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I would like to share something about new media with you today — how a news website utilize its online presence, which I learnt from one of the lectures of the Missouri School of Journalism RJInnovation Week.

A team from the J-school analyzed the design of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website STLToday.com and its social network presence, and provided tips for them to attract more web traffic through both PC and mobile devices.

You know, more traffic = higher revenue to the media outlet nowadays.

Here are something I thought was very helpful and inspiring.

>> They want to reorganize the homepage of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Not removing any commercial advertisement or original content, they suggested the Patch just move things around to make it look more visual appealing, and help the Patch brand itself and optimize the user experience.

Like,

– Make the important news dominant

– Add more visual appealing elements like thumbnails instead of simple tabs.

>>They also pointed out the current subscription emails the Patch is sending to the readers are terribly-designed:

-red background with blue text

-images blocked by most users (which means waste of money)

Some suggestions:

-Navigation in the email is important. This can lead the readers to click on the headline to enter the website.

-Also, personalized emails will have higher chances to be read.

>> How to attract more traffic through social networks? The team told us:

…On facebook, it will be more effective if you

– post a question and give a link

– post some cartoon or picture related to the story

– post multimedia like video

– or post national stories

However, facebook may cause the participation rate on their real website lower because people don’t necessarily click that link to the website when they can read the key paragraphs and comment on the facebook.

…On Twitter, you can…

– set up multiple accounts for different niches/beats

– list the Twitter accounts of reporters who tweet about different topics

– list the readers’ favorite Twitter account/ most influential Twitter account

…On Pinterest

This is actually something new to me. It sounds like very similar to Tumblr, which I am using now. It features in its picture sharing function, and is 95% visual.

The team gave us the example of Wall Street Journal, who has done some cool things on Pinterest. They made full use of the archive by posting old front pages on one of their pin boards. They also interacted with the readers by asking readers to post pictures showing how their mornings start.

>> They also talked about paywalls, which is a more and more popular way for media to make money.

They suggest the paper to set up a soft paywall, which will allow readers read certain amount of articles a month, and gradually narrowing the limits, like the New York Times did.

>> Finally, they provided some good suggestion on making the paper’s daily scorecards easier to read.

They found the current scoreboard contains good info but are poorly-organized. They designed a mock-up which is more visually appealing and more focusing on the HELPFUL data.

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I have never been loving NICE weather so much!

Great weather, great game. This Saturday, the Mizzou Quidditch team had a wonderful competition with Webster. Got a bunch of photos and videos. They won and i really enjoyed the game. More important, I think i did a better job than the last time because I know what kind of scenes I wanna get this time. As Jonathan suggested, I made a list on my notebook, like:

I need

– a close shot of Andrew

– a scene of the ball being picked up by Erin

– a scene of XX running in and running out…

I guess it’s getting better partly because I’m getting familiar with these gears this time, but still heavy.

Besides, I started working on the graphic a little bit. Got a draft of a tiger on the broom already. (I am too shy to show it here though =] )

I have scheduled an interview with the captain on Monday at 230, so I might not be able to get to the lab on time. Also, got the latest news that they have got the org status, so I will talk to them again to have some updated info.

That’s it. I think.

Cheers!

Click the picture to watch the original project. ( and I won’t suggest you to watch it in Chrome. )

I think this video does a very good job in analyzing Mariana’s signature cutter using 3D motion. I can’t think of a more effective way to explain this. The graphic is able to pinpoint the hitting point of each pitch which the audience can’t necessary see in a real-life video. Also, throwing thousand of balls at the same time can only be realized in the animation, too. That map of Rivera’s hitting points in 2009 is really impressive. It’s easy to see the hot spots and get the conclusion, which is a clear and good analysis. The comparison of the spinning of a fastball, a cutter and a slider is also very straight forward.

I am also very impressed by the huge amount of research done behind the project. You need to look into Rivera’s sports records, and you need to find an analyst to lead us through this.

I like this multimedia project mainly because it successfully simplifies and visualizes a very technical problem.

The navigation of this project is pretty easy and simple as there are only two main components there: an article and a video. Also, because this is not a huge project, not a lot of attention is put on its unique design or layout. But it still fits the structure of the New York Times website pretty well.

When talking about the control of the video. I first tested it in Google Chrome, and I found there is no progress bar for you to drag around, so the audience can only pause or resume the video. When I tried to go back to some point to review a certain frame, it’s not viable. But when I tried again in Safari and Firefox, both have the progress control bar. Also, in Chrome, the screen is not complete, and we lost so some of the text on the right.

But overall, I think this is a cool multimedia project. As my own project is also related to sports, I am inspired by the concept behind it – how to approach a sport by using graphics.

 

Because of the rainy days, I wasn’t able to go out and take videos of the practice last week. The only progress I got was a sit-down interview with Erin Miller, a “beater” on the team. I was glad to see the diversity in my selection of players, because Erin was so different from Andrew that she was definitely not a “sports” person and  came to play Quidditch just because of her love for HP.

I will start designing the graphics and thinking about the flash this week. And if the weather allows, (hopefully,) I will go and shoot more B-rolls and photos for the slideshow.

Cheers!

 

The materials I have collected:

1/ Audio interview with Xan, the secretary of the Mizzou Quidditch. + Nat sound collected from the game. I will use these as the audio for the audio slideshow, which is about how the team has been struggling to get the org status from the university, and to become an official member of the International Quidditch Association.

(This has also been used as the audio story i have submitted.)

2/ A sit-down interview with Andrew Crawford, who is a chaser on the team. Also, I got plenty of B-roll of him practicing. I will edit the video over the weekend, and this will be an example of the four videos which portray four different players on different positions.

 

Future plans:

1/ Also, I have made an interview appointment with Erin Miller, a beater on the team, next week.

2/ I am also planning to take photographs for the audio slideshow when they practice next week.

Today I went to the Quidditch practice to shoot some videos.

I planned to use this as my video gathering assignment, but finally realized it might nor be easy because sports is so hard to shoot!! Especially when you tried to shoot some sequences, you would find it’s too fast to catch every step of an action. Also, it’s not exactly repetitive, so it’s hard to make up a scene if you miss one.

In shooting sports, I am afraid that I have to use a lot of panning because I want to follow the subject at most times. This is my first time to shoot sports, and the first time to shoot videos with a SLR on a tripod. It’s different as I am used to press the zoom in/out botton instead of switching the lens to adjust the distance. It’s also hard to see the screen if you want to set the camera on the ground.

I used up the space of the SD card I brought today, but didn’t really get a lot of b-rolls that I am satisfied with. I will try to go and shoot again this coming week and see if I can do any better.

When you walk through the Quad on Friday or Sunday afternoons, you will see a dozen of students riding the brooms and playing with balls near the Columns.

Yep! Quidditch! These Harry Potter fans are playing Muggle Quididitch, which is a real world version of this magical sports.

I think this would be an interesting story with plenty of multimedia elements. I can do a video explaining how to play the game, an audio slideshow telling the story of this team struggling to become an official member of the International Quidditch Association, and an information graphic showing the difference of the  equipment they use for the game with those in the book/movie, and a map showing the location of other more than 300 Quidditch teams in the United States.

I’m already excited about my story! Any comment/suggestion? Hope to hear some feedback from you guys!

Days without 4804

The second day without the pressure from coming up with story ideas. A little bit lost.

After posting this blog, it’s time for me to officially say goodbye to 4804. I never thought this moment would come so fast.

It seems like a happy ending with out final story quite satisfying. For this final story, we skipped the classes, stayed late, woke up early, rushed through our lunches (if we were lucky enough to have time to have a lunch), I switched all my shifts to the weekend after the deadline, and we were the last group who stayed at the futures lab till 8:55 (five minutes before the deadline). And good news is it will be on the Extra Sports! Haha, no pains, no gains.

The funniest thing about this story is neither of us is a sports fan, but luckily, with the help of our student editor and dear faculty member, we finally made it! YAYA!

I think I learned a lot from this class, not only the reporting skills. I learnt a lot from these lovely partners. LD is always so positive and working with her is always so happy and relaxed. Yeah, she’s like the sunshine. It’s her suggestion that the yellow team in yellow on the last production day. : ) LU is a perfectionist, who sets really high standard for himself and others. Talented, hardworking, and detail-focusing. They all gave me some kind of inspiration.

Thank you, 4804, and  thank all the people who walk along with me.

T

Living windows setting in Maude Vintage

Employees and the owner play in the window of Maude Vintage. So fun!

Makes Scents window! The cowboy is the son of the shop owner, and the boy who is taking picture is his classmate! 🙂

Cuuuuuute window of Bluestem!! These kids keep waving to us and never feel tired.

Christmas songs played every where. It's just Dec 2@@

Living window of GLIK'S in downtown. Their theme is Charle Brown's Christmas~ Snoopy! Yeah!

I didn't get this. But the music was warm and funny.

Jeff, the reporter I shadowed, was on the screen in the live reporting truck. It's chilling outside {{{{{{> _ <}}}}}}}}

It’s said this event has been held in Columbia for two decades. One more reason that makes me love this little town.

Las Vegas Day 1

Street View, Las Vegas

Travel mates, from left to right: Oscar, Youyou, Iris and me.

Mizzou color m&m!!

Finally got access to the Internet! After walking around in Las Vegas the whole day and 4 hour’s driving from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon, I’m really exhausted now. So, just post a couple of pictures first, and more will come during my traveling.