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Poynter Institute

Snopes.com

We've all gotten an email or seen something online that seems a bit fishy.

Some people take the bait, but some check it out and often rely on a well-known online mythbuster called Snopes.com.

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey blew up his social media platform this week by introducing the possibility that the company may double how much users can say in one tweet.

And if an ongoing beta test of the new 280-character limit works as the social media company hopes, all of the estimated 328 million people with Twitter accounts could be waxing poetic a lot more.

One stunning image in the media recently was of members of Hilary Clinton’s campaign roping off and sequestering reporters in the middle of the street during a 4th of July stop in NH. We talk with The Poynter Institute’s Kelly McBride about how on earth the Clinton campaign thought that was a good idea.

Bruce Jenner dominated the mediascape this week for emerging as Caitlyn Jenner – in lingerie from a Beverly Hills boutique that evokes 1940s Hollywood - on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. We talk with The Poynter Institute’s Kelly McBride about Jenner’s skill as a media manipulator, and the evolution of how people talk about transgendered people.

Making Sense of Internet Trolls

Feb 7, 2015
npr.org

Trolls aren't just those mythical uglies who live underneath a bridge and tend toward harassing travelers with impossible riddles.

Internet trolls are mean-spirited -- no -- hateful people who incessantly harass others on Twitter -- especially women.

One of those women is Lindy West -- a writer and frequent target of Twitter harassment.

Making Sense of Digital Stress

Jan 25, 2015
npr.org

Cell phone calls, texting, Facebook, Twitter and email are really adding to our daily stress, right?

Not necessarily.

There's a new study that says we aren't as stressed out by our digital lives as we think we are.

Making Sense of Charlie Hebdo

Jan 23, 2015
npr.org

The terrorist attack on the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo led people around the world to proclaim "Je Suis Charlie -- I am Charlie."

Twelve people died in the attack that was allegedly in retaliation for the publishing of cartoons that disrespected the religion of Islam.

But American journalists have struggled with publishing some Charlie Hebdo cartoons because they really are offensive to a wide range of people and groups.

Making Sense of the Bill Cosby Scandal

Dec 26, 2014
npr.org

Decades old allegations of sexual assault have come back to haunt Bill Cosby in a big way.

And, it all started with a viral comedy routine about Cosby's dark past by comedian Hannibal Buress -- and a clumsy internet response by Cosby's handlers.

That made it the internet story of the year, according to Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-Making Project.

Making Sense of Sony Pulling "The Interview"

Dec 21, 2014
npr.org

"The Interview" is a comedy from stoner bros Seth Rogen and James Franco about a TV entertainment reporter and his producer who get an interview with the leader of North Korea -- and then try to assassinate him at the request of the CIA.

Making Sense of Uber Reporter Threats

Nov 24, 2014
wbur.org

Uber -- the ride sharing app company -- is getting all kinds of attention.

And not just because of its innovative way to get you around town with unlicensed people you don't know.

It was recently revealed that an Uber executive was thinking about hiring investigators to dig up dirt on reporters who write negative articles about the company.

How can a high-tech driven company be so ham-handed when it comes to dealing with the media?

Making Sense of Taylor Swift

Nov 18, 2014
npr.org

Taylor Swift used to be just a considerable blip on the American media landscape -- country music star and tweener heroine.

Not anymore, though. With the release of her first all-pop music album "1989," Swift is changing the way music is being enjoyed, marketed and shared.

Swift's album is heading past two million in sales. That alone is bigger than any other release since 2002.

USF St. Petersburg

The University of South Florida Saint Petersburg continues its expansion plans. USF System officials have signed a non-binding letter of intent to buy nearly four acres of land from the Poynter Institute for $6.2 million.

Making Sense of Election Coverage

Nov 10, 2014
fox news

One of the big winners in the 2014 midterm elections wasn't a politician, it was Fox News

With huge Republican wins in the Senate and the House came big ratings for the Fox News Channel.

The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg will host a group of African journalists after their original hosts, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg's Department of Journalism and Media Studies, canceled over concerns of the spread of the Ebola virus. 

The visit is part of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, which brings 100 international journalists to the United States each year. 

Making Sense Of HBO Alone

Oct 20, 2014
homeboxoffice.com

Netflix, there's going to be a new player in your neighborhood.  

HBO has announced that next year it is launching a standalone online service, meaning people who don't subscribe to HBO on cable will still be able to watch the entertainment service's top shows - online.

Is this the beginning of the end of cable subscription services like HBO?

Making Sense of the Media's Treatment of Ebola

Oct 5, 2014
npr.org

Ebola has come to the United States.                                  

And, with the Ebola diagnosis of a man in Dallas who had traveled to this country from Africa, the frightening Ebola outbreak took on new meaning for Americans -- and the U-S media.

Cable news networks and social media like Twitter and Facebook lit up with the news that the scary disease had been diagnosed in this country.

npr.org

It's a story that's been dominating media coverage -- top to bottom -- from mainstream media to social media and everything in between.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice had already been suspended for two games after a video surfaced of him hauling his unconscious then-fiancé Janay out of an Atlantic City elevator.

Now Rice has been suspended indefinitely after the rest of that video surfaced, showing the punch that knocked out Janay, who is now his wife.

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 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.

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.

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