Entries Tagged 'Education' ↓

Protect Yourself from a Massive Security Threat

Change your passwords as soon as possible.In the past week, a massive security flaw was revealed across the Internet. It may have affected some of the websites you use the most. That includes Yahoo, Dropbox and Facebook. As a precaution, first thing you should do is change your passwords for any website that stores your credit card information or other private information. It’s an important way to protect yourself from the Internet bug named Heartbleed.

The technology website CNET says Heartbleed is extremely serious. Not only do websites need to make improvements to fix the security flaw, individual users need to change their passwords to make sure they have protected themselves from losing personal information. The website Netcraft reviewed almost a billion website servers and found as many as two-thirds of all websites may be affected. The bug may have been traveling around the Internet for quite a while but it was recently discovered by a website security company, Codenomicon.

The group built a website specifically focused on the Heartbleed bug and explains what has happened a little bit further:

“The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.”

You don’t have to know what every word in that paragraph means to know there’s big trouble. The best way to protect yourself is to dig back into all of the websites where you spend money and have typed in any type of credit or debit card information, and change your password. If you don’t want to take a lot of time figuring out how to change the password for each website, just click on “Forgot Password” near a website’s login area and follow the steps.

Mashable created a solid list of some of the biggest websites with and without security flaws that’s worth checking. Also, if you are curious, this website lets you test if the security flaw is fixed or not for individual links. It may be worth checking, but it’s also worth changing your password no matter what.

The kitchen table talk

Have you had “the talk” with your family?

No, not that one.

I’m talking about the talk about how you handle the social web with your family. Have you ever taken time to talk about what is appropriate sharing and posting as a family? I consider this the new important family talk. To me, I envision it happening around the kitchen table.

February 11, 2014 was Safer Internet Day and I truly believe the core of safety online starts with your family. An open discussion about what is shared across the generations will help prevent anger, disappointment and confusion. It can also help set up expectations about how each person hands activity only.

If you have a chance, I’d recommend these topics:

• Sharing, tagging and mentioning family members online: One person’s comfort zone of sharing may be totally different from another person’s comfort zone. You should bring the teenagers, parents and grandparents into the same room and talk about what is right for everyone.

• If you think someone you know is sharing inappropriate links by email or on social media, that person’s accounts may be hacked. Let your friend or family member know your concerns. If that person takes the time to change his or her password, that might be just enough to keep that infected link from going to another person.

• Take the time to search yourself and your kids on search engines and social media. It’s good to see what information comes up about you and your loved ones.

• The best and most important tip of all is to always remember the way you conduct yourself online should be exactly how you would conduct yourself in public. Make sure you share that belief with the rest of your family and make sure you can be an example for others. We are all able to help teach friends and family better ways to use the social Internet.

During Safer Internet Day, I joined in on a pretty fast-paced Twitter chat about the state of Internet safety. I created a Twitter list full of resources and people who really care about Internet safety. Check out some of the pretty helpful information from the chat and a good number of excellent resources on Internet safety.

The chat included many other people who are trying to bring more digital literacy in to the social web. I’m excited to continue working hard and training so many people to communicate with customers better.


Sharing My Brain with AARP

For almost a year, I’ve had the chance to learn and grow in a new job at AARP. It’s been an vast change and at the same time it hasn’t been too different from my old job as a journalism professor and newsroom manager. I continue to teach and learn and find ways to deliver my knowledge to others. For almost a full 12 months, I have developed training for the organization while learning how it works to offer so much support for people who are 50+. In reality, I feel my job reaches all age groups. I have the chance to teach older generations that have a lot of influence on all other generations. I have the potential to help influence the most influential generation in our country!

One of my most public accomplishments happened a couple of weeks ago in time for my second AARP Life@50+ conference. I took a piece of my brain and turned it into a website full of social media training tips. It’s just the beginning. I have tips that span from Facebook and Twitter to blogging and photo/video tools. I’m excited to continue to add my tips and tricks for more to use.

I hope to take the training site and use it as a resource as I focus on helping expand a national conversation on why digital literacy can bridge across all generations. Digital literacy is understanding how to conduct yourself on in a digital community. It’s very similar to how know how to conduct ourselves in the real world. Digital literacy is knowledge everyone deserves. The trick is finding ways to bridge assumed and actual existing gaps. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had someone assume people 50+ are not using computers, smart phones or social media. That is so untrue! That assumption alone hurts opportunities to teach and learn about digital literacy. Traditionally, younger generations look up to the older generations. If there’s any decay in that assumption, I feel education about digital literacy can help.

I look forward to sharing more thoughts and discoveries about this topic often along with my adventures in speaking, teaching and learning with AARP.

Room to grow

Nine and a half years ago, I embarked into a career adventure few could imagine. I was the proud mom of a one-year-old toddler who was looking at her first opportunity to help manage a newsroom. As executive producer, I had a chance to take my knowledge as a newscast producer into a professional environment while teaching up and coming journalists at the same time. No where else in the world can you run an NBC affiliate and teach at a world-renowned journalism program.

My career took a fascinating (and some would say geeky) turn when my news director, Stacey Woelfel, allowed me to research and prepare our newsroom’s transition from linear editing and an old newsroom computer system to non-linear editing that communicated with a new newsroom computer system. I analyzed how newsrooms used it, what they did right and wrong. The building and organizing process opened my brain to coding and digital organization. (By the way, that picture is me managing breaking news from the floor of an airport in 2007.)

About a year later, the Missouri School of Journalism’s relationship with Apple gave me an opportunity to help introduce podcasting to the higher education world. I helped lead EDUCAUSE into the concept of podcasting by collecting and sharing a collection of podcasts during the EDUCAUSE Learning Institute conference in January 0f 2005. I had produced an entire conference experience for anyone to hear on demand.

On demand!

In 2005 the only on demand experience I knew came from TiVO. The idea of delivering information that lands into your iPod blew my mind. This was BEFORE the iPhone and podcasts that easily fed into iTunes. It opened my mind and I just didn’t stop from that point forward.

How many work environments would have fostered my desire to continue to learn and teach young journalists along the way? I traveled to China, I taught and spoke across the country, I watched hundreds of former students do AMAZING things with their careers. At the same time I started really understanding the digital world, my daughter was born. My digital knowledge helped me as I started to navigate the special needs parenting world.

What an amazing ride.

As I move away from my 17 years of journalism… I have to recognize the remarkable experience I’ve had at KOMU 8 News, the Missouri School of Journalism and the Reynolds Journalism Institute. I was able to discover the incredible potential of social media long before it really caught on. The @KOMUnews account launched in June 2007. We had a Facebook page LONG before brands had pages. I worked in an environment that fostered and supported my energy to constantly learn and experiment. Sure, not everything worked. But everything we did on air and online taught the industry and students about the changing face of journalism. (That picture is from our J-school centennial in 2008.)

Without this experience, I would have never met members of the social team at AARP during SXSW in 2010. I would have never even known about the opportunity I’m about to take. I’m so excited to take my years of experience as a teacher and as a journalist to help the AARP. What an amazing challenge to take my teaching skills and help build a curriculum for the organization. I have even more to learn and so much to share. It’s really exciting.

Thank you to the many, many students who worked with me these many years. I am so happy to continue working and learning with you. Thank you to the fabulous faculty members at Mizzou – in and out of the journalism school. Thank you to the many J-School and KOMU staff who were so wonderful to work with. Thank you to the incredible social journalists and members of #wjchat for being a part of the journalism community that cares about the industry and good journalism. And most importantly, my husband and the rest of my family deserve a lot of thanks for putting up with my geekiness.

I am not closing my connection to journalism… I’m just going to be working differently. I’m planning to stay in touch thanks to my role as a moderator of #wjchat. My husband will remain in the KOMU newsroom so I won’t be too far away. And best of all, I have the many former students who remain in the journalism and communications industries. We’ll continue to share and learn from each other… Just like I said I always would. Once you’re my student, you’ll always be my student.

Jumping into the new

I love new technology. I can’t stop myself from signing up and giving a new application or website a try. It’s a part of my curiosity as we continue to look for new ways to help journalism grow into its future. I’m often really excited about the new because I often see the great potential a new tool can offer.

Google+ had me super excited when I watched its engagement at its launch last year. Since then, my newsroom has harnessed its vast power through video hangouts. We’re talking to people in our market and beyond about topics of the day live each day Monday through Friday. I love it. This week I signed up to check out On The Air – a tool that claims to be a bigger, more reaching concept for broadcasting webcam chats. I look forward to seeing how it works when it launches. Another site I’m checking out: Twylah. It takes your trending topics on Twitter and makes it into a personal brand page. I signed up for my page and plan to add my newsroom’s soon.

Today I’m talking to members of the New York Press Association. First, about my ongoing collection of free (and almost free) online tools for journalism. I try to update the list at least two or three times a year. (And I’m always happy to add more links if you see something you think should be included.) Second, I’m talking about why I think it’s worth your time to jump into new technology and explore. My tech curiosity made me the tech geek I am today. I love this stuff! I hope to encourage more journalist to learn to play and have fun when it comes to growing our skills as journalists!

Broadcaster versus Engager

A friend of mine in the social journalism world mentioned in a blog post how he isn’t an engager… because it isn’t possible. He’s a broadcaster inside social media. And that made me think. Social media has grown because it’s all about sharing and talking and learning. Why can’t media brands be a part of that and not just broadcast information? It’s a challenge I’ve focused on for years in my career as a journalist and teacher. That dual job gives me so many different perspectives. When I think about what I want to teach and what I want to accomplish in the newsroom, most of the time my goals match. I want to use my work in the newsroom as an example to my students. That motivation leads me to spend a lot of time thinking about what is the right balance between being a broadcaster and an engager.

Here’s what I am seeing: Broadcast journalism-focused students really understand how to broadcast content across multimedia platforms. But I think we need to teach the concept of engagement and listening earlier in the journalism school experience. I have a lot to do to try and encourage, teach and execute a comfortable engagement process for my young journalists to reach our news consumers. To me, engagement is why I got into this journalism business. The idea of connecting to the consumer and helping them better understand where they live and the decisions they make in life is thrilling. Technology makes that goal SO much more real than when I dreamed of it in the early 90’s. Broadcasting content inside social media is just the beginning. There are so many more ways to listen and learn after a newsroom shares information. One of my favorite ways to listen on social sites these days is a site called Kurrently. I stumbled onto a few additional facts beyond a new item our newsroom covered this past week.

In the KOMU 8 newsroom, we had a really difficult coverage of a three year old who died allegedly at the hands of his mom’s boyfriend. According to investigators, initially the boyfriend and mom staged a hit and run accident to try and hide the abuse. The details from the boy’s death was released and it’s all really heartbreaking. The small town where the boy lived had a small candlelight ceremony with a low turnout a day after his death. Comments on the KOMU.com site had a couple of people mention how they did not know about the vigil but they plan to attend an event next week. I hadn’t heard about the vigil until I read through the comments. That tipped me off to do some more searching. I used Kurrently and searched using the boy’s name. Almost immediately, I discovered a photography studio that has been taking yearly pictures of the little boy since he was a baby. The studio put out an album of photos in his honor on Facebook. More heartbreak. An hour or two later, mentions of the vigil started appearing in public Facebook posts. One person posted details, names of organizers and a phone number to one of the organizers. Our newsroom did a story on the event it over the weekend and we’ll be at the vigil later this week.

Instead of considering the job done after our newsroom broadcasted the details, I listened. I searched. I know our market wants to continue to learn more about this situation. According to our chartbeat statistics, it remains a top search item on our site. Simple mentions can go a long way by searching, listening and using tools that help.

The next step is taking the knowledge gained from social media and improve our engagement with our news market. There are ways to do that, no matter what size newsroom you’re juggling. We all are able to broadcast across more platforms and listen in new ways… What about using those skills to follow through with the true purpose of social media and engage? KOMU 8’s U_News show is one way we’re trying to merge traditional broadcasting with engagement. Our audience has a chance to jump into a web cam chat during our 30 minute newscast. We try to use our traditional broadcasting skills to offer our news market the chance to engage with other viewers or to let the truth come out on important issues. We can’t just broadcast our requests for engagement. We have to do the follow through. (By the way, one of my favorite people who talks about engagement is Joy Mayer. I highly recommend reading her insights!)


Real World Homecoming Lunch

Today’s the day for my yearly HUGE Real World Homecoming Lunch – if you want to join in on the fun but couldn’t get into town, you can keep up with the discussion and pitch in your thoughts inside these live blogs:

We have two different tracts of discussion… Content producers and content managers. You can also pitch in using the #realworldlunch hashtag.



We have a team of students who are helping cover today’s events and they even put together a blog: http://realworldlunch.wordpress.com

Broadcasting Social Media

I haven’t been able to post on any of my blogs as much as I’d like because my newsroom is on the race towards launching a one of a kind newscast a week from today. Our goal is to bring a static newscast into a more interactive experience with the help of social media. We’re using a number of tools to bring it all together – Including a product that’s never been used in the United States to broadcast nearly live posts from Twitter and Facebook. (I say nearly because a producer can pick and choose the posts to air. There is a level of moderation to keep potentially inappropriate posts on television.) We asking our viewers (and even you if you want to play) to use #UonTV as our hashtag to contribute content. We’re also asking community leaders to turn in their community events via video. This will replace our interview segments where organizers usually sit on the sit and talk with an anchor for two minute. There might be a live Skype conversation but there will also be pre-recorded Google+ hangouts where we focus on interesting topics of the day. We’re trying to harness the power of social media and encourage our market to jump in and share with us. Here’s a little video where our interactive anchor Sarah Hill explains how the show will work.

We’re very excited to see this site launch. A capstone team of students in my class are helping coordinate and lead the development of the show’s social media desk – a team of people who will keep watch on social conversations for the show. We’re planning on letting this role develop as we learn what works and what doesn’t work for the newscasts. Hopefully we’ll be able to document the experience so other newsrooms can learn from us!

By the way – if you’re curious about what I’m teaching in my class, here’s what this week’s focus is on: Building your name brand online.

Using social in the classroom

My class (best known as #jenclass) has evolved from teaching Dreamweaver and Flash to teaching my students how to think outside the box and deliver information with the help of technology. It can be mobile technology or social media… It depends on their personal goals.

A couple of months ago, I had a chance to present to my fellow faculty and staff at the Missouri School of Journalism to talk about how I use social media inside and outside the classroom. Here’s a look at my slides:

I’ve found great success in using my classroom as a social experimental space. I also use it as a way to stay in contact with my current and former students. In the classroom, I encourage tweeting with the #jenclass hashtag. It gives my students a chance to share live notes with each other. Yes, there are times where the note taking turns into a completely off topic side conversation, but I follow the hashtag and can call the students out if they lose focus. I also use CoverItLive sometimes to let students practice the skill of live blogging. It’s a skill that is only done well if you practice. It’s tough to practice if you don’t have reasons to live blog!

I also make it clear to my students that it’s easier to reach me via social networks than leaving a voicemail. My class hashtag extends beyond class discussion. Current and former students share links and ideas throughout each week. (Right now the stream is quiet since I’m not teaching a class, just managing the newsroom at KOMU.)

I recommended experimenting with your comfort zone to the faculty and staff who attended my session. One person commented how I’m much braver than he is as a teacher. I said I’m lucky to have flexible students who are hungry to learn in this space. Each semester is different for me. I never teach my class the same way, so every semester I learn something that worked and something that didn’t work. Luckily, I ask for input throughout the semester and most of the time my students feel comfortable telling me when they feel they understand what’s going on and when they feel lost!

I loved having a chance to share some of my higher ed ideas to my peers. It’s something I don’t get to do often enough. It’s funny how so many of us are doing really great things, but we’re so busy working hard we don’t take enough time to share.

The power of journalism

[This post is a part of the Carnival of Journalism hosted by DigiDave. You can read the entire collaboration here.]

I’m lucky – that’s what a mom friend told me yesterday during a snow day while we watched our kids tear up my house. I had to ponder that after I had waken up at four in the morning AGAIN so I could help my newsroom manage school closings after a particularly deep dump of snow in the area. But I had to think about it. The core of journalism is to inform the community. I have the opportunity to wake up at ungodly hours and drive through dangerously deep snow so I can make sure others don’t do what I do. I get to inform my community about the things that are most important to them. At the same time I get to show future journalists how you get the job done.

Working in a newsroom is a blessing and a curse. So is the job of a journalism professor. My friend told me she thought I was lucky because I am a professor. She explained it’s because I have something to show with my job. I do have a lot to show for it. I have hundreds of former students doing amazing things in the industry and beyond. But lately I’ve made sure my focus as a professor is expanded. The things I teach my students are useful for anyone. A teacher in Palo Alto, California has a similar perspective and is teaching her high schoolers the power of journalism. NPR-affiliate KQED’s MindShift blog spoke to Esther Wojcicki about her teaching philosophy. She thinks teaching journalism skills to all high school students will help them become more media literate and understand how to create digital media. She helped launch a site called 21stcentury. The site is rich with information that could be useful for anyone looking to enhance their knowledge base.

I think it’s incredible how many freshmen arrive in college with little to no experience in digital media. Their parents blocked them from using social media and other digital publishing tools during high school in fear they would make bad choices. That fear is not isolated to high school parents. My college students tell me their parents are constantly emailing them links to worst case scenarios. The message: “Don’t use new social media tools. It might hurt you.”  The fear of making a mistake is holding back so many people. I attribute that fear to a lack of digital media literacy. If more people saw the strengths of these new communication tools, I honestly think community connections and conversations can only get better.

Universities are inside a comfortable bubble where you can push the envelope. My job gives me an unusual opportunity to work in a practicing newsroom and teach. After years in “normal” newsrooms, the added university link has afforded me so many opportunities to explore, make mistakes and learn so much about the changes in the journalism industry. Those changes also translate into changes in how communities communicate and share. Why not expand the university bubble and bring the entire community into that zone of comfort? The lessons I am teaching should spread into the community.

When I first taught journalism, I required my students to volunteer during the semester to prove to them that it’s important to connect with the community and not just work in the newsroom. You can’t be a good journalist if you don’t physically connect with your community. I feel the same way about universities – especially journalism schools. We have powerful knowledge that can only help an ever expanding community need.

I’m taking action. I really believe my university connection has afforded me knowledge that’s worth spreading. A portion of my capstone students will help me connect the lessons learned in my Advanced Internet Applications class and sharing them with our community. One team will create how-to videos and guides for our newsroom’s audience so they can feel more comfortable using social media tools and basic digital publishing platforms. Another team will help the new Social Media Club chapter that I’m helping found in our community. Through the club, my students will help develop educational community events. I even have a team learning how to create a social media-based fundraising event for a local family resource center as part of Twestvial Local 2011. I want to break down those walls of fear and help many more people understand why this changing world is worth jumping into – not blocking.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if these ideas expanded into the fabric of an entire university community?

I am lucky.