Monthly Archives: September 2007

West end girl in an east end world

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I’ve decided that in order to get a good build-up of writing behind me, it is imperative that I actually write. So, I guess I could use this blog wisely and attempt to put my semi-creative thoughts onto paper (or screen).

After being stuck inside for the last few days with mild viral meningitis, Shane took me and Lachlan into Brighton for some yummy lunch at his work,The Pantry. I never thought it was possible to be satiated with calamari and salad, but this lunch proved to be an exception to that rule. Lachlan seemed to enjoy his chicken and chips, although he got more joy out of eating tomato sauce than anything else. But his greatest joy came from meeting Guy and Julia’s little girl, Lottie, who is 14 months. I think Lachlan is subtly hinting at wanting a little brother or sister…(sister, apparently, as I just asked him a few seconds ago). Anyway, he smothered her with hugs and kisses (to which I’m not sure Lottie knew what to make of that), and a few tentative eye pokes.

On another note, I feel torn between my western suburbs facade and my eastern suburbs inner yuppy. On one hand, I wanted to laugh out loud at the couple who bought their little boy in (not much younger than Lachlan) and sat a portable dvd player in front of him to entertain him, while they enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch. But deep down inside (waaayyyyy down) I wished that we were that Brighton couple and had enough money to buy a portable dvd player.

The day ended well, with some retail therapy. I can hear you asking “but how does a west side girl afford east side clothes?” Well, the secret is Quick Brown Fox, on Church St. It has adorable, multi-coloured, extremely funky clothes, shoes and bags, as well as other accessories, at ridiculously affordable prices. I felt like I had entered retail heaven, and I could have spent the rest of the arvo there if it weren’t for Lachlan’s tired rantings (albeit very quiet ones), and, of course, the lack of money. But I walked away extremely satisfied with a new black slouch bag, and a brown tweed jacket. I have to admit, the satisfying retail experience was helped by the woman behind the counter, who was young and friendly, and not at all pretentious. She helped me find a bag from the many they had in store, and had plenty of patience with me when I proceeded to pull the stuffing out of 4 or 5 of them to see inside.

All in all a very satisfying experience in Brighton that for once didn’t leave me wanting to run away and start a new life with a rich Brighton boy. Rather, I learnt there’s still hope for my poor, supressed inner eastern suburbs child.

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Video Journalism- what is it?

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Gone are the days of the full news team heading out for a breaking story. Now, video journalists (vj) do the jobs quickly, easily and efficiently.

Instead of having the camera crew, sound crew and reporter, now all that’s needed is a single journalist with a video camera.

These very talented journalists are capable of capturing their own story on film, editing it and reporting it.

VJ’s are suitable in times of chaos, when there is no time to organise the bulky film crew to accompany the reporter. They are also suitable for feature stories and soft news stories.

While there seems to be a rising trend in this type of journalism, it is difficult to imagine that the “old fashioned” news crew will become obsolete.

There are still moments in time that need the full effect of a proper microphone or boom, and a complex camera to capture the news story as a whole.

But knowing how to operate a camera, how to capture sound, and how to edit news stories are invaluable skills to have in today’s media.

Stomp: helping citizens become journalists

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“Stomp is a bridge between traditional newspapers and young readers,”- Quinn

In the wake of new media, technologies and audience fragmentation, Singapore’s main media company, Singapore Press Holdings, launched a news based website called Stomp, which runs on user generated content. The site was launched in 2006.

How does it work?

Citizens would send Stomp what they considered newsworthy photographs, quite often via mobile phone. Stomp editors would assess whether the photo was in fact newsworthy. If it was then Stomp would contact the person who sent the photo and set up an interview with them, asking what happened. The story would then be re-written by Stomp journalists, and run by the person who sent the photo in, to check for inaccuracies. If all was correct the story would be published.

The reason for creating Stomp had to do with audience fragmentation- where the readers are no longer getting their information from only one source- and also because they wanted to try and bridge the gap between newspapers and young readers.

User generated content websites such as Stomp and OhMyNews are a great way to get regular people more involved in news. It gives the general public a way to hear the news they believe is important, not the news that media owners believes important. It also provides a gateway for independent news, without any hidden agendas. UGC websites are definitely the future of news because it is a place where you and I can go to get unbiased news.

Writing for the web: why bother?

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Writing for the web gives you the potential to reach millions of people. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s easy, because you still need to attract the attention of those millions of people. And Stephen Quinn, who wrote Convergent Journalism: An Introduction- Writing and Producing Across Media tells us how to do just that. It begins by writing a catchy headline. Other blogs I have read give tips on how to become a “most popular” blog. In this case, the suggestion is to write about what people are interested in. You catch their attention with a snappy headline and then draw the reader in further using the first couple of sentences- the leads- to deliver your main points.
Using sharp, punchy language also helps keep the reader interested. As Quinn mentions, people on the net aren’t readers, they scan. If your website or blog has loads of details, long words and not much verbal colour the reader is going to get very bored, very quickly. All you have to do is remember what audience you are writing for. Much like print media!