Working with Storify: The Case of Dustin Paxton

With the Storify program, I decided to tackle a news story that appeared on the CBC online outlet Monday. It is the case of Dustin Paxton.  

Even though the story takes place in Calgary, the story’s proximity caught my eye and brought me to talk about the case. The story itself is something that is¬†compelling since it is “a betrayal of a friend” scenario that has gone terribly wrong. It is horrifying that someone you trust and call a friend decides to harm and torture¬†you because they cannot control their anger and that¬†you decide¬†stay silent about the¬†issue¬†until the moment you are beaten to the point of a near death experience since you do not want to be ridiculed for being weak. This case not only shows us how human beings are so sensitive to criticism, it ironically criticizes Canada’s criminal code system because only authoritative figures can be charged for torture.

In terms of working with Storify, it really was straight forward to use since you have a box to the right where you could access multimedia such as Youtube, Twitter, Instagram and other media, in order to give context and illustrate the story that you were presenting through the program. In my opinion, the Storify assignment is similar to the live blog assignment that I had done recently since you create a narrative to present an event but Storify is less stressful because you do not have to grab information and collect reactions of the public during the event in real time. This assignment gave me time to find the basic context of the Paxton case and to reflect on the type of media that I could use to add colour to the story. I think that Storify could improve itself by having a map function, so that I could add locations of places mentioned in the story into my narrative.  

LIVEBLOG: The 2013 American Music Awards

Click this link to check out my liveblog of the 2013 AMAs last night -> http://jour202.concordia.ca/?p=328

I chose to live-blog the 2013 American Music Awards because I thought it would be fun to comment on the performances of the artists and the audiences’ reaction to their favorite artists winning an award or their surprise to an unexpected development. Even though I planned to write something witty when the opportunity presented itself to me on screen or to gauge reactions from Twitter, I think that live blogging is actually extremely difficult to do.

During the entire experience, I feel that I was frantically typing away at my laptop in order to get good quotes to post onto my live blog which took away the aspect that I did want to present on my live blog which is to show a bit of my own criticism or opinions on the event. I also felt stressed out with this assignment because of the fact that my internet was faulty and I couldn’t get the twitter app on the side bar on the right of the screen to work for me. So, during one of the commercial breaks, I tuned into the Twitter feed for a few seconds. I think the commercial breaks really gave me time to input photos that I took while doing the live blog. I picked up my Ipad to take shots of my television screen during the announcements of the winners and during the musical performances and then, sent the pictures to myself¬†through my e-mail.¬†One thing that I learned about Ipad tonight is that you cannot send the videos you have filmed on your device and send it to yourself via e-mail.¬†¬†

So yes, to put it simply, multi-tasking never felt so painful.

I am also glad that I decided to do introduce the context of the awards ceremony an hour ahead of time because I am sure that if I had waited until the program began that I would have been struggling even more than I had been tonight. I had found links to incorporate and attribute in my live blog, downloaded videos and uploaded them onto the live blog since I guessed that my internet connection would fail me during the show.

I feel that my live blog is not perfect, but I think it was a decent first try with using Scribble. The program is easy and straight forward to use, but I think my idea of doing the project and the actual live-blogging experience was so different than what I had anticipated the results to be.

OPINION: Twitter and Journalism

It was inevitable that news reporting would evolve with the technology that we are using on a daily basis.

News outlets are developing an online presence by creating their own websites and using social media such as Twitter to disseminate news and gain a wider audience. Matthew Ingram from Giga Om and Anthony De Rosa from Reuters agree that Twitter is an efficient way for reporters to share content. According to De Rosa, it is easier to send a tweet than to send a report to the newswire. All that a reporter would have to do is access Twitter from their cell phone, type in a few words, add hash tags and they would gain publicity for their speedy report. Twitter is a faster way of spreading information around and is beneficial to reporters, freelance or not, since it would give them the publicity they want through a medium that is simple to use.

News stories should be updated frequently and should be available for the public to access because that is what news is all about. The Associated Press’s rule stating that their employees should not report on news before sending it on the organization’s news wire is ridiculous. They are ruining their chance of covering the story first in order to show their credibility and skill as capable journalists that can tell new stories when they occur. Not only that, reporters face the challenge of releasing an interesting or informative piece of information before their competitors.

Reporters can use Twitter to push news stories by using the social network for auto-referral. What this means is that ‚Äúthe reporter can spread information online rather than interacting with their followers or adding to a general debate by sharing external content.” According to the studies conducted by The Pew Research Center‚Äôs Project for Excellence in Journalism and the George Washington University‚Äôs School of Media and Public Affairs, some of the major news outlets fail to communicate with their audience and create a debate concerning the topics they choose to report on. The study showed that ‚Äú93% of tweets on main news accounts just link to content published on their own website while only 1% link to other news sites and 2% asked input from audience.”

This merely proves what Matthew Ingram from Giga Om had said, ‚ÄúTwitter is the newsfeed now.‚ÄĚ

But,¬†news organizations are only looking at Twitter¬†to showcase their own works as opposed to sharing their works with others and using other sources in order to, perhaps, discover new angles to a particular news story or to learn more about an issue occurring in another country. According to a study by Andy Carvin from NPR, retweeting accounts only took information from the 9% of the tweets made about the uprisings in the Arab World (hook up link). However, there is a difference in the usage of twitter between freelance journalists and journalists working for a news outlet, freelance journalists use twitter in a more ‚Äúinteractive and engaging‚ÄĚ way because they gather information through Twitter 6% of the time as opposed to the journalists from US news outlets who do so only 3%.

In a sense, I think that Twitter is influencing how journalists use the social media as their new version of a newswire. It can also connect them to other journalists in other countries if the reporter chooses to do so. I think the news would become more enriching if reporters could connect and interact with Twitter in order to create more informative pieces or to bring about a larger reaction from the audience if stories could present multiple angles of a single topic. It would be easy enough to attribute the information from other reporters because there is the re-tweeting feature on the social media. Re-tweeting is sharing information from an original source. Twitter is also changing how news stories should be told if freelance journalists are using the social media to gather information from crowd sourcing and encouraging citizen journalism.