Archive for the ‘Technology’Category

News that masquerades as citizen journalism

With citizen journalism reigning as one of the primary sources of information, more and more news organizations are reporting information and portraying it as “rough cut.” More and more, they are including citizen videos and photos from onlookers. Many news channels incorporate Twitter segments and Facebook feeds into their live broadcasts.

Now, perhaps they are running short on funds and need to use the citizen news (highly unlikely for CNN and Fox, but who knows?). Perhaps big news companies really do think that the rough footage they are getting is more sincere than other footage. We have certainly seen examples of this dating back to the Vietnam war, when journalists were first embedded with the troops; since then, news corps have used shaky cam footage to get viewers.

However, at this point in time, I would argue that news organizations are using citizen journalists’ footage and information in order to get in on a trend. These companies find social media (including the Twitter, Facebook and blogs of the world) and citizen news style to be a trend that they can make bank cashing in on. In the past, these big news conglomerates thought citizen journalism was encroaching on their territory, but now the tables have turned. Real news needs to stop masquerading as citizen journalism.

Most recently, companies such as the UK Guardian have used a blog style to make their updates from the G20 Summit seem more current. They even have a notice on their page that reads: “This page will update every minute.”

There are enough bloggers out there in the world and the real journalists, as in the journalistic self-proclaimed news corporations, should stick to article writing, not blogging.

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New Toys

DigiDave has a quickie on Five Tools to Increase Productivity. A few of them look pretty valuable for a journalist.

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06

09 2010

Wired’s End-of-the-Web Article

My, the stunts we’re doing to stay afloat these days.

I was at the bookstore this weekend, perusing the periodicals, when I was confronted by a fluorescent orange issue of Wired that pronounced, “The Web is Dead.” It’s a great exercise in stunt journalism that you could gain some lessons from. Big shocking headline co-opting a phrase in the cultural consciousness. Dueling opinion columns with great use of color. An in-your-face rainbow-of-fruit-flavors graph. And after reading through all that I got about as much substance as a mouthful of cotton candy. I can distill the message into three points.

Apps good.

Web advertising bad.

Walled garden internet is returning.

It was a little bleak, but they even admit that they predicted the same thing in 1997 with “Push” technology.

Remember Push?

Am I the only one who remembers it?

I also felt the graph was disingenuous. Even though I’m sure it would fall under Fair Use to post it here, I’ll play it safe and direct you to the article again. It shows the “Proportion of Total U.S. Internet Traffic.”

Does that mean in actual eyeballs or in data passed along?

Since it’s from Cisco, I’m going to assume that it’s data. It looks dire for email and the web. Yet get out some peanuts for the big elephant in the room. They’re being crowded out by video. I don’t know about you, but my email and web viewing habits don’t use nearly as many megabytes as video.

So I’m going to channel my inner Dvorak and say this is crap. All it shows is that video sites, like YouTube, have become popular, and peer-to-peer pirating traffic is dying from a combination of big media lawsuits and increased availability of legit media sources like Hulu and iTunes.

People are still reading web sites. They’re still using computers. Tablets like the iPad are going to be elitist items for a few years still. Even smartphones haven’t penetrated the market enough to pull people away from their PCs. They may one day, and I do agree that lean-back media consumption (tablets) is more relaxing than lean-forward media consumption (PCs).

What does this mean for citizen journalists?

Use more video. And citizen journalism outfits had better roll out some apps.

Wired declares that the freedom of the web is attractive intellectually but that human nature prefers reliability overall (don’t you love it when tech geeks pontificate on human nature). Yet there is still that basic desire in humans to break out and feel freedom again. Facebook may be taking over as the new AOL walled garden. I think people forget that AOL fulfilled those social and easy media consumption tasks that Facebook and iTunes do today. I was very addicted to it in the mid-1990s.

After a while the sandbox gets tiring and you look for other adventures on the playground.

For an alternative viewpoint on the state of web advertising, check out this New York Times article.

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06

09 2010

iPhone 4: Revolutionizing Citizen Journalism?

iPhone 4

Credit: Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr (CC)

Mobilisms argues that the HD video capabilities of the iPhone 4 will revolutionize citizen journalism, citing the release of the iPhone-shot short film “Apple of my Eye.” The article ponders how the iPhone 4 could have figured into something like the Iranian Twitter Revolution and points us to useful citizen video venues Allvoices and CitizenTube.

Mobile Impact: How the iPhone 4 Will Revolutionize Citizen Journalism

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13

08 2010