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No, really...welcome to the Tumblr blog for COM 300 Online Journalism and COM 500 Writing for Converged Media. Both are classes taught at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri by @JillFalk.
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World Press Freedom Day

Today is World Press Freedom Day, a time to reflect not just on what are traditionally thought of as press freedoms, but also on ordinary citizen’s ability to share and access information via our digital networks.


[S]ecuring the safety of journalists continues to be a challenge due to an upward trend in the killings of journalists, media workers, and social media producers. In 2012 alone, UNESCO’s Director-General condemned the killings of 121 journalists, almost double the annual figures of 2011 and 2010. In addition, there continues to be widespread harassment, intimidation, arbitrary arrest and online attacks on journalists in many parts of the world. To compound the problem, the rate of impunity for crimes against journalists, media workers and social media producers remains extremely high.

Responding to this overall context of press freedom, WPFD 2013 focuses on the theme of “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media” and puts the spotlight in particular on the issues of safety of journalists, combating impunity for crimes against freedom of expression, and securing a free and open Internet as the precondition for safety online.

Reporters Without Borders’ annual World Press Freedom Index is a good place to explore how press freedoms work — or don’t work — globally. At the top of the list are Finland, Norway and the Netherlands. Down at the bottom are the same three that that were there a year ago: Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea.

Freedom House reports that the percentage of the world’s population “living in societies with a fully free press has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade”:

At first glance, it might seem counterintuitive that media freedom is on the decline. After all, in a world in which news is being produced by a broader range of professionals – as well as citizen journalists and bloggers – information is flowing at faster rates than ever before. And with news being transmitted through a greater variety of mediums – including newspapers, radio, television, the internet, mobile phones, flash drives, and social media – one might expect the level of media freedom worldwide to be improving, not worsening.

As noted, press freedom doesn’t just affect professional journalists, but ordinary citizens committing acts of journalism, activists documenting abuses and members of civil society. Take, for instance, four men in Saudi Arabia interrogated over their attempts to launch a human rights organization. The charge against them, according to Amnesty International: ”founding and publicizing an unlicensed organization as well as launching websites without authorization.”

Related, Part 01: Al Arabiya, Iran, Syria ranked among world’s worst countries for press freedom.

Related, Part 02: UNESCO, Pressing for Freedom: 20 years of World Press Freedom Day (PDF).

Images: World Press Freedom Map (top), via Reporters Without Borders. Crime and Unpunishment: Why Journalists Fear for Their Safety (bottom), via UNESCO. Select to embiggen.


Team effort #lutvnews #supersemester (at LUTV HD Studio - Lindenwood University)

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that between October 2009 and October 2010, Tumblr pageviews increased 1,540 percent. The growth continued in 2011.

So if you’re a working journalist who’s still dismissing all animated GIFs as lowbrow Internet jokes, this is my response to you:


A haiku from the article: In Her Iron Grip

~Helpful Adobe Premiere tutorial for those of you using it for the first time on Story #5

Cute little video reminding us of the power of storytelling.

Andrew DeVigal knows how to tell a story. For six years he was the Director of Multimedia at the New York Times, developing groundbreaking interactive news packages like the Emmy award-winning A Year At War.

He understands that human elements drive narrative and best engage the reader, but against a backdrop of ceaseless online feeds and notifications it is increasingly difficult for journalists to hold readers’ attention. He believes smartly produced interactive news features which balance audio, video and stills can get audiences interested in long, deep stories if executed correctly.



Still unsure of “phoneography” having a place in the professional sphere? On March 31, 2013, The New York Times used an Instagram shot for the front page cover story.

Granted, it was a professional photographer who took the photo, but it’s quite a statement nonetheless. Perhaps you really should sign up for those Photojojo University Phoneography 101 classes…

New York Times Uses Instagram Photo for Cover Story

Related: From the FJP archives, Photojournalism vs. Instagram.

UPDATE: Another interesting aspect about the New York Times’ use of this photo is that it isn’t from a recent shoot. Instead, it’s from last year. Nick Laham, the photographer, is based in Brooklyn. His personal site is here.

(via reporterly)