Tag Archives: media

Nothing But The… Bad News? (It’s all about perspective)

Do you know someone who doesn’t read the news anymore because it’s “depressing” or “always negative”? Perhaps those are some excuses you use to avoid keeping up with current events. If that is you, don’t worry, this post isn’t meant to call you out, but I do want to challenge our perspectives (yes, our, I’ll be the first to admit that I have had times where I have felt intimidated to approach all that is “the world of news”).

Anyway, what does perspective have to do with this? Well, if you will bear with me a little longer, I’m going to digress a bit further and then (hopefully) bring this back full circle to answer the big question of “Why is the news always bad?”

A Tourist In HawaIMG_20141209_232923_783ii

As you may or may not know, I’m from Hawaii. If you’re not from Hawaii, you probably are thinking I live in paradise, and in many ways, you’d be right. Hawaii is beautiful, the weather is relatively nice (especially this time of the year), and it is my home. However, growing up here, as with growing up anywhere, hasn’t been easy. So, tied with my view of Hawaii is the valleys I’ve faced in life, the fact that I’m not on vacation somewhere else, and the high cost of living! And recently with transferring schools, being in Hawaii also means that I’m no longer enrolled at Houston Baptist University. That said, this isn’t meant to be a complete downer about Hawaii because ask any tourist who has paid their whole life’s savings to spend a week here and they will tell you how amazing Hawaii is and how they cannot wait to be back here. Now, there’s nothing different between my Hawaii and that tourist’s Hawaii, but there IS a big difference on the perspectives we have… see, I told you I’d bring this back around.

Perspective and News 

While there are a lot of unpleasant things that are going on in the world today, a lot of how we see the news depends on how we read the news. What is the perspective you have prior to even reading that first article? If you’re expecting a story about a tragic event or social injustice, you’ll definitely find it. BUT, if you’re expecting an inspiring story of someone who survived a tragic event or took action to right a social injustice, then you’ll find that too. Combining my Hawaii analogy and this lesson on perspectives might be a stretch, but sometimes, we need to see our news like a tourist sees Hawaii. I’m definitely in need of a perspective check, how about you?

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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.

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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.


Reason: History in the Making

ImageA little word of advice: Don’t take a huge break from blogging/writing if you don’t have to. I’m finding it hard getting back into blogging because I’ve gotten… well… lazy from my break. In fact, this break, it was pretty easy to brainstorm things to blog about but the hard part was actually typing it out :P. However, Christmas break is coming to an end and so must my procrastination. 

That said, as I was watching Hoda Kotb (who I kind of “met in person”) and Kathie Lee Gifford host “A Toast to 2013” on New Year’s Eve, I was reminded of one of the many reasons why I decided to pursue journalism. As the journalists and special guests reflected over all the big events, surprises and trends that have popped up this past year, I realized that they were able to recall it so effortlessly because they played a huge role in each and every tragedy, viral video, natural disaster, and headline. 

While they obviously didn’t cause or experience most of the news they covered firsthand, journalists have to research, interview and really dig deep into the stories they cover so that they can serve as the link between the public and the big moments that happen each year. That’s what I want to be apart of. 

Sure, with deadlines and the fast-paced world of social media, it is hard to just sit back and enjoy the moment as a journalist, but on the other hand, by having to cover so many stories and events, journalists get to be a part of the moment. The stories that were at one time assignments and more work to do, eventually become our record of history. 

I really don’t think I’m doing this justice. I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time explaining it in words (told you not to take a break from writing!). Anyway, it just amazes me to look at these people who bring us the news and think about the huge role they play in making history.