Google Glass questions? Hit the road!

Like I’ve expanded on before, advancing technology is being dished out like cake at Marie Antoinette’s birthday party. One that I have always been questionable about is Google Glass. It seems more like a joke than a real thing. The more I read about it, the more videos I see about it, the more I can’t take it seriously. I also think back on the kid who lived across from me in the dorms freshman year. His brother makes videos, and this was one of his best.

If you liked that guy, check out the rest of his work too.

Comedian or not, I think there’s at least a little bit of truth to what he suggests here. It’s a little exaggerated maybe, but so what? There are definite flaws in this technology. For one, the battery life is very, very poor. In situations where you would rely on it, you would simply have to have a phone or computer as a backup. Aside from that, there are multiple reasons why Google Glass is just not, well, taking the cake.

But if you’re like me and have been a fan of Google since you began using the Internet, you’re still curious. How could something so good produce something so laughable? Well, turns out we have a chance to ask those questions. It turns out Glass is going on tour. The goal of this tour is to spread knowledge of the product for when it goes on sale in 2014. Everyone is invited to come out and try Glass to see what it’s all about. The tour starts October 5th in Durham, North Carolina and onward from there. Make sure you RSVP on Google+ if you’re interested!

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“Mondays”

Well it’s time to wrap of our Monday-to-Monday 5k. This may have been the longest 5k I’ve ever completed. I think it could maybe get a “worst record time” award, finishing at about 8 days long. (Also, let’s be honest- I’ve never done a 5k.)

Image

The peak of the 7-day 5k.

This stretch has definitely had its up’s and down’s. If I’ve learned anything, it’s the information is ever-flowing. There are endless amounts of information that I can read, combine and present to more readers interested in similar topics. As a journalist, the topic of my blog is very important. Everyone in the industry should be aware of the changes and evolution of the print industry. I, at least, consider it the backbone of journalism. From there, visual and broadcast stems from there, but without the writing of news, there would be nothing else.

The biggest problem that I encountered was timing. I am very busy with my last semester of classes, two jobs, an internship and extracurricular hobbies that take up part of my day. Some days I wrote posts that I felt could be extremely more in-depth, better researched and better presented if I had more time or gave myself more time. That is something I want to work on in the future.

I also would love to apply the tips I have read for our last “Read and Respond” activity. I’m interested in the amount of readers I could gain through microblogging and factors like the time of day that I post. I also want to work on commenting on more blogs and learning through discussion with those who write about similar topics.

Overall, I was surprised at how smooth the week went, but I definitely think I could have performed better if I had more time to dedicate. I think next time I will find a better way to fit well-constructed posts in regardless of my other obligations.

to be sued or not to be sued

The more I thought about the freedom of the Internet, the more I found myself terrified of that holes in the system. What do I mean? The rules are so hazy when it comes to reporting through online media that it’s almost scarier. How are we truly supposed to know if we go too far? How is someone not formally trained as a journalist supposed to know? What do we do if we report on a free blog, but then are being sued for millions of dollars?

It’s scary. Very scary. So I got to reading. I read a specific case that interested me about a blogger named Chris Moody. Blogging is particularly interesting because anyone can simply sign up for an account and start writing. In my last post, I mentioned FFIA and how people can be considered a journalist without actually being one. Chris Moody gives great advice and insight to the problem with his own, personal experience. He goes in depth about how he actually researched his multi-million dollar case. He even says that he found there have been 19 million cases of people that have been sued over negative reviews.

When thinking about blogging, and even social media, there are a few steps to avoid getting into a rock and a hard place. The most important and the simplest way of facing the situation is to really think about the context of what is being published. The context is what’s most important. You can approach a story from multiple angles, but you must be careful the way you produce the information.

There are thin lines between what is acceptable and what can be taken the wrong way. What’s important to acknowledge is that it’s real. You must responsibly report and review your material as to not step on anyone’s toes. If you don’t, well, say goodbye to your career and your financial stability.

FFIA

Maybe the answer to my last post if that a federal law should determine how journalists report information online.

The Free Flow of Information Act could protect journalists from revealing confidential sources that the federal government has before not included under the First Amendment. But who will the law cover? Who will be considered a “journalist”?

There have been specific guidelines made  that will qualify people as a “covered journalist”. This doesn’t necessarily define who is a journalist, but more so who is protected when acting as a journalist.

  • The person is an employee of or freelancer for any service “that disseminates news or information” no matter the mechanism of distribution, including media and technologies not yet invented. This definition is a considerable improvement over previous versions, which listed specific media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV stations and websites) that would be eligible for protection. The media coalition, with critical input from ONA, recommended this broader definition to ensure that the bill protects not only traditional media and websites, but also mobile applications and “any other news or information service (whether distributed digitally or otherwise).”
  • The person must regularly gather news and information on matters of public interest for the purpose of disseminating that information to the public and must have been doing so at the time he or she gathered information from a confidential source.

FFIA also protects bloggers in this context. Rather than petty, old arguments about licensing who is a journalist and who is not, the bill focuses more on the content being provided to the viewers. If it is clearly committing an act of journalism, than that person will be thought of as a journalist. In short, the bill protects us as journalists in all forms.

TGIF / tips on not getting sued

As the Internet gives literally anyone access to report on any topic they choose, it also opens a lot of questionable doors. Traditional journalism has tons of rules and limits. I mean, TONS. There quite possibly is an ethical dilemma you could face in almost every story. There are physical guidelines that you must take into consideration. Aside from ethics, there’s a rigid format a journalist must follow, a list of things to cover and a list of things to not cover. If a journalist reports something false, there can be serious consequences. Consequences can stem from being sued to losing your career. It’s a touchy business. 

But how has it changed since the Internet has begun to be an outlet for tons of reports every day? They can come from journalists to high school kids. Who is monitoring the content? Who gets to say what is right, wrong or too far? 

Cleland Thom provides e-books that cover these topics. I’m actually thinking about purchasing one or both of these. The books elaborate on proper techniques to avoid conflict and to ensure the responsibility as a journalist that is experimenting and moving to online media. The book actually has specific cases from recent years. 

Over the next few days, I will elaborate on this topic. I’ve found it to be very complicated, and it can’t all be summed up in one post. Such legal issues like copyright, harassment, libel and more all affect a journalist’s way of writing. What needs to be acknowledged is how far is too far on the Internet? Can information truly be free and up for grabs? Can there really be rules for the free world wide web? 

On another note, let’s call it Friday and brainstorm what is being done, what can be done and what is impossible to do. Please let me know about your experiences or additional readings on this topic. 

tis the iPhone season

Well, it’s that time of year again. The leaves are beginning to change colors, as are the new bodies of the iPhone 5s and 5c. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m quite the iPhone fan. I’m not the most technologically advanced person, so I’m not always fawning over the updated version of something I already have. I have an iPhone 4. Not a 4s and not a 5. I honestly couldn’t tell you the major differences between all of them. However, my update through AT&T is coming up, so I’m beginning to get excited for the new versions.

With all the advancements in technology, this got me wondering if these newer versions can aid in journalism as well. I listened to a great podcast  presented by Richard Aedy on ABC Radio National. This interview is with Stilgherrian who is an independent technology writer and broadcaster. He had some interesting points to make.

Throughout the interview, there is an emphasis on how the actual phone, the iPhone 5 at the time, could aid with journalism. The truth is the advancements on the phone won’t necessarily help journalists, but the applications will. Coveritlive, YouTube, WordPress, Ustream and Livestream were just some of the ones mentioned. As iPhones advance, their storage size generally increases as well. This is what benefits journalists. This gives us the ability to run multiple applications at once. What I found interesting was that there seemed to be little differences that would make it worthy to purchase a new iPhone.

So, my vote is in. Go get the new iPhone if you want, but don’t feel pressured to if you’re using it for journalism purposes. Odds are, your iPhone is in just as good condition and will work just as well. But, they do have new colors.

 

New look for iPhone 5c. Photo taken from ABC News.

New look for iPhone 5c. Photo taken from ABC News.

Predictive Policing and its affect on journalism

I am living in a generation that went from having some of the first basic computers in our households, to having various gadgets and applications at our fingertips. As the internet is a large, mostly free source of information, there are a lot of opportunities for privacy to be invaded.

As journalists, we look up questionable material. Material that may be seen as “alarming” triggers an analytical system that’s used to prevent crime. These kind of situations make it more difficult for sources to put trust in you and your stories. Are there ways to prevent this?

Alan Pearce wrote a book that goes into specific techniques to protect you and your sources. I, personally, have not yet read it. If anyone has, I’d love to hear your opinion. Some of the techniques include simply changing your privacy settings or not using WiFi on your phone if you’re in an area that offers it.

You can see a brief list of techniques that are also helpful. I never realized there was an actual issue to this until reading through some articles and other blog posts. This affects investigative journalism, especially political, greatly. In a professional world, we rely on emails for so much of our conversation, spreading information and having a, what we think, private conversation.

There have be numerous cases where emails have been hacked and forwarded the information sent to a third party email. One great tool to prevent this from happening is two-step verification.

To sum it up simply, you don’t only use a password to sign into your account, but you are asked to verify the account on a separate system. In most cases, a code will be sent to your phone.

These are just a few tools used to protect the privacy of you and your sources  research and information. More and more precautions must be taken as online media expands in order to avoid conflict and even legal situations that could harm your career.

targeting your audience, not just any audience

I like coffee. A lot. I’ve worked at coffee shops throughout high school and college, and I’m generally sitting in one during the hours I’m not required to pour it. This morning I sat at my favorite one, read some blogs and observed the people around me. There’s a stack of newspapers, the University’s free daily issue, which more or less gets disheveled than read throughout the day. As people wait for their best friend in the morning, that cup commonly named Joe, they pick the paper up, flip through it, skim some articles and then place it down.

This gave me a realization. The realization of specialization.

The theme of this blog is to research the future, and honestly the present time, of the print industry. Print copies are made to reach the majority of an audience. They’re made to appeal to anyone walking by who come from different backgrounds and have different careers or lifestyles. Journalists have written in ways that any person can read an article and understand its content.

The expansion of news being on the Internet has brought the issue of people only reading what interests or concerns them. There’s nothing necessarily bad about this, but it definitely changes how the game is played. Rather than appealing to the audience, as journalists we must adapt to reporting for a target audience.

One of my favorite points made in the American Press Institute, was “One size fits no one.” That statement hit me in the head hard. I’ve attempted to start my own blog before, and I became discouraged. I wondered how people made a career out of it or simply got people to read it. Sure, there were probably a handful of reasons it wasn’t successful in the few months I wrote in it, but this was a big part of it. How are you going to get everyone reading your blog or your articles? The answer simply is that you won’t, and that you don’t want to. By attempting to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. Simple, true and very important. What brings people to read what you write is that you have an angle and a strategy that is different than a broad report on something or someone.

What was important for me to acknowledge is that this does not just include blogging. This includes all media that is now going virtual. There are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration while also keeping in mind a target audience. For example, the time of day is significantly important. People are accustomed to reading their straightforward news in the morning with their newspaper. Odds are, they might want to continue to start their day that way. Parenting articles might be best in the early afternoon, assuming parents might find a break during the day during a naptime. Literary articles or blogs might thrive in the evening. Readers are settling down after a day at work and at home, and they want to wind down with a review on a new bestseller.

Target audiences are now known more commonly as our “audience” now. To succeed, as journalists, we must specialize in our area of writing and provide something for them that will further their knowledge in a field that affects them in one-way or another.

iPads, another tool aiding the future of reporting

Journalism has progressed and evolved into something different has technology has continued to evolve. In the last decade, technology has advanced and began producing smart phones, tablets and applications that simplify and (or?) make life and jobs more complicated.

As someone who likes to backpack and be disconnected from technology for periods of time, once I got an iPhone, I couldn’t even imagine not having one now. I have found almost everything that I need is in the palm of my hand, and if it’s not, I can download an application that provides the ability. It’s aiding my social life as well as my professional life. What about other devices? One I have been curious about is the iPad.

Tablets seem like mini- computers without a convenient keyboard. Why would I want that? There was literally no appeal when I first heard about them. As I was reading some fellow bloggers posts the other day, I read a brief entry about a girl that used her iPad for a report she did from 2 p.m. to 7p.m. to having it on the front page of a newspaper the next morning.

By using her iPad, she was able to update her Twitter about her progress, use applications to quicken the process of writing, send a draft with her email and take a photo to be used in the article; all from wherever she wished to be.

That got me wondering how other journalists are responding to the iPad craze and their reporting.

Jim Colgan reported on the topic when the iPad first was released in 2011. He has a specific case where he interviewed people in Times Square about their favorite restaurants. In that moment, he looked up the restaurants inspection report online. As he told the people the sketchy parts they most likely didn’t know, he was able to record their reactions. He couldn’t have done that without the iPad.

The article continues to elaborate on reporters that have had success in his or her reporting with the use of the iPad. This research has opened my eyes to a related theme stemming from the shift of classic journalism to online media. Not only is journalism moving toward the dependence of the Internet, but it is also dependent on the tools associated. This makes me wonder if our dependence on this technology can affect journalism in a negative way. What if something breaks, stops working or becomes faulty? Can we rely on these products as much as the old fashioned?

Some reporters have even stated they prefer to rely on their gadgets instead of have a camera crew. Is that the safest idea? Or the smartest?

How do you feel about this issue? What is your experience with these technologies? Have the been good or bad or both? 

Does a change in journalism mean a change in advertising too?

My last post focused heavily on the advertising tactics by Facebook, but it opened my eyes to the change of advertising in all news sources. While there is a shift from print to online publications, the form of advertising has to be reevaluated.

Advertising has always been a crucial component in newspapers and magazines. But will the shift to the online world include traditional advertising?

A study conducted at Penn State measured the memory associated with advertisements of the print media vs. online media. The study shows that there were significant differences on ad recollection, but very little difference in content recognition. Good news for journalists, people still read your articles, bad news for advertisers, they ain’t workin’. The study suggests advertisements need to also change with the change of medium. The ads must be more significant to catch the readers’ attention. One way is by animation instead of a still image.

The issue still remains. Are there other ways that are as significant as advertising for online media to gain revenue? Multiple news sources have begun to charge for online viewing or subscriptions. Though this can boost profit, it can also deter the readers. Wired Editor, Chris Anderson, acknowledges this issue. He states that people are being trained to try for content on the Internet for free, but they must pay for what they value. This is important to state because people tend to be more willing to pay for quality rather than get O-K, irrelevant stories for free. So how can we find balance?

That’s where the idea of differentiated sustainable revenue streams comes in. This simply means that there is revenue coming from multiple locations. There can be revenue from the classic, print media and ads, online ads, subscriptions, lead-generation revenue and more.

Dan Blank continues to acknowledge the technicalities, but brings up a very good point.

 “Focusing on critical needs and passion of your customers and target audience.”

If that is the ultimate focus of a news source, then the quality of the content will be profound and there will be no competition. If we give the readers what the want, they will pay, and they will continue to pay. That way, everyone wins.