Online Journalism: Spring 2011

the class blog

Reports for next week!

with 9 comments

In addition to your pitches, you will be turning in a report. It should cover the following:

1) Have a name for your site (make sure this name is not already being used)
2) Give a clear and precise two-sentence description of the site
3) Outline the audience for this site–leverage your real-world audience research, give a complete sense of who these people are and what needs you’re fulfilling with your site.
4) Discuss the social media strategy for engaging that audience.

The report should be 500-700 words and pasted into the comments of this post.

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Written by sinker

February 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Assignments

9 Responses

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  1. The name of my site will be rebuildwoodlawn.com. The site will basically be about the Woodlawn neighborhood and a place for people of the neighborhood to give their input and come together to help rebuild their community and it’s a way for their voice to be heard or more so seen.
    The audience of my website will generally be geared towards the people that make up the Woodlawn community. I had to take into consideration the fact that elder people do live in the neighborhood and may not be technology savvy as someone of the younger generation would. I then went back to my interviewing stage and how I got a lot complaints of how the city and the alderman weren’t getting back to their calls. So I figure that these people will keep calling constantly to get something they want done, then why wouldn’t they use a website that is geared and thought up of specifically for them.
    The need for this website is to give the people of Woodlawn an outlet, rather than the basic website that directs you to the city of Chicago website and having to go through countless pages to find something specific that you want to address that is just going to lead you to a number to call. It will also let the people of the neighborhood interact with each other. Calling and putting in reports over the phone only go so far, so with a website that is made specifically for this neighborhood, citizens are able to give their input and also see that other citizens may be feeling the same way or have some of the same complaints as them.
    In using social media to engage my audience, I can use twitter and facebook by making specific pages just for the Woodlawn neighborhood. Updates on progress of things going on can be posted and maybe even engage the neighborhood by inviting the alderman of the neighborhood to do almost like a question and answer session via facebook or twitter so that they can see that their concerns are being brought straight to the alderman, which serves as a way of being official. I can also start a blog where the citizens can guest blog about things that they want to known around the neighborhood or anything. The neighborhood also includes a reverend who may add to about things to the community blog or twitter or facebook going on in his church that generate towards and benefits the Woodlawn neighborhood.
    Overall, the website will cater to the needs of the neighborhood in ways of trying to improve the neighborhood and giving citizens an outlet for them to be able to put in complaints and that they are actually being heard. It will be fast and easy to get to and navigate. In a way it will be more promising and give citizens a sense of reliability rather than playing the guessing game when calling the city and alderman and having to leave voicemails and not knowing if your complaint was recorded or not.

    Samantha Battle

    March 4, 2011 at 1:34 am

  2. The name of my site will be called studentphotographers.com. This site will be a portal and valuable resource for student photographers in colleges and independent students in the craft. The site will include forums for critiquing and selling equipment, a featured photo theme contest on the front of the page, updated news about student photography exhibits and important listings about renting lab space to produce work.
    The audience of this site are college-aged students. It’s for them to use and get feedback on their work and to support other artists in Chicago. At first, I thought about making a portal for professional photographers, but a teaching artist, Peter Thompson stated that this wouldn’t be effective. Why go to my site when they can use google to find their own photography supplies, and no well-known photographer would want to use the site as a portal to find information of this kind. He stated that it might be more helpful for students who are always seeking to better their craft and get more exposure for their small gallery openings.
    I interviewed a Jacob Malachi, a student at Columbia College, and he introduced the contest option. What would keep photographers coming back to this site? Well why not have a photography contest with monthly prompts? It keeps a photographer sharp,and helps them come up with ideas for further projects. This could be an excellent feature where the winners’ photos would be featured on the front of the web page. Also, there should be a directory of studios and darkrooms photographers can rent out was another suggestion. When you’re about to leave school, you won’t have access to the same labs or after certain hours. But I want to avoid having a site that’s just directories. There are plenty of them online, with no color, organization or pictures. That’s very ironic for a site for photographers.
    The vast majority of students I talked to about the site idea felt that it was very important to put forums on this site. This is where the social media aspect comes along. This will allow photographers to ask questions about equipment from their peers or possibly sell their equipment directly to other photographers. Brent Knepper, a student at Columbia and working professional, and Jacob Ball were very vocal about the forum aspect. It this helps photographers communicate with each other in order to perfect their craft. The other thing is that members will have to register. They don’t have to be a part of a school, but it will require that you give the site your real name and e-mail address. You will be prompted to set up a profile about yourself, and you will have the option to connect your Flickr account and personal website to it. You can have a user name, but there will be no anonymous/guest options in the forums. Students are concerned about receiving silicious critiques from unknown parties or postings from strange characters. This should be a constructive critiquing site for individuals in the forums and trading equipment.
    In order to promote the site, we can create a Facebook page and Twitter account, which will feature future events. This will draw in other like-minded photographers or those interested in being a photographer to come out and join the site. We can also send out flyers to different colleges for those interested in networking with other photographers.

    Lori Moody

    March 4, 2011 at 8:47 am

  3. Title of My Web site:
    Undressing Chicago

    Two Sentence Web site Description:
    A sex and dating web site devoted to young single students, both men and women of Chicago. A web site filled with information on singles events, health news, information on sex, sex toys, and so much more, all based in and around Chicago.

    Audience:
    After talking to the five people I interviewed, I realized they were all single men and women in the Chicago area ranging from ages of 21 to 25, and all college students, except for two of them. The college students, seemed to be more enthusiastic about the web site idea than the people who weren’t students. The students, live around the city area and the non-students, live in suburbia. The non-students seem to have their own ways of getting dates, of finding single nights, but also seem to not be into the sexual aspect of the site. The students in the city however, seem to be very interested in the sex information, and the singles opportunities. From my own research and talking with other people, I have decided that this site will be for single men and women living in Chicago and going to college in Chicago as well. They are interested in health news, singles nights or parties that aren’t necessarily at bars, and sex news. One of my interviewees wanted to see sex toys news, sales and store locations. Their needs are either services, help, how-tos, or just fun intriguing interest. With already social media that are based on sex and love, like sexual TV shows like Sex and the City, dating shows like The Bachelor, and magazines like Cosmopolitan, it seems that people are interested in sex, love and have become more open with their own sex and love lives. Sex for awhile has been taboo, and maybe it still is a little but, it seems to becoming part of everyday talk. I believe that this site will not only help people but be a fun site for just curiosity for all involved.

    Social Media:
    Engaging young people that go to college and live in this city should not be a difficult task as it seems more and more often are people becoming more open about their sex and love lives. Letting people know about it via Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, sending emails etc. Sex sells, so socially engaging people about sex and sex news is a starting point to spread the word of the site. Using Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, blogging, ad space, written and published articles on it, word of mouth, anything to help promote it. Having sex and dating bloggers in Chicago help promote it, let Columbia and or other schools in Chicago know about it and post on boards throughout campus etc. If friends pass on the word to other friends, and some are already interested, it will eventually spread. I think a site like this will get around if enough people know about it and I think people would enjoy viewing.

    April Barkley

    April Barkley

    March 4, 2011 at 9:38 am

  4. Site Name: B(L)ACK TO BEAUTIFUL – #teamallnatural

    Description: For the African-American woman looking to make a change towards an all natural lifestyle, or those who have already enjoyed the benefits of this kind of living and want a place like this to come to so that they can continue this journey. This site is different from the others that mainly focus on just natural hair and beauty. This one will instead act as an aid for all natural products, eating, living, etc.

    The audience: The target audience of this site will be young, African-American women that want to take part in this current movement that is growing at an incredibly fast rate. These women have expressed that the African-American culture seems to finally be embracing the idea that black really is beautiful, in its most natural state. They also know the importance of embracing those roots that seem to have gotten lost along the way. This site will promote and help to propel this movement, by not only highlighting natural hair, make-up and other beauty products, but by encouraging a healthy lifestyle. We can not ignore the health issues that are plaguing this group, many of which could be dissuaded if a healthier lifestyle was chosen. That is the thing missing from other similar, natural “black” sites. After conducting interviews with young women who fit my target audience, they made it clear that women who opt for natural hair and products typically opt for natural everything. And with that idea in mind, “B(L)ACK TO BEAUTIFUL – #teamallnatural”, hopes to fulfill that need.

    Social Media Strategy: To engage the audience, the site should be interactive–with forums and places for users of the site to upload or post their own information, so that they can showcase their journey back to natural living. Also, the tag #teamnatural has proven to be quite successful in the past on twitter, so the new tag #teamallnatural could be created to start up a wildfire of promotion on twitter. Creating Facebook groups for the site or #teamallnatural will also help to promote the site and will allow users of the site to interact with it.

    Mariah Craddick

    March 4, 2011 at 11:27 am

  5. The name of my site will be SuburbanCheapShots.com.
    It will be the comprehensive source for all the information young adults need to know to plan a fun and affordable night out in the Chicago suburbs. With details like drink specials, happy hours, how late the kitchen is open, and entertainment, they will be able to quickly and easily see what is going on at the bars in their area.

    The audience is young adults between the ages of 21 and 30 who live in the Forest Park area and who are interested in knowing what deals are available at nearby bars before hitting the town. A lot of bars in this area do not have websites, and the ones that do do not update their information often regarding daily specials or entertainment. After interviewing several local young adults, I found that they have trouble deciding where to go because of this lack of information online. They told me that the main way of finding out information like what that day’s drink special is, would be to call the bar directly, which they are unlikely to do.
    My site would allow a person to search by location, as well as the best special nearby.
    My social media strategy will be to use Facebook as my main platform to reach the target community. I will post a link to the site on fan pages for local colleges, as well as interests that would relate to going out in the area.

    Alicia Plomin

    March 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm

  6. HOLLYWOODINCHICAGO.COM

    The overall idea for this site is to showcase specific locations where films/television productions were shot throughout the Chicago area. While viewers will be able to learn all the history about that specific location in regards to the film/show, people will also be able to receive updates on which productions are either currently being filmed or are soon to be filmed.
    The target audience for this web site is broken down into three categories: film buffs, journalists and Chicago residents in general. The key demographic for the site is Hollywood enthusiasts. Not only will they be drawn to learn about the history of certain Chicago locations and how they were used in various films, but they will also gain a deeper appreciation of Hollywood’s footprint on Chicago. Film buffs who perhaps of fans of certain stars can come to the site to see if their favorite actor/actress is going to be filming something in their area. Journalists can use this site as a “hot tip.”
    Entertainment reporters will have the chance to find out where certain celebrities will be around Chicago and will have the opportunity to get a scoop on what Hollywood projects are soon to be shooting in the Chicagoland area. Finally, Chicago residents in general will have a broad interest to the site. Movies and TV have a very broad appeal. While Hollywood fanatics will be overly-curious to learn about local Chicago history and film, people who may have casually watched a movie filmed in Chicago may express curiosity about where certain scenes were shot and what went in to filming that specific scene.
    However, this will not simply be just a site where users can just go online and see what’s being filmed here and leave it at that. “Hollywood in Chicago” will be far more interactive. Upon registering to the site, users will input their address and they will receive alerts when a production is scheduled to be filmed within their specific neighborhood. These users can alert their friends within the site about hot tips they have received thanks to their alert system. For site members who do not live within the Chicagoland area, but do frequent the city often, the site will give them the option of selecting an alert option that provides updates from any productions soon to be filmed throughout anywhere in the city. Instead of just catering to a specific neighborhood, users can simply select “General Alerts” and they will get a text message and/or e-mail about when and where something is going to be filmed in Chicago.

    Brian Stephens

    March 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm

  7. Michael Ranieri
    FDJR Report

    The name for my site will be “The Fantastic Democratic Journalistic Revolution.” The name has not been taken and there is nothing like else it in any way, shape or form. “The Democratic Truth,” however, turned up search results but nothing official from what I saw that would interfere with copyright laws. “The Democratic Truth” is sort of a subhead of The FDJR.

    The goal of this site is to put the public perception of “Truth” in the hands of the people by allowing them to directly participate in the comments section of an article and vote on what the closest thing to “truth” is in an issue we post.
    Upon entering a comment and vote, the user can now A) read other users comments and rate them, B) read and vote on the staffs’ opinions, and C) open up a box that shows the totaled results of all votes, giving percentages of how everyone votes—both staff and community—thus giving the community a sense of what direction everyone is thinking, rather than how one person is thinking as much of the news shows us.

    My audience is geared toward college students, aged somewhere around 18-25, due to the fact that the articles will be written and edited by college students. More specifically, we’re going after politically active students interested in finding out the closest thing to whatever the “Truth” of an issue is.

    Though our direction is aimed at college students, the crowd visiting the site will be much broader than that. A Chicago native, Jared McKinstry, has 229 mutual friends with me on Facebook, almost none of whom I’ve met—all just interested in exposing mass corruption. I also belong to a conspiracy movie movement called “The Zeitgeist Movement,” which promotes an online movie called “The Zeitgeist Movie.” There are 317,645 members on its Facebook group. More recently, I read an article this week in Rolling Stone magazine about Alex Jones—he is sort of the figurehead of the conspiracy crowd and now has a bigger online following then Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Combined. He runs and hosts InfoWars.com. On top of it all, there are now TV shows talking about secret societies and conspiracies on both the History Channel and Tru TV (the latter hosted by former Gov. Jesse Ventura). This tells me that there is, without-a-doubt, an big audience out there—and considering how many of them are suspicious of the government/corporations in this country and think their phones are tapped (then again…), I can’t help but question how many more are out there too paranoid to speak their minds. The more topics we have, the bigger the following shall be. To sum this up college students, if interested, will share with members outside the college realm.

    Going even narrower than college students, the first course of action is to establish a sort of “home base” here at Columbia College.

    Step 1: Start a school-sponsored club
    Step 2: Propagate posters all through school heavily
    Step 3: Start a school “underground” magazine marketed not only at going after corruption, but also gay rights, immigrant rights and women rights—key ingredients at Columbia to start a movement and attract a strong interest.

    I strongly believe a magazine dedicated towards these civil rights this could gain a much bigger following than Echo Magazine, if marketed correctly and this does go hand-in-hand with Freedom—the ultimate goal of this project.

    We need to give “conspiracy theorists” a new image—when it comes down to it, isn’t everyone a “theorist”? Bill O’Reilly has his ideas on what constitutes as reality, as does literally everyone else on this planet. Therefore I feel it is necessary to create a term that does not exist—“Conspiracy Factist.”

    More than anything, however, The People need a reminder that their opinions and views are just as valid as anyone in the media if they have the facts in front of them. We will pound the idea that they are the voice of the world into their heads. For example, if they are about to comment on an article and would like to know why, we could put up a small clickable box that opens up and explains our reasonsing: “We the Staff here at FDJR do not have opinions more valid than yours. Remember to think for yourself and that The Staff’s Voice isn’t the People’s Voice—The People’s Voice is the The People’s Voice.”

    For the social media aspect of this project, I plan to incorporate any and all forms of it in. We will connect not only the “Fantastic Democratic Journalistic Revolution” as something you can like and follow, but the staff members can be supported through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare (for meeting at protests), etc. We will design the articles and homepage in a way that will make them look more appealing to social media-using posters—i.e., if a Facebook user posts a link to our site as a status update, it will be specifically designed to look like that. YouTube has also turned into social media and a great opportunity to network with millions of other users. We will set up a YouTube account, uploading relevant videos and possibly (in the future) actually create independent movies/documentaries.

    Users will also be able to submit their own work, rate the videos of other users and the top projects will be featured on our site (independent music projects, e-books, Cool New Idea of the Month, Art of the Month, etc). This will also be shareable through various networking outlets.

    Michael Ranieri

    March 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm

  8. Michael Ranieri
    FDJR Report

    The name for my site will be “The Fantastic Democratic Journalistic Revolution.” The name has not been taken and there is nothing like else it in any way, shape or form. “The Democratic Truth,” however, turned up search results but nothing official from what I saw that would interfere with copyright laws. “The Democratic Truth” is sort of a subhead of The FDJR.

    The goal of this site is to put the public perception of “Truth” in the hands of the people by allowing them to directly participate in the comments section of an article and vote on what the closest thing to “truth” is in an issue we post.
    Upon entering a comment and vote, the user can now A) read other users comments and rate them, B) read and vote on the staffs’ opinions, and C) open up a box that shows the totaled results of all votes, giving percentages of how everyone votes—both staff and community—thus giving the community a sense of what direction everyone is thinking, rather than how one person is thinking as much of the news shows us.

    My audience is geared toward college students, aged somewhere around 18-25, due to the fact that the articles will be written and edited by college students. More specifically, we’re going after politically active students interested in finding out the closest thing to whatever the “Truth” of an issue is.

    Though our direction is aimed at college students, the crowd visiting the site will be much broader than that. A Chicago native, Jared McKinstry, has 229 mutual friends with me on Facebook, almost none of whom I’ve met—all just interested in exposing mass corruption. I also belong to a conspiracy movie movement called “The Zeitgeist Movement,” which promotes an online movie called “The Zeitgeist Movie.” There are 317,645 members on its Facebook group. More recently, I read an article this week in Rolling Stone magazine about Alex Jones—he is sort of the figurehead of the conspiracy crowd and now has a bigger online following then Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Combined. He runs and hosts InfoWars.com. On top of it all, there are now TV shows talking about secret societies and conspiracies on both the History Channel and Tru TV (the latter hosted by former Gov. Jesse Ventura). This tells me that there is, without-a-doubt, an big audience out there—and considering how many of them are suspicious of the government/corporations in this country and think their phones are tapped (then again…), I can’t help but question how many more are out there too paranoid to speak their minds. The more topics we have, the bigger the following shall be. To sum this up college students, if interested, will share with members outside the college realm.

    Going even narrower than college students, the first course of action is to establish a sort of “home base” here at Columbia College.

    Step 1: Start a school-sponsored club
    Step 2: Propagate posters all through school heavily
    Step 3: Start a school “underground” magazine marketed not only at going after corruption, but also gay rights, immigrant rights and women rights—key ingredients at Columbia to start a movement and attract a strong interest.

    I strongly believe a magazine dedicated towards these civil rights this could gain a much bigger following than Echo Magazine, if marketed correctly and this does go hand-in-hand with Freedom—the ultimate goal of this project.

    We need to give “conspiracy theorists” a new image—when it comes down to it, isn’t everyone a “theorist”? Bill O’Reilly has his ideas on what constitutes as reality, as does literally everyone else on this planet. Therefore I feel it is necessary to create a term that does not exist—“Conspiracy Factist.”

    More than anything, however, The People need a reminder that their opinions and views are just as valid as anyone in the media if they have the facts in front of them. We will pound the idea that they are the voice of the world into their heads. For example, if they are about to comment on an article and would like to know why, we could put up a small clickable box that opens up and explains our reasonsing: “We the Staff here at FDJR do not have opinions more valid than yours. Remember to think for yourself and that The Staff’s Voice isn’t the People’s Voice—The People’s Voice is the The People’s Voice.”

    For the social media aspect of this project, I plan to incorporate any and all forms of it in. We will connect not only the “Fantastic Democratic Journalistic Revolution” as something you can like and follow, but the staff members can be supported through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare (for meeting at protests), etc. We will design the articles and homepage in a way that will make them look more appealing to social media-using posters—i.e., if a Facebook user posts a link to our site as a status update, it will be specifically designed to look like that. YouTube has also turned into social media and a great opportunity to network with millions of other users. We will set up a YouTube account, uploading relevant videos and possibly (in the future) actually create independent movies/documentaries.

    Users will also be able to submit their own work, rate the videos of other users and the top projects will be featured on our site (independent music projects, e-books, Cool New Idea of the Month, Art of the Month, etc). This will also be shareable through various networking outlets.

  9. For some reason I thought we just had to give Dan a hard copy of this report and I didn’t post it here. So sorry about that. Here is my report on my website. Although we have already selected our sites, I want my report here like it should have been!!

    The name of my website is Commuter Cooler, http://www.commutercooler.com, and it is tailored to the needs of undergraduate and graduate college students in the Chicago area who commute to school every day. The objective of this site is to provide a resource to meet their needs. From the best street routes or transit options, student organizations and activities, to weather forecasts, Commuter Cooler will be a central hub of information and a way to connect with other commuting students.

    My audience comprises students who attend colleges and universities in the greater Chicago area, but who have to commute to get to school, either by the CTA, Pace, Metra or driving in. It is catered to this community for the sole purpose of meeting their multi-faceted needs. Commuters can also feel estranged from the students who live on campus because of several elements, and it is the objective of this site to address these concerns.

    Shared common spaces like dorm rooms and cafeterias give on-campus students more opportunities to connect with their friends and classmates. But commuters are usually in limbo, and since home is away from campus, they can feel left out and detached from everyone else. It’s like clocking in and out of a job; they go to school there, but they don’t live there and can feel like they’re living two separate lives.

    To bridge that gap, Commuter Corner will provide information, giving commuters a sense of belonging and involvement. They can start their day right by finding the fastest or easiest way to get to school. CTA, Metra and Pace information will tell them which routes have delays, how much extra time they should allow for travel, or which ones to avoid altogether. They will get similar information for traffic: fastest routes, accident information, and construction delays.

    But their on-campus dynamic is what is critical. On a campus like Columbia College Chicago’s for example, Commuter Corner will glean information from several offices and bring it to one place. Here they can get detailed information about student organizations and how to get involved, student common spaces for socializing, common study spaces, study groups with other commuters, even places to crash and take a nap between classes. Commuter Cooler will provide information about nearby restaurants that can accommodate a student’s budget and will also tell students which eateries offer student discounts.

    In order for Commuter Cooler to be effective the student body has to know about it and have easy access to it. When students register for classes and they indicate that they are commuters, they will automatically receive an email with an active link. When they click on that link they are directed to Commuter Cooler where they create a profile. That profile will give them access to all the features of Commuter Cooler. The message board forum will be an easy way for students to ask questions and share and receive information pertinent to commuters. Commuter Cooler will also be available through Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

    Yari Osborne

    March 14, 2011 at 10:10 am


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