Monday, December 12, 2011

UMass University Health Services (UHS) Faces Cuts

Everywhere we turn the economy is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. People are having trouble paying for higher education, they are having their homes foreclosed on and healthy food is just beyond the reach of many families and other low-income people. In a time when many people are unable to maintain proper health they are also unable to access health care.

According to a study by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) this issue is no myth.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

SEO, a rewarding, yet risky practice

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, it's a double-edged sword. On one side, there's the capability to really get one's content out there. That's done by putting certain words in the title of an article or in the tags or anywhere through the body. When search engines turn up certain words often, content with the same words will often show up as a search result higher up on the return.

But this is also somewhat risky. People have mob mentality, and quite frankly, have difficulty thinking for themselves. Media is sometimes wrong. It happens. Journalists sometimes screw up information and report the wrong thing. This often results in trouble. By word of mouth, or type, people will often search this false information, and the constant search for the wrong terms will result in a return of many of these wrong articles, misinforming the public.

Yahoo has this sidebar on their main page that shows the top ten trending searches on search engines. To me, this just seems to be a bad idea, especially if people are looking up the wrong thing. I've seen one of the top items on the list being that a famous celebrity was dead, when in reality it was just a joke from a group of users on a website. Yes, people do this. There are sites where the users plan to go to Google and type in searches of a made-up rumor. And when enough people type in these searches, whenever someone types in that celebrity's name, one of the top things that pop up is how said celebrity is dead from some random cause.

But you can't just stop it. You can't just take down a mistake and pretend it was never there as a journalist. What must be done is a correction and hoping for the best. People rely on SEO for content. If it wasn't for that, people would be exposed to the content that is the most popular, essentially harming people even more by limiting choices, especially since people don't usually go past the first page of results. Lesser-known sites rely on this practice, so it's here to stay.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Daily Collegian Analysis: Multimedia

I'm a staff member at the Daily Collegian, and my duties include producing the web content as well as writing stories. However, I don't actually make the videos, I just put them online. I decided to do an analysis of one of my fellow Collegian coworker's multimedia pieces, because it's important to be critical of the work that coming out of your publication. Not everything is perfect, and acknowledging strengths and weaknesses help everyone work better as a unit.

I decided to pull up this package about the recent UMass Homecoming 2011. It's something I know basically nothing about because I try to avoid it at all costs. Being surrounded by a large crowd of people drinking makes me uncomfortable to say the least.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

UMass Amherst: After the Storm

The fact that this story was very difficult to produce just reinforced the severity of the storm that swept the east coast. Millions went without power and downed trees and power lines made the roads seriously unsafe. It was the storm that set records, as the fact that it was a rare October snow and the damage it did was unbelievable. Halloween was cancelled across the east coast, several people died in the aftermath, including a man in Springfield who touched a guardrail which still had a power line on it.

The main problem my group encountered was a serious lack of communication. All of our cell phone services were down, internet was down and power was down. In other words, it was difficult. There's something to be learned about how much people rely on electricity. It's unbelievable how far we've come, yet how ignorant we've become when people don't know how to survive without electricity.

As if we didn't have enough trouble, I managed to meet up with one of my partners, and we got some great interviews, including one with the assistant fire chief. Unfortunately we had technical difficulties, and forgot to plug in a crucial tool. So those interviews were down the drain. Two lessons were learned, always make sure everything is plugged in and always remember to carry around a tripod. Even if the interviews were good, the camera was a bit shaky.

We managed to fix all of out mistakes and produce this video, and I think it turned out pretty well. It gives some good insight. Chances are, majority of the staff and student body thought having class was a bad idea. I was one of them. I had it well, but there was still people in danger of death if they were forced to come to campus. Not good.

I'll leave this with one last note. UMass Amherst has a Facebook page. It blew up with comments from students about how much they hated the decision. Whoever is in charge of the page told everyone to relax. Bad idea. When you have an entire student body against you, you don't say something that's just going to anger them more. That's just bad PR.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Analysis: Breakdown of video game journalism

When it comes to news articles, news can have varying meanings for myself. I prefer my news to be something more like this. It brings up several thoughts I'll expand upon, especially this is the type of writing i wish to do in the future.

Analyzing it for what it is, it's clear that this game has sold a hefty amount of copies and is doing quite well. this is interesting, considering the game is extremely difficult. It's interesting to read an article like this, because as someone who read about this type of information on a daily basis, it's refreshing news. If a game isn't Final Fantasy, a FPS or something that holds you hand the entire way through, it's likely that the sales won't be that huge. But the fact that this game rose from obscurity, especially as a sequel, is amazing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Student Perspective: UMass Increased Fees

Meaghan Murphy and I went out into the field at UMass Amherst to get some insight from students on their thoughts on the increased fees this years and how it affects them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011