Category Archives: blogging

NBC News

NBC news is perceived to have a liberal biased.  The first article that appeared on was titled “War on coal? Why Obama may not be industry’s worst enemy”.  The title showed a bias toward Obama, and informed the readers that  the war on coal is not Obama’s fault.  The article reveals that the  problem with coal is due to the lowering of natural gas prices rather than Obama’s administration. There is another article on the homepage that favors the Obama administrations fight against student debt.

The picture of a gay couple kissing on NBC’s homepage , also expresses a liberal bias. In the article, the couple expresses their disappointment with the way their engagement pictures were altered as a hate crime.  The top of the home page has rainbow colors, unlike the Fox news homepage that is an American flag. This could be seen a liberal bias, because in the gay community, the rainbow is often seen as representative.


“The Klavaliers Ride to a Fall” by Stetson Kennedy

Stetson Kennedy’s article, “The Klavaliers Ride to a Fall”, began with an intriguing lede. He used a conversation between Klan members, that discussed their plan to take the law into their own hands.  Kennedy was successful in this lede, because he gave the reader part of a conversation, and didn’t tell what the klans plans were.  Readers would certainly want to read this article because it had inside information on the Klan, and that is something that interest people.  Most people read stories about the klan from outsiders, not insiders.

Since Kennedy was undercover with the klan, his quotes are conversations between the klan members.  These quotes should be reliable since they are things he was hearing and seeing.  The problem being that he was probably writing these quotes after the fact, and they weren’t exactly word for word.  He probably wasn’t able to record what the klan was saying, because if he did, he would have been killed. He was unable to question the klan, because obviously they didn’t know he was a reporter.

Stetson Kennedy’s article, “The Kavaliers Ride to a Fall”, was very similar to Nellie Bly’s article, “Choking and Beating the Patients”.  They were both from the first person point of view and reporting undercover.  The problem with both of these things, was that the articles read more like a story and not hard news coverage.  I do believe that Kennedy’s article revealed things about the klan that people needed to see and his only way of doing that was to be undercover.  I will say that his article was much more interesting than George Seldes on tobacco.  Seldes was filled with hard facts and percentages, and lacked emotion. Towards the end of Kennedy’s article, the reader would become emotionally involved and empathetic towards Kennedy and James Martin.

“Choking and Beating Patients” Nellie Bly

The title of Nellie Bly’s article, “Choking and Beating Patients”, immediately captured my attention.  It allows the reader to see controversy  and makes them want to read more.  In the lede, Bly uses the patient, Miss Tillie Mayard, to make the reader feel sorry for this person and want to know what has happened to her. I think Bly’s strategy here makes a good lede.  Although, I do believe the lede could have been a bit more dramatic since the title gives that impression.

The sources Bly uses in this article are patients and nurses from the asylum.  These are perfectly credible sources since they were the people who were there in this asylum and saw things first hand.  Bly mostly quotes conversations between the attendants and the patients.  This allows the reader to actually understand what was really going on in the asylum and to pity the patients.  The reader is able to see how mistreated the patients are and how cruel the attendants are.  Bly is undercover in the asylum so she can’t really get direct quotes from people asking about their feeling towards the way the asylum is run.  I would have liked to see more quotes from patients.

Bly’s article is more of a story than a news report.  Being undercover, she can’t interview people.  She can only write what she sees and hears.  The way she writes this article,  brings awareness to the issue without being boring.


Social Media, not just a fad.


The State Of Social Media 2011: Social Is The New Normal

BY FC Expert Blogger Brian SolisMon Oct 17, 2011

This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert’s views alone.

This post is one in a series introducing my new book, The End of Business as Usual.

The state of social media is no insignificant affair. Nor is it a conversation relegated to a niche contingent of experts and gurus. Social media is pervasive and it is transforming how people find and share information and how they connect and collaborate with one another. I say that as if I’m removed from the media and cultural (r)evolution that is digital socioeconomics. But in reality, I’m part of it just like everyone else. You and I both know however, that’ I’m not saying anything you don’t already know.

Social media is clearly becoming the new normal. For the last several years, simply adding the word “social” in front of anything and everything from media and gaming to commerce and CRM to business and consumerism, it’s clear that we are finally approaching the end of the hype curve to start making sense of what it all means and just how far it applies to the future of business and media.

But as social media becomes part of our cultural fabric and even as we witness businesses, governments, sports teams, and almost every organization socialize communication efforts today, much of what we see is merely the beginning of something that will one day become something far more important than the medium itself. Indeed, social media is affecting behavior and nothing is more important than the ability to influence decisions and ultimately behavior. The state of social media is not necessarily as much about which network is #winning as much as it is about how people are spending their time, interacting and connecting with one another, and what happens as a result.

To demonstrate this point, let’s review the profound findings from the recently released Nielsen Social Media Report.

1) Skeptics will now be recognized as laggards as they now officially stand in the way of progress. According to Nielsen, and well, reality, social media isn’t a fad. The report opens with a key finding that social networks and blogs dominate how Americans spend their time online, which accounts for nearly 25% of their total time spent on the Internet.

2) Four out of five active internet users aka everyday people visit social networks.

3) Looking beyond the U.S., in 10 major global markets, social networks and blogs reach over 75% of active Internet users.

4) 60 percent of people who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a specific brand or retailer from a social networking site. And, 48% of these consumers responded to a retailer’s offer posted on Facebook or Twitter.

5) 70 percent of active online adult social networkers shop online.

6) 53 percent of active adult social networkers follow a brand.

7) Tumblr nearly tripled its audience from just one year ago.

As a brand, Nielsen’s report gives us both validation and insight into the importance of social media in the business mix. But just who’s driving the growth? Understanding the demographics and also psychographics of social media users will help us more effectively connect our brand story to the needs and behavior of the social consumer. Nielsen reminds us that women make up the majority of visitors to social networks and blogs. The 18-34 segment boasts the highest concentration of active visitors among all age groups. Americans aged 35-49 are avid visitors as well as they are 4% more likely than average consumers to visit social networks and blogs than they do any other site. We’ve also learned in previous reports that Boomers are also flocking to social networks, with the adoption of social networks such as Facebook by the over 50 contingent growing by over 88%.

As I’ve long maintained, Facebook is the homepage for the social Web of the most progressive businesses. According to Pingdom, with 800 million users, Facebook is now the size of the entire Internet in 2004. And, as Nielsen shows us, at 53.5%, Facebook accounts for the majority of total time spent online.

Of course, social media is only part of the story. How consumers access the Internet and social networks alike counts for everything. As you can see, 37% of people access social networks from their mobile phone. Social networks aside, if your business isn’t creating dedicated online experiences for mobile devices, you’re missing a tremendous opportunity to connect with consumers.

Consumer activity is focused squarely on social networking in addition to accessing music, Web browsing, and GPS functionality. Engagement through content and 1:1 interaction is critical in earning relevance and attention in a new era of consumerism.

Social networking apps are up a whopping 30% from third quarter 2010. At the top of the list is Facebook with mobile usage dominated by 25-34 year-olds at 29% followed equally by those 18-24 and 35-44 at 20%. Access to social networks from mobile phones is up significantly among older demographics from just last year. Mobile usage among those over 55 jumped by 109% and those 35-54 grew by 68%.

Those active within social networks wield far greater influence offline than their more traditional counterparts. While we understand that consumers trust the recommendations of their peers, research by NM Incite reveals that 60% of social media users review products and services and is also their preferred source for information about the products they too consider. As you can see above, their effects are also felt offline. 33% are more likely to share their opinion on TV programs. 75% are more likely to be heavy spenders on music. Almost 50% are likely to spend significantly on clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Over the years, I’ve researched the gap that exists between what businesses think consumers want in social networks and what it is that they really want or expect. As you can imagine, there’s a significant delta between each and here, Nielsen delved a bit deeper to share insights into specific brand-related behavior by consumers in social networks. Much of their time is spent in pre-commerce phase of decision making, reading consumer feedback and learning about products. At the point of the decision, they seek to obtain coupons and promotions. Post commerce, they’re actively posting positive or negative feedback, thus influencing the decisions of others.

The dominance of social networking isn’t relegated to the United States, it is indeed a global phenomenon…and a way of digital life. Nielsen discovered that social networks and blogs are the top online destination accounting for the majority of time spent online, reaching at least 60% of active Internet users in the following countries:

1. Australia
2. Brazil
3. France
4. Germany
5. Italy
6. Japan
7. Spain
8. Switzerland
9. U.S.
10. U.K.

The End of Social Media 1.0

Social media is approaching a much needed maturity cycle where each word “social” and “Media” will no longer unite as an oxymoron, but instead as a true statement in how businesses and customers connect online. As a disruptor to everyday business, social media is forcing us to rethink everything. It is in many ways just like starting over. We are relearning and questioning everything and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. From creative and messaging to execution and measurement to service and loyalty, we now must look at applying more sophisticated and meaningful programs that combine social and media into a powerful form of engagement and leadership.

We will one day soon realize the day when “social” becomes part of the everyday construct in how people talk to one another and how we collaborate to solve for whatever brings us together. In the mean time, socializing media is only half as important as improving relationships and experiences within digital landscapes.

What do you think is different about today…what makes this the end of business as usual?

Article #3 and blogging your Investigative article

Article #3 guidelines

For article #3, you will write a news story about an issue surrounding a controversial event, law or policy.  As with the previous article, you need to make sure that there is a local angle.

Possible subjects:

  • occupy wall street
  • Sweet Briar’s honor code
  • Obama’s decision to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by the new year
  • or, the issue you will be writing your investigative article about

Blogging your investigative articles

For next Tuesday, you will begin blogging on your personal blog about the process of researching and writing your investigative articles.  You are free to use WordPress, Tumblr, or Blogger.


  1. The blog must have a title
  2. It must be connected to twitter and one other social media platform (facebook, delicious, tumblr, flickr, picasa, stumbleupon, youtube, etc.) that will allow readers to watch you gather sources, images, audio, or video.
  3. Your first post (due next Tues.) will give an overview of your article topic, describe difficulties or obstacles you have encountered so far, if any, and provide hyperlinks to the sources you have gathered so far.
Each week, from now until December 1st you will write two posts that update your progress.  These need not be lengthy–200 words will suffice, but they should be visually and informationally dynamic, linking us to articles, video you have shot, audio you have recorded, infographics you have made, even drafts of parts of your article in progress.
Keeping up with this regimen will ensure that you are on deadline with the draft of the investigative article and will give you practice developing a readership.

Investigative Article Proposals and Bryan Alexander visit

For Tuesday’s class you will write a one-page proposal for your investigative article.

An investigative article is different from a news article in that it covers a story that raises complex issues, or has far-reaching effects that need to be explored.  As a result, investigative articles are longer that hard news articles (usually 3,000-10,000 words) and require more research and reporting.  This means that you will need to choose a subject for your article that is big enough and complex enough to warrant investigation.

That said, please follow the guidelines below:

  1. Be as specific and concise as possible when identifying the topic or issue.
  2. What is at stake?  Why is it important for someone to write about this topic?  What will be the benefits?  Who will benefit?
  3. Provide a list of people you will interview and resources you will use to aid your research.  Be ambitious.  If it would be ideal to interview a Senator, then put him/her on your list.  If it would be helpful to consult the National Archives, then put that down, too.  Note that for this assignment you will need to interview no less than 6 credible human sources, and consult no less than 6 previously published stories on, or relating to, the topic you are writing about.  (The College has a wonderful collection of full-text on-line databases.)
  4. What types of media would enhance the story, or help to better explain the complex data, ideas, or issues that comes with the story?

This is due next Tuesday.  Please send it via email before class begins.

Also, please remember that Tuesday we will meet in the Class of 1948 Theatre inside the FAC.  Bryan Alexander will be speaking to us about digital storytelling.  Check out his bio and the following links, so that you have an understanding of the really interesting work he does.

As you will see in his bio, he is on the staff of NITLE (The National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education), the organization that Sweet Briar President Jo Ellen Parker lead before coming to SBC.

Bryan Alexander, Senior Fellow, NITLE

Check out his blog, in particular this post, in which he discusses his self-imposed “Month of Digital Story-telling.”

Lastly, please read (in its entirety) his essay on Web 2.0 Storytelling.

Note that I have briefed Alexander on what we have been doing in our class so far.  I have told him about the class blogging project on tumblr and your long-term investigative article, so his remarks will be aimed at helping us realize the potential of the blog platforms and social media we have at our disposal.

Have a good weekend.

Seldes, “The Suppressed Tobacco Story”

In his article, “The Suppressed Tobacco Story” from In Fact, January 13, 1941, George Seldes maintains a constant tone of objectivity and credibility by providing the reader with a series of linked statistics having to do with the effects of tobacco use. He sets the reader up with a method that is relatively straight forwards, citing the origin of facts and statistics as the biology department at Johns Hopkins University. The lede that Seldes uses is not stylized narrative or a creative approach typically used to entice the reader into reading the rest of the article, but rather confronts the reader with cold hard facts right from the start, conveying a message of seriousness about the implications the information he is sharing.
By displaying a series of charts and quantitative information about excess death rates, the difference in percentages when comparing alcohol and tobacco, as well as other scientific evidence, Seldes is able to maintain a degree of ultimate honesty in his writing. The fact that he incorporates so many tables and numerical comparisons allows for the readers to draw their own conclusions based upon the seemingly unbiased information in front of them. By basing his article strictly on the different statistics and facts, Seldes is able to accomplish independence of mind. He doesn’t use a lot of excess language to fluff up the information he is displaying in an attempt to represent his viewpoint in a particular setting or light, but rather allows for the recorded data to stand on its own. In turn, this lack of linguistic fluff is what makes this article an effect tool for reporting the news of the suppressed tobacco story.

Tumblr not just for Emo kids anymore

We already knew that hipster zines, like Vice, Blackbook, Nylon, and Paper were using the blog platform, but for the New York Times and the New Yorker to make the leap means that media moguls are recognizing that this is the next big thing.

Business Insider magazine has an interesting and timely article on the large number of respected and venerable newspapers and magazines who have started their own tumblr blogs.

Take a look at the article, and slide show that gives you the urls for the various tumbleogs so you can browse them.

Please pay special attention to the themes they have chosen for their blogs, and how the themes organize/present the various posts.

And, for those you still struggling to figure out how tumblr works, here is a tutorial–watch it!



Wells, “Lynching of Innocent Men”

In the beginning of her article from A Red Record, “Lynching of Innocent Men (Lynched on Account of Relationship),” Ida B. Wells sets the stage for her argument through the use of opening with a strong, perhaps confrontational lede: “If no other reason appealed to the sober sense of the American people to check the growth of Lynch Law, the absolute unreliability and recklessness of the mob in inflicting punishment for crimes done, should do so.” After reading this, I found myself wondering “Why?” Wells was able to convey a sense of certainty and confidence in her opening lede, which in turn made me want to know more about why she felt this way. Her lede is effective in setting up the dialogue format of writing a news story right from the beginning, thus organizing the rest of the article to as to explain the reasoning behind understanding the opening statement.
Wells continues to build on her lede through citing specific instances and situations in which innocent men have been lynched due to their relationships with other people. She includes quotations from a New Orleans newspaper in her descriptions of the various events. By intertwining these dispatch excerpts into her article, Wells is providing her readership with detailed accounts of the circumstances surrounding the lynching relevant to the time period in which they occurred. The quotations are used effectively, providing additional historical support, and making the information seem more accurate and justifiable to the reader.
Wells delivers the information with precise, clean-cut details describing the happenings of each individual lynching. She is able to create a tone of seriousness and distaste in her straightforward descriptions. It is in the plainness and lack of embellishment that Wells is able to convey the unsettling quality of the unjustly events that she cites in writing her article and supporting the argument she sets up with the initial lede.

Following the Leder

“Under a new state law in New Jersey, lunch-line bullies in the East Hanover Schools can be reported to the police by their classmates this fall through anonymous tips to the Crimestoppers hot line.”

Student bullying has been a prominent issue for concern in America’s classrooms. Protecting our children and ensuring that they are in a safe learning environment is at the forefront of educators and families to-do list. That being said, parents and teachers alike have welcomed a new law, known as the “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights” into their classrooms in hopes of managing the dangers and damaging effects of bullying. This law requires schools to hire a team of bullying specialists to research the complaints of students and provide the various situations with adequate attention in order to solve the issues and prevent any further mistreatment that could potentially lead to desperate consequences.
The lede used in this article effectively sets up the the rest of the story by using the most interesting and relative information in the forefront. It provides a precise description of the story’s main issue, enticing the reader with the controversial idea of children or “lunch-line bullies” turning one another into the police for bullying. By covering both ends of the spectrum, the lede adds a bit of dramatic flair to the situation, ultimately provoking thought amongst readers.