As we discussed on Thursday, media are acting as diplomat again with regards to the U.S.'s involvement in Syria. Over the weekend, President Obama announced six network interviews to air Monday evening, in which he would discuss his views and attempt to increase support for American intervention. Additionally, Charlie Rose, an Emmy-winning interviewer for PBS, announced that he would interview…
As Millenials, we've grown accustomed to metal detectors & the removal of our shoes at the airport. But a new threat exists, one that threatens our daily habits, our access to information, and one of the greatest innovations of our time: the target is the Internet and the attackers call themselves hackers.
Just yesterday, a source claiming to be associated with the SEA (Syrian Electronic Army) attacked the NY Times website and Twitter, disabling the news site for more than 10 hours and changing Twitter's IP address.
One day after the VMA’s, which lead cable TV in Twitter mentions, The Onion.com [a satire news outlet] published a op-ed that quickly went viral. A link is posted here, and FYI:pardon the language. It’s called, “Let Me Explain Why Miley Cyrus’ VMA Performance Was Our Top Story This Morning, ” and the piece was attributed to Meredith Artley, the managing editor of CNN.com. (Again, let me say, very clearly, Meredith Artley did not write this. It is satire.) In case you were under a rock, Ms. Cyrus’ performance was not for the faint of heart, and I will do us all a favor by not including a link here, because I think it was sad. I digress. While her performance wasn’t my taste, it generated more than 306,000 tweets per second (more than the Super Bowl Halftime Show)– stats HERE. And then CNN.com led with this story yesterday morning. Not chemical weapons in Syria, or the NSA, or any other worthwhile, important stories.
Here is where the FAKE op-ed comes in. It was harsh, but important. I won’t sum it up, because I want you to read it, but it deals with really important truths in journalism at this moment. That is, your eyeballs, the clicks of your mouse, & even your attention span are all commodities being measured and traded by online advertisers. As I type this, I’m thinking of the class I’m a TA for this semester: Global News and World Media Culture. Hmmm. I wonder if the BBC or Al-Jazeera had any good stories about Miley’s twerking?
The real Meredith Artley did respond to the op-ed. You can read her thoughts here.
All semester we examined the ways traditional media industries were handling the influx of consumer created content. While certainly not the most popular, the publishing industry is not exempt from that conversation. On the way to work, NPR ran a story on Morning Edition that I thought was worthy of sharing!
The complete story, Self-Publishing: No Longer Just a Vanity Project, can be found here.
In the past, self-publishing has been seen by many as a sign that you weren’t good enough to get a real book contract. Recently there has been a growth spurt in the self-publishing industry. A quick Google search will grab 189 million sites. While many publishing companies may fear that due to rights issues and the availability of these publishing outlets, their businesses may be threatened, Simon & Schuster have a different plan. They just launched Archway Books, an online publishing company. They aren’t actually involved with any editing, publishing, or formatting, but offer a number of different publication packages. CEO Carolyn Reidy realizes that they must keep up with the changes in the industry, saying “We actually understand that it is a different world than what we do. We want to understand it, and if it is going to … be a threat to our business, we definitely want to understand it and also see how we can turn that to our advantage. And one of the advantages is, it is a great way to find authors, also new genres and new audiences.” Using Archway, they will monitor sales. So rather than feeling threatened by this technology, they are using it to screen audience response to authors and their success.
To me, it looks like a win-win. Budding authors get a chance to show what they’ve got, and the publishers get the opportunity to see an author in action before issuing a contract or taking a financial risk. Rather than using manpower to sort through manuscripts, they can monitor an author’s success using Archway and possibly offer them a contract from there. This kind of technological adoption and strategic business planning is to be applauded!
In the final reading for this class, Annet Aris presents the best analogy thus far for describing the shifting nature of media work. The role of content creator, she states, is changing from a “star musician” producing (performing) pieces of content to a “director” aggregating and organizing content. The idea that you can write well and publish your article is not enough. You need to understand how to include graphics, video, sound, and make all of that compatible with many different media platforms. Continuing the theme of music, she suggests that since content creation is no longer a one-way street, the role of a DJ, recycling and re-purposing information to create a new product, could be used.
We’ve talked in class before about the need to know a great deal of different skills upon entering the workforce and then to continue learning. But for me, the themes throughout this course and this reading specifically seem to boil down to this: This dynamic industry is in need of some serious problem-solvers. That is not to suggest that any particular industry is laden with problems, but rather to say the changes in society, technology, communication, etc. prescribe everything else must change with them. The industries need people not to fret that the methods look different than they have in the past or freak out about job security, but to ask serious questions about the best ways to share information and then get to work doing that. This industry needs critical thinkers who can innovate and articulate, discover and distribute, and adapt, adapt, adapt. These ideas of flux, instability, and precarity are no longer threatening to me. I think if anything, they are a challenge; a sort-of “whattya-got?” push in the chest. The media, specifically news media, are not going anywhere. We, as socialized beings, will always want to know what is “going on.” As politics and social citizenry collide, there will always be a lot to talk about. In addition, the platforms to do this “talking” are only growing by the day. Despite Deuze’s best effort to freak us out and inform us that every media industry everywhere is dying, we know better!
Let’s talk about definitions and order. In our postmodern world, the barriers of all kinds of previously well-defined entities are crossing and blurring. For example, the definition of “family,” “small business,” or even “media” aren’t anything close to what they represented fifty years ago. Yet, while we embrace change and progress, we still seem to be obsessed with ordering and naming the unorderable and unnameable. The final chapter in Deuze’s book, Media Work , stresses the need “to make sense of media work.” It seems to me that any efforts to characterize or classify the current state of media will fail and leave the classifier more anxious than he or she was to begin with. If only because we’re trying to fit our current system into the definitions of the past. I know that we fear chaos, and writing in and of itself requires order, but we will continue to be unsuccessful and anxious if we don’t realize that we’re putting a square peg into a round hole. It’s not the same. It’s not going to be the same. We need to start building a square hole and stop banging the proverbial wooden blocks.
And just to show how severe and innate our obsession with defining is, scroll back to the top and see how excited I was that we could compare content creators to “directors” now. Geez.
The moral at the end of this story/class is that change is evident. Jobs, technologies, processes, standards, styles, and people, will continue to develop (which is definitely a good thing) and what we must do is not freak out that what we thought we knew is no longer relevant, but get to work learning what we will need to respond to all of the dynamism. For me, it means the work is never done, and the learning should never stop. That’s pretty cool
So finally, the semester is almost done. After this blog post, there is only a paper left. Naturally, I chose to write about changes within the field of journalism and the industry’s response to those changes.