A Podcast

We learned about a new form of digital media in Journalism class this past week– podcasting. A podcast is considered to be any kind of digital media that is uploaded and put into a feed. It is unique in the sense that it is usually purely audio. As podcasting was new to us in class, it is also somewhat new in the digital space. The concept of podcasting first emerged during 2004, when Ben Hammersley, a reporter for The Guardian, released an article pointing out examples of significant audio content that had surfaced on the web. Through this analysis, he made the conclusion that podcasting was to become a popular phenomenon due to its great advantages: user friendliness. Listeners can tune into their favorite shows and get the information they want when and where they want it.

This concept of portability and consequent constant accessibility is one of the main reasons that podcasts have shown a rise in popularity over the years. As professors at the University of Maryland write in the article, Joining the Podcast Revolution, “with students now more mobile than ever, the idea of being able to access information without being linked to a certain physical location is very attractive” (1). As students walk to class and as people commute to work, podcasts are available no matter what.

One of the most well-known podcasts is called Serial. This specific podcast began in 2004, and was developed by the creators of This American Life, a journalistic radio show that is publicly broadcasted each week. Serial tells compelling stories that follow a plot and the lives of complex characters and lead listeners with suspense to the endings of these stories. It has achieved many awards such as the Peabody, Scripps Howard, and Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts. The podcast continues to garner large audiences ever since its creation. I plan to listen to this podcast this summer, as it had been recommended to me by several friends.

Podcasts are relatively easy to make. Anyone who is interested in telling a story through an audio method can do so for free. There are many tools available to the public that can be used for putting together an audio file to post. The video below includes information on how to make a podcast without spending money, and making it available to wide audiences:

In order to further understand the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing a podcast, we were instructed to create one ourselves. I have chosen to make my podcast about my visit to Madrid with CEA for the AICAP activity. This was a memorable time for me, as I have learned a lot about the conflict and tension that lies between citizens of Barcelona and Madrid. I especially thought this was a relevant topic after the soccer game on Sunday. You can listen to my podcast about my time in Madrid below.

Sources

  1. Jham, Bruno C., et al. “Joining the podcast revolution.” Journal of Dental Education 72.3 (2008): 278-281.

The Age of Mobile Journalism

Journalists no longer need to be published in a magazine, newspaper, or on the radio and television in order to spread information. There is a new journalistic practice that allows reporters to send their message directly from the scene of the event or anywhere they choose straight to viewers, all with minimal technology.This journalistic practice is called mobile journalism or “mojo” for short, and is being increasingly utilized by reporters across the world. Mobile handset devices have been developed to make this possible and are capable of “…portable digital media production and data transfer systems with configurations of features such as still and video camera capabilities, multimedia file swapping, global positioning satellite receivers, music players” and even more (1). Smartphones can manage these things as well with the download of appropriate applications. Mobile journalists can report news updates from anywhere around the world, at any time. Mobile journalism allows for a more flexible communication of updates and events since news rooms and entire production crews are not needed to effectively spread the information (1).

For mobile journalists who are working with a phone, there are some techniques that they must follow in order to create a credible and effective piece. According to the Missouri School of Journalism, there are five basic execution tips that, if followed, can lead to a piece that is enjoyable to watch. Even though mobile journalism is considered a less structured way to produce news pieces, there are still guidelines that reporters need to follow regarding camera angles, microphone usage, light and stabilization.

From the article “Five mobile journalism basics” by Judd Slivka

Mobile journalism has been described as a way for reporters to get “closer to the story” as stated in an article about the up and coming journalistic style. In the article attached in the tweet below, Geertje Algera, a mobile journalist at Geertje Algera Media explains the benefits of mobile journalism. Algera mentions how the absence of bigger cameras, entire crews and logistical planning leads to more raw and quickly delivered news update. Algera also brings up the fact that mobile journalism allows for less intrusive, more personal interviews of people. Now, the story can be produced from purely the journalist and subject of interest’s interaction, and not be affected by any intimidating cameras, newsroom sets or large crews. To read the full story about what this mobile journalism professional has to say, click below:

With the rise of mobile journalism, journalists must have knowledge of this practice and the skills to “…gather news with mobile devices, use them to interact with the social media audience, and how to format content appropriately for the medium” (2). Researchers collected more than 700 job postings from TV and newspaper companies in the United States and found that most of the positions require these skills in order to be considered for hire (2). Students who are studying to become journalists also must learn a whole new set of skills compared to those who were studying journalism before.

The rise in mobile journalism makes it so that important news updates can be spread across the world, even if a news room or camera crew are not available at the scene. This rather spontaneous and versatile way of communicating news makes it so that more real and less staged interviews can be shown, breaking news can be reported, and voices can be heard.

Sources:

  1. Cameron, David. “Mobile journalism: A snapshot of current research and practice.” Artigo consultado a 19.04 (2009): 2011.
  2. Wenger, Debora, Lynn Owens, and Patricia Thompson. “Help wanted: Mobile journalism skills required by top US news companies.” Electronic News 8.2 (2014): 138-149.

Just Google It

How many times do we think the phrase “Just Google It” is said daily during various conversations? Well, this phrase is applicable to all different kinds of situations thanks to the advanced search that Google is capable of. Instead of brainstorming other ways to figure out how to find information, people rely on the brainy search engine to hand them the answer to just about any question or topic they are wondering about. We have seen Google become more and more prominent in our lives as time has gone on. I remember in elementary and middle school, Google was not a search engine that was considered “respectable” for finding out information we needed to know for academic assignments. Now, it is just the opposite. Google can lead to the most trusted, reliable essays, scholarly articles, and books to answer any research question. I depend on Google Scholar to open the doors to all kinds of useful information when I am completing a project or essay for school. Essays and research projects aside, I depend on Google for any random question that pops into my head.

Google has especially been helpful during my time studying abroad. I can research reviews of restaurants, where to go if I want to experience an incredible hike, and what activities I should do when I travel to various places on the weekends. These searches represent my now: constant questioning of what to do, where to go, and how to find the most enjoyment and fulfillment in my experiences abroad. Google searches represent our now as a society. In an article written by two employees at Google in California, Hyunyoung Choi and Hal Varian explain how Google Trends data helps in “…predicting the present” (1). How amazing is that? Now, we can see exactly how much the news and media affect our society and not just assume. Sure, news channels can broadcast pieces and know they are reaching millions and millions of people. But how can they know for sure that these pieces are sticking with the minds and hearts of the viewers? That is where Google Trends comes in—the searches that people make are a reflection of the topics and events that they have come across and cannot seem to move past.

Right now people are taken aback by the fact that Donald Trump claimed there was a terrorist attack in Sweden, when  in fact, there wasn’t. That information is visible here. This clearly reflects a surge of confusion and shock regarding the president of the United States.

trump

On the other hand, “Zoe Saldana” is trending today because she just gave birth to her third child. This search represents a whole different side the values and interests in society today.

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Google searches reflect the values, beliefs, stability and focus of society every day. And every day those things are changing. Google Trends shows the dramatic rise and gradual downfall of topics of interest in society. This poses another question– what does this general pattern of sharp rises and falls in trending topics indicate about society today?

References

  1. CHOI, Hyunyoung; VARIAN, Hal. Predicting the present with Google Trends. Economic Record, 2012, vol. 88, no s1, p. 2-9.