity to form a lasting connection with the age groups that will consume their news in the future. They have failed to become a go-to news source for mobile users in the area. Mobile is here, and companies are already behind if they aren’t utilizing it.


Update: Fixed broken link to KCCI mobile site on Oct. 25

Newspaper usage at Iowa State

A recent article by Bill Krueger published by the Poynter Institute suggested that college students are more likely to read the print edition of their school’s newspaper. I went out on campus and found people reading the Iowa State Daily to see if they also preferred the print edition.

Internship Catch-22

I wrote this post for a class blog a few months back.

Since then, a lot has changed. While I still stand behind my belief that in this day and age most journalism students will have to work two internships to satisfy graduation requirements, there are exceptions. My hard work and numerous applications paid off and earlier this spring I was offered two different internships for the summer. I also want to send kudos to a close friend and co-worker, Jessie Opoien, who will be interning with the money unit of CNN in New York.

I will be starting Monday as a copy editing intern for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus in the Quad-Cities. I am thrilled to have found an internship that satisfies my graduation requirements and will help me grow as a journalist. I will probably post some of the things that I learn on here and I promise to start posting regularly again.

Creating transparency beyond journalism

Transparency. In the journalism world we are hearing more and more about being transparent.

A lot of the talk surrounding transparency has been how it can make journalism more credible and open. Does the reporter have a bias? Is the reporter somehow connected to the topic? What sources were used?  Can the community provide feedback? Is the reporter’s contact information available? Do we interact with our community?

But does transparency also have ramifications outside of the journalism world? I think the answer is yes.

This whole post is sparked by a mailing I received from my bank on Saturday. On the outside it says, “Your relationship with Quad City Bank & Trust just got more rewarding.” QCBT made some strong choices with this wording and it certainly got me to open the mailer. Who doesn’t want a more rewarding relationship with a bank?

What was on the inside is what really surprised me. The message from the president and CEO was your typical here is why we think we’re better than other banks and thank you for being our customer. However, the last sentence was what really caught my attention. “Please keep my phone number on file and let me know if there is ever anything Quad City Bank & Trust can do to make your banking experience more rewarding.” Underneath his signature is the telephone number for his direct line.

How often do you see any CEO hand out his direct phone line to all of his customers, yet alone the CEO of a bank? I think this level of transparency highlights a dedication to his clients. I applaud John Anderson and Quad City Bank and Trust and challenge others in the business world to ask themselves, are we accessible when our customers need help?

Note: In the interest of transparency, my only connection to Quad City Bank & Trust is the checking account I have with them. As part of the mailer, a $25 referral card was also enclosed.