Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Journalism: Where Are We Going?

Jake Zuckerman

In 1964, a Canadian professor named Marshall McLuhan wrote a book titled, “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.”

The book landed McLuhan a spot in the annals of humankind as the pioneer of media studies; today, as the digital revolution sweeps the planet, it might be high time we pull it off the shelves and use it to figure out how to save journalism.
Marshall McLuhan - Source: Aldea Villana
McLuhan’s most oft quoted – and pithiest – line is, “The medium is the message.” Meaning that content is not what’s important; what’s important is how that content is accessed.

While a pure McLuhanian approach is a bit radical for journalism (the news does) matter, there are still lessons to be learned from his book. Namely, the way people access the news is changing. If journalists won’t change how they package the news, they’ll become obsolete, a forgotten relic of the early 21st century.

One key player to saving the news is one of the media titans often accused of killing it: Google. Critics of Google’s say that the site is butchering news-gathering because it plays into the human psychology of the availability bias. However, according to an article by The Atlantic, this is dead wrong. They argue that Google exists in a symbiotic relationship with quality journalism; if one loses value, so does the other.

In an op-ed withThe Washington Post, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt wrote, “We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue—for free. In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper's Web site.”
Eric Schmidt - Source: The Guardian
Just as Google needs the news, the news needs Google. More specifically, the news needs to find a way to sell itself within Google. They need to know where their audience is coming from, and now how to pull them to their site from said medium or platform.

The American Journalism Review also published a similar article, saying journalists are going to need to adapt. Their ideas: journalists considering and marketing themselves as service providers, not content providers; a focus on social media (where most their site entrances come from); better market segmentation; and better website metric analyzing software to track user behavior.

The pathway forward is unclear, but what needs to be left behind is. Journalists are no longer men sipping whiskey at their desks, clickity clacking on typewriters, smoking cigarettes as they race to make deadline.

There is no more deadline, because deadline implies an end. Stories get updated, they get shared, they’re a forum for discussion below­ the article.

Bob Dylan once sang, “You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a’changin’.” It’s time for journalists to start swimming, otherwise we’re all going to sink like stones.

What's The Next Big Thing?

Raquel Richards

When it comes to the next big thing, it sounds like everyone has it. Apple recently released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus claiming it's "Bigger than bigger."Not too much earlier, Samsung released the Galaxy S 5, saying "The Next Big Thing Is Here." These two brands seem to be taking over the cell phone industry, but it doesn't stop there. Apple is much more than a cell phone, and Samsung is starting to expand into new areas. Everyone wants to be the next big thing.

In the news world, we are constantly looking for the next big thing. Marketers have looked beyond radio and television, and looking for the newest way to target audiences. It is no longer about being the front page of the newspaper, or the first commercial after a show, it has become how many followers you have and how many people you can reach out to.

I am going to look at my local radio station and how they are using the latest social media, and making it the next big thing for their advertising.


WQMX is a local radio station in the Akron area. Their website is booming with opportunities to enter in contests, win prizes, meet the hosts, and see local events going on that the station sponsors. Right on their front homepage, they have a link to all of the other social media they reach out to, and their phone number so you can call to be on air or request a song. It is rare these days for companies not to have a website, so while this wouldn't be considered "the next big thing," they have utilized it to gain more attention in their new forms of media.


Retrieved from:
WQMX uses their Twitter to personally connect with listeners and make them aware of opportunities to win tickets. As you scroll through their feed, you can see how they retweet their audience, respond to some of their comments or requests, and support country singers. Blake Shelton is a judge on The Voice, and you can see WQMX retweet things about him and his team, and even encourage listeners to vote for his team. WQMX has used their Twitter in a new and dynamic way. With over 9 thousand followers, they can be quite effective.


Retrieved from:
When you look at WQMX Instagram, you can see the fun way they interact with their audience. The employees will post personal photos at the concerts and events they sponsor, they promote upcoming events, sometimes they post a "Quote of the Day," and they'll even post pictures of listeners who got to meet country singers. Their fun approach to their Instagram is obviously effective with over 1.6K followers. The opportunities they have to connect with their audience is endless, and this is what is becoming the next big thing.

WQMX is also on Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, and YouTube. They are taking the right steps in becoming the next big thing in news in media. By keeping up with the latest trends, they stay up to speed with their audience, and ahead of the competition.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Biased News

By: Sarah Weingarten

Fox News is notorious for being conservative or republican based. But a Pew study in 2013 found that MSNBC News was the most biased while reporting. The study divided CNN, Fox News and MSNBC News into two categories, factual reporting and commentary/opinion. While Fox News commentary/opinion is higher than their factual reporting the gap between the two is not large. MSNBC news was found to be 85% commentary/opinion. CNN was the only news station in this study whose factual reporting was higher than their commentary/opinion

Pew Research Center

 If MSNBC news is scarce with factual reporting why does Fox News get dubbed as the most biased news station? There are TV shows that were created to be parody news shows that counteract Fox News conservative news coverage. For example, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. Both are beloved and hilarious fake liberal news shows that try to discredit conservative news coverage. Fox News isn’t the only news station that these shows try to discredit, but it’s mostly the brunt of all their jokes.

Another thing that is misleading about this Pew study is that it doesn’t take in account what kinds of commentary/opinion was said. Even though MSNBC had higher commentary/opinion their opinions may be more moderate than Fox News’ opinions. There are just so many factors when it comes to what is true biased news.

The underlying message from this Pew study is that it even exists. American’s doubt and question the news to great lengths, so much so that there needs to be studies on it. And the study shows that news stations need to become more factual and less opinionated. Having opinions during the news may gain more viewership, for example, political topics. In another Pew study, Fox News was found to give more negative than positive coverage of Obama during the 2012 elections. Some viewers are going to watch whichever news station caters to their views. And on the flipside MSNBC and CNN did the same thing with Romney.

Pew Research Center

Reporting based on opinions is not good news. It isn’t ethical broadcast journalism. Journalists are supposed to detach themselves to what they’re reporting on to give the audience a thorough and factual summary of current events.

The Evolution of People and Press

Alexa Smith

Technology has taken over the world. Not physically; of course robots are not literally ruling nations and their people, but in developed countries, technology is utilized in practically everything that people do. Doctor's use expensive, high-tech equipment to diagnose and treat illnesses. Traffic cameras do the job of traffic cops--for cheaper. And, as I'm composing this blog post, every single person surrounding me is either on their computer, on their smartphone or both. So yes, technology has taken over in so many words. We rely on it because of its convenience, speed and simplicity. Stated bluntly: we're lazy. We no longer are inspired by good old-fashioned values like hard work and effort. There isn't time for it. But our dependence on technology is terrifying, and the more advanced and personalized it gets, it could soon turn on us.

Journalism and What It Means to be a Journalist

    Photo via

"1. the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or of conducting any news organization as a business... 3. a course of study preparing students for careers in reporting, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines."

Journalism is not just a hobby. Journalism is not what you do when you when you let your followers know what you're thinking about via several forms of social media. Journalism is not simply typing/writing words and publishing them for the world to see. 

Journalism is an "occupation," a "course of study" in which one can earn a degree so that they can be paid for their knowledge, skill and expertise. And there is a reason for this: so that the audience knows that the information they are reading is trustworthy. A journalist is a professional of the written and distributed word, someone that has received training to do their job and thus take pride in their work. These informants are certainly not in demand, and their replacement with the global community will inevitably wipe out the entire profession. News is the conversation starter, and journalists are the facilitators of this conversation, so without them, how will we know what to talk about?

Of course news is meant to be talked about. It concerns us, enrages us and fascinates us, that's what it's meant to do. The connection between news publications/channels and social networks allows this conversation to be spread rapidly and discussed amongst the entire online world. People may contribute their opinions and experiences, but these contributions are narrative, not news. It makes the news more interesting, but means very little without a seal of verification. You can't trust everybody, and the news teaches us this. 

The Art of Journalism

News doesn't have to be boring. All journalists don't write in the same format of straightforward facts and no oomph. The fun part about being a writer of anything is adding your own flare to a piece, making it worthy of your byline. A journalist often includes himself/herself in the story; it's hard not to when so much time and effort has been invested, especially when the story involves a moral issue or a threat to the public good. Although news is supposed to be subjective and non-biased, passion can sometimes take over, making the piece a bit more real and relatable.

Different news mediums restrict this voice, often modifying the original, lengthly and detailed piece to a concise and clear story that get's to the point as soon as possible. Really, it all depends on what screen or piece of paper you're getting the story from. And too, they're called news stories for a reason: they tell a detailed story of the event. If the reader didn't want the details, they probably would have stopped at the headline. However, many news readers don't have the time for a lengthly story, equipped with quotes, video, photos, etc. Perhaps someday, news stories will have the option to read "the short version" as opposed to the original piece.

News is meant to be shared with as many people as it can reach on this planet, hence the name global journalism. But with a larger and more diverse audience, comes more codes that should be followed. The public interest and relevancy should be priority. Something that has significant public impact is certainly worthy news. Fair justice and good public health are amongst these. When it comes to more target-specific topics such as politics and religion, it is very important to be objective. Because there is so much diversity when it comes to these topics, zeroing in on one point of view could be harmful to the reader as well as the writer.

It's Personal

Technology is designed to make our lives easier, there is no question. Google finds what we were looking for, iTunes tells us what we want to hear--both doing so as fast as possible. But, there comes a point when technology can go too far, crossing the line between easy and absurd. In the article "Let's Start Talking About a Radically Different Future of News," "wearables" and car dashboards that synch with our mobile devices will be the stuff of the future. Let's take a moment to think about how dangerous this could become. Those operating a motor vehicles should not be distracted by so many things, the danger of cell phones is plenty. And even though the car may be self-operating, it shouldn't be, for if there is a miscalculation or shortage of the technology, the vehicle will not be able to react in the same was that a human can.

Wearable devices such as Apple watches and Google glasses take technology to the extreme, as if a computer that fits in our pockets isn't enough. But this is the thing with modern technology, enough is never enough--the software can always be updated or modified and then done so again. It is said that in the near future, news media will progress from "more, bigger and faster to less, customized and as needed." Although this does not seem to be the direction in which we are presently heading, who knows?

The Internet of Things and location tracking are two technological advances that could certainly improve our internet activity, keeping web searches simple, intimate and pertinent. Web users do not enjoy having advertisements forced upon them, presenting themselves on the screen without recognition in the first place. It is so very true that anything on the internet is now public knowledge, and this personalization could become a threat to one's identity and even wellbeing if one does not exercise caution.

          Photo via

It's all very overwhelming: the constant flow of information readily available. If disconnected from the information stream for even a day, there is so much that one could miss. This shouldn't be such an issue, though. It won't do any harm to not be in the loop for just a short while. Instead of reading about somebody else's experiences, you could be making some of your own.

The Future of News

John Schwartz

I'd be lying if I said that the article detailing what could be the future of news by the American Journalism Review didn't get me a little excited. Not only is all the technology in the article possible by todays standard, many people's lives are already own the devices described in the piece -- cars with digital displays, voice recognition technology, smart watches, all are available to the average consumer.
The Moto 360 Smartwatch has set the bar high for its competitors.

The question then becomes, what will news look like in that not so distant future? AJR's contributor Paul Sparrow offers a future of micro-news, where people will get their information in small bite (or byte) sized chunks.

So what, then, will be our roles as newswriters in a society where hyperlocal news rules? We will have to be on the front lines constantly -- aware of school closings, sudden changes in weather, important city council ordinances, outbreaks of fires, potential small scale epidemics, the cancellation of a school board meeting.

All of these facts might not be too difficult to procure after some time, but weighing when and how the news is going to go out would be a real challenge. What deserves one or two sentences and what deserves a more in depth story? Do we advertise a meeting of the most populous Homeowners Association in the area? What about the least populous?

It certainly is going to take a lot of finagling in order to get things right, perhaps even years before news gets into a harmonious rhythm with people's lives. by then, will things be too late? Will people just turn to other established brands like Twitter and Facebook, where perhaps the news is less vital but infinitely more personalized?

I don't think that a highly centralized online profile system is very far off. So much information is available on people on the internet anyways that pinpointing a person's education, previous schools, location of their children, all these things are more readily available than we would like to think.
It all comes down to software. Programming is quickly becoming one of the most valuable skills globally. If journalists can gain access to an infrastructure and a content management system which will allow them to know who is tuning in, who is associated with what areas, what specific interests their subscribers have, they will have a much easier time of maintaining their readership.

As for the future of journalists, becoming ingrained in the communities they live in will become more important than ever. They aren't going to know what is important to the readers if they don't know where they live, shop, go to school, eat, etc. Learning about their readership's interest is going to be of vital importance, considering that the news is going to be potentially delivered right to their arm, or their car dashboard, or even the inside of their glasses.

The Future of News and Advertising Technology

Holly Tod
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Think about how much technology has evolved in the past century. Think about how our grandparents received their news. They didn’t have such thing as a computer or the Internet. They had to solely rely the radio, tv and newspaper to relieve their information. Unlike today, they didn’t have the immediacy and the availability or receiving the news.

The author of the article, Paul Sparrow talks about the future of news in his article, Let’s Start Talking About a Radically Different Future of News.” Sparrow discusses how the media today has grown, even from print to digital. He states:

“Since the invention of the printing press, the “news media” have grown consistent patter: more bigger and faster. From print media to broadcasting, to hypermedia to today’s overwhelming omnimedia, each new generation of technology allows for a larger, growing audience that is reached more quickly through an ever-expanding range of formats and devices.”

Social Media

As I’m sitting here writing this article, I asked my friends, “how do they receive their news?” Two of them said, Facebook and the other two said, Twitter. Today, millennials aren’t relying on newspapers for their news, they are relying on major sources, such as CNN and Fox News’ Twitter and Facebook page.

According to Jennifer Saba’s article, One-Third of U.S. Adults Get News Through Facebook: Study,” one-third of U.S. adults get news through Facebook, a study from the Pew Research Center. Saba wrote,

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in how people find news. The trend is especially pronounced among young people who prefer to get news through platforms like Twitter or Facebook rather than traditional forms of print or broadcast television.”

The trend is going to get even bigger.

Who would’ve known that advertising will advance as well. Sparrow also talks about advertising. It is amazing how technology can target ads to specific markets. For example, ever wonder how that Macy’s ad appeared on your Wall Street Journal page after visiting their website hours ago, even days ago? Well, technology today is so advanced that it can detect the websites a consumer has visited and will put their ads on different web pages. The author, Dan Woods also talks about this technology

Media advertising can also detect a consumer’s target market simply through their computer. Technology is so advanced that it can detect where their demographics, which will lead advertisers to provide advertisements that are relevant.

In conclusion, it is amazing how much technology has come along in the past century. It was only about 20 years ago that there wasn’t a thing called, ”Facebook” or “Twitter.” As I said, their news?” Two of them said, Facebook and the other two said, Twitter. Today, millennials are relying on these sources to receive their news. With the rate that technology is going right now, it’s going to get even more advanced. I cannot wait until I’m 60 years old to see how technology has improved since I was 21 years old.

How Twitter Has Changed News Forever

By: Abby Rechel

In my lifetime, from August 13th, 1993, to December 2nd, 2014, the way news has been reported has changed drastically. When I was a child, news stations relied on print newspapers and nightly televised news to broadcast current events, weather and various stories. Some news stations broadcasted during dinnertime, others during bedtime. There was no way to know what was happening in my community until the broadcasts each evening. When I was a 4th grader, there was nothing more important than hearing about a snow day. However, snow days would only be communicated in the morning or late in the evening, only on the local news stations.

When I began my high school career in 2008, Twitter was introduced. I created a username and profile, yet I did not understand the purpose. At the time, Facebook was all anyone needed. With rapid status updates and photo additions, high school students would be glued to their Facebooks for hours after a long day of school. There would be hundreds of status updates a week, the primary reason for Facebook. No one understood that Twitter’s main purposes was to “tweet” things much like statuses on Facebook. Twitter suddenly became more popular as the use of hashtags became more frequent. This way, a public user could tweet using the hashtag in order to be categorized with others using the same hashtags in their tweets.

Today, hashtags are everywhere. Often, hashtags are placed on the bottom right corners of television screens during various broadcasts. You can use a certain hashtag to vote on The Voice, to comment on Olivia Pope’s brilliant plans on ABC’s Scandal (photo on the right) or even to contribute to E! News’ Who Wore It Better? It’s even rare to watch a television show and not see a hashtag in the corner condoning discussion about the show or broadcast.

 In addition to taking over the entertainment industry, Twitter has become the main source of news coverage in communities across country. It has even become the main source of coverage in our nation. In Monica Guzman’s article Community as an End, she discussed how the hashtag #WAshooting led to raw but real and an ultimately more powerful search for the shooter on that November day. Not only could police and news stations tweet about the shooting, but also workers from the coffee shops, regulars and even those passing by were able to contribute to tracking down the mystery shooter.

Another prime example is a major national issue at hand: Ferguson. Colleen Shalby and Hari Sreenivasan, journalists at PBS, posted an article titled, How Twitter is Getting it Right in Ferguson The article gives examples on how Twitter has promoted and retweeted tweets of reporters and normal citizens whom have made important statements on the issue. The article can be found here and exmaples of other tweets are below. The Boston Bombing is also an example of how Twitter spread news. A link to How journalists utilized Twitter during this catastrophe can be found here.

Twitter is just one example of how we can be rapidly and more efficiently updated by news stations, police, reporters and every day, regular people. More importantly, Twitter is a perfect example of what digital connection has made possible in our society today.

All photos from Google Images.