Archive | June 2013

How 500 million tweets a day have changed the world

ImageYesterday during the American Society of News Editors conference, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo spoke about the impact and growth of Twitter, as well as it’s influence on the ever-changing world of media and journalism. In a one-on-one interview and a live question and answer (streamed live on CSPAN for those of us who weren’t lucky enough to be there), Costolo gave newspaper editors everything they wanted to hear, and some of what they didn’t, about what Twitter does for journalism.

“We think of Twitter as a global town square; public, live, where conversation and media are distributed,” said Costolo when asked whether or not he viewed Twitter as a journalistic body.

“We don’t do any analysis of information as it pours in. We don’t report on the tweets as they come in, we think we’re complementary to news organizations. It’s the job of journalists to analyze, synthesize and go deeper into information,” he added.

Twitter changed the way journalists handle incoming and breaking news, no doubt about it. But more and more frequently, we’re seeing journalists use Twitter as a crutch for their reporting and we’re seeing “news” programs like Sportscenter use Twitter as the basis for a lot of their one-liners. What happened to writing and reporting on your own? Have we created a market as members of the media where we’re so pressured to push out content that we can’t even take the time to write our own damn stories?

ImageI’m reading this book, An Accidental Sportswriter by Robert Lipsyte and he talks about how Gay Talese meticulously examined every sentence, reading each word with the upmost importance. Granted, Talese’s time and ours are slightly different, but the thought process still needs to be there. Our words are the product, they’re what we get paid for. If a cook was more worried about speed than quality, we’d be eating a lot of undercooked meat.

I know some of you are sitting there thinking, “that’s not a similar scenario.” Bullshit.

Our words move mountains, at least they have the potential to. They put us in (and out of) wars, removed people from office,  and changed the prices of stocks enough to give the guys on the NYSE floor a heart attack. Our words mean something. They are substantial, and we need to treat them like that.

Instead of using Twitter as a crutch, why don’t we use it as a resource. A spot to find new sources, a chance to deliver our content and do more than just advertise it, communicate to our audience about what it means.

I see journalists send 25 tweets a day about new and old stories they’ve pumping out, but not one tweet about the message behind it. If someone asks you a question or comments through Twitter, answer it. Pose questions to your followers. Your avatar on Twitter holds more weight as it scrolls through a timeline than an old friend from college.

Use that power.

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Greenwald’s Meet The Press incident shows why “bloggers vs. journalists” still matters

This is a perfect example of the going on right now between the new and old guard of journalists and should be watched very closely. Are Bloggers journalists? You decide.

Brazilian Protests

No sooner than we leave, Brazil is in the midst of a country-wide protest, a social revolution of sorts.

Thousands of protesters line the streets in Rio De Janeiro  Courtesy of CNN

Thousands of protesters line the streets in Rio De Janeiro
Courtesy of CNN

While seemingly mundane, the protests began in Rio De Janeiro a couple nights ago in response to bus fares being raised. But the younger generations of Brazil, the college students and recently graduated, are feeling left out and forgotten about in the booming country.

Brazil as you know is on the cliff of economic progressiveness or utter recession. They’re currently hosting the Confederation’s Cup, a trial for the World Cup next summer, and the Olympics are in 2016. But, they’ve been held down by gross inflation and corruption, which most people will note, has prevented the country rich with economic resources from reaching its potential.

But despite it’s legislative and financial downsides, the country is in the public light. They don’t have a choice, they fought hard for the chance to be the world stage for two major sporting events, so now they’re stuck with it. They began building incredulously fast once the bids were in, spending billions of dollars on new stadiums and public transportation throughout the country, specifically Brazil.

But during this time period of massive spending, they have figured out ways to isolate some of the country’s most influential people. The indigenous Brazilians, whose museum was housed just outside Maracanã stadium, were forced out of their museum for expansion. And while the current government is much more democratic than the dictatorship during the 80’s, they have a tendency to spend billions of dollars for short term gain, despite the the long term consequences.

Outside the National Congress building in Brasilia, the country's capital

Outside the National Congress building in Brasilia, the country’s capital
Courtesy of CNN

This is where the younger generation of Brazilians come into play. During my time in São Paulo, we spent a couple of hours with Brazilian graduate students, discussing life and journalism, as well as the future of our two seemingly colliding countries. At the time, they said they had little faith in their current government (sound familiar?) because of their corruption issues and restrictive policies.

Now we’re watching on CNN as thousands of Brazilians take to the streets to complain about the lack of insight they have on the closed-doored government. The scary part about this protest is, because of the ones occuring in Turkey, this is not picking up the national media’s eye as it should. And because of that, as typically happens, local governments are able to get away with more while the world’s gaze is fixed to another part of the country.

Let’s hope we don’t have that here.

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ASU Cronkite School creates program to bridge gap between science and journalism

ASU Cronkite School creates program to bridge gap between science and journalism

ASU and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass communication are starting a program in the fall that focuses on bridging the gap between medical science and journalism.

I wrote this article for the Phoenix Business Journal on Tuesday, June 18. I want to know what you think regarding the bigger issue: do you think journalism is going towards specialization and “niche” style reporting?

Let me know what you think in the comments below, or email me at martinjoe91@gmail.com Make sure to follow my blog by submitting your email on the right. You can also like my page on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter

Apple’s 2013 WWDC live blog

Tim Cook and Apple are set to start their annual WWDC developer’s conference momentarily, where new products like iOS7 and iRadio are expected to be released. I’ll be providing updates here as the keynote address goes on, as well as the four day event occurs as well. Watch the event live at Apple’s Events page. 

  • WWDC sold out in 71 seconds flat. Wow.
  • 50 billion apps downloaded. That’s billion, with a B.
  • ANKI, a robotics company, is starting off the keynote new product release. Debuting their ANKI drive product, which are electric cars that drive and steer themselves.
  • Coming to the Mac and Macbook section of the keynote, sites like mashable are predicting an update of the hardware. Let’s see what happens.
  • 35% of mac users are using Mountain Lion, vs. less than 5% for Windows 8.
  • Updates for OS 10 possibly coming up.
  • New OS software is going to be called OS X Mavericks. Leaving the “lion and big cat” concept behind. Extending battery life and new apps available.
  • Three new features being highlighted. The first. Finder Tabs. Allowing you to use multiple screens in Finder. Tagging is also available which will show up in Finder Sidebar, allowing you to track certain topics and subjects more easily.
  • Multiple Displays is the third feature. Allowing complete functionality between two Macs. Essentially allowing two seperate computers.
  • Airplay TVs will also act as a separate display, INCLUDING APPLE TV
  • More efficient power usage through the new MAVERICK update, saving significant battery life for Mac and Macbook users.
  • Better social media integration through Safari, allowing RTs and posts through the safari application.
  • iCloud Keychain: secure password and credit card changes
  • push notifications are going to be allowed on mac for more applications like Fantasy Football, Breaking News. Showing up right on the lock screen.
  • Also, apps will be updated automatically.
  • iCal getting a facelift. Maps on the Mac as well.
  • Integration allowing iCal to help suggest where to go and where to eat based off searched items like “Pizza”
  • Revamps for Macbook Air, big feature: increased battery life
  • new generation of mac pros.
  • iOS 7 just announced
  • aesthetics look completely different, crisp.
  • color schemes, logos changed.
  • looks like a completely new software
  • Iphone moves as your hands do, changing the icon perspective and background.
  • very nervous about original idea of redesign. However, very excited for iOS7 now. looks great.
  • Notification center available on Lockscreen. This was big hack for jailbreak users
  • 10 new features to be released
  1. Control Center: available at bottom of phone, able to do a variety of functions
  2. Multitasking: available on all apps. Notices usage of apps and provides the background activity when you use it.
  3. Safari: revitalized, content based.
  4. airdrop: sharing content through wifi
  5. Camera: different features, and photo filters built into native camera app
  6. Photos: photographs managed almost automatically through location and other services, similar to iPhoto on mac
  7. Siri: new look, and a new voice. Also allows you to increase brightness, play voicemails. Also allows you  access wikipedia and twitter.
  8. iOS in the Car: A new feature to help answer the calling for new cars coming out with compatibility features to new car models. All integration in 2014
  9. App Store: New app searches, by age and location. Also will update apps automatically
  10. Music app redesigned
  • iRadio is official. Integrates directly into the music app, which is incredibly smart because it allows users to find music they, and their friends love (and presumably by it on iTunes)
  • standard stations and custom stations are available.
  • iRadio is available on all iOS and OS devices, including Macs and Apple TV. Free with ads or free for iTunes match users
  • Audio calls for facetime on wifi, notification sync, phone facetime and message blocking.
  • iOS7 will also be able to block thieves from reactivating and rebooting iphone and ipads because it will require icloud logins.

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Attorney General Eric Holder press conference

Eric Holder, the attorney general, says that the United States is not in the interest of pursuing journalists for doing their job. Instead, Holder says, The US is after government officials who are violating their office.

Interesting twist on the story. Journalists and the government could be drawing new lines in the sand after the Associated Press inquisition as well as warrants against Fox News reporters.

Government and Journalism; where do we draw the line?

Nate Beeler, Columbus Dispatch

Nate Beeler, Columbus Dispatch

We’re all screwed.

We’ve seen the headlines, and heard the conversations; the government, specifically the Department of Justice, is has monitored the Associated Press, and has issued warrants for emails for Fox News reporter James Rosen, because they felt his investigative reporting was criminal.

This is the moment we’ve feared. 

As journalists, we’ve written about other countries censoring their reporters with this feeling of supremacy. ‘This is terrible that’s it’s happening over there, good thing it’s not us.”

Now what?

We’ve hidden behind the 1st Amendment in the past, used it as our shield. Now, as the government is obtaining phone records from Verizon to uncover terror plots, and monitoring reporters to make sure they don’t find classified information the question arises; where do we go from here? We need to decide right now, as an industry, how we’re going to play this. If we don’t, our jobs, and potentially our democracy is in peril.

I’ll try and stay off my soap box on this but it’s really hard not to. Journalism is one of the only industries specifically mentioned in the Constitution. It is woven in the daily functions of government because it keeps them in line.  Without the reporter standing on the steps of Congress questioning their every vote and speech, the reigns of democracy are in the hands of a headless horseman. 

This is bigger than a paycheck, this is a democratic issue. Not a party issue, but this stands on both sides of the aisle. If the government continues to try and press its boot into the back of the neck of the journalism industry, we’ve lost the center ground that’s been our framework for years. It’s our job to question their every move, make sure it’s for the betterment of the people, not the individual. Joseph McCarthy and Murrow, LBJ’s Vietnam and Cronkite. Those are shining examples of the fourth estate working to its full capacity.

As journalists, it is our job not to trust the godforsaken word of the press secretary. It is our job to check everything we can. Democracy depends on it.

If the federal government continues to try to batter and bust the Shield Laws we have in place, the last foundation of credibility we have with our sources is over. There is already a rapid waning effect taking place with sources. Why do they need to talk to us when they can send a zip file to Wikileaks and start the next “-gate” scandal?

We’ve used the 1st Amendment as our shield in the past, our reason for being. It’s now time for us to stand in front of it and protect the 1st Amendment.

 

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Thomson Reuters-Brazil

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 12.47.33 PMThomson Reuters operates in a decent sized facility in São Paulo. In fact, it’s bursting at the seams. Two or three reporters operate in what many would consider one desk space, due in part of the fact that they’re trying to expand their local reporters as well as their small workspace. Reuters is working on developing video content for some stories for the web, and the TV room is located in the corner, with the camera placed on top of a footstool.

Hey, whatever works, right?

Reuters is different than Wall Street or Bloomberg, however. Even though it is based in New York City now as opposed to its former London HQ, Reuters is still very much an unAmericanized company. The other key difference, more specifically in Brazil, is where its niche lies. While Bloomberg corners the financial markets like the BOLSA, and Wall Street more exposé pieces, Reuters locks its feet in the political economy corner. Basically, the reporters are focusing on how legislative policy affects the businesses in Brazil and elsewhere, in large part because of their European roots, Reuters is able to gain a different perspective compared to American companies.

Brian Winter, the chief correspondent for Reuters in Brazil, isn’t the typical foreign correspondent. While Reuters has had a foreign correspondent policy in the past of moving reporters around every 2-3 years to prevent them from becoming nationalized, recently it starting to change its outlook, said Winter. Brian has been in Brazil for longer, and sees himself remaining there for the foreseeable future.

“Journalism itself doesn’t have much value anymore,” said Winter. ” What does have value is specialist knowledge.”

For Winter, and most journalists for that matter, there is the realization that general news isn’t holding as much weight as before. For Winter, the key to success for journalists is specialization. Brazil and business are key specializations.

“Just being a journalist isn’t enough, I don’t think there’s money in that,” he said.

He sees specialization as the key to being successful, and for him, Brazil is an relatively untapped market for the new journalist.

“The gap between information given of Brazil and the information need is big” for American journalism, he said. There is a small group of people who are truly capable of writing about this booming country, and with the economy of Brazil becoming a bigger idea in everyone’s mind the opportunity to become a Brazil expert could potentially be lucrative.

Not many American journalists know the Portuguese language, let alone the layout of the Brazilian government, so Winter has pretty solid job security. He’s traveled throughout Latin America, but notes that Brazil is a “great place to be a journalist,” because of the people themselves.

“The people are talkative, and terrible at keeping secrets. There is also still a respect for journalists, unlike in the United States.”

The American spectrum is facing a massive test in reliability and confidence from the consumer. The polarization of politics ties into economics, and also journalism. In Brazil, Winter notes, “it’s amazing how civilized politics are here.”

“You don’t see the bizarrely polarized like you see in the States, it’s different here,” he said.

That creates honest conversation, about politics, sports, fiscal policies and anything else that could be covered on the news. While people certainly disagree on some topics, a lot of people understand the big picture on what Brazil needs to do going forward.

The J-School Flaw

Journalism is a constantly evolving field, this is nothing new. In the past 10 years, the journalism industry has changed so immensely that giants like Murrow or Cronkite might not even recognize it. The long-form 20 inch stories have been reduced to a couple of grafs, and the 2-hour special TV interview is now a two minute clip on Youtube.

But that’s not the issue, that’s just the way of the world; industries evolve and if the players don’t evolve with it, they die. We’re not the gatekeepers anymore. That key has been tossed out and the gates are shattered. Journalists need to be a conveyor of the most important information, an aggregator of sorts. Taking the hundreds of different sources, sifting through fact and fiction and delivering the content that will affect peoples lives, for good or bad.

The issue here is with the root of journalism. The education of it. Journalism Accelerator hosted a forum yesterday on this very topic; the journalism education.  Current journalists, students and professors sounded off to voice their opinion on the current standing for a secondary education in journalism. This is where it stood:

  1. Is education even necessary? Do the “journalists” of tomorrow need to know what the inverted pyramid is, or is that just a natural instinct now due to a reduced forum?
  2. If education is necessary for journalists, what needs to be done in the university curriculums to properly prepare its students?

To start, the answer to the first question is a definitive yes. The writing skills I’ve developed in the past three years, the tricks and resources, and most importantly the contacts and internships, have been invaluable to me. There is no way that without the Cronkite school at Arizona State I would be able to be the writer and journalist I am today. While there are people who are capable of going out on their own, like Brian Stelter for the New York Times, a majority of students need to hone their skills and refine their writing.

But like I said the most important tool that journalism school has provided me is the internships and contacts. Granted, it would be possible to get an internship outside of college, but going through the university gives merit to those looking to hire. The internship I initially received was through a direct program with the Cronkite school. It wouldn’t be possible without college.

The Curriculum

Now, just because formal education is needed to be a successful journalist doesn’t mean that the current curriculum being taught around journalism schools is on point. College is extremely expensive, nearly unnecessarily expensive (a topic for tomorrow), but it is a business nonetheless and with every business there is a desire to gain profit. The problem is, students are being forced to attend four year colleges to obtain degrees that theoretically could have been earned in 2 or 3 years.

I spent the first year and a half of college taking classes like chemistry 101 and geology. Give me one good reason why a student based in journalism needs to take those classes, and I’ll take you out to dinner. Don’t give me the whole “it’s to give you a rounded knowledge of the world around you” crap either, because that’s a load. Do you remember which rocks break down easier than others? Thought so.

College needs to be focused more on the skills I need to know. Writing, communication, technology etc. The other thing, is that students entering j-school can’t be a one-tier media member.

Cronkite divides its students into three main paths: Public Relations/Print journalism (later divided more), Broadcast/video journalism and multi-media. The issue here is that this division prevents students from learning all the tools necessary to be successful. Multimedia journalists, i.e. the journalist who can write, take photos and shoot video is the type of journalist every one needs to be. If you walk into a news room and say, ‘well I can write really well,’ you won’t be getting a job.

More and more frequently, newspapers are updating their websites to produce video (we are at the Phoenix Business Journal), TV stations are adding print elements, and the news is becoming a mesh of visual and written accounts of what happened. 

The Brazilian Football Museum

Football is religion to Brazil.

We, as Americans, have the NFL, but it’s really not the same. The Pantheon is the Maracanã, and the deities include names like Ronaldinho Gaucho, Ronaldo, and Kaka. Pelé is Zeus and he rules his kingdom with grace and respect. Any true football fan would recognize that Pelé is the all time greatest, and Brazilians would fight over any discrepancy of that fact.

Football is the poor man’s, and the rich man’s game in Brazil. It is played in well-lit football fields in gated communities and on uncut grass along side a highway. There are those who are entitled to be on the field, with expensive Nikes and latest World Cup edition ball, and those who play bare foot, dribbling around broken glass and dumpsters. Footballers in Brazil are street artists and entertainers, businessmen and construction workers. Very few people in Brazil can say they haven’t tried playing the game, and while some aren’t talented, they still understand the beautiful game. The bright yellow jersey is like the second flag for brazil. It represents a higher calling; a chance to be a part of the upper echelon of Brazil. With that jersey, a Brazilian isn’t rich or poor, he is a god.

IMG_0327The Museu de futebol is located in São Paulo, inside the Municipal StadiumIMG_0331. You aren’t allowed to take any photos inside the museum, so my visuals are limited, however I can promise you it is truly a mecca of sorts for any football fan. Almost everything is in English, Spanish or Portuguese on some level, so you don’t need to be a native speaker to go there. It shows the high points, and low points, of Brazilian football and what it means to the country. It can’t truly depict the value of football though, but the dozens of fans of all ages waving their Corinthian or Flamengo flags around São Paulo or Rio can.

As you walk in, the top moments in Brazilian football history, International and domestic, are displayed in some exciting visuals. You listen (or read) the commentary from journalists, commentators and athletes who experienced the moment. World Cup Qualifiers, Brazilian championships are all on display, and each one of them makes you more and more inclined to celebrate yourself.

After a narrow flight of stairs through what appears to be a desolate corner of the museum, a reverberating drum beat starts vibrating your sternum. Communication to your companions is impossible. Flashes of light hit every corner of the room.

This is the fan display. Underneath the stands of the Municipal Stadium are 10 projection screens, portraying the fans dance, sing and beat the drum as they watch their team. This montage of support raises the hair on your neck and makes you a fan of whatever team is being shown. It’s remarkable. IMG_0332

The history of Brazilian football is inlayed in the muscle fibers of the country. Brought here hundreds of years ago, it was originally thought to be reserved for elite, but eventually over time because of the game’s lack of equipment, it was picked up. It is widely popular in the favelas of the cities, and the Brazilian countryside as well. Every corner of the country understands the game, far more so than our baseball, basketball or football knowledge can be extended.

The yellow jersey means so much more to Brazil than anything we can comprehend. We all love the Bears or 49ers, maybe even the Patriots, but we don’t have that unifying support behind a national pass time. We’ve been overwhelmingly dominate for the longest time in sports like Basketball and American Football, that there is no competition, and as far as baseball’s “America’s pass time” is concerned, it’s played more in Central and South America than the United States. Soccer for these countries is all three of those sports combined. It’s what everyone plays, or understands. Everyone follows a team, and every four years, school shuts down so students can watch their God’s enter the arena to defend their country.

Joga Bonito.

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