Journalism Next: Chapter 1

January 31, 2012

Chapter one touches on the technical aspects of understanding digital information and the Internet. The author differentiates between Internet and the World Wide Web. According to the book, the Internet is a network of computers which are connected to share information while the web is the way information is accessed through networks by web browsers. Web browsers, such as Safari or Firefox, are used to access information that is published on the internet. Browsers work to find and retrieve information and stores downloaded files in a temporary storage space called the cache.

Briggs also outlines the concept of RSS or Really Simple Syndication, a tool which allows users to instantly access information without having to visit multiple sites. With RSS, users can subscribe to different news and blog feeds and have the content organized on one RSS reader or web browsers. The three simple steps on how use RSS are:

  1. Select a reader (users can create personalized home pages on Yahoo or Google with RSS feeds)
  2. Find an RSS feed on a preferred website by clicking on the RSS icon/link
  3. Subscribe

FTP or File Transfer Protocol is another process that moves larger files such as photos, audio or video and is also used to upload web pages on a web server for online publication. Knowing a little bit about web-design is also useful for journalists to create and customize web sites.

Web pages are designed using HTML code with multiple tags. Individuals may practice using HTML code with a text editor and saving the file with .html extension and then opening a file on a web browser. Note that the web page will only be visible on the machine where it was created and cannot be published online until it is uploaded onto a web server.

Another type of code, Cascading Style Sheets or CSS is a more creative way to design web pages. Tutorials on how to use HTML and CSS can be found online as well. Extensible Markup Language or XML is also used alongside with HTML to access RSS feeds. A solid understanding of web-design, HTML, CSS and XML is important for journalists to control and manage their digital content.

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