New Journalism

As a reporting student, I am very passionate about the field of journalism and its power as an insitution. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the way we consume news media. Many scholars and veteran reporters question the evolution of the news — is journalism dying? I was asked this question on the first day of my first ever reporting class almost two years ago. I still think about it all the time. I know I already wrote a post about changing journalism, but I think it’s such a prominent topic worth discussing.

When we look back at the history of journalism, we’re looking at print and subscription based publications. Newspapers became an activity rather than news consumption – people always had a paper. On the train to and from work or at the breakfast table on a Sunday morning. The US is a newspaper society. Up until the past 20 years or so, we didn’t have the internet, therefore journalists didn’t have the vast resource that the internet is. There was a different kind of excitement found through reporting. (If you haven’t seen All The President’s Men, I highly recommend watching. So good!)

Now with the internet, we have a different way of researching, reporting, and reading the news. Journalists have so many more resources to access for more detailed and thorough investigations allowing for deeper stories. News is also based on a 24-hour news cycle, meaning there always will be stories to fill the spaces during tv programming.

What I am super interested in is the way we consume news media, specifically through social media. Twitter has become an essential reporting tool. Looking at the tragic attacks today in Brussels, many people turned to Twitter to stay posted. News organizations post to Twitter to keep stories updated. Of course with SO much information available online, and oftentimes in attacks such as this, correct information can easily be confused or mis-reported. A news podcast I listen to posted this breaking news consumer handbook to remind us to be critical consumers and not believe EVERYTHING we see on our newsfeeds.

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So this brings us back to the question, is journalism dying? No. It never will. There will ALWAYS be news to report and stories to read. That will never change. Journalism and the press as an institution are stronger than ever, especially in terms of international relations and political reporting in the US. I think the WAY we read and share the news is changing. Social media is completely transforming how quickly we can get the news and updates, forcing news sources to post images such as the one above.

I think the internet is critical tool in the way we communicate, whether it’s through the news or social media or other parts of the internet. There will always be news to report and stories to share. That will never change.

FreeMusicArchive.org

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FreeMusicArchive.org is a website that hosts thousands and thousands of free songs for sharing and modification/use. The website is absolutely wonderful because it is all free music that can be used in other projects for class, presentations, own creative content, etc. I currently use this website for my digital media classes and for my podcast. It’s extremely helpful to have this resource for my own use because I am not talented enough to create my own music for my show, and because the website has such a diverse and wide selection, I can find any music for any mood.

You can download it, edit it, use the whole thing, whatever you want. You just need to acknowledge where the music came from and who produced it. I think this is a wonderful resource for those who don’t have the technology to create their own music for creative use, such as my podcast, or in my case, have the skill to do so.

If free music archive began to limit their resources and take away the availability of these songs, it would be a lot more difficult to create my own content. I could use copyrighted songs, but only so much that still qualifies as fair use. Even then I would have to argue that it is fair use, so I always stick with the easy options and use the free items.

However, if free music archive required users to purchase music, they would make SO much more money. In a business setting, that sounds like the better option, but from a creative perspective, it’s just annoying. It would become a lot more difficult to find songs that can be modified and used freely and limit the amount of creative capabilities we have. I personally would work to create my own music and musical interludes, but that would be incredibly difficult and time consuming. I don’t mean to make it seem like free music archive is the easy way out, but the amount of songs available to people like me is just incredible. It’s kind of like the Wikipedia of music.

Free music archive and creative commons are opening up so many doors to creative individuals. In the same sense as the advantages of the internet, these licenses help create and solidify new ideas. In the age of technology and creativity, what more could you need?

Life Under A Microscope

I must admit, I am pretty visible online. I actually really love social media, beyond its tendencies for users to be vapid and self-absorbed, because I think it provides a great platform to truly express who we are. I am active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Soundcloud, WordPress, Squarespace, and probably a few more things. Typing all of that out, it seems like a crazy amount of online profiling, but each has its own unique community and purpose.

For example, I use Facebook for different reasons than Tumblr. Facebook is more about life updates and sharing photos with friends and family, where Tumblr is strictly an online community for me. I’m also more likely to be more open about what I post on tumblr, because family doesn’t follow me, whereas on Facebook, I self-censor what I post to make sure it’s appropriate. Same with LinkedIn; that is a professional networking website, therefore a completely different representation of myself. Twitter is a mix of everything because I am very open and personable on Twitter but I recognize that my profile is public, so future employers can read what I post. I try to make sure my online personality is visible with a semi-professional twist.

I just googled myself and the first several links were to the social networking sites above. But if someone really wanted to find out information about me, they could probably easily found out where I graduated high school, my GPA, published writing and other  information. I’m not really scared by that information because I have chosen to put so much of it online. I’m also going into a field that publishes writing, so that’s not a new concept for me. I also think it’s important to build a social profile so others can learn about you, and I don’t see that in a negative light.

Most of the information I found was put online by myself. I guess it would be different if I was more popular and other people were putting information up about me, that could get weird. I’m also going into a field that works with digital media, journalism and radio podcasting, so a lot of my work is based online, meaning I’m less scared this information. So far there’s nothing bad about me and hopefully I can keep it like that!

I guess I would be afraid if employers found my Tumblr page because I’m a super big idiot on that page and wouldn’t be representative of my professional life, oops!

Tumblr & Online Communities

Tumblr.com is a very popular blogging platform for both teens and young adults. Tumblr is a positive example of an online community because it exists to be an online community and networking site built for users to interact with each other. Users can make personal connections and relationships based on similar interests, such as fandoms, books, politics, etc. It’s positive because users can initiate and maintain these relationships, or on the other hand, leave the website whenever they desire. Members can seek out specific content that they desire which personalizes the experience they have online.  I’ve used Tumblr for probably five or six years now and I’ve made some very close and important friends that I talk to nearly every day.

Members benefit from this online community because of its personalized structure and communication platforms. Users can choose to communicate publicly or privately, depending on their preference, or not communicate at all. It’s a great platform to build portfolios as well, so those who don’t want to form friendships with other users but want an easy platform to share their work can do that as well. It also helps inform people about current events and functions like other social media with sharing news and other information.

Tumblr can be challenging as well. With any online community, there is always the risk of cyberbullying and a negative community experience. However, users have the option to block others AND report to the staff at Tumblr to help create a safer space. Any social media platform has the risk of cyberbullying and sometimes Tumblr can be more prone to it, but the options and services to reduce this kind of communication are easy to use as well. I also think that Tumblr strongly is associated with millennial culture, so many non-users don’t see the value of the communication/important discussions that take place on this platform. Of course some parts of Tumblr are trivial and dumb, but there are also a whole lot more important and valuable aspects, such as mental health support, sexual abuse support, and gender identity/sexuality support.

In  my own personal opinion, I think Tumblr is a great way to connect with others and form friendships with people you may never meet. I mentioned that I have used Tumblr for quite a few years and have friendships as well – I’ve even been able to meet a few of them in person. Sometimes people don’t value online friendships or relationships because they think they’re not as substantial and built on false identities.

Millennial Season 2

So I’m back again with another podcast post. The podcast series “Millennial” just launched its second season. The show is an autobiographical journey about navigating your 20s in real time. The show’s host and creator, Megan Tan, wants to be a radio journalist. The first season explores a variety of topics such as money, difficult dream internships vs. mediocre job, love, and many more topics. My favorite is that she discusses the difficulties of producing a podcast in her spare time – she talks about the recording process, editing, content and doing this all on a schedule. As a fun fact, she records from inside her closet to get as close to a professional audio quality that she can get from her recording equipment.

Spoiler alert: at the end of season one, she gets a job at a radio station. So, does that mean the show is over? That’s where season two comes in, obviously. Megan took an editorial leap and decided to work with listeners, other millennials struggling to achieve their dreams, and make the stories about them. Listeners have been sharing their stories with Megan and working with her on producing these episodes. Now we get to hear stories from people all over the country. What’s really cool is that the most recent episode was about a relationship between two girls from different countries that met online 10 years ago. They just got married.

This is a great example of audience participation. The audience literally gets to help direct the content and steer the direction of the show. Another great aspect of this second season is that the stories don’t have specific narratives – they can literally be about anything. It totally changes the way that we think of storytelling and audience participation within podcasting. It might even inspire listeners to create their own podcasts and share their own stories on their own platform.

I highly recommend listening to season one because I feel we can ALL sympathize with Megan and see our lives in the same way. It’s a wonderful, honest and personal look at the struggles of post-grad life. Season two is just as awesome, we just get to hear more stories.

Virtual Reality

I mentioned virtual reality very briefly in my first post about journalism and new media. Within the world of journalism, virtual reality can open the door to a whole new way of informative news sharing and captivating storytelling. It allows users to experience news and stories in a completely new way; it transports us to a new place and can change the way we consume information. Even outside the world of journalism, virtual reality changes the way users experience movies, photos and stories. It doesn’t have to be informational news that is shared via this new media platform. It can transform any way that we consume information and digital media. Virtual reality is a very new concept, and I can imagine that we’re going to see quite a bit more of this new technology within 2016 and further in the future.

The great thing about virtual reality is that it combines several different media technologies in one. The basis of the viewing platform is a smart phone. There is a free downloadable app that hosts the videos and images that one can access anywhere they can use their phone. Then, one must put their phone within a viewing mechanism, like this, to properly view the content in the most real way possible. I’ll admit, they look kinda geeky.

This simple technology combines videos with our smart phones with this specific viewing technology. It is bridging the gap between 2D television viewing with the virtual reality platform right at our fingertips on our smart phones. We can access news, movies, sporting events, video games and so much more. Media companies are developing new kinds of content for this viewing platform. It is said that the technology is not yet advanced enough for mass distribution, but it’s definitely on the cusp of something huge.

Maybe is this is the turning point in digital technology, media and consumption. Maybe we’re about to enter a whole new world of digitality that will completely revolutionize the way we create and consume media. I myself have never used this technology, though the more I read about it the more curious I am. Especially in the information and news realm; I think this could be a huge step in the world of digital journalism and completely change the way we consume and share our news.

Have you ever used virtual reality? If so, what did you think of it? If you’re like me and haven’t used it, what are your thoughts on this new media platform?

Listen Up, Folks.

Alright so I’m a huge podcast nerd. Like, I listen to podcasts every single day and I’m subscribed to at least a dozen different shows. I wasn’t a podcast fan until I listened to Serial, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. If not, PLEASE take a listen to it, at least season one. (In my opinion, season 2 isn’t as gripping as season 1). It’s absolutely incredible reporting and audio storytelling. I listened to all 12 hours in one day. Now I want to be a radio journalist and have my own podcast.

However, Serial isn’t so much informational as it is non-fiction storytelling, but that doesn’t mean ALL podcasts are storytelling. In fact, most podcasts are non-fiction/news related. Some are “long-form” which are basically super long interviews of politicians, reporters, and other important people. Other podcasts have multiple interviews and segments per thematic episode. Both are informational and a very intriguing way to share information. You can be getting ready in the morning, making breakfast, riding the tube, literally anything, and be listening to a podcast, and learning A LOT.

My suggestion for this week isn’t super academic, such as a research resource for academic papers or such, but I think these podcasts series are crucial to my education personal reach for knowledge. I also think that the more informed we are about politics, including social and economic and foreign issues, the better students and members of society we are. I feel like I just got super philosophical, but hopefully you understand. Keep in mind, most of these podcasts are American and a lot of the issues surround American politics and social issues! If you have suggestions for British programs, please let me know!

My first recommendation is On The Media. Based in NYC, this show is hosted by two reporters and covers a wide range of social and political issues. I will say that the show is more left leaning, but as a liberal I don’t mind at all. I think some people will be less inclined to listen because of its leaning, but the reporting is straight and unbiased, and most segments are news reports rather than opinion.

My second recommendation is NPR Politics Podcast. This one is very straightforward and covers American politics, and is particularly interesting because of the 2016 presidential election. If you’re new to American politics, or simply DON’T understand, this is a great podcast. I mean, I’m an American and I don’t fully understand our politics. Donald Trump is a serious contender in this election and I can assure you I’m still confused about that. It’s a great breakdown of how the campaign is going and other issues that factor into it.

My third recommendation is Another Round. A wonderful product of BuzzFeed, this show is in my top three favorites. Hosted by two amazing, funny and fierce black women, the show covers race and gender politics while interviewing mostly people of color in the media, such as authors, actors, comedians, etc. It’s a great platform for discussion on racial issues, gender issues, and other pop culture references. Plus it’s literally hilarious and I find myself laughing out loud on the tube. It also gets its name because the hosts have a round of drinks throughout each episode, so what could be better? (PS I feel particularly attached to this one because I’ve been listening since its first episode and these women have done so much and worked so hard and I’m super proud.)

Ok so I think with these three shows you should get a good informational and fun introduction to podcasting. Podcasts are trending again, so a lot of media outlets are turning to podcasting as a news source. Editor in chief of Vox.com Ezra Klein just started a long-form podcast series, and countless other media sources are starting up as well. I think these are a great way to learn and supplement your own learning, especially as we learn about how the media and internet are part of our everyday lives.