Author Archive

My Greater Saint John

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in Uncategorized

Before I start my final project, I thought I’d share a link talking about ProPublica’s Pulitzer Prize win. It’s the first time in history an outlet has won the coveted award for something that hasn’t appeared on a printed page. I think this should serve as a bit of encouragement. ProPublica is still producing great journalism in our changing world. They’re just doing things differently than what we’re used to – and it’s working. It’s a reason to be optimistic.

On to my final project:

My Greater Saint John


Saint John, New Brunswick is the second-largest city in the province with a population of 68, 043 as of 2006 (Statistics Canada). A deep, dense fog hangs over the city for most of the year, especially in July. Our city politics are more exciting and heated than you’d expect from a small city and we dump our sewage into our harbour. We’re working on that. You also can’t really drink the water and we’re kind of working on that too. (more…)


On the internets

Posted: April 14, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in Uncategorized

In class, one of the ethical issues we’ve touched on is what kind of tracks journos should be leaving online. In a 2.0 world, what we say or do on social media might be more important than we think – or perhaps people take it with a grain of salt and we’re all overreacting.

There doesn’t seem to be a universal line media outlets have their employees tow, but the Ethics Advisory Committee of the Canadian Association of Journalists released a report last week that proposes some of the first guidelines for personal activity online. I saw it on a website I follow called J-Source and thought I would share it with you all.

Don’t panic!

Posted: April 1, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in Uncategorized

I’ve never believed the changes in journalism are hitting so quickly and are so radical that journalism will be rendered obsolete, leaving journalists on the unemployment lines.

But I’d be lying if I said I haven’t worried about the future of the media. The difference is that the more I learn about social media and about the challenges facing the media, the more I’m optimistic. I’m not sure journalism is changing quite as much as the package it’s coming in and the ways we’re consuming it are changing.

Here are three seeds of optimism in this year’s state of the media report: (more…)

Reporting on disaster

Posted: March 22, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #9 Japan

Earlier this term, I posted a link to a story about a woman texting her mother while buried after an earthquake. For all of the negative things we can say about today’s “connected generation” who spend their entire lives plugged into social media, the technology can actually save lives and provide a link between families at a time of need.

The story is no different in Japan, one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries. As we saw in class on Friday, people are using Facebook to interact with friends and family. They’re using Twitter to raise awareness of fundraising campaigns. Journalists, like The Globe and Mail’s Mark MacKinnon, are using Twitter to provide the most up-to-date information. MacKinnon in particular has been tweeting almost literally around the clock from Japan, and has built a list of other people to follow for the latest info. (more…)

Thoughts on Wikileaks

Posted: March 16, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #8 Wikileaks

I’m not sure we all fully grasped the power of anonymity on the web until Wikileaks happened. Sure, anonymity has always been one of the lures of the internet. You can be anyone you want to be and talk to anyone you want, without that person knowing the real you. But who knew the veil of internet anonymity could spawn something like Wikileaks?

Wikileaks reminded us of the power of information because it showed us how much of a difference piece of information can make. For example, take the video of a Baghdad Airstrike Wikileaks posted. The video did not shine a positive light on the US military. Because of that video, people began to ask questions and hold the military accountable. The video showed an injustice and Wikileaks brought it to light. That information would probably still be under wraps if it weren’t for Wikileaks. (more…)

Ethics in the new age

Posted: March 2, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #7 Ethics

The more technology progresses and the more information we have at our fingertips, the more ethical concerns we seem to have to deal with. Today’s blog is going to be more in-depth on an issue I briefly mentioned in my last post.

It’s impossible to shy away from the internet and social media, the latter of which was not as much a part of our daily lives only five years ago. But as journalists, we must detach ourselves from nostalgia and bravely march forward into the online world.

But as we do this, we have to be conscious about the online persona we’re developing. Business have began to pop up that proclaim to be able to help you frame your online persona or remove negative things from Google about yourself. (more…)

The power of technology in disaster

Posted: February 25, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in Uncategorized

I thought some of you might be interested in seeing this story: Family still awaits word on student who texted ‘Mommy I got buried’ in the quake.

I think it’s interesting that when disaster strikes, not only can we be tweeting photos about it or trying to contact loved ones via Facebook, but people caught in the middle of the disaster can use things like text messaging to reach out for help.

Blogging about tweeting

Posted: February 23, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #6 Twitter

I’m friends with Twitter. I signed up for the website in March 2009 and I’ll admit I wasn’t sold on it at first. A lot of times, I wasn’t sure what to say. A few friends and I were talking about Twitter tonight and some of us said we felt pressure to be overly witty or intelligent in 140 characters – not always an easy task. Not all of us are Ashton Kutcher.

But after almost two years of tweeting, Twitter has forged a soft spot in my heart and a place in my daily media diet. Here’s what I’ve learned in two tweet-filled years. (more…)

Go forward, young journalist

Posted: February 15, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #5 Not for Profit

Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!” – Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison wasn’t talking about the media when he said that. But I think parts of the quote are useful when talking about the media.

The internet showed up and changed the way we do business, period. Technology has changed the way we consume television, movies and books, it’s changed where we go for music (and how we consume that, too) and most importantly, it’s changed how we get our news. (more…)

So, you say you want a revolution?

Posted: February 9, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in Uncategorized

Like many others, I haven’t been able to take my eyes off what is happening in Egypt.

Before the country made many news headlines,  Egyptian youth circulated Facebook messages, informing each other of the day of anger to take place on Jan. 25.

A day turned into a week of protests and soon enough, what many are calling a revolution was born.

While there is no question the events in Egypt couldn’t have been as well organized (ie, spread faster) without social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, I think it’s too soon to credit social media for the revolution. I feel like this revolution was driven by people and whether it was by Facebook or by person-to-person contact, word would have spread.  (more…)

Thoughts on ProPublica

Posted: February 2, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #3 Propublica

Working for a news outlet has its pros and its cons. One of the pros is the legitimacy associated with working for a respected news organization. One of the cons is living in an environment where you’re restricted by daily deadlines. News organizations are struggling to find money in the budget to simply pay enough people to fill the pages every day, letalone allow someone to take their time on in-depth pieces.

It’s also often argued that our generation just doesn’t have the appetite for these pieces. They want their news and they want it quick and abbreviated.


Thoughts on Zen and Web 2.0

Posted: January 26, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #2 Zen and Web 2.0

Sometimes, progress can be overwhelming. Necessary, but overwhelming nonetheless.

Pirsig’s characters travel along, not lingering too long on one thought. They shun technology.

When I wrote my media diary last week, I started to realize how much I rely on technology. I also realized how much news and media I strive to consume through technology. Sometimes I’ll want to read this or that, but I won’t have time. The list of things I want to read pile up, along with new news from that day. I find it can sometimes be overwhelming, but I’m not sure I could turn technology off in my life.

I’m not sure, for even one month of the year, I could just get on a motorcycle and drive through places without a wi-fi connection. It isn’t what I’m accustomed to. Perhaps it would a purifying experience to tune out from the world – but I’m not sure I would make it even a week! I could – and maybe should – tune out in small doses.

That’s why I say progress can be overwhelming. We have a lot of information to sift through these days if we want to really be plugged in. I’m not sure even most of us can go back to the way it was before we had such easy access to so much information – and I’m not so sure we should necessarily try to.

Karissa Donkin’s Media Diary

Posted: January 19, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in #1 Media Diary

Like most days, my news day on Monday started before I was conscious. I wake up each morning to CBC radio and my iPod alternating back and forth. Admittedly, much of what I hear on CBC Radio in the mornings isn’t absorbed very well, but it’s the first thing that enters into my brain.

Most days, the first thing I do is grab my cell phone, check my messages and read my Twitter feed, throwing myself into words in an attempt to wake up my brain. Twitter is one of my main news sources. I keep a list of all of my favourite news websites/outlets’ feeds that I check throughout the day.

But Monday was different from my usual routine. I overslept and woke up 15 minutes before a 9:45 a.m. phone interview I scheduled the day before. Checking Twitter would have to wait.

After my interview, I caught up on the latest buzz around Twitter. I subscribe to a list of “tweeps” from Saint John and refreshed myself with what was going on that day in my hometown without even getting out of bed! Before heading to class at 11:30, I would do another interview, check Twitter again and read most of the City section of the Telegraph-Journal. Working at the TJ this summer trained me to read at the entire City section and most of the front section every day, but I know most of what’s in the paper on Monday is old news so I skim a lot of the paper on Mondays.

I would also read a particularly disturbing story on the Globe and Mail’s website. A Toronto woman who suffered from dementia wandered away from her home and froze to death outside on the coldest night of the year. She screamed, notifying neighbours of her anguish – but no one cared to help her. It’s stories like this that remind me why I’m doing this in the first place – and why I haul my body out of bed at 9:30 a.m. in the name of journalism.

Throughout my school day, I check Twitter and Facebook, occasionally bookmarking stories for later. Monday was no different in this respect. I have an app on my phone called Canadian Newspapers which spoon feeds me stories from the Toronto Star, CBC, Globe and Mail, National Post, etc., and when killing time before classes begin, I’ll often read bits and pieces of stories. I did another interview in a gap between classes and finished the school day in print class. It was around this time that I came across this piece, which is currently on my read later list. I came across the story on the author’s Twitter feed.

If I’ve missed the nightly news, which I did on Monday, I usually take some time each evening to read through CBC NB’s page. But other than CBC NB and the consistent often (maybe obsessive?) Twitter checks, I’m not as hungry for news at night as I am during the day.

I feel like I don’t read enough non-news “tree books” and have resolved to do more of that this year. I tried to finish my day curled up with a “tree book” but the words jumbled together on the page and I eventually gave into sleep.

Author’s note – I didn’t include Facebook in this diary out of shame for the number of times I probably checked it on Monday. Let’s just say it’s a big part of my media/social networking diet each day…