Monthly Archives: February 2015

Drowning in Emails

The more advance the technology becomes the more data we get. It’s just the natural evolution of things. In ch.9 of Briggs book Journalism Next he talks about the importance of managing and using data as a digital journalist.The ironic thing about this chapter is the fact that I had a problem with managing data just yesterday.

I just received a new replacement iphone 5 and I needed to get all my data from the old iphone to the new one. Unfortunately my screen was damaged on the old iphone and I had a passcode on it. I called Apple and they basically told me I was screwed and that I would lose all my data if I didn’t have a backup of my itunes. Luckily I not only had a backup on my computer, but I also synced my data with icloud and my contacts with Microsoft Outlook. Within 10 minutes of installing my new iphone 5 I had retrieved all my previous data. I was lucky.

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Honestly data technology can work both ways. If I didn’t save a backup of my iphone to itunes I could have lost two years worth of contacts, notes, emails, and apps. Even though technology makes data storage easier, it’s also like putting all your eggs in a basket. Let’s say your computer crashes or you drop your phone in water. Unless you save your info to a cloud service chances are you won’t recover any of that data.

Briggs talks about learning to manage your emails more effectively, which is something I seriously need to work on. As professional we have to constantly check our emails or we could miss out on vital information. It can also be a hassle at times. Other programs like dropbox are a god send. The cloud system allows people to have infinite access to their data as long as they have a internet connection. This has become a game changer when concerning journalism because it offer more options when storage is concerned.

Mobilize or Die

In the fifth chapter of Briggs book he talks about being a mobile journalist. When you think about it you really don’t have a choice. Everything as far as media is concern is either centralize to your phone or laptop. I rarely even watch the news on TV anymore. It’s all about the accessibility a smartphone gives you. As journalist we have to adapt to new technology and the way people view media.

With the innovation of smartphones we as people have developed short attention spans, it’s just the truth. With the click of a button we can google whatever intrigues us and have that information in seconds. When I read a article from the Washington Post online I rarely even read the whole thing. I find the major points of the article and I move on to the next article. Honestly, when you think about it articles are getting shorter and are usually accompanied by a short video. Most people just click on the video instead of even reading the article.

The new digital journalist have to be prepared to capture a story anywhere at anytime. The cheapest and most convenient way to do this is with a smart phone. Truth be told I hate to see news images delivered through a cell phone, but it is effective. When you think about it smartphones do everything. They record video, audio, serve as research tools, take notes, upload and even edit. That’s a powerful tool that fits in your pocket. One drawback about smartphones are the image quality. Don’t get me wrong some have incredible images, but there’s something about it that just irks me. I can’t explain it. It doesn’t feel professional enough to me. Also if you’re using a smartphone to cover a story you are probably in a rush and want to be the first person to report. This could lead to inaccurate information.

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On the other end of the spectrum you have the gear heads as Briggs calls them. I am definitely a gear head. I have to have my dslr, lights, microphone, monopod, lens, and other goodies. I like the options, you never know what you’ll come against when trying to cover a story. Also I believe more gear will allow you to create a more cohesive story because you have the equipment to do so. The only drawback is toting all that gear with you all day. It can really become a burden after a couple of hours. Also you can’t catch spontaneous action as fast as a person with a smart phone. With a dslr you really have to set up your shoots to get the best results. The process is longer and slower. The tradeoff with using gear would be quality. You can’t beat it. You have some dslr’s like the black magic pocket cinema that look almost as good as film cameras. At the end of the day the option is up to the journalist.

Get Connected

The emergence of social media and microblogging has definitely made journalism more accessible to the average person. I mean, everybody is a blogger or journalist thanks to Facebook and Twitter. In chapter 4 of Journalism Next Briggs does a great job of showing the importance of microblogging. Honestly I didn’t even know that such a word even existed.

 

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Twitter was alway a mystery to me. It wasn’t quite like Facebook. It took a very minimalist approach to social media. You had 140 characters to express your opinions and not a character more. I’ve tried and I mean I have really tried to get into Twitter, but the fact is I don’t quite get it frankly. It’s so short and a lot times messages on Twitter are like an inside joke that you had to hear initially to understand.

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Nevertheless I do understand the importance and power that Twitter has had on this generation of up and coming journalist. In the chapter Briggs talks about the immediacy that Twitter brings to journalism. A lot of stories have actually appeared on Twitter before any other media platform could get coverage. Briggs brings up the example of Shawna Redden and the emergency landing of Southwest Airlines in 2011. She gave a first hand account of the situation as it was happening. The whole ordeal was extremely intimate. I almost felt like I was on the plane with her just by her giving the description as it was happening. You don’t get that same emotion with the news. She made a connection with people who were thousands of miles away and that’s what social media and microblogging is all about. It’s that intimacy that you don’t get with news.

Briggs also talks about Twitter being used to collect data. I never really thought about that before reading the chapter, but it’s true. You can get real time information on how people feel about politics, world events, sports, society, and a plethora of other things instantaneously. Once again you don’t get this with news. With news you hear the information and you digest it. With social media you get involved in the conversation, it’s a call and response platform. As a telecommunications major I see the changes in news gathering and distribution and I wonder what’s next. One thing I will say is we are all being connected.