Monthly Archives: January 2012

Seeing red on the orange, silver and red lines

This wasn’t my first choice to do a live tweeting, but it could make an interesting case study. And I’m not a big hockey fan, so watching and tweeting Saturday’s men’s hockey match while they played at UVM could have been the perfect setup to publicly admit sports aren’t my thing.

Still, there’s something to be said for closely observing what it’s like getting on the T on a Monday morning. I probably wouldn’t have noticed how many people are in fact doing a crossword puzzle or wearing ridiculous hats.

I’m doing an internship at BostInno.com, where there’s a weekly Top 10 MBTA Tweets feature. Now that I spent a commute not zoned out with my eyes closed and head against the side of a car, I see plenty of material to tweet about – enough for one of those “S*!t People Say …” videos. (Let’s hope there isn’t one about the T in the works.)

Problems? Well I found out my camera doesn’t work on the iPhone Twitter app. Instead, the picture is just black. (Probably a casualty of the rainwater damage inflicted on my device.) And while there’s service on the Orange and Red Lines, there’s none on the Silver Bus. I learned this because today was one of the two times I’ve ever taken that bus.

And unless it’s snowing or pouring rain outside, I’ll stick with the 10-minute walk from South Station to get to work.

Photo: @zacestrada

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Feed Frenzy

I’d like to think I’m better at Twitter than I really am. I’ve had an account for getting on three years now. One of those years I used it a handful of times. It’s only been in the last year and a half or so that this social media avenue has taken over an increasing part of my life. But there here are others who spend way more time than I do and tweet things with far greater wit – including @dankennedy_nu. (Glad I got the kissing up out of the way.)

@andrewphelps – Andrew Phelps, future of news reporter at @NiemenLab.He’s popping up on both my Facebook and Twitter feeds, continuously revealing something tech-y about journalism. As someone distracted by new and shiny things, both Phelps and the Niemen Journalism Lab at Harvard are must-reads of mine for information about people’s social media habits and general trends regarding news and its online tendencies.

@gawker – OK, let’s get it all out in the open. I read Gawker like I look at a car accident – I can’t help myself. But it’s been kind of fun lately watching their petty argument against NBC News. I mean, who’s really counting how many cameras show up to cover a story. Lest we forget, it’s the web hits that count. Not the most media-ish of feeds, but today’s gossip is often tomorrow’s news. I think that’s their motto, too.

@LATimesRainey – James Rainey used to be the Los Angeles Times‘ media reporter before he abruptly stopped writing his weekly column late last year. Still, he’s a certified media junkie who reliably spills his thoughts on industry news – he also keeps me up to date with the happs in LA so I never feel the least-bit homesick for the West Coast. As a defender of newspapers too, he puts just the right amount of critique on the Internet revolution.

@BrianStelter – Where the LA Times has (or had) Rainey, The New York Times has Brian Stelter and Media Decoder. Stelter’s tweeting during events like the recent Republican debates goes beyond just what’s happening, but also takes a great look at the reporters, anchors and moderators. I feel like he’d be the person to criticize Scott Pelley for the position of his eyebrows. Frankly, the New York Times is the place to be if you’re a media tweeter. Go on WeFollow and most of the top media handles belong to the Times, such as @carr2n, @paper_cuts, @NYTimesAd, to name but a few. David Carr is another media reporter who tweets just about anything he feels in addition to his own work. His feed is, therefore, pretty entertaining. And the Times’ Paper Cuts and Media/Advertising handles keep things a little more serious when it comes to the printed products. Hey, I have to be serious sometimes.

@dkbermanThe Wall Street Journal is a bit much for me to handle, partly because everything I want to read online is usually behind their paywall. For all of the earnings reports Dennis Berman tweets, there’s some coverage about the media and how much money any given company lost last quarter. (NBC, I’m picking on you again) Plus, it usually gets me on the site before I indulge in some of Dan Neil’s humor. Of course, @zseward, the Journal’s social media editor, keeps things light on his feed too. After all he has the guts to call “bullshit” when wants.

[View the story “Zach Seward” on Storify]

Photo: Creative Commons/Flickr/_DaniloRamos

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Liking and friending on new platforms

I stand by my original motivation behind pursuing print journalism: I want to report and share news with people, but I don’t want to be on camera. Unlike broadcasters, I don’t want to hear my voice or get covered in makeup to appear on camera.

But the days of hiding behind my byline are over, thanks to the Internet. And I’m being told time and again that a social media presence is a journalist’s best friend. Really? In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been introduced to different platforms that are supposedly brilliant for journalists. If only I knew why.

Vadim Lavrusik, Facebook’s journalism program manager, has been cluttering my news feed with ways to use Timeline. After getting all jazzed about finding a way to get it before the herd way back in October, it’s been a tough sell for me. But Vadim has some points for using Facebook as a journalist. It’s a great way to shamelessly self-promote because your non-journalist friends will still like you – probably. And now that Facebook’s becoming the favorite of the Washington Post staff, there’s good reason to delete my partying pictures and post more stories.

Mashable this week gave 7 ways journalists could use the site Pinterest. Frankly, after waiting three days for an invite to join I’m at a loss. If I blogged about interior design, cooking, baking, pretty things in general, Pinterest might be of interest to me. Maybe if I were a photographer, things would be different. Or if I really cared to make picture “boards” of my interests so others could better know my work. But until I master the camera that usually gathers dust on my dresser, Pinterest will stay on the back burner.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m relatively upbeat on journalism and social media and finding the point where the two do wonders for each other. I’m just learning to not jump on board with the next new thing I hear about.

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What a Media Junkie Feeds On

Writing about my media monitoring habits sheds light on the fact I’m a man of relatively narrow interests. If I’m not reading news, I’m reading about news coverage. Maybe it’s not making me a well-rounded person, but that’s for a therapist to tell me.

Acting as an enabler in this process is Media Decoder over at The New York Times. It’s kind of a go-to for middle-of-the-road analysis for everything media related, from how badly Fox News bungled an interview with Newt Gingrich to whether or not Oprah’s network will ever be watched by people other than those who have shows on it.

I began following Mashable long before Dan Kennedy included it in his class’ must-read selection. They’re all about “new” media and probably waiting for the final nail to be forced into the coffin of the printed word. Their media section is, however, a favorite of mine for lists like X reasons why journalists should use this-website-I-haven’t-heard-of-until-now.

One of the good things to come out of Facebook’s Subscribe feature was my new interest in Jeff Sonderman. The Poynter Institute digital media fellow isn’t as anti-“old” media as others and that’s a good thing. But his posts still include a lot about good and bad changes in the industry thanks to the Internet. Sonderman’s coverage is a little less insider-oriented than Poynter’s own Mediawire, which I also closely monitor – especially when there’s news about the Tribune bankruptcy or something like that.

Finally, Howard Kurtz, longtime Washington Post columnist and now a member of the fledgling Daily Beast and its Newsweek subsidiary, is always worth a glancing at when his face comes up on TweetDeck. I regularly question his analysis, but who said anything about always agreeing with the people you read? Not that I ever disagree with Media Nation and thoroughly respect the ground its author walks on …

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Jfurrer

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Introduction

It doesn’t take a news junkie to notice the twists and turns in the media industry today. What it does is a close analysis on how people cover information, how technology is turning the industry upside down and how everyone – not just journalists – are able to be increasingly involved in the processes of newsgathering and information sharing.

For a purist and a news junkie like myself, this media revolution is both fascinating and confusing. I used to resist giving bloggers and anything that wasn’t a traditional print or broadcast organization much credit because I saw questionable practices being used. In reality, I was giving the old guards too much credit and it’s wrong to ignore the power bloggers (Brian Stelter and Nate Silver come instantly to mind) and committed Tweeters have , and they assets they give to existing news outlets.

I am a senior journalism student at Northeastern University who has worked for both student newspapers, small local newspapers and online-only publications. Working in companies of various sizes and structures has allowed me to see the successes and struggles different approaches to media face today. And as a journalism student, it’s immensely interesting. Thanks to Twitter, I spend a lot of time following the headlines, monitoring everything from traditional newspapers like The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, to online firms like Slate.

Don’t get me wrong, print still has a place in the media landscape. But sitting back and blogging during this industry’s world during a revolution is a thrill.

 

 

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