Websites praising “Content is king, design is queen”

  1. In my search for a digital portfolio with worthy content and appealing design, I stumbled upon Logan de La Barre-Hays’s digital portfolio that instantly caught my attention. Logan does a great job demonstrating her work and experience in a well-organized and easy-to-navigate website. In her About Me page, she talks a little bit about her background and passion while in her Selected Works she displays examples of some projects, presentations, and papers. She also has her Resume, Service experience, Morocco photo gallery and Media work. The design is simple but appealing to the eye as each page shows a different photo of her experience that relates back to her main idea; her love for Morocco, Middle Eastern studies and desire to make a change. The font and its size are legible and she has picked black and white which are complimented by the photographs she has added to every page.   Meknes_Morocco_photo_tour_Kathy_Adams_Clark
  2. The Associated Press is a non-profit newsgathering company reaching out to readers worldwide. Their website includes a Company page displaying information about their history, awards, and leadership, a Media Center, and Products and Services scroll-down pages with a variety of options. The design is simple and easy to navigate while the colors are friendly to the reader’s eye.gty_ap_building_wmain
  3. Brandon Stanton showed that a passion along with a simple idea can show someone the road to success. In the summer of 2010 he launched Humans of New York, which grew fast into a well-known storyteller giving us a glimpse into New Yorkers’ lives. He takes pictures and portraits of strangers on the street and collects a quote that he posts under each source. On his website he displays all of his work in a chronological order while providing an archive, making it easy to look up older posts. The simple design and humble amount of pages help visitors navigate through his About, Iran, and Photographer pages. Although the title on the website is a a little hard to read due to the background of random photos, the text under each post is appealing to the eye.81KoTkfKTrL

Argentinian Heart Touching American Lives

We all have a favorite teacher who has had a huge impact on our lives without him/her realizing it. Cipriano Casado is that kind of teacher and his students at Whitfield School are very well aware of it. He is originally from Azul, Argentina but moved to St. Louis to pursue his Master’s Degree in International Affairs at WASHU. He soon realized that teaching was his calling and rightfully so, as he’s one of Whitfield’s most beloved Spanish faculty members today.

What’s his recipe you may ask. Upon interviewing him and two of his students, Josh and Kate, here are the secrets to his success:

  • Energy: He’s fun, interesting, and smart, but what his students love the most about him is his energy and passion for teaching. They know that it’s hard to reach his level of energy but he gives them no other option.
  • Trust: He makes everyone feel included and won’t let anyone fall behind allowing him to establish trust; an element he finds essential in the classroom.
  • Transparency: He’s not afraid to open up and show his students who he really is or bring up taboo topics that will help them become more well-rounded and conscious of the world around them.
  • Relationships: He cares about each student individually and balances out being their friend and teacher making him more approachable and easy to talk to.
  • Innovation: He goes beyond the traditional teaching methods of lecturing textbook material and always strives to improve their learning experience by modeling what he teaches. He lets his students experience the culture by exposing them to food, music, dance, contemporary issues, and incorporates technology.

The trip wasn’t easy, but the journey has been rewarding. See what Cip, Josh, and Kate had to tell me in this brief video.


Digital Plagiarism

Being ethical is equally important in all aspects of life (personal, academic, and professional) both because it protects you from illegal actions and because it enhances your reputation. That being said, digital media ethics and law are here to help us stay away from such unpleasant and uncomfortable situations that would jeopardize our brand image. Digital Media Law is especially relevant nowadays that amateur and professional journalism is using a variety of platforms to reach out to its audience. With that in mind, here’s a list of my top five tips for saving for yourself from violating intellectual property laws:

  1. Do not jeopardize anyone’s reputation. Making false claims for someone without having evidence harms your reputation more than theirs.
  2. Do not disclose information without the source’s permission. You are legally reliable for the information you publish, especially when the content is pertinent to someone.
  3. Do not use somebody else’s work without citing them. Copyright covers the work created and published through a tangible platform by others.
  4. Do not use trademarks unless you have been granted permission. To access those rights you need to either connect it to goods/services in commerce or federal registration of the trademark.
  5. Do not manipulate images. That includes removing or adding objects or making any changes that would alter the meaning of the image.


Copyrighted material sign

St. Louis “Newsicals” tuning in for National News Engagement Day

It is often said that art reflects life, and vice versa. In an attempt to reflect the lives of St. Louisans and Missouri natives in the art of music, we compiled a list of songs that correlated with the news stories that have come out of the St. Louis area in the past week.

While reflecting life in art, our project was also a way to celebrate National News Engagement Day (Oct. 6). In order to honor this sacred day in media, Emily Higginbotham (@EmilyHigg), Gemma Groch (@GemmaGroch), and I put together the playlist (below) full of songs that were inspired by the news stories in St. Louis over the past week.

  1. For three consecutive years, the Cardinals manage to clinch the NL Central title and avoid the wild-card game. It is also the first time in 10 years that they win 100 games despite the multiple injuries the team experienced this season. The team gained a spot in the postseason and as the band Queen put it, “will keep fighting till the end.”
  2. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the students of Saint Louis University were surprised to wake up and find out that classes on the North campus were cancelled due to a power outage. The outage occurred at a substation near McDonald Douglass, and 23 buildings were out of power for more than 24 hours. As Arcade Fire sings in their song “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out),” students went out into the night, went out to find some light, kids were swingin’ from power lines. Maybe students weren’t quite swinging from power lines, but they were certainly excited by the university canceling classes.
  3. After more than five months on the road, Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour entered into its final leg. Swift performed two sold out shows at the Scottrade Center, and her stop in St. Louis was not without a surprise guest.  St Louis’ very own Nelly took the stage with swift to perform his hit “Hot in Herre.”
  4. On Monday, October 5, St. Louis native Jack Dorsey was named CEO of Twitter, Inc and he’s on top of the world now. His appointment is no surprise as he has been running the popular social media site since July when Dick Costolo, the previous CEO, stepped down. Dorsey is well-known for being a successful entrepreneur, founding Square and co-founding Twitter.
  5. The homeownership rate between foreign (<40%) and native-born (46%) citizens of St. Louis is rather significant in a city whose immigrant population is constantly growing. After observing the available data, the Immigrant Housing Center believes that an investment in homeownership for foreign-born citizens will bring economic growth to the city, as well as provide the immigrants with a home away from home. In collaboration with other local organizations, the project is hoping to help immigrants overcome the barriers associated with purchasing a house and be an educational resource in the process.
  6. The state of Missouri is planning on acquiring 2,500 acres of land along the Eleven Point River for a new state park. The expansion is being funded by lead-mining companies to curb environmental damage from the southeast Missouri’s long history of lead mining. This initiative will allow for the Missouri land to truly be ‘our land.’
  7. After an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, John Brunner is still standing. On Monday, October 5, the businessman officially entered into the race for 2016 Republican nomination for Missouri governor. Three years ago, he personally spent $8 million dollars trying to win a seat in the U.S. senate and is expected to shell out a similar amount on this campaign.
  8. On September 30, the St. Louis Ikea opened its doors to thousands of customers. The Swedish store had prepared a variety of giveaways for the first visitors who had patiently been waiting in line for the grand opening. In the words of the Swedish music group, Abba, IKEA will be bringing in a whole lot of ‘money, money, money.’
  9. Emergency plans released for the Bridgeton landfill are not easing the minds of those who live in the surrounding neighborhoods. Last month, Missouri Attorney General, Chris Koster, released a report that said an underground fire was moving toward a section of the landfill that contains radioactive waste. The emergency plan acknowledges the possibility of radioactive fallout, and the neighboring communities have been informed of evacuation processes and procedures. The concerns of Bridgeton are echoed in the song “Landfill” by Daughter, in which she sings: “Throw me in the landfill, don’t think about the consequences.”
  10. On Saturday, Ameren Corp. pledged $2.5 million in support of community initiatives in North St. Louis County and St. Louis. This pledge followed the release of a Ferguson Commission report, which outlined various programs and initiatives created in response to racial inequity in St. Louis. Ameren’s pledge of hope is echoed in John Legend’s song “If you’re out there,” which calls for our generation to make a change in the world.

Hope you enjoyed our “Newsical” playlist and have a happy National News Engagement Day!

St. Louis Public Radio On-Demand

The plethora of news outlets available to the public is undoubtedly overwhelming. And so are the platforms that these news outlets use to reach their audience.

The St. Louis Public Radio in specific, has unsurprisingly, stayed up to date with the trend and has invested in one of today’s most profitable and universal digital networking forms, Social Media. Their Twitter account seems to be successfully and strategically managed as they are doing a great job keeping their audience engaged. Most of their tweets are posted during prime times (aka lunchtime), and the content is usually accompanied by visual/audio aids and gifs that always attract more engagements. Additionally, they ask for their followers’ opinions and feedback on different topics and retweet them showing that they care about what they have to say.

Their Instagram account isn’t as active but that is probably because they also seem to use it for a different reason. Barely any of the posts share the same content with the one that is shared on Twitter. That being said, the content seems to be more informational rather than newsworthy. They also post pictures from “behind-the-scenes” of their team, which helps them become more personable to their followers.

Their website is not solely focused on news articles but also offers information about their programs and other events that take place in the St. Louis area. Visitors of their webpage can easily access anything local making more it attractive that similar websites that are congested with information and ads.


The Mechanics of Twitterland.

I am one of many Twitter users who created an account, used it for a good while and then lost interest. Luckily, my #MPJ2015 class is here to prove me that I made a mistake and that Twitter is a platform that can be used for personal, educational, entertaining, informational, professional, and a variety of other reasons.

After looking at some analytics and reading a few articles, I was able to pinpoint a few things that can make me a better and more successful Twitter user. Content is undoubtedly the most important element, but if not supported properly, it can easily fail you. What do I mean?

  • I need to think like a reporter and create original, newsworthy content that my followers will find interesting, relevant and useful. ALSO, being funny matters, which definitely creates an extra obstacle in my case.
  • I need to engage in conversations with other Twitter users, that way my tweets are more likely to be seen and retweeted by gatekeepers.
  • I need to retweet and favor tweets that I deem appropriate and purposeful to my field and professional interests.
  • I need to think about the time of the day that I tweet, as some time frames are more prevalent to be reached by my Twitter followers than others. Aka, if I find a really good article at 11pm, it would be wise not to tweet about it until around lunchtime the next day (#thankfulforHootsuite).

Tweeting, retweeting, favoring, solely following or whatever else it is that it keeping you active on Twitter, make sure that it is meaningful.


BBC doing Social Media right.

BBC is undoubtedly one of the world leaders in news broadcasting. Rather than the content and topic of their articles, we shall look at how they distribute news through their social media platforms, and more specifically their mobile app, Facebook page, and Twitter account.

The company’s user-friendly mobile app allows easy navigation and access to news stories that are constantly updated – especially Breaking News – from their global network of correspondents. Each news story targets audience engagement through visual and/or audio aids and most article titles are 5 to 10 word long, which fulfills the necessary conciseness of a read on a small screen. The app also allows users to personalize the news they receive based on the topics they are interested in.

Their Facebook page takes a slightly different, but equally effective approach by following the recommended 40 character length parameters to achieve maximum engagement. To make them even more engaging, all news stories come with a picture and a lot of them match Facebook’s “trending topics.” On weekends, they are usually posted every couple of hours unless a breaking news story comes up and readers have the opportunity to share and address comments or questions on any given article.

Their Twitter account is updated every few minutes ensuring instant access to news that are ongoing or have just been released. The character count tends to deviate from the 71-100 recommendation (most are less than 60 characters long) and the use of hashtags seems unnecessary. The amount of retweets they get suggests that’s not a problem.
With millions of followers on all platforms, BBC is definitely doing social media right.


Self-assess, self-reflect, self-brand.

I like to consider myself a global citizen. My background, experiences, and traveling have shaped the person I have become, as well as the person and professional I aspire to be. I have found self-awareness to be a critical component in the process as it opens the door for self-assessment and discovery of things I need to change and steps I need to take in order to achieve my goals. In the “Authentic person’s guide to self-branding,” Elizabeth Segran emphasizes the need to create a big idea for yourself based on your personality. There’s a reason we are all different and don’t fit every job description.

As cliche as that may sound, my passion is to travel, meet new people, and step outside my comfort zone by overcoming the ethnic, linguistic, religious, political and any other differences that are likely to impede the process. My goal is to foster and facilitate communication between people of different backgrounds, cultures, and languages, and promote rather than hinder the creation of relationships that will benefit both parties and advance globalization efforts. There are a few different fields that would allow me to do that, but my desire is to exceed within Higher Education and/or the Travel Industry. In order to establish a personal brand that reflects my objective, I plan to:

  • Observe the work of other professionals who have succeeded in the field, such as David PeckinpaughAs the President of Maritz Travel, he has ensured to maintain a clean and professional digital profile. His LinkedIn account is up to date, he tweets mostly about issues in his industry and everything that pops up under his name once I look him up online, are articles regarding his successful career. There is even a YouTube video with a presentation he has given.
  • Keep my LinkedIn account updated and share ongoing trends, changes in the field and other relevant material.
  • Turn Twitter into a more professional platform of personal branding and tweet at least twice a week on non class-related material.
  • Double the number of my Twitter followers from 150 to 300 and follow more professionals from my desired field
  • Network and maintain connections through these digital means.

Festival of Nations: Immerse Yourself in the Diversity of St. Louis.

The last weekend of August is always saved in my calendar for one of my absolutely favorite events in St. Louis: the Festival of Nations. For the 15th year in a row the International Institute organized and hosted this unique multi-ethnic celebration in Tower Grove Park. Attendees of all ages had the chance to experience multiculturalism through music, food, crafts, dance, and folklore exhibits.



Attendees of the festival were able to pick between 40 different kinds of ethnic food. The Thai food booth servers stayed busy at all times.


Jamaican was among the food options as well.


Colorful shoes, clothing and jewelry from a variety of Latin American countries was displayed.


The Russian matriochkas attracted a lot of attention.


African masks and other decorations were featured at multiple gift booths.