Boothe's 4202 Blog

How the Internet and Technology is changing Editing

Onward Mistake

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Up until January of this year, Onward State owned the visage of a cool, hip student-run news outlet that used social media better than the ancient, 112-year-old campus newspaper The Daily Collegian.

Onward operated in a true virtual newsroom and even received tips on stories and sources via Twitter. The blog was lauded for showing how smart use of the Internet can put a small staff on par with much larger newspapers.

Watch out Collegian. These guys are the future!

Perhaps, I should clarify. These guys are the future unemployed.

Of course using the Internet and social media sites have become an integral part of being a journalist, but relying too heavily on them will ALWAYS make a reporter sloppy. It’s just too easy not to be.

Back in January when I first head about Onward mistakenly reporting Joe Paterno’s death, I was appalled and really hoping the incident wouldn’t become a black eye on student journalists everywhere.

After reading several of Onward’s retractions and mea culpas, it became clear to me that I can never sit behind a desk or my computer when reporting on anything big enough to print. If you are going to say someone has died, then you better be at the hospital or getting a source’s words recorded so you, as a journalist, aren’t the only one accountable.

There are a lot of current industry voices who would love to see all of us reporting the quick and easy way like Onward State. To do so would mean there’s a clear push by the next generation of journalists to transform newspapers into primarily online news outlets.

While that might be inevitable, I hope the process continues to be painful and slow.


Columbia Journalism Review: This site detailing new online news startups was a big help to find one of the media ride-along sites that my group ultimately chose, The Boise Guardian. The database is pretty comprehensive in letting the user search for sites from all across the country. It also narrows the results by the scale of the outlet and what type of coverage it’s giving.

Facebook assignment: Journalists can use Facebook in a variety of ways to both disperse and garner information for stories. While Facebook limits a person’s friend outreach to 5,000 people, journalists can make public pages to expand their presence even further. These can come in handy for tips on stories and interaction with other reporters who may be working on similar projects. One idea that would be interesting to pursue for either a single journalist or larger news company is to turn their “news” feed into a true stream of news that highlights all of an individual’s work. I’ve done that a couple times with my blog to get some hits after a new post, but consistent posting in the news feed could really help expand a journalist’s brand.

Read my #Storify story: “UF basketball player allegedly steals a taco”


Written by jboothe

April 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Good
    Interesting storify – but it really doesn’t tell a story

    Ronald R. Rodgers

    April 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

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