Welcome to Suzette’s Gazette Part II

Posted in Blogs Posts, Comments, Media Diary, Uncategorized on August 22, 2012 by suzette gazette

My name is Suzette Cook and I am a 1990 graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications and a current graduate student. I am a photographer, writer, high school journalism teacher and most recently, I became a publisher when I launched Suzette’s Gazette, a backyard newspaper project covering Newberry and Archer.

My passion is sports photography and I am the track photographer and media and marketing director for Bronson Speedway where I spend my Saturday nights in the pits and in the middle of the high-banked short track capturing racing action.

I am married to Aaron Mankins and have two dogs Ansel (as in Adams) and Teddy the Corgi.


UGC and participation all adds up to art

Posted in Uncategorized on November 26, 2012 by suzette gazette

This is my research area and I am very invested in participation because I come from an era of journalism where you had to be on staff to get a story published or a photo printed. The industry has done a 180.

Jonsson addressed participation in terms of content created and how the content is delivered and what the content was made of.  It was tactfully categorized and ranked according to low, medium and high levels.

Tacchi was more focused on a voice being heard rather than content creation being labeled as participation.

I think these studies work well to point out that participation is usually defined as a one-sided event but is it really participating if we can’t measure who sees it or “hears” it?

I am thrilled that Tacchi involved digital storytelling in their experiment and emphasized that you can provide the technology for participation but without education or tech support, it could go unused and ineffective.

In 2000 I studied digital storytelling in Berkeley at the Center for Digital Storytelling and then became a teacher of the curriculum at four high schools.


I have taught digital storytelling to more than 1,000 high school students. The stories they produced were displayed in special events and screenings and those viewings created discussion and celebration of culture. I think this type of participation where it is an art form and the story is usually completely controlled by the creator as a piece of art in their own voice has a very powerful effect on society, culture, art.

Participation in response to news polls or letters to editors are reactionary and controlled by the original gatekeepers and in my opinion are contrived illusions to participation.

My approach in my newspapers is I make the first one and literally throw the message in the bottle out to see who finds it and if they respond, how long does it take and what form does the response take. Then I do not change their content.

My cartoonist Justin Fralix asks me if there is a certain concept to his cartoon I would like to assign. I think he needs parameters to help him narrow down his ideas. I don’t like to give him too much detail because the art is his idea and I want his mind to create it because he is 25 and that age group is one I am trying to reach. His idea is what I am interested in knowing not formulating the idea for him.

In Jonsson’s view, I could control the idea of his cartoon which blurs the intellectual property idea and that would be low participation. Or I could supply him with the paper and drawing tools and give him a general idea of the holiday season coming up and see what he comes up with. This brings to my readers a new voice that is unfiltered and has a stronger personality that will be heard by more listeners than if I micromanaged the concept and craftedit around what I thought readers would want to see.

His creation from “holiday themed” as my only description is this:

From my experience as a publisher, Jonsson and Tacchi combined help develop the perfect formula. Create the venue or arena for the voice and let the participation stay true to the voice that says it wants to be heard. And by making sure the voice is heard, others who listen may be sparked to participate as well and that makes change happen.

The biggest jobs in the near future for us will be in positions of creating forums for participants. The forums must uphold the standards though of ethics and professional journalism. I don’t think people will want to participate only in Facebook type forums. They will start to want to be heard about serious concerns and will need a well respected platform to herald voices. That’s where we come in.

remix comments

Posted in Uncategorized on November 15, 2012 by suzette gazette






Storify to my Copyright and Remix presentation

Posted in Uncategorized on November 14, 2012 by suzette gazette


Crowdsourcing the only way to make UF “Tobacco Free”

Posted in Uncategorized on November 4, 2012 by suzette gazette


Smoking on UF campus is everywhere despite the Tobacco Free or Smoke Free labels on signs throughout the grounds. There are cigarette butts along paths around the pond at the Reitz Union, behind the Journalism College outside the 21st Century Lab, etc. When you speak up about someone smoking near you, they usually just carry on or offer a nasty remark. Many UF employees smoke behind buildings and in stairwells going against company policy. How can UF and students enforce this policy or renegotiate it so that smokers and non-smokers can function harmoniously?


Phase one of the crowdsourcing experiment would be the launch of the website www.UFpuffbusters.com At first glance, this hip and trendy looking website, easy to use and free to access will draw in viewers (Brabham, 2012) who are interested in the topic from the smoker or nonsmoker side. But upon clicking on the Do You Know Who This Smoker Is? button, viewers will be challenged to identify people in the photos through IM to web manager (not exposed publically). These are photos of people opening smoking on campus. From UF employees to students in different parts of campus. This should spark some interest.

There will be a map of the campus where locals can log in (those with ufl.edu email logins) and report where they see smoking occurring. The map will highlight hot spots where the activity should not be happening. It’s important to involve UF faculty and students because the outcome of the experiment or policy change most affects them. “Local and nonexpert knowledge is beneficial to the problem solving because these are the people who will benefit or experience the outcomes of the policies” (Brabham, 2012)

The trick play here is that Colleges of  FSU and Colleges from UF will be invited to compete in a contest to solve UF’s problem when enforcing its “policy” of being tobacco free. The FSU students are removed from UF and have such a motivation to out UF for being hypocritical (instrinsic), the reward will be in the amusement and game playing functions and bragging rights. (Andersen). And the reward for UF Colleges would be to beat FSU like we do at football. Pride is an intrinsic reward in this situation.

The contest will involve best video, best blog and best “other” campaign that will convince UF to deal with the smoking on campus problem and offer a realistic solution. Submissions must be made on behalf of the College producing it at FSU and UF.

The Engineering Department, Ag Program, you name it, are far more removed from the topic.

According to Brabham, successful crowdsourcing should involve not just those close to the problem but “communities of nonexperts”  and “one’s relative distance from a typical problem-solving domain is significantly positively related to one’s ability to solve a problem.” An engineer might be able to solve this problem better than a health professional.


The prize: FSU gets recognized as solving the Gator dilemma by forcing the university to deal with it. UF motivation is to save face(intrinsic) and perhaps grant funding tied to the tobacco free status (extrinsic)

The great thing about holding this type of experiment at a university is that the “collectively intelligent” will be the best minds in the states.

There are many levels of motivation in this effort. The motivation for non-smokers is to have rights explained that support the effort to attend a smoke-free campus. The motivation of a creative outlet, helping of making a campus a healthy, smoke free place to be are altruistic and intrinsic.

Pure enjoyments, recognition of peers, fun and peer feedback all come into play.

Intrinsic motivation would involve the help of changing UF to becoming true to its word and a healthier place and bragging rights to whoever is credited with this accomplishment.

Extrinsic would be a plaque presented to the school or recognition ceremony for the school that come sup with a solution.

Elections and citizen journalism

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2012 by suzette gazette

I have predictions for the future of elections. Voters will decide sooner than later and little can be done to persuade the voter to deviate from the initial decision.  Since the dialogue about politics can happen at anytime and the pace is now set by the consumer and not the disseminator, people are preparing for their political decisions from earlier starting points than decades ago that relied on televised debates to launch campaigns.

Mobile devices allow immediate news distribution and less filtering or framing as a result.

More people will turn out to vote early. Is it true Democrats tend to vote early? Early voting is huge this election.

Politcians can’t lie anymore because the fact checkers will catch them and tell all. People who read newspapers are more trusting and better informed than TV viewers. Is that because the written word embeds and the showy aspect of broadcast news deflects viewers from the simple message?

Citizens who get their political information from print and broadcast and online through social and citizen journalism will be the most informed and educated on issues and impact of issues.

New technologies will all lead to mobile devices which are less restrictive to unreliable dial up or internet. This better technology will lead to more investigative and less biased news that is delivered in real time and therefore the most informed decisions can be made by voters or activists. (Akoh 2012)

But according to Akoh, those mobile devices can be used to spread hate messages or detour voters from facts and introduce them to other information that has hidden agendas.

If the model is followed in training journalists with the highest standards and ethics (Akoh 2012) then elections (and the reporting about them) will change for the better. Candidates will be monitored closely, their voting records and actions in personal realms as much as in the political arena will go very noticed and reported.

Since many political parties or candidates let their websites go stagnant with little updating, citizen journalism and active professional journalism will point this out and compete with those organizations by embarassing them as they offer outdated information from their own camps.

Politics will change dramatically because of the highest degree of transparency. Politicians better become so true to their words and voting record that no one can challenge them. There are phone cameras and recording devices capturing everything nowadays. No one including politicans can get away with anything.

This latest election shows how democracy is changing. The President’s voice is equal to Joe Schmoe’s voice as they are communicating on the same level-Twitter, Facebook, etc.

It used to be that you didn’t hear from the President unless it was the State of the Union speech. Now he (or his staff) delivers many messages throughout the day on a personal level. An he uses humor or hip phraseology and communicates on many levels in many ways.

I call it niche communication when the President wants to reach the twentysomethings it’s through social media, of he wants to meet the fortysomethings he goes on David Letterman or SNL and cracks us up.

The only hinderance with true democracy now lies with countries where the media still is controlled by big government such as some countries in Africa.

If  national tweets are sent out at the country level and continental tweets delivered by central feed, there is still a chance that agendas are conrolled by a power and the public sphere is sheltered or limited.

But just as user-generated content  filled gaps where traditional media couldn’t parachute into, user-generated content could overtake the controlled government messages if the technology gets into the hands of the suppressed. With mobile technology growing three times faster than internet we will be able to watch elected officials more closely, respond in real time and let less damage go unanswered.

Viral online media and kids who don’t know any better

Posted in Uncategorized on October 21, 2012 by suzette gazette

While watching the Kony video, I felt some of the criticisms in the article about the filmmakers stood up in that the video didn’t seem to be addressing the current status of the situation and it didn’t function as an update of what the LRA  is up to now and whether it still has as much power.

The approach to the film that may have assisted it to go viral was that is came across as altruistic and helpful to make a positive change but also angered viewers at the same time. I can see where people were motivated or activated by the content. I don’t think it matters so much why the filmmakers made the movie they way they did and released it when they did as much as it brought attention to a forgotten atrocity and brought it back into the foreground.

The viral case I decided to focus on involved two high school students from Gainesville High less than a year ago.

In February 2012, two Gainesville High students posted a video of themselves on YouTube explaining what they felt were negative attributes of black people. In the video they made fun of intelligence, speech problems, etc. That day, more than 200,000 hits were made. Death threats started toward the girls and their families and they withdrew from school for safety reasons.

The Gainesville Sun followed the story in many articles including “GHS reacts to ‘racist’ video posted by students”

The video was picked up by the hip hop label World Star Hop-Hop and posted on a aggregation website.   “The video spread to World Star Hip-Hop, a popular hip-hop and video aggregation website. There it had more than 200,000 views by Thursday evening.”

The original video has been removed because it involved hate speech, but a news story explaining the situation can be viewed here:


This example follows the findings of Berger and Milkman’s study.

This video created a huge emotional response from many layers of society and reached people on a range of emotions from anger to anxiety.

The viewers became very activated in order for the video to go viral. Berger explained that “People may share emotionally charged content to make sense of their experiences, reduce dissonance, or deepen social connections.” At first I thought it was to bring awareness of the problem and “deepen social connections” as the reason that World Hip Hop posted the video. But I was wrong. I visited the site and found dozens of other videos with the same content posted almost to aggravate viewers.

I came to the conclusion that World Star Hip Hop posted the video get it more attention and to possibly increase the hits on their site.

When the Hip-Hop label posted it on its website, it reached another set of viewers that were agitated and angered. Berg stated that sharing content is usually driven by altruistic reasons, for social exchange value or to generate reciprocity. I think in this case, social exchange value allowed others to see the content as a step backwards in what society has admitted as a lack of progress of racism or racist views in the next generation or perhaps that freedom of speech is limited when it comes to hate speech that incites. And because the content evokes anger which was characterized as a high-arousal emotion, the result was consistent with going viral and activating people.

I have a problem with World Star posting videos of underage teens that lead to them getting threats. Why didn’t they just report it to YouTube instead?

World Star helped it go viral which lead to death threats and the withdrawl of the students from school and their families from the community. Is there any liability in that?

Twitter is not my “friend” and I am not a celeb

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15, 2012 by suzette gazette

I just don’t get it, but I tried the experiment and now feel that while I understand the power of Twitter and some of the theory that proves why it is so popular, I’m not quick to jump in and find what it can do for me.

I added lists and I added people and then I added more hours of combing through text and less living life.

My conclusions: Everyone on Twitter fancies themselves as a celebrity of sorts and a comic and everyone on Twitter is in a hierarchy contest.

According to Wilson, fandom rolls over to politics and fandom behavior for sports is similar to fandom behavior for candidates. I certainly found this to be true of most of the following I did. What I really enjoyed was a 20-year-old UF student would be dialoguing about the same topics as Bill Maher even though they are in such different places in life. The common thread was humor, though.

Bill Maher@billmaher Ryan is the kind of guy who shakes your hand extra hard to let you know he’s been working out.”

Matt Riva@mattriva#Ryan: “Mitt Romney’s a car guy.” A couple of Cadillacs, actually. (UF student)

Because they both  tweet about politics, does this make them both celebrities or equals on some level? If a tweet is tweeted to no followers did the tweet happen?

Intimacy or visions of it. I received a tweet from Tebow or should I say Tebow or someone on Tebow’s behalf tweeted or time released a tweet that read

Tim Tebow@TimTebow Psalm 27:1”

so I started to look it up but I just didn’t need the detail of it, so I didn’t read the search results. This type of tweeting is interactive and felt like homework.

According to Boyd and Marwick this is an example of micro-celebrity and Tebow was maintaining his fan base “ through ongoing fan management; and self-presentation is carefully constructed to be consumed by others.”

I thought it was interesting that celebs such as Mark Cuban from “Shark Tank” actually tweet about politics because they might alienate potential viewers of the program, but he is so rich perhaps it doesn’t matter.

Mark Cuban@mcuban Did Obama’s stimulus programs work ? You decide …”

Do shows put sections in contracts to limit or address stars about topics they can or cannot address on social media? What if this is not the Real Mark Cuban, though?

My high school students taught me about check marks validating the authenticity of a tweeter. And  Wilson asked “Is faking really akin to identity theft in a world where the ‘personal branding’ of journalists and other public figures has increased in importance?”

The people and lists I added for this assignment didn’t offer up a lot for the point I found most interesting. The use of linguistic ties to create a unique language with fans is top notch intimacy. UF’s own Prof. Spiker is king of this: “Ted Spiker@ProfSpiker Also today, I earned the right to eat some effin’ noodles.”

I think that along with all of the new terminology being created by social media practices (tweet, blog, mobile playfullness etc.)  we also have multiple languages and personal word development happening. I get the whole lol thing and 140 characters. How will Twitter change communication? The limit of characters challenges people to be concise and that seems to have translated  to humor or word manufacturing.

If Twitter fragments society, will any of us be able to communicate outside of our personally crafted inner circles?

Excuse me while I drop a bunch of people and list that I am  “following” but not stalking.