Legal Limitations of Blogs

Though blogs are often viewed as a versatile form of publication with little restriction, a legal responsibility is assumed when one produces a blog. Many of these responsibilities might seem obvious, but some are less so. The more obvious ones include that plagiarism is prohibited, and copyrights and trademark laws must be in accordance when posting a blog. For example, one must not post a blog as his or her own that is from another site. As for copyright and trademark laws, pictures that are not permitted to be used on blogs unless they are created by the blogger, allowed to under the copyright license, or are given express consent from the pictures’ creator. The less obvious legal issue with blogging has to do with libel. This term refers to the publication of untrue information that would have a negative effect on someone’s reputation. Even if no one visits the blog, this practice is still considered illegal.
As more and more blogs are started up, it seems likely that more and more people will get sued. Bloggers are often created ordinary people with little knowledge of the legal responsibility that they assume by creating a blog. It would be easy for a lawyer to find a blog somewhere that maybe posted a picture illegally and collect money from that person. Perhaps this practice not yet worthwhile for a lawyer, but it could not hurt to be careful. Major lawsuits have occurred over similarly trivial issues.

Source:
http://weblogs.about.com/od/bloggingethics/tp/Legal-Issues-Bloggers-Must-Understand.htm

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Who’s Who of The Blogosphere: Technorati Top 100

While researching the blogging publishing industry, the name Technorati must have come up more times than I could remember. Upon further investigating, it became clear why.  After its start in 2002, Technorati quickly became an authoritative voice in the blogosphere by utilizing their own algorithms to rank the influence of websites based on their content. By 2008, Technorati was indexing more than 100 million blogs (Technorati).  Soon, everyone was vying for a spot on The Technorati Top 100, the “Who’s Who” list of the blogosphere. Impressive! From annual reports released by Technorati, it was clear that they wanted the information they gathered to be used to catapult websites and blogs to the next level. Offering feedback and advice from top brand marketers, for the first time in a long time, bloggers and domain owners could now see how they stacked up with the competition on the market. Technorati continues to have an enormous and influential presence in a publishing market that is rapidly growing.

http://technorati.com/company/history-of-technorati/

The 2011 report can be found here: http://technorati.com/state-of-the-blogosphere-2011/

What is it About Memoir?

I stumbled across this piece while doing some research for the upcoming publishing report. The question I sought to answer is this: Why does memoir even matter? What is it about this one small slice of the literary pie that keeps people coming back for more? This is a beautifully written piece in The New Yorker, aptly named “A Memoir Is Not a Status Update.”

It’s the perfect title, and it really does make you think. Why, in a world that is increasingly overrun with social media, selfies, and constant status updates, does anybody bother to read or write personal memoir anymore? It should be obsolete by now, right? In fact, the opposite is true. Despite a brief plateau in sales, memoir remains one of the most popular forms of nonfiction writing available today.

After reading this piece, the thing that struck me most is this line: “One of literary memoir’s greatest satisfactions—both for writer and reader—is the slow, deliberate making of a story, of making sense, out of randomness and pain.” It’s not about your check-in at the hospital or a snapshot of the beach where you watched your marriage crumble before your eyes. It’s about what we as humans do with these events; how they shape and define us; how we overcome and carry on. Essentially, it all comes down to the need to share our tiny part in the human experience. I recommend checking this piece out if you are curious about what sets memoir apart and makes it as timeless as the human spirit.

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/memoir-status-update

The life of a blogger

Blogging is a tough field to want to get into in today’s age. Going online and searching “blogs” on any search engine will lead you to over 150 million blogs on the internet as of 2013. Being a blogger means spending hours behind the computer and hoping to catch someones eye. That may be hard though because of the abundance of other blogs and bloggers. It is not impossible, but a difficult time to make a career out of blogging unless you work for a company.

A study in 2012 claims that over 80% of bloggers never make more than $100. If you are the lucky 8%, you will make enough to support yourself and your family. Again, it is a slim chance though. If blogging is something anyone is looking to get into, keep in mind the competition. Try to get hired as a blogger for an establishment rather than self-publishing your blog.

http://blogging.org/blog/blogging-stats-2012-infographic/

http://www.wpvirtuoso.com/how-many-blogs-are-on-the-internet/

How To Be Published as a Freelance Journalist

With Newspaper and magazines dying, journalists are now having a harder time being published. All publications are slowly switching to the online world but the transition is not that easy to make.

Journalists are lucky if they score a solid job with a successful publication but most journalists are freelancers. Freelancing can be difficult and freelancers tend to face many challenges. They have to come up with their own story pitch, find a publication that wants to run it and will pay you enough for it.

It is definitely not easy being a freelance journalist but poynter.org gives some great tips for getting jobs while being a freelancer.

“Create a network and continue to build it.” Networking is so important! Networking gets your name out there and the more people you know, the more job opportunities you will have. Getting to know your bosses, people you work with and other freelancers can only help you in the long run. Social media, such as Twitter, offers a wonderful and easy way to network.

“Research potential publications – and their editors.” You should know what kind of a certain publication likes before you pitch a story to them. It is extremely important to know the editor and do your research on him/her before you meet them because the more research you do, the more you know about them and you will make a good impression on them.

“Pitch on subjects other reporters are missing.” Since freelance journalism (or any type of journalism) is a competitive market, you have to have your story stand out from all the others. Create a unique twist to your story, find other facts and details that others have not. You have to dig deeper.

“Pitch more than you can write.” Pitch a lot of stories because editors are probably sick of hearing the same one over again. And pitch stories to more than one editor, this way you will have more opportunities but be prepared for a lot of rejection.

Create an online portfolio.” An online portfolio will help boost your career and give editors and other employers the opportunity to see your work. Make sure your e-portfolio is organized and well put together. 

“Share the wealth.” Share your tips and experience with other fellow freelancers. You never know who you might be needing help from in the future.

http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/advice/190234/6-tips-for-getting-gigs-as-a-freelance-journalist/

So you want to be a food critic

For those interested in food writing and more specifically writing a food or restaurant critique, it is hard to know where to begin or how to write a successful critique. The best way to get experience is to experience. Although that sounds redundant and is common knowledge, it is something that needs to be said. In order to become a successful food critic you need to get out and experience as much food and as a variety of restaurants as you can in order to establish what is “good” and what is not.

Experience is not the only thing you will need to be a successful food critic, you will also need to take a very ethical approach to your critique/review. Some tips from the Association of Food Journalists include being honest and unbiased in your critique, to evaluate a whole situation as thoroughly as possible before publishing your work, and to be careful with negative reviews. It is important to have a high ethical standard when being a food critic because your reviews and evaluations reflect not only you but also the establishment you are writing about, thus putting them on the line.

http://afjonline.com/FoodCriticsGuidelines.cfm

Is Entertainment Journalism Really Journalism?

People in today’s society are obsessed with celebrities. It is like celebrities are some fictional, God-like creature that people obsess over. Entertainment journalism covers the newest and hottest news in the celebrity world- covering their love lives, the most luxury cards and homes, parties, awards, fashion, drama, live events and rumors. But is all this really considered journalism? Does it make a difference in our world who Justin Bieber is dating? Does it matter who Katy Perry is wearing at the Grammy’s?

Opinions on this topic tend to vary but entertainment journalism does exist and it is probably one of the most stable journalism jobs in our society, today. Our society cares so much about our celebrities, rather than the war or malnourishment in other countries.

Companies like E! News, Entertainment Tonight and TMZ make millions of dollars a year because celebrities are such a current hot topic but are entertainment journalists really journalists?

A professor I had in one of my journalism classes, told the class that entertainment journalists were not reporters because they wanted to report the news and update their community but because they also wanted to be famous like the people they were interviewing. Entertainment journalists include Giuliana Rancic, Billy Bush and Ryan Seacrest.

Random fact: Ryan Seacrest’s annual salary is $65 million. He probably doesn’t make this much because of his magnificent journalistic abilities but more so because he has become a celebrity over time.

These names are most likely known by most people in today’s society but journalists who cover hard news and non-celebrity related issues, are probably not recognized by name. Some of the stories that these journalists cover, might be important- if the celebrity broke the law- but most of the time the stories don’t affect the world.

In some cases, entertainment journalists are mistreated and laughed at in the journalism world because they are not reporting on hard news. In the defense of entertainment journalists, they do work hard to uncover facts and report stories to their audience. Even though they are reporting for different reasons, about different things, they are still hard working journalists.

http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/actors/ryan-seacrest-net-worth/

http://www.berkeleybeacon.com/opinion/2013/10/2/in-defense-of-entertainment-journalism

Publishing 2.0

Journalism has changed. There’s no doubt about that. Many people consider this Digital Era to be the death of Journalism, as we know it. But I think Marc Andreesen said it best, “Maybe we are entering into a new golden age of journalism, and we just haven’t recognized it yet.”

We are used to publications being on print and my step dad is one of the millions of Americans who are still extremely loyal to having a physical newspaper delivered. He doesn’t like a dose of technology with his breakfast. But, journalism is changing and many people consider Social Media the kiss of death for investigative journalism. If society dictates what they want to read how is the media going to report on stories that the public aren’t aware of? But technology is changing everyday things, and journalism is not excluded.

I’m sure nowadays we are all familiar with Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a website that helps people campaign for creative projects. They pitch an idea online and people fund it. Sometimes there are incentives, but sometimes it’s just out of generosity, or the fact that people want to help others achieve their dreams. Well, there is now a service like this for investigative journalism and it is called Beacon. This website allows you to fund writers, and you get access to the stories you helped fund. I think we are starting to see a new era of journalism and I’m looking forward to it.

http://a16z.com/2014/02/25/future-of-news-business/

https://www.beaconreader.com/

Getting Published: Journalism & Freelancing

How does one get published in today’s society? With digital era changing the playing field, how does one become a journalist? As USA Today put it, “college graduates too often find themselves settling for administrative jobs they have no passion for. They replace their dreams with the practicality that an unappealing desk job serves their bank accounts…” My older sister graduated from the University of Connecticut as a journalist and at first she took a job with another company, that had absolutely nothing to do with journalism. She gave me some tips, that aligned with an article I found on USA Today.

1) Never Stop Writing- “Write for the school paper, create a blog, look for internships where you can write.” She even told me she wanted to work for a Spanish Newspaper in New York so she offered to freelance for them, for free, until a position became available. A year later a position opened up and she started working there.

2) It’s all about who you know- While she was freelancing, she had the opportunity to meet a lot of people in the industry. Her persistence and networking opened the doors to where she wanted to be.

3) Get out there – “Whether it’s blogging or writing for a paper, be where the news is. Write about topics that you are passionate about.” On September 11, 2001 my family and I still lived in Connecticut and I remember her dropping off her son, as the schools were being evacuated and she drove, took the train, then walked to the middle of the chaos so she could get pictures and information of what happened that day. She didn’t want to just write about news, but she wanted to experience it so she could share that story.

4) Timing – Jason Deans, a Media Guardian journalists, emphasizes the importance of timing. A story needs to be told quickly if it is to be told at all. If it happened today, it’s news. If the same thing happened last week, it’s no longer interesting.

I think a great way to break into the field of Journalism is by Freelancing. Today’s society has made it easier to be published, whether it’s an online self publication, or publication through a news outlet. All it takes is some dedication.

http://college.usatoday.com/2012/06/04/a-college-journalists-guide-to-freelance-writing/

http://www.theguardian.com/media/organgrinder/2007/jul/26/post41

http://www.mediacollege.com/journalism/news/newsworthy.html

Yes! Magazine and the Secrets behind Succeeding as a Philanthropy-Driven Publication.

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Yes! is a very interesting magazine. Not only does it focus on stories about issues in our world and the steps we need to take to solve them, it is also considered a nonprofit organization itself. The magazine exists online, and when printed, it is printed on post-consumer waste, chlorine-free paper. The point I’m trying to make is that this magazine has taken a very literal approach to publishing in the nonprofit sector, and I think all of us wishing to do the same should take note.

The magazine focuses on everything from peace and justice, the planet, new economy, people power and happiness. These are not the typical headers you see in an online publication. The thing that makes this publication so unique is its use of solution-oriented language. It doesn’t dwell on the negatives of the issues surrounding our society; it focuses on the best way to fix them. While it produces editorial-style posts like these, it also does a great job of spotlighting both small and large organizations who are making a difference. They were founded by an expert in finance and the economy, so each article is based in facts and logic.

As someone who wants to go into the nonprofit industry yet also wants to make a career out of writing, publications like these are incredibly important. They exist to shine a light on productive ways to make our world a better place.

Sources:

http://www.yesmagazine.org/about