Journalism Becomes Data-driven

Chapter nine in Mark Brigg’s book highlights the importance of digitizing your life and organizing the information you collect. Briggs brings the readers attention to the chaotic disarray of our email inboxes. We can take advantage of organizational tools such as filters and folders to restore an order to our email programs.

Briggs compares the capabilities of technology to driving a car. He says that no matter how cool the car is or how many gizmos it has, the driver makes the decisions that matter.

There are several simple things we can do to ensure that our email programs operate smoothly and effectively. Briggs would like journalists to commit to a few time-saving rules to manage an email account, and they are as simple as just reducing the amount of time your email program is open on your screen. Briggs says to focus time on something else for an hour or two before launching your email again. It can be beneficial to address new messages every time you sign onto email in order to prevent distractions from new messages.

David Allen’s “Getting Things Done,” book offers many lessons and suggestions on how to manage this ocean of data. Journalists have to develop a strategy beginning with a simple equation. (What you need to manage + the right tools to manage it= personal productivity.

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News Becomes a Conversation

In the tenth chapter of Mark Briggs’ book we learn that news has become a conversation and the biggest challenges facing journalists is how to manage and leverage the conversation. Many journalists are now coming around to the idea that managing online communities and participating in social networks are the future of journalism.

Comments on news stories and blogs have grown into social networking tools where journalists interact with each other. The primary motivation for social tools on media sites is to stay technologically relevant and to build strong relationships with an audience.

Mandy Jenkins has held community management and social media positions for several news organizations offers the “rules of engagement.” She says that we should answer all questions asked by our readers. The second rule is to address criticism professionally and respectfully. Third rule of engagement is to respond, publicly or privately to your readers. Fourth rule is to share good responses from comments. The final two rules are to publicly correct oneself and always acknowledge news tips.

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Tow Zone: Lack of Campus Parking Leads to Unrest Amongst UMass Amherst Students

In June 2011, The University of Massachusetts Amherst began construction of a new $186.5 million residential and teaching complex directly across from Boyden Athletic Fields in the center of campus to serve its Commonwealth Honors College. The complex will include 600 first-year beds, 900 upper-class beds, nine classrooms, two faculty apartments, four staff apartments, and an Administration and Student Services building.

It plans to open in the fall of 2013, welcoming in 3,000 Honors College students enrolled in 88 majors.

“This new complex will serve as a visible representation of the commitment of this campus to academic excellence and will help attract even more students to the program,” said Dean of Commonwealth Honors College, Priscilla M. Clarkson.

While it will certainly establish itself as one of the best public university complexes of its kind in the nation, Dean Clarkson’s comment brings up an interesting dilemma.

What does this mean for the lack of parking already on campus?

The university is hoping their new construction will attract even more students to the 22,000 undergrad and 6,150 graduate students already attending UMass.  The Honors College has even stated that they plan to increase their own enrollment from 485 this fall, to 600 next year.

This means a lot more students, and a lot less parking.

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