Author Archive

A Cara de Porto Alegre (Faces of Porto Alegre)

Posted: April 29, 2011 by Maria Acle in Uncategorized

Porto Alegre is the tenth most populous municipality in Brazil, with almost 1.5 million inhabitants. It is the capital city of the southernmost Brazilian state, Rio Grande do Sul. The city’s name literally means ‘Happy Harbour’ in English and it is known for its rich and colorful culture.

Porto Alegre is one of the top cultural, political and economic centers of Brazil. With the city being one of the wealthiest in Latin America, it has a very high quality of life. However, while it is not as bad as many other cities in Latin America, the wealth distribution is very unequal. This is one big problem when it comes to delivering any kind of information. (more…)

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Take a Deep Breath

Posted: April 19, 2011 by Maria Acle in Uncategorized

Yes, I’m not going to lie, but as a journalism student I am worried about my future.  It’s natural that our eyes roll every time someone comes into the classroom bearing bad news about ‘the future of journalism.’ Enough of that.

The new age of digital media has left many future journalists sighing with relief. I don’t think it is the actual content of journalism that is changing. But one thing we can be certain of: the way we present news and the way people are consuming news is constantly changing. This is already good news. (more…)

Tsunami in Japan – Online Coverage

Posted: April 19, 2011 by Maria Acle in #9 Japan

When disasters like this occur, it is up to news organizations to step up their game and explain everything to the public. It is somehow difficult to have everyone on board when the issue includes radiation, nuclear plants and nuclear reactors. There are a lot of technical terms that need to be explained and in this can sometimes make it boring. It sounds rude to say that these catastrophes can be boring, but the truth is that when it comes to science, not many people will stay tuned.

However, many news organizations have managed to make this story very interactive and easy to understand on their websites. The thing with having this information in online websites is that the public can access the information as many times as they want, (more…)

The Wikileaks Project: Where Does it Stand?

Posted: April 18, 2011 by Maria Acle in #8 Wikileaks

It is truly amazing what a small group of people, a web site and access to sensitive information can do in such a short period of time. The information age has reached new heights placing the media into the hands of skilful rebels that can overturn a government with only a click. Julian Assange and his group of internet radicals expose government activities shedding light on what happens behind closed doors.

What is most scary is that such confidential information can disseminate so fast and can be accessed by millions of people so easily. Wikileaks opened our eyes to the fact that the web IS powerful. It makes us feel vulnerable just by knowing that so much information can reach big audience in the blink of an eye. (more…)

Stopping Rude Comments

Posted: April 18, 2011 by Maria Acle in #7 Ethics

We are living in an era where everything is fast, concise and there is an inevitable overload of information. While all of this information is sometimes useful, it can become a problem. Many times the content is not verified as much as it should because everything has to be published much faster. Unfortunately, there are all types of content on the web.

One of the most problematic side effects of this phenomenon is the overload of anonymous offensive comments by people who read stories on the web. News organizations have to deal with the ethical issue of not knowing if they should delete or not these comments. Does this undermine the free speech practice? Or is it that leaving offensive comments is unethical, because it could be insulting to many people? (more…)

Tweeeeeeeet

Posted: April 10, 2011 by Maria Acle in #6 Twitter

I had a Twitter account before this class but I was never the biggest user. But I did always use it for news. When I started examining it for this blog, I began to realize things that maybe I didn’t want to see before.

My conclusions:

What on earth? – The first thing I learned after this experience is that I had no clue how to use Twitter. This is probably because, on my end, not much Tweeting has ever happened. I actually thought I had it down because I was using it to read the news, but I guess the point of it is for you to Tweet stuff like everyone else. Oh well. (more…)

Not All is Lost – Not for Profit

Posted: April 10, 2011 by Maria Acle in #5 Not for Profit

It is not new that some important stories that are worth publishing are not seen in for-profit news organizations every time. However, there is some hope in the end of the tunnel thanks to non-profit organizations such as NPR. This membership-driven news organization brings to the table amazing in-depth stories valuable to a democracy. They are mission-driven and they have managed to have high-quality content because they look at the many angles within a news story. This analysis is a bliss in a world were in-depth journalism is scarce.

While I was doing some research, I came across an interesting non-profit news organization based in New England, US. It is called New England Center for Investigative Reporting and what is interesting is that (more…)

Social Media Revolution?

Posted: April 10, 2011 by Maria Acle in Uncategorized

Facebook groups and tweets initiated what some now call a “social media revolution” in Egypt.

While people started the revolution there is now doubt that social media tools have helped speed up the process. The best example of the power of this tool was seen when, back in August, a protestor, Khaled Said, was beaten by police and soon a Facebook group was created called “We are all Khaled Said.” A bunch of protest groups then started to emerge on Facebook.

(more…)

ProPublica

Posted: March 2, 2011 by Maria Acle in #3 Propublica

One very important aspect of ProPublica is that while it sheds light onto issues that many of us would have never imagined, the website is not for everyone. Investigative reporting is already hard enough to maintain in any normal news organization. It takes a lot of time and money. However, a news outlet with only in depth stories makes the website’s content a bit heavy at times. It is definitely not a light reading. I understand its purpose is not to entertain an audience. But I still think that no one will really become a frequent reader of anything without the content being balanced. I think you still need light, uplifting stories mixed with the heavier in-depth stories.

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Lets Stop and Smell the Roses

Posted: January 26, 2011 by Maria Acle in #2 Zen and Web 2.0

So much technology, so little time.

People have become like leeches that need everything, and won’t stop until they get everything.

We have become stressed human beings. We never “stop and smell the roses” anymore because “we have no time.” Living in such a fast paced world has made us forget that sometimes slower is better.

And obviously we love comfort right? We love everything to be so easily reached. But when everything is so easy to grasp we lose so much of its true essence on the way.

If there is one thing my mother taught me is to slow down. On the contrary my dad is always stressed and it just doesn’t go with his personality. He is a 60 year old man that has lived through so much but has to always be running around all the time. Alberto (father) says he has no other option but to try and keep up with all of the technology, because it is required for his job. There are surveys that indicate how the workers’ stress levels have gone up because of all the technology. So now he has two cell phones and a laptop. And it is really heart breaking to see him cope with it all. It is so much for someone who went through medicine school without a computer! Can you imagine not being able to Google things?

The opposite is my mother Nel. She swore she would never touch a computer, until the day I left to Canada and she forced herself to learn to Skype. She doesn’t have a cell phone or an iPod or a laptop. She takes forever to cook, and the longer the dish takes to prepare the better it tastes in the end. I mean, she even makes her own lasagna and Carpaccio from scratch! And ordering in is a sin for her. All of my life she would isolate me from everything and everyone to study, because she said I needed to concentrate in one thing, otherwise I wouldn’t succeed.

She is one happy woman and it makes me wonder when we crossed the line and became those little stressed leeches. There is so much going on now that it blurs people’s lives. Nothing of real quality comes out of us anymore because we have a million other things in our mind that we can’t let go because our Blackberry’s are beeping next to us or someone just wrote on our Facebook Wall.

People need to start building up a filter in their minds that allows them to absorb only what really matters. Let’s hope that eventually technology shifts us to our original state, where quality went over quantity. We have so much information now. Let’s try to regain our patience to chose and produce things that are worth our time.

Maria Acle’s Media Diary

Posted: January 19, 2011 by Maria Acle in #1 Media Diary

Today is Tuesday, and I make myself wake up after my cell phone alarm goes off at 8.30 am. After showering I walk (in a very zombie like way) to my kitchen to make myself breakfast. I have this TV in my living room, and you can actually listen to it from my kitchen. I turn it on until I get to CBC News. While I cook I listen, and every time a story catches my attention I sit down for a little bit to absorb it.

Once my breakfast is down I sit down in my living room, still having the TV on. I pull out my laptop and begin to open my typical news websites, which I have bookmarked for my convenience. While I eat, and simultaneously start to zone off the TV, I begin to read the headlines of news websites such as CBC, CBC New Brunswick, The New York Times and BBC World News.

Today I had time to go through my news websites from back home. My father generally sends me at least five links to stories from either Uruguay or Brazil. I try to stay always up to date, and honestly, I thought it was going to be harder. Everything is pretty much handed to you for free. However, my father had to pay a subscription fee in order to read El País, which is Uruguay’s national newspaper. So in order for me to access its content entirely I have to enter my father’s account with them. I also check what is happening in Brazil by going into globo.com, and I also really quickly read my local newspaper from my city: Zero Hora.

Once I’m done I get my stuff and go catch the bus. I put on my headphones to listen to some music on my ipod. After broadcasting class I go to campus.

Once I’m on campus, one of my friend’s texts me and I find out my next class was cancelled. I might admit it was a great feeling. I go back to my house. I open my emails and finally find my dad’s four articles that he has picked today for me to read. I scan through them.

I get my gym clothes and run to the bus stop. I get to the gym and do my work out for a bit more than an hour. Once I’m out, I go to the George Martin caf and I have lunch with my friend. I then catch my bus home, and read some headlines on my blackberry while on the bus.

I get to my house and I decide I need to do groceries. I go to the Superstore and two steps in, I run into Jacques Poitras. He is pretty much a walking news cast. We say ‘hi’ and he asks me if I enjoyed my Communication class last year with his wife. We have a little conversation about the program. Once it was over he went back to putting his headphones on and reading something on his Blackberry. That reminds me that I should check his Twitter page.

Once I am paying for my food I see the January edition of Vogue. I grab it, feeling guilty because I have no money and I shouldn’t buy it. I still do it.

I head back home and the TV is already on because my roommates are home. While having supper I text a couple of my friends.

I did check Facebook like a million times during the days, but I figured that by now that is everyone’s case. I do it pretty much every night before going to bed.