Careers in digital journalism?

I came across an interesting article the other day.
He questioned whether there is such thing as a career in digital journalism.
He talks about people wanting to be startup status in order to be billionaires.

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Most startups in the journalism space are becoming “platforms.”
He says that people will get rich, but it will be those people and not you.
Journalists will not get rich off these startups and especially off their journalism career.
Job prospects look good coming out of school because people want young, “hungry,” journalists-because their cheap.
What are the odds that those entry level jobs actually become careers?

I think think this myself…how often will you get in a job and be able to grow into a career- a well paying one at that?
And by career he means a place where you become more valuable…
doesn’t that sound nice?

It’s an interesting read. Go check it out.

Changing landscape.

How many people do you know that have Netflix now instead of cable?
Crazy numbers right?

Yeah, well the landscape is changing and the future may be vastly different. Completely digital.

netflix-television

To put into perspective the decline in popularity for cable companies let’s look at the statistics. From 2011 to 2014 Netflix has grown from having around 21.67 million subscribers to around 39.11 million and is continually obtaining more. In contrast, cable companies have gone from having around 44 million subscribers to around 41 million in a few short years. This declination appears to only be declining even more with the increasing Netflix popularity. If this pattern continues the way it has been, it could ultimately result in the loss of cable television.

            Despite the increasing popularity of Netflix, there are still several disadvantages to the app. For example, there is a limited selection of TV shows and movies. Netflix does not possess the rights nearly half of what cable companies have access to. This is what gives cable companies an edge on Netflix: they have the ability to obtain more content. Another downside is the fact that Netflix does not have immediate access to current TV shows. Typically it takes months for Netflix to have newer seasons of show available for viewing which cable companies have readily available. When it comes to certain movies you have to wait several days to receive a DVD in the mail in which you have to return later. Many cable companies have the option to rent and watch movies instantly on your TV rather than wait days to be able to view. Finally, one of the biggest cons for Netflix is its lack of access to sports. If you’re a huge sports fan and feel you have the need to watch all sporting events conveniently in your home, forget Netflix. Netflix lacks the capability of streaming live events and has no option to purchase any sports type packages.

            One could wonder how Netflix is continually increasing in popularity if there are several different cons associated with the app. The answer is simple: it’s cheap, commercial free, and has a wide selection to choose from. Existing subscribers currently pay $7.99 a month for the next 2 years, then pricing is adjusted to the same as new subscribers ($8.99 a month). There is also a standard streaming option in which subscribers have access to the entire catalog in standard definition only for $7.99 a month. The most expensive package is for a family plan in which offers HD access up to four screens at a time for $11.99 a month. This means that multiple family members can be on the app at a time whereas other package deals only allows one screen at a time. There are thousands of titles available to watch instantly on Netflix organized either alphabetically or by genre. The app offers suggestions based upon previously watched TV series’ or movies. In addition, the app is so easy to use, even children can enjoy it. Netflix has the option to create a kid friendly profile for young watchers which ensures the inability for them to access titles not suitable for certain age groups. Also, this feature allows for kids to only view shows and movies specifically meant for young audiences. Another major perk is that when watching these shows and movies you do not have to worry about commercials as you do with cable TV. Although a con stated previously was that of limited selection in comparison to cable TV, Netflix is continually adding more and more to their database. This means that with a wider variety, the appeal of Netflix becomes greater.

            Although cable TV still takes the lead in amount of paid subscribers, Netflix is rising to the challenge. This battle between the two has become what is known as ‘cut the cord movement’. Why pay for a cable subscription with hundreds of channels when you really only watch a few of the stations? Why pay to watch TV shows or movies through cable companies when you have to sit through countless commercials? Why pay cable companies when you can only watch the shows you want to watch when they are scheduled to play? These are the factors that Netflix has taken into consideration when developing their app. I, myself, have chosen to take part in this cut the cord movement by cancelling my cable subscription and instead relying solely on Netflix for my media entertainment. So long as I have internet connection I have access to thousands of TV shows and movies right at my fingertips. I am able to browse and choose to watch whatever I want, whenever I want. The appeal of Netflix was greater for me rather than that of cable TV. These same opinions are clearly shared with millions of other subscribers based on the steady decrease in cable subscribers. Whether cable companies will suffer the same fate as that of Block Buster and other similar stores of being completely wiped out is uncertain, but as of late they are taking a hit in the number of people willing to pay for their services.

What are you going to do?

News is a conversation?

Or at least that’s what Briggs tells us.

“The speed of communications is wonderful to behold.
It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of
information that we know to be untrue.” – Edward R. Murrow

conversation

The man that said this passed away before the digital news even happened.
Now, this quote remains true.
One of the challenges that journalists now face is how to manage that conversation.
This chapter really looks at a couple questions:
1. How do journalists participate in the conversation without sacrificing objectivity?
2. What about legal and ethical issues now that everyone can publish anything they want?
3. What happens when you really want audiences to participate, but they don’t?

Now, moving on in the chapter, Briggs offers tips to make the conversation.
How do you do that?
-> Answer all questions
-> Address criticism
-> Publicly or privately respond
-> Share good responses
-> Publicly correct yourself
-> Always acknowledge news tips

I personally enjoy these tips. It may seem like common sense, but they are tips because there can be right and wrong ways to do things. There is no perfect way to do things, but there are things that may work better than others and this is one of those things. And the rate of growth for social networking sites makes it obvious how important these tips are.

He also advises to build a community online.
He says that the link is the first building block, then comes the comment or the contribution.
Journalists must get involved- by using their time, energy and resources.
Developing sources through the community is a perk of this commitment.
In the collaboration, journalists usually can provide the how and why when the network provides the what.
But the journalist must keep conversations accurate and ethical.  Briggs says to set guidelines for participants, monitor postings for offensive content, know your legal responsibilities and correct errors.

Overall, great chapter with alot of useful information.

Digitize Me.

Chapter 9 is all about the digital age. What should we use to make our lives easier? What are you already doing? How can we make digital tools work to our advantage?
Briggs starts off the chapter with asking us about our digital life? We take a look at what digital tools are already in our lives.

Firstly, he tells us to organize your email.

Then, he tells us to find the right productivity tools. As journalists, you have to be able to manage your to-do lists, your contacts, calendars and notes. Things such as google docs and Microsoft Office Suites are your friend in this case. Easy tools that can make communicating and sorting your information that much easier.
He also notes that a strategy is important. What will help you do better in your own life and work? How much are you willing to spend on personalized tools?

digital_world_2-1024x768

We also look at data-driven Journalism in this chapter. Data such as test scores, public employee salaries, summer camp for kids, new movie listings, and property taxes are all different types of databases that are being built and can be helpful in your story.
Briggs talks about stories being data and journalists much research this data in order to make a story.

He moves from using data into creating it. Do you know how to make a spreadsheet? This is an easy way to share data with others and could be helpful to you in your field. This isn’t just applicable to journalists but it goes across career fields.
Maps are also technology that are useful. He used Google Maps as an example. Map mashups use different databases in combination with the usual map to help people find something like an apartment or restaurant. He also mentioned how this could help stories-like murders. On a map you could find points in which murders occurred digitally.

This chapter was really interesting to me and I found it helpful. Whether we like to admit it or not, we live in a digital world. The best thing to do is learn what works for  you and own it.

So, Microblogging.

Utilizando_el_microblogging_en_los_negocios_por_Internet

In Chapter 4, Mark Briggs talks about Microblogging and social media. The whole chapter discusses the explosion of Twitter and the ways in which Journalists now use this method to their advantage. They are able to now post only about 140 characters first, then later update the world with “fuller” versions of the story. He says that this is the best way for news outlets to stay relevant and fast in their news production.

It’s popular because it’s easy.
It’s important because it’s effective.

Then Briggs goes on to discuss Twitter. He discusses how to build your brand and use Twitter to your advantage.
What advice should you keep in mind when you post your next tweet?

  • Be relevant and timely
  • Be informative
  • Be instructive
  • Include links
  • Reflect your personality
  • Build relationships

Hopefully you already know the language of Twitter. If not, he suggests knowing that as well. Just as in any community, you need to know the language.

This was overall a simple chapter and anyone from the millennial age will know the basics of this just from growing up with this social media format. But nonetheless it’s a great read for someone who is just coming into the market.

Crowdsourcing? What’s that?

In Chapter 3 of Journalism Next, Briggs begins the chapter with a reference to Precision Journalism, a book written by Phil Meyer. He uses a quote from Meyers book that talks about how the ante has risen on what it takes to be a journalist. With budget cuts and less staff, journalists are having to do a lot more than they used to.

One thing he notes is that journalists are finding new ways to bring journalists closer to readers and vis versa. One way to do this is crowdsourcing.

crowdsourcing-cartoon

He defines a couple terms as such:
crowdsourcing- focuses the community power of the internet on a specific project and demonstrates how a group of committed individuals can outperform some paid professionals
open-source reporting-
refers to design, development, and distribution offering practical accessibility to a product; this means using transparency in reporting to provide a benefit to your audience
pro-am journalism-
the most unfiltered form of journalism; posting directly to the same platform to publish news

Crowdsourcing in journalism is still a trial test run. They are seeing what works and what doesn’t- in order to keep up with the technology revolution. The issue with using the community for news is that citizens tend to stray away from journalistic methods to get stories. Most stories would be something you could “put in a scrapbook” and not actual newsworthy events.

Tools like Twitter and blogs have become really important to news stations because it brings readers closer to the news. Briggs doesn’t say that crowdsourcing will take over journalism, but surely helps in some aspects of the process.

“The change isn’t a shift from one kind of news institution to another,” Shirky wrote, “but rather in the definition of news: from news as an institutional prerogative to news as part of a communications ecosystem, occupied by a mix of formal organizations, informal collectives, and individuals.”
So Briggs raises the question of how do we use this to create better journalism?

Beatblogging is another idea that reporters can use to interact with the community. A website such as linkedin, Facebook, or Google Groups can be used to create a group based on a specific beat. The reporter would put together the story and people then facilitate discussion in the group and see what others are saying.

Towards the end of the chapter, Briggs talks about how print can still be important. He gives examples of websites that have used the power of the internet to create a community. They share stories that are written by the audience and the best materials are then used in a print version. The user generated content allows the audience to engage and become loyal to the site. The site owners also interact heavily within the community. They respond via email, text message, replies on the site, and even face to face.

This new layout is much more open to the free flow of information, which I like. It also allows for the audience to actually engage with the story and for the news stations to engage with their audience.

Let’s tell a story.

Chapter 8 begins with the story of a man filming a handicapped boy playing baseball. They may say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, pictures could not do the story justice. A video had to be done. Without commentary, without interviews, without distractions, the boy running the bases stood on it’s own. In this chapter, Briggs talks about using video to tell a captivating story.

return-of-video-to-elearning

The video revolution has helped many people be able to make video much cheaper than before. Now it’s as easy as filming from a basic camera, uploading to your computer, and posting on a site such as Youtube. It’s that easy.
I even remember back in middle school, me and my friends used to make funny videos in our free time. It was much more complicated back then to get our videos online, but nonetheless we managed. Now it’s as easy as the click of a couple buttons.

Briggs also talks about how quality doesn’t seem to matter to the audience any more. The audience today is much more forgiving and will accept many different types of video and quality. Although, I would say that the more entertaining videos would be much more likely to get higher views. Many news stations are changing they way they think of this as well. Some are even publishing videos sent in straight from cell phones. Much less time is wasted on the editing and they news still gets to the audience.

Briggs gives tips on how to best make a video. He states that after the initial vision is complete, the only thing left is filling in spots with footage.
1. Use different approaches for different projects
2. Try storyboarding
3. Mix your shots
4. Build five-shot sequences (close-up on the hands, close-up on the face, wide shot, over-the-shoulder shot, creative shot)

I personally enjoyed this chapter because it lays out exactly what you need to know about filming a story. It’s an easy, but quick read that is extremely helpful for a beginner.

Next subject Briggs talks about is voice in video and how to do effective video interviewing. An interesting thing he notes that I didn’t really think of before is that fact that during in an interview, you must switch to non verbal cues for communication. So instead of saying “yeah and right,” you would switch to a simple head nod.

He lists some tips for filming:
1. content
2. write a script and warm up
3. be stable, breathe easy
4. don’t be afraid to talk with your hands

He also talks about camera choice, editing software, and other filming techniques.
Overall, this chapter is definitely interesting for the beginner. I enjoyed it.