Featured, journalism, Media, social media, Technology, Uncategorized, video

Journalism In Ferguson or Just One Big Selfie?

Livestream

The movie camera has always been the boogeyman of authority. In Vietnam, color movie cameras were used – the film was shot, shipped, processed and telecined for broadcast on nightly news programs. This first television war with action shot by photojournalists in the field, specifically in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, was a strong influence on the American public’s perspective of the conflict. When cable TV in the home was popularized in the 1980’s, video broadcast technology was ready with 24-hour news channels that relentlessly covered conflict around the globe via satellite. This CNN effect became the new normal for how we expect to watch war, conflict and unrest.

Technology of the new century has given us in miniature a movie camera and a world wide publishing network not of broadcast journalists, but of individuals. This movie platform is so quick it’s viral. Anyone with modest means can live stream (broadcast) what is happening in front of them to the rest of the world. It sounds earth shattering and it very much is. Beginning in 2010 during the Arab Spring we saw the impact of this through the lens of people closest to the conflict. But now I feel a new twist to citizen journalism since the Arab Spring that we may have seen take shape during the Occupy Movement of 2011. The camera has turned back to look at us. This selfie generation is really only a few years old and it’s network effect is seen worldwide. If broadcast photojournalism was selfless, is internet journalism the news selfie?

Monday night (8/18/2014) I watched a two live streams from Ferguson by KARG Argus Radio and the other by Tim Pool (@Timcast) of Vice News. Most of what I remember from KARG’s “I am Mike Brown Live from Ferguson, MO” was two guys driving around for hours trying to get directions on how to get to the designated media area. Perhaps I missed the important parts that took place outside the car. The latter from @Timcast was representative of what I believe is selfie journalism. This is not a direct critique of Tim and his work, but more a reflection on what I’m seeing as the journalist becomes the subject of the story. It’s not a brand new thing – Geraldo Rivera’s work from the 1970’s is an example – but the trend appears to be amplified by the immediacy of the platform.

If the tendency in each of us is to turn the camera inward to capture the mundane and important events of our lives, if that’s now in our DNA, then it stands to reason that both professional and citizen journalists are adopting this reporting style. Like getting a phone call from a friend on vacation who wants to tell you about the amusement park ride she just enjoyed, the movie camera is now just a subset of the communication device which conveys the storytelling of the person who is there. Camera’s are no longer the important cold lens of truth that they once were.

Since Monday, some journalists have been arrested and the police in Ferguson have suggested that they are part of the problem because protesters would tend to “act out” for the camera. If journalists seem eager to insert themselves and become part of the story, does this change the narrative of what’s happening on the ground? Would a focus on editorial, aggregating footage from cameras of the subjects of the story be a better alternative? What is the value and role of the journalist?

Here are some time coded samples with notes from @Timcast for you to consider:

http://youtu.be/CmqHVKNZkhM?t=2h30m Good place to start @Timcast on camera

http://youtu.be/CmqHVKNZkhM?t=2h40m Shots fired and police fire teargas

http://youtu.be/CmqHVKNZkhM?t=2h46m Shots are fired over the heads of the journalists

http://youtu.be/CmqHVKNZkhM?t=2h48m22s Journalists are down on the ground

http://youtu.be/CmqHVKNZkhM?t=2h52m @Timcast back on camera, talks about what just happened

http://youtu.be/CmqHVKNZkhM?t=2h54m40s He finally interviews someone! This woman lives in the area of the riots and talks about what has been happening between residents and the police. I think this was the most important part of the video and we get a valuable perspective.

http://youtu.be/CmqHVKNZkhM?t=3h30m Later @Timcast has an infamous run-in with the police about press credentials. It looks like a tense situation and seems that the cops wanted media out of the line of fire.

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CrazyTalk, journalism, Media, Oregon, Podcast, Portland

Podcast: Criticizing The Armchair Media Critics

 

This week I took a little time out on my DJ show at House of Sound to talk about an observation I made Sunday night while watching the Mars Curiosity rover landing and reading the flood of tweets coming from those I follow. As with anything, there was the typical 140 funnies, the best from Curiosity itself when it tweeted:

I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!! #MSL  Continue reading

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journalism, Media, Tech Community

Media: Somebody Actually Made Money in Podcasting – Congratulations!

Just when I thought November would quietly putter along, it’s been quite a news month. Avoiding the obvious, in the local media market the financial woes and mismanagement of Portland Community Media, the community access cable studio and network caught my eye a few weeks ago. Over the years, community access television and PCM specifically has provided the deep technical resources and broadcast network to small-time producers of political, cultural, religious, educational, alternative, vile, artistic and just plain weird shows whose only common thread was a legal requirement of local cable franchises to support the communities they do business in by providing the resource to citizen producers without prejudice over content. They were the real free speech factories. Yes, I said were.

Several years ago I was looking for an outlet for my video production side projects and PCM was the leading option at the time until a co-worker showed me his first generation iPod and introduced me to the word podcast. “Why the hell would I produce anything for such a limited audience? Content for a very privileged few who carried around a little white music player? No thank you!” Well I soon got religion and started to consume podcasts that were the primer for what the medium, and the new social media were all about. I was hooked. Not only because the social web was a new hack on old broadcast ideas, but simply that the production-cost barriers to entry were minute. Anyone can podcast!

And so we did.

 

And he did too, and the world changed a little bit. Well, at least the world of Portland, Oregon beginning in 2009. Robert Wagner began his no-holds-barred Portland Sucks daily podcast as a labor of love, birthed as many shows had from the loins of his blog of the same name. And it was good. Instantly better with dependable co-host Sabrina Miller. Better than any censored morning radio show in the market that plays too many mattress ads and payola music. It turned out that he was so good at this podcast thing, he launched his own live streaming internet radio podcast network with multiple daily and weekly shows as pdx.fm and later rebranded as cascadia.fm. The network was so good that he attracted top notch radio talent like Cort and Fatboy to continue their popular show post KUFO. For three years my mornings were filled with live cascadia.fm programming, often streaming to my iPhone during my morning commute- just like listening to “real” radio that magically didn’t suck. To think that Robert was the technologist behind the station, its executive producer, webmaster and designer, CEO, audio engineer and the star talent is a little mind boggling because he somehow was able to do all those things exceedingly well and survive it. I can’t think of anyone in media that has done all that by themselves at his level of quality. No one.

But now it’s all come to an end. It’s a bittersweet end for sure, and even if I can continue to download new podcast episodes I’ll still miss the shows live stream every morning. I’ll miss the chatbox derailing, or often in the case of Cort and Fatboy guiding the stream of consciousness humor through to the coda of the show. What’s the good news, then? Cascadia is going out on a high note. Robert sold the internet network as an encore to the final bow of one of the coolest media experiments Portland has seen. He made money podcasting!

Like he said he would.

And in a way it proves a point that this scalability of current media models can and will thrive and you don’t need to justify your multi-million dollars of bad fiscal management on a poor economy with the excuse of serving the public interest. The public interest is being served quite well over here without you: http://www.livestream.com/occupyptown and the many fine programs on cascadia.fm have been serving us thoughtful entertainment for the last three years without donations or pledge drives. It all just sort of works. That is, if you’re smart, hard working and have confidence in what you are good at. That’s Robert’s formula.

So congratulations to you Robert Wagner and thanks for having made cascadia.fm a destination of quality programming. I’ll miss it, but I’m also happy knowing you were rewarded for all your hard work. You deserve it, man!

Mike

 

More with Robert about media:

Panel at Digital Journalism Camp

Webvisions Panel on Future of Podcasting

Strange Love Live 2009

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Film, journalism, Media, Tech Community

Media: Listening to the DJ – DJ Wilson of KGW Media Group

Last week I attended Broadercasting an event hosted this year at KGW studios by Elemental Technologies and Rentrak, two leading media technology companies in Portland, Oregon. The event was primarily a mixer for Northwest Video Professionals and among the attendees were folks from OMPA, Elemental employees showing off their video compression technologies, and Vince Porter, Executive Director of the Oregon Film Office. There was however a 30 minute panel discussion on media, with Rentrak, Elemental and KGW panelists.

DJ Wilson, President and General Manager of KGW Media Group is a television executive that “got” the social web early on. She gave the green light to reporters and producers to engage their viewers on Twitter back in fall 2008 and even included content and viewer comments on Live @ 7 (also known as The Square). Needless to say, I’m a big fan of this particular DJ. 🙂

Take a listen to what she has to say about the current state of her business, consumers and how technology continues to change how media is consumed.


 

My friend Brian M. Westbrook also shot this video at KGW’s Studio on the Square Tweetup back in 2009. Take a look back to see a TV station taking some informed, forward-thinking risks during a major change in their industry.


 

 

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journalism, Open Source, Tech Community

Open Source Bridge 2011

Hey there! I’ve been meaning to blog a little more here but I’ve been working on some interesting things lately (more on that at a later time). I haven’t even had enough downtime for a site redesign even though I have my trial copy of Photoshop loaded up… . BTW, if you’re a designer and take pity on a guy like me, let’s talk! 🙂

I had originally intended to first post about the Webvisions 2011 conference but hadn’t had the chance. Since this post is about the Open Source Bridge conference, I’ll direct your attention to this years Webvisions keynote by Douglas Rushkoff. I think it speaks to the heart of being an Open Source citizen. Anyway, here’s what OSBridge is all about:

The conference for open source citizens. Open Source Bridge is a conference for developers working with open source technologies and for people interested in learning the open source way.

The conference is in it’s 3rd year, and going strong. In addition to posting the keynotes, the organizers have provided a media room where people can come and podcast, interview, blog or just hang out and talk about media production. We are providing a place to conduct video or audio recording using what we have setup or bring your own. No gear, no worries- we’ve got you well covered and can assist you. Just come up to the 3rd floor and you’ll see us in the fishbowl.

So maybe you can’t attend and want to get a feel for what this conference is all about? Well your in luck, because here’s this mornings welcome and keynote from the conference, enjoy:

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journalism, PublicMediaCamp

Digital Journalism Camp 2011: Spending The Day With People Who Are Changing Journalism (UPDATE)

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of taking part in the second annual Digital Journalism Camp in Downtown Portland Oregon. Webtrends graciously agreed to donate the space and Justin Kistner his time, to support this conference founded in 2009 by someone I’d describe as a journalist iconoclast Abraham Hyatt. In the last two years the landscape has changed among newspapers and blogs- quite frankly from an early distain and mistrust- now finding ourselves in 2011 with examples of collaborative efforts underway between traditional news organizations supporting smaller and more nimble web and mobile media. As an example “Blogging” and “Traditional Print Media” aren’t dirty words anymore and the two groups can get into a room together and share insight into producing good journalism using their platforms of choice. Everyone is learning.

It’s that spirit that was alive on Saturday, described best by the conference itself:

Digital Journalism Camp is about spending the day with the people who are actively changing journalism. You’re going to learn from — and share with — the people who have found solutions to the challenges you face, whether you’re a beat reporter, a blogger or a publisher.

As a self-described journalism groupie I wanted to lend support to this event, so I brought a couple cameras. Special thanks to Jeff Bunch and Eitan Tsur who handled recording in each room. Because of them, we were able to capture all the conference presentations.

Business for Bloggers: Revenue and management strategies for niche sites

Web Today, Print Next Week: Best online practices from non-daily journalists

Goodbye day job: Lessons from three startup founders

Unheard Voices: Can digital tools give marginalized communities a voice?



Mark S. Luckie Keynote: How to out-innovate the innovators

Abraham Hyatt: Welcome

Ethics, Rights and Responsibilities

Audio Editing and Recording for Journalists

Video Storytelling

Backgrounding Sources

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journalism

The Need for Timely and Accurate Journalism

Over the weekend, as Japan’s nuclear crisis rapidly unfolded in the wake of the Tsunami that damaged critical cooling systems at the Fukushima Daini and Daiichi reactor plants, detailed and accurate reporting of the breaking news was severely lacking online from major news sources in the US. Even though an earthquake is a localized problem, we know that a resulting Tsunami can cause problems across the ocean and any growing nuclear crisis could possibly have health and environmental impact outside the reactor zone.

After watching the news of the progress of the Tsunami and it’s impact on the Oregon coastline, my attention was quickly drawn to early reports from Fukushima Prefecture. Failure of the power systems used for critical cooling of the reactor cores was cause for grave concern. In simple terms, a typical result of overheating and overpressure in a plant failure would be to release steam into the atmosphere. Depending on the working status of the systems within the reactor at the moment,  such a release could contain byproduct radioactive gasses that travel through the atmosphere causing serious health concerns, which is something that has happened in past accidents. It raises a lot of maybe’s and what-if’s during this type of serious failure and even though failsafes were in place, it’s clear this wasn’t a typical operating scenario at Fukushima. So I combed the net for accurate and up to date reports on the problem. Unfortunately, early press conferences from the Japanese government and TEPCO the company that operates the plants, sent a clear message: we have the situation under control. What followed through the weekend were efforts to use seawater to cool the reactors and then explosions and destruction of some the outer buildings that house the nuclear reactors. Clearly the situation wasn’t exactly under control as we had been initially told.

Now this is a complex crisis with many variables requiring a need for timely and accurate information. If in the worst case situation radioactive gasses would be released into the atmosphere, we need to be fully informed to protect ourselves and loved ones. That’s not an overreaction, that’s just common sense. Just as a Tsunami evacuation warning makes sense. But we can only rationally act on good and timely information.

So what did I see in the US news media this weekend? Simple. A lack of English translations of live Japanese press conferences. A lack of investigative reporting questioning what we were being told about the incident. What did I see instead? A debate about nuclear power (pro and con) and whether or not this crisis merits comparison to the Russian Chernobyl crisis in 1986. Who cares about those issues right now? This week we have a growing problem that might impact the US and certainly is impacting people living in Japan and all we need is good journalism and facts.

Although it appears the world media finally woke up and is doing some decent reporting now, here are the resources I’ve been following since the weekend to try to piece together just exactly what the heck is going on at Fukushima.

My go-to twitter news feeds. These guys get it first:

http://twitter.com/BreakingNews

http://twitter.com/RodrigoEBR

A simple Google News search feed:

http://news.google.com/news/story?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&topic=h&ncl=dZE3K3b1O0gHBXMGdykGvq4_RC67M&scoring=n

This guy is the “citizen journalist” hero of this crisis, providing Japanese press coverage summaries and translation when no one else was covering the press conferences and news reports. He is very balanced and hasn’t questioned or editorialized the information. KABC radio in Los Angeles has been going to him for reports. His site description says that “Yokoso News is the online website to introduce Japan in English” and “…is an online social media about travel, lifestyle, study and entertainment in Japan” but of course, events have turned Yokoso News into a breaking news source:

http://YokosoNews.com

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/yokosonews

Katz has also provided (or linked) to his live news dashboard. If you speak Japanese, you too can get updates as quickly as he does:

http://www.ustwrap.info/multi/nhk-gtv::tbstv::yokosonews

I do wish the best to Japan and the Japanese people throughout the world. My heart is with you. Don’t forget, you can provide assistance by donating here:

https://www.mercycorps.org/donate/japan

 

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