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Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

KSDK security stunt cost station their credibility January 17, 2014

Filed under: Education — thisgirlsarah @ 8:31 PM
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Parts of the below copy have been re-blogged from my second blog: She Writes, Sometimes with more emphasis on the PR repercussions here, rather than the full background of the story

Yesterday, when a local St. Louis station, KSDK, attempted to test a high school’s security, a lockdown resulted making the community very upset.The news station released a statement that said this was not their intention, while the school’s statement said they were just following protocol for a stranger who seemed suspicious. While KSDK did not mention anything about the lockdown on their Twitter feed as it was happening, their competitors and viewers certainly did.


People were upset, and rightly so in my opinion. The kids, parents and teachers don’t need to experience, what they perceive to be, a real threat to their loved ones.The most tragic part of this is that KSDK lost their credibility. Today, in Hillsboro MO, a real lockdown took place and this time, KSDK reported it. Guess what their viewers had to say about this scary and very real situation:


From this situation, we did learn that Kirkwood needs to have a look at tightening their security, but I do not agree with the news station’s tactics and I do not believe that it is the responsibility of a reporter or news station to create a story to report. Instead of exploiting a major security issue at local schools, they have become a joke to the community. There is a fine line between reporting an issue, and creating an issue to report on.

I didn’t become a journalist for a reason. I have always found journalists’ ruthlessness to get a story rude. I have too much empathy for people involved in tragic situations to have the guts to stick a microphone or camera in their faces just for a quote. On the flipside of this, someone has to get dirty and report the news, I just wish they’d do it with a little more conscience and empathy.

At what point do they look back on this and say, “whoops, we’re sorry we approached it in this way” instead of “whoops, sorry we’re not sorry.” Until they acknowledge that, I don’t think their credibility will hold as true as it once did.

Is this what reporters do to get stories? What do you think?

To be fair, as we part, here’s the story KSDK ran as a result of their “tests”.


Are eBooks the future? September 15, 2013

I’ve been cheating on you with my iPad. I’m obsessed with reading lately and it’s all because of the convenience of eBooks. Between that and Fairway Solitare, it’s the only thing I use my iPad for.

photoJust like when mp3 players came out, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read an electronic book. I knew I’d miss holding it in my hand and turning a physical page. In the end, convenience (and price) won out.

I can go to the library from my couch and never have to worry about returning the book on time. Instead, they just take it from me. Meanwhile, I forget to pick-up a book I request at the library and am charged $2 for a  book I never even touch.

I do miss the fact that I can’t skip back a few chapters to see if that character that was just mentioned was the same one they mentioned in chapter one to find out if I just solved the mystery. It also makes it hard to join a book club or use it for a textbook. I also miss looking at how thick the rest of the book is to determine if I can finish it in one sitting, or if I should just go to bed. I’m suspicious of whether or not eBooks will replace paper books or not because there are so many benefits to both.

When I go to the pool, I can’t take my iPad with me-; it’s the most expensive book I’ve ever purchased! But when I go on a plane, I’d much rather pack a less bulky book that can also check my email and Facebook all in one.

Studies show that hay-day of the eBook was in 2010 and since then, has had a dramatic decline, including a signs that sales are beginning to level off.  It also shows that while ebooks are popular, they have yet to match the demand for printed copies.  Is it nostalgia, resistance to change, or both? When we made the switch from CDs to digital music downloads the same trend occured. CDs continued to dominate for the first few years after their introduction, but they now dominate the market.

closed-shop1It reminds me of the moment Meg Ryan’s character turns off the lights of her empty boutique bookstore in You’ve Got Mail. It’s such a sad moment. Nearly as sad as driving past abandoned Borders stores after they went out of business. Can you imagine a future where our children don’t know what it’s like to visit a bookstore? It’s really not that hard these days.

I have faith that people will still crave a tangible book to supplement their digital readings. There are certain circumstances when you just need one over the other. Then again, if we look at sales trends of CDs to Digital music or how DVDs made VHS obsolete, chances are we’ll eventually live in a eBook only world. Brace yourself.

Do you think print books will remain in the market in the future?


Pancakes with a side of news February 20, 2012

I remember applying to college and finding out I was accepted, via email, just a few days later. I was disappointed. I had watched the college acceptance process on TV shows and in movies and assumed I would wait in agony for weeks until a bulky or thin letter from the university determining my fate would arrive. Instead, a simple congratulatory email, discovered after school in the journalism room, was all I received. I didn’t even get a chance to hold my breathe before opening it!

Then, I was disappointed in the speed of information because I felt like it degraded my value- as though nothing about my history was being considered. Now, I thrive on this fast-paced delivery of information and drain my battery before the day ends by simply checking email, Facebook and Twitter.

The good news is, my obsession for knowledge is not isolated. 48 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 34 check Facebook when they wake up in the morning and 28 percent before they get out of bed (guilty!). Is the increased speed of information flow dangerous or a positive change?

For me, it can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s the worst for me when I know an important email is coming, but not when. I assume this is what it was like for students applying for college in the olden days (you know, a few years ago), only worse because we are used to having information at the exact time we want it.

Three years ago, I successfully gave up Facebook for Lent. Could I do that today? Then, I was a sophomore in college so Facebook really only served as a distraction from homework. Since then, Facebook created groups and chat, which was imperative to many group projects. In fact, one day I had to park so far away from my multi-media journalism class that I went to a different computer lab and worked with my group members through our Facebook group instead of wasting 15 minutes walking to class. Even now, as a hopeful PR girl whose future career will most likely involve the use of Facebook on a daily basis, the thought of not having access to social media or the Internet seems impossible.

To step away from the information and technology is not an easy thing to do these days. Because the news is readily at your fingertips, you are expected to be more knowledgeable about the world around you-which, don’t get me wrong, is a great expectation. The challenge comes when we attempt to find a balance between information overload and general knowledge.

Evaluating and separating information we need or want to know from information that is just occupying space helps  to better utilize our time. Logging on to Facebook or Twitter just because  you are bored or to check up/creep on old classmates is not a good habit to practice. We should live in harmony with information, rather than letting it dominate us.

I 100 percent believe in the power of social media and its use for information flow, but sometimes I have to scold myself for checking my phone apps instead of enjoying the life around me. Information is an addiction and accepting it is the first step- Yes, I’m poking fun a little. But seriously, here’s some tips to keep in mind nonetheless. Read Responsibly.


** Update: Here is a great article from a social media curator’s point of view. How can the people creating and monitoring social media content avoid burnout?  Four easy steps to avoid social media overload.


Groupon: Helping students discover college dreams September 5, 2011

It’s official. School has started and I am not there. It’s a weird feeling.

I went to Missouri State University. I hadn’t really considered going any where else because it was far enough from home to feel independent and close enough to visit when I wanted as well. I did my research, applied for scholarships and talked to my parents about my financial ability to attend this school.

Ok, so that was a boring background story.

The point is that I choose the school that felt right for me but on Tuesday, National Louis University is helping people choose their college in a completely innovative way.

National Louis University will offer a Groupon featuring 60 percent off tuition and will cap off at 15 purchased.

The Chicago Tribune wrote an article in which Jocelyn Zivin, the vice president of marketing and communications at National Louis University, said, “There are all kinds of factors in the K-12 world that are really discouraging teachers and people seeking teaching degrees.”

Offering this Groupon will allow students a discounted price on one introductory course designed for students to experience teaching and see if teaching is a good fit.

On one hand, your only offering 15 to be purchased, so why not just offer a scholarship so someone who is really serious about teaching has the opportunity to fully experience National Louis University?

On the other, it does get them in the door! Just like Groupon’s restaurant deals, it discounts part of your meal, but you won’t go alone, and since it is discounted, you might as well get an appetizer! Suddently, the amount of money you actually spend is much higher than originally intended-or maybe I’m just a bad coupon strategist.

I also wonder, how the Groupon differentiates between people who might be stifled by financial burden, or are afraid to explore the idea of college, versus those already enrolled, or planning to enroll, and are just looking for a less-expensive credit hour?

This has never been done by a university before; however, a lot of online and for-profit universities have begun offering free trial periods or even 100% free classes in attempts to obtain exposure and to get people interested in education.

I suppose, even if one person utilizes this Groupon and goes on to be a great teacher it was worth it.

What do you think? Will other universities follow National Louis University?


Multimedia portfolio May 3, 2011

I’ve abandoned this blog for a while because I have been blogging for Ozarks News Journal as a part of my multimedia journalism class. For our final portfolio, we were asked to write a post combining ten of our best stories and work. Here is my portfolio:

1) A featured story or other reporting-based text (not opinion)
I did a lot of research on the topic of social media in a crisis, especially revolving around Japan relief efforts after the tsunami. I found some interesting statistics from both news stories and related to social media and combined it into the following story:
Social Meda’s Role in Japan Relief Efforts

2) One reporting-based opinion text
I was intrigued by the song “Friday” by Rebecca Black when I heard it on the radio and began researching her. I was appalled at how rude people were in their comments on YouTube and it inspired me to read more about her story. This story states two of my opinions: one, that the song is annoying and two, that cyberbullying is a scary issue.
Cyberbullying Friday

3) A series of five photos:
I choose to include this photo gallery from our most recent feature story. Bianca Boyd and I took most of the photos aside from a few that Jason Johnston took. I took the first few personally. Bianca and I collectively wrote descriptions and resized the photos. I uploaded them as a gallery. I believe the descriptions could stand alone as a story because of our descriptions.
New Bike Corral Is Eagerly Anticipated in Downtown Springfield

4) A video
This is a video I created based on an event Saturday, April 30, 2011. I created it as a highlight video for teams that competed in the tournament. I posted it to the event page on Facebook for everyone to see.

5) A podcast
This podcast is an interview I did with musician Melissa Harper for our Alternative Entertainment feature story. I edited 12 minutes out of the recording and edited out many of my comments and questions to help with the flow. I also uploaded her song for the introduction and conclusion and faded it in and out.
Interview with Melissa Harper

The following are my top favorite blogs. I choose these because they included research that helped shape my opinion on issues in the news or different trends.

6) Opinion blog
My Future: AKA Endless Job Searching 

7) Opinion blog
Way to Rub it in Our Faces iPhones

8 ) Opinion blog
You’ve Got Mail in 2011 

9) Opinion blog
Social Media: An Accomplice to Hostility 

10) Reporting based opinion blog:
Barbie Loves Ken, Mattel Loves Publicity


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