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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Technology as a Tool

October 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Jeff Jarvis’s “The Article as Luxury or Byproduct” makes the argument that writing an article may not be necessary for every piece of news anymore, thanks to advances in technology (like Twitter and YouTube).

Jarvis references Brian Stelter‘s experience covering the Joplin tornado.  Stelter had limited resources while in Joplin, but he was able to use Twitter to get his stories started for The New York Times.

Jarvis says although the article is not necessary for everything, it’s not an obsolete form of information.  To this, I agree.  There is so much news to cover and not enough man power to cover it in terms of writing articles.  However, advances in technology such as Twitter and blogging have provided new outlets from where information can found.

Jarvis also makes an interesting point when he basically asks why write something if it’s already been written?  Why not link to it and add to it instead of repeating it?  His answer: because (as journalists and human beings, we want our names out there).

He says, “In a do-what-you-do-best-and-link-to-the-rest ecosystem, if someone else has written a good article (or background wiki) isn’t it often more efficient to link than to write? Isn’t it more valuable to add reporting, filling in missing facts or correcting mistakes or adding perspectives, than to rewrite what someone else has already written?

We write articles for many reasons: because the form demands it, because we want the bylines and ego gratification, because we are competitive, because we had to. Now we should write articles when necessary.”

He is very clear to reiterate his stance on articles, “Let the record show that I am not declaring the article useless or dead. Just optional.”

In response to this article, Mathew Ingram wrote “No, Twitter is Not a Replacement for Journalism.”  (Ingram’s interpretation of Jarvis’s article was not well-received by Jarvis).

Like Jarvis, Ingram also uses Brian Stelter’s Joplin coverage as an example, saying, “If anything, in fact, the kind of live reporting that Andy Carvin and others do with Twitter, and the kind Brian Stelter did in Joplin, increases the need for curation and context and background and reporting. Watching the stream of thousands of tweets that Carvin produced during the uprising in Egypt was fascinating and compelling, but it was also overwhelming in terms of the sheer magnitude of data.”

While Jarvis argues the traditional news article may not be necessary for all news anymore (much like it used to be–it used to be the only source of news), Ingram defends the need for articles. Ingram claims Twitter and blogging are not replacing articles, but are tools that are changing the roles of journalists and how news is covered.

Ingram’s point reminds me of a quote from David Cage in the most recent issue of “Game Informer.” (Cage is co-CEO of Quantic Dream.  He writes and directs all of Quantic’s games.) In an interview with Cage about his most recent project, Beyond: Two Souls, he is asked about cutting-edge technology.  What he says rings true not only in video games, but in multi-media journalism, too.

Cage: “I like what it [technology] allows me to do on the creative side, but any technology, no matter how good it is, is only a tool.  It is the pen to write the book, but not the book.  If you have no vision, no idea, the best technology won’t make your game any better, just as the best pen won’t make a great book.  But if you have something to say, it gives you the means to say it better.” (His quote comes from the magazine issue, not online exclusive previously linked.)

I couldn’t agree more.  Twitter, YouTube, etc… aren’t going to ever replace articles.  Just because people publish information with them doesn’t mean the information is factual, fair, or even informative.  However, for journalists seeking to truly inform and share information, these new tools have enhanced the art of journalism and how information is shared.

Jarvis and Ingram make valid points in both their articles, but I believe David Cage hit the nail on the head with this one.

-MM

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It’s Alive!! Or is it?

September 10, 2012 Leave a comment

In a 2008 article from the The New Yorker titled Out of Print: The death and life of the American newspaper, Eric Alterman brings up several points regarding journalism that are still relevant today.

One point Alderman brings up is “the nature of ‘news’ itself.”  He says, “The American newspaper (and the nightly newscast) is designed to appeal to a broad audience, with conflicting values and opinions, by virtue of its commitment to the goal of objectivity.”  Since the news has become so broad, are we really getting news or just extended headlines where if we want more information, we have to seek it out ourselves?

He also brings up the fact that many newspaper policies forbid reporters or staff to “voice their opinions publicly, march in demonstrations, volunteer in political campaigns, wear political buttons, or attach bumper stickers to their cars.”  Check out the Chattanooga Times Free Press ethics policy for an example of such restrictions.  Since this article has been written, a more recent issue probably added to ethics policies (in careers other than journalism, too) is social media profiles and posts.

Alderman also says many journalists “discount the notion that their beliefs could interfere with their ability to report a story with perfect balance.”  Objectivity seems to be a topic of constant debate within journalism.  Are they left?  Are they right?  What are they really trying to say?  No journalist is 100% objective–it’s simply impossible.  However, I believe there are journalists who are definitely better at it than others.  Objectivity also leads into questions of trust.  Can we trust where we get our news?  Alterman’s article claims most American don’t trust the news.  And cases like these don’t help the trust issues.  Do cases like those distort the image of how many journalists fabricate or copy things?–Much like does constant reporting on violent crimes lead to a distorted image of how often violent crimes actually happen?

I do not own this image. It is a stock photo, and you can get it here.

And finally, the topic of the Huffington Post was interesting.  Huffington Post is a site I use to get a large percentage of my news, but I had never really taken note of its early stages.  When Alterman’s article was written, it seemed HuffPost was still trying to find its niche on the Internet.  Was it going to be news?  Gossip?  Blogs?  Contributions?  It appears since this article’s 2008 release, the HuffPost has become much more news-oriented (even winning a Pulitzer in 2012).  Yes, the site still offers an extremely wide variety of blogs and contributions, it has definitely taken a more newsworthy shape in the last four years and appears to have made major growth in employees and reporters.  Although a lot of people still visit the site for the blogs, some people (like me) visit for the news, and I believe it was a smart move on the HuffPost to begin catering to a more “newsy” site rather than all blogs.

So with all the changes and advances in the last decade, is the newspaper dead?  I don’t believe so.  No, it may not always be the newspaper as we know it now–printed on the thick paper with the ink that turns your fingers black, but that’s because it’s evolving–going through it’s own form of Darwinism.  Who knows?  Maybe the newspaper will join the dinosaurs and become extinct, or maybe it will continue to evolve.

-MM

To Instagram or Not To Instagram.

August 26, 2012 2 comments

Wait–We’re still talking about this?

Wired’s Raw File had a post in July that came to mind this weekend when the subject of Instagram was brought up between me and my husband.

The post focuses on how we need to stop debating about whether or not mobile phone photography is photography or not.  On top of that, how we need to stop worrying about whether or not using a filter from the app is photography or not.

I won’t lie–Sure, I get tired of some people I follow on Facebook and Twitter who seem to repost every single photo they’ve ever taken using Instagram.  It can get overwhelming; however, it doesn’t mean Instagram and mobile phone photos aren’t contributing to the world of photography and digital photography.  And since Instagram is no longer exclusive to Apple users (the app was released for Android in 2012), the possibilities are endless and now open to almost everyone!

There will always be those who say putting a filter on something is cheating.  The Raw File post makes a good point by saying, “We’ve moved beyond the argument about slapping a filter on something and calling it art. Everyone knows that if it’s piss-poor, it’s gonna stay that way with or without a filter.”  I agree.  This is the same situation as those who purchase expensive DSLR cameras and still produce crappy photos.  A crappy photo is a crappy photo– doesn’t matter how awesome your equipment is if you don’t know how to correctly use it.

There are other benefits to having Instragram other than just sharing a photo of your cat to your friends–Marketing and Public Relations.

More professional brands and such are turning to Instagram: Whole Foods Market, NBC News, Starbucks

Here are a few articles about what brands are doing with Instagram: Hubspot Blog’s 10 Best-Branded Companies on Instagram, Business Insider’s These Brands are doing Amazing Things with Instagram, Social Media Delivered’s Top 20 Companies on Instagram.

Instagram’s Help Center even has a section dedicated to helping brands use the app.

So tell me– What do you think about Instagram?  Is it a photography killer? Photography breakthrough? Public relations dream come true? Let me know!

-MM

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