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Week 7 Producing News in the Digital Age

We're moving from a format where we proclaimed the news to the world on a fixed schedule to one where we converse with the world on a 24/7 basis

Review We're moving from a format where news was a monologue produced by mainstream media to one where news is a conversation among many

Producing news in digital age:

Digital technology has changed every stage of the news production cycle:

1. Gathering 2. Reporting 3. Distributing

A new genre

Digital technology has also created a whole new genre of news : CITIZEN JOURNALISM

1) GATHERING NEWS access of journalists to sources access of the public to journalists


Crowd-sourcing has been a revolution

information topics trends

news gathering becoming more communal, more conversational conversations are often public (ex: politicians and reporters) More transparency? More accountability?


access of journalists to sources access of the public to journalists Crowd-sourcing: information, topics, trends news gathering becoming more communal, more conversational conversations are often public (ex politicians and reporters)


Security risks:
Being able to locate a journalist in a warzone (geolocation on a smartphone) Tracking their movements Consequences of leaked information




Accuracy risks:
fact-checking happens when? Breaking news too quickly


Security risks:
Being able to locate a journalist in a warzone (geolocation on a smartphone) Tracking their movements Consequences of leaked information

How to protect new sources Accuracy risks:

fact-checking happens when? Breaking news too quickly

2) REPORTING NEWS MULTI-MEDIA: no longer enough just to write/record/film a story

What are some examples?

One medium is no longer enough

Ex: photo slide shows with text/sound Raw video An online chat with a reader A making of Linking to further sources

Expectation of enriched content and background information Ex:
blogs from the field Video from the field. Ex: WSJ World Stream UGC Ex: now acceptable for TV news broadcasts to use shaky cell phone video footage twitter feeds integrated into a story Stories linking to a Storify account


HIGHER IMPACT: Much more clear measure of the impact of a story because of the possibility for people to react (and interact) via comments, retweets, linking
But these also creates new obligations for journalists


News producers have a new duty of interactivity:
Promoting your content on social media Replying to comments on the medias website and on social media Managing the longer tail of your stpry


Direct link with consumers of news potentially gives journalists a new possibility to make change, influence events
ex: Nick Kristof of NYT mentions charity and leads to $700,000 of donations.

But is this the journalists role? Should it be?

2) REPORTING NEWS: summary

multi media Expectation of enriched content and background information more involvement from readers/viewers/consumers/amateurs and even participants in the news Duty of interactivity higher impact new responsibility for journalists?


News is no longer distributed at a fixed time in a fixed place

Bye bye to
Evening broadcast after work Morning paper at the newsstand News bulletins at top of the hour

news alerts (SMS and email) Multiple platforms (broadcast + mobile + internet) On demand Accelerated delivery Broadened distribution How does this affect the lifespan of a story?

Gathering: Being able to use the wisdom of crowds about what is interesting, what to write about, what questions to ask: it explodes the limits of the journalists sources, of accessibility, of distance Reporting: Like everything else in convergent media universe, it is less of a broadcast/monologue and more of a conversation Distribution: Broadened distribution potentially broadens the impact of a story too, suddenly a lot more people are able to tune in, read it, watch it, consume it


Citizen journalism Can anyone with a cellphone and a twitter account become a journalist ?

Citizen journalism Is anyone with a blog a journalist? Is blogging journalism? Or broadcasting? What is the difference?

Citizen journalism: a definition

Citizen Journalism is when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do: report information. It is User Generated Content. It takes one of two forms: 1) original content 2) Commentary on stories appearing in mainstream media elsewhere

Citizen journalism

Citizen journalism is entirely enabled by technology.

Citizen journalism
Like all UGC, it can can be produced in any medium: text (comments, blog post, tweet, Facebook update) pictures (Instagram, Twitpic, Facebook, Tumblr or blog post, etc) audio (Soundcloud, podcast) video (Youtube, video podcast, blog post, etc).

Citizen journalism: iconic examples

2005 London Bombing

2004 tsunami 2007 Virginia Tech shooting

Citizen journalism: the iconic examples

The Green Revolution in Iran in 2009

The Syrian uprising today

What did citizen journalists do?

Audiences on the ground took photographs, published text and voice messages, eye witness accounts, posted videos which told the story in ways that almost eclipsed the traditional way of reporting news.

Citizen journalism

Is citizen journalism good or bad for journalism?

Citizen journalism: positives (1)

Better, faster, deeper content: Provide instant accounts and photographs and videos of incidents as and when events happen Multiplies sources of information about any one event Citizen reporters tend to be people who really care about the story because it impacts their lives directly Generally keeps stories alive much longer than the original publishers

Citizen journalism: positives (2)

More powerful content: More accountability: videos/pictures of events that might not have been filmed otherwise because no journalists would have been present Puts constraints on governments and authorities who might be tempted to use violence, if they know they will be filmed/photographed and these images will be distributed Change is made possible when transgressions and abuses are made visible

Citizen journalism: negatives (1)

Information that doesnt adhere to the traditional standards or procedures of journalism cant be reliable What are those procedures? How important are they?

Procedures of traditional journalism:

The role of the professional gate-keeper within tradition media is to oversee: editing, fact-checking, and disclosures of conflicts of interest keeping notes of conversations and interviews conducted mutual understanding or agreement of confidentiality between the defendant and his/her sources contacting the other side to get both sides of a story creation of an independent product rather than assembling writings and postings of others

Citizen journalism: negatives (2)

Information that is false, unverified, biased or manufactured is a risk An agenda or biased point of view can potentially hide behind the anonymity of the internet

Citizen journalism: negatives (3)

Many traditional journalists see citizen journalism as an untrustworthy source of information that diminishes their role as gatekeepers of the news dilutes the standards of quality and reliability inherent to what was traditionally called journalism democratization of distribution threatens the information-gatekeeper role that mainstream media has always played

Citizen journalism: conclusions (1)

Journalism and what we call journalism isnt changing and shouldnt be. Whats changing is who we are calling journalists But because that is so difficult to ascertain these days, the focus is less on the source than on the content, and if that content meets standards. Content is king. The producer much less.

Citizen journalism: a better definition

Citizen journalism is better defined as random acts of journalism than journalism: where someone happens to be in a certain place at the right time and provides on-the-scene reporting -Andy Carvin, NPR

Citizen journalism: conclusions (2)

Journalism is becoming an ecosystem that anyone can be part of: whether this democratization is good or bad for journalism is a discussion in progress It is certain that citizen journalism is not something that we want to ignore by any means How best to incorporate this content into traditional journalism is still a work in progress