Final Test, JO-222

Hi Class,

Tomorrow, you`ll be given a course completion test to assess your knowledge and understanding of the lessons taught over the past 7 weeks.

If you`ve been keeping up with the assignments, you should be fine. I would suggest reviewing all of the notes to date, concentrating on the following subject areas:

– Writing for the web
– Twitter terminology and practical applications
– Basic HTML tags
– Crowdsourcing
– The specific benefits and challenges to online journalism as a medium

The test will be a combination of multiple choice, fill in the blank, short answer and short essay. After a brief lesson, you`ll have the rest of the class to complete this test (though you probably won`t need the entire time).

Good luck!



Class 5: Internet storytelling tools Part 2 – Maps, Maps, Maps!

In 2007, Google introduced the “My Maps” function to Google Maps, which allowed non-programmers to build and share customized Google Maps using a simple point-and-click interface. That tool can help journalists quickly slap up an online map whenever relevant news, such as a wildfire, breaks.

The Google Maps API has been a great boon for news websites and a great help in creating all kinds of interactive graphics involving maps.

Today, you’ll learn how to create interactive maps that can be used to enhance your stories.

You’ll be creating:

A Google map of your childhood neighbourhood and marking it with social paths. This map will be embedded into your blog post.

How to Guide here:

We will also look at how Google Streetview can be used to report news.

Some examples to get us started…

Toronto Star’s neighbourhood map (more Torstar maps)
WSJ’s Champions Guide to the NY Marathon
Crime Map in New Orleans
35wi Bridge Collapse
BBC Birkshire Flood

Food Truck Maps: LA, NYC

Please email your blogpost with map embedded to by noon, Friday October 21st.


Internet Storytelling Tools, Part 1: Crowdsourced Journalism + Data Display tools

Crowdsourcing, in journalism, is the use of a large group of readers to report a news story. It differs from traditional reporting in that the information collected is gathered not manually, by a reporter or team of reporters, but through some automated agent, such as a website.

At its heart, modern crowdsourcing is the descendent of hooking an answering machine to a telephone “tip line,” where a news organization asks readers to phone suggestions for stories. Or asking readers to send in photos of events in their community.

True crowdsourcing involves online applications that enable the collection, analysis and publication of reader-contributed incident reports, in real time.

Mobile phones and the widespread adoption of the Internet into homes and offices everywhere are taking this crowd sourcing practice to a new level.

Today, we’ll talk about how crowdsourcing is a powerful tool for newsgathering and reaching communities.

Then, we’ll then be doing some crowdsourcing of our own and learning how to display the data we collect.

Some great examples of this in practice: Allows users to share the cost, quality and availability of marijuana in their area. Also ranks the attitudes and law enforcement practices.

Project Cassowary: Tracks sightings of the rare endangered Cassowary bird – mobile apps available.

Did you feel it?

Project Noah: app that tracks local wildlife.

Beer Hunter

Safe 2 Pee

Q. How can I be sure this information I source is legit?

A. You can’t.

In a true crowdsourced project, information is not verified manually by a reporter between submission and publication.

A well-designed crowdsourcing project, like a well-edited newsroom, can discourage bogus submissions while minimizing their influence if accepted. Requesting the reader submit personal identification along with the report (email verification, name, city) helps.

Asking readers to identify themselves sends the message that you take this project seriously and that you wish them to do the same. Obviously bogus ID allows you to flag bogus records for deletion with ease.

You can also tailor your pool to include a specific, relevant crowd (ie; Talking to University students about campus issues doesn’t require a submission form that’s open to the entire web).

Be careful to note that crowdsourcing is NOT polling. Drawing broad conclusions about community behavior based on your crowdsourced incident reports is a mistake – always let the audience know how you gathered your data. Crowdsourced material is often more effective for QUALITATIVE data than QUANTITATIVE.

Q. Do I need to be able to build websites and graphics for this?
A: Nope.

Crowdsourcing Tools (data collection):

Twitter (depends on the size of your network)
Twitter Polls (again)
Embedded polls (PollDaddy, Poll Boutique) (Open to anyone)

(Poll for class)

Data display tools:

Word Clouds (Debate transcriptions, speeches, scientific papers, RSS feeds, more)

Data maps


Election Poll software

Many Eyes (not infographics, but next best thing)

Homework for Class 2

  • A completed “about me” section for your blog
  • An “about this blog” box at the top of your side bar (if your theme has a sidebar)
  • At least 5 links in your blog roll
  • A full blog post making use of at least two HTML tags demonstrated in class

Due by the beginning of Class 3 (4:30 pm, Sept. 29th 2011)


HTML Basics

HTML works in a very simple, very logical, format. It reads like you do, from top to bottom, and left to right. HTML is written with normal English text. What you use to set certain sections apart as headings, subtitles, bold text, underlined text, etc is a series of what we call “tags”.

Think of tags as making your structure.

Tag Format

All tag formats are the same. They begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign. What goes inside the < and > is the tag.

for example, to make a font appear bolder, I can use the tag “strong”.


I like my words <strong>bold</strong>


I like my words bold

other tags often used:

<p> (paragraph)
<br> (line break)/
<em> (emphasis / italics)
<strike> (strikethrough)


<a href=”URL”>text</a<

The core “skeleton” of an HTML page:

<title>Your Page Title</title>

This area will contain everything that will be visible through a web browser, such as text and graphics. All of the information will be HTML coded.



Basic Image tag – <img src=”url”> (where url = the url of the image you want to show)
Image with sizing <img src=”url” width=”200″ height=”150″>
Align image left – <img src=”name” align=left> (substitute ‘left’ with ‘right’ to align it right)
Alt Tags – <img src=”url” alt=”short description of image”> (an alt tag tells the reader what they are missing if the image doesn’t load in their browser.
Image as a link – <a href=”link url”><img src=”url”></a> (where ‘link url’ is the url of the page you want the image to link to and ‘url’ is the image location).
Image with border – <img border=”1″ src=”url”> (the larger the number in the border “” the thicker the border)
Space Around Image <img src=”url” hspace=10 vspace=10> (hspace is the horizontal space and vspace is the verticle space. The numbers are the amount of pixels sounding the image)

Unordered Lists (usually bullet point type lists)

<li>the first list item</li>
<li>the second list item</li>
<li>the third list item</li>

Ordered Lists (usually numbered lists)

<li>the first list item</li>
<li>the second list item</li>
<li>the third list item</li>

for more see HTML for journalists

Class One: Twitter, Wordpress and MoJo for Noobs.


Class Email List
What is Online Journalism?
Setting up our “sandbox”

journalists can now file stories from debit machines #blatantlie

Online journalism is defined as the reporting of facts produced and distributed via the Internet. It’s interactive, participatory, spans geographical boundaries, inexpensive and fast – often, in real time: New School Journamalism.

    Getting Started with Twitter: Tips To Get You Started Right

“Success in the social web is all about listening, engaging, curating and sharing” – Sree Sreenivasan

Why Twitter?

It’s not a waste of time – You control who you follow, who you list, how you tweet, what you tweet.

Getting More Out Of Twitter.

– Mobile Apps
– Desktop Clients
– Shrink Your URLs (save room for your message)
– Use Hashtags
– Understand the difference between RTs and DMs
– Use Lists
– Tweet Photos
– Searching (Twiangulate,

Set up your own Twitter Account and find people to follow (Listorious and MuckRack are great places to start. For more tips, see Mashable’s guide to Twitter.

    Wordpress Blog Setup

We’ll go over the steps of setting up our own blogs in class. These guides to getting started and wordpress basics are excellent resources.

    For Class 2:

– Read Chapters 1 and 2 of the course textbook.

– Please email your Twitter handle and blog URL to instructor by Monday:

– Bring in a soft copy of a news story you’ve written, either in the past or as part of this program