Rhiannon’s Blog

For me personally, chapter 2 in Mike Ward’s book, Journalism Online, has given me the most insight about our tasks as writers so far. The chapter, The Core Journalism, basically gives us a run-down of the journalistic process. After having a three month break in between classes and not having to write anything, a chapter like this is crucial to getting back into the mode of writing for online media. The chapter teaches us how to find and identify news, and decide what news is actually newsworthy. I feel like this is so crucial to our class considering the time and preparation that goes into deciding on a semester topic and putting all the pieces together over the 15 or so weeks for the modules.

As for our online readings, I preferred ‘When, How to Tell Stories with Text, Multimedia‘ by Jeff Glick. He explains the importance of easy navigation, when to use multimedia and ways to use interactivity.  Honestly, this is the bread and butter of what we are learning. We are being taught how to make stories shine the best online and through various multimedia. His section about considering the user is also valuable because it is such an integral part of designing a web page. One should want their webpage to be as easily viewed and navigated through as possible, and by knowing your audience you can figure out how to do that in the best way.

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I have to say I’m really loving my semester project this time around. I’m actually interested in the places that I’m finding and the blogs that I’ve read over.  This time I checked out “Black Coffee and a Donut” blog, written by sisters ‘Xani’ and ‘Erin’. The blog boasts a warm and cute layout which reflects its title. It chronicles the girls’ adventures through the area at different restaurants, while making time to extend neat recipes to their readers. Their most recent posts were about the Mobbies, The Baltimore Sun’s award for most outstanding area blogs, and some cool ideas for Halloween.

Once again I prefer these types of blogs because of their more personal feel. I feel like I’m actually having a conversation with the girls even though I am simply reading their blog. Their personalities also shine through their writing which is good for relatability. The blog is efficiently organized and easy to navigate with each topic archived. I also loved their use of pictures and video for various topics as well.  Finally, the girls manage to visit some of the newer restaurants that have opened around town and take time to tell us about it. Overall, a great blog.

As Paul Bradshaw teaches us his 5 basic principles of journalism, the one that I can appreciate the most is the ‘I‘ for interactivity which emphasizes the importance of giving the audience a ‘hands on’ approach to news. He teaches us that the audiences has a need to be in control and is more susceptible to interactive websites. I feel that this is so true. People love things that are tangible. We want to be able to touch and explore. With interactive news we are able to do this in front of the computer screen.

I also feel one of the most important qualities in a journalist, especially in recent times, is the ‘A’ for adaptability. The way of relaying news to the public as we knew it is on its way out, if not already gone. People want their news easily, quickly, and on-the-go. The Adaptability section emphasizes how important it is to be versatile in all mediums used to relay information.  The people that have a variety of skills are more likely to be hired.

Overall the articles were most definitely necessary for our class, considering the journey we are about to begin with these modules. I’m glad I read it.

After doing  some searching I’ve finally rounded up about 5 places worth checking out that could be possible module ideas. I’ve decided to focus on sweet spots in Baltimore, but I don’t want it to be generic. I want each of the places to have something unique about them that sets them apart from just the average bakery or candy shop. I recently heard about a bakery called Sweet Sin. Sweet Sin is unique because all of its creations are gluten-free. Gluten is a widley used ingredient in almost everything regular people eat. Cookies, cakes, bread, flour etc., all contain gluten.

Why would anyone need gluten-free products? There’s an uncommon condition called Celiac disease which prevents the patient from processing gluten products. My sister was wrongfully diagnosed with the disease a few years ago and was forced to start  a gluten-free diet. She lost 15lbs on the diet and eventually after seeing another doctor was told that she did not have it. “Even though I ended up not actually having Celiac, the diet is rigid. You really can’t eat anything  that you normally would,” she says.

Sweet Sin should be a great way to shine light on an alternate bakery with a humble story behind it.

Self proclaimed “foodie”, Jill, of Falston, MD’s blog Baltimore Bites chronicles her experiences traveling through Harford County and Baltimore’s surrounding areas, attempting to find new places to get her grub on. What I enjoyed about her blog is how personal it is. Almost all of her posts are written from her point of view, which is very appealing to the reader who wants good, detailed information on cool places to eat.

Jill shares everything from where to get the creamiest, all natural, ‘home grown’ ice cream, to her favorite homemade pizza recipes.  Often she does a ‘freebie’ post which alerts her readers of cool deals at restaurants in the area. Since 2008 she’s had over 2000 hits and has become a featured blog under national food blog, Urbanspoon.

I also appreciate that her blog has links to dozens of  other regular food and specialty blogs, all at my disposal. In addition, the blog offers recipes and videos on multiple food subjects. Overall I feel the blog is effective and well put together. While managing to “avoid the macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets” of her children, Jill effectively gives us a bite of Baltimore and reminds the audience to “let her know where you eat”.

After putting some thought into my semester project I decided that whatever I chose had to be something that I actually like and am truly interested in. What does every girl love? Diamonds, chocolates, candies, etc. Well, I don’t really see a connection with Baltimore and diamonds, so I’ve decided to focus on the sweetest places in Baltimore. Whether it be a cute hole-in-the-wall bakery,  local candy store/factory, or just a small, independent business designed to feed our sweetest desires, I want to cover it. I want to show a sweeter side of Baltimore.

I found a blog called The Baltimore Snacker that focuses on local food places in Baltimore and also gives recipes, snack ideas, mixed drink ideas and more. I originally came up on it while searching for ‘sweet’ places in Baltimore, but as I went on I found a few really cool sections. For example, the blog has a ‘Snackin Around the Beltway’ section that shows you cool spots for snacks based on which exits you use off of the highway.

In addition, to keep up with the times, the creator has a twitter account so that her readers can up-to-date information on their favorite snack blog.

For this post I decided to review Gawker blog. I liked it because it’s my MSN.com and TMZ .com put together. Usually I would have to go to both blogs to get the deets on my favorite celebrities and a briefing on the day’s worldy events. With Gawker I can get both at the same time. Gawker remains reliable for all audience through its attempts to include current events like nuclear testing in Iraq and manages to throw in a story about America’s ‘favorite father of eight’,  Jon Gosselin.

When I first got into blogs I was mainly interested in sites like PerezHilton and TMZ. I pretty much ignored all other types of news blogs. As I’ve gotten older and as current events have began to affect me personally, I’ve gravitated more to blogs like Gawker. Today consumers are all about integration. We can do it with our electronic devices and gadgets most certainly will when it comes to our news.