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Data Journalism Reading Wk 13

This is a fascinating article about a legend in the video game industry, the man behind the fabled Super Mario Bros, the Nintendo and the Wii.

There were a few points to take away from the reading that would definitely serve us in our roles as developers.  The first is the ability to design mostly in one’s head. I think that’s why the story of the cave is so essential. When you sit and start designing with what you have or trying to make something a derivative of the other, the design you come up with won’t be original and may not even be a substantial improvement on anything. To be truly revolutionary, one really has to design in their head, free from the constraints of possibility and current knowledge.

Throughout the article there is a constant regard for simplicity.  For a design to be effective, there need be only a few dynamic elements, only a few moving parts for the user to comprehend. Finding that limit of the users capability is the challenge. In all of Miyamoto’s games, the concept is always simple. Get the girl, find the treasure etc. They show us that even with just a few elements, the user experience can vary greatly and be unique to each person which is what you want your design to do so that it’s fun. In fact the user experience differs every single time the interaction occurs and that’s the key to making something addictive. Its a similar concept to gambling. “This time, things could be different”




  1.  Twitter is an extremely effective tool for telling a story in real time. Journalists who do not have the time to file an extended piece about a breaking story can easily arrive on the scene and put out short sentences about what they are hearing and seeing. This has been very effective in crowded or dangerous situations where one doesn’t have the resources to set up a broadcast segment or the time and means to conduct detailed research for a written piece. It is also an extremely useful way to find out what the current conversation trends and public opinions are. Twitter is an excellent way to reach out to sources and have them point you in the direction of stories. These don’t have to be people you know or contacts cultivated over a long period of time, making the opportunities endless.-Journalist can explore blogs or microsites and the comments they receive for story ideas. Subscribing to individual blogs about topics or areas mean reporters can remain updated as soon as there is a new blog post or piece of news that comes through.-Facebook is a great way for promoting your personal brand. Through your Facebook page, you can link up with other journalists, get access to content and press releases of major companies and look up sources very easily. It is also a great way to get a feel for the hot topics of the day and to analyse what kind of content gets shared or goes viral.
  2. Sample tweets: from @obakhtar

Setting out to cover religious organizations in Brooklyn. Whats a good place to start? What do you think most reporters miss?

World renowned? RT@Reuters World renowned computer hacker @KevinMitnick shows us how NewsOTWorld may have hacked voicemails

New Brunswick, NJ is shutdown. All roads leading to it are blocked #Irene #NJTransit

This article probably best explains the current situation with public transport in the tri-state area.

Great piece in @NewYorker about global warming and its link to our current weather disasters.

No news yet on the MTA website about when they will resume service. Hope things get going by tomw morning #irene

Piscataway, NJ: Luckily the trees are holding steady here. So is the power. #irene

Link to some of my work at Columbia Journalism School. Writers and Photographers, your input is greatly valued

Saw a raccoon going thru trash in NYC. According to Public Safety at Columbia, he was probably an identity thief.

In the space of one evening, I have created accounts on Soundcloud, Vimeo, LinkedIn and WordPress. Internet. You have been warned.

 3.Journalists on Twitter:

Nic Roberston @NicRoberstonCNN, CNN International Correspondent.

Followed him because of his tracking down of Lockerbie bomber Al-Megrahi and his superb reporting from the Middle East, especially Libya.

 Ezra Klein @ezraklein, Washington Post Columnist

An entertaining writer on domestic policy and economics which I hope to cover myself.

 Matt Taibbi @mtaibbi

A very outspoken and controversial journalist who has written some of the best long form pieces for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Chuck Holmes @chuckatnpr

A very diligent and generous editor at NPR who’s page has a constant feed of links and quotes from other journalists.

Jonah Weiner @jonahweiner

NY Times and Rolling Stone Magazine contributor which is almost my dream combination, plus he’s based in Brooklyn which is helpful for my beat.

4. Now that I am in J-School I plan to change my Facebook presence in a number of ways. I plan to set up my own Facebook page, other than my profile where I can post all the news articles or multimedia pieces that I produce as a journalist. Further more I can use Facebook not just to reach out to other journalists but also observe what kind of news stories are being shared most and what kind of multimedia work really has an impact on people. I would imagine my outward profile and appearance to be a lot more professional and relevant to my work as a journalist. I can use this space not only to get real feedback on my work but also to post articles by other journalists and use the space to critique their work as well as gauge what people like about it.


1.  In the digital age, news organization are now forced to create a digital/website department as more and more people are getting their news online. Since so many people are reluctant to pay for news content online, media organizations are being forced to depend more and more on ad revenues rather than circulation and subscriptions to make their profits. This changes the economic model that has worked for so long in the world of media. It isn’t enough to have high ad rates and widespread circulation anymore, media companies are constantly having to innovate when it comes to generating online revenue. This means the focus is not just on the actual content but how many people are viewing it and how many hits it is getting online, which is what advertisers use as criteria for their placement. The old separation of the editorial staff and the advertising staff no longer holds as all editors now need to be conscious of what stories will generate the most revenue in terms of hits and advertising.

– One of the biggest trends affecting the traditional economic format has been the “un-packaging” of the news. Previously, newspapers could have different sections and topics all put together along with classified ads sections and print advertisements. Now they have to compete with very specific websites that cater to everyones individual needs. People are no longer bound to the single publication for all their reading/news interests, they can now seamlessly transition between different websites, each one devoted to a specific area of interest. This drives down the advertising costs that any single publication can charge and they now have to compete with aggregators or other websites that basically can give the same content away for free.

– The distribution models for content have also changed . There were significant marketing and distribution costs for any newspaper trying to reach an audience as organizations needed retailers, suppliers and logistics to get their product to your doorstep. Now, media can rely on its readers to distribute their article not just through forwarding links and aggregating websites, but also through social media networks that have made it increasingly simple to transmit news content. Furthermore, media companies can track their shared stories and analyse what content is popular and tailor it accordingly.

– In the digital world, we are dealing with a surplus of information with websites just a click away. Previously, when information was scarce, there was value in what traditional newspapers contained and hence they could charge accordingly. Now with the abundance of easily accessible information, the value of media content diminishes, making it difficult to generate a unique and loyal audience along with their corresponding revenue figures.

  1. Advantages of a digitally based news company over a traditional print or broadcast organization.

    – Digital news companies have the ability to produce not just text and picture based articles but incorporate mixed media, including graphics, animations, slideshows and audio clips. All these elements can greatly enhance the stories being published and are more attractive to a reader.

    -Digital news companies have smaller startup costs because there are less physical assets needed to start the business. For e.g. they don’t need to buy a printing press or negotiate with a paper supplier. They also don’t have to worry about retailer and distribution points. Their costs involve merely setting up a website and attracting readers to it, something that can be achieved far more easily and faster than the traditional print setup.

    -Digital news companies can publish information faster and update it in real time. They are not constrained by the traditional printing press deadlines or the once a day breaking news cycle. They can publish any time of the day, constantly update and provide details for the story as it unfolds.

  2. Advantages of print over digital media

    -Print companies can still charge higher ad rates than digital publications since digital ads are considerably cheaper and unable to cover the full cost of operations. Furthermore, digital ads are seen as intrusive and a nuisance by many online readers and print ads may in fact enhance the quality or attractiveness of a print publication.

    -People are more likely to go over the entire print publication, whether its a newspaper or magazine when they physically have it. Online, publication are constantly having to compete with shorter attention spans and competition since there is such an abundance of information available on the web. This means articles get smaller and less detailed online, with the focus coming more on quantity over quality.

    -Print publications still make their money from subscriptions and physical sales that are profitable. Broadcast make their money from cable subscriptions and lucrative ad rates. However digital publications still encounter resistance when they ask people to subscribe or pay a monthly fee for access. This makes it harder for them to charge for their content and earn significant revenue outside of ads.


  1. The following elements are needed for a defamation claim.- The statement must be false.

    – It must be a statement of fact, i.e not an opinion.

    – It has to be published to someone, other than the plaintiff.

    – It has to be about a specific person or entity.

    – It has to cause the plaintiff harm

    – In the U.S, the burden of proof for these elements is on the plaintiff. Continue reading

Photo Essay: Iftari at the Islamic Center NYU

Here is a slideshow of pictures I took of an event at the Islamic Center of New York University.  The event is the Iftar, or the end of the day’s fast in the holy month of Ramadan.

A big thank you to Imam Khalid Latif and all the wonderful people who organized this dinner, which by the way was completely free and open to the public.

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Pictures from my first Photo Assignment

Here’s a bunch of pictures I shot out and about New York City. First time I shot on manual so please forgive the crappy quality.

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