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Brad Kalbfeld April 5, 2011

Posted by acusumano in : Assignments , add a comment

In today’s class, we heard from Brad Kalbfeld, who among other things, is the editor of the “Associated Press Broadcast News Handbook.” Kalbfeld brought us on a journey across the decades, showcasing his early reporting equipment (namely, a typewriter) and leading into how the advent of the iPhone has become a universal journalism tool.

Through the use of flowcharts that display the differences between the modern era of news versus the way it was in the past, Kalbfeld argued that nowadays, the audience has more power than ever in dictating what news they read and watch. There used to be a limited amount of choices–three channels, two newspapers in most markets–but now the audience is overwhelmed with options.

Of course, there are pros and cons to that. There is less of a duty to be balanced because there are niche (and mainstream) publications that appeal to every sort of political/religious/ethnic population. Amateur journalists also don’t have the same skills or background that should, in theory, lead to quality and ethical reporting.

Kalbfeld suggests readers look at the “About Us” page to learn about the attitudes and biases of particular journalists. News is now a brand, and some viewers consume it based on factors that other than what would best serve them (the attractive anchor, the political attitude, even the style or format of the page). News is at its best when it interacts with the audience, rather than being a one-way street as it used to be: ignoring the audience is a good way to see it flock to somewhere else.

I thought Kalbfeld was an especially interesting guest because he’s been around in journalism for so long and has first-hand experience in vastly different circumstances of news filtering. It was a really excellent presentation.

Tech Blog – Steve Yelvington and the Progress of Journalism February 15, 2011

Posted by acusumano in : Assignments , add a comment

In class last week, I had the (mis)fortune of having to display my blog to my fellow students. On the bright side, it was a bigger audience than I’ll probably have the rest of the semester, but I was forced to confront the fact that, as much as I like to think I’ve progressed as a writer and journalist over the past few years, I don’t know the first thing about writing for the Web.

Below, an excerpt from my original summary of the third chapter of the Briggs text:

As anyone can have their own blog, it’s only fitting that news itself has become a much more collaborative process given all the new technology that bridges the gap between citizens and the media elite. Even sites as prominent as CNN now rely heavily on readers submitting news stories and videos. This global sharing process, dubbed “crowdsourcing,” creates a more transparent news environment, so the cream rises to the top.

Zzzzzzzzzz. No links. No pizazz. Just a dull block of text. (I hope the revised version is a little better.) But I’m not alone, as Steve Yelvington laments on his blog. Despite the abundance of new technology, journalism hasn’t shown much progress in the past 50 years. Well, I’m making the call to journalists everywhere: let’s get our acts together.

Spice things up! I’m just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to the boring and bland blog that will languish as another unloved Internet entity in perpetuity. But I’m going to change that. That’s the first step, right? Making a bold pronouncement so that I’ll have no choice but to follow through or otherwise risk the wrath of my readers and/or professor?

Let’s get some pictures in here! That’s Zooey Deschanel to the right. Perhaps I’ll aim for some more relevant pictures in the future, but for right now I defy anyone to click away from a page with a Zooey Deschanel pic (unless you’re heading to do a Google image search).

The bottom line is that the field is evolving, nearly on a daily basis at this point, and we need to make our mark. There are far too many competing platforms for journalism of all sorts to lose the audience’s attention to, so before they turn to that “(500) Days of Summer” DVD or listen to a She & Him song, let’s not return journalism to its former glory–let’s build a new glory.