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Chapter 12 and 13 (My brain is too tired)

November 20, 2010

 The first reading this week discusses news convergence in small-media markets. While we have discussed large converged markets, such as the Tampa Media center last week, we have not looked at smaller markets. The model in which to view smaller markets was Dailey, Demo, and Spillmans (2005) convergence continuum model, which consists of 5 stages of activity. These include 1) cross-promotion, 2)cloning, 3) coopetition, 4) content sharing and 5) full-convergence. Coopetition is a term used to describe efforts where converged media entities both cooperate and compete with each other. When it comes to research on teaching news convergence several studies have been conducted. The researchers note that the “industry is doing little to train its workers in convergence; the bulk of the responsibility seems to lie with journalism educators (206).” I was personally intrigued by this research. It seems hardly fair to leave all of the training to the educators. While I learned many applications in school, when I worked in a media environment, there was a lot of hands-on training as well. Mohl (2004) says that “educators try to prepare students for the type of journalism they plan to enter, but that this is an increasingly daunting task (206).” I now not only pity the journalists who are entering the field, but also those educating future journalists with only a hazy view of what the future may hold.

It seems that used to, you could teach print, radio, or broadcast and probably feel comfortable that journalism students were prepared for the real world. That’s just not the case any longer. “Good journalism requires time to think about what is being written, while the new content provider of convergence can only ricochet mindlessly trying to meet the demands of myriad media forms (Corrigan, 2004, pg. 14).” It is important to understand how journalism schools teach convergence because most graduates will begin their careers in smaller markets. The text also states that one of the greatest challenges in merging print and broadcast is the difference in the two cultures. Software, backgrounds, lingo, everything is different. Three important trends to consider are the introduction on mobile media, new competition from the likes of Yahoo and Google and the continued growth and potential challenges citizen journalism efforts through Internet websites, podcasts and blogs.

Another chapter gives us ideas for future media convergence research. First, convergence did not stop falling newspaper or circulation or raise news ratings for the markets top rated station. Second, the definition of convergence remains fluid. It is ever changing, which makes researching it very hard. There is also a need for more models for convergence to fit into – there is a lot of print and television research, but not much about web sites. And last, convergence research needs to look at “intra-organization convergence.” Some media entities are acting alone in their convergence practices and there has not been much examination done on these types of practices. There is no doubt that we have determined that convergence is the future of journalism. It will be a long and bumpy ride, so we all just need to hang on.

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

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Dealing with It

November 13, 2010

            This week I was thinking about different things when it comes to New Media. Convergence, Consumption, Capitalism, they all take one thing to work – MONEY. And anyone can tell you, it takes a lot of those presidents to make it in the world these days. George Washington, he doesn’t get you very far. So I started thinking about what this means for the media. How can small markets keep up with the trends? Can they afford to staff someone who is so knowledgeable in something they desperately need? I truly do worry about things like jobs in the industry and the thought of the “end of a wonderful era” if newspapers cease to exist.  And it all comes down to a simple green piece of paper.

            Grant and Wilkinson’s chapter this week, “The Meaning and Influence of Convergence” investigated the Media General’s Tampa News Center converged newsroom. It aimed to examine 3 research questions “particularly relevant to journalism researchers and educator: First, how do employees at the News Center define media convergence. What changes have journalists experienced on their jobs and in the newsroom since the creation of the News Center and what skills do new staff members need to function optimally in the convergent environment of the news center.” Education was touched on and it was found that “nearly 85 percent [of administrators] reported that their curriculum emphasizes on cross-media learning or both cross-media and specialization learning” (187).  Furthermore, I agree that in order to teach, these new processes, ideas, techniques, specializations, we must know what new-media and to what extent is being utilized in the newsroom.

          Convergence is not without its share of critics, and here we go with that green bill again. Concerns were raised “that a converged newsroom would damage the editorial independence of news operations, reduce the amount of original content and augment employee workloads without proper compensation. Journalists write, report, edit, photograph, interview, and share all that they do. Now let’s add Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Blogging,  and the editing and work that these programs entail and not give anymore compensation. Nope – I’m not signing up for that.

A summary of the case study follows:

Meaning of Media Convergence – There still seems to be a lack of “full-on convergence” here. The operation that benefits the most is the television because “it benefits from the depth of resources of the newspaper that did not exist when the operations were housed in separate locations and did not work together.  

Changes in Newsroom Practices and Culture –  One surprise in the study was that journalists saw their work as generally unchanged. “This outcome may be explained by the fact  that convergence has brought additional efficiency through shared resources that allow the same number of people to get more done in a given time period such as a news day” (198). It seems as if this outcome was more positive than I expected. I would have thought that some would have been disgruntled about the change, but I suppose they were more accepting than I anticipated.

Recommended Job Skills – “Future journalism graduates must become increasingly versatile and knowledgeable about multimedia, good communication, reporting, and writing skills remain the bedrock of the news profession” (198).

The study lists several areas for future research including seeking information from other newsrooms, as well as more in-depth studies on job satisfaction in converged newsrooms. There is certainly no telling what the future holds, but if I had a crystal ball, it would probably tell me that converged newsrooms will be prominent in the future and  we better just deal with it.

References

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

Oxford University Press.

Aint that the Truth

November 10, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses

November 6, 2010

                Everyone has a story. It isn’t like anyone else’s. It is unique in every single way. I met a girl the other day, who appeared on the surface to be, well, for lack of a better word, stupid. After talking with her, I found out she is a world traveler, her family has done extensive mission work in East Africa, she attended a boarding school and she had a zest for life. This just spoke volumes to me. “Kristen, don’t be so judgmental!”  Become a better listener – and in turn you may become a better storyteller yourself.

                One of the articles this week by Krissy Clark, is about journalism on the map. With all of the technologies we have today, we can get the information we need by simply using our smartphone to get the story behind a historical restaurant or home. Who built it, who ate there, maybe there was some other significant historical event that we would have never known about. Before this we had to pull over on the side of the road and read historical markers and how many of us actually did that? This is actually a pretty neat way to use new media technologies to help us answer some of those unanswered questions about some of the places we encounter. “We live at a time and in a world in which people can become so glued to their gadgets they forget the place where they are standing. But a reporter equipped with the right geospatial devices has a unique opportunity to reconnect people to place.” This should make us stop and take the time to think about what we use our technological devices for. They can be our own tools for history and storytelling. I think we need to use them more for those purposes. This will help benefit the youth of today who hate to crack open the history books and look to their cellphones and computers for sources of news and information.

                Speaking of youth (good segue, huh?), the next article is about making youth “happy news consumers.” We definitely have the research to show that youth are reading the newspaper less today than before. Huang bases his study on Uses & Gratifications theory and examines how a group of young people chose media content to satisfy their own needs and why they have done so in the way they do. Three questions were asked: What uses do youths make of news and what gratifications do they derive from it, how have news media failed to address youths news consumption objectives, and what role do participatory media play in satisfying youths’ news consumption needs.  “The finding show that the respondents tried to keep up to date with  current events because they felt as though they owed it to themselves to be informed citizens … burying their heads in the sand pretending things wouldn’t affect them was not a solution.”

         Also, the findings show that the media has failed in a five areas: time constraints, trivial and sensationalized news content, dated delivery approaches, less competitive newspaper format, and negative parental influence. The trivial and sensationalized news content area surprised me a bit in that it seems as if the media are gearing this type of news content toward a younger crowd because it seems as if youth are the ones who are more interested in Hollywood gossip. Also, the dated delivery approach failing also got me thinking. Newspapers and broadcast have been presented basically the same way for literally decades. In the article one respondent states, “local news broadcasts ore me to tears, but I think it’s the lack of innovation in that format that creates my disinterest. I think the news is probably trustworthy, but their presentation feels like it hasn’t changed since the 70s.” I hadn’t ever thought of the presentation being the reason that more and more people are turning to new media outlets.

         The Grant and Wilkinson text this week the chapter reports on a research project  that aims to answer the question of whether good journalism or the bottom line is the reason that organizations converge.  Databases were used to build 13 convergence case studies in which the news product could be analyzed using market-driven journalism theory and the Seven Levels of Convergence. The 13 cases ranged from sports stories to home evictions. All of them were given a level of convergence, for example, level 1 was daily tips and information and level 4 was enterprise reporting and so on (these being Carr’s Seven levels of convergence). Five research questions were asked based on differences in news stories, collaboration, type of journalism, convergence levels and synergy. In regards to the differences in news stories, it depends on the type of story. The converged operation was noticeably aggressive in reporting the latest details on multiple platforms. Second, collaboration was less of a factor in these studies. In regards to the type of journalism, convergence does not mean a turn-away from market-driven journalism. The fourth research question, regarding convergence levels found that when convergence is part of an equation, there are opportunities to extend an exclusive story if one has the benefit of a convergence partner. Lastly, it seems that a definitive answer regarding synergy was hard to come by.  If one platform does all the reporting, then finding synergy is a difficult task.  

                                                                                                          References

Clark, K. (2010, August 10). 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

A Dollar Will Make a Journalist Holler

October 30, 2010

                We all have heard the term money talks and bulls*** walks. This is certainly true when it comes to the media. This weeks readings had a lot to do with media and the good ol’ dollar (or in the case of one article, the pound). Money is power and drives a lot of what we do. Many newspapers have gone out of business lately because they are losing readers to the internet.

                Rupert Murdoch, who apparently is quite the greedy media tycoon, has recently put a Paywall on the London Times paper. Check it out, you can see the minute you find an article that peaks your interest and you click on it, you get a lovely pop-up that says £1 to access. Moore says, that the worst reason for implementing the paywall is ” it [the paywall] turns its back on the reason for the net’s success — the flowering of millions of conversation.” He offers the solution to paywalls- called metadata. The basic principle is that with metadata imbedded into a story everyone gets credit. You can see boxes of information explaining the type of sourcing as well as a link to the organizations editorial standards. It provides readers with backstory. This is something that could certainly be beneficial to news organizations.

                Another article by Gahran offers tools to build your news business. She discusses a practice that should be more commonplace among online news sources, which is going above and beyond what is currently being put in the text.   Don’t just say “during the meeting held in June, say “during the meeting held June 25 at the home of so-and-so etc.” In order for a story to not become stale too quickly, more value has to be added to it. Although an article may remain online for a long-time its shelf-life may expire quickly, unless there are links and other resources that keep it alive. With links to other stories, (and hopefully links to your story) your article is likely to become better, more useful and more insightful.

                Nathan Crick discusses the Dewey/Lipmann debates in his article. It seems that Lipmann believed that press was not a valuable tool, while Dewey believed that through communication, individuals are able to judge their values in terms of the shared interests of the public.  Communication facilitates shared experience, through socially-constituted language.  “Their shared hope was to find a method for dealing with the crisis of public opinion by focusing attention squarely on what Carl Bybee (1999) calls the “interconnection of citizenship, media and democracy.” Dewey and Lipmann clashed over whether and autonomous and funded news agency could enlighten the attitudes of a distracted and fragmented public. “The pressing question with which the Dewey/Lipmann debate leaves us is this – what form of publicly funded and autonomous agencies of social inquiry and news production are necessary to supplement the current corporate liberal media structure of the public sphere?” (Crick, 2009). Furthermore Crick tells us that “the internet in its capacity as a public sphere undoubtedly has facilitated a greater explosion of previously unheard voices than at any other time in history.” But- it is a tool only, not an answer provider.

                Grant and Wilkinson discuss media management in the text this week. Years ago, managers could see the news room as black and white. You either worked in a print newsroom or a broadcast newsroom. There was no gray. However, with convergence, this color spectrum is changing. Print, broadcast, internet, twitter, blogs etc… the face of every newsroom has seen the effect of convergence and it isn’t going away. The ones who must be most informed about convergence are the newsroom managers. It is important for managers to be equipped with the information and willing to help with problems, share their knowledge and train staff who have less knowledge. There are many things managers will have to understand when it comes to the newsroom. They will just need to remember to pay attention to the needs of their staff. If they pay attention to what actually goes on behind the scenes, it will make for a happier group. Employing the “7 best practices” (I would have named them the 7 c’s of convergence, but hey- nobody asked me) will help those media outlets who are embarking on convergence. These include “communication, commitment, cooperation, compensation, culture, competition and customer.” No matter what, convergence is not going away, so the best thing to do in the newsroom is instead of trying to ignore that it is staring you in the face, you should open your arms, embrace it, and hope for the best.  

References

Gahran, A.E. (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_conne ctions_to_build_your_news_busines/?utm_source=feedbur ner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Knight DigitalMediaCenter+Knight+Digital+Media+Center&utm_c ontent=Google+Reader#When:22:32:34Z

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

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

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

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

 http://www.infoamerica.org/teoria_articulos/lippmann_dewey.htm

Clash of the Media

October 23, 2010

           It is a dog-eat-dog world out there. Well, in our case, a journalist-eat-journalist world. Everyone is vying for the best story. Newspapers and broadcasters seem to harbor quite a hateful attitude toward one another. In Grant and Wilkinson this week, we read that some journalists in the newspaper world thought of broadcast journalists as “hair spray, bowties, vapid air heads.” It is funny to me how this stereotype almost seems appropriate. Have you ever seen a pageant show where the beautiful young contestant aspires to be a broadcast journalist, with dreams of becoming the next Katie Couric? – I digress. But what can we do to help make telling the news a better experience for all involved? 

                It seems more and more that convergence is having to work for news mediums. For example, now you can see the Tyler Paper and CBS 19 have partnered up to promote each other as news organizations. The Tyler Paper online will show video that was done by 19 and also do games and promotions that you have to watch the news and read the paper in order to win. They have integrated print, broadcast, and online news content and it is working well for them. I don’t know in how many places this type of partnership has been used, but I can see it becoming more and more of a trend. This is a neat way that the organizations are able to use convergence to share the news. Also, it is a way to show the public (at least on the surface) that newspapers and broadcast can get along. I mean after all isn’t their job ultimately the same? To Share the news? Both organizations are assisting each other in very positive ways.

                 In an article by Steen Steensen, we learn about the Norwegian online newspaper the Dagbladet. Steensen’s research discussed the problems in trying to implement online feature news content. “Reporting breaking news has so far undoubtedly been the dominant feature of most online newspapers, but as online journalism evolves a complexity of styles and genres is emerging that broadens the diversity of online journalism far beyond reports on daily news” (Steensen, 2009). This day and age, when it comes to breaking news, we immediately turn to the internet. I’m pretty sure I can speak for almost anyone when I say immediately. We want to know. We are so greedy with everything that we want it now, now, NOW!  No longer can we wait for that 5 a.m. thud that has arrived outside our doorstep (aka the newspaper). We heard something horrible has happened, we don’t want to believe it, so we are able to turn to the internet for the immediacy of the reporting and also for that instant gratification.  Immediacy is what Steensen states hinders online sources from moving beyond online news journalism to online feature journalism  “most of the empirically based research into the production of online journalism is biased towards exploring online news journalism, thus promoting for instance immediacy in reporting as the main obstacle preventing innovative use of new technology in online newsrooms.” But after we get passed this immediacy, we tend to want more. After understanding that there has been something bad happen, I want to go to my local online news source and find a story about a local hero or a picture of a cute kid. What the public doesn’t realize is that “just throwing something on the internet” is not that easy. If you want it to look professional, imbed sound video and all the bells and whistles, it takes someone skilled to perform those types of tasks. Steensen also points out that new technology was a hindrance in implementing some of these types of programs. The journalists were encountering technical problems … well to that I say that journalists aren’t computer coders so that means we would have to learn even more skills to keep up with the times. Lastly, Steensen does explain how the online newsroom is so new that there is no definite answer. Only time can tell what the internet will evolve to as far as the news is concerned.

       Grant and Wilkinson discuss culture clashes between print and broadcast news sources. “Early attempts to put print and broadcast journalists within the same newsroom in hopes that a cultural osmosis would occur met with resistance and left some scholars wondering if this barrier could ever be overcome.” Last week we learned about Social Identity Theory. Journalists, be it print, broadcast or online are all susceptible to some sort of bias toward each other because they all work in different groups. Allports research on intergroup relations found 3 major points to eliminating bias: groups must be of equal status both in practice and perception, groups must be engaged in cooperative rather than competitive activities, and the support of institutional authorities must be present if group collaboration is to occur at an optimum level. Additionally, three additional models were given as further examples on how to diminish bias. These include (in brief) the Decategorized Content Model which suggests the best way to ameliorate intergroup bias is to break down the group identities and form more personalized relationships. Secondly, the Common Ingroup Identity Model seeks to move groups from an “us” and “them” mentality to a “we.” And lastly, the Mutual Intergroup Differentiation Model, which, unlike the other two has been key in pointing out positives within both groups. Conflict will always be a part of human nature, but the media and journalists definitely needs to find a way to understand each other and make their workplace a more positive one because the people and the technology are certainly not going to wait around for them to resolve their issues.

 References

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

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

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Internet

October 16, 2010

 

 In this week’s readings, Laura  Stein studies whether or not and how Social Movement Organizations ( SMO’s) use the web. Social Movement Organizations can include organizations from anything like PETA, KKK, the TEA party, and even al-Qaeda, however they don’t always have to be quite that controversial. Other examples of social movements include: civil rights, environmental, green, gay rights, labor, anti-globalization, vegetarian and feminist. According to  this article“Social movement organizations are very peculiar kinds of organizations. They are inherently unstable because, unlike ordinary organizations, they are operating to change the society in which they originate — not adapt to its needs.” I think some could argue that using the internet may be adapting to the needs of society.

  Typically we do not hear much about these organizations in regular mainstream media unless there is something they have done that’s controversial and news-worthy. Something like this.  “The mainstream media often systematically distort, negatively cast, or ignore social movement viewpoints” (Stein, 2009). This is truly an example of agenda-setting as we are made to think about these organizations only when the media wants us to. She believes by using outlets like the internet, that SMO’s would be able to bypass mainstream media gatekeepers and therefore have a better way of communicating with their constituencies and the broader public.  I would assume that SMO’s may not want to use the internet because of the criticism they may receive for their beliefs. Social Movements are formed because people have a certain belief structure that is different from the norm and challenge the beliefs of those with power. The KKK is not necessarily going to utilize the internet for monetary purposes and to gain new members.

As part of an “underground world/counterculture,” some of these organizations do not want to share about themselves via internet communication. Since anyone can look at the internet, there is likely a large amount of paranoia that exists when it comes to supplying information on the internet. Furthermore, no one is going to “Like” a KKK Facebook page or al-Qaeda one either. This type of sharing of information regarding organizations and their members is likely to incite anger, riots and criticism of the group. I understand Steins research for trying to figure out why these groups don’t utilize the internet, but I think chances are the reasons are personal, maybe members who show their public support on the internet for organizations like these may risk losing jobs, would be shunned and chastised. I personally am not surprised at the lack of internet usage by these organizations.

In Roland LeGrand’s article 10 Ways to Make Video a More Interactive Experience , he offers many good suggestions on how to make both parties more engaged in the video experience. He mentions “What I often see on YouTube, however, is that the producer or uploader of the videos do not participate in the discussion.” Is it possible that the uploader of the video just doesn’t have time to do this? Most videos I have looked at do seem to have a fair amount of discussion, either by the uploader or others. And who knows, maybe the uploader of the video quietly exits the discussion so that they can get an idea of what kind emotion the video has incited with the external public. And also, I will come across videos sometimes that have not been commented on years and all of a sudden there is that random comment. Maybe the producer is bored with their own work by then, it doesn’t mean anything to them anymore.

 

Lastly, grant and Wilkinson describe for us a future where New Media techniques can be used across many different disciplines including: Law, education, art, government, medicine etc. The possibilities are endless. However, what this also means is that we as trained journalists need to keep abreast of all of the latest techonologies. “Journalism scholars and practitioners must reinvent themselves in the broadest terms professionally”  (Grant & Wilkinson, 2009 pg 114). We will need to be equipped with the most up-to-date media skills and tools that we can find in our tool belt. I think this could be an interesting time for journalist to be able to utilize their skills in areas where they have never used them before. We must also change the way we look at news because even what is considered news is now changing.  I sometimes fret over what may become of my field of study as I am sure many other journalists do, but I am beginning to believe that if I have the right ammunition and skills, I can help fight the battle.

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

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

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+(mediashift-blog)&utm_content=Google+Reader