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Monday, May 21, 2007

Vidya Ram tops class at Columbia University's journalism school

Vidya Ram, 27, from Chennai was designated the top student in the Class of 2007 of the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University, New York.

Ms. Ram topped a list of 28 honours students in the school's M.S. programme. She was also awarded a Pulitzer travelling fellowship. These fellowships are given to five outstanding graduates to enable them to study and travel abroad. Ms. Ram plans to use her Pulitzer fellowship travelling to, and writing about, China.

Ms. Ram's classmates gave her a big round of applause when the school announced on Journalism Day, the day before the convocation, that she was the student of the year. It is very rare for a foreign student to win top honours at the school.

More than 250 M.S. programme students took their degrees along with Ms. Ram at the May 16 convocation of one of the world's premier journalism schools. Ben Bradlee, vice-president at large of The Washington Post, gave the commencement address to students, faculty, and parents. He received the school's highest honour, the Columbia Journalism Award.

Ms. Ram is the daughter of N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu, who is an alumnus of the Columbia University journalism school. She studied at Sishya, Chennai, Oxford University, and the London School of Economics before going to Columbia University. Ms. Ram spent a year teaching English in Harbin, China; interned at The Hindu group's Frontline magazine in 2001-2002; and subsequently worked at the Hansard Society in London.

source: The Hindu

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Sholay makes it to textbooks in MP
Guna (Madhya Pradesh): In Madhya Pradesh, Ramesh Sippy's blockbuster Sholay isn't just a movie any more, it's part of every child's education.

Miss India 2007

MUMBAI, APR 8 (UNI):- Femina Miss India beauty pageant winner Puja Chitgope Kar (L), Miss India Earth Sarah Gane Dias (C) and Miss India World Puja Gupta (R) in Mumbai on Sunday. UNI PHOTO-133U

TV9 to launch 5 channels, plans Rs 1.55 billion investment
Hyderabad-based Associated Broadcasting Company Pvt Ltd (ABCL), which operates in the news space under the TV9 brand, is planning to launch a string of channels with an investment outlay of Rs 1.55 billion.

79th Oscar winners

Actors Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Helen Mirren and Alan Arkin pose backstage with their Oscars during the 79th Academy Awards, in Los Angeles. Whitaker and Mirren won for best actor and Hudson and Arkin won for best supporting actor

79TH OSCAR best director

Director Martin Scorsese holds up his Oscar for best director for his work on "The Departed" as he arrives at the annual Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton's in West Hollywood, California.

2007 republic day chief guest

President Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on their arrival for the 58th Republic Day celebrations at Raj Path, New Delhi.


PSLV-C7 bearing 4 satellites lifts off from Sathish Dhawan Space centre, Sriharikotta on Wednesday. It successfully put all the four satellites into orbit

Highest wickets in world cup

Glenn McGrath gives the thumbs-up to the crowd after becoming the highest wicket-taker in World Cup history

OU 77TH Convocation

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam blessing a student at the 77th Convocation of Osmania University being held at the campus in Hyderabad on February 01, 2007

Kiran Desai


Shetty wins Celebrity Big Brother

Shilpa Shetty, the Bollywood actress at the centre of the race row that dominated Celebrity Big Brother, has been named this year's winner.

Sanath Jayasuria

He currently holds the record fastest fifty in ODIs, scored off just 17 balls. Jayasuria was the previous record-holder for the fastest century (off 48 balls), before losing that claim to Shahid Afridi of Pakistan. He has hit 231 sixes in one day internationals (ODIs) and currently holds the world record for most ODI sixes.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer underlined his 10th Grand Slam singles title by winning 21 straight sets, saving a set point in Sunday's final before finishing off Fernando Gonzalez 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4 Herschelle Gibbs smashes a record six sixes in an over

Herschelle Gibbs
Herschelle Gibbs smashes a record six sixes in an over
Herschelle Gibbs's six sixes off Dan van Bunge's (Netherlands) fourth over was a record for international matches

Hayden hits fastest World Cup century
On March 24th 2007, at the 2007 Cricket World Cup, Hayden scored the fastest World Cup century against South Africa in just 66 balls

Amitabh Bachchan
Caption: NEW DELHI: Amitabh Bachchan (R) poses with his wife Jaya Bachchan (C), son Abhishek Bachchan (L), soon to be daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai (2-L) and daughter Shweta Nanda during a function at the French Embassy in New Delhi on January 27, 2007. Amitabh Bachchan was conferred the top French honour of 'Officer of the Legion of Honour'. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Brian Charles Lara

Brian Charles Lara (born May 2, 1969) (nicknamed "The Prince of Port-of-Spain" or simply "The Prince") is a record-breaking cricketer who is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen ever. : highest individual innings (400 against England) and the all-time leading run scorer. He also holds the record for the highest individual score in first class cricket, with a total of 501* for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994. Played 299 ODIs, Tests 131. "I hold West Indies cricket close to my heart. I've spent 17 years playing. It's been testimony that I've been out there working very hard, toiling for West Indies cricket. I've enjoyed every single day I've played. It's been a very good run but at some point it has to come to an end," the Trinidadian left hander said. "I'm a student of the game. I've read a lot and I know the history of West Indies cricket and I know what it means to the people." Lara, who has captained the West Indies three times, has scored 11,953 runs in 131 tests and 10,405 runs in 299 one-day internationals.

Prof. Muhammad Yunus
Caption: Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate and Chief Architect of Grameen Bank of Bangladesh at a special session in New Delhi on January 30, 2007

September 28, 2006:Sania Mirza defeated Martina Hingis

Sania Mirza defeated Martina Hingis (ranked 8th in the world) 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 in the Korea Open. Hingis had knocked Mirza out of the semifinals of the Sunfeast Open last week

Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai
The wedding ceremony of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, which was held on the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya(April 20,2007), climaxed three days of festivities starting from a sangeet function and the traditional mehendi ceremony.

PSLV makes commercial launch

SRIHARIKOTA : The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday successfully made the first commercial launch of a foreign satellite through the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C8). Italian satellite, Agile, weighing 352 kg, was placed in a precise orbit about 550 km above the earth.

Virginia massacre
A student from South Korea, Cho Seung-Hui,23, opened fire in a dormitory and a classroom at Virginia Tech University campus on April 16 morning, killing 33 and injuring 12 people. An India professor and an Indian student were among his victims.

Gujarat MP Babubhai Katara

Gujarat MP Babubhai Katara was arrested on April 18 when he was about to board an Air India flight to Toronto along with a woman and a teenaged boy on the passports of his wife and son. The BJP suspended Babubhai from the party, and a Delhi court remanded the suspended MP to 10 days police custody for cheating and impersonation

Lara bye-bye
West Indies captain Brian Lara announced retirement from all international cricket after the team’s world cup match against England on April 20

Shaadi No. 1
It’s the mother of all weddings in Bollywood. Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan tied the knot on April 20 at Amitabh Bachchan’s Juhu bunglow in the presence of elite VIPs

Virginia Killer

A student from South Korea, Cho Seung-Hui, 23, opened fire in a dormitory and a classroom at Virginia Tech University campus on April 16 morning, killing 33 and injuring 12 people. An Indian professor G V Loganathan and an Indian student were among his victims.

Lara’s final match
Brian Lara walks through a guard of honour to start his final innings, England v

West Indies, Super Eights, Barbados, April 21, 2007

Lasith Malinga

Lasith Malinga enjoys the moment after taking four wickets with consecutive deliveries against South Africa. It is a world record known as the double hattrick.

Stephen Hawking
In this handout photo provided by Zero Gravity Corp., astrophysicist Stephen Hawking floats on a zero-gravity jet on Thursday. The modified jet carrying Hawking, a handful of his physicians and nurses, and dozens of others first flew up to 24,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean off Florida. Nurses lifted Hawking and carried him to the front of the jet, where they placed him on his back atop a special foam pillow. The plane made a total of eight parabolic dips, including two during which Hawking made two weightless flips like “a gold-medal gymnast”, said Peter Diamandis, chairman of Zero Gravity Corp., the company that owns the jet

Richard Gere
Actor Richard Gere has sparked protests in India after kissing Celebrity Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty at an Aids awareness rally in New Delhi.

1996 cricket world cup

Sri Lanka celebrate - watched by Warne, McGrath and Bucknor

Bob Woolmer

Pakistan's cricket coach Bob Woolmer was murdered in his hotel room on Sunday after the team's World Cup shock defeat to Ireland, Jamaican police say.

Amitabh Bachchan and Chiranjeevi
The Telugu Film industry garlands Amitabh Bachchan and Chiranjeevi for getting Padma Bhushan during the felicitation function at Gacchibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on April 23, 2006.

Ms Indra Nooyi
Trade & Industry: 2007: United States: PepsiCo Chief and Padma Bhushan Award.

Ratan Tata
India's Tata Steel has won the battle to take over the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus by making a £5.75bn ($11.3bn) bid.
Tata chairman Ratan Tata is not among the Forbes' list of 40 richest Indians around the world.

Dainik Jagran
The largest circulated daily in India

Karnam Malleswari
First woman Olympic Medalist for India (2000)

Koneru Humpy
Koneru Humpy got India its first gold after she defeated Aketayeva in the Doha Asiad

Arvind Kejriwal

2006 Ramon Magsaysay award for Emergent Leadership. He won it for activating India’s right to information movement at the grassroots, and empowering New Delhi’s poorest citizens to fight corruption by holding a government answerable to the people.


Colombian singer and 10-time Grammy award winner Shakira performed in Mumbai.

Rakeysh Mehra

Best director award winner – Filmfare for Ran De Basanti

Tiger Woods

Highest earning sport person.

Maria Sharapova

Highest earning sport women

Stephen Hawking

In this handout photo provided by Zero Gravity Corp., astrophysicist Stephen Hawking floats on a zero-gravity jet on Thursday. The modified jet carrying Hawking, a handful of his physicians and nurses, and dozens of others first flew up to 24,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean off Florida. Nurses lifted Hawking and carried him to the front of the jet, where they placed him on his back atop a special foam pillow. The plane made a total of eight parabolic dips, including two during which Hawking made two weightless flips like “a gold-medal gymnast”, said Peter Diamandis, chairman of Zero Gravity Corp., the company that owns the jet

Amartya Sen

Nobel Laureate, author of Argumentative Indian

Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar
The Indian lege of their wedding celebrations With the final even held in Jodhpur, the line up to the big day was peppered with a whirl of glamourous parties in the city for the golden couple.

Pankaj Advani

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee, snooker champion

Glenn McGrath:
Player of the tournament: 2007 cricket world cup

Australia 2007 cup winner

Third World Cup in a row, fourth overall. Has there been any greater side to take the field

Angelina Jolie

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie continued shooting for the film A Mighty Heart in Mumbai. The film is based on the life of slain Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl.

Shilpa Shetty
According to a recent search engine database, Shilpa leads in the search of her name the world over, preceding names like Angelina Jolie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Beyonce Knowles, Brad Pitt, Britney Spears, Carmen Electra, Drew Barrymore, Eva Longoria, Halle Berry, Harry Potter, Hilary Duff, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Lindsay Lohan, Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton and Tobey Maguire.

Dixie Chicks
The clean sweep by the Dixie Chicks as tops in all five categories in which they were nominated for Grammys—Best Country Album and Album of the Year for Taking the Long Way, and Song and Record of the Year plus Country/Group Duo for “Not Ready to Make Nice,” their defiant single release from that album, their first since they criticized George W. Bush in London in 2003, and were vilified and ostracized by the Country Music Establishment for it, is an important milestone for us of the left, and a cause for celebration that we, just like the Dixie Chicks, will eventually be vindicated for our open resistance and refusal to back down.

It’s all nice, so nice.

Britney Spears

Spears, 25, is the biggest-selling female artist of the 2000s with more than 70 million records sold. In 2002, she was ranked the most powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes Magazine. The same year she earned a Razzie Award for worst actress for her movie debut 'Crossroads.

Leander Paes with Sania Mirza

Leander Paes set the Asian Games tennis arena ablaze by grabbing two gold medals as he claimed the men's doubles title and then paired up with Sania Mirza to bag the mixed doubles crown with a hard-fought victory over their Japanese rivals

Queen Mary 2
World’s largest, tallest and most expensive cruise liner queen Mary 2 having a capacity of 2500 passengers on board.

Wax museum at Madame Tussaud's London

Shah Rukh Khan joined with Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai in the wax museum at Madame Tussaud's London. Amitabh Bachchan's wax statue at Madame Tussaud's is believed to be watched by 25 lakh visitors to the wax museum every year. The museum, every year, unveils a total of just 15 statues.

US photographer Spencer Platt wins premier award
The international jury of the 50th annual World Press Photo Contest selected a color image of the US photographer Spencer Platt of Getty Images as World Press Photo of the Year 2006

Queen of Pop Madonna crowned highest earning female singer on earth
Madonna is the highest-earning female singer on earth, her account books reveal.
The mother-of-two, who turned 48 last month, is reportedly making £26.6 million a year.
The Guinness Book of Records reported that the figure now makes her the top-ranking female singing artist in terms of earnings.
She has now knocked Britney Spears off the No1 spot. Britney has been on top - earning £20.5 million a year - since 2001

Pulitzer first prize for breaking news photo
Awarded to Oded Balilty of The Associated Press for his powerful photograph of a lone Jewish woman defying Israeli security forces as they remove illegal settlers in the West Bank.

A lone Jewish settler challenges Israeli security officers during clashes that erupted as authorities cleared the West Bank settlement of Amona, east of the Palestinian town of Ramallah. Thousands of troops in riot gear and on horseback clashed with hundreds of stone-throwing Jewish settlers holed up in this illegal West Bank outpost after Israel’s Supreme Court cleared the way of demolition of nine homes at the site


Awarded to Renée C. Byer of The Sacramento Bee for her intimate portrayal of a single mother and her young son as he loses his battle with cancer. 

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Osmania University BCJ (bachelor of communication and journalism)

Osmania University BCJ (bachelor of communication and journalism)

2006-07 academic year

I semester

B1: Introduction to Communication and Mass Media

Unit1: Introduction to Communication. Nature, process and elements of communication. Functions and barriers of communication. Typology of communication – interpersonal, intra personal, group, mass communication.

Unit II: Mass communication characteristics, concept of gate keeping. Communication Models – Shannon and Weaver, Osgood and Schramm. Two step flow hypothesis, multi-step flow of communication.

Unit III: Communication effects, early perceptions, concepts – agenda setting, cultivation, uses and gratification. Roger’s theory of Diffusion of innovation.

Unit IV: Mass Media status: Print media, Broadcast media, New media, Advertising / PR Traditional media, New media technologies – satellite, cable, digital, internet, Mass media audiences, Issue of ownership, cross media ownership

Unit V: Media history: Print media – pre Independence, post Independence (Major issues, land marks), Regional language Press, Broadcast media, commissions of inquiry.

B2: Reporting and Editing-I

Unit I: Reporter – role, duties and qualities. The news process- from event to the reader. Concepts and definition of news as relevant to India. Basic components of a news story – attribution, verification; balance and fairness, brevity. News sources, gathering facts, Different forms of reporting – spot news / live reporting – Reporting public affairs, meetings, conferences, seminars, cultural, civic and social events, Mofussil reporting.

Unit II: Crime, legislature, courts and sports reporting. Investigative, interpretative, trend, in depth and advocacy reporting. Building and using background. Reporting fashion and lifestyle, writing curtain raisers, interviewing techiniques.

Unit III: Organisational structure of a newspaper’s editorial department. Role and functions of and editor, news editor and sub-editors. Qualities of a sub-editor. The news process: Sources of news. Different types of copy – Agency copy, Bureau copy, Mofussil Copy. News values and selection of news. Different Desks – General sports etc.

Unit IV: The editing process – symbols, handling various types of copy; Re-writing, translation, Integrating, Updating; Referencing; Proof reading, style book/sheet. Electronic editing. Headlines – functions, types, patterns of headlines. Unit count. Headline schedule. News schedule, Planning of pages and editions, editing supplements, features and special pages.

Unit V: Development and growth of printing. Desk Top Publishing, Printing process, Different methods of printing – Offset, Gravure and screen printing. Off-set printing process, advantages and disadvantages, Typography: Types and families, Type sizes. Reproduction of art and photographs, selection and editing of photographs.

B3: Advertising

Unit I: Advertising – Its relationship with Mass Communication, as a part of the marketing mix. Difference between publicity and advertising, advertising and Public Relations. Advertising definitions, functions.

Unit II: Classification of Advertising based on demand, media, objectives, different consumers to be reached, stages in the product life cycle, personnel involved-vertical /horizontal etc. Product, institutional, financial, social, political, government, classified and display.

Unit III: Advertising agency – Structure and functions of the various department of the Advertising Agency. Client servicing, creative media, production etc. Media Types of Media – Radio, newspapers, magazines, television, outdoor, specialty, internet, Relative merits & demerits, Basics of media planning and scheduling – Importance of media tariff, sources of information for media planning and scheduling –ORG, ABC, Readership surveys

Unit IV: Campaign Planning & Execution, Brief – Collection of Information, Analysis of market, Target Audience, Budget, Creative strategy and concepts; Creative themes and appeals Copy- Elements of an Advertisement, Functions of headline and copy, Types of copy for different media, Layout, Types of Layout, Principles of Design and lay out production process for print ads, Radio jingles, spots, commercials, TV commercials and Films (Script writing), Printed Literature. Direct Advertising, Point of Purchase

Unit V: Evaluation and Regulation of Advertising – Copy research – Pre testing and post testing Ethics, Codes and laws related to advertising, Professional bodies AAAI,ISA,ASCI, INS, Consumer associations Act. Advertising in India, role in economic development Trends (Case studies and Workshops in copy writing, media planning, campaign planning)

B4: Electronic Media and Film

Unit I: Introduction to broadcasting: Radio as a Medium of Mass Communication, Evolution and growth of All India Radio and Doordarshan, Prasar Bharathi – structure, objectives and role. Growth of private television channels. Emerging trends in radio broadcasting – FM, Digital, satellite

Unit II: Radio production, Programmes for various audiences, Different Programme format, creating audio space, sound perspective, voice casting, types of music, use of sound effects. Production crew and their functions: Role of producer. Production planning and execution. Radio studio, acoustics, recording equipment, types and use of microphones, Use of Digital Technology in production.

Unit III: Television technology: broadcasting standards, PAL, NTSC and SECAM. Broadcast chain, Production equipment – cameras, microphones and lights. Special effects generators, digital video effects, Character Generator, computer graphic work stations. TV stations. TV studio layout, TV production – studio and field production, TV staff and crew, their functions. Programme formats, Proposal writing, Script writing – outline, treatment, visualization, shooting script.

Unit IV: Production process – pre-production, set up and rehearsal, production and post production. Classification of shots, techniques of audio production. Television news production, scripting for TV documentaries. Linear and Non-linear editing, voice over, dubbing, mixing and final mastering. TV Direction; Shot division, Blocking the script, story board, time line and budgeting.

Unit V: A brief history of Indian cinema. Film technology. Elements of film – script, cinematography, editing, music and direction. Process of film making – shooting, editing, dubbing, mixing, married print. Film genres, Art and commercial films, parallel cinema. Film appreciation. Critical Study of films of important art and commercial film makers. Trends in contemporary cinema. Film review and criticism, Script writing for documentaries. NFDC, FTII.

Exercises in reporting, script writing and television production

II Semester:-

B5: Reporting and Editing II

Unit I: reporting conflicts, calamities, disasters. Issues in development reporting, environment, education, ecology, health, industry, business, agriculture, consumer issues, gender issues, Computer Aided Reporting (CAR)

Unit II: Editorial writing – concept, Types of editorials, policy, conferences, Letters to the Editor, edit page articles, Middles.
Feature writing: Characteristics of features, types of features, difference between articles and features; survey of market for features; Review and criticism, types of columns, techniques of column writing, columnists.

Unit III: Use of computers in editing. Editing mofussil copy, translation, integrating, updating, and planning of pages and editions. Editing supplements, features and special pages.

Unit IV: Process of colour printing, use of colour, use of colour photographs. Digital printing. Page Design and Layout, Use of new technologies: Internet, VSAT.

Unit V: Newspaper management: structure of a newspaper organization and functions of various departments. Marketing strategies.

Exercises in Page Maker and Quark Express.

B6: Media Laws and Ethics

Unit I: Indian constitution - salient features, fundamental rights, concept of PIL, directive principles, freedom of speech and expression, its limitations.

Unit II: Official Secrets Act, Press and Registration of Books Act, Prevention of Publication of Objectionable Matter Act, Working Journalists Act, Cable Regulation Act, Cinematography Act, Parliamentary Proceedings Protection of Publication Act 1956, Its repeal Act, Constitutional Amendment Article 361A (Protecting the publication of Parliament and Legislature).

Unit III: Contempt of Court Act, Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act, Censorship Act, Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, Children’s Act. Law of Defamation.

Unit IV: Right to Know, Right to Information, Freedom of Information Act, 2002, Right to Information Bill 2004, Cyber Laws, Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Act. Right to Privacy.

Unit V: Introduction to Media Ethics, Yellow Journalism, Communal writing, Right to reply, Press Council, Media and Human Rights and Civil Rights.

B7: Corporate Communication:

Unit I: Corporate communication – concept of PR philosophy, meaning, definition, scope, dimensions and distinction from advertising, propaganda, liaison, lobbying, PR and Public Opinion, growth of PR staff and line function, structure and function of PR Department, Profile of a Public Relations Officer.

Unit II: Concept of corporate citizen, corporate identity, image, PR publics – internal and external, importance of communicating to internal and external publics. PR process, four stages – fact finding, planning, execution and evaluation. PR strategy/campaign. Steps in campaign planning Case studies.

Unit III: Media relations- press conference, press kit, press briefing, Tools of PR- interpersonal: talks, discussions, meetings, open house, open day, exhibitions Print: House journals, news letters, brochures, pamphlets, circulars, notices, newspapers, annual reports, magazines, press releases. Audio-visual: radio, television, corporate films, OCTV, VNRs, FNRs, Information Technology New Media; Internet Writing and PR – Teleconferencing, E-mail, fax, CD Rom, Floppy Disks, Websites

Unit IV: Employee relations; Importance, responsibility of employee relations. Employee communication; Financial PR –Background, growing importance. Role of PR in raising capital and finances – annual general meeting – Role of PR person. Communication to share-holders. Customer relations.

Unit V: Community Relations: Community relations policy, objectives. Organization Employee’s role. Contributions to community welfare, community relations as a image building exercise. Government Relations- Nature and need for government relations. Structure and organization in Government PR Propagating Govt policies – Feedback mechanisms. Community Relations – definition of Community need and scope of PR – Rural PR – multi-media campaigns.

B8: Magazine and Photo Journalism (optional):

Unit I: Introduction to photography; Types of cameras, Understanding the camera- shutter types, The Shutter/Aperture relationship, Film size, Types of films, Lenses: the basic lens, Lens characteristics, Depth of field, Special lenses, Filters. Handling the camera, basics of exposure, camera angles, composition. Developing and Printing, the good negative, Lighting practices and sources, basic flash lighting, types of light meters, judging exposure.

Unit II: An overview of photo journalism, Trends in photo journalism. Use of graphics and photographs in magazines and newspapers, Picture categories, qualities of a good photograph. Single picture and caption: Judging the single photograph. News photos, People pictures
Role of a photo editor, selection and editing of photographs, writing captions. Photo features- planning and production. Colour photography-films, lighting, exposure and printing, digital photography. Images-JPEG, TIFF etc. Cropping, photo syndicates. Ethics-the tragic photo, shooting tragic scenes, staying out of the way, photo journalism and the law, Issues of Libel and invasion of privacy, freelancing.
Unit III: Types of magazines-News, general interest, and specialized magazines in niche areas-women, children leisure, business, science and technology etc., Use of visuals in magazines, Planning the editorial mix of a magazine-articles, news stories features etc., Trends in magazine publishing.
Unit IV: Techniques of magazine writing-choosing a topic, Identifying sources, gathering information, and the process of writing, importance of rewriting, various types of articles and features, Customizing magazine content for readers,

Unit V: Subjectivity in magazine writing. Slanting, content and writing style of different magazines. Approaches to editing specialized and glossy magazines-like fashion, city, travel etc., studying the requirements of magazines. Freelancing. Marketing features. E-journals. On-line magazines.

B9: Telugu journalism(optional)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Blogging Tips

Blogging Tips That Work
Almost six months have past since I published the first post on Blogsessive and during these six months this blog has passed through a series of events and changes that made me rethink my strategies.

As you’ve probably seen by now, whenever I’m sharing blogging tips with you, I always try to explain how they work through my own perspective. There are two reasons behind this approach:

* First of all, it stands as proof that those blogging tips work;
* Second, it provides information on how the tips where applied and also effect of their usage.

So, after six months of “competing” in a pretty crowded niche I’ve come to realize that Blogsessive has grown in a natural way, with about 160 subscribers, loyal readers and commentators, friends, social media profiles, on the point of entering Alexa’s top 100.000 and many more encouraging statistics.

Blogging tips that worked for me

What have I learned from these six months of Blogsessive experience? Read on as I’m going to share it with you.
Make use of your previous experiences.

At first, I had only my experience in working in the online industry for a long period of time. This experience served me well by knowing a lot about how websites and blogs should be structured and how they should look like. This has brought many visitors on Blogsessive, partially because of the design.
My personal interests in writing and my musical background helped me present every piece of information in a reader friendly way. The effects? Growing a base of loyal readers and encouraging personal interaction.
Don’t take tips for granted. Pass them through your own filter.

As most of you, I’ve read maybe thousands of post on blogging and blogging tips. Some where new, others brought nothing new to the table. Some where helpful, others where not. The hardest part is to choose the right ones, and that can only be achieved by applying them to your blog and experimenting with twist and changes until they show the best results.

For example, one of the tips I’ve encountered most was the famous “comment on blogs in your niche”. Some people spend hours every day commenting on blog posts and in the end, it still doesn’t prove efficient. Why? Because every blog you comment on has a different community, built around the blogger’s personality. Some readers will interact with you and follow the links you post and your profile link, others won’t. Pick the one that provide the best reaction to your comment and stick with them. You’ll win a lot of time and still get good results for your commenting actions.
Experiment with new approaches or old ones with a personal twist.

In any given niche, most things have been said and done already, but bloggers still find ways to become unique and successful. How? They simple add new, personal twists to their articles. Let’s take those “link round-up” posts as an example.

You’ve seen them on every blog, organized in weekly or monthly series. Some bloggers simple publish a simple list of linked titles; others go beyond, by adding their own views on the topics those posts approach. Some examples of adding a personal twist to these posts are my “Best Blogging Tips from the World’s Top Bloggers” posts that you can read here and here, or Alina’s Monday Reading Roundup posts on
Build strong relationships with other bloggers and your community.

Although this does not need an actual explanation, I’ll give you at least two reasons why you should do so.

As I’ve already told you, the past two weeks have been totally crazy, keeping me away from my regular publishing flow and to be true, they caught my quote off-guard. This is where people like Hendry Lee and Eric Brantner, both readers of Blogsessive, came and helped with their wonderful guest posts.

With Alina’s help (and not only) those posts even got some great promotion and managed to attract over 5000 visits in a period of time when I couldn’t possibly be publishing anything.

So, judge for yourself how priceless blogging relationships are!
Do not ignore the social media.

Yes, everyone says so and I’ll say it again. Make use of social media. Make contacts, share opinions, share links, help others promote content and you’ll get the same in return, but be careful. Social media can eat up a lot of your time, so much that you can neglect your blogging responsibilities. Find the right services for your, the ones that provide the best results.

For me, StumbleUpon, Mixx, Digg and FriendFeed work best. So, they are the ones getting more of my attention. I use other services only occasionally or simply to help out friends. Experiment with different services, according to your goals and find out which one works best. If you’re looking for better conversion, try exclusive, niche social websites like Sphinn, for example. Try them out.
Learn from your blog’s statistics.

Even if some will jump and call you a stats-wh*re, do what you need to do. Some people write on blogs simply as a way to share their daily experiences and expect nothing in return. The ones that try to make a living out of blogging or want to make their blog a promotional tool for additional services are pretty interested in their stats.

I know that some will not agree with my statement but I still believe it’s true. Bikers have a saying about motorcycle crashes: “There are two types of riders: those who crashed and those who won’t admit it.” Same goes for statistics. Keeping a close eye on stats, but not letting it take over too much time out of your blogging activity, will help you better understand the effects of you actions, of your writing and SEO efforts. Analyze your analytics. You’ll be learning a lot about your blog from those stats.

Everything you do or try must be first passed through your personal filter. There are not 100% guaranteed truths, only realistic tips that you can build on.
From your own experience, what tips worked best for you and you blog(s) and what personal twist did you gave them?
10 Characteristics of a Successful Blogger

Although being a successful blogger is not an easy task, it’s not one that should frighten you. Before asking yourself if you can be one, take a moment to think about what you do and how you do it, and see how many characteristics you can tick off from the following list.
1. A successful blogger knows what he wants

He always has a target and a strategy. He likes to be organized and has solutions for “unexpected situations“.
2. A successful blogger knows what he’s doing

He is well informed and likes to read a lot about many things, not only about niche related stuff. He has a good background and solid experience in his field.
3. A successful blogger knows how to do it

He knows that “quality is not an act, it’s a habit” (Aristotle). He takes time writing and rewriting if necessary, until he achieves the best result. Also, he knows that being consistent is his strength.
4. A successful blogger is a good friend

He doesn’t see other people in his niche as competitors; he sees them as a fresh source of knowledge and experience exchange. He will always link to them whenever they write something great, as he knows that a link is a sign of appreciation.
5. A successful blogger is a good communicator

Whether it’s his writing style or his commenting activity, he’s always there when the discussion gets interesting. He’s not ashamed to ask and always glad to share some advice.
6. A successful blogger has a personality

He knows that in order to make yourself heard, you need to have a unique tone. Copy-paste is not his style, even if things have already been said. He’ll always look for that something that nobody thought about. He’ll always look to develop the topic under his signature.
7. A successful blogger is always ready for change

He knows we live dynamic times that require a dynamic mind and personality. He’s not only ready to adapt, but also he likes to keep an eye on future developments in his niche, and not only.
8. A successful blogger knows his value

He has a good sense of self-analysis. He’ll never sell himself short, and also, never truly overrate. Knowing you value means knowing your flaws. Knowing your flaws means knowing what to improve.
9. A successful blogger wants to be better

He never thinks about becoming successful. He constantly tries to improve, as, the better the quality he will provide, the more appreciated he’ll be. He’s constantly climbing a mountain without a visible top. He know how much he has climbed, knows he can go further and simply presses on.

And last, but not necessarily least…
10. A successful blogger is a healthy blogger

“Mens sana in corpore sano” (”A healthy mind in a healthy body” - latin proverb). He knows that in order to keep a sharp mind, a healthy body is required. He values his sleep hours, his meals and he has a good working schedule.
Over to you

So, after reading these ten characteristics, how many can you tick off from the list?
Do you have what it takes to be a successful blogger?
Writing Reader Engaging Posts

From where I stand, the greatest advantage of blog writing is, without doubt, the instant feedback. Unlike classic media, like newspapers or magazines, our blogs give us the possibility of getting valuable opinions on every post that we publish. Of course, not all feedback should be considered valid, but this is a matter of personal choice and analytic skills.

Writing reader engaging posts is definitely one of the biggest challenges of every blogger, since these posts are usually excellent ways to create and grow a community around your blog. At a short glance, among the advantages of writing reader engaging posts we find:

* Community growth - Obviously, writing quality posts has the power to turn casual visitors into loyal readers, as long as you maintain a good flow;
* Social media exposure - The more interesting and better written the post, the more people will want to share and recommend it across services like Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, Mixx and so on;
* Conversations - A good post is more likely to entice readers to engage in commenting. This is a great way to further develop the topic or even generate new content ideas;
* Networking - Engaging posts are great ways to network with other bloggers in your niche. Write something appealing and you’ll surely make their link-round-ups;
* Quality traffic - Of course, all of the above are great ways to generate either a great deal of traffic or quality traffic.

Tips for writing reader engaging posts

With such important advantages and assuming that the topic you have chosen for your post is interesting enough, you should concentrate on making it more conversational and giving it that personal touch. To do so, here are some of the most important things you need to consider when writing.
Write opinion posts

Even if your post is simply a news item, you should always try and take some time to express your own views on that particular topic. Some will agree, others won’t, but it definitely should a boost for the discussion.
Use the 2nd person, singular or plural

“You”, “your”, “yours” are very powerful words, mostly when used to address a single person. They establish a direct connection between you, the writer (see, I’ve just used it), and them, your readers. By using them you’re more likely to make your readers feel like what you wrote is there especially for them, thus feel the need to leave feedback and answers.
Ask questions

No, asking questions does not make you look stupid. It’s all about asking the right questions, in the right place and form. Let’s take a product review for example. Do you think that asking your readers about their personal experience with that particular product would make you look bad? Absolutely not; it will only show your readers that their opinion matters to you.
Leave path for readers to explore

Writing insightful and in depth post is important. The better the quality, the better your reputation as an expert in the field gets. Still, it’s also important to leave “unexplored” paths for readers to develop in the comments section, and why not, on their own blogs as follow-ups (this will probably get you some backlinks too). Also, if you’re trying to sell services that relate to you posts, it would be a good idea to keep some “business secrets” to yourself, or simply for future blog posts.
Focus on delivering to your target audience

It’s very important that you write with your target audience in mind. The people visiting and reading your blog have niche-specific needs. Focus on covering those needs and solving their problems. This will encourage feedback and contribute to your reputation.
Be concise and effective

Don’t strive to write a 1000 words blog post just because a famous blogger does so. Write it because that’s the amount of words required to present the topic without any useless additions. Keep your post long enough to incorporate all your ideas and short enough to encourage visitors to read it in full. Also, use enough spacings and elements that break the natural paragraph flow, like lists, subheadings, images, quotes and so on.
Writings are for readers. Sounds basic, but focus on it!

Indeed, whenever you write, keep the human factor in mind. I’m not saying to ignore search engines or social media potential. Just to write for your readers and spice up the post seamlessly with elements for SEO and social media.

Now, what was your most reader engaging and comments generating post about?
Research and Dominate - How to Strategically Plan Your Blog for Success

Blog StrategyI am always astounded at the speed I can do research nowadays. What could have taken weeks or a few months suddenly can be accomplished in 30 minutes or less. When it comes to blogging, you can now gather a lot of data for free.

This can help you even before you start a blog around that topic, so you are aware of the amount of work you need to do to be one of the best in the market.

A simple competitive analysis, for instance, can help you determine what you should do next and create a strategy to better penetrate the market. (Like it or not, when you blog, you are communicating with the market.)

What’s astounded me most is the fact that more bloggers don’t take advantage of the Internet from this standpoint.

For example, if you are looking forward to start a blog about gardening, it is impossible to dominate that niche alone unless you have a team working full time for years to build massive content for for the blog. Gardening is a huge industry. You are more likely to get into the top 10 if you target a sub niche. Rose gardening comes to my mind — not that I know anything about growing roses.

By the way, why getting into the top 10?
The Beauty of Being the Market Leader

Don’t get me wrong. You can make very good living by keeping your business small and self-manageable, if you prefer to be a solopreneur. A friend of mine is silently making six-figure income by selling to a quite crowded niche. He was not even known as the expert in the market. If that’s what you want, it is perfectly fine.

However, if you want to grow big, here are a few facts. You need to think about the 80-20 (Pareto) principle. Basically it says that…

“For many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”

In niche blogging, perhaps the number is more like 95/5 or even 99.9/0.1. Only a few blogs are really going to make it to the top. Consider yourself lucky if you find a crowded and rabid niche with moderate amount of competitions.

A top 10 niche blog is only going to be more successful because of the following reasons:

1. It will only grow stronger. Once you have a lot of traffic, every time you update your blog, there will be tons of people link to you, sending you even more traffic.
2. People want to be part of it. Engagement rate becomes higher. People will spend more time on the blog than any other sites combined.
3. Credibility and trust. If you sell anything online, you should know how trust affects sales.
4. Higher advertising rates. When a lot of advertisers compete to tap into the blog’s audience, you can charge even more.

How to Become One of the Best

If you have the chance to start over, or even if you don’t, you can do the following to focus (and refocus) on your niche to zero in on something that you can possibly handle with the amount of resources you have, and become one of the best blogs in the topic. Take into account that you can always hire or outsource once you are getting the momentum and start earning from your blog.

So here it is. The key to dominate and win the game is to study the battle field and the enemies. Find out what they are doing and create strategic plan to do better. Simple enough, but how do you actually implement it?
Identify the top 10 blogs in your niche

Use keyword research tools to determine top 10 most frequently searched keywords in your niche and feed those keywords, one at a time, into Technorati or Google.

Write down the list of blogs that appear in the result pages. For Google, you may have to go to the second or third page before you come down to the 10th blog.

Using a Firefox add-on like SEO for Firefox, you can get a lot of data like Google PageRank, number of inbound links from Yahoo, Alexa and Compete ranks and other information.

Tips: You may find spreadsheet software extremely useful in organizing these data.
Perform a Detailed Analysis of What They Do

Once you get the list of 10 blogs, now it is time to visit them and do some home work.

* Subscribe to the RSS feed. You definitely want to get the blogs’ feed into your news reader. Chances are good they have a strong blog’s subscriber base.
* Pay attention to their content model and see why it works so effective. Popular blogs doesn’t always keep their blog updated several times a day. You may be able to determine the publishing schedule based of the pattern you notice.
* Observe the writing style. Some people have natural talent in writing. If that is a factor that contributes to the success, you want to know it. You will be surprised that a lot of bloggers really don’t write perfectly. They just have the passion to write conversationally and get across their message very well.
* Identify marketing strategies. You can’t always see what they do behind the scenes but sometimes you can figure out things by doing a bit more research. If you see a blog post that is very popular in social media, start thinking strategically what made it work.
* Find out how they build responsive audience. If the bloggers choose to enable comments, you will often notice a blog with 1,000 subscribers will have far more comments per post than one with 10,000 subscribers. There should be a reason behind it. I recommend make it a part of your analysis.

I’m sure there will be some other things I have missed, so be flexible and creative when analyzing those blogs.
Expand Your View to Include More Blogs

One reason why we only perform detailed analysis on the top 10 blog is to keep you from a syndrome called analysis paralysis. While this is important, you should not overdo it. At the end of the day, what really matter are content, promotion, and networking (with the audience and other bloggers).

However, once you have done the analysis above, you can expand the horizon and enrich your research by including more blogs. Not all top blogs are going to have the best of everything. Some ideas will be available in other blogs.

What you can learn from those blogs:

* Design details. I got the idea to include a content feed icon at the end of every of blog post from a new blog. I really like that idea so I test it. Perhaps it will turn more of the social media traffic into subscribers but I haven’t figured that out yet. (It seems like a few other more popular bloggers also use the same technique so I’m quite sure it will work.)
* Diversity of content formats. I started to see a few smaller blogs complement textual content with video and audio podcast. Some of them were doing very well when they posted reviews. There were always a surge in comments every time the bloggers posted new reviews, perhaps due to how he balanced the information between the drawbacks of the product and promotion.
* Methods to jazz up the posts. In recent years, I’ve seen bloggers include images from Flickr and other image hosting sites to make the structure of the blog posts more dynamic.
* Additional moneymaking opportunities. Many smaller blogs that provide monthly earnings report show that creating an e-book can help building traffic and also income. This is an example of one of the most overlooked promotion strategies bloggers make. For beginning bloggers, this means a tremendous opportunity to reach people who are otherwise not available if they don’t tap into this one idea.

Ideas are around us. You can often trigger your mind by stimulating it randomly, such as what we use in this section.

I hope you jot down ideas as you go through the process above. Based on your notes, you should now have an idea about what to do to build your blog and dominate the niche.

It is hard to work based on scribbles of notes though. The next step is to plan your approach to produce content, promote it and use marketing strategies appropriately.

Finally, if you haven’t yet implemented an action management system like Getting Things Done, I recommend you to take a look at it. It will make your life more organized.

Take action!
Learn from the Greats: 7 Writing Habits of Amazing Writers
Finding the ideal working habits that will allow me to write as consistently as possible is always something I’m exploring as a writer.

As I’ve said before, I try to make it a habit to write first thing in the morning. It helps me to focus and ensure that I’m getting my writing done.

I love reading about my favorite writers and what writing habits led to their success. Below, I share with you some of my favorite writers’ work habits … and it’s obvious that there’s no single way to success. Some like to write a certain number of words or pages every day, others were happy to write a page or a sentence. Some liked to write long-hand, others did it on index cards. Some wrote standing up, others lying down.

There’s no one way that works. Do what works for you (and share it in the comments!). But maybe you’ll get some inspiration from these greats, as I have.

1. Stephen King. In his book On Writing, King says that he writes 10 pages a day without fail, even on holidays. That’s a lot of writing each day, and it has led to some incredible results: King is one of the most prolific writers of our time.

2. Ernest Hemingway. By contrast with King, “Papa” Hemingway wrote 500 words a day. That’s not bad, though. Hemingway, like me, woke early to write to avoid the heat and to write in peace and quiet. Interestingly, though Hemingway is famous for his alcoholism, he said he never wrote while drunk.

3. Vladimir Nabokov. The author of such great novels as Lolita, Pale Fire and Ada did his writing standing up, and all on index cards. This allowed him to write scenes non-sequentially, as he could re-arrange the cards as he wished. His novel Ada took up more than 2,000 cards.

4. Truman Capote. The author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood” claimed to be a “completely horizontal author.” He said he had to write lying down, in bed or on a couch, with a cigarette and coffee. The coffee would switch to tea, then sherry, then martinis, as the day wore on. He wrote his first and second drafts in longhand, in pencil. And even his third draft, done on a typewriter, would be done in bed — with the typewriter balanced on his knees.

5. Philip Roth. One of the greatest living American writers, Roth works standing up, pacing around as he thinks. He claimed to walk half a mile for every page he writes. He separates his work life from personal life, and doesn’t write where he lives — he has a studio built away from his house. He works at a lectern that doesn’t face the view of his studio window, to avoid distraction.

6. James Joyce. In the pantheon of great writers of the last century, Joyce looms large. And while more prolific writers set themselves a word or page limit, Joyce prided himself in taking his time with each sentence. A famous story has a friend asking Joyce in the street if he’d had a good day writing. Yes, Joyce replied happily. How much had he written? Three sentences, Joyce told him.

7. Joyce Carol Oates. This extremely prolific writer (see her bibliography on her Wikipedia page!) has won numerous awards, including the National Book Award. She writes in longhand, and while she doesn’t have a formal schedule, she says she prefers to write in the morning, before breakfast. She’s a creative writing professor, and on the days she teaches, she says she writes for an hour or 45 minutes before leaving for her first class. On other days, when the writing is going well, she can work for hours without a break — and has breakfast at 2 or 3 in the afternoon!