#thefutureofjournalism

 

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Journalism has entered a stage of transition. This transition is part of the natural evolution much like the cassette tape to CD and radio to television.

The once start up site BuzzFeed has become one of the most fierce competitors in the digital news environment, with an innovative deliverance and a large online participatory audience, it is to be taken seriously as a news source.

“BuzzFeed is taking viral content and then overlaying it with a skin of serious news” – David Carr.

We are also seeing new alliances form between professional journalists and non-legacy companies in an attempt to break away form the mainstream. This alliance adds credibility and trust to digital news, which is an important element in journalistic reporting.

“Anytime digital media gets a little money – this is true of Huffington Post, true of VIX Media, true of BuzzFeed – what they do is they go out and hire journalists”. – David Carr

Accessibility, I believe, is the defining factor that has made the transition to digital journalism so successful. Tom Rosensteil in his TEDx talk describes how “today, news media must adapted to changes in societal behaviour… the news is now more convenient and can satisfy our curiosity whenever and wherever we want. The word ‘mobile’ is changing the way we live (Carr 2014). Our mobile phones have enabled news to become simplified, apps such as Twitter gives information to its users in easily digestible chunks of 140 characters or less. Yahoo News Digest is a sleek, highly visual app that presents the user with 10 or so algorithmically generated news stories twice a day (Newton 2014).

The paradox of choice is another element of digital journalisms success story (Carr 2014). We no longer have to listen to News Corp telling us at 6.30pm what news we should and would want to hear. The user can now ultimately define what news they want to consume. We are in charge of our own learning!

The idea that information will manifest in front of you is another thing that defines our generation (Rosensteil 2014). If you’re bored you can scroll your Twitter feed. If something takes your interest you can (usually) go to a second source. Still interested? You can comment, retweet and hashtag your thoughts. Now you have started conversation and the story is circulating the internet…It is now #trending.

It is hard to conclude on something when you are talking about its future. Journalism is a dynamic and flexible industry and as long as it can adapt to change we will not see its end as some researchers are suggesting, but an exciting yet unpredictable future.

 

References

Carr, D 2014, NYT’s David Carr on the Future of Journalism, Boston University, online video, 6 March, accessed via youtube 16/04/2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WPlazqH0TdA

Newton, C 2014, Yahoo’s Sleek News Digest App Swims Against the Stream, The Verge January 7, viewed 16/04/2014, http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/7/5284300/yahoos-sleek-news-digest-app-swims-against-the-stream

Rosenstiel, T 2013, The Future of Journalism: Tom Rosenstiel at TEDxAtlanta, TEDx, online video, 28 May, accessed via youtube 15/04/2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RuBE_dP900Y

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Please see below, two compulsory comments I’ve made in reply to fellow BCM310 students posts on the Future of Journalism.

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Aesthetic Journalism and the creative city

Art is transforming modern day news consumption. We are seeing different forms of media interact, transforming cities into creative hubs. These collaborations create an immersive physical experience were the audience is immediately transported into a state of nostalgia.

“Aesthetic journalism conveys other forms of interpretations of the world, distinct from that of art and traditional journalism” – Alfredo Cramerotti

A production of truth deferring from the mainstream is shown in Banksy’s art installation in the Lower East Side in 2013. The politically charged work featured a 1800-number to a recording of a 39 minute US Airstrike in 2007 that killed two children and a Rauters journalist (Evans 2013). Camerotti (2009) explains the use of precise aesthetics by means of graphic display of information provides a sense of witnessing an unmediated account. Furthermore by creating a journalistic narrative through art, Banksy was able to by-pass traditional gatekeeping methods enforced upon mainstream journalists.

“Aesthetics is the capacity of an art form to put our sensibility in motion, and covert what we feel about nature and the human race into a concrete (visual, oral or bodily) experience” – Alfredo Cramerotti

Banksy’s work reiterates the notion of transmedia storytelling, a concept introduced early in my media and communicaitons degree. Bankys’ project began on the website BanksyNY.com then moved onto his canvas of New York City buildings. The installation called Crazy Hourse Riding Through the Lower East Side, made audience members feeling like they were in a call of duty game, however once the 1800 number was called attitudes changed and reality set in.

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References

Cramerotti, A, 2009, “What is Aesthetic Journalism,” in Cramerotti, Alfredo,
Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing, Intellect Ltd, London

Evans, B 2013, Banksy gets political in New York: Artist creates image of armed megun sights, horses wearing night vision goggles and a free phone number to hear audio of airstrike, Daily Mail, 10 Oct, viewed 12/04/2014,http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2451699/Banksys-unveils-pointed-political-comment-New-York.html

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Second Life vs First Life – its real impact on reality.

Throughout history we have seen technology transform the world through global nervous systems, connecting its citizens from the invention of the telegraph, which caused a dramatic shift in world-perception to Paul Baran ARPAnet concept in 1964, which later became known as the Internet. However as we assess the endless possibilities the Internet and cyberspace offer its users, has communication gone so far in that it is becoming extinct in the real world and surviving only through text in MMOGS (massively multiple online games)?

Personally, the idea of a living a virtual second life seems strange because I can not get over the fact that I would be putting most of my thoughts and free time into my Second Life and not connecting with reality. For some users this is the case. When the virtual reality does not only become their Second Life but their only life.

However, after writing the previous paragraph I came across an article by Henry Jenkins where he states that even though we travel to the digital world to escape reality we are engaging with symbolic representations, which we read in relation to reality. True.

Personally, I attach a stereotype to the user of Second Life whose ambition is to; yes again I repeat myself, escape reality. Thus, believing that Second Life is only used for evil not good. However Jenkins further goes on to state that there are many educational uses for second life. A particular inspiring case uses virtual reality to help those who suffer with autism and Asperger’s. It is said that Second Life enables the rehearsal of social skills and helps overcome anxieties of communicating in reality.

As I stated previously I would never trade my life of adventure and travel in substitution for one filled with MMOGs. However for some, escaping reality is their only option and there are multiple benefits which are the outcome. I’m confident in saying that at one stage in everyone’s life they have wanted to change something, it doesn’t have to be something big, even just a small aspect. This is what second life lets you do. And now I understand why this virtual reality has become so popular.

After reading Four Puzzles From Cyberspace, a short story, which particularly took my interest, was an argument between two Avatars in a virtual world. I’m not going to try and explain the whole story to you in intricate detail however I will give you my opinion…I began reading the story in real life. It wasn’t making much sense and the argument seemed extremely irrelevant, with comments made by the Avatars extremely absurd in there nature. The further you read, the more complex the argument became. For someone like me who is new to the idea of virtual reality and second life initially I could not comprehend the logic behind the argument, however this story has allowed me to somewhat grasp the vast the full extent of these virtual worlds and the technology that allows them to do this is phenomenal.

I guess one way to think of Second Life is that if there is a problem, in any aspect of their virtual life they can fix. If only this was true in the real world.

Follow onto this site for more videos and information on Second Life.

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Our convergent culture of participatory journalism

The future of journalism is happening now in the present. Convergence and the development of new technologies has allowed for a new audience to emerge, a participatory culture that is challenging traditional journalistic norms.

Author and philosopher Alain de Botton was interviewed on the Triple J Hack program today, speaking about current news practices and what we can do better to understand it. Interestingly, he announced that citizen journalism takes us to better places. Contemporary critics also argue that citizen journalism ask for a more reciprocal relationship with the reader, circulating conversation (Domingo et al 2008). Audiences are now active participants in the new era of digital news journalism.

No longer does society rely on mass media to transport information. Audiences now pass unmediated messages through communities as a way of by passing traditional Gatekeepers. The most notable example of this today is social media.

“Participatory journalism is a new model of journalism which implies that some of the insitiutionalised communication functions of agencies and journalists can be performed by individual society members and organised”. – David Domingo et al

In 2012 The Guardian released the ‘open journalism’ campaign. This advertisement provoked the debate surrounding the role of journalism in the modern world. Told through the story of the Three Little Pigs, with an aim to showcase the Guardian’s multimedia credentials and open journalism philosophy (Sweney 2012), the advertisement further emphaised how an event can become an issue through social media and the moral panic created through this medium. Furthermore this advertisement reiterates the notion of collective intelligence as one news item has no value, two news items generates potential, it isn’t until you gain a number of sources that information becomes credible (Button 2014).

Finally I’d like to leave you with this statement on Twitter in reply to Alan De Buttons interview.

The 24 hour news cycle slowly destroying well research and relevant journalism – @danielfisk84

 

References

Button, A D, 2014, Alan De Button on Hack, Radio interview, 25 March, Triple J, viewed on 25/03/2014, http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/stories/s3971292.htm

Domingo, D et al, 2008, Participatory Journalism Practices in the Media and Beyond: An international comparative study of initiatives in in online newspapers, Journalism Practice, Vol 2, issue 3, pp326-342, accessed via Univeristy of Wollongong Summons 25/03/2014

Sweney, M 2012, Guardian TV ad kicks off ‘open journalism’ campaign, The Guardian, viewed 25 March 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/media/2012/feb/29/guardian-tv-ad-open-journalism

 

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Play Nicely | The Great Gaming Debate

A ‘game’ is a term we are all familiarly with, we grew up playing them, usually involving friends, sports and fun connotations. ‘Gaming’ on the other hand, draws upon characteristics of violence, a subculture ruled by the introverted and represented by multiple conflicting perspectives in the media landscape today.

Gaming allows for user engagement at a personal level. Interactivity implies that the user is able to interact with content, the creator and other participants. Rob Cover (2006) explains that co-participation in authorship has redefined the traditional author-text-audience relationship, thus interactivity has increased the popularity of electronic gaming. Could this close nature of engagement with this particular technology have lead to the problematised cultural perceptions the media and society conclude about gaming and violence?

When we think of gaming, conclusions are often made that violent video games have a direct causal affect on aggression. For example, playing Halo will make you want to fight. Conversely, some researchers and academics conclude that there are no scientific links between video games and criminal violence (Schreier, 2013).

Mainstream media tend to portray children as a victim to video games, blaming technology rather than the child. Jeanne Funk, in 1999 after the Columbine shooting, told the Los Angeles Times, “We found signs that children who enjoy (violent) games can lose the emotional cues that trigger empathy” (Shreier 2013). Another example is given by Doug Gentile “a child who plays more violent video games- it changes their attitudes and their beliefs about aggressions. It does decensitise them” (Shreier 2013).

More often than not, the media presents these findings as a ‘blame the accuser’ response to real acts of violence. The famous Sandy Hook Shooting in 2012, saw a mass moral panic, jumping straight on the violent video game blame. Mass Effect, Call of Duty and Dynasty Warriors are video games that were wrongly accused by British Tabloids (Brian Ashcraft 2012). In an attempt to clam the masses, President Obama asked congress to set aside $10 million for the centres for Disease Control and Prevention to study the ties between violent images in the media, specifically the effects of violent video games on young minds (Good 2013). This leads me to believe that the only way to control the issue is through government control and regulation.

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people and admitted to being addicted to World of Warcraft

This 25 yearlong debate shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

For further information video game violence read Tina Amini article on 25 Video Game Violence Studies Summarised.

References

Ashcraft, B, 2012, British Tabloids Are Blaming Call of Duty and..Dynasty Warriors, viewed 29/03/2014, http://kotaku.com/5969340/british-tabloids-are-blaming-call-of-duty-and-dynasty-warriors/all

Cover, R 2006, Audience inter/active: Interactive media, narrative control and reconceiving audience history, New Media & Society, vol 8, pp138-158, SAGE Publications, London.

Good, O 2013, President Asks Congress to Fund Study of Violence and Media – Video Games Included, accessed 29/03/2014, http://kotaku.com/5976454/president-asks-congress-to-fund-study-of-video-games-and-violence/all

Schreier, J 2013, From Halo to Hot Sauce: What 25 Years of Violent Video Game Research Looks Like, viewed 23/03/2014, http://kotaku.com/5976733/do-video-games-make-you-violent-an-in-depth-look-at-everything-we-know-today/all

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Our addiction to the myth | The media and the public sphere

Going into my third year at university I’ve written my fair share of posts on the Public Sphere. Lecturers reiterate the notion of coffee houses and an idealised public that is egalitarian and an open place where everyone has a voice. So please sit tight, sip on your coffee and enjoy my blog.

The broadening media landscape in society today has resulted in a shift in journalisms social role. Conventional journalism is now becoming obsolete and the term must be looked at from a new angle. There has been a blurring of the lines between media and pop culture, traditional media drew a clear distinction between news and entertainment however now we are struggling to define what counts as journalism (Berkowitz 2008).

What the growth of new media forms has done to our cultural media-scape is not to increase erosion of the journalistic soil, but to accelerate something more akin to glacial movement of the journalistic terrain – Dan Berkowitz (2009)

What we can take form Berkowitz, is that journalism is not dying, as many are saying, rather the industry is adapting to new media in order to survive. Out with the old and in with the new.

Lets now take a look at how a current moral panic and adapted to the new form of journalism.

Since Saturday March 8th the world has waited in anticipation. The conspiracy of Malaysian airline flight MH370, has lead news bulletins, trended on Twitter, filled Facebook news feeds and sparked great dinner table conversation for 4 weeks now.  If you type ‘flight MH370’ into Google it shows 220 thousand results, it seems like a topic worth debating in the public sphere.

This concentration of media in such as short period of time leads me to believe we have an infatuation with conspiracy and the events surrounding flight MH370. The Public sphere of imagination, places an individual in the myth, our interest in innate death, the possibility that we could die crossing the road tomorrow or the idea of being on the flight that crashed, enhances our interest, “it could have been me”.

The idea of improvisational millennialism uses a collage of media sources to prove a holistic and comprehensive picture of the world, in this case, the event of MH370. Conspiracy theories have lead to improvisation to get a solution, damaging the credibility of sources. Mainstream news senationalises the coverage of the event to gain viewer ship and citizen journalism plays upon these false leads. ‘what does the spec on the radar mean’, ‘what does the last message from the pilot mean’?

Further out cry from the public sphere has been shown by relatives of Chinese passengers protest at the Malaysian embassy in Beijing. The Guardian explains that more than two weeks of confusing and sometimes contradictory briefings have left relatives of more than 150 Chinese citizens on board deeply suspicious about search and investigation.

Kellner (2003) explains that when spectacles become defining events of their era they become known as megaspectacles, those phenomena of media culture that dramatise its controversies and struggles. Historical extravaganzas that characterised a certain period include Princess Diana’s wedding and funeral and September 11 terror attacks. The conspiracy and sensationalistic coverage of flight MH370 leads me to believe that it is a megaspectacle in the making and one that could define our era.

Our addiction to the myth fuels the media to sensationalise these events leading to dominating news, journalism and Internet coverage.

References

Berkowitz, D 2009, Journalism in the broader cultural mediascape, Journalism, Vol 10 No. 3, pp 290-292, Sage Publications, London, accessed via UOW Moodle

Kellner, D 2003, Media Spectacle, Taylor & Francis Ltd/Books, United Kingdom, accessed via UOW Summon

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The Art of the #Selfie

By an extension of ones arm, and a tap of a screen, the selfie became famous. These actions are usually accompanied by ‘the duck face’ a phrase now common in the English speaking world. 30 pictures later you have finally perfected your head tilt and pout, the image is ready for editing, to then be uploaded onto all 9 social media accounts.

The Selfie has become part of the social experience, a ubiquitous trend, resulting in mass participation. The phenomena of social media, photo-sharing and blogging, has facilitated a complex environment where the perception of ones self can be projected to the masses.

Karen Donnachie describes the selfie as a significant phenomenon of contemporary amateur photography, they way in which it is made and distributed, as well as the possible motivations driving this particular style of self-portrait.

Emerging motivations for capturing oneself is that of collective identity and enhancing ones-self awareness. For those of you who take selfies as a form of self expression, great, I have nothing against you. However for individuals who strive to capture the perfect self portrait, using photo editing and comparing yourself to the popularity of others, leading to a misrepresentation of ones self, could be doing more harm than good. Donnachie describes this as “Anxious self-scrutiny” (which could arguably be manifested in the repeated action of the selfie).

In September last year I wrote a blog post titled The Selfie Phenomenon and it’s interesting to reflect on how far the art form has come in a few months. Natalie Villacorta (2014) published an article for Politico titled ‘The Politics of the selfie’, explaining that elected officials in the US are employing the selfie as a digital-age tool to appear authentic, accessible and spontaneous to the public. However this is contradicted in Jerry Saltz article, as he names and shames Barack Obama’s use of the selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Thus, we can determine that the selfie has a time and place associated with its use.

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The future of the selfie is quite interesting to predict. Saltz (2014) predicts that we’ll see selfies of ordeal, adventure, family history, sickness, and death. Personally, I cant wait to see what will come of the risqué (naked selfies) that have the potential to be seen by millions. What could this mean for the future of those exposed?

References:

Donnachie, K, Selfies, #me: Glimpses of authenticity in the Narcissus’ pool of the networked amateur self-portrait, Acaedmia, accessed 23/03/14,  http://www.academia.edu/6276032/Selfies_me_Glimpses_of_authenticity_in_the_Narcissus_pool_of_the_networked_amateur_self-portrait

Saltz, J, 2014, Art at Arm’s Length: A history of the selfie, New York Magazine, viewed 16/03/14, http://www.vulture.com/2014/01/history-of-the-selfie.html

Villacorta, N 2014, ‘The Politics of the Selfie’, Politico, accessed 23/03/14, http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/selfies-politics-104910.html

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