Tag Archives: 21st century

They Speak, We Tweet

First off, yes, I know it’s been almost a month since my last post! I have officially failed as a blogger, but if it means anything, here’s another new post.

Over the past month, I have been to two journalism conferences, and I was amazed, yet again, by how much social media has impacted this field. In fact, the name of the first conference was actually called “Reporting, Writing, Tweeting it Out: What is Journalism in 2014?” and the second conference was the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) which focused on journalism in the “digital age.”

What probably amazed me the most was how many mobile devices/laptops were being used during the sessions. Not to mention, both of the conferences had a hashtag created specifically for those attending to tweet about the sessions as they were going on. Also, during the Q&A sessions, there was a live Twitter feed at ISOJ where you could see the latest posts of those tweeting about the conference.


My view of the live Twitter feed at ISOJ overlooking the screens of all the laptops and iPads…welcome to the 21st century.

As a millennial, I am not too shocked about this whole push to tweet and go digital, but it is still a little weird. I can remember the times when it was considered rude to have your phone out when someone was talking, much less be on your computer. Now, as Jim Brady, editor in chief at Digital First Media said at ISOJ, “I see more Apples in here than an orchard.” If you don’t have some smartphone, iPad, or laptop out during a session, you kind of stand out. Between almost every session, the conference coordinators would keep encouraging us to get out our mobile devices and tweet away. After these two conferences, I must say that I’ve learned a lot about tweeting and I’m getting more used to it, but…


Is it effective? 

Maybe I just haven’t mastered the amazing multi-tasking skills of journalists, but a lot of the times, when I’m trying to construct a concise and accurate tweet around something a speaker mentioned or brought up, I miss the next 5 minutes or so of the session. I also noticed that the other people attending the conferences were not just on Twitter during the conference. Some were researching more on the program or article that the speaker would mention, while others were writing articles or making final touches to their powerpoint presentations. I can definitely see this as being a useful tool to look into something right as the speaker talks about it as opposed to waiting until you get home to look it up, but doesn’t that serve as a distraction from the session that you paid money to attend? Where is the line drawn between a mobile device serving as a supplementary aid to listening to a session verses a distraction from the speaker?



The ‘Non-Stop’ Flow of Information

Tonight, I went to see Non-Stop. That movie definitely kept me on the edge of my seat, but the reason why I’m putting this on a blog that’s supposed to be about journalism is because it actually revealed a lot about how the media works today. Before I go into the journalistic connection behind this suspenseful-thriller, I have to give a little background information (don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers). 

Non-Stop takes place on a plane en-route to London.The air marshal, Bill Marks (Liam Neeson), receives a text message saying that one passenger will be killed every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred to a given bank account. Marks tries to identify the source of the texts among the 150 passengers on board.Initially, he conducts random searches and makes announcements that make the people on board confused and anxious while withholding as much information as possible since any one of them could be the culprit. Thanks to technology, the passengers initial source of news about their flight comes from none other than the national news streaming live on their individual television screens, and a lot of where those news stations are getting their information is coming from onboard footage taken by a teenage boy with a camera phone.

That’s when it struck me, the very people involved in the situation find their information from a secondhand source. Obviously, Marks doesn’t tell the passengers all the information due to security and safety precautions as he doesn’t want everyone to panic and he doesn’t want to agitate the terrorist behind the threatening text messages. However, the whole situation brings me to ask two questions: 

  1. With the advancement of technology, is it really possible to control when and how information gets out? 
  2. Was it really safer and more desirable that the passengers had to eventually find out from the newscast rather than hear directly from the authorities on board?

News spreads. That’s a fact that has been true in every time period, but in the 21st century where we have all types of information at the end of our fingertips, the dynamics have changed a lot. 

Whether in big corporations or governments, certain information is withheld because of the danger or negative effects it could have on those connected to the situation, but today, anybody with a camera and access to the internet can release news no matter how accurate or useful the content is. It is weird how today, in the name of safety, security and confidentiality those who are directly involved in a situation sometimes get updates and news about their predicament from those who aren’t even in a 25 mile radius from them and have no connection or involvement in the crises at hand. Who gets to know? Those involved or those searching for news? And who tells them? Someone on the scene or is news developed from rumors and speculation? 

Sorry to throw a bunch of questions at you, I might be rambling at this point but it just really stood out to me. I want to clarify however, that I’m not saying that people should not get their information from the news media, that would most likely put me out of a future job. However, many times, especially when it comes to sensitive situations, the information is gathered from tweets and word of mouth instead of given directly from the authorities or people who know first hand what is going on and can give the right information for the media to disperse. While some information does need to be guarded, sometimes, we get a little too protective of our information, until it finds another, usually messier, way to get out to the public. When it comes to releasing news, transparency not only makes it easier for us (journalists) to collect the right information, but it can be more beneficial than trying to keep everything under wraps. What do you think? 

And as for the question about national security the movie brings up, we’ll leave that to someone else to blog about.


1. Side note: Someone behind this movie seems to like the number 150.

Social Media vs. Me (Pt. 1)

ImageSo, I have a confession to make. Recently, I’ve developed some what of an aversion to social media. It’s not that I don’t use it (or like it), in fact, I get addicted to it which is exactly why I’ve been trying to avoid it.

You see, I love social media, but I’m also very overwhelmed by it. Today, information spreads so quickly and things change so rapidly. You can spend the rest of your life updating your newsfeed and still not see and read everything. There’s just so much information out there–it’s overwhelming!

That said, social media has become the main means of communication and has opened a lot of doors for us to interact with people that we haven’t even met.

I’ve been learning a lot about this in my journalism classes. As journalists, it is our responsibility to relay information to the public in a way that is both appealing and, more importantly, accurate. This is the very reason why I started to doubt whether going into journalism was really for me. There’s always a way you can re-post or rewrite a story to get the information out there. Also, with social media, you now have access to a whole bunch of sources, like celebrities and CEO’s. This is really helpful but where does it stop? Not to mention, with the addition of smart phones, I worried (and still worry) that my job will follow me everywhere. News is always happening and people are constantly posting. There’s no doubt about it, social media has drastically changed the world of journalism.

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 5.17.48 PMLast week, Terry Mattingly, the director of the Washington Journalism Conference, came to speak to my class and talked a lot about how important it is that we have Twitter and keep updated and connected through social media. Obviously, this raised my concerns of social media taking over my life. His response though stuck with me. He pointed out that social media has become so integrated into our society that no matter what field you’re in, you will need to know how to use and take advantage of this tool.

My attempt to get rid of my facebook page didn’t last very long. I had to make another account because it was the best way to communicate with the members of the on-campus organization I’m in and it is also the main way I keep in touch with classmates for group projects (although, I have limited myself to using it solely for those purposes).    Moral to this post: there is no avoiding social media… it is everywhere.