Google Maps

A Google Map from The New York Times.
A Google Map from The New York Times.

You may be familiar with Google Maps as a way to look up a business, get directions, or find your way around a city. This web mapping service is provided by Google and it powers many map-based services.

For a journalist, or a blogger, Google Maps have become a useful and informative tool for storytelling. Because it is web-based, it is a great interactive form of journalism which is easy for readers to use. For example, if you wanted to know where to watch the Olympic torch relay travel through London in the Olympics, The Argus newspaper offered a Google Map which was much easier to use than trying to read a story with street directions.  Or, to offer visual information to its readers about a fire, the LA Times put together this map. The Richmond Confidential created a map about homicides, which offers information about each one. Just click on a point and you will see a photo and information about a particular homicide.

Classic Google Maps

Google Maps launched the beta version of a new mapping tool called Google Maps Engine Lite, which offers fun new features, but also makes it impossible to embed your map in your WordPress. If you would like your map to be placed in your WordPress blog, you must create your map in the classic Google Maps.

Here is a tutorial on the classic Google Maps from Interactive Journalism, from the Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University.

If you are already signed in on Google Maps Engine Light, but want to return to Classic Google Maps, go to this link:

Google Maps Engine Light

If you are OK with just providing a link to your Google Map, you can create it in the new Google Maps Engine Light. When you share your link, it may require the viewer to sign-in with their gmail. Here’s an example of a link I created.

Here’s one professor’s solution to that problem. But if you are willing to be part of the beta testing of this cool feature, here’s a video tutorial on how to create a map in Google Maps Engine Light. Here’s another good tutorial that also includes how to upload data sets into your map.

Your assignment is to create a Google Map with at least 8 place markers on it and either post the link or the map onto your blog, depending on which maps application you use. This is a 60-point assignment that must be turned in before you leave class today.

Finally, just to note, Google has a mapping application called Google Fusion Tables, which allows for much more detailed analysis of data sets from .csv or Excell sheets. Most of the highly detailed and interactive maps created by companies such as The New York Times are made with Google Fusion Tables. For those of you who are up to the challenge, I would recommend trying it out at some point.

But for today, start out with a simple Google Map!


Can’t stop tweeting…

For those of you who are yet to be convinced about Twitter, or just need a boost to finish your Twitter Assignment, here are a few tutorials for you.

1. Mashable – A Twitter How-To Guide Book

This has the answers to every question you might have – just click on the link of the subject  you want to know more about.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 11.38.59 AM

2. Top 7 Twitter Tutorials on YouTube – don’t like to read, just watch these short & fun videos

3. Why you need to use Twitter as a journalist by Steve Buttry

Happy tweets!

Social Media Sharing Assignment

Choose a Social Media site and be able to share what it is, how it works and how it could be useful to you in your career, or to multimedia journalists. Emphasize how it creates a conversation and connects people together. Submit a one-page overview that includes:

Name of Social Media
Number of users (use link below)
Short history
How it is used
How it could be useful to you in your field, major or career
Any interesting tidbits about your Social Media

Bring your laptop to class and any adapters that you need, so you can present your Social Media on the projector. This is a 25 point assignment.

 Do not choose Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Some options for you to consider:

Linked In





Scoop It








Here a list of many others   List of top Social Media sites and apps

And finally, Overdrive, a digital marketing company, offers this Social Media Map, updated as of October 2013.


Uploading to the Eagle’s Eye website

To upload to, you will need to log into the site as a user:

You cannot log into the site until you been made a contributor or an editor by the online editor.

Here are instructions for uploading stories to the site.How to Post on SNCEAGLESEYE

Prepare your Preparing web images for the web in Photoshop: RGB, 72 dpi.

Make sure you set the publish time for 6 a.m. on the Thursday of publication.

It’s important to do your SEO for each story as well.

1. Content – Is the story broken up into readable chunks? Bullet points?

2. Keywords – What would you say is the most important word in this story? Make sure that word is in the headline, even trying to put it in the first paragraph.

3. Links – Link to other websites, blogs, or past articles in the Eagle’s Eye. A link should provide new information that contributes to the story’s value.

4. Headline – This is what is seen on Google, so carefully think about your headline. Include your keyword, keep it present tense, make it interesting in five to 10 words. Remember anything over 69 characters won’t show up on Google.

5. Meta description – Try to summarize the story in a sentence using the keyword. You can use the first sentence if it summarizes the story; otherwise, write something new.

6. Put meta descriptions on your photos.

Audio Soundslides

To create a good Audio Soundslide project, you first need a good story. Review what makes a good story as we discussed in class.  You need action, a beginning, an arc, a moment of reflection, the ending. You need a story that will evoke emotion. Find a story that can be told in a sequence, chronologically, or as a process.

For an Audio Soundslide project, you will marry great photographs with awesome audio. You need both for your project to be good. You’ll need natural sound – look for stories that have sound to them: the sound of a workplace, a hobby, nature, a busy street corner, playing an instrument. Natural sound is NOT background music. In fact, please do not use background music in your Audio Soundslide project unless it relates directly to your story – a ballerina’s music for her dance, the radio of someone at work, a musician’s song, etc.

You need to take LOTS of photos in order to find the best ones for your project. Take wide shots, medium shots, close-up shots, unusual angles, over the shoulder shots. Think about the rules of composition when taking your photos.

Then, you begin putting it together with Audio Soundslides.

You MUST use Audio Soundslides PLUS, which we have in the DART lab. If you download the free version, then you will not be able to create a video to upload to your site.

Learn to use Soundslides

A round-up of Soundslides Tutorials


Twitter is an important tool for journalists, and essential to anyone for networking. Just use 140 characters to start a conversation. (This statement is 134 out of 140 available characters!)

How to set up and start your Twitter account from Zombie Journalism

Twitter tips for Journalists by Steve Buttry, digital transformation editor for Digital News First

Twitter assignment- Due April 4 – 50 points

Visit any of the art exhibits at Sierra Nevada College and write 10 tweets on what you saw, who you met, and your impressions. You can visit the exhibits multiple times and on different days, or just all at once.

Use #sncart hashtag.

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Take in a slice of Americana with critically acclaimed host Ira Glass on “This American Life.” Each week he picks a theme, then gives his writers and performers the freedom to weave real stories from real people around that theme in a manner they find most engaging. You’ll meet fascinating people with stories that range from heart-warming to bizarre. Glass and company try interesting things and take radio where it’s never gone before. It’s a show that defies description, but has become one of public radio’s most celebrated programs. Produced by Chicago Public Radio.

Ira Glass of “This American Life” talks about the building blocks of a great story.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Audio Journalism for 3/6

Audio (read Chapter 7 in Journalism Next)

Audio has characteristics that can’t be matched by other forms of media:

Presence – you can bring readers to the story.

Emotions – tone of voice, expressions, intonations and pauses enhance the message

Atmosphere – natural sound – the sound that’s happening around you as you report – helps pull the listener in close. Weather, anything that’s happening in that particular setting.

NPR sets the standard in audio journalism. – creates “driveway moments” and connects the listener to the story. Listen to this story about Julio Diaz – you have to listen to the very end!

Here’s an example of an audio interview that includes natural sound. Click on the audio link in this Mindy McAdams’ assignment.

To Record:

Location – choose a quiet location for the interview

Room Tone – grab several seconds of room tone, an empty room, if there is a refrigerator clicking, the editing program can identify and take it out.

Interview – do a pre-interview first, then ask specific questions to record, ask questions (that will be cut out) but make sure that when the subject is talking you keep quiet, no I see, really, hum, when you hold the mic, you add noise, use the stand if you can, not more than 5 minutes – you will be reducing to 2 minutes

Natural sound – is there anything that can go with the sound, skateboarder, chef kitchen sounds

To use a Zoom H2N:

Here’s a tutorial on using the recorder.

Edit in Audacity (or Garageband):

This is a free program that you can download from the Internet. It is very important that you set up the preferences correctly. They have to be set up BEFORE you open your file in Audacity.

There are multiple tutorials on Audacity under this site’s Helpful Links.

To practice with Audacity, I will email you two files, one of natural sound and one of the interview.

Next week’s assignment:

Audio Interview – Tell me a story about…

            When your subject had an embarrassing moment

Accomplishing a difficult task

The moment your subject realized what your passion is

How someone’s kindness/compassion impacted your subject for life

(I am open to other suggestions, but please check first)

Besides the story, make sure your subject identifies himself/herself and answers who, what, where, when, why and how of his story. You will have to prompt him/her with questions.

1. You will choose an SNC student, staff or faculty member for an audio interview. Choose someone who has a story to tell. (You may need a pre-interview to ensure that the story is interesting.) Please tell your subject that this interview will probably be posted on

2. Check out one of the H2n audio recorders or other recorders from Tanya to conduct your interview. I know you can do it with your iPhone, but I would like you to have the experience with a true audio recorder. You can only have it for two days, so others can use it too.

3. Record your interview in a quiet place. Make sure your subject states his or her full name and major if a student or subject matter if professor. Basically name and identification.

4. Either install Audacity on your laptop via the instructions, use the software in the DART lab to edit your interview or use GarageBand. It should not have any of your voice on the final audio file – only your subject. It should be between 60 to 120 seconds long – no more or less! Make sure you know the DART lab hours (they are posted on the door).

5. Once you are finished, upload the interview to the Eagle’s Eye SoundCloud account. SoundCloud  user name-  password: eagleseye

Congratulations! You have made your first audio interview!