Archive | April 2013

My first phrase in Portuguese

I’m preparing for Brazil. Which is less than two weeks away. So I decided to learn a little Portuguese before I left.

Meu nome é Joe e eu sou um americano idiota. Por favor, não me prender

It means “my name is Joe and I am a dumb American. Please don’t arrest me”

Ha ha. What else should I learn before I leave?


To all my followers and readers,

Hi guys, first of all I want to thank all of you for taking the time to subscribe to my blog. It means a lot, and for those of you who don’t you can sign up right next to this post. 

I write because I enjoy it, and I hope that you do too. As a young journalist I am constantly faced with the battle of trying to figure out what my audience wants to hear and finding the best and exciting ways to provide the content. 

I am on my way to Brazil in 2 weeks and during that time I will be updating this site almost regularly with pictures, video and blog posts about my time there. I will be meeting with representatives from Bloomberg, Reuters, Petrobas, GE, Boeing and members of the Brazilian government to learn about how the international business in South America is effecting the farmers in iowa or the manufacturers in North Carolina.

That being said, it would be great if you could help and donate to my adventure. To the right of this post is a button that says “Go Fund Me”. It will redirect you to my kickstarter website set up for my trip to Brazil. If you do donate to the trip, I will thank you on a blog or video post.

I write for you to read, so I hope I can continue to provide you all with content you find interesting and captivating, and if you have any suggestions for content, feel free to email me directly at Thank you. 

Path: The new Social network, that is just like all the rest.

ImageRecently, another new social network has begun to make its rounds around the app stores and conversations, Path. Optimized for iPhone, Path is designed to, and I quote, provide “private messaging and sharing with friends and family.” 

Right…but doesn’t basically every other social media site do that?

A couple of days ago I actually tweeted that I thought the app was irrelevant, only to get a response back from their social media team: 




Beyond the cookie cutter responses their twitter monitor handed me, it became more and more apparent that they don’t even know what makes them different from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. They say it is optimized for mobile, but so is everything else. Sharing with family and friends? You can check that off too. I sat there and wondered why so many people are downloading it.

The creators of Path understand social media, and they basically hand selected different features from other sites, like check-ins, profile views, messaging, etc. The problem with that idea is the fact that those sites are already way more integrated into other peoples lives. To be a successful social media site or application you have to offer something innovative, something fresh. Repackaging other parts of social media sites into your own is a recipe for failure. 

I’m not saying I’m capable of coming up with a social media idea that would change the way we currently use it, but take a look at it from this angle. Facebook has over a billion customers, and you’re going to try and offer a mirror image of an already successful product, in the hopes of stealing some of their customers? The reasons we use Facebook and Twitter, Facebook and instagram is because they provide different social media concepts. Path is just a rebranded version of Facebook, created by the guy that originally designed Facebook. 

The other thing that I thought was incredibly odd about the app is the way they describe it. “A private way to share”, isn’t that contradictory in itself? Old versions of the app only allowed users to have 150 connects on Path, which from a business model standpoint is another blockade. But if you’re trying to share something, especially on social media, don’t you want as many people as possible to see it? We don’t share something on Facebook to have only 10 people view it. If I wanted that I’d send a private text message or email to those I’m close to. Path wants you to share with your family and friends (that you’re probably already connected with on a variety of different platforms, and god forbid, in person), but they restrict how many people you can be connected with? So now I have to go through and delete users from Path as more people I know want to join? This concept reminds me of an 8-year-old’s birthday party, where he’s only allowed to bring 10 friends to see a movie and has to decide which kid to kick out. 

All in all, the application itself is smooth, I’ll give it that. It runs nicely and is beautiful. It allows just enough customization to make you feel personal, but also creates an atmosphere of class. However, that all being said, I don’t believe the application provides a unique enough platform to develop a solid customer base, which is the basis of all business. 

What do you think?

The Boston Bombing and the National Media

Over the past week, we’ve sat glued to the TV screens, watching CNN or Fox News, scouring social media and news outlets for updates on the Boston Marathon bombing. I’ve sat watching how this information is being delivered, discussed it in class with peers and professors, critiqued and downright criticized some of the mistakes, and also looked at how my classmates and myself, the future of journalism, will cover breaking news events where the desire to be first sometimes supersedes the desire to be right.

Social media and the internet have changed the way we view, capture and deliver news. That certainly isn’t ground breaking information, but it changes the way we do our jobs. The “2-source-to-publish” rule of thumb has been tossed out the window. Confirmations are few and far between, especially during breaking news, and news outlets compete in a rat race to get a new tidbit up before their competitors.

Our ethics, as media, have developed even in the past years, more so then they have in the previous 40. It’s gotten to a point where the news cycle is so instantaneous that there isn’t time for fact-checking. The news cycle isn’t even a cycle anymore, it’s a constant flow of information being jammed down our throats. That being said, with this constant source of new information, and the potential to be the “exclusive” or “breaking story”, outlets have made a history of releasing information that was completely inaccurate or pure speculation, void of any actual fact.

What that has done for the industry, is create a culture of information hyenas looking to have their byline released ahead of everyone else. The ambulance chaser can now sit on his smart phone and file stories, tweet updates, and contact sources all from one location. Instead of actually going out to find the information first hand, the news-gathering has been shrunk to a small screen in the palm of our hands. We don’t go out to the scene as much as before, because we don’t need to.

But because we don’t go out to the scene, to find and develop the news firsthand, we are forced to rely on 2nd hand news sources. This is a derivative of a need to be first, and the new technology that has allowed us to stay stationary. Sometimes these 2nd hand news sources could be (and have proven to be) inaccurate, and now the credibility and necessity of journalists is in question. We are stuck in a cold war of speed and accuracy, and speed is winning by a landslide.

A majority of the discussion against the national media dealt with CNN’s release of the information regarding the supposed suspects. On Tuesday morning they jumped at a “law enforcement source”, saying that they had the suspect, and named the suspect. It turned out the alleged suspect was actually the Chinese national who was a victim of Monday’s bombing. They tried to back peddle, but the story had already been out there and at one point the anchors were struggling to piece together what was “confirmed” and “alleged”.

But can we really blame them? News outlets rely on sources on a regular basis, some of which they’ve developed years of relationships with. They’re trusted, and hopefully reliable, and in a situation like this they’re crucial to advance a news story. Yes, we have a job to do, a duty to get the information right. But 10 seconds delay could make a difference between being the most watched outlet and the one struggling to gain viewers. I’ve said it before, gatekeepers don’t exist anymore. If you don’t publish a new piece of information, someone else will.

A story greater than you can imagine

I was sitting in a journalism class watching video project after video project, until one stopped the class in its tracks. A fellow wordpress-er, Jordan Brough, has a story on his blog, babyelliot, which shares the incredibly emotional story of his son, Elliot, who died shortly after birth.

Elliot was diagnosed with CDH, and I want Jordan to tell the story first hand because he is much more knowledgable that myself, but the disease affects a child while still in the womb and is potentially fatal. Unfortunately for Jordan and his wife, it was, and Elliot passed away shortly after being born. I encourage you to take the time to read this blog and share your feelings with Jordan as he makes it his effort to raise awareness on this relatively unspoken disease.

We all spend time writing our miscellaneous thoughts and random ideas, but there are sometimes where something reaches out that resonates with you, and is much more importantly than random ramblings. Baby Elliot’s story is, and I promise you won’t regret reading.

What ‘Facebook Home’ means

OK, so in Zuckerbergs latest Steve Jobs impersonation, Facebook released its Facebook home software available for some smart phones. While the initial press conference was filled with some ‘oohs and ahhs’, and some yawns as well, there are a few things that I think need to be taken into consideration. 


The software itself works on phones that previously support Google’s Android software. Now, if I’m sitting in Google’s mobile offices, I am a little peeved at Facebook. Essentially, Google’s strategy into the smart phone world needs to be completely revamped. Facebook has bypassed Google’s monopoly on non-iOS devices. What does this mean for Google? it’s own native phone? Or do they just accept the fact that there’s no way around it?

The whole market

I may be stretching this assumption here, but call this a bold prediction. The technology and software world seems to be moving toward large companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook looking for ways to be dominant across a variety of different platforms. Apple is already a step ahead right now, with their various iOS devices that sync together using their cloud. Apple’s customer base, myself included, is basically locked in to Apple for the foreseeable future. It’s not a “fan boy” mentality that keeps me with the company, but its the convenience. 

To put it simply: it would be a pain in the ass trying to switch all my contacts, calendars, email accounts and everything else over to a new platform, and that doesn’t even start on the pros and cons of each software. Google and Facebook are well on their way to this same concept. The goal of both companies, in my mind, is to develop a stranglehold on your data, to ensure you’ll stay with them barring a major shift in the data/mobile device world. 

Where I see things in the next ten years, is Google, Facebook and Apple developing more and more device, software and programs to keep all of our data within the respective companies. This Facebook phone is an indicator of this trend. There is an arms race to develop enough software and devices to keep us in their grasps.