Monthly Archives: August 2007

Moblogs, vlogs, vodcasting and podcasting- bad luck if you’re not tech savvy!

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Today’s journalist really needs to be multi skilled to do their job. And you would think that the increased availability of new technology would have made life easier for them, but sadly this is not the case. These days you have to be multi-skilled to deal with multi-media. You are no longer a newspaper journalist, but rather, you are a news journalist. You aren’t just a writer, you are a camera man, an editor, a sound recorder, a graphic designer and an artist. You don’t just write news, you also podcast it,vodcast it, moblog it and vlog it.

“I’m sorry,” I hear you say, “are you speaking english?” Let me give you a run down.

Podcasting- everyone has the potential and the access to technology to be a radio presenter. Podcasting sound recorded with anything from a maycom to a mobile phone, edited on your computer using programs such as Audacity (for PC’s) or GarageBand (for Macs). You can add sound effects, cut and paste bits together and essentially pout together your own radio show. You then upload it towherever you want it- your blog, MySpace page et al.

Vodcasting- same as podcasting except with video instead of sound. Edit it and upload it to your chosen website. You can add slideshows spliced in with videos, graphics and text. Anything you need to tell your story.

Moblogging & Vlogging- You know what a blog is right? (Course you do, you wouldn’t be here otherwise). Moblogging is blogging from your mobile phone. Capture a video or image on your phone, add some text to the image, like a description of the scene, and then email it or mms it to your blog. Simple and effective.

Give it a try- it’s very addictive!

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Citizen Journalism & blogging VS "real" Journalism

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“The internet is a unique phenomenon that has delivered not just technological innovations but become a conduit for change, accelerating the rate, diversity and circulations of ideas”.

There is a whisper going around that citizen journalism isn’t “real” journalism. I’m sure there are many “real” journalists out there that would secretly (or not so secretly) agree. And as for blogging? Well, let’s not even start about that. But I am inclined to think that while citizen journalism (CJ) may not be “real” journalism, it is definitely real news reporting.

Citizen journalists are called this because they know news when they see it, and they attempt to report on it. Just because they may not have the “skills” or “qualifications” to write a news story correctly, doesn’t mean they are not journalists of some form. The hardest part of the news industry isn’t reporting the news, it’s finding it. What the industry now has is millions of potential eyes and ears stationed is various locations, any of which could find itself in the middle of a breaking news story. Citizen journalists should be seen as an asset, but will never take the place of journalists.

Blogging, however, could never take the place of real journalism. Blogging isn’t reporting news. Blogging is a discussion of topics that interest you. It could be reporting on an issue, but it could also be whinging about the crappy public transport system, or re-telling that amazing European backpacking experience you had. But it is not, and never will be, real journalism. Unless, of course, it is done by a journalist, for a newspaper.

The war against the media worlds: citizen journalism VS "real" journalists

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Is it the end of days for qualified journalists? Are they going to lose their jobs to the public sphere, who are becoming increasingly more vocal in their opinions- blogging and joining in participatory journalism? Well, there are two possible answers to this question: yes or no. I know, “well duh” I hear you say. But as always, there as an argument for and an argument against, and both sides have pretty good points.

Two readings this week give opposing views on whether citizen journalism is helping or hindering the media industry. Personally, I don’t see how it is hindering. It is like having all your reporters and journalists in the field at once, keeping their eyes and ears out for a good news story. How can it hurt receiving a tip-off from the public about breaking news? And surely it can’t hurt to have an independent source of news run purely by the public, such as Korea’s OhMyNews.com. Many of the major news sources around the world are providing details online for the public to contact them about a breaking news story. BBC especially takes pride in its citizen journalist population, encouraging the public to write in about anything that concerns them, or that they regard as news.

User generated content: "We are all reporters now"

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“What is happening is…a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They don’t want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them. They want control over their media instead of being controlled by it.” – Rupert Murdoch 2005

What is user generated content? It’s any photo, video or piece of text that has appeared in the news that was captured or written by a member of the public, as opposed to a journalist or reporter. There have been several events over the last decade that have pushed this revolution in news reporting along: September 11, Bali bombings, the tsunami and London bombings. Many of the London bombings photos that were splashed all over the front pages of the paper and found throughout media websites were taken by the public. It is events like these that have helped encourage the use of ugc.

Ugc gives readers the news they want to read about, and gives them more control over what is actually in the news. The existence of ugc may help overcome some problems that cross-media ownership can cause, such as that of large conglomerates controlling most of the world’s media, and in turn controlling most of the world’s news. Ugc provides the opportunity for independent bodies, such as South Korea’s ohmynews.com to give a more objective approach to the news.

Ucg and participatory journalism is making news more accessible, both in terms of the medium used to view it, where and when you can access it. The fact that the public can either blog or text a breaking news story to the media on the spot has also changed the news cycle. Where traditionally there was morning and evening news, now the news cycle must be 24 hours in order to keep up with ugc.

A by-product of ugc is that it is encouraging audience fragmentation as more types of media become available, provoking consumers into choosing that which is most convenient for them. As Quinn says in “Ugc and the changing news cycle” that “if it is possible to receive the news any time, audiences tend to break into distinct groups based on factors such as interests, income, age and location”.

So how is the media supposed to deal with this “revolution”? Will it get to the point where journalists become redundant? Well, I don’t think so. There will always be the need for journalists to report on the specialist news like finance, sport and politics. But when it comes to hard news, it seems as though the media is responding with a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude. Murdoch has reacted by saying “…the business models of existing media players will have to respond,” and that the challenge his company faced was to deliver news in ways which consumers wanted it. In other words, send the journalists out into society with a mobile phone that can capture video footage. Paul Horrocks, Editor-in-Cheif to the Manchester Evening News agrees with this and says “if to information overload we add the fragmentation of media consumption, the drop of advertising revenues and the increase in competition then…we must reinvent our product to be more competitive and to satisfy our consumers”.

So ugc and citizen journalism, or participatory journalism, has certainly played a big part in revolutionising the media. In such a big change, however, I can’t help wondering: what comes next?