April 22, 2014

University aims to revolutionize journalism through Google Glass course

By Jonathan Espinoza

The world’s first Google Glass journalism course is set to start in August at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Dubbed “Glass Journalism,” the course will host about a dozen students and already has a comprehensive syllabus, which describes the class as a “sandbox of journalism, technology, and creativity.”

The aim of the course is to integrate Google Glass into the process of newsgathering and reporting. Students will be required use Google Glass to “explore and experiment” with new applications for the device within a journalistic context.

April 16, 2014 in its infancy

By ChinLin Pan

Vox Media, an online publisher for the sports blogs SB Nation, technology news site The Verge, and video gaming site Polygon, launched its news site on April 6. Jim Bankoff, CEO and chairman of Vox Media, spoke at the 15th International Symposium on Online Journalism on April 4 about the media company’s goals with and about the evolution of online media.

Behind the conception of are Ezra Klein, former Washington Post blogger and columnist, and executive editors Melissa Bell and Matt Yglesias. is not just another source of information to the public. According to USA Today, Klein and Vox Media released details on their plans for last month, “promising readers news stories packaged with contextual information and graphics” so readers can better digest news.

April 9, 2014

Mobile media- the death of print? Alaska may give us hope.

By: Miku Khezri

On April 7th, Alaska Dispatch, an award-winning online news source announced that it would be buying Anchorage Daily News, Alaska’s longtime print publication. The Anchorage Daily News was sold for $34 million.

Alaska Dispatch was founded in 2008 by journalist, Tony Hopfinger. Former chief financial officer of U.S. News and World Report Alice Rogoff became a majority owner in 2009 and the online news source experienced huge growth. The news site was founded just 6 years ago, displaying quite a gap in age in comparison to the Anchorage Daily News that was founded 68 years ago.
Anchorage Daily News was founded in 1946 by Norman C. Brown, however, there was an ownership change when The McClatchy Company took ownership in 1979. Since then, this print source has been the most widely read newspaper in Alaska to date.

But in a world of ever-evolving and ever-emerging mobile technology, what interest will this merger provide for Alaska Dispatch?

“Alaska is one of those unusual places where community-based newspapers in print are still a business model that readers and advertisers care about” said Rogoff-- a statement that must be foreign to the millennial generation.

Rogoff’s main incentive in combining forces came with the desire to expand coverage and audience in Alaska.

So did the Anchorage Daily News see this coming? Was it a plan brewing secretly under the public’s noses?

It turns out that McClatchy President and CEO, Pat Talamantes, did not foresee the recent merger either.

“We weren’t looking to sell the Daily News, but after Alaska Dispatch Publishing approached us, we saw advantages to local ownership in this case and the opportunities for consolidation that would strengthen both news organizations.” 

The survival of the Anchorage Daily News throughout the years, in itself is impressive, in an age where the industry of print is slowly dying. But it seems that the survival of the Daily News is no coincidence. The publication received two Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service in 1976 and 1989.

“We look forward to working with the talented team at the Daily News to build its future.” said Rogoff in moving forward.

Although both Alaska Dispatch and the Anchorage Daily News are both hopeful about the merger, it is still something that will take time getting used to for McClatchy company chairman, Kevin McClatchy.

“This is a bittersweet moment for all of us at McClatchy. We are extremely proud of the Daily News and its employees, their exceptional service to Alaska’s diverse communities and all of their contributions to McClatchy over the years. However, this sale not only makes sense from a local ownership perspective, but it allows McClatchy to focus more resources on accelerating our digital transformation to better serve our communities.

However, there are individuals that are not so optimistic, such as writer of the New York Times, Leslie Kaufman, who described this as “one more wave of investments by millionaires into the faltering newspaper business,” referring to recent take overs such as Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos purchasing The Washington Post and the owner of Boston Red Sox, John Henry, purchasing The Boston Globe.

The transaction of the two companies’ merger is expected to close sometime in the second quarter of 2014. Although Anchorage Daily News has proven resistance through the mobile movement so far, only time will tell it if will continue to do so. However, this gives an inkling of hope to those at home still clutching their newspapers.

Former Flipboard designer launches new writing platform

By Alyssa Brant

Craig Mod, former Flipboard designer, and Co-Founder Chris Palmieri, opened their website, Hi, to the public at the end of March. Mod believes that there is still a need for truly networked storytelling, and Hi is a platform that will provide just that.

The name Hi comes from an online Japanese publication that the creators drew inspiration from called Hitotoki. The word is a noun and is comprised of two components: hito (“one”) and toki (“time”), and is often translated as “moment” in English. In common usage, it describes any brief, singular stretch of time, and that is what the founders wanted to encapsulate.

Hi claims to be the “simplest way to capture, write, and publish” stories as they unfold. By using a smartphone, a writer creates a “sketch,” which is a photograph or snippet of text as a moment is happening. The writer can then return to these “sketches” and expand on them, whether it happens to be a 500 or 5,000 word story. The editing interface is optimized for long-form writing, and the writer never has to worry about losing their work because Hi will auto-save drafts until the story is ready to be published. Readers can also subscribe to anyone who posts and automatically receive updates when a new story is uploaded.

Will sports owners soon own the news?

By Jared Wynne

Journalism is in a state of flux. Traditional businesses models in the industry have proven inadequate as the Internet age has fully commenced, and owners of some of the nation's largest newspapers are looking to hand off the baton. Could it now be that the group most likely to take the reigns is defined in their place in the world of sports?

Newspapers and sports are by no means foreign to one another. Reporting on sports has long been a staple of newspapers in America. Many readers would be quick to discard the paper shell that ensconced the sports section, eager to indulge their very specific interest in the news of day.

Questions have been raised in the past about the close relationship between newspapers and the sports world. Such questions speak to a larger issue, one that goes well beyond sports. How can a journalistic entity fairly and effectively cover another entity occupying a position on the same payroll? Does this represent a fundamental conflict of interest?