Cross-training is the Key!

Reading Reaction Week 13
      In our Grant and Wilkinson text, Tony DeMars discusses news convergence in smaller media markets. Up until this point, we have mainly discussed the convergence of larger markets and media groups (think Disney and its ownership of movie studios, local market television stations, the ABC television network, ABC radio networks, and local market radio stations). Interestingly enough, reports show that media conglomerates lost billions attempting to position themselves to incorporate technological convergence with the Internet (DeMars, 2009). A statement made by David Geffen, cofounder of the DreamWorks movie studio, caught my attention… “Convergence may be the most expensive word in history” (Landler & Fabricant, 2002, p. 1). I find this to be an intriguing thought because in our studies I have formed the opinion that the cost of ignoring necessary convergence would be much greater. Isn’t that why we’re focusing on convergence in the first place? In a world where money talks, is it any wonder that convergence is the hottest ticket for the communication industry?
      Tony DeMars gives us two factors that stand out in the convincing of news managers to engage in convergence activities (DeMars, 2009). The first of the two factors is the increased competition within the local news markets (DeMars, 2009). Competition is inevitable in any field. In my opinion, it’s what keeps fields fresh and innovative. It’s what forces companies to constantly recreate old ideas and traditions into new and exciting ways of doing things. Without the driving force of competition, I think the news industry would be much less inclined to accept the idea of convergence. Subsequently, the news industry would most certainly become lack luster to say the least.
      The second of the two factors is an extension of the changing dynamics of new technology within the field (DeMars, 2009). This new dynamic is a direct component of the change that is taking place within many of our fields. The demand of the public for new presentation styles and interesting new graphics is an example of the necessity of convergence. Nowadays, it takes a presentation of news that is able to incorporate all of these new technologies in order to keep the audience’s attention.
      In an evaluation of how well journalists were adapting to convergence, the vast majority indicated that they were positively influenced by the convergence of their newsrooms (DeMars, 2009). Most of the journalists said they believed the quality of their work and the quality of their produced material had improved either somewhat or had greatly improved. As we talked about in previous chapters, I believe one of the most vital components of this equation is the managers of these convergence projects. If the managers do a good job during transition, the sense of unity and the benefits of their team work can be a wonderful combination. So how is it that the effects of these convergences are easily recognizable and yet the concept of convergence is still somewhat questioned and still not universally accepted?
      In chapter 13 of the Grant and Wilkinson text, Susan Keith and B. William Silcock share ideas for future research in media convergence. Keith and Silcock conducted interview-based research on the journalists at two of the most highly publicized convergence partnerships (Keith & Silcock, 2009). The research consisted of personal interviews with actual staff members of the converged newsrooms. The study revealed the struggle of print media journalists to learn the broadcast media jargon and slang used to describe daily activities around their newsroom. And likewise, broadcast media journalists had to learn new things about their newsroom and the language they used. Gil Thelen, the former publisher for The Tampa Tribune said, “…However, in the grander scheme of convergence… language confusion was not ‘deep and profound’; it was ‘more operational’” (Keith & Silcock, 2009, p. 223). I think the most important thing for new graduates is that they are cross-trained to work in several areas of journalism in order to increase their usefulness in the field.
      Keith and Silcock go on to say that, “These findings about the structure and economics of partnerships suggest several opportunities for future research that might fill gaps in our understanding of convergence.” (Keith & Silcock, 2009, p. 225) I think this is an important piece of the convergence puzzle. I don’t think there has been enough in-depth research from the perspective of a journalist in the process of convergence in a newsroom. Further research into the cultural differences of newsrooms might make for better understanding and thus, better communication between converging newsrooms. Better communication and more understanding would promote a smooth transition between the two or more converging newsrooms. Again, I really think cross-training is the key in all of this. I think the most important thing for new graduates is that they are cross-trained to work in several areas of journalism in order to increase their potential advancement in the field. Cross-training will increase understanding and tolerance of different types of media, which in turn would make the convergence process flow more smoothly.

References:
DeMars, T. (2009). News Convergence Arrangements in Smaller Media Markets. In A. E. Grant, & J. S. Wilkinson, Understanding Media Convergence: The State of the Field (pp. 204-219). New York: Oxford University Press.
Keith, S., & Silcock, B. W. (2009). Beyond the “Tower of Babel”: Ideas for Future Research in Media Convergence. In A. E. Grant, & J. S. Wilkinson, Understanding Media Convergence: The State of the Field (pp. 221- 233). New York: Oxford University Press.

Landler, M., & Fabricant, G. (2002, August 4). A tortoise, many hares and a web of convergence. The New York Times, C1.

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To Study… Or not to Study…

It’s crunch time fellow grad students! Dig in! =)

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Receptivity Reaps Rewards

Reading Reaction Week 12
When I started reading chapter 11 in our Grant & Wilkinson text, I couldn’t help but sigh at yet another mention of newsroom convergence. “Why are we covering this so thoroughly?” But just as quickly as I thought it I became aware of the answer to my own question. This stuff is important! Not only does it change how the media produces news all over the world, but it affects jobs and people lives! It affects our future and where we’re all headed! My challenge this week was to open my eyes and heart- to allow myself to think outside the box and put myself in other people’s shoes.
The great thing about having only one reading assignment is that you can allow yourself to expand more thoroughly on that particular subject/article. As I dove head first into media convergence, I realized my own desire was to find out if convergence was the best option or even necessary for the industry. After this reading, I have come to the conclusion that not only is convergence necessary, but it is vital. I’ll come back to this later but first I will discuss the three types of convergence.
The first type of convergence is technical. No really, it’s technical convergence. “In this view, the traditional divisions between media industries, such as the press, broadcasting, and telephone networks, were slowly collapsing due to the growing use and influence of digital electronics.” (Dupagne & Garrison, 2009, p. 184) The argument of technical convergence is that the increasing incorporation of digital components does not necessarily mean that those components are merging into one. I do, however, support the idea of “blurring the lines between media” because although every facet of the media still has its own identity, when converged they serve as one functioning body.
The second type of convergence is Economic convergence. “It is about services and new ways of doing business of interacting with society.” (Dupagne & Garrison, 2009, p. 185) This economic convergence focuses its attention on targeting products and services rather than acquisitions. So far, this type of convergence has a reputation for failure. Both the failures of AOL Time Warner and AT&T Broadband as mergers are frequently mentioned as examples of just that (Dupagne & Garrison, 2009). I feel like the overwhelming demand for economic growth is the ultimate downfall of so many things these days. The bottom line is always important, but cross-ownership has proven not to be successful in this particular area.
The last type of convergence is the regulatory convergence. “…The confluence of previously separate industry based laws and regulations into a single legal and regulatory framework.” (Dupagne & Garrison, 2009, p. 186) The problem with this idea is that an issue arises when merging groups have to decide whose laws and regulations they will abide by. Separate institutions enjoy their own rules and ideas about how a company should be run but the merging of the two often presents a problem. In my opinion, the most important thing to remember in any convergence is to be open and receptive to new ideas and policies. Receptivity reaps reward.
On page 192 in the Grant & Wilkinson text, Michel Dupagne and Bruce Garrison describe and interview with the multimedia desk manager of a recently converged newsroom. The manager was particularly excited about the recent convergence due to the increase in their resources. He said, “Over time, one of the things that I’ve seen was that the best use for convergence for us…has been the sharing of resources.” (pg. 192) Convergence has allowed additional resources in the form of people, equipment, and of ideas. Talk about an edge on the competition! Now, here’s the reason I think convergence is becoming more and more vital: How are convergence-resistant media supposed to compete with the more powerful, converged newsrooms? There is nothing a converged newsroom can’t produce. With the man power and equipment needed to perform and produce every facet of the media, converged newsrooms have quite an advantage.
With convergence comes change, and with change comes the opportunity for improvement. While jobs and roles in the newsroom have experienced some changes, workers of the Tampa News Center seem to be adjusting well. Dupagne and Garrison report, “More than one individual attributed this new sense of community to the new facility, its design, and the fact that all news platforms are located in a two-floor area opened up with few walls and the common atrium. This has led to a team approach and a declining sense of internal competition.” (pg. 195) I take from this statement that convergence has the ability to improve the work environment. It is my opinion, that a happy culture is a productive culture. Also, in my experience, it seems as though a sense of community and security cultivates creativity.
So what skills are needed to work in these converged newsrooms? The news team manager for the Tampa News Center recommends having at least one strong skill and developing the ability to handle other skills as well ( (Dupagne & Garrison, 2009). This makes sense considering workers are now taking on new responsibilities as technological advances are made in the field. These new technologies are, after all, the reason for the convergence in the first place!
On page 197 of the Grant and Wilkinson text, Dupagne and Garrison discuss the importance of new graduates receptivity to new technologies and convergence. One of the Tribune business reporters went on to say, “The biggest skill is you need to be open to it…People need to be receptive to the environment.” (Dupagne & Garrison, 2009) I must say, I think this will be the strength of new graduates in the future. We, as students, are being taught to play with, enjoy, and embrace new media towards the advancement of the field. Mobile journalism is something that more and more of us are experimenting with and learning more about. I am interested to see what advancements come from the new, very open-minded and receptive graduates that enter the field.
References
Dupagne, M., & Garrison, B. (2009). The Meaning and Influence of Convergence: A Qualitative Case Study of Newsroom Work at the Tampa News Center. In A. E. Grant, & J. S. Wilkinson, Understanding Media Convergence: The State of the Field (pp. 182-203). New York: Oxford University Press.

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Media Fast Challenge!

Reading Reaction- Week 11

This week we were challenged by Dr. Matthews to do a media fast. To be honest, the concept almost scared me. What am I supposed to do without my phone, music, television and internet?! This morning I awoke to a quiet room. It felt incredibly erroneous not to have the TV on while I got ready. The temptation to look at my phone to see if I had messages was overwhelming. No email, no facebook, no Pandora Internet radio, nothing. I felt very isolated. Isolated, even though my son was there with me! I must admit it got easier as time went by. Besides the fact that I felt kind of sluggish inside a seemingly dull house, it was actually pretty relaxing not to worry about constantly being connected to “the outside world.” It’s amazing, when you think about it, how busy our lives are and how dependant we are on the media. In my case, it was startling how many times I caught myself reaching for my phone. Even more startling, I reached for it almost instinctively while driving my car because I was bored without the radio. Luckily, my good friend Dorothy K. Huoth recently sent me an email with pictures of a pretty gruesome car wreck in which the driver had been texting. Using the phone while driving has been considerably less appealing ever since. But while I find our dependency on media somewhat disturbing, I find it just as comforting because it translates to job security.

Now, on to this week’s readings! I very much enjoyed the article about “location-aware storytelling.” Krissy Clark did a beautiful job of explaining the importance and the appeal of storytelling in journalism. Are not the stories of the past and of the future just as important as the present? It is my opinion, that our past shapes our present and our future, so it stands to reason that journalists should make storytelling a priority. “Whatever the purpose is of a particular piece of journalism—breaking a story, investigating corruption, giving voice to the voiceless—when the job is done well, a new place in this world emerges or new understanding of a familiar one is gained.” (Clark, 2010) An audience that receives new understanding and views of unoriginal places or ideas is well informed and aware of their surroundings. If this is the case, then a journalist has done his/her job well.

Storytelling has the ability to be a great tool in your journalistic toolbox. In our Briggs text this week, we learned that video can be used to tell beautifully crafted piece of journalism, and that placing these videos in the hands of our digital audience can be beneficial in building that audience. Digital publishing is on the rise. The recipe for successful digital publishing is: Quality content published in some significant quantity, and engineered to be easily found in search engines (Briggs, 2010). The text also suggests tracking your publishing, along with setting benchmarks and tracking your audience as steps towards success (Briggs, 2010). I think it’s an unbelievable advantage to be able to track our audience’s movements online. It gives journalists the opportunity to figure out exactly what their audience is most interested in and what kinds of stories they identify with. In past blogs, we’ve talked about the benefits of allowing audiences to become interactive with new media. This is just another way we are able to connect with audiences by studying their responses and making them feel connected with us as well!

One of the audiences most responsive to online/video/blog news is our youth. There is a definite disconnect with today’s youth and newspaper readership. “Traditionally, young people could be depended upon to grow up, mature, and become newspaper readers.” (Bogart, 1989; Schlagheck, 1998) But with the competition of the shiny, new internet news, traditional media is being overshadowed. “…The question has become whether young audiences will ever become routine hardcopy newspaper readers when they are older.” (Huang, 2009) To be honest, I don’t think they will ever become avid newspaper readers. I don’t think you can count on people to completely change their ways just because they reach a certain age. Think about it… why would someone reach a certain age, say 50, and think “Hey, I think I’m mature enough to buy newspapers now. Sure, getting my news from the Internet is practically second nature to me and I can find anything on any topic I could possibly want in a matter of seconds, but it’s my duty to buy newspapers now.” NO! No sane person is going to do that. I sincerely hope newspapers are able to find a way to co-exist with new forms of media and secure their place in the future, but counting on the young audience to disregard what they have grown up with is unreasonable. The most reasonable way to stay legitimate and to be proactive about the future is, in my opinion, to be actively involved in convergence.

Generally speaking, I feel like convergence of the newsrooms is an excellent idea. The usual result of convergence is better news and information for audiences (Daniels, 2009). But when you start to talk about the theories used to assess the effect of converged structures on news products, it gets a little more complicated than that. Operators of the market theory of news production are more interested in the generating of profit; whereas the pure journalistic theory of production is focused more solely on the public’s best interest (Daniels, 2009). The reason I think the convergence of the two is so imperative is due to the importance of each of these. Without the focus on profit gain, an operation will run itself into the ground. Without the focus on public interest, an operation will run itself into the ground. In the Grant & Wilkinson text, George Daniels discusses the benefits of the convergence of newsrooms. The cooperation of newsrooms produce better and more thorough journalism for audiences, it seems.

References

Bogart, L. (1989) Press and Public: Who Reads What, When, Where and Why in American Newspapers. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Briggs, M. (2010). Journalism Next. Washington: CQ Press.
Clark, K. (2010). Journalism on the Map: A Case for Location-Aware Storytelling. Retrieved 11 4, 2010, from Nieman Reports: http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reportsitem.aspx?id=102425
Daniels, G. L. (2009). On Linkages and Levels: Using Theory to Assess the Effect of Converged Structures on News Products. In A. E. Grant, & J. S. Wilkinson, Understanding Media Convergence: The State of the Field (pp. 164-181). New York : Oxford University Press.
Huang, E. (2009). The Causes of Youths’ Low News Consumption and Strategies for Making Youths Happy News Consumers. [Article]. Convergence: The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 15(1), 105-122. doi: 10.1177/1354856508097021
Schlagheck, C. (1998) ‘Newspapers Reading Choices by College Students’, Newspaper Research Journal 19(14) spring: 74.

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Just say no to PAY WALLS!

Reading Reaction week 10

This week in our readings I delve into another sector of internet journalism. It is my opinion that the use of metadata is the smartest way to ensure the authenticity of online writings. In an article called, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Castells says, “…it would seem that anyone with the capacity for thought and language, and with access to the technological means of production, would instantly qualify as a potentially ‘valuable’ producer of knowledge.” To which Philip Graham responded, “This is clearly not the case. Thus hypercapitalism.” (Graham, 2000, p.20) I disagree with this statement Mr. Graham. To the contrary, I believe every single person’s writings are valuable (to some degree). Even if the piece would be considered by most to be an irrational rambling of fictitional information, it could be found valuable to a researcher of human thought processes. Therefore, I find that protection of these works, with the aid of metadata, is important.
Another reason I support the use of metadata is because I find it hard to jump on board with the idea of pay walls. As Martin Moore sugguests in his MediaShift article, “Erect a pay wall and you immediately cut yourself off from much of the web community. You disable the vast majority of people from recommending, linking, commenting, quoting, and discussing.” (Moore, 2010) I believe this statement to be true and accurate. Why would people pay for information they are used to retrieving for free? And furthermore, why would we expect them to? If an alternative solution to the problem existed (metadata for example) shouldn’t we at least attempt to implement it rather than charging people for the information they need or want? And don’t we, as journalists, have the responsibility to share news with as many people as possible? Don’t you think pay walls will cut down on the number of people receiving important information and the valuable interaction that comes from it? I do.
Amy Gahran makes a lot of good suggestions as to where to start the metadata process in her article, Structured News: Make useful connections to build your news business. Providing links to data, using Open Calais, copy editing and providing clear contexts are all FREE ways to develop structure in online journalism (Gahran, 2010). Let’s take advantage of those, shall we?!
I guess, to an extent, there will always be differing opinions on how the internet news should be structured, what a newsroom should look like, and how those newsrooms should be run. In an article written by Nathan Crick, the dynamics inside newsrooms like these are discussed. Crick explains that there is a stark tension between the defenders of the Old Media professionalism, and the proponents of New Media who are embracing the change (Crick, 2009). Like it or not, the convergence is happening and changes are being made to the way the news is delivered. Unfortunately, newsrooms trying out convergence are having a hard time adjusting to the shift of their roles and duties. In chapter eight of the Grant & Wilkinson text, Holly A. Fisher articulates the newsroom convergence scenario. Fisher says, “Most people have a difficult time dealing with change. In bringing convergence into a newsroom, managers are asking their staff to completely rethink everything they know about their profession. They are being asked to cooperate with competitors; they are being asked to embrace a medium that is foreign to them; and they are being asked to do more- and do it faster.” (Fisher, 2009, p. 146) So how do we make convergence in newsrooms work? Good newsroom managers, for one. Newsroom managers are responsible for making their staff more comfortable with the newsroom convergence. Makes sense, but I wonder if it’s even possible to reassure someone who has been working as a newspaper photographer for the past 30 years and suddenly has his role repositioned as a videographer for a sister station? I wonder how long it would take for someone in that position to transition comfortably into their new role. I honestly do believe that convergence is a good thing, but at what cost? I think managers of converging newsrooms face a daunting task, but according to Fisher, there are some guidelines to help. The “seven best practices” of successful converged newsroom managers are: commitment, communication, cooperation, compensation, culture, competition and customer (Fisher, 2009). Managers who put these practices to use are much more likely to succeed in my opinion. I think the most important thing for employees to get from their managers is the sense that they are valued and aren’t going to be left out in the cold. With the economy the way it is today, people are more worried than ever that they’ll somehow find themselves unemployed. I can’t help but wonder if some of the resistance to change is actually fear in disguise.
Do journalists fear change in the newsroom because they are worried about losing their job? Or, are journalists fearful of the new technological trends in new media? Some of both, perhaps? “The rise of the critical blogosphere has challenged the authority of the mainstream media while sparking discussion concerning the proper relationship between news production and popular democracy in an Internet Age.” (Crick, 2009, p. 1) While some are whole-heartedly embracing these new mediums, others think some of the new approaches are unprofessional. Nathan Crick wrote that the internet blogosphere “…heralds a world of rhetoric set loose on the world, and whether such emancipation culminates in deliberative democracy or in distracting demagoguery remains to be seen.” (Crick, 2009, p. 9) In other words, there are definitely people who are still trying to make a decision on whether or not they trust the blogosphere for critical information.
So what needs to happen in order to keep this new technological train on the track? I think it all starts with the use of metadata. A more structured way of accessing information and keeping track of who that information belongs to and where it came from may be the first step of acceptance for those who are reluctant to use it. That, in turn, allows a smooth transition of newsroom convergence to take place with the help of knowledgeable newsroom managers. What do you think?
References
Castells, M. (1998) The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture (Vol. III): End of Millenium. London: Blackwell,
Crick, N. (2009). The Search for a Purveyor of News: The Dewey/Lippmann Debate in an Internet Age. [Article]. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 26(5), 480-497. doi: 10.1080/15295030903325321
Fisher, H. A. (2009). Developing Media Managers for Convergence: A study of management theory and practice for managers of converged newsrooms. In A. E. Grant, & J. S. Wilkinson, Understanding Media Convergence: The state of the field (pp. 135-150). New York : Oxford University Press
Gahran, A. (2010, August 19). Structured News: Make useful connections to build your news business. Retrieved October 29, 2010, from Knight Digital Media Center: http://www.knightdigitalmediacenter.org/leadership_blog/comments
Graham, P. (2000). Hypercapitalism: a political economy of informational idealism. [Article]. New Media & Society, 2(2), 131.

Moore, M. (2010, August 18). How Metadata Can Eliminate the Need for Pay Walls. Retrieved October 29, 2010, from MediaShift: Your guide to the digital media revolution: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2010/08/how-metadata-can-eliminate-the-need-for-pay-walls230.html

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Can’t we all just get along?!

Reading Reaction- Week 9
Often times in the workplace, competition occurs- competition between rivaling companies, competition between co-workers, and sometimes even competition within the same industry. So why is it so hard for us to converge with one another? Why do we perceive each other as a threat rather than an asset? I think it mostly has to do with the egocentric nature of human beings. I mean, who doesn’t want to believe that the field they chose to work in or the way that they do things is the best? I’m reminded of an example that my dad once used in a sermon. He said, “Once, while at a friend’s house, I was asked to grab a couple of glasses out of the cabinet. I quickly came to the conclusion that his glasses were placed the wrong way in the cabinet. See, I instinctively thought that because he placed his glasses right-side-up and I had been raised in a home where we placed them up-side-down, that he was doing it wrong! But I soon realized that neither way was right or wrong- just different!”
It seems as though the field of journalism is split on some issues. As quoted in the Grant and Wilkinson textbook, “…problems still exist between frontline journalists (Glaser, 2004). Runett (2004) noted that even for some media executives, full convergence remains ‘a mythical Emerald City.’”(p. 117) Culture is said to be a major impediment for the convergence of newsrooms across the United States. But why is culture such an important aspect of both print and broadcast news? I think tradition and fear of change have influenced the atmosphere of both. The importance of addressing the role of culture in the convergence of both print and broadcast media cannot be understated (August E. Grant, 2009).
The article by Steensen (2009), states that Huxford (2000) found that a clash of cultures between both print and online newsrooms hindered the creation of original online content. This culture clash has affected the innovation of online journalism. This study found that asymmetrical relationships between newsrooms, a lack of journalists who believed new technology would affect their job, and the minimizing of audience interaction, all played a part in the lack of innovation in the field.
Grant and Wilkinson also suggest that there may be some intergroup bias between the different types of media sources. “Journalists from each medium were more likely to show favor to their own career choice and medium while failing to recognize the value of the other’s career or medium” (August E. Grant, 2009, p. 120). It appears as though the root of the bias between mediums is found within the cultural differences between the two. So how do we as journalists bridge that gap? Grant and Wilkinson have stated a few ideas. There are three main models that have emerged in hopes of reducing the amount of intergroup bias. The first is the Decategorized Contact Model, (DCM) which argues that individuals’ awareness of their own group identity is enough to foster group-based biases (August E. Grant, 2009). So basically, this model is trying to break down the group identities into more personalized relationships. I personally, don’t think this is the best approach because people are very reluctant to change and most certainly to a change in their own identity. This model suggests that bias will be reduced when task-specific qualities are emphasized rather than their group-based identities (August E. Grant, 2009), but I think that strategy could lead to even more separation and alienation between the groups.
The second model used is the Common Ingroup Identity Model, or CIIM, which seeks to create a common ingroup among previously competing factions (August E. Grant, 2009). The idea is to allow the transition from “us” and “them” to “we” instead. This allows a reduction in bias among present individuals and also benefits those who were formerly a part of the outgroup. However, the larger “we” is hard to achieve and the model basically turns into the third model- Mutual Intergroup Differentiation Model. MIDM is the most probable of the three models in my opinion. It doesn’t seek to break down boundaries between the two different groups, but rather encourages the group members to look at and accentuate the positives that each group has to offer (August E. Grant, 2009). This model makes the most sense to me because it allows people to keep their own identity and teaches others to recognize the importance of every different role as it is. I think MIDM is the best way to promote convergence in the field of print and broadcast media. But when you think about it, is MIDM really convergence or is it just tolerance in disguise?
In the Briggs textbook, another rift is discussed. News as a conversation is a hot topic among journalists today. There are two types of people involved in this debate- those who prefer to mix it up with the audience and those who’d rather remain above the fray (Briggs, 2010). Most journalists don’t like the idea of interactive news but as we have been discussing in this course, we must jump on board or we’ll be left behind. But I think even the journalists who are overwhelmed and are reluctant to use some of this new technology can see the huge benefits and rewards that accompany it. “Three areas of evolution suggest a brighter future for comments on news stories: the technology is getting better, newsrooms are accepting more responsibility and the commentators are expecting more from each other.” (Briggs, 2010, p. 279) I think the interactivity that is involved when conversing with the journalists is enriching and enlightening in some cases. It makes the audience feel more involved and like a more important part of the process and often those audience members come up with new perspectives and viewpoints for the journalists to consider. In my opinion, it’s a win-win situation for both the journalist and audience. The down side to commenting on story links, etc. is that some audience members will be downright ugly. Monitoring the links, websites, or social networks where people have the ability to post things is a must. Edward R. Murrow said, “The speed of communications is wonderful to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.”
References

August E. Grant, J. S. (2009). Understanding Media Convergence: The State of the Field. New York: Oxford University Press.
Briggs, M. (2010). Journalism Next. Washington: CQ Press.
Huxford, John (2000) “Cultures in Collision: newspapers and the net,” paper presented to the 50th Conference of the International Communication Association, Acapulco, Mexico, 1-5 May.
Steensen, S. (2009). What’s stopping them? [Article]. Journalism Studies, 10(6), 821-836. doi: 10.1080/14616700902975087

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Reading Reaction for Week 8

          Last night I found myself watching history unfold. The Chilean miners were finally being rescued, and I was able to share in the tender moments of those miners reuniting with their families after 69 heart-wrenching days. Watching those miners rise out of that small capsule was indescribable, and I couldn’t help but realize how thankful I am for the new technology that made it possible for me to witness it.
          Just as I was able to share in the moments of that rescue, people are now able to witness many things that otherwise wouldn’t be possible with the help of online video sharing and live streaming on the Internet. In an article called, MediaShift: 10 Ways to Make Video a More Interactive Experience, Roland Legrand discusses ways in which communities can get involved in interactive experiences online. Programs like Ustream are even using integrated chat to involve the public in their live broadcasts. This new type of interactivity allows the community to feel involved and empowered by the ability to be a part of what is being presented. Much of audience conversation is now happening on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Legrand proposes that the integration of video and interactivity will increase the popularity and effectiveness of video. “The conversation with the people formerly known as the audience is often non-existent. It seems that the potentially-messy-but-genuine conversation with the community is being shifted to Facebook and Twitter” (Legrand, 2010).                                                                                         On a side note, I think this may be a great way to get young people more interested in journalism altogether. The interactivity of new media is enticing to young people who might not have considered a career in journalism before, but after becoming a part of the media, may consider it. Can you imagine what the new generation of young, tech savvy journalists will be able to do?
          Another place where video is being widely used and circulated is on social networking sites. Facebook, for example, is a common place to share videos from sites like YouTube among friends. It’s a great way to share and allow feedback from friends on videos you may find funny, interesting, or that have an important message. These networks are able to be linked together using lateral movements and hyperlinks (Stein, 2009). “External links to other sites are a strategic choice that acknowledges the presence of other actors establishes an interconnected sphere of online sites and may reflect an organization’s desire to offer information provided by others.” (Foot and Schneider, 2006; Rogers and Marres, 2000, p.7)
          Social networking also makes it possible to exhibit individual creative expression. “Emotion, imagination and aesthetics are central aspects of much political expression, taking such forms as satire, irony, cartoon, caricature, slander and pornography” (Downing, 2001). Given the fact that websites are able to host a variety of media forms, there can be many different ways of expressing this creative freedom. Text, video and still images can used together to form one cohesive unit of information for audiences. Also, text and still images may be used together in video form, just as Dr. Matthews did with her Corgi. Nowadays, junior high and high school students are even receiving training in shooting and editing digital video. These students are already able to pick up a camera, shoot their footage, then edit and publish it online (Briggs, 2010). Many of these students are already participating in mobile journalism without even realizing it!
            Like Dr. Matthews, people are able to tell stories through the use of video. In Briggs’ Journalism Next, they talk about the captivating scene of an eight year old baseball player with one leg. Charles Bertram, reporter for the Lexington Herald, covered the story and felt that only video could really capture the emotion and inspiration of the young boy playing baseball with his teammates. In this case, no interviews or voice-overs were necessary in order to make this two-and-a-half-minute video (which went viral on the web and has now been seen over 3 million times) successful (Briggs, 2010). But what is it that makes video so successful? I, personally, think video is the most popular form of media because the audience is able to actually see and hear what’s going on. It’s a very real and inviting experience. In the video of the young baseball player, people are able to feel as if they are actually at the game watching him play. I think it’s the feeling of being “invited” into the scene that really draws in the audience. To be fair, print and audio media have their own appeal to audiences. I have a new found love for reading. I love to actually hold the book in my hand and feel the texture of the pages; and with audio, I love to imagine the scenes they set up in my head. So, all types of media have their own advantages. I am beginning to wonder, though, is video is the most popular because it’s easier than other forms of media to consume? With video you don’t have to use your imagination-everything is already laid out there for you. Could it be that part of the popularity of video is a lackadaisical society in which we want everything handed to us on a platter?

References

Briggs, M. (2010). Journalism Next. Washington, DC: CQ Press.                                               
Downing, J. (2001) Radical Media: Rebellious Communication and Social Movements.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Foot, K.A. and S.M. Schneider (2006) Web Campaigning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Legrand, R. (2010, August 17). 10 Ways to Make Video a More Interactive Experience. Retrieved October 13, 2010, from Media Shift: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2010/08/10-ways-to-make-video-a-more-interactiveexperience=229.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pbs%2Fmediashift-blog+%28mediashift-blog%29&utm_content=Google+Reader
Rogers, R. and N. Marres (2000) “Landscaping Climate Change: A Mapping Technique for Understanding Science and Technology Debates on the World Wide Web’, Public Understanding of Science 9(2): 141–63.

Stein, L. (2009). Social movement web use in theory and practice: a content analysis of US movement websites. [Article]. New Media & Society, 11(5), 749-771. doi: 10.1177/1461444809105350

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