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How the Internet and Technology is changing Editing

Archive for February 2012

Vampire Compile

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Written by jboothe

February 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

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Suicidal Blond

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Written by jboothe

February 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm

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Un-Linked In

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Before recently, I had a pretty low opinion of linking.

When I perused a web site with a lot of links in its posts or stories, I figured their writers didn’t have enough command over what they were discussing to tell a complete story on one page.

I also found the changing color of the text distracting, no matter how infrequent. It just looked bad.

Worst of all, in my opinion, were links that sent the reader to a completely different site. I came to that specific site to learn more about something in one swift segment, as the Internet encourages, and not to go on a wild goose chase.

But that was before I really started to brainstorm to see how I could use linking in my own stories.

Generally, the only time a link is used on the Alligator’s sports site is when a “.com” is mentioned in an article, looking something like this:

It’s a rather bland way to go about linking and only serves as a convenience to get the reader to the main page. There’s no specific interest in that part of site for typical Gators fans. They want to read about just UF sports, so why not send them to the stories or parts of that pertain solely to it?

Jonathan Stray’s take on linear vs. non-linear storytelling adds another dimension to how I could use linking and it begins with cutting and re-writing for online.

Every so often in print, I have to waste inches on backstory from an earlier article for those readers who may not be keeping up with the team or have seen an earlier story. On the Alligator site then, there are two and sometimes three stories that say the same thing.

In the non-linear mold, I could just cut the old stuff from my new story each week and provide a link to my previous work.

This is the only method I can use to link my stories, though. I’m not sure at this point if there’s any way I be willing to send a reader to competing site that offers the same information as the Alligator does.

We don’t offer our football or recruiting rankings, so linking to a well-respected site that does, like Rivals, makes sense.


Google Search Assignment:

Marissa Lyons, 21


  • Journalism senior, University of Florida
  • Class of 2008, Palm Harbor University High School

Hobbies and Interests

  • Involved in classical ballet dancing since she was eight years old
    • Studied at Florida Ballet School, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, among other companies
  • Active in her sorority, Sigma Kappa
  • Has traveled to at least six different countries

Professional Experience

  • Member of the Journalism and Communications Ambassadors
  • Also helps edit fellow students’ stories in the Communications Coaching Center
  • This last summer she was an intern at UF’s Health Science Center Office of News and Communications

*All of this information was fairly easy to search. Marissa has a very open online presence that includes her personal ufl site, which was the very first search result I found on Google.

Amber Thibodoux, 28 maybe


  • Journalism senior, University of Florida
  • Sante Fe Community College, 2001-2005

Hobbies and Interests

  • Was or still is a bartender
  • New Orleans Saints fan

*The only information online I could find out about Amber was her email address on the ISIS site, her recently made Quora and Google+ accounts and finally a Myspace profile that she hasn’t logged in to for about two years.

While Marissa’s personal site and Facebook gave out a lot of information that was easy to find, Amber has a much lower public presence on the web.


Written by jboothe

February 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm

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Standing the test of time

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While many newspapers have invested their energy into updating topic sections on their sites and have even implemented the use of blogs, creating an evergreen content page can be great second-level resource for their readership.

Though the focus of each one of these pages will be narrow, it can present your news outlet as an authority on that topic and can be readable for years.

Almost every paper in America has a sports section, and, at one time or another, writes about the BCS system in college football. But not all decide to take an in-depth look at how a specific BCS Bowl game works, how money changes hands and if there is any corruption, as Arizona Central investigated on its site.  

The compilation process will be time consuming, but it will also enrich the site as a go-to resource. Every time a UF student athlete is arrested, the Alligator runs a graphic in the print edition updating the, for instance, the football team’s legal troubles compared to other SEC schools.

These news stories and investigative pieces are some of the most read on the site. Seldom-used UF lineman Leon Orr was arrested on drug-related charges recently and the story was retweeted 84 times in 48 hours. The rate of arrests over the last four years has not decreased, so why not put them together and create a project page?

The same has been done by ESPN with the concussion issue in sports. ESPN has several topic pages, but the compilation of information for this particular injury stands out above the rest. Along with updated articles, columns and videos, the site also goes into detail about how concussions occur and what guidelines for prevention and treatment are in each sport. Athletes whose careers have been ended by concussions are also listed.


Social media tool:

Delicious can be a great resource for journalists to both bookmark sites they already use and to find new ones. While a person can bookmark on their personal computer’s browser, Delicious allows the user to pull up his or her links anywhere, including on a mobile device.

In the end, I think it might be a smarter form of browsing the Internet and searching for information because you can go directly off of others’ suggestions.

For my own Delicious account, I created a stack with the five college basketball sites that I look at on a daily basis. It gets pretty tedious pulling all of them on my work computer every day, so hopefully this social networking tool can help streamline the process.

Written by jboothe

February 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm

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Some sportswriters are dropping the ball

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In the sometimes repetitive and cyclical world of sports journalism, finding new and entertaining nuances and conflicts within a specific team are as important to fans as it is writers.

Readers today want to hear about the emotional state of athletes in the same way they would an injury report. Because of this – by the time a post-game press conference rolls around – there are very few topics that are off topic or taboo by reporters.

Family situations can be brought up, like in NBA star Dwayne Wade’s case. The same goes for legal troubles. Even an individual student athlete’s performance in the class room can draw a question or two.

The personal knowledge of these athletes by reporters, however, can lead to presumptions being made in stories. These inaccuracies can make an article sound disconnected and even sensational. The entertainment value is still there, but the journalist’s piece will contain some tell-tale holes in its reasoning and plot.

One example is an story which used aggregation from a column.

Both discuss an alleged brewing controversy following a blowout win for the New Orleans Saints against the Atlanta Falcons. In the game, the Saints decided to throw late in their victory to also seal a record-setting passing season for their quarterback, Drew Brees.

The act was seen as unsportsmanlike by an anonymous source on the Falcons who said, “No need for that. It came on our watch, but it didn’t have to come that way. We won’t forget it.”

But story goes on to name other players who offer just as opinionated quotes. Using an unnamed source in this situation begs the question: Did the reporter just gauge the attitude of the Falcons’ locker room and attribute his opinion to an anonymous source?

While the CBSsports columnist gets more wiggle room for this kind of thing, the writer should have tried to do a little more of his own reporting to find out if the claims held water.

He writes for the NFL site, which does not state that it has an independent editorial department like does. Therefore, it almost feels like he’s promoting a growing inter-divisional rivalry that might spring up again in another meeting. Be sure to watch this Sunday on TV! qualifies each of its articles with: “This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.” The NFL site does not.

While the column is trying to reinforce a point, the aggregated piece feels like a shameless promotion by someone who is, in a way, putting out the league’s viewpoint on the news.




Written by jboothe

February 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm

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New generation of tools available to generate story ideas

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For some new writers, finding story ideas isn’t just a burden they are resigned to carry. They want to place it on others.

“Well, what should I write about?”

Unfortunately, I hear that question about once a day in the Alligator sports office when newer beat reporters want someone, like me, who is not going to their interview sessions and watching all of the games, to feed them an idea.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing annoying or irresponsible about running an angle past an editor or co-worker, but to not have a clue of what to write about the day before the story is due? A reporter can’t let idea generation wait that long.

There are too many resources available through the Internet these days. Sites like Listorious and HARO can easily keep reporters in the loop with trending topics and can even provide solid stories. Even places like Reddit, which I generally go to for entertainment, have the potential to get the creative juices flowing.

Looking at UF athletes’ Twitter accounts are also a great way to see how those participating in the sport are reacting to the ups and downs of a season.

In the future, perhaps story ideas can be fueled by citizen journalist-types who post their pitches to a reporter’s blog. Even now, sports journalists should scan fan forums of the team they’re covering to find out what their readership wants to hear more about. Occasionally, there may actually be a story idea in there too.


After a couple quick searches on Listorious for University of Florida news, two story ideas immediately popped out at me once I linked to the college’s Twitter.

1. UF researchers have created a new type of trap for the common house fly called the Florida Fly-Baiter that, because of its blue tint, is three times more effective than the standard yellow colored trap on the market today.

Anyone who has lived in a Gainesville apartment knows that house flies, especially in the summer months, can be a battle to keep outside and any new technology on bug control to prevent infiltration would be a popular subject.

For sourcing, a reporter should talk to the four researchers and see if any larger companies are interested in their breakthrough. Also, the press release stated that the Department of Defense provided funding for the project. Talking to one of the DOD’s representatives or a current soldier about how better fly or bug control could help battle-field situations could be interesting as well.

The story’s art could range from a picture of the researchers with their invention to a graphic of how many more house flies the Florida Fly-Baiter can kill compared to a standard fly trap.

2. For the second straight year, UF’s Peace Corps program ranks among the highest in the nation, according to the National Peace Corps Association.

The program has jumped from 15th-place in the ranking in 2009, to second overall this year in membership numbers and participation. UF has 101 undergraduate students involved in the Peace Corps – twice the amount of any other Southeast school – and also has 30 graduate students.

With the program’s rising participation numbers, it would be interesting to interview new members to see what has sparked their membership. A reporter could also talk to older members to find out how the UF Peace Corps has grown and changed since they started.

Written by jboothe

February 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm

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On high alert

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Case Study 5

While reporting on a beat, sometimes great stories can slip through the cracks. A journalist can get so focused and narrow-minded in his or her approach to idea generation that interesting and fun opportunities can easily go unnoticed.

Google Alerts is a great tool to help reporters rein in the pertinent and fresh information about a topic or person they’re covering. It not only provides updates about what other journalists are reporting about, but can also give a glimpse into any trending movements or stories brewing on the Web.

Typically, I’ve always used a combination of Twitter and regular Google searches to find story ideas in this way, but the “Alert” system seems like it can streamline the process a little bit.

When covering Gators sports, there’s always a heightened anticipation for breaking news when an athlete gets in trouble, because, frequently, the University Athletic Association will try to slip in a second, unrelated announcement about another athlete on the same day.

This is of course done to protect the second athlete that’s already gone through the news cycle for a previous incident.

Google Alerts would have been invaluable on Sept. 9, 2011 when UF football coach Will Muschamp announced Sharrif Floyd would be suspended for two games due to NCAA violations. On the very same day, the Florida basketball team also released that Erik Murphy was reinstated after being arrested in April.


Written by jboothe

February 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized