Research Project: Communication Technology in Journalism

Most people think of technology as an entity that has shaped the world humans live in.  Technology can be thought of as a positive and negative in that aspect. However, not many relate technology to the way that human connect, interact and communicate with one another.  Through new communication technology, socializing with people—near and far—has become easier than ever, specifically through social media sites. Additionally, this new-found source of communication has evolved the way people receive their news.  Newspapers and magazines are, essentially, the thing of the past. More and more social media users are looking to social media—specifically Twitter—to find the latest trends, events and worldly news.

Twitter was originally started as a podcasting company—Odeo.  The company switched tactics after Apple—a company that specializes in creating quality cellphones and laptops—scared Odeo away from podcasts, when they began releasing podcasts on iTunes, a music sales site.  Following the scare, Odeo launched their social media website used for microblogging—also known as Twitter—in 2006 as “a social network and real-time communication service,” according to Social Media Today’s article, Twitter 101: What is Twitter Really About.  The social network was used as a quick way for organizations to share and find information.  Twitter is popular, because of its brief bouts of text allowed for users. At its start, Twitter only allowed 140 character to express thoughts.  Today, the number has increased to provide more information. “Twitter was able to disrupt traditional point-to-point messaging systems like email by providing this one-to-many interface for rapid content delivery and search,” explains Social Media Today.  “But Twitter has evolved from more than just a real-time communication tool into one of the world’s leading sources of social discovery and newsworthy events.” With this newly discovered form of receiving news, journalist had to adapt to meet the expectations and demands of news enthusiasts and social media users.

Journalism has become a dying career choice for students.  The field has received a lot of bad publicity due to constant need for journalists to find the next big story, rushing to get information or jumping to conclusions.  The stories that are published become public for everyone to see, so when there are misconstrued or misinformed articles published, the public feels that their right to know has been compromised.  With the need for fast journalism and the ability to give information quickly without, necessarily, needing to publish a full article, Twitter became a new way for journalists to give their viewers what they want.

Millenials are essentially changing the way people are getting their news.  Twitter has evolved with this generation of social media users to accommodate their news needs, while providing a platform for journalists to reach these users.  Twitter has allowed for a closer connection with users and the media, which has given greater insight to what readers are looking for. The article Twitter, Journalism and Affective Labour explains this concept further.

“The development of an organic relationship with followers, the emergence of stronger bonds between core groups that then become communities, the extension of care and help to the network, are all evidence of the importance of this biopolitical productivity and point to the construction of a new and potentially more radical sociopolitical role for journalism.”

The relationship built between Twitter users and journalists has created a network and community that has rebuilt the desire for news.  This sense of connection has renewed news and the journalistic field, which is restoring faith in the art.

Additionally, Twitter has become a source for political movements and awareness for crisis situations.  For example, recently there was a “Black Lives Matter” movement, which was plastered all over the social media network.  Through the use of hashtags, which devices used to link topics together with keywords or phrases, the movement was able to expand to the world within hours.  Furthermore, in 2011 Wisconsin found itself in the midst of a political movement about labor laws.

According to “Time, place, technology: Twitter as an information source in the Wisconsin labor protests,” there were more than 775,000 tweets with the hashtag #wiunion that circulated around Twitter in a three week time period.  The article also addressed the use of mobile versus computer usage. The data found from the movement said that mobile users of Twitter were more likely to be present at the protest, opposed to computer users. In addition, “mobile users post fewer URLs overall; however, when they do, they are more likely to link to traditional news sources and to provide additional hashtags for context,” explains the article.  Ultimately, all source linkage—mobile or stationary—will decline as the movement continues, or ages.

Twitter’s prominence in news has also changed the amount of news people receive every day.  News is no longer a once-a-day entity, but is something seen hourly—sometimes even live as events take place.  “Reporters make minute-by-minute decisions on what they publish and who reads it, versus the old days when a small group of editors held that power over what went into the next day’s paper,” explains an Illinois News Bureau journal.  News has developed from a morning read, to an entity of immediacy when something arises. For example, there have been a lot of mass shootings in the news lately. A more highly publicized shooting was the Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy.  The event took place on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were fatally wounded in the mass shooting, with others being critically injured. This was one of the deadliest school shootings—some even calling it a massacre. During this horrifying event, news mediums were taking to Twitter to provide live coverage of what was taking place at the school.  This gave people around the country access to information about the students, staff and gunman at the school. Twitter has enabled journalists to keep readers up-to-date with around 140 characters and a click of a button.

Journalism has always been a pretty straightforward job.  They are suppliers of news and facts—and they are writers and editors.  The use of Twitter as an additional news source has allowed journalists to expand their job description from writers and editors to social media experts and real-time reporters.  Nowadays, social media is a job of its own, but there are some newsroom and companies that rely on their journalists to do the jobs in addition to their long list of responsibilities.  

This can be a major struggle for some journalists who have been in the industry for many years.  “Constantly having to adapt to new and improved technology is part of the job,” says Carrie Mantey, editor of Green Industry Pros magazine at AC Business Media. “But I’ve been in the industry for almost 30 years, and social media is just another job I have to do. It’s just more work.”  Journalists have a lot of responsibility, so it can be hard to balance their jobs as traditional news writers and editors—adding in social media work can be overwhelming. Often times, news organizations will add in new jobs for the social media position. This can help alleviate some of the stresses of adding on job responsibilities.

Although there are some journalists who feel that social media is hindering news, there are others who feel that it is helping the industry whole—despite the added work involved. Katie Therian, marketing manager at Topcon Agriculture, says she does the job of two—journalists and social media—but finds that Twitter allows the company to get immediate feedback from the viewers and Twitter users. “The world of hard copy newspapers and magazines is in the past,” says Therian. “It’s time to embrace the resources that we are given.”

Since the evolution Twitter has seen from social media site to a focus on news, the social media site has seen an increase in the number of users on the platform. This increase includes reporters and news businesses, but also people looking to find news from the non-traditional sources. “Twitter provides an information distillery for journalists and all consumers because you can tailor what you follow instead of weeding through a thicket of news each day” (News Bureau). The social media platform has become a more accurate way for journalists to view their user insights and calculate the reach they have on the public. “Journalists like to know that someone is reading their work, and Twitter provides the instant gratification of building a following around the globe.” Additionally, journalists and news sources are able to decide who can see what they are posting, which takes their reach beyond just their subscribers. Furthermore, subscribers are able to retweet and share the information the deem important, interesting or newsworthy, which in turn creates a greater spread of information. Twitter has become the ultimate source of new communication technology.

Another unique influence Twitter has on journalists is the ability for writers and editors to create a name and platform for themselves away from their employers. This is important, because journalists are likely to work for several news organizations in the course of their career. Twitter serves as a permanent portfolio that future employers can access to determine if the person is right for the job. Additionally, freelance journalistic work has become increasingly popular as a result of Twitter’s growing news appeal.

The advantage Twitter has over other social media sites is the amount of reach it has. People look at the number of users on Facebook versus Twitter, and assume that Facebook would be the logical choice to post a news article. However, the Berkeley Advanced Media Institute would argue that opposite. “Twitter has a much wider reach—everything you post can potentially be seen by the whole world. While Facebook has a “share” function that lets people repeat things others have said, it’s not used nearly as often as Twitter’s “retweet” function” (Twitter for Journalists). The article continues by explaining that Twitter is a news and information amplifier, which is why the spread of information is so much greater than other social media platforms—the site boosts information, rather than replacing it with new information.

Technology has become a part of human society. It is no longer a surprising new concept that people are constantly buzzing about. New creations are made, but the excitement and hype over a once incredibly amazing entity has died down. This is not because the products created are not innovative and exceptional, but because humans are used to living in a world of technology. Particularly, a world of communication technology.

Since the creation of social media, humans have seen a change in how people are interacting with each other. Specifically in terms of news, humans have seen a rise, fall and rise-again. Twitter has aided in the rehabilitation of news, and how people are receiving their information. Journalists have adapted to this new form news production—some begrudgingly, but others willingly—and have seen an impressive spike in people demanding more news. New communication technology has been beneficial in many ways in which humans interact, but has been especially helpful to the dying profession and entity, which is news.

Work Cited

Chamberlain, C. (2015). News Bureau | ILLINOIS. [online] News.illinois.edu. Available at: https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/267046

Groshek, & Tandoc. (2017). The affordance effect: Gatekeeping and (non)reciprocal journalism on Twitter. Computers in Human Behavior, 66, 201-210.

Hacker, S. and Seshagiri, A. (2014). Twitter for Journalists – Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. [online] Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. Available at: https://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials/twitter/  

Lee, Kim, & Sang. (2017). How do journalists leverage Twitter? Expressive and consumptive use of Twitter. The Social Science Journal, 54(2), 139-147.

Siapera, E. and Iliadi, I. (2015). Twitter, Journalism and the Affective Labour. Sur le Journalisme.

Veenstra, A., Iyer, N., Delwar Hossain, M. and Park, J. (2014). Time, place, technology: Twitter as an information source in the Wisconsin labor protests. Computers in Human Behavior, 31, pp.65-72.

Zeevi, D. and Zeevi, D. (2013). Twitter 101: What is Twitter Really About?. [online] Social Media Today. Available at: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/twitter-101-what-twitter-really-about

Feature Story: How Technology Has Changed the Journalism World

 

Look left and right, back and forth. What do you see? Everywhere you go there is some form of technology that has helped in advancing civilization. Whether it be a car, cellphone or skyscraper, technology is a staple in today’s society. This includes in the workforce, specifically journalism.

Journalism has seen many changes since its first debut in 1556 when a European government published a written notice to its people. The notice was handwritten newsletters, typically used for political, military and economic information. Although a good concept, there were not many literate people back then, making it hard for the message to be brought across. Journalism has changed dramatically since the time of handwritten news for government purposes.

From handwritten, to printing press, to radio, to television and now social media and the internet; the oldest form of journalism no longer meets today’s characteristics of the writing art. News, today, is intended for information on the happenings of the country and the world. People are more interested in staying current on the news developing around them. Had technology not helped journalism evolve, news would be much hard to come across.

The technology that has advanced journalism, from the outside, appears to be a significant benefit to those working in the field. However, there are many new aspects, updates, and software that has to be learned for the media professionals giving people their news.

Editors at AC Business Media in Fort Atkinson sat down to discuss the advancements they have seen in digital media, and how those variations have changed the way they reach their audiences. The main change they have seen is the format of the content they are putting out, because of the implementation of news on social media platforms. “In reality, social media is making our jobs harder,” says Eric Servais, publisher. “We have to put out more news to keep the interest of our audience.”

Twitter, in particular, is now known as a social platform used primarily for news information. Therefore, in order to reach that demographic, journalists are needing to put information on that platform, and learn new aspects of social media that will increase sales, subscriptions, views, and followers on their page.

Additionally, journalists are seeing that they are putting out more content weekly, because their followers are needing a quick fix of information. Amy Wunderlin, editor, says, “print is our main focus, but we are also needing to publish more. Our customers are always wanting more. If that means putting out more newsletters each week, then we’ll do it.” Although social media means more work, there has also been a rise in interest. Jessica Lombardo, editor, explains that journalists are able to use the new digital media and technology to interact more wholesomely with their audiences. Before, journalists were guessing on what material readers were wanting to see. Now, they can view website analytics and monitor post engagement to determine what type of news is interesting viewers.

For industry veterans, social media was not always around. Becky Jolliffe, editor, remembers times when her magazine was in a rough patch, because readers were not seeing the content that they desired. Today, she is able to see attitude changes toward her social media posts and website views, and tailors her content towards those topics.

The journalism industry has changed drastically from the age of newspapers to what it is today. Consumers are able to interact on a more individualistic level with editors on social media and journalist can interact with consumers to determine their interests. Although some industry veterans prefer the hard copy style of journalism, they understand the importance of tailoring their company to the technological generation, which ultimately benefits the publication.

Feature Story Audio/Video/Photography

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This feature story has to do with how Twitter has changed the way journalists interact with their viewers and readers. Additionally, it explains the additional work they have to do in order to reach more users.

Semester In Review

 

Technology is everywhere. No matter which direction we look, it’s right there in front of our faces. New communication technology is also an increasingly growing entity. Social media has taken its place as a heavily used source of news and communication among millenials, and the news media. New communication technology has basically changed the way that people interact and find information.

This class has opened my eyes to all the possibilities of communication through technology. Prior to this class, social media and technology was just a thing that existed. I grew up in the age of technology. I do not know anything other than social media, Google and Wikipedia, smart cars, and any other form of technology that has been around for 20 years or longer. Through this class, I have learned to dig deeper into the technology. I learned to think critically about how social media has changed the journalistic field—whether for good or bad.

There are some people who find love through new communication technology and others who use new communication technology for their jobs. Communication technology has endless opportunities for those who use it. I have found a new appreciation for communication technology, because I have used it for my internship as a way of communicating with viewers, posting social media posts, and finding news for newsletters. New communication technology has made it easier to communicate with other people, but many journalists have found that it has caused more work for them.

Personally,  this New Communication Technology course has allowed me to view different sides of technology. I am better able to analyze communication technology; whether it be memes or social media. This course has been beneficial to my understanding of communication technology.

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Throughout the semester, so far, we have learned about the strengths and weaknesses living in a technological era has had on our generation of students. This week, there were two main ideas that spoke to myself and my fellow students the most: search engine stupidity and multitasking.

Since the start of Google, students have been using the source as a quick way to get information. Oftentimes, when I am given an article to read I am skimming through it looking for key words or main ideas, which I can search for later to get more information. Nicholas Carr makes a good point that Google is making us stupid, because we no longer have to memorize or maintain the information that is learned. Students are relying on the ease and immediacy of the information they get from search engines, so they don’t worry about keeping that information in their brains.

Additionally, the ability to multitask is on a decline. In the workforce employees are expected to do more than one thing at a time, but this is something that is no longer being taught to our upcoming employees. For example, being in class while using your phone is a distraction, not multitasking. It’s almost as if students need to stay connected, but while staying connected they cannot concentrate on the class. Clay Shirky counteracts with a no phone policy. This forces students to fully pay attention in class. Although this can be frustrating for students, it’s a great way for students to maintain their attentiveness throughout the class.

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?

Technology has become such an integral part of our everyday lives. Additionally, social media has taken that attachment to technology to the next level. With this increased attachment, it is argued that social media, specifically Facebook, is making users lonely. How? With the incessant need for likes and approval by subscribers and followers is taking over our feelings, and creating this sense of loneliness when our expectations are not met.

The article “Facebook making us lonely?” by Stephen Marche talks about how the connection to social media is making our ability to connect to humans more difficult. This social media connection is making its users more introverted and isolated, because all the human contact they need is through their technology. However, Eric Kilienberg’s “Facebook Isn’t Making Us Lonely” contradicts Marche’s article by explaining that there isn’t evidence to support that people are becoming more lonely because of social media. Additionally, “The Intimacy of Anonymity” suggests that users sharing too much of their personal life on Facebook makes if feel like a reality TV show. The search for approval and “likes” create the social media culture that is over-sharing.

Technology has proved to be an important part of our history’s evolution, but social media is taking that evolution to a level that makes people think the users are lonely. Facebook is a good example of an outlet that allows people to share their personal lives to everyone that follows them. However, that ease has caused users to over share their information, and seek for approval through social media rather than in person. This concept is what makes people believe social media users are isolated from human contact, and are connected to technological devices that supply us with media connection.

“The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet”

Social media can be a major benefit in many aspects of life. However, there can also be a dangerous, revealing side to being active on social media. Daniel J. Solove’s book “The Future of Reputation” highlights the negative side to social media.

The story began on a train in South Korea, when a woman’s dog pooped on the train. The woman was asked to pick up the feces by the other passengers, but refused. Upon her rude refusal, the situation moved to cyberspace and became ugly. “Within house, she was labeled gae-ttong-nyue (dog shit girl) and her picture and parodies were everywhere.” Later, the story moved to the mainstream media, which then became national news.

Unfortunately, this is not the first or only situation that blew up, though not a major issue. The sharing of personal information online has become more and more popular. “These fragments of information won’t fade away with time, and they can readily by located by any curious individual.” Solove even claims that “the free flow on information on the Internet can make us less free.”

Information was not always so readily accessible. It used to be more scattered, forgettable, and localized, as explained by Solove. Now, it is permanent and in the “teenage” or “adolescent” stage of its life; “brash, uninhibited, unruly, fearless, experimental, and often not mindful of the consequences of its behavior.” Had it not been for the connection to the internet, the dog poop girl would have been easily forgotten, but people used the power of the internet to “enforce a norm.” Since the dog poop girl did not exhibit a social norm, people took it upon themselves to correct the problem passive aggressively.

“Many of us today—especially children and teenagers—are spending more of our lives on the internet.” Today’s society is focused on the connection to internet, and it is often the first place to go when an outrageous situation happens in public. However, the information never goes away. In the situation of the dog poop girl, she will forever be known as the girl who did not pick up the poop from her dog on the train. This goes for others who post personal information of themselves or others. That information stays forever and could make or break their reputation.

“It Takes a Village to Find a Phone”

It is hard to judge how connected we are to others through our phones. The reality of human connectivity is evident in the reading It Takes a Village to Find a Phone, when a woman, Sasha, left her phone in the back seat of a cab in New York City. She searched for the phone, or Sidekick, offering a reward for its return because it held important information for the woman. However, after a few days without an answer, Sasha purchased a new phone and was able to transfer the information from her old phone to her new one.

The turn in the story is, when the information was transferred, Sasha saw that the person who had her phone was using it to take pictures The Sasha’s friend, Evan, took over and confronted the girl with the old phone. He created a webpage, after the girl refused to give back the phone and made rude, threatening remarks. The webpage was created to raise awareness and deliver a message on “the etiquette of returning people’s lost belongings.”

Evan shared his original post on his own webpage, which was then shared by his friends and family and began vicious cycle of sharing. The word of the stolen phone spread quickly across the country. The media and New York Police caught wind of the situation, and stepped in to help Sasha and Evan with this woman.

The main reason the story blew up was because of the power of unity and connection. This particular story “demonstrates that the old limitations of media have been radically reduced…It demonstrates how a story can go from local to global in a heart-beat. And it demonstrates the ease and speed with which a group can be mobilized for the right kind of cause.” A few years ago this story would never have made such a huge impact with the media. This is a perfect example of how scarily connected to everyone around the world is.

 

“Love Online”

Technology has become a revolutionary way to interact with people around the world. Many argue that online communication is not as healthy, or as much of a relationship. However, Henry Jenkins, the author of Love Online, argues that his son’s online relationship was just as meaningful as the relationship he and his wife share.

Jenkins wrote the article reflecting on the type of relationship his son was having online. He begins by explaining that his son was not finding girls that peaked his interest at school, so he “cast a wider net” towards the internet in hopes of finding some sort of connection. It was online that Jenkins’ son found Sarah, a girl who became his love.

A point that Jenkins made, which is important to note, is that long-distance communications and relationships are not new concepts. Although, the ways in which people go about maintaining those connections are new. Jenkins explains that his grandparents and parents were faced with long-distance relationships when the men went to war. During that time, they kept their relationship alive through handwritten love letters. Now, the long-distance relationships are maintained through chat rooms, texting, e-mail and phone calls.

There is, often, a negative stigma surrounding online relationships, because of shows like MTV’s Catfish where they expose people who are not who they say they are online. Though the risk is there, Jenkins’ son proves that love can be found and be real. “Their feelings were no less real to them than the first love of any other teenage, past or present,” says Jenkins.

Technology has been a great way to connect a variety of people from across the world. People are able to maintain long-distance relationships much easier than in the past. Whether thy have met their partner in person, or are meeting only online, people are able to find love and connection through the use of technology.