Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving: thanks to HTML

Today we'll go to W3Schools for a further introduction to Web publishing. We've been there before, in October when you were first introduced to Hypertext Markup Language. Today we'll review the basic structure of an HTML tag ... especially the hypertext tag that creates a link ... and go over some of the other tags that allow you to publish to the Web. I hope the review will lock in what you've learned before about making links, and the other things we look at will give you some idea of how much you can do on the World Wide Web.

We'll end up at an HTML Quick List that summarizes what we've seen so you can look it up in a hurry rather than tie up precious brain cells memorizing HTML tags. I'm no great role model, but all I use consistently are the "a href=" tag for links, the "blockquote" tags for an indented graf, the "ul" and "li" tags for a bulleted list, and the formatting tags for italics and boldface. The rest I look up when I need them. Hence the link to the Quick List.

W3Schools is an electronic learning portal that educates people to World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, standards. W3C is an international consortium of Web users that sets standards, engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web.
As of March 2007, according to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, W3C had 441 members. It is always open for new organizations to join. It is is headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the primary author of the original URL (Uniform Resource Locator), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and HTML specifications, the principal technologies that form the basis of the World Wide Web.

W3Schools is a project of Refsnes Data, a software development and consulting company in Norway. Hege, Ståle, and Jan Egil Refsnes are the authors. Somewhere in the stuff we look at today, they say you can get *WYSIWYG programs for Web publication but you're better off if you learn the common tags and put them in yourself. Don't ask how I know this, but believe them! They are absolutely right. So as you cut into the turkey on Thursday, offer some extra thanks that I'm making you wade through all these numbers and letters. They will put money in your pocket and cranberry sauce on your table someday.

Your Assignment

You knew there would be an assignment, didn't you? I want you to read up on a story that involves an issue of journalistic ethics, and post a link to the story and a very good Statement of Principles adopted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

Over Thanksgiving, please read about the ongoing political catfight over an item by Republican newspaper columnist Robert Novak saying Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was sitting on a nasty rumor about fellow Democrat Barack Obama. Here's an article in The Guardian that pretty well summarizes it. (The Guardian is a London daily, and I like to follow American elections in the British press ... they have a little more perspective sometimes.) I think it's going to blow over, so you won't have to spend long at it.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism, headquartered in Washington, D.C., based its Statement of Principles on four years of research, including 20 public forums and survey research with working journalists. So the statement represents a good consensus of working journalists nationwide.

Your assignment: Read about the Novak story, some of the reaction to it and his defense of what he did. Then evaluate the ethical standards he showed in this story in light of the PEJ's Statement of Principles. Post a couple of paragraphs to our class blog, and include working links to the Novak story, the Principles and whatever else you read. This assignment is partly about the discussion of law, ethics and responsiblity in the last few chapters of our textbook, and partly about getting experience posting to the blog.
* WYSIWIG = What you see is what you get, i.e. computer displays that look like a printed page. To see the difference, click on the "Edit HTML" and "Compose" tags in the Blogger dashboard. I almost always click on the "Edit HTML" tag.

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