How one Photograph Out of Context Can Cause Harm





Read the story behind this photograph and why the truth may not be what it appears to be.

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Malaysia Airlines: Using the “Dark Web” Technique in Crisis

While its 777 jet is missing and the world wonders what happened, Malaysia Airlines is smartly using a “dark” technique.  Posting a fully functional website without any hint of celebration or commercialism.

It is stark and factual., a crisis communications website  said, “All communications are published in both English and Chinese to accommodate the different audiences turing to this dark website for news and updates. Contact information is clearly displayed from every page of the dark website, which relinquishes the need to go searching for it.”

March 15, 2014

March 15, 2014

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Malaysian Air also has a steady flow of announcements on Facebook and Twitter.  And the airline has, on occasion released statements meant to show caring and compassion:

Malaysia Airlines’s CEO, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, is doing a good job at communicating compassion and sincerity, not just through his words (both written and spoken), but by the way the airline has been taking care of the grieving families. In a crisis you have to do more than just say that you care, you have to show that you care, and Malaysia Airlines is doing a good job at this.


How Edgerank Determines Your Success on Facebook

I am always amazed by a) how important Facebook is to how much traffic a news story can get online and b) how little journalists know about how Facebook chooses what goes where on a page, your newsfeed for example.

Facebook uses an algorithm called Edgerank.  The formula that Edgerank uses is this one:

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Plus, admittedly, a touch of randomness.

It means that postings that are in line with what you normally like and interact with rank higher on your page.

Older stuff falls to the bottom. Edgerank is trying to put the things you care enough to comment on the highest.

What does this mean to journalists?

You should be pushing people to comment on your posts-not just like. Not just click. Comment!

So the most valuable posts are the ones in which you try to involve the readers in a discussion on Facebook.

Read a LOT more on  Edgerank here. 



A MultiMedia Story: The “Boys” in the Bunkhouse

The New York Times used audio, video, stills and text to tell the heartbreaking story of an Iowa town that missed the abuse going on right under its nose. When state inspectors liberated the men who grew up there, they could barely believe what they were witnessing.

Notice the way the Times uses video in what would normally be still images online. The text and the video segments compliment, not repeat each other. The videos are each short and emotional.  They give the reader information, context and texture that the words alone cannot.

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The Power of The Story: A YouTube Video

Watch this story that is a collection of one second shots from a girl’s normal life.  The story unfolds in the background-pay attention to the quick conversations, news reports and headlines that unfold in the background and form a tension-filled narrative. Then hang around for the closing graphic that is the punch to the gut.  The Happy Birthday tune is a theme that repeats itself as does the pinch on the cheek.  And the girl’s hair is also a recurring theme.  The simple story obviously is not so simple.  

The FAA Tries to Myth-Bust About Drones

The FAA is trying to help journalists understand the law when it comes to drones:Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 1.58.20 PM

There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about unmanned aircraft system (UAS) regulations. Here are some common myths and the corresponding facts.

Myth #1: The FAA doesn’t control airspace below 400 feet

Fact—The FAA is responsible for the safety of U.S. airspace from the ground up. This misperception may originate with the idea that manned aircraft generally must stay at least 500 feet above the ground

Myth #2: Commercial UAS flights are OK if I’m over private property and stay below 400 feet.

Fact—The FAA published a Federal Register notice in 2007 that clarified the agency’s policy: You may not fly a UAS for commercial purposes by claiming that you’re operating according to the Model Aircraft guidelines (below 400 feet, 3 miles from an airport, away from populated areas.)  Commercial operations are only authorized on a case-by-case basis. A commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval.   To date, only one operation has met these criteria, using Insitu’s ScanEagle, and authorization was limited to the Arctic.(

Myth #3: Commercial UAS operations are a “gray area” in FAA regulations.

Fact—There are no shades of gray in FAA regulations. Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft—manned or unmanned—in U.S. airspace needs some level of FAA approval. Private sector (civil) users can obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate to conduct research and development, training and flight demonstrations.  Commercial UAS operations are limited and require the operator to have certified aircraft and pilots, as well as operating approval. To date, only two UAS models (the Scan Eagle and Aerovironment’s Puma) have been certified, and they can only fly in the Arctic. Public entities (federal, state and local governments, and public universities) may apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA).  The FAA reviews and approves UAS operations over densely-populated areas on a case-by-case basis.

Flying model aircraft solely for hobby or recreational reasons doesn’t require FAA approval, but hobbyists must operate according to the agency’s model aircraft guidance, which prohibits operations in populated areas.

Myth #4: There are too many commercial UAS operations for the FAA to stop.

Fact—The FAA has to prioritize its safety responsibilities, but the agency is monitoring UAS operations closely. Many times, the FAA learns about suspected commercial UAS operations via a complaint from the public or other businesses. The agency occasionally discovers such operations through the news media or postings on internet sites.  When the FAA discovers apparent unauthorized UAS operations, the agency has a number of enforcement tools available to address these operations, including a verbal warning, a warning letter, and an order to stop the operation.

Myth #5: Commercial UAS operations will be OK after September 30, 2015.

Fact—In the 2012 FAA reauthorization legislation, Congress told the FAA to come up with a plan for “safe integration” of UAS by September 30, 2015. Safe integration will be incremental. The agency is still developing regulations, policies and standards that will cover a wide variety of UAS users, and expects to publish a proposed rule for small UAS – under about 55 pounds – later this year. That proposed rule will likely include provisions for commercial operations.

Myth #6: The FAA is lagging behind other countries in approving commercial drones.

Fact – This comparison is flawed.  The United States has the busiest, most complex airspace in the world, including many general aviation aircraft that we must consider when planning UAS integration, because those same airplanes and small UAS may occupy the same airspace.

Developing all the rules and standards we need is a very complex task, and we want to make sure we get it right the first time.  We want to strike the right balance of requirements for UAS to help foster growth in an emerging industry with a wide range of potential uses, but also keep all airspace users and people on the ground safe.

Myth #7: The FAA predicts as many as 30,000 drones by 2030.

Fact—That figure is outdated. It was an estimate in the FAA’s 2011 Aerospace Forecast. Since then, the agency has refined its prediction to focus on the area of greatest expected growth. The FAA currently estimates as many as 7,500 small commercial UAS may be in use by 2018, assuming the necessary regulations are in place. The number may be updated when the agency publishes the proposed rule on small UAS later this year.



Fake Chef Gets Lots of Airtime from TV Stations Who Didn’t Check

Deadspin said a guy calling himself Chef Keith made the rounds of TV stations and got airtime from a surprsing number of them who gave him the airtime to peddle gross leftover recipes.

You might have guessed by now that K-Strass and Chef Keith are kindred spirits. K-Strass, portrayed by Mark Proksch was co-created by Joe Pickett. Pickett and co-conspirator Nick Prueher, who are responsible for Chef Keith, are the creators of the Found Footage Festival, which begins touring this week. Prueher played the part of Chef Keith, and said the reporters and anchors couldn’t have been nicer to him—even after the segments went awry.

Prueher and Pickett said it wasn’t tough to make in on the air at the five stations (in Milwaukee, Rhinelander, and Wausau, and two in Rockford, Ill.), all desperate for holiday programming. But since most restaurants were closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the food used in the segments was day-old KFC.