Interesting Ramblings of a Brooklyn Girl

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Fairfield University Glee Club Concert!!!

I recently attended the Fairfield University Glee Club performance, “Magic of the Masters” at the Quick Center. The group performed pieces by both Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Leonard Bernstein. The program was in celebration of the Leonard Bernstein Festival at the Quick Center and the 250th birthday of Mozart.

The conductor Carole Ann Maxwell, D.S.M., led the Glee Club. It included performances not only by the entire Glee Club, but the Men’s Ensemble, Sweet Harmony, Chambers and even a couple of solos, one of those performed by my housemate Deena Crimaldi. There was even an acknowledgement of the group of graduating seniors. This concert was a chance for the Glee Club to show off the performances they did while they were in Italy over this past Spring Break.
I have been to a couple Glee Club performances over the past year. However, this was by far the best one. The final solo blew the house away. I am sad that this was the last performance I will ever attend, seeing as I am graduating this year. These performers put on a wonderful show. More people should take advantage of the opportunity we have been given as students at this institution. There have been many wonderful performances put on at the Quick Center.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I want my 15 MB of fame!!!

Jeff Gralnick, a veteran in the field of broadcast and internet news, as well as being a current professor at Fairfield University, came to speak to our Digital Writing class. He told the class that people are no longer looking for their 15 minutes of fame, but their 15 MB of fame.

I have to admit that I myself am guilty of this. I am one of the millions of bloggers out there who check their email every five minutes, hoping to see if some commented on my blog. I am constantly on the technorati web site searching to see if my blog was picked up yet. It sounds strange, but it’s true.

As a writer who is looking to gain a fan base, I must remember that I am not just writing for myself, but for this audience. I must always remember to properly update, and make sure not to offend any readers with my opinions.

Blogging is being considered a new form of journalism. A journalistic writer holds the responsibility to provide the reader with accurate information with a minimal amount of opinion thrown in the mix. Easier said than done, especially in a blog. It is hard for me to withhold my opinion from anything, especially my writing.

This creates a problem for many blog readers. Do they take everything they are reading as pure fact? Are these readers fully capable of distinguishing between the facts that a presented to them through the blog, and the author’s opinion? Readers have to be careful because a writer may disguise their opinion in a form that may mislead the reader into thinking it is a fact.

All this results in people having to be more conscious writers and readers. We should be aware of what we publish and what we read on the web.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wiki Italy

Check out WikiTravel, for a look into my favorite place in FLorence Italy, Piazza Michelangelo.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wiki Wiki What?

I thought I knew everything about digital writing and internet technology, but I was recently kicked off my high horse. With two current blogs and the creation of three plus websites, I thought I was pretty up to date about all the latest happenings on the web. UNITL NOW!!!!

I was recently introduced to the WIKI. “What is the wiki,” you may ask? According to the online
Wikipedia, a “wiki” encyclopedia, a wiki is a website that allows anyone to add, to remove, or otherwise to edit all content on the site, very quickly and easily.

A poplar wiki website is quoted saying it is “The simplest online database that could work.” This is untrue. I tried to post something on the site, and at first I had no success. “It’s hard for some people.”

But then after hours of GOOGLING all there was to know about wikis, I went back to the original “simplest online database” page and I GOT IT!!! I posted in a
sandbox. So check it out. It was a monumental moment for me. The secret that I figured out is I needed a code to post. If you ever plan on posting, the code is 567. Tough right? I am glad it took me a week and a half to figure that out.

I feel that I must offer some advise to anyone who plans on participating in a wiki. Do not try to be deceitful. If you want to delete someone’s information or put something stupid up on a wiki, DON’T EVEN BOTHER. It is said that most wiki vandalism is reversed after 5 minutes.

Celebrated Broadcast Veteran talks with Aspiring Digital Writers

Jeff Gralnick is a veteran in the field of broadcast news. MSNBC credits Gralnick as special events producer and field reporter for CBS News, Vice President and Executive producer of Special Events and World News Tonight at ABC News, Executive Producer of the NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw; and Vice President and executive in charge of the development of ABCNews. Gralnick is currently teaching English at Fairfield University and will be addressing a class on Digital Writing on Wednesday April 5th 2006.

Considering a large portion of Mr Gralnick’s career has been spent in the broadcasting industry, it mght be interesting to hear his feelings about the internet becoming people’s major source for news and information. Does he think that this medium is strong enough to put an end to print and broadcast journalism?

As a major figure in the field of broadcast journalism and even internet journalism, how does Gralnick feel about blogs? Many people attend many years of schooling and work hard to elevate themselves enough to be credible news providers. With the introduction of blogging into society any idiot with an internet connection and an opinion can provide millions of people information.

Less is More: Why doesn't everyone get that?

We unfortunately live in an age where people are convinced more is better. People think that making more money, wearing more make-up, or in the case of the internet, having a website with a flashy appearance will automatically make something better. But I have news for you ladies and gentlemen, NO!!! Less is more!!!

I am a big fan of watching Fox News channel as my major source for news information on television. But the same is not true for when I am looking for that same information on the internet. There website is too crowded and text heavy. I think this is true for most news websites. The reader is bombarded with a number of different news stories, pictures, and even advertisements. The reader does not know where to put their eyes first.

As a reader who is mainly looking for a quick update on the latest breaking news, this bothers me. It takes me forever to figure out if what I am looking at is news or an advertisement for something. That is why I was really excited to find Google News. I truly love this site. It is a little more text heavy than Fox News or USA Today, but there are much fewer pictures. The site even gives it’s reader the option to look at a purely text version of the site. Thank God someone at Google was thinking straight.

I think we can all take a note from the creators of this website. We could all use a little simplification in our lives.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

There is no reason to attend class anymore!!!

I recently attended a Fairfield University RCADE workshop entitled What’s New in Technology. I do not think Fairfield students utilize these advantages offered to them. This class was really interesting and even beneficial. I learned that Fairfield recently acquired some new equipment that can simultaneously film the instructor of a class while at the same time catching any information they are projecting onto a screen from a computer.

This sounds simple, but it is actually more complicated. This data is uploaded onto a server and catalogued. Any student who happened to miss their class will be able to watch the entire class and see whatever computerized presentation the professor gave. Not only is this program supposed to be used for students if they miss a class, but also as a tool to study with.

But let’s look at this realistically from a student’s point of view; this just gives us another reason not to go to class. Why get up, get dressed, and schlep yourself all the way to class, at an inconvenient time during the day, when you can just log on to your computer whenever you have the time and sit through the exact same lecture? Plus you can pause the lecture whenever you want to take a bathroom break.

Personally I am upset that Fairfield University did not purchase this equipment earlier. Seeing as I am a graduating senior I will never get to use this new technology.

Can't We All Just Get Along?

As I continue reading the James Glenn Stovall’s book Web Journalism I can’t help but address the idea of the internet taking away from the popularity of print or televised journalism. In a later chapter of the book he again addresses the issue of the internet replacing all other forms of news media. He titles the section THE DEATH OF ALL MEDIA.

But I have decided that in this world where news is constantly changing, there can be a place for every medium. It seems as though each medium of news distribution can fit into a person’s daily life. There does not seem to be the need to choose. In fact they all seem to complement each other.

The most interesting way to look at this fact is to take a hypothetical walk through of an average American’s day. Through this it is easy to see how important each news medium, whether it is television, print, or internet, is to a person. Let’s face it Americans are the type of people who want what they want when they want it. And each different outlet of news finds a unique way to offer it to them.

Let’s say this hypothetical individual wakes up one fine weekday morning and is getting ready for work. They are more likely than not going to turn their television to the local news channel and listen. Through this they will be able to be updated on the current weather and traffic conditions. This will allow them to dress appropriately and also find out the best route to work that morning. It would be pointless to get this information from a news paper because it most likely will not be as up-to-date as the television. They can also turn to the internet for this information, but it the television offers more convenience, because they can be getting dressed or eating breakfast while listening. Not only are we demanding and impatient, but we are also very big into multi-tasking.

Once this individual is ready to leave the house they might grab the morning paper, which they can read on the bus or train on their way into work. (Some people might drive, but for arguments sake let’s make this person take public transportation.) The paper will offer the commuter a chance to read a more in-depth account of the daily news they might have caught a few seconds of in the background while getting dressed. They are also given the chance to read comics, movie reviews, and check their lottery numbers.

Once this person gets to work they might be prompted to log on to their favorite news website and see if there were any changes in the top stories they read on the way to work. (It sounds crazy but I did it every morning this summer. I was finished my paper and off the train by 8:45am and reading USA Today’s website but 9:15.)

See how easy it is for each news medium to have equal opportunity in an individual’s life. So I do not think we should be calling a time of death on newspapers and news programs just yet.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Will We Trade In Our Newspapers for Laptops?

Many seem to believe that the internet will eventually become most people’s main medium for receiving news and information, thus resulting in the decline in demand for other news mediums such as newspaper or television. Personally, I don’t think so. James Glenn Stovall’s book entitled Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Medium touches on this topic. Stovall argues the many advantages of this emerging form of Journalism.

The internet is one of the greatest creations that came out of the 20th century. The internet helped to simplify many aspects of our lives. I am able to read up on the latest celebrity gossip, chat with friends, send my parents an e-mail, go shopping, and do my homework all without leaving my computer desk.

The advantages of the internet also carry over into the world of journalism. People are continuously turning to the internet for the current news. I personally do not think that this new wave of computer based news sites will replace the newspapers. At least not for me. The internet offers a wonderful wealth of information, but I would never hand over my daily copy of the
New York Post for an electronic version.

It is true the internet offers readers interactivity, flexibility, immediacy, and personalization in its depiction of the news. A reader is able to respond to the author or editor of the site, as well as connect to other sites that the article links to. Readers of online news sites can individualize their account to only show them news article relating to their particular points of interest.

As for creators and editors of these news sites, they are able to offer the readers more options to a news story through websites. They are not limited to the size of the article or the number of pictures printed. Site creators have the flexibility to incorporate audio or video clips along with text and pictures.

This new medium is great and I would not wish for it to be eliminated just to keep newspapers around. I admit that when I am bored and near a computer, the first site I turn to is
USA Today. But by no means would I ever stop reading the newspaper because of all these emerging news sites.

My favorite place to read the paper was on the train to work this summer. The newspaper and my i-pod were a great way to spend my hour long commute every morning. It prepared me for any current event discussion that we would have in the office that day. If people were only to rely on computers I would not have been able to do this. Stovall in his writing mentions that it is not as convenient to carry a computer to the bathroom as it is a newspaper. This is the truth. No matter how much convenience the internet has brought to our lives I am confident enough that society is not going to stop reading the morning paper during their commute to work or stop watching the evening news.

Look at it this way, many people believed that the introduction of the television news would have eliminated printed news altogether. But it didnt. So what makes people think that the newspaper is not popular enough to stand up to digital news?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ethical Blogging

Biz Stone’s book “Who Let the Blogs Out?” (mentioned in previous post) has made a serious impact on my blogging experience. Reflecting back on his book I recall a situation he mentioned where a high school girl created the character of a young female suffering from cancer. Many people started reading the blog and began to sympathize with this girl and the struggle she was facing. They followed her throughout her illness, into a recovery, and then through a relapse which eventually took her life.

It was discovered through later research that this blog was a hoax. This teaches me as a blog reader to always remember that you do not know who the writer may be. According to the
Cybertext Yearbook 2000 by Jill Walker there is a model of narrative communication used in most forms of writing. There is the “real author,” “implied author,” “narrator,” “narratee,” “implied reader,” and “real reader.”

This example comes into play with the phoney blog created that Stone mentioned in his book. The “real author” was the teenage girl who was creating the “implied author” of this female with an illness. Was creating this character an ethical way for the “real author” to treat her “real readers?”

I, myself was in a similar situation over the summer. But I was not creating a fake blog as a way to manipulate the readers for my own enjoyment, like I assume was the goal of the hoax blog's writer. I thought the blog would be an interesting way to promote a movie that the production company I was working for this summer had created.

Double R Productions, was creating a moc-umentary entitled
Farmland Security. I thought it would be interesting to create a blog that followed the characters through the situations that was unfolding. Which to the audience the movie was supposed to be an actual documentary. (Think Blair Witch Project with a political spin.) The blog would not be displayed as an advertisement for the movie, but as a real blog that would hopefully entice its readers to want to see the movie that would play out the actual events of this blog.

Unfortunately this idea never got off the ground. I did not know very much about blogs at the time and I was not sure of how to exactly go about starting a blog. But after reading the Stone article I am now grateful that I did not create the blog. I do not think it would have been ethical to create a false blog. It seems wrong to manipulate my "real audience" by creating an "implied author."

Blogging Double Standards

Before I started my own blog I always viewed this medium as a very informal way of writing. I did not think of it as a legitimate form of journalism, like a newspaper or magazine. I expected blogs to be a very casual form of writing. Anyone can sit down in front of their computer and just start rambling on to anyone who will listen. The title of my blog proves the biggest misconception I had about blogging from the beginning. I named my blog before I knew anything about the practice of blogging.

I never realized that like anything else in this world, there are rules that one must follow. After reading 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web by Mark Bernstein I learned there was much more to blog writing than I ever thought. The same rules that one would apply to when writing anything that will be viewed by the public should be considered when creating a blog. Writers should remember the audience they are trying to address in their work, and they should also make sure to use proper grammar and spelling. Reading a artical w/alot typows can b anoying 2 there reeder.

To me blog writing has a silent double standard. Blog writing is viewed as an individual’s online diary, available for anyone to see. A way for the writer to vent about whatever he or she is feeling at that exact moment in time. But according to Bernstrein this shouldn't be the case. One doesn’t only have to read this article to figure out that you do not want to read an entire post like the italic sentence above. There is a certain standard one must follow when posting a blog. I am not saying that you have to hire an editor to correct your work, but at least be considerate of your audience.