It’s called Eth-ics.

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #7 Ethics

The media landscape now, compared to how it was the “good old days”, is very different.  I wasn’t even alive in the good old days, and I can see it the change that’s taken place. I grew up in the transition zone — where everything slowly became digital until what’s left is the vast expanse that is the internet. It’s overflowing with information — both correct and incorrect — and journalists are now faced with having to explore and make sense of online media.

Social media tools like Twitter create problems for journalists and news organizations alike.  The demand for news now has placed the requirement on journalists to be fast. And not just fast, but correct. To me, this hardly makes any sense. How can anyone expect to increase the speed without making the accuracy of the content suffer? At some point in time, mistakes will be made.

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Final Project – Atlantic Media Network

Posted: April 20, 2011 by seanoneill34 in Uncategorized

This project contradicts my theory that local news is becoming less relevant and important to citizens, especially those in my generation, but I’ll sacrifice this rationale for the sake of this assignment and assume that there will always be a massive public appetite for this information. Also, this, if done properly, can really work if the vision and content is perfect.

My vision is the Atlantic Media Network, a collection of reporters based in bureaus in all the major spots throughout the Atlantic region. Halifax, Sydney, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, St. John’s, Charlottetown, et al would have a bureau covering everything there is to be known in each city, region and province.

Because you asked for a synopsis of my city instead of a broad outlook, I’ll focus in on Cape Breton as a whole. Our daily paper, the Cape Breton Post, has few daily stories that are written by Post staff. Most of the stories in the paper are picked up from the Associated Press or Canadian Press wire, including columns from national writers such as Chantal Hebert and Tim Harper. Two full pages are dedicated to obituaries, which shows that a lot of older people still read the paper religiously because that’s the best way to find out which of their friends have died. There is also national and international sections that are dedicated to that niche, but clearly all of those stories are taken from the wires, and if you’re a foreign affairs junkie the Cape Breton Post is not going to be the first destination.

Other than that, it’s slim pickings. But the issues that are most important to Cape Bretoners are the police force; the health care system; the local arts and music scene, which always gets recognized at the ECMA’s; the school board; the QMJHL hockey team; community issues; and all of the local MLA’s and MP’s. I rarely see town hall stuff — perhaps because I’m not looking on those days, I don’t care, or because they don’t have anyone who covers it, which I doubt.

That’s what matters in Cape Breton. The island for the longest time was built on blue collar workers in coal mines and when they shut down in the late 90’s-early 2000’s many people were out of work, and many Cape Bretoner’s who expected to spend their lives working manual labor jobs for the municipality had to scramble for other options and didn’t have any education to fall back on. These people had very little time to care about what went on outside the bubble of this island, and the Post reflected what they wanted to know. Too bad it’s a very insular world.

But what does get covered gets covered well, but the Post’s format is so antiquated. I don’t go to the individual sections the paper has to see who won in the NHL last night, or the latest news on the Japan disaster. There are better sources of information to receive it from, and certainly more faster than a daily newspaper. But Jacques Poitras told a group of us during he and Dan McHardie’s lecture during ARCUP that what news services should be doing, especially in smaller places, is finding a niche and killing it and providing unique information to the public that nobody else can publish.

That would be the vision for the Atlantic Media Network. It would be dedicated to bring the Atlantic provinces all the news that matters to its citizens. Each bureau would have town hall reporters so the public is kept up to date on what is going on in the local communities. This goes back to making sure that our democracy is kept in check and those elected to uphold the principles of our society do so.

The town hall reporters would also be responsible for keeping track of the local MP or MLA, depending on the region. Clearly in a place such as Halifax, which has numerous elected representatives, there would be more reporters on the ground following this news. Each bureau will also have reporters dedicated to keeping track on local community issues, such as health care and the school board. Depending on funding this could be divided amongst numerous reporters or one who takes it all on. The vision for the news team would be no different than that in any normal newsroom, reporters entrenched in the community going after stories.

But how do we fund this project? While I do believe that public broadcasting is a wonderful thing because of transparency and lack of corporate interests which could cause conflicts of interest in reporting, I’m not convinced that the citizens of the Atlantic provinces have the appetite to fund such a new organization. And if there is a demand for it, will it be big enough to generate the revenue capable to produce the work that I envision? I’m skeptical about this so that’s why the AMN will be funded by sponsors and advertisers and, hopefully, be owned by a family or numerous shareholders or companies that can fund the company without any hassle. Could this lead to ethical journalistic problems? Sure, just look at the Irving monopoly. But for my vision of the company, I believe this is the best way to go.

Now how would I pitch this organization? I do so by describing the content that will be available for those who consume the content from AMN. This will be the first media organization in the region — that I’m aware of — that will not be based around a newspaper or a television station. We all know that newspaper consumption is going down as the years go on, but I’m also skeptical about the future of TV news. The anecdotal age of those who watch the six o’clock news I would guess is roughly the same of those who read the newspaper every morning. That generation is going to be wiped out sooner than later so instead of trying to bring those people in, it’s more important to get a foothold of the generation that has grown up in the digital age.

The AMN starts out as a website, but we can’t use it like a typical news website does now. Each section has its own page that breaks down into the typical sections that a newspaper would have. But instead of just the straight text for a typical news story, each journalist is responsible for filing stories in written and video format. The business of reporting is changing to the point that any journalist that is one-dimensional is going to be left in the dust. Journalists who only specialize in print or television I believe will eventually become extinct, and the consumers need to see a commitment to getting the information across in numerous ways. If you don’t have time to read an entire print story, you can watch the minute-and-a-half video report. If you’d rather read, then the print story is there for you. Keeping options open for the costumer is imperative. At the end of each day, on the video section of the website, all videos will be put in a section for each day’s news and will be divided by province then community. The same will go for feature stories — which is my favourite type of journalism. This piece about a former football player who wrongfully spent time in prison is the perfect way to bring in the viewer. Again, if they’d rather read or watch, they have both options. Anybody on the staff is open to pitch story ideas for features and can attack them however they wish. As the site grows, eventually there can be room for designated feature writers/broadcasters and columnists.

Cape Breton, for example, will have town hall reporters for each community that has municipal government, political reporters who cover the MP’s and MLA’s from our region, sports writers for the university and QMJHL teams, arts reporter for the entertainment scene, and a general community reporter for the other issues that pop up.

To go along with the corporate funding, the AMN will begin as a subscription based site. Just like a newspaper or a television station, you have to pay for the content. I believe that your product is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. So we have to begin charging out of the gate so we don’t create an apathetic feeling for our organization, where they always expect news to be free and effortless. The Times of London put up a paywall in May 2010, and are getting subscribers. For a monthly fee of $29.99 — less than a dollar a day — a six month fee of $149.99 — less than 85 cents a day — or a year subscription of $274.99 — 75 cents a day — you can access everything that the site has to offer. All fees can be paid in increments that better serve the consumer’s needs.

What else can you access? Exclusive tablet and mobile app so you can consume the news wherever you are. Our reporters will also be expected to produce podcasts weekly or daily, depending on the beat that they’re on, for more perspective, analysis and opinion. Yes, the production costs can be high for all of this stuff. But we don’t have to pay any of the bills on newspaper machines or a TV studio or the best cameras in the business. And with the Network serving four provinces with a population of almost 2.4 million people, if 10% of the population (which may be a tad high to get at the start) buy yearly subscriptions, that’s over $65 million in revenue. I’m sure after that we can pay the bills and pay the workers properly and continue to serve the community with the information that they need to know. And I think it goes without saying that each reporter must be active on Twitter. They don’t have to stick to tweeting news, they can go outside that box and show some of their own personality. But we wouldn’t use YouTube because that would be giving away our video content for free which we shouldn’t do.

With all of these tools, you should be able to consume all the news you want and need, from your area and beyond at your pace and leisure so you aren’t beholden to time frame of the six o’clock news or reading the paper before going to work. News organizations can’t expect that its audience will construct their lives around the news broadcasts; the organizations have to adapt to their lives. The Atlantic Media Network will do just that.

The town of Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick is a small community of 2,000 people, after its amalgamation in 2008. The town surrounds the beautiful St. John River and offers a quaint and friendly atmosphere. Since its amalgamation in 2008, the town council has taken great efforts in growing is tourism department. Now offering such sites as the Summer Market, the Shogomoc Railway and a brand new boardwalk along the St. John River, Florenceville-Bristol is a beautiful town that I have grown to love.

A view of the boardwalk and bridge over the St. John River on Main St. in the town of Florenceville-Bristol

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Final Assignment: Local News – “The Valley”

Posted: April 19, 2011 by trevorjnichols in Uncategorized

The Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia is a unique news environment. It’s made up of several small, and a few medium-sized towns, stretched out along one long road. There’s no question that each town is its own unique place, with distinct people, culture and atmosphere.

For example: The town of Wolfville is the beating bohemian heart of the Valley. It is home to Acadia university, a thriving Saturday farmer’s market and for the most part a population of liberal-minded, forward-thinking young people. Just half an hour’s drive away sits the quaint town of Berwick. Berwick is close to the Michelin tire plant – the main source of jobs in the valley outside of agriculture industry – and is populated mostly by older people who tend to be on the conservative side.

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Fredericton Community 2.0

Posted: April 19, 2011 by Alex Vietinghoff in Uncategorized

A basic idea of what you`ll see when you get to the site.

Fredericton is the kind of place that most people consider “the ideal town to settle down in” or in which to start a family.  It’s been named one of the “Cultural Capitals of Canada”, has around eighty thousand inhabitants (according to the Fredericton website’s Census data), and the average age is thirty eight.  About twenty percent are bilingual.

Fredericton has a lot of internet-technology businesses, and most people are very polite to one another.  (The stereotypical East Coast politeness applies here.) One of the popular places to gather is the Boyce Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning.  I have always seen Fredericton as a mix of many different cultures, but with strong roots in its East Coast Heritage.

Fredericton is home to the St. John River (running through the middle), and has many avid exercise enthusiasts who make use of the woodlots, walking/cycling trails, and large park.

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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, Read the rest of this entry »

Tatamagouche Beacon: A Community Effort

Posted: April 18, 2011 by Joanne Goodall in News, Uncategorized

An aerial photo of Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Tatamagouche is a small community on the North Shore of Nova Scotia. It’s approximately a 30 minute drive to Truro which has been nicknamed the hub of Nova Scotia and a 2 hour drive from the capital city, Halifax. Its population is about 5,000 in town residents, with approximately 10,000 if you include surrounding areas. Even for a small town, Tatamagouche has a lot to offer and is very beautiful. Its residents have won community based awards from the province and even beat competition for the hit CBC reality TV show, The Week the Women Went. Though I personally could never see myself moving back to Tatamagouche to make a living, I make regular visits to see my family and walk along the shore. If I were to create a news website for Tatamagouche, it would look something like this….

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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? Read the rest of this entry »

Final Assignment: “THE HUB” – Sharon Fawcett

Posted: April 17, 2011 by sharonfawcett in Uncategorized

The Mi’kmaq were the first people to live near the Pet-Kout-Koy-ek, “the river that bends like a bow.” The mud-brown waterway later became known as the “Petitcodiac,” and the town at its bend, Moncton, New Brunswick. Acadians, then Pennsylvanians, followed by United Empire Loyalists, and others, settled there. In the nineteenth century Moncton became a shipbuilding centre, then Intercolonial Railway’s headquarters. Today, many of its citizens work in manufacturing, health care, information technology, retail, and tourism. And the city’s becoming increasingly multicultural with newcomers arriving from Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America. The individual stories of the Mi’kmaq, Acadians, and Anglophone settlers, and the approximately 125,000 residents of today’s Greater Moncton area, combine to tell the story of a community and a place.

The Westmorland Weekly Times

Moncton’s first newspaper, The Westmorland Weekly Times, was established in 1855 to keep residents of the growing town up-to-date on community happenings. Connection to place is what’s historically made newspapers popular. But in the modern internet age, that connection’s being lost. Readers from around the world can access a newspaper online, so there’s a temptation to move away from a local focus for many papers. The multi-media web platform I’ve designed for the Moncton area will reconnect people with the place, and one another, in an attempt to maintain a sense of community and common purpose in the region. The platform is called The Hub, in honour of Moncton’s central location in the Maritimes and its history as the centre for rail and land transportation in Atlantic Canada (which earned it the nickname “Hub City”). The goal is for the multi-media platform to become the centre, or hub, of the community. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

http://www.j-source.ca/english_new/detail.php?id=6402

Great use of interactive media

Posted: April 12, 2011 by sharonfawcett in Uncategorized

Why should I be the only one to get distracted, while working on the final paper for Reporting 2.0? Allow me to share my new-found favourite online distraction with you, fellow journalism students. It’s related to the topic of new media because it’s a creative use of interactive media.

If you click on the photos of cities around the world in this gallery (on boston.com/bigpicture)  you can see the lights fade as they are turned off by individuals, governments, organisations, and corporations in 134 countries worldwide on March 26 for Earth Hour. (Not all 134 countries made it into this album. That’s probably a good thing, or else the paper I should be writing might really suffer.) I wish there was an interactive photo of the entire planet from space!

Greed vs. Caution

Posted: April 11, 2011 by Alyssa Mosher in #8 Wikileaks

11/04/11

I’ve never really thought a lot about Wikileaks until this semester.

It wasn’t until a few of my classes starting focusing on the “phenomenon” that I finally somewhat caught up. To be honest, I never followed the stories when they were first released a few years back. I had a friend who read every story, but he’s a journalism-nut, so I figured it wasn’t necessarily anything I had to look at. But I think that’s something I regret now.

Now, when everyone talks about the calibre of stories that were produced by Julian Assange and Wikileaks, I still feel like I have to catch-up. I’ve gone to the Wikileaks website and haven’t been able to navigate it very well, so finding one of those great stories hasn’t been easy. It was only a few months ago that I saw “Collateral Murder” for the first time. I couldn’t believe how many people had been keeping up with Wikileaks. Turns out it wasn’t just my journalism-nut of a friend.

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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. Read the rest of this entry »

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 Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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The Hope Beneath 12,341* Radioactive Bodies

Posted: April 8, 2011 by Adam Hodnett in #9 Japan

*Death toll reported by DemocracyNow.org on April 5, 2011. Over 15,000 missing. Is this title too heavy?

I feel guilty not following the crisis in Japan. I can’t imagine what those people are going through. Anything I picture seems like the most horrifying experience possible.

But, somehow earthquakes and tsunamis are beginning to feel common. Japan use to build houses out of paper because it’s an earthquake-prone island, and we have hundreds of nuclear power plants around the world, and a poor record handling fuels.

One of my problems with media is hearing too much negativity (I think it’s lazy reporting). I sometimes feel like I go a little crazy hearing about all the bad things in the world. I’ve decided that staying hopeful is more important than dwelling on things I can’t change. Does that make me self absorbed?

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Long Form Journalism in a Short Attention Span World

Posted: April 7, 2011 by Philip Lee in News

Here is a link to the ProPublica sponsored panel on the future of long-form journalism featuring Ira Glass, David Remnick and others.

State of the Media – Melissa Dickinson

Posted: April 6, 2011 by melissadickinson in Uncategorized

It has been discussed on several occasions during our semester in this course as to how news and the media are quickly being accessed electronically more often then in any other way. We have taken polls to discover how many of the students in the class gain their local news coverage via television versus through online sources. No one in the class would be surprised to learn that only a very select few students watch daily local news coverage on the television, like CTV’s Live at 5.

When you begin to read the Pew Research Center’s report on the state of American journalism, it is difficult to point out any optimistic points. You constantly read how the public is not relying as heavily on newspapers to get their news coverage. They make it very evident in their report that the digital age of news and media is quite present in today’s society. Constantly, more and more people are gaining their news coverage through mobile devices and portable computers like an iPad or your Dell laptop.

However, this transfer of news coverage to the internet can be seen as a positive thing. Jeff Jarvis in 2008 recorded a brief question and answer session concerning his opinions on the internet taking over how the public consumes their news. In this video, Jarvis makes a great case for journalism and the internet. I think that the most impacting statement he made was how “every other industry in this country, in this world has to change because the internet. Why shouldn’t newspapers? Other industries that are smart are embracing this change. And newspapers are, out of fear, only beginning to. It doesn’t make any difference to me whether or not the printing press is getting used as long as the journalism continues.” It is important to remember that this video was created in 2008 and that there has been great advances in online journalism. However, some are still hostile to the thought of consuming their journalism online. And not everyone can. A lot of our older generation are not technologically advanced. I think of my Grandparents who do own a computer, but still get a daily newspaper delivered to their doorstep and watch the local news station at 5pm. We still have a use for printed and filmed news coverage, but I don’t expect it will be very long until newspaper subscriptions and the mass consumption of printed journalism to decrease significantly.

After reading the article, one can be a bit optimistic about the number of jobs out there for journalists in the internet field. While journalism is relocating itself to the world wide web, many jobs are opening in several journalistic departments. While newspapers are folding and this resulting in the folding of jobs, as long as journalism continues to grow through the world wide web, jobs will be out there for up and coming journalists.