Thursday, November 19, 2009


This is my second weblog and surprisingly, I learned a lot after completing this weblog. I gained knowledge about the blogosphere, document design, new trends, photojournalism, media and publishing. This is one experience that I will never forget. Not to mention the joy of researching for journals and online sources.

According to Schirato and Yell (2000), social semiotics looks at how and why me make meanings differently according to who and where we are socially and culturally. In this context, online publications illuminate social semiotics as web users always make meanings. It is just a matter of demographics which set these meanings apart.

The media will continue to evolve with just a matter of time. People will also learn to accept new trends. We will just have to wait and see what is in store for us.


Schirato, T and Yell, S 2000, Communication and Cultural Literacy, St. Leonards, New South Wales.

The Current Online News

According to Lasica (2001), the online medium gives journalists the powerful tools of context and authentication. Osborn (2001) suggested that the immediacy brought by the online environment, a medium where everyone is a potential publisher, allows for even less deliberation by the journalist and editor. Matters of anonymity, identity, access to information and protection of intellectual property impact the practice of online journalism.

Thousands of people have signed up for e-mail alerts whenever major news breaks and we usually flock to our computer screens for the latest developments whenever a big story hits. Therefore, people want news which is fast but credible.

The challenge facing online journalists is to balance the legitimate desires of the online audience for up-to-the-minute reports with the profession's traditions of fairness, completeness, balance and accuracy (Lasica, 2001).With the latest case of Michael Jackson’s death, online journalists did not do a good job in covering the breaking news. It was because each journalist was assigned to several jobs at once.

Therefore, news organizations should reexamine how they handle breaking news in a hyper-competitive, instant-publishing environment. As a start, online journalists should disclose as much as possible, check thoroughly then tell the truth and be honest (Niles, 2007).

When handling breaking news, news organizations should have many journalists on standby. Then, every journalist should be assigned to one task only, whether to publish or to report. If the information are not consistent, accurate and fast, news organizations may lose credibility.

However, in this situation, smart news organizations should acknowledge to their followers and readers that they know the report is out there and that people are talking about it, and report where the organization is with its own reporting (Niles, 2009).

Every major breaking news events offers its lessons to the news organizations that covered it. People are expecting fast news, but they also want it to be credible. Without much systematic organization in the news corporation, fast and credible news will not be achieved.

However, people must also be aware that some microblogging sites or "news publisher" do not produce credible news.


Lasica, JD 2001, How the Net is shaping journalism ethics,, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Niles, R 2009, Michael Jackson’s death and its lessons for online journalists covering breaking news, OJR: The Online Journalism Review, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Niles, R 2007, What are the ethics of online journalism?, OJR: The Online Journalism Review, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Osborn, B 2001, Ethics and Credibility in Online Journalism, The University of Memphis, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Rise of the Mobile Video Blog

According to Funnell (2009), the average mobile phone has evolved from the humble voice-box to the total media centre. As a result, the mobile video blog (vlog) has become popular almost overnight. Vlogs are beginning to infiltrate the mainstream media, part of the increasingly seismic shift in the way we get our news and entertainment.

These statements are suppored by Harnick (2009) who quoted that

“According to Nielsen’s Three Screen Report, the number of people watching mobile video increased 70 percent, from more than 9 million to more than 15 million in the last year. Findings also include children 12-17 years old spend the most watching video on their mobile devices at 6 hours and 30 seconds. Young adults ages 18-24 spend 3 hours and 15 minutes while ages 25-34, 45-54 and 55-64 spend 2 hours and 10 seconds.”

Click on the image to enlarge.

Mobile vlogs already helped to create the first internet celebrities (Simmons, 2008). So if your video blog is good, you might be the next internet celebrity. Also, mobile vlogs helps delivering news to your hands faster than ever.

So what are the factors which made mobile vlog a massive trend?
According to Simmons (2008), faster mobile connections, all-inclusive data packages, and better mobile phones (Nokia N95, iPhone 3GS, HTC HD2) are the factors.

There are two new video sharing services – Qik and Seesmic. Qik is all about streaming live video from your mobile phone in real time, whereas Seesmic is all about recording video on the seesmic website via a webcam on your computer. [Hobson, 2008]

A screenshot of Qik.

A screenshot of Seesmic.

The services were referred to as "a vision of the future of online video” (Waters, 2008).
In my opinion, these two video sharing services will be popular in Asia soon. People love new trends and with the presence of better mobile phones, users will enjoy recording videos then share it with their peers. Moreover, pictures are only able to capture one moment but videos can explain the whole experience.

So, keep an eye on mobile vlogs!


Funnell, J 2009,
LTE - The Rise of the Mobile Prosumer,, viewed on 18 November 2009, <>.

Harnick, C 2009,
Mobile video consumption on the rise: Nielsen,, viewed on 18 November 2009, <>.

Hobson, N 2008,
The rise of instant movile video,, viewed on 18 November 2009, <>.

Simmons, D 2008,
Rise of the mobile video blog, BBC News, viewed on 18 November 2009, <>.

Waters, D 2008,
Seesmic killed the Youtube star?, BBC News, viewed on 18 November 2009, <>.

The Power of Photograph

Lester (1995) suggested that photojournalism is the profession in which journalists make news-editorial images for print and screen (television and computer) media. Therefore, images or photographs are extremely important in photojournalism.

Images evoke almost immediate emotional responses among viewers and images have tremendous impact (Lester, 1995). Visual messages with well-chosen texts combine to educate, entertain and persuade. Unfortunately, images can also offend, shock, mislead, stereotype and confuse.

An image of a war can have a tremendous impact, positively or negatively.

As a result, photojournalism ethics were formed to minimize the flip side of images. Although ethics are important in photojournalism, photojournalists still violate those ethics for their own advantages.

For instance, OK! Magazine published Michael Jackson’s death photo on their cover. According to Snead (2009), OK! magazine reportedly paid over $500,000 for the controversial "last" picture of Michael Jackson being carried on a stretcher, possibly dead.

The cover of OK! Magazine which features Michael Jackson.

Most of the readers were mad about this and thought it was an irresponsible act. Vesely (2008) suggested that ethics are overwhelmed by the power of photographs. In addition, the photo is the story, not just the texts. However, question of “Is it ethical to publish a dead person’s photo on a magazine cover?” still remains. According to Lester (1995), privacy concerns are almost always voiced by ordinary citizens or celebrities who are suddenly thrust in front of the unblinking lens of a camera because of connection to some sensational news story.

The consequences of violating photojournalism could vary from photographer getting fired (The Associated Press, 2006), threats of boycott the publisher and negative outrage of the public (Snead, 2009).

No matter how the tools of journalism change, fundamental ethical concerns still apply. According to Lester (1995), displaying violent, sensational images for economic reasons, violating a person's privacy before the judicial process can function, manipulating news-editorial pictures to alter their content, stereotyping individuals into pre-conceived categories and blurring the distinction between advertising and editorial messages were journalism concerns in 1895, are important topics in 1995 and will be carefully considered issues, no doubt, in 2095.

Therefore, it is vital that whenever and wherever possible, ethical issues should be employed by the journalism profession.


Altered images prompt photographer’s firing 2006, The Associated Press, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Lester, PM 1995, Photojournalism Ethics Timeless Issues,, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Snead, E 2009, OK! cover of Michael Jackson's death photo stirs controversy,, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Vesely, JF 2008, Bringing death close,, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Kindle e-book Reader

The Kindle e-book Reader (or sometimes known as e-reader) by Amazon is an electronic book which enables users to read books, newspapers, weblogs and more (Mohns, 2008). Kindle allows users to read many books on the go without carrying several books. Up to date, the e-reader supports up to 115,000 books.

The differences between Kindle e-book reader and print books are as follow:
  1. Kindle allows readers to read books on a handheld wireless device.
  2. Kindle saves money and adds convenience because daily newspaper subscription is allowed.
  3. Turning pages with Kindle is easier especially at crowded places.
  4. Kindle has less weight if compared to most books or novels.
  5. Equal to print readability and multi-device integration.
[, 2007]

Example of print newspaper and Kindle e-book reader newspaper.

According to Geeks Are Sexy (2009), the majority of age group who uses Kindle is aged 50 - 59. But why the older generation?
The reasons are as follow:
  1. Older readers particularly appreciate the relative ease of reading text on the large-screen compared with other devices such as smartphones.
  2. The demographics have been swung by the Oprah effect, with her traditionally older audience following her recommendation.
  3. The magazines available in Kindle form are particularly popular among older readers.
  4. Older people are more likely to be avid readers and thus find the Kindle a worthwhile purchase.
  5. Older people may have more money to spend on the Kindle because their ‘gadget budget’ isn’t eaten up by other devices seen as must-have by younger buyers such as smartphones or laptops.

However, McKeown (2009) said the adoption of e-reader is slower than people think because of the value of e-reader is lower than print books, the manufacturers do not understand the book buyers' demographics, and the pricing of e-reader.

So how do e-readers and print books survive together?
First, the price of an e-reader is from $250 - $400, so not everybody could afford. Then, there are reasons print books are better than digital books:

  1. Printed books are still available everywhere.
  2. Books are versatile and re-usable.
  3. No batteries required.
  4. There are millions of books titles in print.
  5. No need to upgrade e-book software.
  6. Books are cheap.
  7. Books do not melt or break.
  8. No DRM (Digital Rights Management).
[, n.d.]

Not everybody prefers to use e-book reader. Thus, print books still can survive in the market.


Mohns, R 2008, Review: Amazon Kindle, MacInTouch, viewed 18 November 2009, <>.

CNET editor’s Review 2007,, viewed on 18November 2009 <>.

Kindle finds a mature audience 2009,, viewed on 18 November 2009, <>.

McKeown, J 2009, Why E-Reader Adoption Will Be Slower Than People Think,, viewed on 18 November 2009, <>.

Print Books vs. Digital Books n.d.,, viewed on 7 November 2009, <>.

New Forms of Media Publishing

In this new era, the presence of new media is expanding. With the new media, trends have changed. Naughton (2006) agrees that he newest trend in blogosphere is the combination of digital convergence, personal computing and global networking seems to have ratcheted up the pace of development and is giving rise to radical shifts in the environment. The issue might be best described as one of ‘informed bewilderment’.

Questions were always asked: "Will the new media trends replace conventional journalism?"
With the emergence of websites such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Tumblr, it seems like they will make conventional journalism extinct. However, it is possible that the existing media accommodate themselves in the new media ecosystem (Naughton, 2006). Naughton (2006) also added that the traditional media are considered to be the push media, whereas the web is the pull media - this proves the supremacy of the new media.

According to Silkstone (2007), blogging might not be dying, but it is always morphing into new forms. This is true because Twitter and Tumblr are actually new forms of blogging.

Twitter enables 140 characters to be posted on the author's profile page with just a simple click.

Tumblr allows users to post text, images, video, links, quotes, and audio to their page. It is different from conventional blogging because it is a short-form blog.

These interactions can be very complex and take many forms. Yet the reality is that while new communications technologies may not wipe out earlier ones, they certainly change the ecosystem.


Naughton, J 2006, Blogging and the emerging media ecosystem, Reuters Institute, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Silkstone, D 2007,
The blogs that ate cyberspace, The Age, viewed on 18 November 2009,

Designing for Print vs. Online

Audiences read printed materials and online websites differently. According to Nielsen (1997), people do not read word by word on web pages, but they scan. Nielsen (2006) also added that people read web content in an F-shaped pattern - where F stands for Fast.

Heatmaps from user eyetracking studies of three websites. The areas where users looked the most are colored red; the yellow areas indicate fewer views, followed by the least-viewed blue areas. Gray areas didn't attract any fixations. [Nielsen, 2006]

Hence, designing and writing for print and online are different. On websites, the first two paragraphs must state the most important information (Nielsen, 2006). In other words, inverted pyramid format is used. Radshaw (2003) opined that web content should have 50% of the word count of its paper equivalent. Print has a huge canvas that designers can play with, so word limit is not important (Nielsen, 1999).

Websites should contain more subheads and bullet points if compared to prints. Besides, web design should be simple, clear, consistent, appropriate, appealing and usable.

This is an example of a bad web design because there are too many links and the image is too small. Besides, capital letters and underlined words were overused.

On the other hand, this blog has a good design because the layout is simple, appealing and usable.


Nielsen, J 1997, How Users Read on the Web,, viewed on 17 November 2009,

Nielsen, J 1999, Differences Between Web Design and Print Design,, viewed on 17 November 2009,

Nielsen, J 2006, F-Shaped Pattern for Reading Web Content,, viewed on 17 November 2009,

Radshaw, K 2003, Web Writing vs. Print Writing,, viewed on 17 November 2009,

The Blogging Community

A blogging community consists of people who have similar area of interest and discuss in a blog (Anthony, 2009). A blogging community is essential to being a successful blogger. Through a blogging community, you are also creating a name and reputation for who you are and what you have to say. Community is alive and well in the blogosphere. It is emerging in a variety of patterns and manifesting in all sizes and types of communities (White, 2006).

A blogging community can be created by:

  • Take the lead and be the community that you want your readers to be – readers follow the lead of bloggers in how they’ll interact with each other
  • Ask Questions – the key to more comments and interaction on a blog
  • Link to reader’s blogs
  • Answer reader’s questions
  • Invite Readers to Take the lead with guest posts, giving advice to each other etc
  • Mention readers in your blog
  • Allow comments for everyone

(Rowse, 2008)

Blog researcher Efimova (2006) suggests the communities formed around an author-centred blog are likely to depend more on the connections of blog-readers with the blogger personality than the topics she covers.


Anthony 2009, What is a Blogging Community?, The Travel Tart, viewed on 17 November 2009,

Efimova, L 2006, Author-centred vs. topic-centred blogging, Mathemagenic, viewed on 17 November 2009,

Rowse, D 2008, How to Build Community on Your Blog, ProBlogger, viewed on 17 November 2009,

White, N 2006, Blogs and Community – launching a new paradigm for online community?, Australian Flexible Learning Network, viewed on 17 November 2009,

Classification of Blogs

There are many classification of blogs. The subject matters are such as personal, business, schools, non-profits, politics, military, private, sports, how-to, tips, and reviews (Wordpress, n.d.). Then, the media types are also different. There are:

  • Vlogs – blogs which consist of videos (Youtube)
  • Linklogs – blogs which consist of links
  • Sketchblogs
  • Photoblogs
  • Tumblelogs – short posts and mixed media types (Tumblr)
  • Moblog – Sending pictures from a cameraphone or mobile device (Flickr)
  • Microblog – a short text message which may or may not contain a shortened URL. (Twitter)

Although there are blog categories, many blogs have combination of styles, which make identifying unique types difficult. For example, is a personal blog, but sometimes the blogger writes about traveling, reviews and even does videos. Simons (2008) also classified blogs in a different manner, where there are pamphleteering, digest, advocacy, popular mechanics, exhibition, gatewatcher, diary, advertisement and news blogs.

In my opinion, each individual chooses what to read and have different interests. As technology advances, bloggers get to include many new things such as videos and whatnot. Also, blogging has become absolutely simple, so many people are blogging. According to Tokheim (2009), blogging and social networking are moving toward each other, so blogs do not belong to only one category nowadays.


Simons, M 2008, A taxonomy of blogs, The Media Report, viewed on 17 November 2009,

Tokheim, D 2009, New Trends in Blogs, eMarketer, viewed on 17 November 2009,

The 8 different types of blogging in 2008,, viewed on 17 November 2009,

Types of Blogs n.d., WordPress, viewed on 17 November 2009,

The Current Blogosphere & Benefits to the Society

According to Technorati (2009), there are four types of bloggers currently. A survey was conducted for Technorati and they found that 72% of bloggers are hobbyists, 15% are part-timers, 9% are self-employed and only 4% are pros. TechCrunch (2009) added that professional bloggers are more prolific in 2009 because of the interactivity they get with audience and other bloggers.

Currently, the most popular blogs in America are TMZ, Gizmodo and Perez Hilton (eBizMBA, 2009). TMZ and Perez Hilton are celebrity gossip blogs and Gizmodo writes about gadgets and technology.

A screenshot of

A screenshot of

A screenshot of

In Malaysia, the most influential blogs of 2007 are Kenny Sia, Sapiens Bryan and (, 2007). Kenny Sia is a personal blog but his posts are entertaining, whereas Sapiens Bryan blogs about technology. On the other hand, is about humour.

A screeshot of

The statistics above already proved that readers like to read entertainment on blogs and also to discover the latest gadgets. In Malaysia, benefits of blogs to the community are such as obtaining latest information without much hassle, generating more interactivity and advertising revenues which will eventually benefit businesses, organizations and the economy. Most importantly, readers get to obtain information about what is happening with the opposition parties because mainstream media do not publish about them. For example, Lim Kit Siang's blog.


2009 State of the Blogosphere: The Full BlogWorld Presentation 2009, TechCrunch, viewed on 8 November 2009,

50 Most Influential Blogs in Malaysia 2007,, viewed on 16 November 2009,

State of the Blogosphere 2009 Introduction 2009, Technorati, viewed on 8 November 2009,

Top 25 Most Popular Blogs 2009, eBizMBA, viewed on 16 November 2009,

Friday, September 4, 2009

What is a Good Document?

Documents are important as they represent a body of information, designed to communicate. Thus, a good document will contribute to the success of conveying the specific purpose and message. There are many types of documents, such as prototypical, books, functional, non-classical, and many more.

Good documents consist of a good combination of texts and visuals. The considerations of texts / writing are such as typefaces, colours, language efficiency, and layout. According to Putnis and Peteline (1996, p. 224), it is essential that you know why you are writing and what your readers hope to find when you write in academic and professional contexts. Visuals are also prominent as they complement texts and sometimes tell a story.

Reep (2006, p. 135-136) also argues that a good document must include design principles such as balance, proportion, sequence, and consistency.

For example, this Microsoft Powerpoint slide is not balanced. The right is heavier than the left, thus it is not proportionate. In my opinion, the left side could be added with more words to balance up the document.

This is another example where this slide contains too much words, thus it looks crowded. In fact, Powerpoint slides should have short and direct sentences instead of long and windy ones. Moreover, there is insufficient white space in this document.

According to Putnis and Petelin (1996, p. 224-225), these steps will ensure that you creat a good document:

  1. Sensitivity to your purpose, readers, and context.
  2. Understand how readers read, comprehend, and act upon documents.
  3. Ability to research, structure, and sequence information.
  4. Working knowledge of the particular language.
  5. Skill in using problem-solving strategies to generate ideas, write, and refine your writing for your reader.
  6. Critical and analytical skills for reviewing your writing (and the writing of others).
  7. Understanding and practice of effective information and document design.
  8. Wordprocessing and desktop-publishing competence.
  9. Metaknowledge (knowing what you know) about writing.
  10. Acceptance that producing good writing is hard and takes a long time.


Putnis, P and Petelin, R 1996, Professional Communication: Principles and Applications, Prentice Hall, New York.

Reep, DC 2006, Technical Writing, 6th edn, Pearson/Longman, New York.