Monday, April 30, 2012

The Fate of Newspapers

The debate between digital journalism and traditional journalism continues to heat up. Everyone in the journalism world has been talking about the future of newspapers and traditional journalism. It seems to most people that new technology, especially with rise of digital journalism and social media, the newspaper is on its way to "extinction." Is this even a possibility?

Journalist ABDUL RAHMAN AL-RASHID from offers his opinion on the future of newspapers. In his article named Twitter will not kill Journalism, he argues that this kind of "apprehension" for the fate of newspaper is not reasonable. He points out that newspapers have existed since the 17th century and have yet to cease through some important technological evolutions. However, he does recognize the fact that newspaper may not remain in printed version forever. Looking at the bright side, we may end up having the kind of newspaper with live images like those appear in Harry Potter.

The author also comments on the impact social media have on journalism. He assures others that Twitter will not kill newspapers but instead become a helpful addition to newspapers. As he mentions in the article, "it [Twitter] has enabled interaction with the readers which is impossible in the print media". Twitter can be a platform for disseminating information faster. However, people are still going to refer to newspaper if they are desperate for more details. Because let's be real, how much can you really get out of a 140 letters tweet.

Like the article said, Twitter and digital journalism are not killing newspapers. Newspapers will always exist one way or another. So no fear to all journalists and potential journalists! 

An entry by Ashley Huang

My photo...not yours!!

As the class continues to go on and the discussions on digital journalism heats up, I've been thinking about copyrights. With Sam Gregory providing a space for people to post or display what they see, I wonder how he handles copyright issues. The images of non public figures and random pictures that journalist may fiind on the internet, may requir permisson right?  I found this article that slams the idea of people freely taking images and using them without permission. James (Jim) Colburn is a digital photograher and journalist. Check out the article

Impulse Tweets

It turns out that Twitter can be a blessing and a curse. Many appreciate the ability to share their thoughts and views instantly but maybe not all thoughts and views should be shared instantly. There have been a handful of cases in Twitters history where people have tweeted something they later regret and are unable to omit.

 "Lessons From A Twitter Train Wreck" writes about the recent impulse tweets that have caused havoc. Joe Cowley, a columnist from the Chicago Sun -Times sexist airplane tweets about ugly flight attendants and his concerns about having a "chick" pilot is one example they brought up. Maybe somebody had too many cocktails waiting for their flight? As if his tweets were not problematic enough, instead of apologizing and trying to redeem himself he deleted his entire twitter account in hopes to erase his tweet bender. Cowley is not alone in his hopeful deletions; Mitt Romney's spokesperson Richard Grenell tried to make his tweets about Rachel Maddow resembling Justin Beiber disappear; but that was just one of the many 800 tweets he's produced, regret and removed. Kanye West is another guilty tweeter, sending out explicit tweets to his "haters" them quickly deleting them.

These outlandish impulse tweets through online interactions are quite entertaining but equally disappointing. The fact that they are coming from not only people but so called "professional" people is frightening but what is even more disturbing is the way in which they handle (or don't) their tweet purges. Even once it is deleted it has been made public and will not simply go away, we all make mistakes but at some point it is time to take responsibility and think before you tweet.

The Digital World: Moving from Society into the Classroom

In Vineet Monahan’s article “The Digital Transformation of Education: A 21st Century Imperative,” Monahan discusses Apple’s partnership with McGraw-Hill, one of the major suppliers of educational material, to introduce textbooks especially designed for the iPad. There are many pros and cons to this notion and whether it will help students in grades K-12 to learn material. Critics to the collaboration examine the monetary problems affecting many school districts across the United States, as well as how this new technology will change students learning habits and whether students will take learning seriously if they are being taught through this new medium. On the other hand, supporters of this new partnership recognize that today’s children have been introduced to technology from a very young age; therefore, bringing technology into the classroom only reflects this exposure.

Monahan is in support for bringing technology into the classroom, and I agree. Over the past fifty years, society has made a dramatic transformation, yet our school systems continue to rely on outdated teaching strategies. If we want our younger generations to develop and society to expand, it is important that our nation changes the classroom dynamics by introducing aspects of modern day life. Monahan states that “One thing I’ve learned throughout my career in education is that students thirst for connections between what they’re learning in the classroom (and how) and what they see happening in the real world. Bringing technology into the classroom helps them draw these parallels and keeps them interested in what they’re learning.”

If the future of our country is in the hands of the youth, the cost for integrating new technological advances in the classrooms shouldn’t be an issue. As a society, we need to exhaust every possible solution to the dwindling education system that is failing our country. 

If You Can't Beat Them Join Them

{Photo credit:}

Although some elderly people are frustrated with social media and feel isolated from it; others are embracing it and taking the approach "If you can't beat them join them!" This article brings to light the ways older generations are using social media outlets such as Facebook to keep in touch with their grand kids and other relatives and feel more involved in their lives. The article jokes "That next friend request could be grandma." is a website that keeps track of its users data and analyzes how facebook is being used; it has found that it's fastest growing demographic is women over the age of 55. These women could include everything from grandma wanting to see her grand kids faces or a mom - stalking her kids while they are away at college. The point is this crowd is using facebook as a tool to keep informed. Unlike Facebook's younger users who often join Facebook to connect with current friends in high-school or college Facebook's older users are drawn to the possibility to connect with friends they have not seen in years and family members who they do not see often enough.

It is more difficult for some older users to learn how these social media outlets work, but generally once they have the will and patience to learn they become more comfortable with it. It can be a foreign concept to some because they are not accustomed to technology and because of the way it is taught. An elderly women in the article comments "Most things in the world we learn from elders, but technology is the realm we learn from the younger generations." Older generation are being taught the ins and outs of social networking sites by their younger relatives or now many Senior Citizen living communities are offering classes on it as well. Some older generations tend to shy away from social networking sites is because they feel it is an invasion of privacy and it may feel uncomfortable and unnatural broadcasting certain information about themselves. Because of this, older Facebook users are more likely to comment on others postings and photos than initiate. As the older generations become more comfortable with Facebook, some claim other sites such as Twitter are still very intimidating for them and they do not see themselves participating in the near future. They are taking baby steps to become a more tech savvy crowd.

Slow Jamming the News

Recently President Barack Obama show a guest was on the Jimmy Fallon Show taped at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Jimmy Fallon is known for being one of the funniest comedians on late night television. Having the President of the United States on this show not only shed new light on what the president is like outside the office but he also managed to fit in some useful information about the president and his campaign. Much like the Daily Show or The Colbert Report, millions of people watch Jimmy Fallon's show and this is a way that could trigger people to see and hear about what is going on in the world today. In fact, according to The Washington Post this particular show racked in the show's best numbers in two years.

One of the skits that Jimmy Fallon did that night to open the show was called "Slow-Jamming the News". I thought it was really funny and it put a different twist to the "news" and president Obama. This is highly related to what we are learning in class about digital journalism and the forms of it. It puts the news in a different light that isn't so formal which makes it more attractive to people in my opinion. If the news is being put on a show that so many people watch in a less than traditional way it gives the news a new path. It opens up doors for people to investigate their world. It may not be the most informational piece but I think in the realm of digital journalism it can trigger an audience to do more research on their own to find out more. It works as a sort of teaser that lets the audience know the very broad and diminished version but it doesn't stop them from wanting more.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vigilantism vs. Journalism

Joan Walsh, a writer for Salon recently did a piece on an article written by Arthur Brisbane of the New York Times, where Rick Santorum misrepresented John F. Kennedy's speech on religion during the 1960's. Walsh has been under praise by people on many social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter for her work. She reveals in her article that what she did was nothing complex, rather a simple google search (  The dichotomy between journalism and vigilantism is expressed when Walsh talks about how good reporting has nothing to do with being a vigilante for truth.  Scott's article on the blogosphere, talks about the "blog trimphalism" where the involvement of bloggers during the 2004 presidential campaign lead to the forced retirement of Dan Rather, a CBS anchor. Fact checking was a large part of this movement and it is perfectly depicted here. What bothers me is that even though Walsh was late to the story, nobody stood up to disapprove of Brisbane's article, and I am assuming this is because of the trust we have within large media outlets. Walsh commented that:

"I assumed I’d be late to the Santorum story because I was sick yesterday and didn’t even watch him live, I just heard about his remarks online. "

Even a large trust worthy media outlet such as the New York Times that many readers whole heartedly trusts, make factual mistakes such as this.

Mike Wallace dies at 93

Although this is some what old news, it is important to note the face of 60 minutes, Mike Wallace had deceased earlier this month.  He was notorious for his relentless lust for the truth, especially in revealing controversies and scandals. He was also famous for his work in Vietnam during the 1960's as a war correspondent.
The advent of Wallace's career reminded me of our guest speaker James Kotecki where his initial career path was not necessarily a straight journalist. He worked as a radio news writer which has some similarities with his late career, but nonetheless began his career without a traditional journalist background. His popularity came with his ability to "speak for the people" when interviewing individuals (CNN.Com). The foundations of democracy and our right as citizens of the United States is somewhat voiced vicariously through Wallace. Wallace's work is able to stand the test of time even with the large shift to digital journalism and his legacy in investigative journalism stands as a stepping stone for many other aspiring journalists.

CNN's Article on Mike Wallace

Citizen Journalism App.

Citizen journalism within the last couple decades have lead to many controversies such as the Rodney King case.  Recently, a Middle Eastern entrepreneur, Mark Malkoun developed an app called Signal that lets users upload content through their smart phones.  Citizen journalism has been an important aspect in providing insight on different aspects of a certain event or phenomenon that is sometimes bias when portrayed through large media outlets.
A prime example of this is when the riots among the racial minority were occurring in France and an individual named Alex Chan.  He created a cartoon film called The French Democracy, in order to depict the ideological side of the rioters who were immediately detained and silenced by the French government without question.  Mark Malkoun's app is extremely helpful for citizens to voice their side of the story where censorship and propaganda plague media outlets with bias news. Axel Brun's analysis on the dichotomy between mainstream and off-mainstream media is important in this case because the app provides an alternative perspective to first tier media content. Especially in the Middle East where tensions of war and political debate is fierce, it serves as a useful tool for citizens to voice their opinion.

Childrens learning games and apps

    In this world of quickly advancing technology it is not surprising to see young children navigating cell phones, iPods and iPads, or having their own child-friendly versions of hand held devices. Children are often among the quickest to learn and are often most fluent at using the devices. However, it can be very concerning when children pick up items like books or magazines and do not really know how to use them properly. This video is a perfect representation of this concern:

    Rafe Needleman from CNET continued this type of discussion as it concerns apps that are geared toward children, even teaching apps. He explained that although there are many apps out there available to children's learning, they may in fact be teaching them the wrong way. He explains that children are engaging in these learning apps, and although they may acquire a few facts along the way these games are not so much about learning as they are about becoming addicted to the game.
    Children are growing up in a world where computers, iPads, iPods, and smart-boards are all part of their learning experiences in school, doing many of their projects on these devices, even homework assignments are online with websites like StudyIsland, and Learning Upgrades. These sites although educational can provide games as a way of learning. This can be problematic because as Needleman explained "the real world is not a game". The biggest concern is that children learn to treat their education like they treat their video games, searching for the fastest, easiest ways to get things done, looking for shortcuts and simply memorizing things without really learning them. Needleman seems to think that these types of apps and games are not applicable to the "real-world". He suggests sites like DIY because it involves both physical world and digital world interaction for learning to take place.
    This concern over the digital world of education is very real, it is something that many parents think about, but that is not to say that this concern is needed. Although it may seem to us that children having so much involvement in the digital world is bad, that may not be the case. Children have the opportunity to engage and learn these new technologies as they arrive, they will have the skills needed to live in a world that relies so heavily on digital technology to accomplish most tasks. This new generation will be able to handle technology far greater than our generation, they will be the true "digital natives", knowing the ins and outs of how the technology works and how to properly use it all. The apparent dependency is not unlike our dependency on the telephone to communicate quicker and easier than the written letter, This fear of  these children, this new generation, and their deep connection to technology is something we cannot really relate to, something we may fear simply because we do not understand it as well as they do.

Twitters effect on sports

Twitter has changed the world of sports media. Athletes from major sports are twitting. Yes, high paid athletes are tweeting, and sharing their thoughts to the media world. The scary part of professional/collegiate athletes twitting, no supervision. All franchises in sports have a PR department. The PR department helps keep a positive image of players from their respective team. But, with twitter athletes are able to convey their thoughts to the public. They are able to address their political views, contract disputes, and whatever they feel like. Twitting may cause professional athletes to receive heavy backlash for comments they make. However, twitter does allow professional athletes to communicate with fans, and help economically as well. This article that I  came across is quite interesting. It discusses the negatives of twitter, and gives examples of incidents where it cause harm to their sports. One example the articles mentions that NBA owner Mark Cuban criticizing the officials during a basketball game. So the question is asked, should twitter be regulated, and should professional athletes be banned from using it? Check the article out.

-mansoor paghmani

The Newsies Paradox

On April 23rd, 2012, YouTube user Nick Pitera (username goonieman86) uploaded his "One Man Newsies" medley, which has already received over 87,000 hits in the last five days. Pitera is a YouTube celebrity of sorts, with over 95 million combined video views, the bulk majority of which come from videos of him singing covers of popular songs with intensely layered vocals. This latest video strikes an interesting chord, however, as it uses 21st century technology (known for its user generated content) to transmit a self-made arrangement of songs from a new Broadway show adapted from a 1992 film based on a strike held by newspaper boys in 1899. With so many media industries intertwined in its backstory, why is Newsies so popular with a new generation so completely removed form the very concept of a newspaper boy?

In 1899, the newspaper boys of New York City jointed together to protest against Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Heart, two newspaper tycoons who had implemented cost increases for their publications during the Spanish-American War. These newspaper boys roamed the streets, shouting headlines and selling newspapers to pedestrians. This form of distribution, once a common occurrence, slowly evolved into the more familiar imagery of the suburban newspaper delivery boy on his bicycle. Nowadays, however, many individuals turn to the Internet to read their daily news, and those who still have print subscriptions often receive papers which are thrown out of car windows by delivery drivers in the early hours of the morning.

In her article entitled "'Newsies' Is a Relic of a Journalism Past", Barbara Chai writes about the show's inclusion of an actual antique printing press, used in a song near the end of the second act. Used in context as a means for the newsies to print fliers to publicize their strike, younger viewers might very well have no idea as to what the printing press is, or how it works. And in some ways, the technology itself isn't what Newsies is all about. With the story full of action and romance, and the stage filled with choreography and singing, the function of the newspaper itself is merely one piece of a broader puzzle.

The final paradoxical aspect of Newsies new Broadway run is the ways in which the show is actively being promoted. With guest appearances and song performances on The View and Good Morning America, as well as a website, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook page, the promotional team behind the show has gone to great lengths to make sure that Newsies is fully represented on media avenues that many attribute to the downfall of print journalism in the first place. Thus, while it may be over 100 years too late, perhaps the newsies have finally seen their dream of crippling the newspaper giants come to fruition, albeit through much more unprecedented means.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Social Media Transforms the World of Sports

You can spot the effects of social media integration in journalism everywhere these days. One news division that social media outlets affect significantly lies within the realm of sports. Not surprisingly, sports fans now prefer to obtain their sports news from social media outlets, such as Twitter and Facebook, rather than national news websites. In the event that a fan reads about the field goal percentage of his/her favorite football star, that player's Twitter handle will appear on the bottom of the article, just for kicks. 

An infographic(which can be found here: Sports Social Media) from the sports medicine company KT Tape details the specific ways in which social media has changed the sports world during the last four years. 

"Box scores and game recaps can still be found in the newspaper and on TV, but fans are looking for more than that now. They want live updates, active participation, and behind-the-scene looks at their favorite sports teams and players. Social media has given sports fans virtual box seats." 

"To engage sports superstars, fans used to have to write letters or hang around after the game to try to get their ball or card signed. Now, social media allows fans to reach the players. Some professional athletes specifically go out of their way to engage their fans, which can pay off for the athletes in some cases." 

The above infographic shows that as Twitter and Facebook continues to revolutionize, change and personalize consumer culture, news outlets have to welcome social media to "the game" in order to sustain their operations. 

"Living" Social Media for the Deceased

Ever wonder what would happen to any one of your social media accounts(Twitter, Facebook, etc.) if you were to suddenly find yourself six feet under? Normally, it would go unused and become a member of the digital wasteland of inactivity. Now you can have control over its usage once you've passed. Eerily enough, the digital mediascape isn't simply transforming the daily lifestyle aspects of the living, but for the deceased as well., a U.K. website that launched its beta form on April 27, will allow a deceased member of several social media communities to put their accounts to good use even after they've passed for days, months and even years. By linking your DeadSocial account to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, you will be able to send preset messages to your loved ones after you've passed. An "administrator" of your choosing, who will have access to your DeadSocial account in the event of your untimely(or timely) death, can access your account to indicate your unfortunate falling. 

Like every successful social media platform, your DeadSocial profile will have tabs for your "About Me," photos, videos and friends. The beta having been recently released, tutorials will be soon available for those who're interested in the concept.

In my personal opinion, this concept of "social media for the dead" is wrong on so many levels. At the same time however, I can't argue with the possibility that the deceased's social accounts and login information will be lawfully integrated into a person's will. I would much rather keep my social account and its information safe within the hands of a loved one rather than have it lying around in digital cyberspace for anyone to access.

If you would like more information on the DeadSocial website, you may want to view the video post in this link:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Are the Webbys Fair? Better yet, what are the Webbys?

I’ll admit it. I’m technologically challenged. And if you are like me, then you have no idea about the Webby Awards. In a recent Huffington Post article, David-Michael Davies, a member of the Webby board, fights back against a Wired Magazine article that calls the Webby Awards “a mishmash of corporate websites, usual suspects, and Flash ad campaigns. Pioneering, innovative sites show up once in a while, usually when sponsored by a large company.”

Davies states that the board of the Webby Award tried to find “the best of the web,” whether it is a creative blog or a professional website. He even understands how most individuals cannot fathom a small group of five members choosing the best of the Internet. Yet, he believes that through the years they have perfected the ways in which the Webbys choose their nominees and winners.

Overall, I think the problem with the Webbys, according to Wired, is the fact that there is an entry fee. While the fee is relatively inexpensive (costing only $295), Wired infers that the only websites that enter the Webby Awards are sites with campaign backers, stating “nominees are effectively paid advertisers.” Wired points to other Internet awards, such as the Crunchies Awards where popular vote is taken into account by a board to determine the winners. Wired hopes to push the Webby Awards into the modern age and recognize new, inventive work that doesn’t rely on money.

Even though I am technologically challenged, I acknowledge that the Internet is an important part of modern society, and sites should be recognized for their cultural contribution.  The concept of the Webbys is good in theory; but I understand why Wired scrutinizes the awards. Wired doesn’t believe that money should be a determining factor in choosing a winner, and I agree. A website should be nominated for a Webby based on its contribution to the Internet realm, and civilization in general. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Here is an interesting article from Poynter which asks the question: Is Twitter ruining Journalism or is Journalism ruining Twitter.  

“We saw a seemingly endless number of journalists spend the very early hours frantically live-tweeting every possibly interesting bit (and plenty not) of Rupert Murdoch’s testimony… It certainly wasn’t helping them get their news articles published in a more timely fashion! And it not only didn’t result in any revenue for their news organization, it didn’t even result in any revenue for the writer in the course of his job duties.”

Citizen Journalism

        Nicholas Leeman, the author of "Amateur Hour" on, discusses the concept of "citizen journalism" where people who aren't employed by actual news organizations publish works on these news sites. The categories of material have appeared to be very distinct, including that of pure opinion (often political) as well as information (which has often already been published by another media source). Out of the 12 million bloggers in the United States, a reported 34% of them consider it to be a form of journalism. Although it may be more or less than some may think, it is obviously a skewed survey seeing as the data has to have been taken from a sample size rather than the entire population. 
        However this does not hide the fact that the number of web journalists has rapidly increased over the last decade, with this concept of "citizen journalism" having both positives and negatives. Many people aren't aware of the true story behind their publishings/postings but are creating an enriched version of the original story, or are re-wording it- often referencing links to professional sites and stories. The editor-in-chief- of Oh My News explains that news isn't made only by George Bush, Bill Gates, etc. but by people thinking collectively as well. However he doesn't support his argument that the news from the people is any more legitimate than these politicians/business men who are higher up on the social ladder. Mass media has transformed from pamphlets and periodicals to online blogging; publishings are often biased, ignore, or suppress important stories and facts, many also just pass on information that is told and present them as reality. A positive development however, is the opportunity to create discussion with news organizations online. Readers can pose questions to reporters and debate the opposing side and bring in facts that may have been originally ignored. In the opinion of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, "Many unknowns can do it better than the lords of the profession". Adding to citizen journalism is the role of the eye witness; everyday people accidentally experiencing some sort of disaster or significant event, who are able to take photo's and videos providing raw material and information for journalistic purposes. 
        Leeman explains that, "Societies create structures of authority for producing and distributing knowledge, information, and opinion. These structures are always waxing and waning, depending not only on the invention of new means of communication but also on political, cultural, and economic developments." Because of the vast amount of citizen journalism sites and posts, they often reach small, specialized audiences while the old-fashioned big-city newspapers and television networks make a more legitimate and widespread impact. In referring to the internet Leeman says that, "Potentially, it is the best reporting medium ever invented." in relation to the actual good journalism that is provided by some sites, such as Yahoo!

LA Riots Revisited

Today marks the 20 year anniversary of the Los Angeles civil unrest that occurred because of the Rodney King verdict. As mentioned by professor Losh in class, the Rodney King beating was one of the first events in which citizens recorded and widely spread the incident, giving the situation a different perspective.

Image provided by Colorlines

Now it is not so uncommon for citizens to document and spread crucial information through social networks such as facebook or twitter. In remembrance of the famous incident, @RealTimeLARiots is retweeting the information gathered during the series of events that led up to the riots as they would have occurred at their exact moment. The last tweet will be the verdict on April 29 at around 3pm.

I find this form of archiving very interesting as it displays not only the power of new media, but the influence it has on our present culture. Revisiting these series of events also allows me to place into context how similar incidents are still occurring today. Projects like these may be able to hold our society accountable or at least be a reminder that we continue to struggle for social and racial equality.

More information can be found on the following link.

A Recent Development in "Facebook Journalism"

It's late at night...1:30 a.m. to be exact. I have work to do, yet of course, I have no problem clicking into Facebook to see what my friends are up to.

Like many others, I now have the new "timeline" feature. That took enough getting used to. Now, I see a strange "Trending Articles" on my newsfeed. It looks a little something like this.

This relatively new feature includes a short synopsis of the trending article - in this case "Larry Brown blasts Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcat..." - and I can see that my friend and two others have read this article. Interesting.

Facebook seems to be on its path to social media Internet domination, with its new and evolving way for its users to click on and read news articles that their friends have previously read and found interesting enough to link.

For more information, check out this article from Mashable Social Media.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Every Dog Has His Day

On April 22, 2012, Sioux City Journal, the daily newspaper of the fourth largest city in Iowa, put an anti-bullying editorial on the front page of their newspaper. This is the first time they have placed an editorial as their front page story, and its almost unheard of in the newspaper industry.

The drastic act was primarily done to commemorate the loss of a 14 year old boy, whom took his own life after coming out as gay to his fellow students and receiving constant harassment thereafter.

Although the editorial on the Journal's front page is essentially someone's opinion, its still provides vital information about the nationwide bullying crisis in schools and the recent proliferation of teen suicides that have resulted from this crisis. By providing a strong opinion rather than mere facts, the ethical issue at hand is more apparent and the story provides a stronger impact onto readers by evoking empathy.

Before reading about this innovation from the Sioux City Journal, I believed opinion was only tied with soft news. Opinions about breaking news did not seem as relevant when the event just occurred, since people would rather have the objective information and statistics to assess the situation for themselves first.

This article and Foust's complaints in "Echo Chamber" illustrate that blogs and editorials also have a huge impact on a news story and are missed when absent. Blogs and editorials have more free reign to say what's on their minds about the issue. The writers are able to provide fresh commentary that readers can relate to at a personal level rather than just receiving "curious and ideological" content (Foust).

Although it is widely believed the newspaper industry is dying, a newspaper can still make a huge impact in terms of innovation, even one that isn't read nationwide.

If intelligent voices are being ignored, are the voices that are speaking up not good enough?

With so many creative, insightful bloggers on the web today, sometimes it is difficult to know what information is most trustable, and what information is not. In Joshua Foust’s “Echo Chamber”, he goes over the ways that bloggers have “failed” to do their job. He clearly expresses his disappointment towards the lack of intellectual and powerful contributions that could have been made towards the blogging coverage of the war in Georgia. It strikes a chord with me because for someone like me, who is very unfamiliar with current events and the blogosphere, it is rare to ever notice if a blog or story is “flat” or “narrow” as Foust mentions.

I don’t read much of the news nor do I even follow any particular blogs, so in many ways it is hard for me to give a blog a grade. Foust has clearly given bloggers an “F” for the ways that the current happenings in Georgia were told, but a reader like me would have no sense of a good or bad blog.

“Rather than providing the clarity, nuance, and honesty that they promise to provide, the big blogs instead retreated to their comfortable and predictable ideological corners. By keeping to their usual haunts, these blogs did their readers a tremendous disservice: they were just as incurious and ideological as they regularly accuse the MSM of being.”“Echo Chamber", Joshua Foust.

 I guess my point is – What truly determines a blog as “flat” and “narrow”? If intelligent voices are being ignored, are the voices that are speaking up not good enough, should I be able to trust the voices that aren’t categorized as intelligent? How do readers like me build a rubric to score a blog as sufficient (with clarity, honesty, and nuance)?While Foust may be disappointed, I wonder what his definition of an intelligent voice may be. Instead of complaining, I wish he would have provided a way for us to look out for the “intelligent” ideal voices – some tips on how we can recognize and avoid bloggers that just talk in big circles.

YouTube Parenting: The Modern Punishment

A few decades ago it was socially acceptable for parents to punish their children with violence.  A spanking or slap on the wrist to help children learn right from wrong was not seen as child abuse.  In modern society, the slightest form of physical abuse can lead to a visit from child-protective services.  A recent YouTube video demonstrates how some parents are adapting to the digital age and have reverted from violence to public embarrassment as punishment.  Tommy Jordan, the father of a teenage girl, became an internet sensation after posting a YouTube video called "Facebook Parenting: For the Troubled Teen".  In this video Jordan describes how his daughter posted an inappropriate and ungrateful  status on Facebook complaining about how her parents force her to do chores.  To punish her for this Facebook post, Jordan shoots his daughter's laptop 9 times and posts it online for the public eye.  With over 32 million Youtube views it is obvious that this video stirred controversy.  Some people believe that this video demonstrates terrible parenting and others think that Jordan's punishment was deserved.  While the morality of Jordan's punishment is subjective, one thing is certain, this video demonstrates how wide of an audience the internet reaches. In a response to his video, Jordan writes that his parents used to punish him and humiliate him in public places.  However, the internet is not just a public moment in time, this video can be viewed multiple times by people all over the world. His parenting in this video can be analyzed by psychologists and will probably follow his daughter for a very long time.  Public humiliation has been a tactic of punishment for many parents for decades and, with the advancement of technology, people have access to a much larger outlet for public humiliation.  If more parents decide to use the internet to punish their children, it may have an adverse affect on their children's future.  Internet posts are easily spread and difficult to erase so a mistake that a child makes at a young age could be public for the rest of their lives.  It is common for modern youth to post private things on the internet.  However, parents should be wiser than their children and realize that some issues are meant to be private and should not be exploited by the use of the web.  There is no question that physical abuse is wrong, but bruises do not leave scars like emotional humiliation.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I used to read and now I skim

When I was in high school reading was one of my favorite past times, in fact it was my only past time. I grew up in a household that had no accessible television or internet. My father had a computer in his office that I was not allowed to use and my mother had a TV that she used to watch terrible VHS movies that I didn't want to watch anyways. My parents always told me that if I was bored then I should pick up a book, study, or go play sports. When I went to school my friends would always talk about the latest show or internet phenomenon and I had no clue what anyone was talking about. But, when a reading assignment or book report was due, I was the first one to have it read and completed. Also, I didn't just read books, I ingested them. I read every word and could interpret meaning even in the most complicated Shakespearean plays. This intense reading was coupled with an incredible ability to concentrate and focus on words, meaning, and subtext.
This all changed when I went away to college and bought a laptop. With this new, modern tool I discovered how to do slacker reading and research. Any information that I wanted was all of a sudden a click away. Instead of having to do hours of reading and research for a project or report I simply had to Google it. My projects took half as long and I began to search for the most expedient way to complete each educational task. I had became, what I called a skimmer. Since the information became more and more expedient I became more and more obsessed with getting it faster. Nothing was fast enough for me, not even reading the articles that were made readily available. No instead of reading it, I simply extracted the quote or passage that I needed for my project and dumpted the rest. I love this new way of doing work. I takes me no time at all and I don't have to do all of that pesky reading. My mother noticed my new lifestyle and she told me it was very bad and that I should read the old fashioned way. But this new way is much better, now i have the time to do what i want.                


The Founder of OhmyNews: Mr. Oh
In his article “Gatewatching, Gatecrashing,” Bruns praises that citizen journalism is the true second-tiered form of media than alternative or tactical media. He also argues that citizen journalism “provides a pathway for off-mainstream news sites as they progress beyond a purely tactical stance, avoid the simplistic oppositional posturing of alternative media, and develop into a fully formed second tier of news media” (257). Therefore, citizen journalism allows participants to become a hybrid “producer” where they not only consume but produce media at the same time; this ultimately causes the news to have omni-perspectives rather than dictated solely by journalists.

OhmyNews is a South Korean model of citizen journalism founded by Oh Yeon Ho. It’s central idea is that “every citizen can be a reporter.” This site is unique in that it provides opportunities for anyone and everyone to become a “paid” reporter if he or she decides to register with the website. Initially started out as an attention-grabber for providing innovative public platform to the users, now it grew bigger and is constantly confronted with various challenges.

Publishing about 150 stories daily, OhmyNews catergorized about a third of them to have been written by professionals and the rest by citizens. Another one third of the citizens’ works is regularly rejected due to unverifiable facts or inappropriate topics. But there is a catch: if the authors of the rejected articles decide to attend the writing workshop and learn how to “re-polish” their stories, they get a second chance at publishing their stories. The real question was how many of them would devote their own time out of secondary school and go back to school to take these courses. So far, this phenomenon has provided good reasons for journalists to reaffirm the fact that majority of the ordinary citizens are simply not cut out to be professionally participating in the realm of digital media without proper training.

The economic depression also plays a part: “the bad encouragement.” The subscribers can pay “tips (better known as the donations)” to the articles they like, and this has become a big motivation for some. AndrewGruen, an OhmyNews journalist, claims that the biggest payment he received from the public was an amount of $20,000 in US dollars. If this incentive stimulated large amount of bad quality articles, now it is influencing to make people stingy. Less money equals less motivation to some, and less motivation leads to less participation.

However, despite its troubles and competitions from alternative competing citizen media platforms, OhmyNews is still thriving. It is still trying to employ demoncratic measures to ensure that everyone has a voice. It has become a useful and productive source of media as well, which was seen in the South Korean election of 2002. It is led to think that amongst many reasons for Preisdent Roh’s victory, one of them is the favorable articles written by many citizen journalists supporting his campaign which changed many voters’ perception about him.

This is a real example that citizen journalism is not a joke. It’s not just simply about writing their opinions on the blogs without thinking about the consequences; their voices can influence a nation, where another instance can be seen with Wendy Chun’s story about the Mad Cow disease. This right to express is given freely to everyone, but it is important to note that it should be used with responsibility and caution.

How I Get My News

I must admit back in the good old days I used to enjoy going to Starbucks after a long day of school and just sit there with my large (i hate saying venti what is up with that why not just say large...) white chocolate peppermint mocha frapp (not the healthiest choice oh well) and sneaking away with a copy of the NY Times.  It became sort of a weekly ritual while I was in Junior College and even though I never really retain news for very long i did enjoy feeling like a badass intellectual sort of person.  Even though I kept this up for a good two years spending way to much money on coffee I eventually fell out of this tradition.  Like I have said I've never really been much to care about the news I usually just stumble upon a story and become interested in it but something changed all of that something happened that even the newspapers couldn't compete with for my attention.  This amazing thing is the smartphone.

Once I got my first smartphone I downloaded a BBC news app and instantly fell in love with it.  I loved checking the news and seeing what was going on in the world because with so many choices I always found some category that interested me.  I remember a discussion that we had in class about how print media is becoming obsolete and I wanted to raise my hand and say something but I was a bit to shy, but what I always have thought is that with the convenience of an app on my phone that gives me the news and also how this generation seems to prefer reading from screens rather then paper it seems nothing but natural that we are moving to an online form of news.  Its so much easier to carry around the news in my phone rather then walk around with a newspaper sticking out of my back pocket.  Someday the nostalgic sense of print media will be lost to the generation before mine but in the big scheme of things does it really matter, I mean all things come and go, is it so important that print media remain an important tool of journalism? My answer to that would be No because what is important is that the news be made and that journalists continue to spread their stories around the world to as many people as possible whether they see it on tv, read about it online or on their phones, hear it over the radio, or read about it in the paper.  What matters is that the news is available, and well to me it is.

Monday, April 23, 2012

An Era of Internet Commodification

A commodity has been commonly defined as "any unprocessed or partially processed good." Accordingly, before the advent of the Internet, the word "commodity" commonly described things such as grains, fruits, vegetables & precious metals. Enter, "the Internet." Art, music, journalistic sources and even friendships can now be attributed with the ideology(of commodity) that circumvents the goods mentioned above. In layman's terms, art, music, journalistic sources and friendships are now becoming "commodified" by the Internet. And what does this possibly mean?

Take journalistic sources for example. In the first two weeks of class, we discussed the potential downsides attributed with digital journalism. As this new form of storytelling overthrows traditional print journalism, articles are consistently being put-out at a rate that our once "sluggish," journalistic world has never seen before. Anyone can post anywhere at any time. With this sudden influx of stories & opinions, we have to be aware that the "professional on paper" aspect of journalism is exponentially decreasing, meaning, the credibility of sources has become a big issue. Another way of thinking about this idea is that many "unprocessed or partially processed" individuals are writing journalistic pieces, a privilege once held by the credentialed individuals ruling over professional journalism's prose-filled world.

Another example would be from "Why parents should educate their kids about tech," in which Scott Steinberg considers the meteoric rise of social networks and how they shape our children's experiences. He explains, "only six years ago, before Facebook opened to the general public in September 2006, the term "friend" typically described neighborhood pals and schoolmates." As for today, it can just as easily reference hundreds of peers, potential crushes or even random strangers. Our kids interact online with these people, some of whom we will never meet. Facebook, one of the bigger faces of the Internet today, has commodified human relationships.

In my personal opinion, the Internet opens up the doors to boundless opportunities. However, with the role that technology now plays in our everyday lives, there are certain ethical factors and potential dangers that we have to be aware of, while we proceed with caution.
Pulitzer Passes up Fiction.

Last week's Pulitzer Prize winners made history in more ways than one. As discussed by Professor Elizabeth Losh of UCSD, two of the awards for journalism went to unconventional media forms who mimicked traditional models in many respects. These recipients were ground breaking in their own right, however safe enough to settle well with the journalism community.
While the awards welcomed non-traditional journalism into the arena, another category was unexpectedly shunned.


"No award" was given in the fiction genre this year despite three promising finalists. In a recent segment of NPR's On the Media past Pulitzer judge Laura Miller discusses the implications of this decision and the effects it could have on the fiction genre. Miller notes that often winning a Pulitzer for fiction is a motivation to fiction writers every where, serving as a beacon of hope in an elitist industry.

What does this mean for the already shaken fiction writing industry, struggling for attention among an over stimulated audience with a multitude of literary options? Is fiction not getting the recognition it deserves?

Historically, winning the Pulitzer Prize has great impact of the future success of the author giving them credibility, accolades and notoriety.

Does this in turn have an opposite effect on those who are not chosen?

This decisions certainly raises some interesting discussion about the state of literature, specifically fiction, and perhaps a lack of originality or dynamic thought among contributing authors.

It seems that not presenting an award for fiction says more about the current fiction climate than rewarding mediocrity.

Corruption and needless spending in our Government

Two events have occurred the last couple weeks that have shocked the news world, government and citizens of the United States.  The first scandal was surrounding the General Services Administration who is supposed to set the standards for efficiency and cost-cutting, responsible for making sure the government does not waste taxpayer money.  They spent $830,000 on a weekend trip to Vegas which was an outrageous and needless spending of citizens tax dollars for their own personal enjoyment.
The second event, which even has President Obama defending himself against their actions, was when Agents from the Secret Service hired prostitutes while accompanying the President on a foreign relations trip to Columbia.  This came to the surface as the result of one of the agents refusing to pay $40 for services rendered.  By this flagrant disregard of their responsibilities to represent the United States in a professional manner that is expected from the Secret Service, whose job it is to protect the President from harm, these agents jeopardized the national security of our country, risking blackmail, dishonoring our nation and punishment as a result of their indulgent A-type personalities.
These huge events have grown so large among digital media, newspapers, magazines and so many television entertainment shows like the Daily Show, they have become daily segments on the evening news programs.
These events have shown why we should question whether our government agencies are fulfilling the purpose of their existence.  How ironic that the head of the GSA, whose agency is responsible for fighting corruption in the government, is being accused of corruption as a result of his poor decision of planning and approving a trip to Las Vegas for his own department.
It is also so ironic that presumed conservative, straight, wholesome, intelligent, and honest, trained government representatives can make decisions that compromise our government, themselves, the security of the President and the nation as a whole because of their selfish and immature behavior.
         The head of the GSA has resigned because of the scandal in disgrace and at least six secret service agents have been fired from their positions.

ITEMS bought in Vegas on the GSA boondoggle –

Clown, mind-readers, canteens, bicycles, Commemorative coins, keychains, T-shirts, yearbooks (thereby, ironically, keeping a RECORD of what they were doing in Vegas)


Wikipedia Woes

When I was growing up, there was always one thing that my teachers kept telling their students, “Don’t use Wikipedia as a source for your paper!” Considering the fact that I had no idea what Wikipedia was and did not understand why my teachers were so adamant about not allowing us to use it, I was very confused. Later, I discovered, that most, if not all, people know now, Wikipedia can be edited by individuals who have no authority in the subject matter or any professional background of posting information on the website. I understand now why my teachers were so concerned. The fact remains that you cannot believe everything that you see and read on the Internet. Not all information is true, especially on Wikipedia. When searching for specific subjects, I have come across multiple Wikipedia entries for the same search, one with tons of information and the other with just the basic introduction. And not all the facts that were stated were accurate. It is interesting to see the restrictions that Wikipedia has put on certain entries so they do not become vandalized. The fact that vandalism has taken the next step into cyber-space is somewhat terrifying. Once it’s on the Internet, sure it can be monitored and corrected, but it will never truly go away. With Wikipedia, we are giving citizens too much power; the power of knowledge, truth, lies, and deceit. Wikipedia is a dangerous tool that people can take advantage of and manipulate under their own will. Yes, there are people monitoring the pages but they cannot take care of all the factual discrepancies that exist throughout the entire Wikipedia realm of information. I think that Wikipedia should be left to the professionals and not the citizens. Only then will it be perceived as an appropriate source of information rather than one to be avoided.