Cody LaGrow-News of the Net

No longer does the word “Sandy” remind you of those lackluster boxed cookies you can purchase at Wal-Mart.

"Sandy" will now and forever be tied to the frankenstorm occurring on the eastern seaboard. And today, I will focus my "News of the Net" on all things Sandra.



Reporters think differently. When I heard of the monstrosity that will soon hit Manhattan, I began to think of how I yearned to be back in my Financial District apartment, documenting a hurricane in the nation’s biggest city.

Landlocked, warm and dry, I will not be able to experience one of the year’s biggest stories in person. However, I am able to experience it online and on my phone.

Mashable explains “Sandycam” can take a viewer to the storm. Whether a curious NYC wannabe or a concerned family member, this cam puts the rest of the nation in the hurricane as well.

Could this concept be applied to severe weather in a breaking news environment? INTERESTING THOUGHT.


iDigital Times

Whenever there is severe weather, many people forget that those who need information the most may not have traditional access to the information. Let’s be real—-no matter the cable provider, the tube will most likely fail if it’s sprinkling.


Twitter, Facebook and Google are tracking this hurricane and disseminating information like bosses. Props to you all.



To end on a positive note, here are a few of my favorite celebrity tweets about dear Sandy.

Alec Baldwin: “Sandy…..that bitch!”

Ricky Gervais: This “Sandy” who’s on TV all the time and is blowing the entire east coast, I assume she’s a Kardashian right?

And my favorite, totes typical Martha tweet:

Martha Stewart: “i am doing last minute errands- trying up top heavy topiaries,wisteria vines, extra heavy apple tree branches-” And, “the winds are growing in intensity in bedford, ny. the news reports are dismal the grandchildren are holed up in zone A i am not happy”


Stacey Kafka: News From the Net

1) When using a helicopter to break news, it’s important to make sure to verify the news you’re reporting on is accurate.  Chicago’s WGN went live with their chopper and just had the anchors describe what they were seeing as they took the live aerial images from the skycam. An article on Gawker had the full video attached, and as you can see in the picture below (photo courtesy of, the anchors were not happy after they realized the plane crash was actually staged for a show on NBC. 

Anchors not amused by "plane crash"

This accident serves as a reminder for anyone producing in a large market that just because you have the helicopter, it’s not always best to use that resource if your stories are not confirmed.  

This not only serves as a reminder for stations with helicopters when it comes to trying to break a story.  When using social media, it’s also important not to jump to conclusions when tweeting.  Way too often reporters or social media desk workers tweet out scanner traffic, which ends up scaring viewers into thinking there was say a shooting when in fact the noise was just fireworks. 

2) The internet and social media are not just changing the way journalists do their jobs, it also could soon be changing the world of fashion.  No, it’s not just that people will be doing online shopping, but according to, one new website will allow people to design their own clothes.  

Bow and Drape, a Boston based company’s website lets shoppers pick out fabrics, waist lines, length, and sleeve type.  

Sites like this would allow people to have more unique style, instead of buying the same clothes many other people might find in stores. 

From my experience working at high end retailer, White House Black Market, the push for online is very apparent in many stores these days.  Just in regular retail stores, people often showroom shop the stores, try on outfits they like, but don’t actually buy anything in the store-they instead wait for the shirt, skirt, or dress to go on sale online before buying.  

If fashion sites like Bow and Drape become more widespread and popular, I think the fashion world will be experiencing many of the same changes journalists saw a few years ago. 


Alon Gilboa: News from the Net

1) AllThingsD - “Syrian Internet Outage Raises Question ‘Could It Happen here?”

Last Thursday, Syrian officials decided to shut down Internet access in the country. The government is trying to make it harder for the rebels to communicate with each other. However, after two days, access to the Internet mysteriously reappeared in certain parts of the country.

This is troubling. This development highlights how crucial the Internet is these days to deliver information and the what it means to turn it off. Besides the lack of flow of information between citizens, people were not able to share their experiences with journalists and others around the world. With journalists essentially not allowed in the country, the Internet is serving as the sole window into the Syrian conflict.

The article mentions that “it comes down to control”. The reason the Syrian government was able to do this was by creating a single, easily accessible choke point run by loyal people. That’s because “every Internet connection in Syria is funneled through a single government agency that authorizes them all — the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment — and indeed all of them are run out of the same building.” This makes it extremely easy for President Bashar Al-Assad to order it shut down for any length of time he sees fit.

While this situation is obviously extreme, a company called Renesys looked at how likely something similar could happen in other countries. They created a map that shows countries with a significant risk of a government-ordered shutdown.  The maps shows whether its logistically possible, not politically. Those with a higher risk are shown in darker green. The lighter the green, the lower the risk.

2) Mashable - Black Friday Tweets

On a lighter note, a digital marketing company called Silverpop released an infographic talking about the most talked about subjects on Black Friday. The most tweeted subjects were, unsurprisingly, coffee and sale. It also shows the business with the most check-in which was, again not surprisingly, Starbucks. Apparently people were coming in droves to pick up their caffeine fix before braving the lines at retailers.

While most of the stuff listed here seem common-sense, it is definitely worthwhile to see customers habits online during Black Friday. Businesses can use this information to better tailor their Black Friday experience in the future and learn how to better connect with their customers.

3) Upstart - App-titude Summly Founder’s First Fortnight

I originally saw a story about this last week and was instantly intrigued. A 17-year old kid from Britain who started his own company making a news-reading app. He’s already raised $1.48 million in venture capital funding from a variety of people, including Ashton Kutcher, Yoko Ono, and Lady Gaga. 

Summly Launch from Summly on Vimeo.

Besides the fact that I am incredibly jealous of this kid, it seemed to be an interesting concept. A way to make news reading on mobile devices more fun, interesting and even engaging. It’s something I had seen before with Flipboard, but I decided to download the app anyway.

It’s a slick app, and the marketing blitz around it with a 17-year old owner is savvy. But using it for news reading was not the most enjoyable. It’s respectable in that it tries to simplify things and get rid of buttons, but the way it goes about it I think ends up making things more confusing. Overall, I’ll stick with Flipboard, it’s the best app I’ve found for reading news in a natural and smooth way. Although, it will be interesting to see where this kid ends up.


Andrew Weil: News On the Net

1. Retweeting without Reading-Hubspot

As journalists when we share links and information on Twitter we expect people who retweet it to have actually taken the time to have read the links, well new data shows that’s not actually the case.

Hubspot’s Dan Zarella analyzed 2.7 million link-containing tweets and found there was no correlation between retweets and clicks. Zarella also found that 16% of the tweets he looked at had more retweets than actual clicks. Meaning that a lot of times people were simply blind retweeting without reading through the content.

Here’s a look at an info graphic Zarella put together analyzing his findings:

Zarella also points out that this data shows how important it is to have a social media goal and strategy in place for each tweet.

If you’re looking for ways to get more website traffic from tweetsZarella has put together some key suggestions here in a previous article based off of earlier findings. Some of his suggestions include making tweets between 120 and 130 characters and placing links a quarter of the way through the tweet.

Now if simply getting people to retweet your content is more what you’re looking for then take a look at Hubspot’s “11 Guaranteed Ways to Get Others to Retweet Your Content.“ Some of the suggestions include using relevant hashtags, timing tweets later in the day, and simply asking people to retweet you.

Overall, these new findings should make journalists come to terms with the fact that we must be more engaged when it comes to twitter. Sending out a tweet without thinking about it isn’t going to cut it any more and journalists should know what they hope to accomplish each time they send out a tweet.

2.    ThingLink meet Twitter—10,000 Words

Another level of functionality and opportunity is presenting itself with ThingLink as the site’s user-created interactive images now can show up on Twitter. It turns out the company actually announced this back in September, but it took until recently, for the perfect ThingLink candidate to appear for the blog 10,000 Words to bring it to the forefront.

10,000 Words’s Kevin Locker recently took the White House picture of Olympic gold medalist McKayla Moroney  doing her “not-impressed” face with President Obama and ThingLink’d it and tweeted it out.

Before I took the blog’s word on whether or not this worked I double checked Loker’s tweet on Twitter and found it worked exactly as advertised seen in a screenshot below:

The image contains a number of interactive elements including Maroney’s tweet about the photo, the White House’s tweet confirming the photo and a link to some of the original “not-impressed” memes.

Another great find is that the interactive image even works on mobile devices.

Right now, ThingLink’d images can only work directly on Twitter if sent out using ThingLink’s site. In this article, the tool’s creators explain exactly how to send out a ThingLink’d image using Twitter.

3.     Washable Keyboard—Mashable

Black Friday is long gone but that doesn’t mean holiday shopping has to end. As part of its “gift a day” series, Mashable highlighted the Logitech Washable Keyboard. It seems like the perfect gift for that messy friend or co-worker that is always spilling their drinks on everything.

Now if Logitech were to take this product one step further and create a washable keyboard that has Avid editing buttons then there could be a real market for it in TV newsrooms across the country.

But be warned, its handwash-only so don’t even think about putting your keyboard in the dishwasher with your plates and glasses.

You can check out a video of the washable keyboard below (If nothing else it’s good for a laugh to see someone spill a cheeseburger on a keyboard….and the song’s pretty catchy as well):


Stacy Ike: News on the net

1. Instagram Info (Media Bistro)

During our last class (at Jen’s adorable house!) I expressed my concerns with Instagram moving to an online profile so you can imagine my face when I saw this post on Media Bistro referencing the Instagram Blog and their announcement of the profile along with the benefits; perfect timing. 

This is an example of what the online profile looks like:

The author of the article says initially, he was not happy about the collaboration between mobile and web (which I agreered with) but then he listed a few reasons this would help news organizations, I was intrigued. 

1. News organizations can now display a full gallery instead of just one snapshot. Viewers want to feel like they are a part of the story but when you Instagram a photo, it stays in one medium, the phone. If viewers are without a phone, or at least a phone that does not have certain capabilities, they feel disconnected from the story. 

2. Viewer engagement:

"Leading users to exploring more content can lead to three desired outcomes: likes, comments and shares."

3. And finally, this is also a way for viewers to participate in a monetary way. According to the article, ”we all know these social platforms are all about reaching audiences and building communities,  there are monetary gains news organizations take from these networks, and Instagram may soon be able to provide these types of opportunities for brands on the Web.”

2. Ad Age

Ad Question: How can Brands Best Plug In to the Social-Media Revolution?

This article focuses on the idea behind strategic marketing. The author gives some great examples about how she conveyed to many different people (from a cab driver to a business CEO) the importance of branding yourself and using technology to do it for you. 

The main thing I got from this article was to Be ValuableIt’s like what the #JENCLASS social media group is trying to do for our anchors.  People want to know what we are up to as a station so we have to be there. We have to be available, accessible, and transparent. 

3. CyberJournalist 

Cyberjournalist featured  Social Media Today in an article about the hit Korean new song, "Gangnam Style." The question the article focuses on the question, “HOW DID GANGNAM STYLE GO VIRAL?” 

This is particularly interesting because this song has attracted SO much attention from a wide range of people that one must wonder, what tools were used to promote this song?

This video explains the strategy behind this song and the importance of building a solid platform online and in the overall media. 


Kayleigh Milas - News from the Net

1. TECHCRUNCH - “Why does there always have to be an app for that?”

The article discusses the necessity of smart phone apps for every aspect of life. The author recognizes the importance and benefits that come along with them but also argues “efficiency” shouldn’t be the goal of an app, rather “joy”. I would have to agree with him, however, I still see the benefits. 

He points out an app that allows people to order drinks from the bar so they don’t have to deal with the messy line. It’s called “Coaster”. He points out, “It’s just the latest example of this craze to digitize all the fun out of life.” He understands the benefits of a app that hails a cab or books a hotel, as it may be easier than talking to someone on the phone or waiting for a customer service holding song. 

However, it makes me wonder if we’re all getting too lazy to function. If we’re too dependent on our technology, what happens when fails? Are we becoming less social as humans?

He ends on “People connecting via technology, not technology replacing people”, which I think is smart. 

So… yes there is a huge advancement in technology with all these new apps, but are they really helping? I think that’s an interesting question.

2. LOST REMOTE - “Bringing your social graph to TV, meet Stevie”

So. This sounds pretty awesome. It’s an idea that combines TV and social media, which is exactly where news is heading, isn’t it? Stevie is a “personal TV experience” created around your social networking (FB and Twitter) and what your friends are saying. It provides videos and news articles. The latest development is information surrounding Tuesday’s election. I’m all about this creation. Rather than just sitting there consuming the news or videos like people do while passively watching TV, people can be a part of the discussion while it’s going on. It’s active. It’s engaging. 

What I’m not certain I understand if this is on a computer or on the TV, but to me, it seems like it’s on a computer. If it’s not on TV… it should be. Imagine watching a show and having related Twitter and FB posts pop up or other stories and you could use your remote to click on them. I know the article also mentioned use on X-Box which might be more conducive to what I just suggested. Either way. I think this is going in the right direction in terms of journalism. It’s all going to the web anyway, right? Why not try to merge the two while we still can!

3. MASHABLE - “With Sandy, Instagram Gaining on Twitter for Citizen Journalism”

Citizen journalism exploded when Sandy hit last week. The article discusses how people used Instagram to share the damage on the east coast. However, people still use Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to share those photos they take. There are also still a lot of people (like me) who don’t have smart phones and can’t use Instagram.

Still, people snapped thousands of pictures with Intagram, so it can’t be ignored that it’s building in credibility. 

Citizens played a huge role in telling the story last week by using hash tags and personal photos. People had access to things that journalists didn’t. People on the outside could see what was really going on. The citizen journalism and journalism in general last week was incredible (except for the false information and pictures going around, but that’s another story). Technology really is amazing! 


Twitter is actually good for you! At least that’s what a Michigan State University study says. Basically, it says taking notes through Twitter helps you learn. (I could have told you that years ago!)

Twitter is actually good for you! At least that’s what a Michigan State University study says. Basically, it says taking notes through Twitter helps you learn. (I could have told you that years ago!)


Wendy Mader - News From the Net

1. Techcrunch - What Investors are looking for in the next big social media site. 

Facebook logoIn this article, the columnist talks about why sites such as Facebook are remaining successful. But it also talks about what will sustain a social media site long-term. According to investor Joe Medved, the next biggest site to succeed (and the one that should receive investment) will have to achieve mobile success. He thinks Facebook will not sustain long-term, because they have not succeeded in mobile as much as other sites. 

He discusses Thumb and Path. He says the average user spends over 5 hours a month on Thumb, and it’s supposedly twice as active as Pinterest. Path is showing three times the engagement as Facebook. So both are giving Facebook something to sweat about. 

2. Mashable - Why some people love Apple products and others don’t. 

In this article, the writer breaks down the reasoning behind some people’s disinterest with Apple products. He also discusses what aspects are loved amongst Apple users. 

Some of the most interesting data…

  • The most desired Apple product amongst non-users is the iPad.
  • iPods are the most owned devices out of every Apple product.
  • Gender does not make a difference of opinion. 
  • Apple owners are 2.3x more likely to make $75k + per year.
  • Non-White Americans are more likely to be Apple consumers. 
  • You’re more likely to be an Apple “hater” if you’ve owned an Apple product before.

3. 10,000 Words - How a news organization can use Pinterest 

A more recent article on 10,000 Words led me to an older one from January. Although slightly outdated, it aligns with something we talked about in class. Jen was asked whether or not KOMU would use Pinterest, and her response was pretty much no. 

The article discusses how users of Pinterest’s are probably not looking there for hard news, and may not even be looking for news at all. 

But here’s how they suggest journalist’s use Pinterest:

  • Pin a picture followed by a link to a story. 
  • Pin teasers to your show — if there’s an interview with someone popular, post a picture of them, book they wrote, show they were on, etc. 
  • Create a board that highlights the station’s feature stories. People love to see themselves on TV, so that way they can go back and see a recap of what was shown (and possibly see themselves or people they know). 
  •  Make a “Staff” board showing all employees at the station and things about them.
  • Ask viewers to contribute to the site by posting things they find interesting —might come up with some story ideas. 


Stacey Welsh - News from the Net

1. The PoMo Blog

The talk of social media over the weekend has been Felix Baumgartner’s skydive from space! The PoMo Blog capitalizes on this and discusses the video’s impact. 

  • Prompted discussion over what kind of free fall could have saved astronauts from the Columbia space shuttle when it exploded on re-entry in 2003
  • YouTube provided live streaming to about eight million viewers, 16 times more than ever before
  • Impact on Twitter- would Evel Knievel or David Blaine been bigger in “YouTube” era

2. Washington Post Technology

Facebook is limiting “Open Graph” apps from automatically posting ads to the right of users’ newsfeeds. For example, those apps can only post a related add when a user has been on an article for more than 10 seconds. This could cut down on spam and ads people don’t care about.

Facebook also said it will disable a feature that lets apps post stories to friends walls. People mostly hide those updates or mark them as spam.

3. Techcrunch

Techcrunch reports an announcement about the iPad mini is likely for Oct. 23. Price estimates are between $199 and $349.

  • Display and battery affect the price, so it could cost more with a retina display and if there is a model with more storage.
  • Screen expected to be 7.85 in.
  • Could this stop advance of Kindle Fire, Android tablets, etc.?