Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Real Life in Real Time

Lily Bradley

What Do Joseph Pulitzer, Walter Cronkite, and Barbara Walters Have In Common? 

(I know this sounds like a bad journalism joke, but I promise it isn't!)

For starters they all are or were influential journalists for their time. But beyond that, they're all people and people serve as the basis for journalism. Without people, there would be no one to tell the stories. More importantly, without people there would be no stories to tell.

Storytelling In a Multimedia Technology Driven World 

Today's world is run on smartphones and tablets. According to the American Press Institute's website, seventy-eight percent of smartphone owners report using their devices to get the news. In addition, seventy-three percent of tablet owners use their tablets to stay on top of the latest information.

Consumers want the news in the fastest way possible, which most of the time ends up being found on the tips of their fingers. While there is no doubt this is great for consumers, many people don't realize that it can also be beneficial for journalists.

Parvez Sharma: Documenting Real Life in Real Time 

Parvez Sharma is perhaps most well known for his 2007 documentary A Jihad for Love, which documented the lives of gay and lesbian muslims. The filmmaker released a new documentary entitled A Sinner in Mecca in 2015. This story chronicles Sharma's own personal hajj.

A hajj is a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. Every adult Muslim is expected to make at least one in his or her lifetime.

image via www.cbc.ca

However, Sharma's story is different. The filmmaker is an openly gay Muslim. Therefore, his pilgrimage was extremely dangerous since being gay can result in a death sentence in Mecca.

That wasn't the only obstacle Sharma faced. Any type of filming is illegal in the holy city. 

Sharma had an important and powerful story to tell, but no way to capture it. Yet, that didn't stop the filmmaker. He took an iPhone 4S and two small HP cameras that resembled flip phones in Saudi Arabia. 

When asked about his experience, Sharma told the New York Daily News that "It's reporting from the street level. It's a sort of expose of what the world is really like." 

Majority of Sharma's documentary was shot on a phone which - if you stop to think about it - is pretty amazing. Smartphones and tablets are the future of journalism: allowing everyday people to be "real life" journalists. 

Sometimes The Best Journalist Aren't Really Journalists 

Many say that journalism is a dying field. In my opinion, it's the exact opposite. One can't deny that changes in the field are occurring on the regular, but the changes are propelling the field forward into a new age. The new multimedia focus in this technological driven society is providing a bigger platform for journalism itself, allowing for journalist and consumers alike to share their stories. 

Social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, or even Periscope not only allow journalist to give consumers what they want. But also, they allow consumers to become journalists. Moreover, it provides a constant communication between the two, bridging the gap between journalist and consumer. 

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