Video Coverage: The Future of Digital News?

By Erin Menardi

Facebook may be on to something: since its launch of the auto-play video feature in May, the site has seen a tremendous spike in user engagement and click-through rates. 58% of Facebook users actively engage in these videos, and over 1 billion unique visitors are reached per day (yes, per day) with the implementation of this feature. Drawing from the data, it’s easy to see that people respond to video content in a big way. This idea translates well into the world of online writing and reporting.

While Facebook is only one company beginning to see exponential growth with its video content, many other large businesses and news media sites are seeing similar success. CNN has an entire web channel devoted to breaking news videos. CBS, ABC, and NBC all follow suit. Continue reading

Is The News Becoming Too Interactive?

Posted by: Lauren Manecke

Wondering if the news is becoming too interactive may seem like an odd thought, but think about where you get your news on a daily basis. Do you see an article on Facebook and click to check out the link, or do you read the comments first and grasp the concept of the news from there? When scrolling through your Twitter feed, do you click the actual article or do you just look at the heading and responses?

With the world becoming more technologically advanced, news sources are taking to popular social media sites to get their information out there first. Although this is a good strategy and handy for those constantly on the go, news is easily twisted through reader’s responses. With the click of the “comment” button, anything can be posted. I believe this not only contorts the story, but it also sparks instant controversy, which can lead to other irrelevant discussions.

The recent Miss America pageant caused just that. On Sunday night, Kira Kazantsev was crowned Miss America, but shortly after her crowning, the internet started blowing up with articles bashing her talent act. The free reign of people being able to post whatever they want on the internet turned the focus from her winning the crown to making fun of her talent. Continue reading

Will iPhones Replace Cameras in Professional Photojournalism?

By: Sarah LeBlanc
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, taken by Jorge Quinteros.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, taken by Jorge Quinteros.

Since I purchased my first iPhone in 2012, I have not touched my old Nikon camera. With a device that allows me to edit and post my selfies to Facebook from the palm of my hand, why would I?

I was thrilled, then, when Apple announced on Tuesday that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus would be released with photographic improvements that rival those of professional cameras. Elements such as an optical stabilization system that will help keep videos and images stable, as well as Focus Pixels used in cameras from companies such as Sony and Fujifilm, will all be included in the new iPhone.

With updates like these, are expensive professional cameras even necessary in photojournalism?

Continue reading

Are Magazines On the Verge of Extinction?

By Sarah Mattes


Photo by Ben McLeod via Flickr

I don’t know about you but when I talk about my magazine journalism major all my friends and family say, “Well good luck trying to find a job!” or “Will magazines even be around when you graduate?”  They see the field of magazines not being around in the next coming years.  Who can blame them, everything they read or see in the news says so, but what is the truth?

As of September 11, another large magazine closed up shop after 25 years in the industry.  “Food Arts” announced its closure over its FaceBook page.  They are among many others who closed their doors this year including Ladies Home Journal.  It is sad and very nerve-wracking for a lot of us magazine majors, but does this mean the industry as a whole is dying?

Today’s magazine world consists of print, apps, Tablet versions, blogs, websites all in the hopes of drawing more people in and then keeping them in.  With all of these different formats now available for people the print version is suffering.  Many magazines have even gone solely electronic, they cancelled their print version but are keeping their electronic products going.  Do you think this is where the future of magazines is headed, to a solely electronic based product?

Personally, I believe that the print magazine will never die.  As much as technology has evolved there will always be a niche of people that prefer the print version, especially me  And isn’t that what magazines are all about, catering to different niches.

Hashtag Activism: An Avenue for Social Change?

  • #YesAllWomen
  • #Bringbackourgirls
  • #Kony2012
  • Ice Bucket Challenge

The same critique pops up for all of these social media trends: Are these hashtags and videos actually doing anything to help solve the issue?

It took a little under two days for the hashtag, #WhyIStayed/#WhyILeft, to become a media sensation after the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal, and I find it hard for anyone to argue that it isn’t raising awareness on an important topic.

According to the Washington Post, Beverly Gooden, a domestic violence survivor, created the hashtag after many people questioned why his wife, Janay Palmer, didn’t leave him after the assault.

Gooden responded with the hashtag, #WhyIStayed

It was heartbreaking and inspiring to read through multiple pages of this shared hashtag. The tweets were a mix of domestic violence survivors and other peoples’ comments after reading them.

The fact that people’s initial response to the Ray Rice scandal is to ask, “Why didn’t she leave?” is an answer in itself that there needs to be much more awareness on domestic violence. I’ll admit when I first heard about the story, I asked myself similar questions. Then I started thinking about all the sacrifices and problems that arise when dealing with the issue.

Basically, it all boils down to that fact that leaving a abusive relationship just isn’t that simple–especially when finances and children are involved. #WhyIStayed gives a voice to the voiceless and helps break a silence that many people have been harboring for a long time.

Hashtag activism gives people an outlet to express their thoughts in a shared, organized setting.  It raises awareness on a topic that many people are unfamiliar with–and, if you really think about it,  isn’t that the first step in creating change?



Twitter as a News Medium

Twitter Typographic from Jennie on Flickr.

Twitter Typographic from Jennie on Flickr.

Twitter has become a source of news for many people in the past few years. Some even rely on Twitter as their main, or even only source for information about the world around them. Is this a good thing? Is twitter a viable news source? I think it is.

I have been using Twitter as my main news source for a while now. I do love to still read the newspaper and flip through a magazine, but Twitter can bring the world’s news to my fingertips. Especially now that huge news powers such as CNN, Associated Press and The New York Times are focusing more and more on Twitter. However, if you rely heavily on twitter for news, it is important to know how to use it.

Twitter can be manipulated very easily. Anyone can make an account and it can be hard to sift through what is real and what is not. Following “verified” accounts of well known news organizations can help. Another downfall to Twitter is that the app itself can not give you the whole story. Tweets, even from the reputable news organizations, usually consist of a snippet of information and a link to the greater article.

“. . .it is virtually impossible to work eight hours a day, take care of the kids, regularly ride the train to work and back, read books and articles, follow what hundreds of people are tweeting at the same time, and click on the links they suggest and end up absorbing anything fully,” said Janic Tremblay of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.

Even with these hardships, I think Twitter offers a journalistic service that we can not overlook. When trouble broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, I could not find much coverage about what was happening there. It was vague reporting with no close detail. Then I started seeing tweets from individual reporters on the street who had packed up and gone to Ferguson. Journalists like Jamelle Bouie of Slate took to twitter to report what they saw at a time when the real story seemed foggy.

Twitter is a social media site first and foremost, and it can be a hassle to navigate at times, but I believe it can provide a service through more immediate, hands on journalism that we may need even more in the future.

The High Cost of Freelance Journalism

By: Morgan Gstalter 

Photo by Claudio Riccio via Flickr

Photo by Claudio Riccio via Flickr

In 2013, Forbes named newspaper reporter as the worst job in America. In 2014, it swtiched spots with lumberjack and moved up to number two. Their reasoning seemed simple: long and unreliable hours, exceptional stress, a low median salary of $37,000 and the danger of reporting.

James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Peter Leo Curtis were all captured by Islamic militants in Syria. All reported under the title of “freelance war journalist.” With Foley and Sotloff’s gruesome murders comes to light the true danger of freelance reporting and why this dangerous job is still one of the most important jobs.

CBS News published an article entitled “In danger and ‘on their own': The perils of freelance war reporting” by Julia Steers.  It illustrates the harsh reality of reporters working out of the Middle East.

The numbers are frightening.  “According to Reuters, 714 journalists worldwide have been killed since 2000 for doing their job,” says an article published by Business Insider. Commitee to Protect Journalists sites  34 have been confimed dead in 2014 alone, with 11 of those deaths in Syria.

Often times, freelancers are “on their own” in dangerous environments, without security details or special press passes from the government.Their editors are thousands of miles away and reporters travel with limited equiptment. News managers need to step back from the money and assess the risk for each new reporter they hire. They need to step up and act responsibly for the life of their employees, including purchasing protective equiptment for their journalists and doing daily check-ins about their welfare.

Many are calling now the time to pull out reporters covering war-zones or where free press is restricted in a totalitarian regime. The risk is simply too high now and we have lost too many of our own. But with this manuever, we would risk a disrruption of media on current events.

The importance of freelance journalism is highlighted now more than ever, given the horrific circumstances. But one question remains: is the cost of accurate and timely news too grave for freelance reporters?