Simple Died with the Cavemen

Posted on May 13th, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.

You’re born. “I want that”. “I take that”. “I own that”. You die.

That’s pretty much how I imagine the caveman life to be. Simple. In fact, Geico has made a fortune off of caveman simplicity.

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But, there is nothing simple about the age we live in. As journalists, we’ve been tasked with making sense of this new age. Quite the predicament, considering we can’t quite seem to make sense of what a journalist is anymore.

How does one make sense of this new, digital age? Immersion. The question is how far can you immerse yourself before you need to be made sense of yourself? Nothing is simple.

There are so many new tools for journalists to make use of such as drones. All it takes is a drone with a camera and you have got a bonafide information capturing machine. But the question arises of where to draw the line.

A journalist could remotely control a drone to capture pictures/video in a place that they are unable to access.  Obviously, there are certain basic legal principles that should not be toyed with. But the law changes side by side culture. And there is very little legal framework for how a journalist should or shouldn’t use a drone. Nothing is simple.

Is that okay? Should we be content with the lack of simplicity in our modern culture? Personally, I am not. I believe in story. Story is simple. You carefully craft words, photographs, video clips, etc. to artfully tell a story. That is the simplicity of journalism. Somewhere along the lines, we lost that. Now we live in Fluff Central. I crave a return to simplicity. A return to journalism.

It does exist. I’ve seen it with the new age sites like HuffPost. People are refreshed by it and they cling to it. I can only hope that the next generation of journalism breeds a return to simple journalism.

//Ethan Marshall Caughey

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Apparently, History Needs A Rewrite

Posted on May 6th, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.

What happens after news stops being news? It gets archived somewhere. Eventually, some college student looks it up to use it as a source for their research paper. But does news have a grander picture than just temporal information. Is there a bigger picture?

I think most would agree that culture is shaped by news. Policies are created by news. Even as news fades away into an archive, there are lasting effects. But what if the news that was reported wasn’t true? What would that mean for our culture and our policies?

The New York Times has unveiled a new partnership with Retro Report. On part of the Times’ blog, they will be releasing a video series centered around fact checking the past.

The first video has been released and is about the garbage barge, Mobro 4000.


The idea at first sounds really cool. But what if we don’t like what they find? What if the majority of news that has been reported is wrong?

Can we rewrite the news? Can we rewrite culture and policy?

Maybe the question isn’t “can” we, but “should” we.

A new role for journalism. Rewriting history.

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1 comment.


Posted on May 6th, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.



Posted on April 29th, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.

The world of journalism took an entirely new direction when the 24 hours news cycle began. Television has revolutionized journalism. Nothing is as it was, yet has anything really changed?

News is still essential to society. News still affects the way we live. Now, news just has a new packaging. Many would argue that significantly more fluff has been added to fill all 24 hours. And I would agree. So what’s next?

I think we are in the middle of the next revolution. I think that journalists are currently playing the role of scientists as they hypothesize and test out theories in this “next” arena.

Enter: social media.

Welcome: Huffington Post.

Maybe I should clarify why we are welcoming The Huffington Post. Roll out the banners and throw a parade because HuffPost is about to take over… television.

I love how the HuffPost boldly declares, “While other networks are happy to run repeats ad nauseam, we’re going to drive live conversations and new ways to connect with audiences.”

They are certainly in a neat arena with the ability to have only a specific segment of time. Granted, they don’t have their own channel. But I could really see this formula being a huge success. They truly have the ability to deliver hard-hitting news every day… and skip the fluff.

I think this video really hits every idea I’ve had in the last few hours without taking a hard stance on any of them. Perfect for sparking ideas and leaving us with more questions.

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There are few things in journalism that I have faith in, but the HuffPost has my faith. If anyone can handle this new age of journalism, it’s them. I can’t wait to see what they do with the combination of television and social media. I believe in news at its finest and I have faith that the HuffPost will deliver.

Nothing will be as it is, yet will anything really change?



Out with the Old, In with the New

Posted on April 22nd, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.

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Social media has changed the way we function, not only just for charities, but for the world.

After the recent bombings, social media dominated the information. The police sent out information through social media about shelters. Schools sent out information through social media about closings. Families and individuals clung to social media as the hub for information.

So what did we do before social media? How did anyone receive information?

It was once the role of the news media to spread information in time of crisis. But no longer is the news media the most effective deliveryman. Another role of the media has been lost in these changing times. So how does a journalist react when even the police turn to Twitter before the news?

Once again, I’m at a loss. Just another question on an endless list about what journalism should be in this brave, new world. What I do now, is that in this new era, journalists must use social media or be replaced by it.

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Print Lives Beside Creativity

Posted on April 8th, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.

The apocalypse of 2012 turned out to be a fraud. And if you asked the folks over at the Oregonian, they’d say the same about the apocalypse of print newspapers.

According to Poynter, the Oregonian is launching a new weekly newspaper called the Beaverton Leader.

In a world where papers are dying, it’s nice to see a startup. The leader will be free of charge, in addition to a subscription to the Oregonian, and will run advertisements targeted to Beaverton and the surrounding area. The stand-alone advertisements will cover all costs of the Leader. In fact, this is a proven strategy. The Oregonian has two other hyperlocal papers under its name: the Hillsboro Argus and the Forest Grove Leader.

The Oregonian’s editor, Peter Bhatia, commented that the hyperlocal strategy works editorially and financially because everyone wins. Readers get news that matters to them. Advertisers get a targeted audience. And journalists just get to be journalists.

And that is exactly what we need more of. Journalists just being journalists. In an ever evolving media world, journalists are so caught up with the bottom line, that they aren’t able to be journalists. The reality that I see, is that journalists can’t do this on their own. What this industry needs is to partner with entrepreneurs. We need a revolution of creative entrepreneurial journalists.

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Make money. Tell the truth. Entrepreneurism. Journalism.




April Fool’s

Posted on April 1st, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.

No one would deny that journalism is founded on truth. More than that, journalism is centered on truth. Without truth, journalism would cease to exist.

However, today is the day when truth goes out the window. I can’t help but find it fascinating how we celebrate a day based entirely on falsities. I suppose even truthful people need some levity now and then.

Sites like Google and Youtube put out some quality April Fool’s pranks, which I suppose is expected. I just always enjoy pranks from more serious contenders.

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Some sites put it on their front page.

Other sites compile lists.

Tomorrow, everything will return to seriousness.

I just can’t help but wonder the ethics of April Fool’s Day. Maybe I’m thinking too deeply. Regardless, is it okay for a newspaper to print fake headlines? If it were any other day, the answer would be absolutely not. So why do we allow it on this day? Honestly, I have no idea. I suppose it is a tradition, so it just continues on. And how far would be too far? Is there any prank that crosses the boundaries on April 1st.

I should probably be out pranking someone, but instead I am pondering ethical dilemmas of journalism and pranks. And in two short hours, everything returns to normal. What an odd day to be a journalist.



Citizen [Stalkers] Journalism

Posted on March 11th, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Citizen journalism has become quite the trend. And unlike most trends, this one is far more useful than hip. For some newsrooms, citizen journalism has become their niche. And in being their niche, it has become how they are navigating this new era.

Not everybody can be the NY Times or the WSJ, so why not go hyperlocal. Sites like Patch pay one or just a small handful of journalists to organize and moderate a community of citizen journalists.

Even the “big dogs” have allocated sections of their site to allow for citizen journalism.

What interests me is how creatively citizen journalism can be used. In one example, TED talks tells the story of a journalists using social media to track down eye witnesses to help write a story. But let’s be honest, using social media is neither new nor exciting.

So what is exciting? What gets the gears in my head turning? This.

Wait. How does an app for finding restaurants that aren’t crowded relate to citizen journalism? I was hoping you’d ask.

All it takes is someone to expand what social media looks like. Hungry journalist will do the rest. The app literally uses a phone’s audio features to pick up the “local” sound to get a reading of what’s going on.

If the app can differentiate between white noise and an actual crowd, then how long before it picks up words, phrases, and even conversations. We’re talking the ability to listen in on anything and everything through anyone and everyone’s phones. Maybe I’m letting my imagination get out of hand.

Naturally, let’s take this up a notch.

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The world around us is changing. Journalism is changing. Technology is changing.

Is it really that far-fetched to consider professional journalists using citizen journalists as walking audio/video recorders? I don’t think so. The question that I’m left with is this: As technology advances, will we be able to balance being watchdogs of truth with respecting humankind’s right to privacy?



Hoofin’ It

Posted on March 4th, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.

When I think of reporters, my mind is immediately drawn to superheroes’ alter-egos.

Whether it be Clark Kent moonlighting for the Daily Planet or Peter Parker freelancing for the Daily Bugle, superheroes and reporters just go hand in hand.

I think that’s because reporting and adventure going hand in hand. Granted, I’m studying International Journalism with the hopes of traveling and at the core of me is a massive wanderlust. I’ve always viewed journalism with an adventurous outlook. I know some of my peers studying other forms of journalism prefer less, shall we say, “thrilling” journalism.

I just can’t imagine not chasing down a story. There’s something about tracking down a source, being continuously blocked by the high-ups, and cramming it all in at the last hour. Heck, maybe I’ve watched too many movies and spent too much time daydreaming. Even so, my fantasies seem farther away than ever.

When it comes to papal news, few are more interesting than Rocco Palmo, who blogs from his parent’s basement in Philadelphia. Palmo actually won’t be traveling to the Vatican for the next two weeks. Instead, he has a different strategy. He plans on keeping up with all the updates through television and social media.

Now I’m not calling Palmo out for laziness, heck, more power to him. As well, Palmo is just a blogger, not a reporter for a major news network. But it still got me wondering about the future.

Is there any point in hoofin’ it anymore? I mean, if you can accurately report the news without leaving your office, then why would you? How long before all the reporters are in their parent’s basements, (or maybe their own basements), as the Pope sends out a video stream himself?

With all the technological advances that surround us, I think the quality of storytelling and the quantity of adventures are declining. There’s not much of a need to have a face-to-face interview when skype can accomplish the same thing. And why go to all the trouble to track somebody down when Foursquare and Twitter give you all the information you need.

I feel like my skin should be wrinkled and I should be wearing spectacles in order to accurately say this: technology sucks. (As I type this on my Macbook Pro that is two feet away from my Galaxy SIII.) I don’t want to stop sitting down with a source face to face, there’s just something about seeing the emotion that ebbs and flows across their smiles and blinks that skype can’t compete with. And that emotion is then transferred into the words I choose. I don’t want to write sad, I want to write forlorn. And spending a day chasing leads about the city makes the story more rewarding. Even a google or, dare I say it, Bing search won’t bring me that same satisfaction. I want to work for a story, not have it dropped in my lap by a computer.

As Sam Martino would say, “pound pavement”. And that’s exactly what I’ll do.

Carpe Diem//Ethan



Blogs: The Future

Posted on February 25th, 2013 by Ethan Caughey.
Categories: Uncategorized.

In grade school, I learned about revolutionaries who published pamphlets. They used the press as a means to get their ideas to the masses. In order for someone to be heard, the press had to be involved.

I suppose the world has truly come full circle. Now, the press jockeys to have the best writers so they can be heard. In truth, writers no longer need the press in order to be heard.

Andrew Sullivan, popular political blogger, has left the ordinary routes and has turned The Daily Dish into a stand alone business.

He’s already 2/3 of the way to his financial goal after barely two months, according to Mashable. Not only that, but he made $333,000 in one day.

Blogs have permeated into every aspect of our culture. And if we’re being honest, blogs are the new journalism. Every major newspaper has incorporated blogging into their top journalists’ daily routines.

Blogs cater to everyone. Mainly because a blog can be whatever you want it to be. A blog can hit a broad audience just like a newspaper, or they can go beyond and reach out to niche audiences.

The ability to blog turns everyone into a journalist. Just like the iPhone revolutionized photojournalism, blogs truly have the potential to change the landscape of journalism. I believe they are well on their way.

With Sullivan able to turn his blog into a successful business, (at least for now), who knows where blogging could take us. Could blogging rival the newspaper industry? What if a group of famous journalists joined their niche blogs together in one place with a strong paywall?

I once again return to the idea of news media being in trouble. However, I think the trouble they’re facing comes from what they created: a world of a billion journalists without prerequisites who can upload their news to the citizens of Planet Earth. Watch out NYtimes, the people are on their way. And they are UNLIMITED.

Carpe Diem//Ethan