Critique 6

The New York Times further enhances its status as a leader in media with its video page. The video library allows readers to consume the news, of a variety of topics, with both visual and audio.

That page, available through the third tab at the top of the home page, resembles The New York Times’ home page. Along the top and along the side of the page, readers can guide their experiences by selecting their topic; a lead video appears front and center; and, options to view most popular videos and select by topic are available throughout the page. The video homepage distinguishes itself with a black background.

Upon accessing the homepage, without clicking, the lead (also the “most recent” video) video begins playing. (Although I think this is an interesting way to attract viewers I can’t help but worry that it counts toward my 10 monthly articles).

As with online stories, the video is easy to share ­– a toolbar sits beneath the video with options to post via Twitter, LinkedIn and email, though surprisingly not to share via Facebook.

As viewers begin to select videos, they will find the page format remains consistent. Immediately below the video, The New York Times provides a caption, notes if the video relates to an article and reveals the videos producer(s).

Overall, the video experience was easy to share, navigate and enjoy. (I especially love that the tabs are exactly the same as the homepage, indicating I can find videos of my favorite sections – health, food and arts). The only noticeable red-flag was the length of today’s most recent video. It was more than 15 minutes long! (Regardless of the depth, I doubt anyone has the attention span to watch it all). Even ads were even minimized in this likely high-traffic area.

Well done!

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Mothers’ day arrives early for Bobcats

In the United States, families around the country celebrate their mothers on the second weekend in May. Students at Ohio University couldn’t wait that long.

OU celebrated “Moms’ Weekend” Friday through Sunday. Moms’ Weekend, one of several family-oriented weekends at OU, invites students’ mothers to campus for three days of bonding events. Annually, Mom’s Weekend is one of the most popular weekends on campus.

This year, the university offered guest rooms in Bromley Hall and Foster House, all of which sold out before the weekend began. While many moms stayed with their children, others chose to stay at the hotels in Athens and the surrounding community.

Bobcats and their moms remained busy off campus, filling local businesses, restaurants and bars. Students could also take their mothers to spring athletic games or some of the many events sponsored by student groups. The Fashion Associates Moms Weekend Fashion Show, University Programming Council’s Moms Walk for the Cure and Moms Market were among the bigger events. A complete list of events is available on the OU website.

UPC hosted its 12th annual Moms Walk for the Cure to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation on Saturday. Despite the rain, the event was well attended. During the hour and a half leading up to the walk, UPC offered raffles, entertainment and guest speakers at the Charles J. Ping Recreation Center. Women in Philanthropy provided breakfast, and Title IX and Tap Cats performed at the Moms Walk for the Cure as well as at the Moms Weekend Fashion Show.

Also available at Ping was the Moms Market, where local vendors sold crafts, jewelry and more from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, allowing visitors to stop in around other events. Visitors could also enjoy lunch, catered by The Pigskin Bar and Grill, at the market.

Note: Updates and video to come.

Critique 5

Despite limiting the number of articles unsubscribed readers can view monthly, The New York Times does not limit views of its homepage. Fortunately for readers, the homepage is packed with information.

Readers are directed to the “global edition” page “with the International Herald Tribune” when they access http://www.nytimes.com. The page reads similarly to a printed paper. The New York Times displays its banner across the top and offers a picture, a large headline and columns of text. However, unlike a printed paper, instead of listing full stories, The New York Times lists several headlines (which are links) and the first few lines of a lead to a story in those columns.

In addition to clicking on appealing headlines, readers can direct their experience by using tabs. Along the top of the page, readers can choose to view the homepage, the day’s paper, videos or the most popular stories. They can further specify their interests by using taps along the left side of the page, where they can view stories by categories including region and topic (what would be sections in traditional papers). At the bottom of the page, readers can scroll through The New York Times’ blogs.

The New York Times succeeds with their homepage. It allows readers to directly control their experience, while still driving them to the most important stories. Fonts, colors and other artistic elements remain consistent throughout the page, further easing the reading experience. One of the few disadvantages to the page, is the wealth of information offered. Readers are unable to absorb all the information on the homepage, as The New York Times includes headlines to more than 10 stories. Few opportunities to share directly from the homepage exist (though they are easily accessible once an article is selected).

Nevertheless, allowing the viewer flexibility while providing diverse and newsworthy information are among the most important aspects of online journalism, and The New York Times succeeds there.

OU students frenzy for Mini Farmers’ Market

The Ohio University Graduate Student Senate and Office of Sustainability hosted its second Mini Farmers’ Market at Howard Park on Friday from 11 a.m. to one p.m.

OU students, faculty and community members visited the open-air market where they could buy locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as locally produced baked goods, snacks and crafts.

Tracy Kelly, Graduate Student Senate President and chairperson of the Center for Student Legal Services Board of Directors, organized the Mini Farmers’ Market.

The Graduate Student Senate wanted to support sustainability on campus and brainstormed the Mini Famers’ Market as a way to spread awareness about local foods, sustainability and healthy habits. In September, the organization hosted the first such market.

Although Kelly said that vendors thought September’s Mini Farmer’s Market was a success, the spring market had “more momentum.”

“The positive energy built, and the weather and change of location certainly helped,” Kelly said.

Kelly received an Earth Month sustainability grant to host this Mini Farmers’ Market. She hopes to continue hosting markets in the fall and spring. During the market, she offered visitors surveys to visitors to find ways to improve in the future.

All proceeds from the Mini Farmer’s Market directly benefitted vendors and supported “sustainable agriculture, local businesses and the ‘locovore’ movement here in our community,” according to the market’s Facebook event.

John Gillogly Orchard
A student picks out fruit at the Mini Farmers’ Market which the Ohio University Graduate Student Senate and Office of Sustainability hosted on Friday. Click to view a slideshow of the market.

Friday’s vendors included: the OU Office of sustainability, Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Herbal Sage Tea Company, Crumbs Bakery, Casa Nueva, Duff Farms, Grandma’s Rolling Pin, Sarah’s Sweets, Sassafras Farms and John Gillogly Orchard.

Many of those vendors, such as John Gillogly Orchard, regularly sell at the Athens Farmers’ Market and throughout the Athens Community. The orchard, which has produced fruit since the mid-19th century, grows cherries, nectarines, peaches, blackberries, plums and 20 varieties of apples and sells at the Worthington and Athens farmers’ markets

Ohio University student Josh Gillogly has worked on his family’s farm throughout his life and said that he thinks that efforts such as the mini farmers’ market are important “because local food is better than going to the supermarket. You’re supporting the local economy and getting fresher products.”

The Athens Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from April to October at the Market on State mall parking lot. During the remaining months, shoppers can visit the market inside the Market on State mall on Saturdays.

Critique 4

The New York Times’ coverage of Anders Behring Breivik’s trial on April 18 included excellent multimedia and interactive elements. In addition to the standard elements (the toolbar of sharing options, main photo and tag within the article), the web page featured four multimedia elements and two options to learn about related topics.

The New York Times revived the first video from the archives. The video covers Breivik’s acquittal, specifically providing details about his manifesto. The video gave background information important to understanding Breivik’s political. It not only contained a voice over with footage from the trial, but also included photographs of the Labor Party summer camp and of Breivik’s propaganda to demonstrate his political beliefs.

Next, The New York Times provided audio and video as well as an interactive map of the summer camp at which Breivik killed 69 teens in July 2011. The fourth option was a multimedia tribute to those victims. (Note, The New York Time’s recently downsized cap of 10 articles per month prevented me from reviewing those sections.)

Because the article was found in the global section, the regular invitation to connect with The New York Times on Twitter instead suggested the global handle. The article also featured links to related stories as well as options to receive related email updates.

Overall, these elements united to not only expand readers’ understanding of the ongoing trial, but they provided important perspective on the overarching story of Breivik’s attack.

Miss Black Ohio pursues professionalism and passion at Ohio University

Like many of the students studying in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Kayla Hardimon is actively involved on the Ohio University campus. Her resume includes roles such as the Black Student Affairs Commissioner with the Student Senate, brother of Phi Sigma Pi honors fraternity, General Fee Advisory Committee member and LINKS peer advisor.

But, Hardimon’s involvement doesn’t stop there.

Hardimon not only studies news and information gathering in the journalism school, she is also pursing her love for dance. Although she originally intended to double major in dance and journalism, Hardimon thought she was compromising her education with the workload and changed her dance major to a minor.

“But I couldn’t just let that one go all the way. Dance is my passion,” she said.

Hardimon began dancing as a young child, eventually choosing the activity over other sports with which she was involved. When selecting a college, her desire to pursue dance also influenced her decision.

“Dance is that time to kind of sweat it out to really work and do something that I can gauge how well I’m doing—how high are my jumps, how high is my leg—or whatever it is that I can gauge how what I’m doing off of. And dance gives me that push in the rest of my life,” said Hardimon.

Dance has been a catalyst for Hardimon. She said her growth from being the dancer in the back row to the one front and center parallels the growth in her confidence and attitude. Hardimon was crowned the 2011-2013 Miss Black Ohio, using dance as her talent. In August, Hardimon will compete to be Miss Black USA.

Although dance will remain important to Hardimon, it will not define her career path. She hopes to attend law school and eventually work as a state senator.

Critique 3

The New York Times remains among the most trusted news sources. A winner of 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the paper now performs as one of the leading online news sources.

Founded in 1851, The New York Times also has maintained an online presence since 1996. According to its website, the paper “is continuing to make the transition from an enterprise that operated primarily in print to one that is increasingly multiplatform in delivery and global in reach.”

Image
The New York Times homepage on Wednesday. Readers may chose from tabs to the top or to the left or they may scroll through the home page. (Photo Credit – Screen Shot)

Readers encounter a wealth of information upon visiting nytimes.com. The website automatically directs viewers to its global page, however readers have their choice of material from there. At the top of the page, they may choose among the “home page,” “today’s paper,” “video” and “most popular” sections. Along the left, they can choose to read by global region (such as Asia, Europe, or the Middle East ) or by topic (such as business, sports, or arts). The home page not only presents readers tabs to direct their experience, but also provides photos, links, headlines and ways to interact.

Although non-subscribers may only view 10 articles per month, The New York Times’ news and information is accessible through numerous Twitter handles—corresponding to newspaper sections—through numerous Facebook pages and through smart phone applications.

The website similarly formats all articles. A headline and photo sit near the top, similar to a printed article. Next to the first several paragraphs, readers encounter a toolbar, allowing them to share the story through social media or even print a hard copy. To the left of the article, The New York Times offers links to related articles, additional art and available multimedia. Such a layout allows for and encourages reader interaction.

The New Your Times Company owns The New York Times in addition to the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, NYTimes.com, BostonGlobe.comBoston.com and About.com, In 2011, the company earned $2.3 billion dollars in revenues.