All posts by andrewcyr68

One Story, Three Places

Everywhere you turn news hits you right in the face. Whether it’s online, on TV, or even in your pocket breaking stories are always accessible.

But just how effective are these sources of media? Everyone has their own opinion on what they enjoy best, but the real question is which is the most efficient?

When you start talking about daily news the first thing you have to mention is the newspaper- the pioneer in the journalism field. Although it is a dying artwork, the newspaper is the backbone of all news information. 20-years ago the only way people would get their news would be to pick up the newspaper and physically read what was on the pages. What made newspapers so special however was the physical aspect of the paper, and that you could pick and choose what information you wanted to read at any moment. Another beauteous thing about the paper was that you could go back and re-read articles or save them for your morning coffee break while at work. Why would anyone want to change that?

The answer is simple. People are getting lazy.

Not many people want to go through the process of flipping back and forth through the pages of the newspaper when they could easily just read the same story in one file online. Also a major problem with newspapers is that they are only printed once a day. Once the paper is printed, you cannot go back and change any mistakes, or add news that happened in the same day. Newspapers also cost money to read, why pay extra money to read something when you can easily just pull out your phone to read the same thing free of charge?

Another major resource that people turn to for the news is to TV’s for local news. Morning and evening news reports were a revolutionary change. Not only could you update information as you learned it throughout the day, you had the capability of adding video so people could actually see what was happening. News stations had the ability to report live from the scene and could film people’s reactions as the story was happening.

How could there possibly be a downfall though? Well despite TV news happening more frequently than the newspaper is printed, it still isn’t fast enough. People want their information the second that it happens. Another major downfall that news stations don’t offer is the ability to allow you to pick and choose what information you want to know.

I guess that leaves one final media outlet, and that is the one that is taking over the world today and that is online news. News that you can get right to your pocket the second it happens. With the emergence of social media, especially twitter over the past few years, any and all news stories are just a few seconds away.

This has to be perfect, its fast, easy, and efficient. This has to be the best source of information.

Think again. Now that news is coming to you from a different variety of sources you have to weed out the good sources from the bad ones. Online news sources are often times so worried about being the first place to break the story that not all of their information is accurate. As a result of that, rumors start spreading and the validity of the news aren’t as good as we think they are.

So what’s the best way to get your news? That’s up for you to decide. Just know one thing; the world of journalism isn’t perfect and it will never be, so pick and choose carefully who you want to get your information from.

The New Age of Journalism

I’m sorry Uncle Jim, but journalism as you know it is heading in a completely new direction and if you don’t change now, you’re going to be left in the trash just like newspapers will be.

Journalism as we know it is in the process of making a revolutionary change to better fit the new generation of tech-savvy people. Gone are the days of newspapers and traditional news station, and moving in is the same news you would have gotten before, however just this time it’s heading directly to your pocket and to your computer.

I remember as a young child on summer mornings, my parents would have me run outside to pick up our copy of The Boston Globe so they could read the news with their morning cup of coffee. It’s been over a decade since I’ve had to do that chore. Now my responsibilities consist of me showing my parents how to use their newest piece of technology just to get the same information that would normally appeared on the kitchen table.

Since the year 2000, print revenue went from roughly $65 billion dollars to only about $19 billion within the past few years. As a direct correlation to that, online revenue has increased by $4 billion in the same amount of time, with the numbers only on the incline.

Journalism today is coming to you at faster speeds than it ever has before. Instead of waiting for the paper the next morning, or even waiting for the six o’clock news, people can get the information with just a few clicks on their smartphones, tablets or computers. This has completely changed the game of news with speed and efficiency.

But with journalism trending more towards online, anyone has the power to break news. With more people breaking news faster than ever, often times the credibility of all these so-called “news” sources has declined tremendously.

“The first task of the new journalist/sense maker, rather, is to verify what information is reliable and then order it so people can grasp it efficiently,” said Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in their novel, Elements of Journalism.

In an article in The New York Times, many large newspaper industries have had to cut their budgets and reduce spending costs as a result of the less revenue that is being brought it. Some newspapers have had to transition from being Daily Papers to only being printed once per week.

“Big dailies are also being squeezed to cut costs by their corporate overlords… And while there are some great hyperlocal websites, the whole idea of the Internet — untethered to geography, universal in topic and voice — pushes against the sort of groundedness that alt weeklies provide.”

Although we don’t know when newspapers will become completely obsolete, one thing is certain, if you aren’t changing the way you look at journalism, then you might as well go back to the stone-age, because your news won’t appear at your doorstep every morning much longer.

 

 

All the President’s Men

All the President’s Men if a movie that goes through the journey of two reporters trying to uncover the Watergate scandal revolving around President Richard Nixon in 1972.  Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) are new writers for The Washington Post and it is the first time they are working together.

The pair get their information from an unnamed and off the record source, “Deep Throat”, who gives them metaphors and riddles to solve about the case.  Despite the information he gave them was considered off the record, his hints and clues kept leading both Hoffman and Woodward in the right direction for their story.

One lesson we can take from this movie is the importance of your sources.  Despite being an unnamed source, Deep Throat kept leading them to places where they could get the information.  Often times as a reporter, it’s difficult to keep the identity kept of those who wish to remain unanimous. 

Another less we can learn from this film was the importance of staying consistent with investigative reporting.  Although most news stories we read are hard news stories, investigative stories take much longer to write and get all information.  Both writers showed persistence and consistency with their writings despite Watergate being stretched out over such a long time.  

Photojouralism: Lunch atop a Skyscraper

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This photo was taken from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/13/Lunch-atop-a-skyscraper-c1932.jpg

The old cliche goes: a picture is worth a thousand words.

And as cheesy and as corny as it sounds, it couldn’t be more true.

Charles C. Ebbets took the famous picture of 11 men sitting on a steam beam high above the New York skyline on September 29, 1932 that later appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on October 2, in the photo supplement.  And although the photograph did not have a story to go alongside it, the message it sent is worth more than any words could have written.

The 11 men sitting on top of the beam appear to be on their lunch break without and harnesses or safety gear to keep them from falling off of the structure.  Ebbets’ photo accurately portrays the time period that this was taken because, following the Great Depression, people were willing to work regardless of how unsafe the working conditions were. 

Ebbets’ picture also falls within the restrictions of the “3×3” photo as well.  In the middle row we clearly see all the men sitting on the beam enjoying their lunch.  On the bottom and upper rows, you see the New York streets below, far off in the distance.  Because the main focus of the picture is in the middle row, we can see just how high up these people really are and how unsafe the conditions were.

 

Multimedia Piece: The American Blogger

Journalism today isn’t what it once was.  Back in the “old days” of journalism, writers would write articles for newspapers that were printed once a day.  And while the newspaper industry is still in commission, the new face of journalism is through blogging and multimedia pieces.

Let’s face it, no one wants to sit and read the newspapers every morning with a cup of coffee like they used to.  Since the technology industry has sky-rocketed over the past decade people are more inclined to reading the news that is sent directly to his or her smart phone the second it breaks.

With multimedia it’s the same deal.  People today, especially the younger demographic, don’t want to put in the effort to read news stories and would much rather put in headphones and listen to the two minute video of that same story.  And with the new interactive programs you can use with multimedia, why would people want to go back to reading news stories from a newspaper?

I’ll admit I found much better constructed pieces of multimedia than this one, however I felt the need to express my thoughts on this story about a man who is trying to capture the blogging world in a feature length movie.

Chris Wiegand and his family restored and old RV and are now traveling the country to meet famous bloggers from all around the country.  He goes to their houses and tries to get a feel for how they started their blog, what they like about the blogging community, etc.

I do think it is a cool concept of linking this unique industry that is made of up every kind of person imaginable.  Whether it be sports, music, books, gardening, etc. anything can be put onto a blog.  It’s interesting to see the different backgrounds of these people and it is definitely an interesting idea.

However, when you watch his trailer and read his website, all of the bloggers he interviewed and met with were good looking, young women.  Although the movie hasn’t been released yet, from the looks of the trailer and reading some of their blog posts as well, almost all of the women are created from the same mold.  I would have been much more satisfied with watching the trailer had he gotten a more diverse group of bloggers.

Here is the link to Christopher Wiegand’s website explaining all the information about his journey.  Also on the website you can find the trailer to his film, The American Blogger.

http://www.americanblogger.com/

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Journalism

Being a journalist or a reporter is much more difficult than the average person realizes it to be. You have to write on a specific deadline, be ready at any hour of the day if breaking news happens, interact with difficult people, and much more. Here’s a list of things to keep in my next to you are writing a story or interviewing someone.

 

Do’s

 

  1. Come prepared and do your research

Make sure that before every story or interview you conduct to have some previous background knowledge going in. The more you know about a specific topic the easier it will be to write or talk to the person. You don’t have to be an expert in the field, but having a general idea of what is happening is critical.

 

  1. Be a professional

When you are reporting it is a must that you act in a professional and appropriate manner. You can act friendly with the person you are talking to, however to don’t questions or use words you would say when you are hanging with your friends. The more professional you are with an interview the more professional the other person will be in return.

 

  1. Fact check

When writing an article, it is critical that you get your information out in a timely manner. As important as speed is when writing articles, it is even more important that the facts you say are accurate. Double-check your work always.

 

  1. Admit your mistakes/ read some of your revisions

As a writer, it’s often times difficult to admit that you are wrong. However, in order to improve, it is critical that you look over the edits your editor makes. Although you may not agree with them hearing advice from other writers might spark an interest that you never thought you liked.

 

  1. Write for the people

Write in a style that people would actually want to read. There is nothing worse than reading a dull article because the writer uses the same words or phrases over and over again. After you are done writing it, read it aloud to see how it sounds.

 

Don’t’s

 

  1. Make up information

This is the number one rule for journalism and reporting. You are obligated to report accurate information to those reading them. It is unethical to write false information and it is a one-way ticket to be without a job.

 

  1. Plagiarize

Don’t take your information from someone who did the work before you did. It is ok to reference other sources of information, however make sure you give citations and credit where it is called for.

 

  1. Miss your deadlines

There is nothing that makes an editor crazier than when writers are not getting their stories in on time. It delays the whole process of producing the paper. It’s the professional thing to do and if you consistently miss your deadline it will be hard to stay employed.

 

  1. Let your opinion control the story

There are times when writing an opinion column that it ok to give your own thoughts and opinions. However when you are writing a hard news story, you must say it how it is and write what actually happened.

 

  1. Invade Privacy

When reporting or writing, make sure the person you are talking to knows that you are going to use his or her quotes for a story. Always ask politely when interviewing something and never including anything that they disclaim as “off the record”.

Is Social Media to Blame for Blarney Blowout?

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Photo taken from http://www.wggb.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/blarney-blowout.jpg

Days and weeks leading up to the annual Blarney Blowout event, students around the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and town of Amherst were buzzing about much fun this day would be.

But it was more than just the locals who caught wind of this event. People from everywhere were coming to visit their friends at UMass to celebrate this day. How did the word spread so quickly and to so many people?

The answer is simple.

Social media.

Every year on the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day local college students celebrate the made-up holiday consuming large amounts of alcohol in the town houses of Amherst and at the local bars downtown. This day symbolizes the start of spring and the realizations that warm weather and the end of the school year is just right around the corner.

“The event has escalated to a state-wide level,” said university director of news and media relations Ed Blaguszewski. “The event took on new life in the world of social media… Through Twitter and Facebook, this is a destination for all sorts of different people off campus.”

Students and friends from colleges all around the area flooded the town houses of Amherst on March 8 to celebrate the day. At what cost though? More than 73 people were arraigned in court as a result of their actions from Blarney. Despite this being an event tied directly to UMass Amherst, more than 60% of those who were arrested were not students of the University.

The driving force behind this event was the vast amount of posts on Twitter and Facebook telling people where and when to meet for this daylong party. Hundreds of tweets and statuses were sent out advertising the event and where the next party destination was.

“My friend from Bridgewater State was invited to Blarney by five separate people, and at least three of them didn’t even go to UMass. They found out via social media and word of mouth,” Maura Dalanis said.

Had it not been for social media, Blarney Blowout would not have escalated to the level that it did, and the number of participants would have been drastically lowered.

But what’s the best way to prevent this event from happening in the future?

Stopping Blarney Blowout in its entirety isn’t going to happen. College kids will continue to make immature decisions and will always flock to wherever the party is. However the university should look into the guest policy for the weekend and see if the amount of visitors can be reduced.

Although social media has brought the world closer together with the ability and efficiency to get information the second it happens, if abused it can lead to nothing but destruction and disturbance to innocent people who live in college towns.