WE THE MEDIA

Ch. 1

From newspapers, to yellow journalism and beyond, journalism has changed a great deal over the last decade. It was not until after September 11th that society understood the importance of this multimedia generation. Twitter, my space, personal blogs, and texts were the first to be sent out as the planes of 9/11 collided into the twin towers. This unfortunate incident had awoken a society reliant on coverage of important events to come solely from newspapers in the past. In this first chapter, we see how the profession of journalism has grown. We see that the growth required an intermittence of events; the events began negative with a positive outcome. For instance, the muckrakers sought out misconduct by prominent people. This undoubtedly caused chaos but in the end, created an abundance of topics for society to leech onto. This led to the Progressive era, the time of no hold bar for journalists. They were able to write and use their imagination as to what seemed important news for society, not only what was important, but what type of stories had potential to attract consistent readers. The inevitable aspect, as the author stated, was the consolidation of news and media groups coming into effect. The push for media including television and radio, prompted businesses to consolidate; saving money is always a key in any business, even journalism. The big media is primarily the outcome and majority of this chapter. Where papers had their consistent readers with occasional newcomers, papers competed, as they do today, for what new and hot topics can be first exposed. With this big media era, blogs and web sites are the first to be shared. They have tools and links everywhere to help you navigate quickly to find your news. Now we need not forget where and how journalism got its start, but instead embrace a new age media that will help the future of news grow.

Ch.2

David Winer and the early blog pioneers made it possible for individuals to be their own creators of the news. With the technology advancing from reading the news online to being able to write the news at any given time, allowed readers an inside to communicate. We also see that the weblogs, mail lists, and forums are very important to the media. Here people are able to gather information from other people like themselves. The tools used to make “we the media” possible include mail lists, forums, and weblogs. They all differ form each other, but are nevertheless crucial to communication on the internet and with news. Mail lists are specified to people of a particular  group. Sent via email, mail lists keep members updated on topics of interest and daily news. Forums, however, are available to all, new and old.  “Individual forums are hosted by companies, user groups, activists, and just about any kind of interest group one can name. Some are moderated, and many are valuable for spot trends and getting answers to specific questions” (28). Lastly, web logs are online journals posted by individuals who are passionate about certain topics; their most recent posts appear at the top of their blogs. This helps people comment on others’ opinions where debates arise and human interests join. These three features of today’s technology are becoming more and more advanced. We also see mobile cameras, recorders, sms, and other tools used to capture events right when they’re happening. What we must always remember is that these technological advances can not take the place of the regular journalism beat.

Ch.3

In chapter three, the future of openness and a society free of secrecy is inevitable. The example of the pepsi award having been scammed by a girl, and then informed through her posting was unreal. This was a single customer that made an impact on a large corporation, one that has been around a lot longer than the technology itself. If this girl had not spread the word via blogging, texting, or the internet, the tactic used to see under the pepsi cap would have stayed in a small group, or would have dispersed slowly throughout the community. The title of this chapter says it all. “The Gates Come Down” expresses the need for people to know who other users are online, while keeping things a secret, such as businesses online. Trade secrets have always been important from the past. Businesses rely on secretive pseudonyms online to function well. Why? Because they need to be objective to people. News makers must also be aware of three warnings as things on the internet begin to circulate. One, people are able to dig deeper into the lives of journalists, finding background information about sources that they actually need to do their job. Second, information gushes out instead of leaking slowly into the community. Therefore making people aware of things at a faster rate. And third, it is very easy to get smart people to succumb to certain ideas that are not true, especially certain events in the news. These subjects can grow and have minds of their own; once they’re out there, the internet allows access to all. The old rules of news making are no longer the only ones enforced.

Ch. 4

When “Newsmakers Turn the Tables,” we as observers see that by posting a transcript from an interview online news makers are now “turning the tables” on readers. By this I mean instead of rumors occurring through hearsay, people in the news are using concrete evidence to post online for all to see. By doing this, the truth about any questions readers might want answered is up and in clear view. There then is no secrecy or uncertainty as to what happened, at a meeting for example, that dealt with healthcare, something that affects most individuals. Chapter four exposes the issues and resolutions that journalists must face when dealing with all types of newsmakers. Whether corporate or political, they need to listen more carefully to conversations surrounding them that can either harm or benefit their businesses. The most common types of people, voters, customers, and general public, know more than newsmakers give them credit for. “Businesses need to engage in the conversations that are already occurring about their products and practices. Using weblogs and other information tools such as discussion forums, companies can engage customers, suppliers, and employees in a dialogue in which everyone learns from each other” (69). A very important tool of our daily communication is the mass media, and there is much more to understand as technology grows.

Ch.5

In chapter five, we  see the emerging tools of journalism not only changing the way the news is delivered, but we see the impact that it has on the politics of today. These tools are giving businesses new ways to market their ideas, organizing them as to what is most important. They help to “transform political life into a virtuous feedback loop among leaders and the governed”  (89).  This evolution is as reinstating unity and citizenship. Starting from the center where politics began, our culture is combining the old and new tactics of political promotions, bringing “civic activity” back into play. The technologies of news making are proposed to allow citizens to express personal opinions outside of casting a simple vote.
Blogging and other political issues are being held online. “Going from the bottom up, from average citizens to the power centers, is a considerably more difficult, but potentially more rewarding, endeavor. There are several reasons for this, only one of which is obvious: the potential cost savings in letting citizens take on more of the chores” (106). The idea that an individual can now register for an international driver’s permit online is incredible.  Government has made the choice to allow citizens to take on the responsibilities that come along with the media that are undoubtedly beneficial to us in the end.
Ch.6
“As a columnist, writing a weblog has been easier for me than
it might have been for a beat reporter. I was already putting my
opinions in the newspaper, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to put
them online in what amounted to a bunch of mini-columns. But
there’s no requirement that blogs be opinionated” (113). In chapter six, we finally get to see the journalist’s perspective on big media. The quote above explains the issue that most new users have when they begin to blog; not everything written needs to be one’s opinion. Some topics can be fact based, emotions, or even thoughts. Beat reporters are told to be objective when reporting on a story, so it will be different from their usual style of writing. Regardless of the tools we use, we must adhere to fairness, accuracy, and thoroughness. These are necessary for journalism as a profession to survive.  We need to be fair and be willing to correct
our mistakes. We must also research our outside information, making sure it is accurate to the public, while maintaing our reputation. And lastly, being thorough in our thoughts and debates with others is important for communication. These sites and free tools that are given to the public require responsibility and truth.
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