Making Sense of the Media

Making Sense of Coverage of Beheadings

Sep 7, 2014
AP

There's no doubt in anybody's mind that the beheadings of American journalists by ISIS extremists is news.

But the distribution of videos of those beheadings is also clearly part of an ISIS propaganda campaign.

So how can journalists cover the story and not play into the hands of ISIS propagandizing?

Making Sense of Twitch.TV

Sep 3, 2014
npr.org

Why did Amazon just pay a billion dollars cash for a website most people have never heard of -- twitch.tv?

And, for that matter, what they heck is twitch.tv?

Well, 45 million people click to that site every month to watch other people play video games.

Welcome to the world of esports.

npr.org

It is a tale of two social media sites.                                                       

Facebook has been inundated with videos of people taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge -- donate $100 to ALS research or take a bucket of ice water over your head.

Making Sense of Ferguson Reporter Arrests

Aug 17, 2014
npr.org

Rioting in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson -- after an unarmed teenager was shot to death by police -- has brought media attention the likes of which that small community has never seen.

And, reporters have experienced everything from tear-gassing to arrest as they try to cover the story.

Making Sense of a New Way to Teach Journalism

Aug 9, 2014
wikipedia.org

It's just a journalism class. But the syllabus for this once a week class at Boston University went viral.

No doubt that is,  in part, because it is being taught by iconoclast  New York Times columnist David Carr.

Making Sense of NPR One

Aug 4, 2014

There's a new way to listen to national and local NPR programming.

It a mobile app that tailors what you hear to your listening interests.

It's called NPR One.

Is it a game changer for digital news delivery or more like 'some' things considered?

Making Sense of Social Media Shaming

Jul 24, 2014

Is seven million views on the internet more punishment than being charged with stealing?

That's the thinking of a man who caught two women stealing his beach tent on New Smyrna Beach, Florida on the Fourth of July.

He video taped the whole thing and posted it to the internet where it got seven million views -- and the numbers are still climbing.

He decided not to press charges, figuring their worldwide internet shaming was punishment enough.

The 7-1 victory by Germany over Brazil in the World Cup generated the most activity around a single sports game on Twitter ever.

Over 35-and-a-half million tweets during the game itself, and at peak volume, nearly 600,000 people were tweeting about it at the same time.

Making Sense of Internet Comment Sections

Jun 26, 2014

Are internet comments sections the new town square, or cesspools of racism, sexism and worse?

Whenever you scroll down through a comments section, at some point you encounter something that makes you cringe.

Can these often offensive comments sections be improved without cutting off free speech?

"It's definitely problematic and if we're going to make the internet work as a form of communication, we have got to figure this out," said Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-making Project.

Making Sense of Wikipedia

Jun 22, 2014
wikipedia.com

When you want to know something about somebody or something and do an internet search, where do you most often end up?

Is it Wikipedia?

The online, crowd-sourced, encyclopedia has become something of the encyclopedia of the wired generation.

Jimmy Wales founded the company that launched Wikipedia in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2001.

And it's a go-to source for information on just about everything.

Making Sense of #SurvivorPrivilege

Jun 13, 2014
Washington Post

The White House recently released a Task Force report on sexual assault on college campuses, saying one-in-five women on college campuses are sexually assaulted and calling for more education and enforcement.

New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd was in the state of Colorado a while back, a state that has legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

She decided to eat a couple of bites of a marijuana-infused chocolate bar as she sat in her hotel room.

And now she's written about the experience -- which was not a good one.

Making Sense of Elliot Rodger's Manifesto

May 30, 2014
A.P.

Twenty-two-year old Elliot Roger killed six people in a rampage in Santa Barbara, California.

It was a rampage predicted by a series of YouTube videos and writings that serve as a manifesto of a young man seeking revenge for his loneliness.

The news media was all over this back story to the tragic killings.

Making Sense of The New York Times' Editor Firing

May 23, 2014
A.P.

In the newspaper business, editors are not particularly loved.

In fact, they have long had a reputation for being tough, hard-headed and difficult to work with.

Yet, that's exactly the reputation Jill Abramson had as the first female editor of The New York Times.

And, being tough to work with was reportedly one of the reasons she was fired.

Making Sense of the Michael Sam Kiss

May 15, 2014
espn

A football player kisses his partner when he gets the news that he's been drafted by an NFL team.

What's the big deal?

Well, it was Michael Sam, becoming he first openly gay man to be drafted by the NFL. And he was kissing his boyfriend Vito Cammisano.

Twitter and other social media lit up after ESPN broadcast the moment -- over and over and over again.

The President of the United States spent a day recently doing interviews at the White House with local and national weather forecasters.

It wasn't about getting a consensus on the weather forecast for Washington, D.C.

No, the President wanted to talk about a new climate change report.

Making Sense of the Donald Sterling Case

May 4, 2014
tmz.com

After decidedly racist comments by  Donald Sterling, owner of the L-A Clippers basketball team, were made public by the gossip website TMZ, the National Basketball Association (NBA) moved quickly to ban Sterling from the game for life. 

Sterling's comments were secretly taped by his girlfriend. 

Making Sense of the Future of Photos

Apr 24, 2014
Asher Svidensky

Plenty of people share photos on the internet.       

Plenty of those photos go viral.

But few viral photos are as stunning as the ones published by BBC magazine of Mongolia's first female eagle hunter. See some of the photos here.

But with the proliferation of iPhone pet photos and news organizations firing whole photography departments, is this kind of photography doomed or poised to take a new leap with internet exposure?

Making Sense of the Pulitzer Prize

Apr 21, 2014
pulitzer.org

The Pulitzer Prizes honoring excellence in journalism were handed out last week --  including the Public Service award to The Washington Post and The Guardian for their coverage of the Edward Snowden and the N.S.A. documents he leaked.

Making Sense of New News Startups

Apr 14, 2014
fivethirtyeight.com

Statistician Nate Silver made quite the splash with his "FiveThirtyEight" blog on the New York Times website.

Why? Well, he very accurately predicted the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election, for one thing.

So, now Silver -- with backing from ESPN -- has launched his own FiveThirtyEight website.

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