CoverItLive: Twilight

TOW 12

I covered a private event; a Twilight marathon.  Because Breaking Dawn will come out soon in theaters, I felt doing this would be a fun way to connect with some friends while home for the weekend.

5 Tips for CoverItLive:

1. Try to find a local event.

2. If there are no local events going on, cover a live event on television.

3. Don’t procrastinate.

4. Include media if you can (make sure your friends are ok with their pictures being posted on your blog).

5. Search the CoverItLive site for helpful tips when using the software.

Twilight Marathon” CoverItLive story.

Yes, I have a friend who previously refused to watch Twilight. Guess what? They’re watching it. now. I win.
We’re watching New Moon, by the way. I had them watch the first installment of the series a while back. Yes, this is meant to be comical.
This seems to be valid preparation for the Breaking Dawn premiere.
Dessert is served.
Raffles always seem to be a good idea at a party.
And now, Eclipse!

Citizen Journalism

This post is fully by Steve Outing of Poynter.  This is an excerpt from his article The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism.

Citizen journalism.” It’s one of the hottest buzzwords in the news business these days. Many news executives are probably thinking about implementing some sort of citizen-journalism initiative; a small but growing number have already done so.

But there’s plenty of confusion about citizen journalism. What exactly is it? Is this something that’s going to be essential to the future prosperity of news companies?

In my conversations and communications with editors, I sense plenty of confusion about the concept. There’s enthusiasm about experimenting insome quarters — about harnessing the power of an audience permitted for the first time to truly participate in the news media. But mostly I hear concern and healthy skepticism.

This article is designed to help publishers and editors understand citizen journalism and how it might be incorporated into their Web sites and legacy media. We’ll look at how news organizations can employ the citizen-journalism concept, and we’ll approach it by looking at the different levels or layers available. Citizen journalism isn’t one simple concept that can be applied universally by all news organizations. It’s much more complex, with many potential variations.

So let’s explore the possibilities, from dipping a toe into the waters of participatory journalism to embracing citizen reporting with your organization’s full involvement. We’ll start out slow and build toward the most radical visions of what’s possible.

1. The first step: Opening up to public comment


For some publishers skittish about allowing anyone to publish under their brand name, enabling readers to attach comments to articles on the Web represents a start. At its simplest level, user comments offer the opportunity for readers to react to, criticize, praise or add to what’s published by professional journalists. If you look at news Web sites that allow user comments (and at this writing, it’s still a small minority of all news sites), you’ll see a mix of user reactions within article comments. But almost universally, you’ll see occasional reader comments that add to what’s published. Readers routinely use such comments to bring up some point that was missed by the writer, or add new information that the reporter didn’t know about. Such readers can make the original story better.

Which content should be open to reader comments? Blogs traditionally have included reader comments (though even some of the most popular independent blogs eschew them; e.g., Instapundit), so that’s a no-brainer. Some sites — including Poynter Online, where you’re reading this — support user comments on all articles. Do that and you’re on your way toward the citizen-journalism experience.

But why not go further; think outside the box a bit? Consider allowing reader comments on things like calendar listings, obituaries, letters to the editor, even classified ads. Let’s think about this: Why does a letter to the editor from a member of the public have to stop with that letter? Why not allow it to spark an online conversation? Comments on a calendar listing might attract citizen reviews from people who’ve seen a speaker or performer before (an interesting and useful public service). Obituary comments will draw remembrances from people who knew the deceased.

Even allowing comments on classified ads — especially if they are in categories where sellers don’t pay for the ad — can be a fascinating exercise and a potentially good public service.

A few words of caution: Some news Web sites have had trouble with readers posting objectionable content in comment areas. This can be at least partially avoided by requiring users to register with the site and submit their names and e-mail addresses before being allowed to post comments, and by establishing a system that makes it easy for site users to report objectionable comments.

I don’t want to paint this as easy. As media Web sites that allow comments have learned, you do need to watch what people post. The key may be to realize that opening up to reader comments requires vigilance, even if the number of problems you are likely to encounter may be slim.

Still, many publishers seemingly remain reluctant to take this first step into citizen journalism. Even The Northwest Voice, a stand-alone citizen-journalism Web site and newspaper owned by The Bakersfield Californian, which I’ll mention in the layers below, doesn’t allow reader comments. Two-way conversation is an imperative characteristic of most citizen journalism, yet it appears to remain threatening to many people in the journalism and publishing professions.


TOW #10

I didn’t realize that the search results that show up on Google were different from one person to the next.  I think that it would be nice to have the choice to opt out of various search filters, but at the same time, I appreciate the time saved from sifting through information that doesn’t interest me.

Who should decide what is considered culturally broad in search results?  What if it offends someone?  Should we negate facts based on their ability to offend?

What did you think about this video?  What concerns arise for you personally?  It’s important to start deciding which lines we don’t want crossed by the media, because they are pushing the limits.  We need to be prepared to say yes or no when necessary.

Been There, Done That


I’m a senior at Southeastern University, which is quite a feat. Not many people seem to last all four years as a traditional student, full-time. How did I do it? Here’s my top 10 list on how to succeed at this wonderful university:

 10. Play Intramural Sports
It’s fun, it’s free, and its good for your health. You’ll make friends too!

9. Don’t Over-do It
Learn how to say no. It’s hard enough to balance schoolwork with your social life, so be careful when adding on extra responsibilities such as a job, a volunteer project, or an extracurricular activity.

8. Find a Professor Mentor
When the tough times take hold (and at some point they will), you will need someone experienced to talk to. Find a professor who will give you advice on how to succeed in your current situation and even the future.

7. Take Initiative
Even if you don’t have much experience, join academically-based on-campus groups (SIFE, SEU Publications, Theatre). Through this you will be able to gain confidence in your abilities, learn skills from upperclassmen, and meet people who you will be in classes with for the rest of college.

Tuscana Ristorante: Not As Good As Mom’s Cooking

6. Don’t Need It, Don’t Buy It.
Not having money is a terrible feeling. Therefore, if you really don’t need it, don’t waste your money. Shampoo and toothpaste are far more important that that DVD that just came out, and I learned that the hard way.

5. Make Chartwells Work For You.
During my first year at Southeastern, I read a great article in the Southeastern Times on how to bring a little spice to your cafeteria experience. The article inspired me to get creative! Spaghetti and meatball day getting a little lackluster? How about taking some meatballs and sauce, then using those to create a toasted meatball sub at the sandwich line. Add some flair by sprinkling on a little cheese from the salad bar. The combinations are endless.

Chicken and Waffles: It’s Better Than You Think

4. Find a Church. 
A church gives you the opportunity to serve others, which is what Jesus called us to do. In addition, church can give you a sense of family, which you may be missing out on if you’re an Ohioan like me.

3. Work First, Play Later
One problem I always face is that I’d much rather have fun with my friends than do my schoolwork. For example, I’ll play volleyball in the Student Activity Center until close, then I’ll be invited to grab some chicken and waffles at IHOP afterward. Once the fun starts, it doesn’t stop until your head hits the pillow. And if your friends are persuasive like mine are, it’ll be hard to say no. Therefore, make sure you get your work done before you start socializing.

2. Quiet Time Is Crucial
There is always something happening on campus, from concerts to study sessions to sporting events; however, make sure you plan in some time to take a step back from all the chaos to reflect on your calling and walk with Christ.

1. Go To Chapel!
Unless your parents forced you, you came to Southeastern University for a reason, and that reason was because you wanted to grow in your relationship with Christ. Traditionally, each student must attend 35 services a semester, so why waste hundreds of dollars in missed chapel fines when you have a priceless opportunity to let passionate men and women of God speak into your life. It’s common sense.

*This post is from the blog of Amanda Furmage.  All content is that of Amanda Furmage and not myself.  Amanda is awesome.*

TOW #8

Professional PR Blog Comment #1

“4 ways to improve quotes in press releases” by Laura Hale Brockway of Ragan’s PR Daily.  October 15, 2011.

“Thank you for posting this article.  As a PR student, this was very helpful.  I especially appreciated your advice about interviewing.  Better questions will amount to better quotes.  Thank you!”

Professional PR Blog Comment #2

“10 common errors writers make” by Daphne Gray-Grant of Ragan’s PR Daily.  October 15, 2011.

“This post was refreshing.  As a PR student, I’m on the lookout for posts that will educate me with some whit and charm.  This was a really neat post to read.  Thank you! ”

Professional PR Blog Comment #3

“PR internships: 3 tips for finding the right fit” by Johnathan Magnin of Ragan’s PR Daily.  October 15, 2011.

“This is a very helpful post.  I completed my internship last summer, and what I learned has been amazingly valuable in the classroom.  Internships can give you such a great advantage.”

Professional PR Blog Comment #4

“The company with the biggest Facebook following is …” by Michael Sebastian of Ragan’s PR Daily.  October 15, 2011.

“Companies that interact with customers through creative Facebook pages have such a huge advantage.  I love that they try to connect with me through a medium that I love using: social media.”

Professional PR Blog Comment #5

“Nearly 100 percent of the 18- to -24-year-olds use social media” by Michael Sebastian of Ragan’s PR Daily.  October 15, 2011.

“Staying in contact with friends isn’t what it used to be a few years ago.  We have so many new options.  I’m in the 18-24 range, and I find it hard to imagine staying so well connected with my friends without social media.”

Professional PR Bolog Comment #6

“6 things you need to know about body language” by Brad Phillips of Ragan’s PR Daily.  November 19, 2011.

“I’ve heard many times that body language is important, but I hadn’t read many articles on the subject.  Number four is so true.  I guess deep breathing may help one stay calm and less defensive?”

Professional PR Blog Comment #7

“The skills employers desire in today’s PR professional” by Arik Hanson of Ragan’s PR Daily.  November 19, 2011.

“Thank you for this post!  As a PR student graduating next semester, I’m curious to know what employers really want in a new hire.  This article is very helpful.  I plan on sharing this with my friends.  Thank you.”

Professional PR Blog Comment #8

“Is burnout hitting millennial women in PR?” by Russell Working of Ragan’s PR Daily.  November 19, 2011.

“Good post.  I especially like the encouragement to take a break now and then.  Getting burnt out really is from never taking the chance to reward yourself and enjoy the work you’ve done.”

Professional PR Blog Comment #9

“How to write press releases that google will love” by Adam Sherk of Ragan’s PR Daily.  November 19, 2011.

“I’m a PR student and my professor is continually teaching us how to use keywords properly.  Thank you for the reinforcement.  This was a great post.”

Professional PR Blog Comment #10

“12 basic PR mistakes to avoid” by Shennandoah Diaz of Ragan’s PR Daily.  November 19, 2011.

“This was a very helpful post.  Thank you for the tips.  These are going to be very applicable, especially the advice about contacts for networking.”

Fall is in the Air

Amazing sunsets, UGGs, North Face jackets, bone-warming tea.  Fall is starting to tease us.  My advice is to take advantage of the beautiful weather during this time of year before it gets hot again.  Florida weather if unpredictable, but I’m going to enjoy every opportunity to wear boots and scarves this year!


Some of my friends aren’t big fans of TOMS, while others are over-the-top enthusiastic about the brand.  I’ve heard that some people don’t care for the original style of TOMS, so for those people, I give the option of the wedge.  These cuties are about the same price as a classic pair of TOMS, but might be a little more tailored for said potential customers.  Give it a shot.