Author Archive

Ethics in 2.0 – Sam Kamras

Posted: March 1, 2011 by Samantha Kamras in #7 Ethics

Three weeks ago, I did my first interview through email. Before then, I had always managed to go and talk with a person face to face, or at least over the phone. I pride myself in catching the small details, like how much of a slouch someone has or whether or not they have a gleam in their eye as they recount a specific story. As cliché as this sounds, my favourite aspect of journalism is having those conversations. You can tell so much from a person from a gleam; you can come to understand that your topic of conversation at that moment is important, and worth spending time with.

Then you sit down and write your article, and suddenly a picture of a person just comes to life. Maybe it doesn’t come across to readers, but I feel satisfied that I did my work.

With the interview I did three weeks ago, I didn’t get the details, and I felt like my story was flat. I found the article hard to write, even. I had a similar experience when I did my first phone interview, but at least I had a vocal reaction to describe. With written text, I felt like I had nothing but a carefully constructed and considered quote that lacked a voice. I couldn’t help but wonder what I would have wound up with had the interview taken place over Facebook, or in a 140 character tweet.



A Twitter Convert- Sam Kamras

Posted: February 22, 2011 by Samantha Kamras in #6 Twitter

As someone who doesn’t have Facebook, and who only got a cellphone a year ago, I was wary of signing up for a Twitter account. I was sure it was going to add a few things to my life, but I was scared that it was going to take up more time than I had. I was scared I would get addicted. Now, having had an account for a week, I can safely say that I’m not. But it was close.

For the first few days, I left the website open on my computer so that I could make sure I would catch any new tweets that went across my feed. I had checked the little cellphone icon next to everyone’s name so that I would get all their updates to my phone; it took only an hour of constant vibrating for me to learn my lesson there. I also decided to follow anyone and everyone, from news organizations to people who were mentioned in other people’s tweets. For the first few days, Twitter really was a just a place to dump information. The following five tips are things I’ve learned, and steps I took to reach my current love of the social media tool.



Posted: February 17, 2011 by Samantha Kamras in News

I just signed up for Twitter for the next assignment, and have already found myself surrounded by information about the protests in Bahrain. I’ve been spending hours following links that people have posted.

One of these links led me to the Al Jazeera live blog, where I further found an Anonymous Press Release, which I thought was really interesting. I’ve never heard of anyone publishing their own press release with such serious intent. I thought I would post about it. Press releases, or the thought of them at least, seem to carry some weight as an official record of the comings and going of an organization. This press release is  to comment on those comings and goings. It’s another aspect of social media that I had never thought to consider. Now, as to how seriously anyone will take it, who knows. But the point is that it’s out there; it’s being spread through Al Jazeera (a major organziation), Twitter, Facebook and the list goes on. Check it out!

Also, the site that created the press release is one of the non-profit sites we were just looking at. Hackers is an organization that looks at security threats and hacking as a whole. Honestly, when I first stumbled across is, I couldn’t help thinking of conspiracy theories. But having now spent some time with it, I’m thinking more along the lines of, “Big Brother is watching, and these guys are out to expose him.”

Not for Profit– Sam Kamras

Posted: February 16, 2011 by Samantha Kamras in #5 Not for Profit

There has always been an element of competition in journalism. The exact nature of the element has changed with the way media has changed, but it’s always been there. I can’t help but think of 9/11, when every broadcast network was showing footage of New York. The only real difference  was in who a network was interviewing, and in what angle their shot of the second plane hitting the second tower was at. Sure, some of this competition centered around who broke the story first, but after the story was told by someone, then it became about who told it best.

Just shy of 10 years later, the competition has changed completely. Now, it seems to only be about who gets the scoop. What’s more, it’s no longer just a competition between journalists. Citizens have entered the ring.



Posted: February 9, 2011 by Samantha Kamras in Uncategorized

As the revolution in Egypt continues to unfold, I can’t help thinking of Mme. Defarge from A Tale of Two Cities. She sits in the bar her husband owns, and listens to conversations about different events and people. She listens for developments in the French Revolution, staying silent in a corner of the pub, and keeping to her knitting.

 It’s later revealed in the book that she is knitting a secret code; she is making a list of the people to be killed for the revolution’s cause. The list would later be passed on to the assassins. That was social media in Dickens’ day.

 What if Mme. Defarge had access to the social media of today? How would her message have changed? Ok, maybe a secret hit list still wouldn’t have been published on Facebook, but would the ultimate cause of her knitting have changed? Her revolution still happened, and without the internet. What’s more, it stemmed from another revolution; it was really only after the French heard of the success of America’s liberation that they started making plans of their own. Word still got around.


Propublica–Samantha Kamras

Posted: February 2, 2011 by Samantha Kamras in #3 Propublica

Who would have thought injustices could still affect you once you’re dead?

Propublica, PBS and NPR recently published an investigative piece, making it clear that it happens more often than you think. They cite shows like “CSI” as being responsible for putting faith in the scientists behind a morgue’s doors. The reality is that most people performing autopsies are unqualified.

 “The Real “CSI”: How America’s Patchwork System of Death Investigations Puts the Living at Risk” explores a 2009 report by the National Academy of Science, and its claim that one in five physicians working in morgues in the US are unqualified. The result is that police brutalities, possible murders and potential contagious diseases are going unnoticed. Ripples from these injustices are then affecting the living.


Disconnected–Samantha Kamras

Posted: January 26, 2011 by Samantha Kamras in #2 Zen and Web 2.0

It’s hard to keep up with technology, and how quickly it moves.

This past Christmas, I received a brand new iPod touch. There was nothing wrong with my first generation nano, but it was time for a change. I still don’t know how to use everything; as of today, I have figured out its music playing capabilities, and the internet function. As I was checking online for a comprehensive manual that would explain the other features (because one doesn’t come with the device), I noticed something.

The first iPod touch was released in September, 2007. Since that release, a new model has been released every year; four years later, we have my fourth generation device. I was a little taken aback. What could be so new that it merited a new release in twelve months for three years in a row?


Media Diary: January 14th, 2011– Samantha Kamras

Posted: January 19, 2011 by Samantha Kamras in #1 Media Diary

It’s Friday morning. I wake up to two alarms. My radio goes off, playing soft music to try to draw me out of bed, and then my annoying cell phone starts ringing some kind of dance song to make sure I actually get up. Right from the get-go, technology enters my life. I like to keep my music on as I get ready; I drink my coffee, brush my teeth and do something with my hair as my iPod plays through the small apartment. I’m ready to walk out the door for class, but first, I make a stop at my laptop and log onto the CBC website to read provincial and national news. Today, I have enough time to visit the New York Times homepage as well.

It takes me twenty minutes to walk up the hill to campus. All the while, music is streaming through my headphones. My first class of the day is Reporting 2.0. We watch a few videos from the internet, but mostly it’s a technology-free discussion about technology. I make a page’s worth of handwritten notes. At the end of the class, an iPad is passed around. I can’t imagine myself ever using one. Having said that, I’m the kid who didn’t get a cell phone until Christmas of last year. Now, I’m the kid who sends text messages to her friends when she’s supposed to be focusing on readings for classes. I’m well aware that it takes me longer to finish Titus Andronicus when I’m consistently shooting texts back and forth, but I do it anyway.