Convergence in Limbo

Reading Reaction for November 19, 2010

Does anyone really know what he or she is talking about? Sure there is a million different pieces of research floating around talking about convergence, new media, old media, journalism education, etc, but does anyone really know if we are gaining any ground? After reading the two chapters in Grant and Wilkinson I cannot help but think whether or not every time we take a step forward we are taking two steps back. Of course there is proof that new media is beneficial and that convergence can be the right path to take, but there is the other side saying that new media is bad and that convergence has many problems. So what are we to think? Are we supposed to decide for ourselves? Are we supposed to just say that everything is fine and trust those in power above us? Is it a trial and error situation? There are so many questions that I am not sure where to start. We have discussed convergence in previous blogs and even journalism on an educational level and that is what I want to focus on now—journalism in school.

Grant and Wilkinson (2009) say, “University journalism and mass communication departments have struggled to prepare students for possible changing career expectations” (p. 206). What does this say for the future of the field? I am not saying that what professors are doing to prepare their students is not good, but if they are struggling then the students will be struggling as well…right? And if they are struggling then what can be done to get them on the right track? Can anything be done? The world of journalism is changing quickly and with so many different points of view it is hard to know what universities are supposed to relay to their students. Maybe that is the answer. Maybe instead of trying to find key facts and ways of doing things professors are supposed to present their students with the struggle itself. By showing them that there are different points of view and examples of it maybe the students will be better prepared for the fluctuations in the field.

We have seen and discussed how convergence can be seen as a positive thing, but Grant (2009) says, “Even industry professionals working in convergence newsrooms suggest that the consequences outweigh the benefits in trying to create a newsperson who does it all, for every medium” (206). Maybe the mass amounts of information get to be too much and newcomers to the profession try to cut corners. If they were trained to a specific media then maybe once they had a job they could pick up on the key factors of other mediums that would help them move up in their job. I know what you are thinking—there will be someone more qualified than them if they are only trained in one medium. I agree, but at the same time what Grant is saying is that sometimes less is more. “Journalism schools should continue to train students to be skilled in a particular area while being prepared to handle the demands of convergence,” (Grant, 2009, p. 207). A student/graduate who is trained in a medium that they enjoy, with additional knowledge of the other mediums then they go into the profession with adequate amounts of knowledge. This could possibly a win-win-win situation for the universities, students, and news companies. Professors are able to instruct and ready their students for the field; students gain valuable information, but not enough to cloud their memory; and news companies receive new employees who are educated and ready to start work.

Grant (2009) goes on to say, “There ha[ve] been issues surrounding differing ethical standards between print and broadcast” (p. 238). Issues are always going to be around. No matter who comes through the field there are always going to be those in print who think they are better than those in broadcast and vice versa, but maybe there is a way to make them think about the importance of both. If we follow the logic in the previous paragraph about teaching students a specific medium (a medium they are interested in) along with bits and pieces of the others maybe they will have a better understanding of how important each medium is. Instead of cramming all the mediums in if professors taught specialized classes along with basics for other mediums then maybe students will be more inclined to really learn instead of feeling like they have to learn (I hope all of that made sense).

I believe that convergence is something that cannot be stop, but I do feel that it is something that could be better understood if we considered the views from all sides instead of trying to pin point whether or not it is bad. I also feel that convergence could be better dealt with if we start early, which would be in schools. If we are taught about convergence early on, which we are, but really taught that the struggle is important and not really whether or not it is right or wrong, then we might be better equipped for the future. We are told that experience is extremely important, which there is no doubt that experience is key. I cannot argue that, but education is just as important. It is the stepping-stone to experience; especially when you know what field you want to go into. It is a way to get background information and tools that are necessary to excel at your chosen career.

So, is convergence really the devil or is it an angel? Maybe it is a mixture that is sitting in limbo waiting to confuse us on our journey. Whatever form it takes it is important, in my opinion, to understand its pros and cons.

References

Grant, A.E., & Wilkinson, J.S. (2009). Understanding media convergence: the   state of the field. New York: Oxford University Press.

 

Advertisements
Published in: on November 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm  Comments (1)  

Tug-of-War

Reading Reaction for November 12, 2010

Convergence has been a topic of discussion throughout the semester and we have seen that it can be seen either as a positive or negative thing. It’s a frenemy (a friend and an enemy) depending on whom you talk to and when you talk to them. Obviously new things are not always met with excitement. A lot of the times they are met with resistance and for good reason. New does not necessarily mean good; it can be a change for the worse in some instances. Convergence, bringing together the media world, has been seen as a positive step toward the future and also as a negative melding of cultural, social, and professional differences. You have to take into consideration that you are never going to be able to please everyone. This is true in every aspect of life not just with convergence. Should someone disagreeing with the idea make you stop? Should we never try something new just because it has the possibility of failing? If no one ever attempted change where would we be?

Grant and Wilkinson (2009) say, “A single device or Web-based application offering multimedia attributes does not necessarily replace or displace traditional media usage,” (p. 186). This is important to consider before diving into a conversation about convergence or new media in general. However, this statement can be seen as opinion rather than fact. Some will say that Web-based applications and/or a single device have and will replace traditional media, while others will claim the opposite. Regardless, it is still important to understand that there are different perspectives involved when trying to understand the impact convergence has on information flow.

Pavlik (1996) says, “ ‘Technical convergence’ has come to signify the ‘coming together of all forms of mediated communications in an electronic, digital form, driven by computers’,” (as cited in Grant, 2009, p. 184). When we hear the word technical most of us think of technology for all of the obvious reasons. What Pavlik says is that the word goes hand in hand with forms of communication that comes with computers. However, technical can mean any focus on any subject, but with the upsurge of the Internet and other technological advances we have taken the word to mean anything dealing with the subject of electronics/computers. Is this a misstep on our part? Have we taken convergence and isolated it to electronic forms of media? Have we taken away the broader meaning of both words, technical and convergence, and made them mean less than they were intended too?

When looking at media convergence in the news setting it can be said “convergence will disrupt news operations due to differences in cultures and decision-making procedures” (Grant, 2009, p. 187). We all have our routines and hate when that routine is disrupted for whatever reason. This is what happens with news organizations when a convergence takes place. The journalists are set in their ways and have an understanding of their job and how to do their job well and efficiently. When you bring in another company adding techniques, employees, and agendas the routine is thrown askew. This is a negative effect that media convergence can have. But why? Is it because the journalists really do not like change? Is it because they maybe feel threatened? Is it a manager/owners fault in miscommunication? Why do some people see convergence as a horrible thing when others cannot wait for it to happen?

The flip side of convergence being negative can be seen throughout the example given by Grant and Wilkinson. “Shared resources benefit all interviewed journalists in the Media General News Center in Tampa,” (Grant, 2009, p. 197). Who would not think that aid would be beneficial? Why would someone think that an extra pair of hands would be bad? Well, some argue that this is disruptive to the normal flow of things. This particular example shows how the concept of convergence is well received, but as we have seen in previous reading this is not necessarily always the case. Grant and Wilkinson (2009) also say, “Not only has media convergence at the News Center fostered a greater sense of community among the different units, but it has also brought to the forefront the importance of versatility in news-gathering operations” (p. 198). Convergence, when looked at a positive step forward in business, is beneficial in gathering news. When people work together most of the time more gets done, but not only that responsibilities are spaced out and delegated allowing for a journalists to be focus on a certain piece of work. Why would someone think that this is bad? Is it because we are so attached to the work we are used to performing that we are afraid someone will not give it the right amount of attention? Maybe we feel that they will do a better job and we will be discredited with the work we have put into certain aspects of our work.

Finally when looking at this chapter in Grant and Wilkinson we have to look at journalism in the educational arena. We know that the world of media and journalism is going in the direction of a technology driven field if it is not already there. Grant and Wilkinson (2009) say, “Schools believe that students must be able to present news across different platforms” (p. 187). They do not say that they should focus on just technology or just print, but on both. I have said before that it is important to know where you came from before you can know where you are going. Why would that change? How do people think we made it to this technologically inclined form of journalism? Did it appear out of thin air? We are still writing it is just them medium has changed. I do understand that some say journalism has lost its power, but is it because of the Internet; is it because the medium has changed?

Are we being to difficult when it comes to understanding convergence? Do we find ourselves stuck in a rut and unable to find our way out of it? There is a big tug-of-war game going on between those who see convergence as a beneficial thing and those who want to scream that they hate it. The question is can we stop it? Is there anyway for the average journalist (someone with no power in the company) to be heard? Should they have a say? Should they see how convergence works in their company before they make a judgment one way or the other?

References

Grant, A.E., & Wilkinson, J.S. (2009). Understanding media convergence: the   state of the field. New York: Oxford University Press.

Published in: on November 11, 2010 at 7:46 pm  Comments (5)  

Like Taking Candy From A Baby

Reading Reaction for November 5, 2010

When you try to draw a connection between journalism and the younger generation so many questions arise that it is hard to focus on any given one. The questions come from the academic arena, the generational divide, and numerous other sources. I want to focus on the generational divide with this post.

You can see in the college atmosphere that journalism is still a degree program and one that many people opt to attend. The question is why? Are they seriously interested in the field? What area do they want to study? Is there goal to become better journalist or get a better understanding than what they received on the high school level? Are they interested in the boom of the Internet or the good ole fashion newspaper? Then you have the broader sense of journalism that comes from the public at large and the questions that arise from it. The older generation, those who were not equipped with the Internet growing up are used to using the newspaper as a primary source of information. They could and probably do question the younger generations ability to spot good journalism. I have encountered these types of people, who are respectable and entitled to their opinions, and they question me and my generation’s concept of “hard work”, which comes in many forms of questions/statements. Then my generation cannot grasp the idea that the Internet has not been around for that long in reality. We do not see it as new, because we practically grew up understanding its impact. We see the newspaper as a thing of the past, something that is outdated and unimportant. But, in both respects, everyone is wrong. Should we not all take a step back and try to walk in the others shoes? Should we remain hardheaded and ignorant to the ideas of others? Journalism is a field where knowledge and ideas are given to all people, but we take away from its relevance by underestimating the power of old and new media.

Clark (n.d.) says, “The best journalism is like a map.” This simple statement paints a picture so vivid for the concept of journalism. If everyone regardless of your prejudice for the profession would step back and soak in this sentence maybe we could all garner a new respect for journalism in and of itself as well as for each other’s views. If journalism is a map then we, as the audience, are the tourist, the road signs are the information, and the intersections are the multiple interpretations of the story. If we took time to stop along the way and evaluate the map would we be more susceptible to understanding a different opinion? This map “shows where you are in relation to others; it provides a sense of topography and can show the best path forward” (Clark, n.d.). Clark does such a great job of discussing journalism in a way that we can visualize the points she is making. By doing this I was forced to stop and think about the article in a more realistic way. The intersections on a map, which I deemed as different interpretations of a story, present us with many options, but are there too many? Do we lose sight of what the story is trying to tell us? Is this why a generational divide has occurred when looking at the different mediums for journalism? Before the Internet did people see as a story as black or white with no gray area? Or do we, since the creation of the Internet, try to read too much into a story? Clark brings up some things that help when looking at these questions brought on by the idea of interpretation. Clark (n.d.) says, “As a journalist it’s worth considering worth considering two things: Too much information can be too much of a good thing, if it’s not vetted and curated. And a place’s story is more than the sum of its data.” “Too much information” could mean piling on the facts in a story, or it could be taken as too many possibilities as where the information can lead you. Presenting the facts while not persuading the audience what to think is a part of journalism, which means interpretations and opinions will be formed, but is possibility of too many interpretations causing the generational divide in journalism to spread?

Huang (2009) says, “With the internet news overshadowing the traditional media, the question has become whether young audiences will ever become routine hardcopy newspaper readers when they are older.” Trying to make a connection between the generations with journalism is something that I feel will be a life long project. Will we ever be able to fully say yes or no to the statement/question that Huang presents? Probably not, because the world of journalism is changing so fast that something new will be presented to us and will make the cycle starts again. So is it really a generational divide or is the fact that new media gives us new ways to get our news that we are constantly distracted? Is it the younger generations fault that the Internet just so happened to be created when they were growing up? Is it the older generations fault that it was not around yet? “Since they [the younger generation] lead fast-paced lives juggling education, jobs, social networking, hobby exploration, entertainment, sports, news consumption and so on, most of them have chosen to put the need for news on a lower priority of all their daily needs” (Huang, 2009). Is what Huang says here a legitimate reason for the younger generation to neglect the old media? Or is it an easy out for being lazy?

Grant and Wilkinson (2009) say, “Focus is on news products and less on practices,” which one could also say is because of the younger generation (pg 166). With the Internet and the younger generation now fulfilling job spots it would make sense that there is a shift in the profession. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and multiple other electronic sources of information focus on the audience and the feedback. This calls for a focus to be given to the product the journalists turn out instead of the method they used. Briggs (2009) says, “To build your audience online, you need to analyze what…your readers like and don’t like, and then do more of they like,” (pg 311). Is the aiding in the field or is it taking away the “hard work” that the older generation speaks of? By hard work I mean the molding of the field, because running an online news site is no walk in the park and neither is that of the printed newspaper. We should take a cue from Briggs when he says, “It is often said that ‘if the news is important enough, it will find me’,” (pg 330). Regardless of the medium it comes through we should appreciate the fact it came at all.

Are we blinded by the difference that each generation posses? Do we take for granted the ways in which we taught things? Maybe we should take the printed newspaper away from the older generation and put a computer in front of them and take the computer away from the younger generation and give them a stack of newspapers. Would it be like taking candy from a baby? Would they soon lose interest in the item that was snatched from their hands and focus on what is right in front of them or will they kick and scream until the thing is returned to them?

References

Briggs, M. (2009). Journalism next. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Clark, K. (n.d.). Journalism on the Map: A Case for Location-Aware Storytelling. Retrieved from http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reportsitem.aspx?id=102425

Grant, A.E., & Wilkinson, J.S. (2009). Understanding media convergence: the   state of the field. New York: Oxford University Press.

Huang, E. (2009). The Causes of Youths’ Low News Consumption and Strategies for Making Youths Happy News Consumers. [Article]. Convergence: The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 15(1), 105-122. doi: 10.1177/1354856508097021

Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 5:03 pm  Comments (7)  

Sifting Through The Options

Reading Reaction for October 29, 20010

Building a lucrative news business is something that every news organization wants. Well, building a lucrative business is what every business owner wants. With all of the discussions on whether new media is a hindering the ability to develop a lucrative business it can be hard to decide whether or not to use the new technology available. You have some who are new to the news world or those who are old and tech savvy that say new media is the way of the future. However, you have those who have been in the business for a while saying why fix something that is not broken. Is it not broken though? The decline in circulations for newspapers is proof that something needs to be done, right? The Internet albeit sometimes unpredictable is the leading source of information for many people. Why would you not want to capitalize on something that is going to be around for a very long time?

Life before the Internet was not bad in terms of newsgathering, but was it not bad because no one knew any other way? Were people just content to gain the news at specific times? It was “a closed world…reminiscent of the 20th century’s constrained media environment” (Moore, 2010). There were not multiple options available for gathering information. Now, with the Internet, we have the “openness that has defined the early history of the web” (Moore, 2010). We are now able to find the news on our own accord. We can sift through the pieces we want and we can do it anytime of the day. We do not have to wait for the paper or the six o’clock news. It is literally at our fingertips. Why do some think this is bad? Of course there is the issue of credibility once again showing its ugly head, but other than that is being able to get news information quick and nonstop really a horrible thing?

In Moore’s article he discusses pay walls where you have to pay to view the information on a news organization website. He also talks about how search engines are not even allowed to show the information from the sites. Moore (2010) says, “Erect a pay wall and you immediately cut yourself off from much of the web community.” The web community is vast and ever changing as well so you are not just cutting yourself off from a hand full of people but millions upon millions of them. Why? Wouldn’t your business prosper from the connectedness the Internet provides? People drive consumerism, without them you have no product. Moore (2010) also says, “You disable the vast majority of people from recommending, linking, commenting, quoting, and discussing.” This could be seen as word of mouth, which we all know is extremely important and powerful in promoting a product. When a news organization limits the audience’s ability to interact then they are limiting their ability to reach a wider audience. Do you think they realize this? Surely they do, but then the question is why are they using these pay walls?

Along the same line of consumerism and blocking it structure can prove to be an asset. Gahran (2010) says, “Adding more structure to all of your news stories gives you more options to offer new services and products.” This concept along with the use of new technology can give the newspaper business a boost. Gahran (2010) also goes on to say, “Relevance and convenience have always been core components of value in the news business.” If this is true then why are many news organizations hesitant or resisting the impact the Internet can have on their business? When I think about convenience in terms of gaining news the Internet would be my first source for gaining it. Also, convenience and relevance can go hand in hand. The more convenient it is to get the information the more relevant it will be. For example if a wreck were to occur and knock out the power to a local school in the middle of the afternoon being able to see the information from the Internet at the time it happened would make the news relevant. However, if you had to wait to see it in the newspaper the next day or the news broadcast that night you probably wouldn’t care that the school lost power.

Crick (2009) says, “We can and should get news for ‘free’.” This is a catch 22 situation. If everyone got his or her news for free then the news organization would most definitely be in trouble. The printed news would be obsolete and the field of journalism would lose more credibility then it already has. Another point made in his article is that “individuals in isolation can inform themselves about the whole world” (Crick, 2009). This is a valid point and one we have addressed in previous discussions. However, I think this brings up a different point of view. We have said that the Internet and advent of new media has caused us as a society to be disconnected or isolated from the world, but are we not all isolated for some reason or another? We are not in the trenches when a war is going on so we are isolated in the sense that we do not know what is going on first hand. With the Internet we can gain the information to help us understand. He also goes on to say “the blogosphere itself cannot provide answers to our problems. It is a tool only” (Crick, 2009). Blogs are a great place to discuss views and a place for people to develop thoughts. I do agree that it is not the place where problems are solved, but a place where the beginnings of a solution can start. Journalists have created blogs as a secondary site where they can talk about issues that they are covering. This is where the audience can feel free to comment and debate about different topics and draw conclusions.

Graham (2000) says, “Language is also a commodity and a technology,” which goes with what Grant and Wilkinson (2009) say, “Because convergence involves so many different elements, communication must flow throughout all facets of the newsroom.” Since language is extremely important, which we al know, it is essential in orchestrating convergence and maintaining it. Without language would we be able to function? The answer is no. This holds true for any area of profession or life in general. In order to convey ideas, answers, etc. we have to be able to communicate in any form, which is done with the aid of language.

Is the Internet really such a bad tool? Do we automatically dismiss its impact because of its indecisiveness? Do we think that because technology changes so rapidly that it cannot be trusted?

References:

Crick, N. (2009). The Search for a Purveyor of News: The Dewey/Lippmann Debate in an Internet Age. [Article]. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 26(5), 480-497. doi: 10.1080/15295030903325321

Gahran, A. (2010, August 19). Structured news: Make useful connections to build your news business. Retrieved from http://www.knightdigitalmediacenter.org/leadership_blog/comments/20100819_structured_news_make_useful_connections_to_build_your_news_busines/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+KnightDigitalMediaCenter+Knight+Digital+Media+Center&utm_content=Google+Reader#When:22:32:34Z

Graham, P. (2000). Hypercapitalism: a political economy of informational idealism. [Article]. New Media & Society, 2(2), 131.

Grant, A.E., & Wilkinson, J.S. (2009). Understanding media convergence: the   state of the field. New York: Oxford University Press.

Moore, M. (2010, August 18). How Metadata Can Eliminate the Need for Pay Walls. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2010/08/how-metadata-can-eliminate-the-need-for-pay-walls230.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pbs%2Fmediashift-blog+%28mediashift-blog%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Published in: on October 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm  Comments (6)  

Conversations With A Dying Medium

Reading Reaction for October 22, 2010

Newspapers are dead. The printed word is dead. The smell of wet ink is dead. Or that is what we have been told is happening or has already happened. The age of the newspaper is dying; it is becoming extinct. Is this true? What are the ramifications if it is happening? Are we, as a profession, supposed to believe that the information we have taught is frivolous and useless?

Steensen (2009) says, “Printed newspapers were supposed to die.” We have all noticed that they are not dead even though some have turned their presses off there are still those that have survived the electronic upsurge in technology. When looking at what Steensen said “supposed to” are the key words. We have heard, for a long time now, that the decline of newspapers was inevitable, but I cannot help but ask is it really? Even if there are numbers to prove the decline in circulation the evidence that people still enjoy them in every day life. People gain their information, locally and world wide, through them.

Alterman (2008) says, “The rise of the Internet…has made the daily newspapers look slow and unresponsive…[and] created a palpable sense of doom.” I find it equally important to see that in this statement, like the one made by Steensen, the word choice is crucial. Alterman is saying that the Internet has created a feeling of doom possibly to the industry/profession as well as the audience. Even with the impending doom the Internet has brought with it there is a silver lining. “Newspapers have created Web sites that benefit from the growth of online advertising, but the sums are not nearly enough to replace the loss in revenue from circulation and print ads” (Alterman, 2008). This probably does not seem like that large of a silver lining, but it is. Since the Internet has become apart of everyday life it has created more opportunities for news sources and their ability to reach their audience. The revenue might be significantly less, but the reach is infinite.

The creation of news Web sites by the major players in journalism is an innovation in and of itself. “A relevant question is, therefore, whether the power of individual action and hence the creativity and innovative initiatives of individuals have been downplayed” (Steensen, 2009). Without the invention of the Internet then Steensen might have said printed newspapers died instead of saying they were supposed to be gone already. Innovation is important for anything to prosper, but in the field of journalism it is important for its survival. If the power of the individual and their ability to be innovative is indeed downplayed then where does the future of journalism lie? Will Steensen be willing to correct his statement as we all watch the printed newspaper a long with its offspring disappear from the world? It is “safe to assume that individual action does play a role in processes of innovation” (Steensen, 2009). I believe that the “individual” in question could pertain to individual journalists and individual members of the audience. If the journalist is not willing to be innovative does the profession become stagnant? If the audience member is unwilling to mold to the new form of journalism and even the old forms does the same happen?

Porter (2009) says, “The argument that if newspapers go bust there will be nobody covering city hall is true. It’s also true that corruption will rise, legislation will more easily be captures by vested interests and voter turnout will fall.” This reiterates the idea of innovation and the importance it plays in not only the lives of journalists, but those of the audience as well.

A driving innovation of the modern forms of journalism is relatively simple—conversation. We all know what conversation is and even if we have not thought about on an intellectual level we all know the importance of being able to communicate. “Now that news is a conversation, one of the greatest challenges facing journalists is how to manage, and leverage, that conversation” (Briggs, 277). It will take innovation to achieve this along with dedication and determination. So, if all of these advances are being made in the field, regardless if the advances are primarily through electronics, how can the medium be dead? How can people see an end of the print newspaper? Briggs (2009) says, “It is worthwhile to keep investing time and energy.” I completely believe him. It is important to initiate conversation through the Web sites these news sources have created. It is also important to initiate conversation through the print newspaper.

Innovation although important is not the only thing that needs to be understood. “Social media is the latest change in how people are connecting and communicating, but the change is purely tactical; the standards and values of journalism do not change” (Briggs, 284). It is vital that we also understand that journalism, whatever form it takes, should posses the same standards and values that it did in the past. I am completely aware of the arguments that could be made from this statement, but the truth is that these two things should be present in journalism in order for their credibility and reliability to remain in tact. However, it is equally important, in my opinion that the audience stays on top of their game and not assumes that the media is always correct without fact checking for them. This is the conversation part of the equation.

Without communication where would we be? Without the ability to ask questions or effectively communicate then is the medium dead? Have we become instrumental in the downfall of the print newspaper? Should be point the finger at ourselves and not at those we deem in power? Is our minimal amount of communication causing us to have conversations with a dying medium?

References

Alterman, E. (2008, March 31). Out of print. The New Yorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/03/31/080331fa_fact_alterman

Briggs, M. (2009). Journalism next. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Porter, E. (2009, February 14). What newspapers do, have done and will do. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/glogin?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/14/opinion/14sat4.html&OQ=_rQ3D1&OP=6b2f4630Q2FetQ27qenQ2FRo_Q2FQ2FSQ24eQ24Q51Q51reQ51Q24egjeQ2FDkzkQ2FzegjoXSj1-SQ3Cv

Steensen, S. (2009). What’s stopping them? [Article]. Journalism Studies, 10(6), 821-836. doi: 10.1080/14616700902975087

 

Published in: on October 22, 2010 at 6:42 pm  Comments (4)  

Video Venom

Reading Reaction for October 15, 2010

I chose to venture into the field of journalism and when I did I did so in a time that multimedia is at its height. With that being said it is hard for me to not take into consideration all the different mediums that journalist can use to get a message out to the public. I understand that I am not a professional and that I seriously lack in experience, but I know that the introduction of new forms of journalism has its benefits as well as its downfalls. Fellow classmates as well as myself have discussed the issue of credibility extensively, but it is important to take into consideration that it has changed the face of the field. Does the implementation of video into the field of journalism take it to a higher level? Does it make it laughable to professionals? Is it important to the longevity of journalism?

Briggs (2009) said, “The advent of cheap digital video cameras and free video-editing software has ushered in the video age.” To some, possibly those who have been in the field for numerous years, this is probably a statement that will make them cringe. To those who are new to the field this could open many doors to new and exciting discoveries to media and its effects on society. “Media convergence attempts to capture the process by which traditional content creators (journalism and mass media) adapt to an on-demand society where the consumer wields control” (Grant, 98). This is also a touchy subject to some veterans. If the consumer has control then where does that leave them? Do they become irrelevant? Do they just serve as the go between?

Legrand (2010) says, “The conversation with the people formerly known as the audience is often non-existent.” He says that the development of video specifically for the iPad is hindering us as a society from connecting what use to be the audience. However, I cannot help but think that we were not really connected before the use of video either. Without feedback how can we be connected to those who are transmitting the message to us? What is “connected” anyway? Is it the bouncing of ideas off of each other? Is the response to a story by the reader? Is it as simple as getting the message out into the atmosphere?

Stein (2009) says, “Alternative media serve as instruments of mobilization.” If we can take this a say that “alternative media” is the addition of video in the world of journalism then we can say that it has mobilized the field. It has sparked new interest into the way news is gathered and viewed and how many people it reaches. The video does not even have to be highly professional. “The quick and less polished video content on news sites often draws bigger audiences,” (Briggs, 212). Briggs (2009) goes on to say, “If it’s authentic, if it takes a viewer to a news event or behind the scenes of somewhere important, it works.” People will watch anything, which is not a highly educated statement, but it is true. Youtube is proof of this very thing. If something is interesting and brings the viewer into that world then it is worth watching

Video and media convergence of all types is not just seen in journalism but in all aspects. “The diffusion of media technology into all sectors of society creates new ways of using and disseminating communication content,” (Grant, 99). Media is important, which we all know, but regardless of where it comes from and how credible it is it still garners a response and is that not what we want? Do we just want to throw information around and never hear whether people liked or disliked it? Whether or not it provided an audience with an answer to something? Whether or not a story made someone think? Thinking is key in my opinion. If a story, one that is legitimate or one that is completely gratuitous, does not make someone think then was it really worth anything? An example of another field that uses video is law where they “commonly use video for supporting evidence and testimony,” (Grant, 105).

Stein (2009) says, “Communication theory suggests that social movements have multiple incentives for utilizing new communication resources, such as the web, to bypass traditional media gatekeepers and get their messages out to supporters and the public at large.” This does not say whether or not the new communication resources are considered credible, but it does not say that they do not garner responses. By the audience giving feedback to those who are transmitting the message through the media then they are able to make their work better and even communicate back.

Is the development of video, or any new media, like a snake bite? Is it like venom coursing through our veins and disconnecting us for the old form of journalism and each other? Does it hurt us and require immediate attention? After the initial sting do we come out with a clearer understanding of what it is and how it affects us?

References

Briggs, M. (2009). Journalism next. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Grant, A.E., & Wilkinson, J.S. (2009). Understanding media convergence: the   state of the field. New York: Oxford University Press.

Legrand, R. (2010). 10 Ways to Make Video a More Interactive Experience. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2010/08/10-ways-to-make-video-a-more-interactive-experience-229.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pbs%2Fmediashift-blog+%28mediashift-blog%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Stein, L. (2009). Social movement web use in theory and practice: a content analysis of US movement websites. [Article]. New Media & Society, 11(5), 749-771. doi: 10.1177/1461444809105350

Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 9:24 pm  Comments (4)  

You’ve Got Media

Reading Reaction for October 8, 2010

In a world where media is flowing around us at a rate that, at times, can be overwhelming we either sink or swim. It is hard to look at the digital world without having questions, but do we present the question or do we simply accept it as truth and leave it at that? Are we supposed to assume that “professionals” are always right? Does media disconnect us or connect us? This is a question that has been brought up numerous times through out the semester and a question that will continue to plague us continuously.

Couldry (2008) says, “Digital storytelling represents a novel distribution of a scare resource—the ability to represent the world around us—using a shared infrastructure.” Couldry’s use of the word “novel” creates multiple questions about the paradigm of “new” media. It also begs the question asked earlier about whether or not those in a respected, influential position are always right. Andrejevic (2009) says that the idea  “that interactivity is…old school ways of thinking tricked up to look hip, savvy, and contemporary.”

The creation of the Internet along with the incline in social networking sites is deemed ways to be and stay connected. It is a new concept, right? According to Andrejevic it is not new; it is revamp. Couldry says that digital storytelling is new and I believe him. Digital ways of communication have not always been around, but communicating has so in this regard we could take what Andrejevic says and apply it as well.

Silverstone (2005) says, “If communication was something that takes place principally between individuals, then mass communication tended to be seen as a distortion of that.” Why does communication have to distort the interactivity between individuals? Why can we not see it as another outlet for communication? I agree that new media can pull people away from the communication processes of the past, but it does not have too. Is media at fault? Are we not taking responsibility for becoming disconnected? Are we the ones that are distorted? Silverstone (2005) also goes on to say that mass communication created “anxieties…in the otherwise idealized symmetrical position of communication between sender and receiver.” Did it really? Did mass communication really cause anxieties and why? I am sure that with anything new concerns will shortly follow, but you would think that the opportunity to communicate on a larger scale would be exciting.

Andrejevic (2009) says, “To note the fascinating changes in media technology and practices without situating them within the broader context of a society working to incorporate them into existing social relations is to lose sight of the ball.” This goes back to the idea of taking the communication from yesteryear and giving a new coat of paint. We could look at the Internet as the new model of face-to-face communication. I realize that it does not have the same emotional impact for some, but then again some people find it more efficient and effective. These changes were not created out of thin air they were creating to be placed in the middle of relationships that already existed.

Take the relationship of siblings for example. I have two sisters who still live in my hometown and I live one and a half hours away. Face-to-face communication does not exist between us unless I am in the same place as them. With the development or the extension if you will of the changes in media I am able to communicate with them in multiple ways. Sure, sending a text, email or Facebook comment might not be as personal as talking on the phone, but it keeps the interactivity between us. I am not saying that communication would cease to exist without these things, but it gives people a wider opportunity for connecting. What if one of my sisters was not around a phone but they were in front of computer? This way I have a greater chance of reaching out to them to talk.

Maybe when looking at the idea that mass communication brought about anxieties we should examine the catastrophes new media has brought with it. With the spotlight on bullying in the news and on practically every form of media it is hard not to draw connections between these types of situations and the impact media has on them. I strongly believe that media impacts us personally, but how much of what we see, hear or read should we take to heart? Is it our responsibility to control our actions or is the responsibility of the media to determine our actions? Andrejevic (2009) says, “To put it bluntly, critical Media Studies is not interested in media for their own sake, but for society’s sake.” Does media look out for society? The news brings us valuable information about things that are happening around us. It informs us on the war, politics, the price of gas, weather, and multiple other things, but is it helping? Take violence shown in TV shows and how people say that it could cause people to be violent. Could we not say the same thing about the depiction of war on the six o’clock news?

The word “new” is going to taunt me forever most likely, but hopefully someday we can all reach a common ground. I doubt it, but there is always hope. I just cannot help but question the idea or concept that new has to be bad or that all these new media forms were created without any reference to go by. I understand the anxieties that were discussed, but I do not understand why some are quick to point the finger at technology for the horrible things that happen in society.

References

Andrejevic, M. (2009). Critical Media Studies 2.0: An interactive upgrade. [Article]. Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture, 1(1), 35-50. doi: 10.1386/iscc.1.1.35/1

Couldry, N. (2008). Mediatization or mediation? Alternative understandings of the emergent space of digital storytelling. New Media & Society, 10(3), 373-391. doi: 10.1177/1461444808089414

Silverstone, R. (2005). The sociology of mediation and communication. In C. Calhoun, C. Rojek & B. Turner (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Sociology (pp. 188-207). London: Sage Publications.

Published in: on October 7, 2010 at 10:18 pm  Comments (3)  

The New Media Saga: Eclipse

Reading Reaction for October 1, 2010

It is an ongoing discussion or debate about whether or not the influx of new media is hindering or helping us evolve. I personally bounce back and forth on the question of its actual purpose. Is it helping us connect to more people? Is it stopping us from actually socializing in the real world? Do we get more information through it? Do we get information that is accurate? The list of questions is infinite and the answers vary depending on the one answering them.

I find the idea of looking at new media and its effects on the world in relationship to an eclipse to be fascinating. It goes back to the previous duality that new media encompasses; it’s way of either helping or hindering us; it’s way of showing us the “light” or blocking it from us.

First we need to understand what an eclipse is; it can mean “the reduction or loss of splendor, status, reputation, etc.” (Dictionary.com Unabridged) or it can mean “the period of time during which such a phenomenon occurs” (Collins English Dictionary). With that being understood lets look at new media and how its effects are similar to an eclipse.

Grant and Wilkinson (2009) said, “If media convergence is casting the shadows of a Neo-Dark Age on those who have access to the main channel of convergence, the Internet, those who do not or cannot tune in…are at risk of living in a total media eclipse.” This is where I started questioning how the effects of new media are like an eclipse.

According to Lessig, “In the next ten years we will see an explosion of digital technologies. These technologies will enable almost anyone to capture and share content. [It] is what humans have done since the dawn of man” (as cited in Deuze, 2006). Looking at this statement it is easy to say that nothing is “new” about new media…right? Maybe we have become so dependent on the new technologies of today that it has deprived us of the technologies of the past. I still believe that without a starting point we would not have been able to advance to where we find ourselves today. As a society we are jaded or blinded by our dependency.

However, Deuze (2006) says, “[The] approach to new media theory…lies in the assumption that humans and machines are implicated in one another, rather than one influencing or directing the other.” Does this negate the dependency issue or supplement it? Does this prove that instead of being influenced by new media that we are to become one with new media in order for it to work? If Deuze’s assumption holds any truth then maybe dependency does not have to be a bad thing. Maybe new media has not eclipsed us in the sense that it blocks our pre-technology selves, but our new technology selves have lined up with the previous one to create a superhuman new media machine. In this sense we are not dependent in the negative aspect of the word; we are dependent because we have created a second level, arguably a better level, to our existence; we have witnessed the creation of a phenomenon.

We all know that without technology in today’s world we wouldn’t be able to instantaneously communicate with classmates or professors about research projects, papers or even that we might suddenly have to miss a class. We obviously know that before the advances in new media that these situations were handled, but how effectively were they handled? How long did it take to get a response?

“A digital culture does not imply that everyone is or sooner or later will be online and better for it” (Deuze, 2006). However, he does not say that they will not be better for it. I believe that the creation of new media applications has given us an opportunity that was not available. This opportunity can be embraced, ignored or abused. We can let new media eclipse us and lessen the old media’s reputation or we can let it eclipse us and show us something truly amazing and something we did not know was there before.

Brubaker (2008) says, “New media’s increased content choices and greater control over exposure provide individuals the freedom to create more personalized information environments.” With the development of RSS feeds and blogs people can gather information that they are interested in as well as put information out there that people want to consume. These new media technologies have given the audience the ability to gather information they want; it has made life easier. I go back to the viewpoint of a student and how I do not know how I would make without Google. It sounds absurd, but it has made researching easier and more accessible. That does not mean that gaining information from a book or another person is not just as necessary, but it means that I can gain information quick.

Salinas (2008) gives the examples of “YouTube allow[ing] its audience the previously unknown opportunity to actively seek, consume, and create content in mass media.” Some will say that YouTube is just for fun and for a large part it is, but you can also watch speeches given by presidential candidates, documentaries, and other education type clips/shows. It is a place for people to gain information whether its for entertainment or education. Like Salinas says it gives the audience a chance to completely immerse themselves in new media.

So, does new media take away from the media of the past? Does it lessen the reputation of the hard work that proceeded new media or does it give us the opportunity to witness a bright future for technological innovations? I believe that there will always be those in favor of new media and those against it. I believe that it will be a perpetual argument of whether we should protect our eyes from the eclipse or take the risk and see the beauty of it.

References

Brubaker, J. (2008). The freedom to choose a personal agenda: Removing our reliance on the media agenda. [Article]. American Communication Journal, 10(3), 1-1.

Deuze, M. (2006). Participation, remediation, bricolage: Considering principal components of a digital culture. [Article]. Information Society, 22(2), 63-75. doi: 10.1080/01972240600567170

eclipse. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved October 01, 2010, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/eclipse

eclipse. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved October 01, 2010, from Dictionary.com website:             http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/eclipse

Grant, A.E., & Wilkinson, J.S. (2009). Understanding media convergence: the   state of the field. New York: Oxford University Press.

Salinas, C. (2008). WhoTube? Identification and Agenda-Setting in New Media. Paper presented at the Conference Papers — National Communication Association. Article retrieved from  http://ezproxy.uttyler.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=t rue&db=ufh&AN=44852569&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Published in: on October 1, 2010 at 8:48 pm  Comments (2)  

I CAN’T BE SOCIAL?

Reading Reaction for September 24, 20010

Can new media really be detrimental to social engagement? Can new media isolate us from face-to-face interaction of the past? Was there more face-to-face interaction before new technologies had a strong hold? Is the generational divide driving this notion? Is it that we don’t understand each other? Does the fact that new media has impacted us so strongly that we choose not to see the negative aspects of it? I strongly believe that because values and priorities have shifted throughout the course of time that we tend to blame each generation for their faults instead of looking at each other and seeing what we can gain. I also feel that this could be applied to new media and the impact it has on society. Is new media hindering us instead of propelling us into a brighter future?

The article “Public Life and the Internet: If You Build a Better Website, Will Citizens Become Engaged?” states, “that the Internet either can hurt or help public life” (Coleman, Lieber, Mendelson, & Kurpius, 2008). The question then becomes what determines this? There are various factors, in my opinion, that play into the opinion of this statement. We do not necessarily know an individuals reasoning for turning to the Internet instead of face-to-face communication or vice versa. Who are we to judge the individual effects it has on a persons ability to function publicly. I do feel that it is unfair to claim that the younger generation does not appreciate the importance of face-to-face communication or that the older generation just does not understand the importance of new media. I am sure my bias will bleed through being from the younger generation, but I am not trying to force my view; I am trying to better understand the generational divide and the notion that technology has deprived us in social settings.

In a study conducted in Understanding Media Convergence in concluded that “18-24 year-olds spend a fair amount of time online, but they are still below all other age groups except 65+” (Grant, 58). How can the older generation, or anyone for that matter, make the assumption that the younger generation is constantly engaged in new media and shrugging the ways of the past? In the same study the conclusion was drawn that “55-64 year-olds are the dominant radio listeners and the biggest readers of newspapers…and users of VCRs…also scores high in most computer applications, phone, and books” (Grant, 58). Even though the latter results do not include online use it is evident that the older group is more media involved and more versed in the convergence of media.

I do not want to argue that examples of isolation have been formed because of technology, but is in not better to have some outlet of communication rather than have no communication at all? We all know the typical example of a “geek” sitting at a computer playing some role playing game and communicating to that generalized community instead of being in the “real world” and socializing with other people. My argument for this is that we do not know this “geeks” surrounding circumstances for wanting to immerse themselves into an online community instead of an actual community. Wouldn’t we rather see someone participating in some form of communication ( albeit a safe one) rather than completely isolated from communication?

The Internet has this stigma of being the end of personal communication, but “if people can find what they want and need to know quickly and efficiently, they may feel more self-confident about getting involved” (Coleman, Lieber, Mendelson, & Kurpius, 2008). With information at our fingertips we have the power to be well versed in practically anything, which according to previous quote can be used to communicate with others. Following the same idea, “the Internet may serve as a tool for re-engaging some citizens who otherwise might be missed” (Coleman, Lieber, Mendelson, & Kurpius, 2008).

I grew up primarily in the age of the Internet, which is probably why I have a bias, and can see the positive influence it has. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think there are drawbacks, but doesn’t everything have a drawback? There are always two sides to every story and reasons why people choose different forms of communication. I think that it is hard to weight the pros and cons of new media, because I feel each are equally legitimate.

Shifting thoughts to the impact of new media on journalism, which we just cannot not talk about, the question will always be: does it hurt or help the field? I truly want to understand the great debate. Take away the issue of credibility; does the impact and accessibility of multiple forms of new media take away from the affectability of journalism? I truly believe, and I am open to comments and insights, that new media has broadened the scope of journalism and made it more effective. We have talked about the Internet, blogs, and other forms of media influencing journalism. Now we have the cell phone mixed that has come to play. With the introduction of the cell phone and the fact that the majority of people now own one it has “arm[ed] anyone and potentially everyone with an all-in-one media tool that can view, capture and publish or broadcast” (Briggs, 123).

Why does this have to be a downside? I have asked it before and I probably will ask it again, when did we, as an information hungry society, stop being held responsible for gaining facts? Sure, journalists are supposed to equip us with accurate news and information, but haven’t we always heard that you cannot believe everything you read (or see or hear for that mater). When you take out this issue of credibility and just focus on the advances new technology has created how can you not see the positive attributes? If viewership is important than the ability to get involved with your public through these technologies should be seen as an accomplishment, right? “Ron Sylvester…who’s been a journalist for more than 30 years…urges his fellow reporters to welcome technology, not fear it” (Briggs, 123).

Maybe I should just face the fact that I may never understand the battle between new media and journalism. I may never understand the idea that technology can tear down our ability to socially interact with others or that the different generations will probably never agree, but I cannot help but be curious. Technology is not going anywhere so why do we not try to embrace it for its positive contribution and continue to try and answer the questions we have about the negative ones?

References

Briggs, M. (2009). Journalism next. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Grant, A.E., & Wilkinson, J.S. (2009). Understanding media convergence: the state of the field. New York: Oxford University Press.

Coleman, R., Lieber, P., Mendelson, A.L., & Kurpius, D.D. (2008). Public life and the Internet: If you build a better website, will citizens become engaged? New Media Society. (10)2, 179-201. doi: 10.1177/1461444807086474

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 9:13 pm  Comments (4)  

Project Proposal

The problem that I see deals with an area of education. This education contains all levels starting with elementary aged students and travels all the way to the college level. The area I consider studying/researching is agriculture. I believe that not only as individuals, but as a mass populous we do not fully understand the effects that agriculture has on our lives. I feel that we are poorly informed on what agriculture is and what those who are in the field do.

I would conduct the research by questioning students either through surveys, questionnaires, or other forms of sampling to see what and how much they know. I could also gather information by conducting polls. I would also look to literature in forms of curriculum, other research on the area, and possibly even news stories to gain information on the topic.

Published in: on September 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm  Comments (4)