Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Test

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Class project on Richmond

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Travis Fox fan


Last week at Washington Post, Chet Rhodes spoke highly about one of their video producers, Travis Fox. We have seen his work in class and his story-telling technique is very compelling. It’s no surprise that he is an Emmy award winner.

First time I saw Fox’s work, was a seven-minute video titled A Fragile Renaissance. Fox works with simple wide, medium and close up shots. He focuses on building characters through his documentaries. In the Renaissance video he travels all through Medellin showing the life of the city. But the local people in the video help make a connection with the viewer.

For our final class project this semester we struggled a lot with locating sources, finding the right people to talk to and making videos worth watching. Journalists of Fox's caliber have their research in place from the first day and though a small word research demands a lot of work. But in the the long run saves time.

For the election season Fox has been doing a Hard Times series, again talking to people from different states and the issues most important to them. More so he presents complex interwoven subjects into simple humane association.

In class there is constant discussion on good videos, proper camera angles and artful editing. As we go along doing our visual and online journalism assignments we get better but the crossover from print to video (for me) just seems impossible. But before we learn film making and photography the art of reporting, writing and storytelling needs to be strongly rooted.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Inside Washington Post







Last week on a class trip to the Washington Post meeting Chet Rhodes of the interactive division gave a fresh perspective on online journalism. Rhodes has worked as a news director on radio, taught broadcast journalism for 10 years and is currently assistant manager of the web division.

Rhodes was very positive about the work environment at the Post, which was obvious considering he works there. But his enthusiasm certainly was heartfelt.

Rhodes also clarified the certain myth on newspaper interactive division not turning profits. He said, “It’s not that we not making money. We are making plenty of money. If we were a business onto just ourselves we would be like great, but that’s not the case. We are trying to make up for the fact that newspapers are declining.” Washingtonpost.com was ones of the first ones to launch comments on their stories.

In the three hours spent there Rhodes answered a lot of questions and gave a good idea on the difference of treatment and craft online journalism demands.

Overall this outside-the-classroom experience and into the real world of online videos, web interactivity, user behavior, change in media landscape and video making and camera techniques was a valuable lesson.

Here's Chet Rhodes covering the conventions.



Saturday, October 18, 2008

Internal evaluation could be a starting point



Adam Riley’s column in The Phoenix talks about the presidential debates and journalists having conflict of interest. He points out while some scandals are recognized and discussed there are a few that miss the public eye. The recent on the list is the moderator of the vice-presidential debate - Gwen Ifill and her book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. The reaction came after the debate and she was even spoofed by Queen Latifah on SNL.

Riley states, “the public gets a double message: we (the media) aren’t as hard on ourselves as we are on everybody else; and we don’t trust you (the public) to.”

I guess a having a bias towards a subject or story is one thing but a defined one-sidedness can affect the journalist' credibility. If there were a potential conflict of interest with the story, then a self-evaluation exam would help in avoiding future trouble. We need to ask ourselves:

Will my involvement with the subject affect my perception towards the story and will the viewer/reader's perception change if I decide to pursue the story?
If I support a certain organization or a candidate is it fair to report but show my inclination outside work?
Is it better to avoid a story having a potential conflict of interest?
Am I jeopardizing my company’s reputation?
Is it appropriate to report a story if there are personal beliefs (on religion and politics etc.) or relations with the subject?
Is it better to be open and transparent from the beginning about my involvement with the subject?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Media is dealing with changes

Lately it feels like media is busy assessing the changes it is going through. The news formats have shortened and perhaps it is because the sources to get that news are manifold. We are experiencing information overload. With the rise in new media like blogs, facebook, twitter etc the challenge is to bring news in the best consumable way. And sometimes the consumable format is a text alert.

Professional journalists and broadcast and publishing houses are no longer competing amongst each other. Today everyone is a writer, producer and publisher. Though professional standards are compromised more and more consumers prefer a balance of new and old media. For journalists it certainly is no excuse to reduce writing and reporting standards. Dumbing down the information is not the solution.

In the last five years media has seen a decline in the newspaper business and is busy reinventing itself. Traditional media is trying hard to bring the viewership/readership back and reach its prior monopoly. At the same time there is an urgent need to re-evaluate old school methods and join hands with new technology and parallel media.

I think the future holds a lot of innovation from the traditional media. It will be really sad to see newspapers going out of business. Not just newspapers but all other traditional platforms are going through a rough patch. The change has taken everyone by a storm. But overall we will see a new and improved face of media and hopefully it will be a balance between strong journalistic writing and reporting standards and multimedia technology.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A worthy innovation

At VCU’s Mass Comm Week I got a chance to get an inside look from the industry people. The fears attached to the job market in media (and elsewhere) are omnipresent, but overall the opportunities for fresh-out-of-college journalists are still plenty.

At one of the events Phil Hillard (on left) and Michael Terpak spoke on “Innovations for the newspaper business”. Hillard and Terpark recently graduated from VCU and currently are part of a young team in Media General’s publishing department. Their job involves using new technology to generate new areas of revenues.

According to the duo, coming up with innovative ideas to attract more business for publishing is not the only challenge. It’s tough hanging in there with the kind of bureaucracy involved in big companies like theirs. They felt that even though they were hired to bring in a fresh perceptive in publishing, the top management on most occasions wasn’t open to new ideas.

But one of their successes has been the classifieds for Tampa Tribune website. They enabled small businesses to come online and advertised their products and services with the freedom of choosing their own design and content. It helped the businesses in advertising for much less compared to the newspaper.

They are currently working on a FindADayTrip.com, a website for individual and pre-packaged day trips. It provides travel businesses an online presence, a chance to advertise and different tools to connect with their customers. Again the pitch wasn’t easy for them. Firstly the top-level suits didn’t understand the concept. Their Interactive department saw this as a potential threat since this would take their business away.

I guess with the bad economy and deteriorating newspaper business such innovations can help save the newspapers for being extinct. Unaffiliated media and better technology are somewhere responsible the decline of newspapers and publishing media. But here’s a chance to use that very technology to bring a new and improved face of newspapers.
Here's what Phil Hillard and Michael Terpak predict.