Lesson Two Discussion Board Activity – CNN or Gonzo Bloggers – Which is Best? – Mark Calder Com0014

Question; What’s good for us, being fed the truth through mass media or the masses of opinions from all over the place or a hybrid of both?

I think probably the best thing for society is to be presented with “the truth” by a bybrid of both mass media and new media.

I come from a traditional journalism background and believe in the value of professional journalists working for traditional newspapers and broadcasters. They are dedicated reporters who often have a depth of experience in the areas of which they write. Most importantly, they are held accountable for what they write by editors, the public and government.

Some may complain the mass media is owned by right and left wing corporations intent on forwarding their political agendas. However, one must realize that the newspapers such as the Sun and the Globe and Mail are members of press councils and can be held accountable for irresponsible journalism. There are also libel laws and other government restrictions that keep newspapers in line.

We should make room for bloggers who provide valuable alternative opinions but there should be tougher laws regulating what they can say. I have seen cases where “independent Gonzo journalists” have spouted whatever comes into their minds without regard to facts and the impact on others. They believe they have a right to say what they want and are banking on the fact that people will not hold them accountable.

However, having bloggers and Facebookers in the mix provides a similar sense of balance as letters to the editor once did in traditional newspapers. This variety of opinion is extremely valuable in a democratic society. It is important to have that different perspective so that people can come to their own informed decisions regarding news reports.

What is needed is a variety of opinions for consideration, but tougher laws on irresponsible bloggers to make them as accountable as traditional journalists.

Be Brief – A Lesson in Effective Blogging- Blog Post 2 -Mark Calder Com0014

I think the biggest lesson I learned this week about storytelling and encouraging audience interaction is to be brief and to let the wonder of social media expand for me when needed.’

In an age of information overload, I need to provide as much information as quickly as possible to my readers, and give them opportunities to experience it on their own without excessive use of descriptive writing.

Key Takeaways for Effective Storytelling Through Blogs:

  • Keep it short.
  • Break your copy up with sub-headers so people can scan what they need and use bullets to quickly impart details.
  • Make use of photos and other images because it increases readability and engagement.
  • Always use the active voice when you can. It makes writing more interesting.
  • Choose topics that interest you and write about them in your own voice. A genuine column written from the heart makes better reading.
  • Always check grammar and spelling and facts. Ensure you do your research. You have a responsibility to your readers.
  • Finish with questions to engage readers in the discussion.

Are there any rules you think should be added about effective storytelling?

Com0014-Blog Post#1 – Vacation Resurrected – by Mark Calder

Vacation Resurrected

By Mark Calder
Com 0014

My last real vacation nearly turned into a nightmare.

I had received a Christmas gift of a week at a resort near Barrie, Ontario. It was the end of August on the third day of a week-long stay, the day my kids and I had chosen to go to Canada’s Wonderland. I had felt a sudden loss of power when I pulled into the parking lot of the theme park, but then everything came on again and it looked like we were fine. Being an old, temperamental car, I thought nothing of it.

It was a fun, but exhausting day. We went on rollercoasters, (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lv9EBWjkpyY ), played at the water park, and enjoyed watching the cliff divers (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4gyepGN5uo and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsuuZFBadAM) while eating spaghetti and waffle cones. It was about 8 p.m. and my kids, after a full day of fun – were at each other’s throats. It was time to go.

As I was heading up the main highway on the hour-long trip from Toronto to the resort north of Barrie, a red light started flashing, and then my lights and electronics went out. This meant no lights and nothing showing on my dashboard. I pulled over on an off-ramp and luckily made it into the parking lot of a roadside gas station-restaurant complex.

I called a tow truck but when the guy got there his tow bar wouldn’t work. It took until 10 p.m. before we got things working and on the road. It’s amazing how patient you are though when you’re miles away from home with no one to call. I was dropped off at a little shop in a nearby industrial park. It was 11 p.m. and the owner was still there working on cars. He said it was the alternator and he couldn’t get one until Tuesday. I had to be back at work on Monday.

We stayed at a nearby Super 8 for the night (see: http://www.super8.com/hotels/ontario/barrie/super-8-barrie/hotel-overview?hotel_id=14675&cid=whg_s8_gglsem_br&wid=ps:br_whg&002=2191774&004=5384767250&005=11733589940&006=22189715090&007=Search&008=&025=c&026=&gclid=CIS8tdTl5boCFa47MgodUC8AdA). My kids, aged 8 and 14, were eyeing me like the biggest screw-up in the world.

Then some good news. The next day Jim the Mechanic, whom I had only met the night before, helped me out by lending me his personal truck – one of those big ones with extended cab, extra-long bed and double back wheels that can haul anything.

A stranger trusting me with his truck so I could continue my holiday was just the ticket to turn things around. I vowed to continue the holiday and make it better for my kids. I made arrangements for someone to pick us up on Sunday and we all went back to the resort. I spent the next two days floating in the pool, or watching stupid, funny movies like Mr. Deeds (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDb1GOa3EL0). And despite it all, for the first time in months, I relaxed and smiled.

It turned out my worst holiday nightmare had turned out just fine.