“At any point, anyone today can become the most important journalist in the world.”

I came across a video where Tim Pool said the quote above. He was talking about the idea that citizens can now be journalists as well, thanks to the 21st century. I found what he had to say to be very interesting because I am a strong believer that social media and cell phones are making a huge difference in journalism today.

 

I have included the video and you can give it a watch to see an interesting take on journalism in the 21st century:

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Audio Storytelling

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am very interested in other forms of storytelling like photojournalism and audio stories. Recently I sat down with a local band to talk about a variety of topics and then I edited it to make it into an audio story. I just wanted to share my first try at audio storytelling!

The Importance of Photojournalism

This week I have been really interested in other forms of journalism as ways of telling a story. In a few of my classes we have focused on photojournalism and I even got to try my hand at it. It was one of the bigger challenges I have faced this year, when I think back on the skills I have learned.

Photojournalism is something that I am grateful I got to try. There are so many amazing photojournalists out there, and honestly, sometimes photojournalism can be much more powerful than written journalism.

I came across this amazing gallery of documentary photojournalism and wanted to share it with any readers who may be interested in just how powerful an image can be.

I also spent time in one of my classes looking over some fairly famous images from photojournalists over the years and was amazed by the feelings I felt while looking at them. Here are a few of those:

podcasts

As I have mentioned before, I am currently taking an Online Journalism class, where we have to learn different forms of digital media that play in the world of journalism. We have made it to the point in the semester where we are working on audio storytelling and I can already tell that this is something that could benefit me in my future career.

I read in an article that podcasts are becoming more and more popular, with Americans in 2015 listening to over 21 million hours of podcast audio every single day. When I read this statistic, it blew my mind even though I knew that podcasts were gaining popularity.

I have recently started listening to the podcast “This American Life” on NPR (I know, I am late to the game on this one) and I have to say that it is one of the best things in my morning routine. As someone who hopes to write features about interesting people someday, this podcast speaks to me. I believe that this is what is happening in America. People are finding podcasts that speak to them and they are continuing to follow them, whether it be for the interesting stories told, or the hard hitting news that they can now listen to on their cell phone.

To me, the amount of time spent listening to podcasts is reason enough for journalism students to learn the art of audio storytelling. Not only the popularity, but the fact that it is a skill that could be needed in today’s media world – it is not a bad skill to have.

Personally, I love to write, but I also understand why people are also very interested in listening to a story as well. With podcasts, you are given the ability to do other things while still hearing the story (cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc.). Because of this, I think that teaching audio storytelling should at least be considered.

I have included one of my favorite episodes of “This American Life” to show how powerful audio storytelling can be:

http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/widget/widget.min.js

I would like to finish on the question of, “Are podcasts journalism?” To me, they can be. “This American Life,” for example, tells the stories of real individuals in every day life. It may not be a form of hard news, but it is definitely a form of journalism. Feature journalism, which is a category of its own, and personally my favorite.

blogging-vs-journalismThe article I read for this blog post was somewhat of a follow up to what I read for the last post. I was intrigued by the idea that the professor that wrote the last article believed strongly in teaching the art of blogging to her journalism students and wanted to know how other people felt about blogging and journalism.

Personally, I think it is beneficial for journalism students to learn how to blog, which I have stated before. I found the article by Ryan Young that compared blogging and journalism to show that there is a difference between the two. I found it to be an interesting read because of the idea of actually comparing the two styles.

The author used an interesting analogy when comparing the two by saying, “If you were standing on a street that just so happened to have a ‘Chuck E. Cheese’ next to a federal building, it would be pretty clear which was which just based on appearance and ‘feel’ alone.” I found this interesting, and a little humorous, because it actually kind of makes sense for the situation it is being used for.

For example, newswriting is a much more professional way of presenting information when compared to blogging, not saying that blogging isn’t professional. There are certain aspects that are very different for each form like targeted audiences, what the audience expects, structure and a few more.

Specifically I found the point about what readers look for in each form to be a very solid point. It is something that I have thought about before, but never really put it into a full thought like Young’s article does. He addresses this by mentioning that news readers are looking for an unbiased, well-balanced and objective read, while people reading blogs are looking for the opinions of the professionals that are writing the blogs. This is very important to keep in mind for writers when they are writing an article so that they do not stray too far from what is expected in their work.

Another point that I thought was important to make note of was that the structure for each form of writing is different from the other. For example, in newswriting journalists consult the inverted pyramid for the structure of the story. Blogging is a little more freeform, in the sense that blog posts are started by really trying to catch the reader’s attention, rather than just offering facts like in a news story.

I really enjoyed reading this article because, like I said, I knew that there were differences between blogging and journalism, I just never actually thought it through like this article.

 

How Important Are Blogs to Student Journalists?

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Personally, I am running three blogs this semester and I find it to be very beneficial as a student journalist. I have two blogs for different classes and my personal blog, where I cover more of the content I hope to write about in my career.

I have read mixed reviews on whether blogging should be important to student journalists or not, and found an article that supports the idea of blogging for students. I chose to read this specific article because, as I mentioned before, I find blogging to be beneficial and something that students should try to practice.

Personally, I like blogging because I think that it is a good way to write about things you find interesting, it is a good way to stay current with news and there is a little bit of creative freedom in writing a blog. I am taking Online Journalism this semester, alongside Writing for the Web, and I think that the idea of being able to take two classes that have a slight focus on blogging, shows the importance of it in today’s world.

The article by Sue Greenwood addresses the idea of teaching students how to blog. There is a line that really stuck out to me, “This isn’t about teaching journalism students how to blog, it’s about getting them to think about their work in relationship to the audience for that work. It’s about them understanding audience isn’t just something for editors and proprietors to worry about.”

I found this line to be interesting because it addresses how teaching students how to blog is more than teaching students how to blog. It shows that there are more applications for what is taught through blogging. For example, it has helped me learn how to write for a specific audience that is interested in the same things as I am. My dream job is to work for a magazine called Alternative Press, so learning how to write for a specific audience is very helpful for me.

I believe that this article could be helpful for student journalists because it is an interesting stance to take on blogging.

Journalists’ Presence on Social Media

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As I have  mentioned before, I find the idea of technology and social media very interesting when it comes to how it all works together for Journalists. I find the idea of social media to be the more interesting topic of the two, since everyone uses social media throughout each and every day.

Personally, as a student journalist, I can already see a difference in how I use social media every day compared to when it comes to promoting my work. Another interesting part to social media is that it changes based on each journalist or publication they are working for.  Because I am so intrigued by the idea of social media in the world of Journalism, I looked up some articles on the topic itself. I found a report about the way that Journalists are using social media that I found very interesting.

The report comes from a paper published by Cision, which is a provider of media management solutions. Cision split Journalists into five categories based on social media use, which included: architects, promoters, hunters, observers and skeptics. I found this particular part of the report to be interesting because I would not have thought of different levels of involvement with social media.

A couple of other interesting factors in this report were the fact that online participation for Journalists is up as much as 34 percent compared to 2013 and also the fact that 54 percent of Journalists agree that social media undermines traditional journalistic values. I find the first fact to be interesting because a lot can happen in the world of technology in three years, so it’s interesting that online presence for Journalists is only up by 34 percent. To me, that does not seem like a high enough number with how much has gone digital. I also found the second fact to be interesting because I have also wondered if writing online has effected traditional values or not. Judging by this report, it seems that some Journalists believe that it has.

I definitely thought this was an interesting report to read and it opened my eyes to how social media is actually used for Journalists.

Writing for the Web vs. Writing for Print

Something that I am very interested in is the way that writing for the web has effected the world of Journalism. I have been told multiple times that with the popularity of blogs increasing, the need for print Journalists would decrease over the years. I always believed that writing for the web could affect Journalism in this way, but I still wanted to do some reading and researching on the topic to see what other people think.

online-v-print

I found an article that listed six ways that writing for the web is different than writing for print, and it offered me ideas that I had not even thought about yet. The six differences listed included: hooks, length, sourcing, accountability, pitching and pay. All of these play into the work of a Journalist who writes for print, but in very different ways.

For example, as an aspiring features writer, hooks are very important for a story. But, after reading the article I cannot help but think that hooks are even more important for online writing. As I learned in another class I am taking, people read much slower when they read online, so a really strong hook at the beginning of a story could lead to much more interest in the entire article itself.

Another aspect of this list that I found interesting was the idea of pay being different for online writers and print writers. I took a Features Writing Seminar last year and learned that most print publications pay freelance writers per word that is written. In this article it is mentioned that online writers get paid less than print writers due to the difference in time dedicated to writing for each medium. The author also mentions that it is still possible for online writers to make more money since it is easier to publish more writing at a quicker pace when writing for the web. I never looked at the idea of pay in the way that the author presented it, and to me it was very interesting.

I enjoy reading articles like these because I believe that it gives a good insight into what it is actually like for Journalists today in the professional world as digital writing rises in popularity.

Journalists Should Know More Than How to Write: An Opinion

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Photo of a newsroom courtesy of http://www.flickr.com

As I make my way through my third year as a Journalism student, I cannot help but realize that in the world of Journalism you need to know more than just how to write.

This was not how I originally thought. In the beginning I thought that being a strong enough writer could get you anywhere you wanted to go with your career. It was not until about halfway through my first year at the University of Wyoming that I realized there is plenty more to it. I started working at the school newspaper, the Branding Iron, and that is when I was exposed to all of the other aspects of Journalism, including copy desk, editing and the online portion. There were so many parts that I did not once think about until I was working in an actual newsroom.

I spent my first year at the Branding Iron as an Arts & Entertainment writer and absolutely fell in love with the idea of getting to interview people in the Laramie community and get to know more about them. It was a nice feeling knowing that I had chosen the right field to study.

In that same year I was approached by the Online Editor who asked me if I would want to start a series for the online section where we brought in local musicians to play in the studio and then I would do an on-camera interview with them. I remember my nerves being off the charts because, again, this was not a possibility I had ever considered. We ended up only doing one video for this series and it was one of the best experiences I ever had and it opened my eyes to the idea of print and online working together to tell a story.

My second year at the Branding Iron was spent as the Features Editor. This was a completely different gig than writing. I now had the responsibilities of coming up with stories for my writers, editing said stories and teaching the writers how to fix what they did wrong in their articles. I am so grateful that I have been able to be an editor for two years now because I strongly believe that it has strengthened me as a writer as well as a leader.

Over my second and third year at the Branding Iron I learned the basics of using Adobe InDesign to lay out the pages for the newspaper. This was especially a skill I never thought I would need to know, but at times we are short-handed and we all have to pitch in somehow. I strongly believe that knowing the design aspect of a paper is extremely beneficial to Journalists. It is just another way of fully understanding all of the work that goes into creating a newspaper and has led me to appreciate it that much more.

Another plus to learning all of these skills over the years is that they coincided with the classes I have taken thus far. It is nice to have a little jumpstart when it comes to learning new skills in classes like InDesign, and I firmly believe that that is how it will be in the real world for Journalists.

Do Journalists Actually Need a Journalism Degree?

Photo of a college graduate.
Photo of a college graduate courtesy of http://www.amppob.com

Being a college student can be stressful enough on its own. What can be even more stressful is studying a field that is prone to so many changes as time goes on. Journalism as a field has gone through many changes with the popularity of technology becoming more and more relevant with every day life. Because of all of the factors that have gone into this (blogging, technology, multimedia, etc.) I thought it would be interesting to read into whether degrees for Journalism are still relevant. In order to do this I read an article on mediashifter.org.

I found this article interesting because they surveyed Journalism educators and professionals to see the difference between the opinion of the two. Another thing that I found interesting was the fact that this article addressed the idea of updating the classroom when it comes to teaching Journalism, while possibly starting to offer classes on things like ethics in Journalism to more than just students. I wonder what might happen if these changes were made to the world of Journalism.

Personally, I believe that it is important to get a degree in Journalism because there are certain aspects of the field, such as AP style, that is taught in classes that are definitely important to how well a writer writes. I feel that I have definitely benefited from going to school to learn the foundation of Journalism and how to apply it in my real life and career.