Impact of Social Media on Journalism

Over twenty emails and several tweets- I was beginning to loose hope that any journalists were going to find time in their busy schedules to reply back to my enquires. My assigned research entailed contacting credible journalistic sources to feature in my article titled ‘Has Social Media Plagued Journalism For Good?’. So, you can imagine the excitement of seeing an email from the editor of Dorset Life magazine outlining his views on the topic:

Joel Lacey, of Dorset Life, explained how he thought social media has been “both a boon and a bane for professional journalists”. It is advantageous in terms of the helpfulness of user-generated content from Citizen Journalists. If there were, for example, a photograph or video footage of an event it is much easier to acquire than it may well have been. On YouTube there is a channel dedicated to this, ‘Citizen Tube’, there is raw footage of the Libyan crisis and Japanese earthquake. This makes journalists jobs slightly easier and also acts as a database for public use.

Videos uploaded by YOU

On the other hand, Lacey discusses how “much of what is being put out is essentially gossip: repeated or invented material”. This is noticeably a danger zone, as the huge source of information online means sifting through and deeming what is and what is not credible. Admittedly, Lacey says that he has used social media as a starting point to some of his articles for Dorset Life. However, he approaches these stories with caution and they still require sufficient research through conducting  interviews and involving other sources.

Still locating primary sources for my research, I contacted other local journalists, as it seemed this is where my research had led me so far. Stephen Bailey who writes for the Daily Echo had some useful insights to contribute with a focus on Twitter:

“I have found Twitter primarily useful for news planning” Bailey said and describes the time when he extracted a story from tweets about the 20th Armored Brigade going to Afghanistan. Agreeing with Lacey, he reinforces Twitter and other sites being useful for photojournalism. Aside from its conveniences and immediacy, Bailey appreciates letters as a form of communication as they are now becoming a rarity in the industry. Events like going to court, covering public meetings and meeting contacts are proactive ways that Bailey feels are the most enjoyable part of his job.

“I find the general belief that anyone can be a writer phenomenally dangerous” Lacey expresses his concerns of Citizen Journalism will make it harder for the professionals to earn a living. Though, I believe that print and broadcast journalism will co-exist with any online material that proceeds to invade the publishing world.

Stephen Jio from Dell has a discusses the effect of Citizen Journalism with students at City University:

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Are the Inbetweeners ready for Malia? Or is Malia ready for them?

Our four favourite luckless teens took to the big screen, risking the sitcom to movie transition that many shows hold an infamous reputation of failing miserably. So, joining the herds of Inbetweener fans (most young I have to say) I got in line to witness the much anticipated adventures of the unlikely friends. Predicting easy laughs from humiliating antics the boys would no doubt get up to. And I did not leave the cinema disappointed.

Leaving torturous school life behind and hoping to seek out some ‘action’; Will, Simon, Jay and Neil set off to Malia where their holiday doesn’t exactly start with a bang (no pun intended). Everything a budget holiday entails; delayed flights, grimy accommodation and annoying holiday-makers capture the realities of holidays we all probably could do with forgetting. A group of four girls in an empty nightclub screams hope for the lads, until they put their amusing socially awkward ways into practise. Depicting the original character traits we loved about the boys in the series, except embarrassing themselves abroad and managing to repel girls with their classic slip-ups. Well, except for Neil who gets lucky with a grandma or three. As if things couldn’t get any worse, a cat-fight breaks out between Jay and Simon causing the group to split and find their own fun, only to be let down once again.

Enjoying a fishbowl

A heart-warming reunion brings them back together and in my opinion the best part of the film follows when the foursome enjoy a proper lads night out featuring some hilarious dancing – Neil’s moves are one to watch out for! The film comes to a close with a glamorous boat party, where it seems they all realise their fates with the each of the four girls and all ends well – as well as it gets for the boys anyway.

I’m not sure the tagline ‘boys will become men’ is strictly true, but I would very much enjoy finding out in their return. Although, it is unlikely we will see the Inbetweeners back on our screens again, if so, then what a celebratory way to say goodbye! The coming of age film follows the Hollywood successions of Superbad and American Pie and in my opinion the UK is representing. With impressive £13.8 million earnings at the box office on its opening weekend makes it the most successful British comedy opening ever. Providing watchers with everything from gross humour to the familiarity we love about these guys giving something we can all relate to. Admittedly, my view can be deemed as somewhat biased, as I have been a loyal supporter of the programme since its release, so for me the film was an extended version of the show. I do recommend joining the guys for a bumpy ride though, if you already enjoy the type of humour the characters bring to the screen, my verdict: 7/10.

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Amy Winehouse: The Untold Story

R.I.P Amy xx

 

“I loved crack and smack more than I did Amy and her the same”

The words of Blake Fielder-Civil ex-husband of the late Amy Winehouse who many point the finger at for her downward spiral into a dismal life of addiction.

Intense media fascination had surrounded the life of Amy Winehouse, which in turn fed the publics’ obsession as to what went on in her personal life to display the blank-eyed girl on-stage. I am a self-confessed onlooker and fan that consumed the many stories, dubious pictures and the shocking footage featured revealing the star smoking crack. Fuelling this intrigue was not only the controversy; it was in fact this delivery. The ‘rock n roll’ lifestyle is notoriously known for heavy drug use, many of the worlds most talented artists have been guilty of using at one point or another. Only more recently, candid video footage of celebrities caught red-handed is falling into the wrong hands. Most would expect the undeniable evidence of Amy’s behaviour to wave goodbye to her career, but actually it didn’t stop fans from queuing to see her perform – which I think speaks volumes. Nevertheless, the coverage served a purpose in the form of warning signs detecting something destructive about the Winehouse-Civil relationship. Still intrigued, like many others, at the long-term causes of Amy’s death I intently watched the documentary The Untold Story on channel 5 to shed some light.

It was the first time some of the closest people in Amy’s life were seen on camera, but one unanticipated voice was ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil – the influence that won her heart and admits to providing the drugs in their relationship. The two’s on/off troubled relationship often became the heart of inspiration for the greatest work Amy had ever produced in best-selling album Back to Black. This truthful album not only won five Grammy awards, but was a form of emotional release from a woman her own husband depicts as ‘one of the loneliest people he’d ever met’. In the 2009 interview, Blake describes their intense passion for each other stimulated by drugs, but in the end torn apart as a result of their addictions.

Speaks a thousand words

He admits that her first dealings with hard drugs were supplied by him and it just seems Amy grew more curious to try the next high. All of this became aware by the public, when the two were photographed (right) in a horrific state which Blake continues to explain as self-harm whilst on a heavy drug binge. There it was. The truths lay bare from the man that lived the wild life alongside one of the most talented women of our generation. Aside from Amy’s demons, I hope she is remembered in the way she would have wanted; for the contribution she made to music. A unique voice, an trademark style and of course the integration of jazz/soul/R&B to create a genre that Amy delivered so well in her heartfelt performances.

Though, Amy’s untimely death is a huge loss, it should act as a caution to those who are living their lives in the same dangerous way that she did. At 27 years of age Amy had already achieved so much and probably had a lot more to give, as well pursuing her dreams of being a mother. Ambition is alive in us all; live strong to make them a reality.

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Social Media and Journalism: My journey

Social media seems to be an ever-growing force within journalism. Using Twitter to reinforce current news stories has been an interesting venture. The 140 character limit is like a challenge to produce the best headline, with articles you think will be of interest to the most people who follow you. Often, I would seek out strange and shocking stories, for example, ‘5 year-old dangerously imitates a superhero and SURVIVES’. Anecdotes which use shock-factor are ones that I think are most interesting and will gain more attention.

It works both ways, whilst I have grown to enjoy browsing through news to find something I want to tweet about; Twitter also provides countless avenues for journalism. Following news publications like BBCBreaking allows you to obtain the latest updates on a story you may be following. For example; the constant updates of the Libyan crisis kept the public informed. This is where social media is at its most useful.

Tweet tweet

This blog has been another way in which to expand my journalistic work. I have carried it on from my Web Communications unit last year, although I maintained it throughout the summer as I enjoyed blogging about my experiences and reviewing things. Before it was used for this unit, I mostly enjoyed reviewing music and films, preparing myself for my career choice in music journalism.

Blogs that I have completed for this unit have allowed me to express what I have learnt in my own writing style- which I take pleasure in. It almost acts to trigger the memory and is a portfolio of my work, which I am in fact quite proud of. I feel that blogging is your own personal touch on current affairs and aspects of journalism. However, be careful with what you type, remember media ethics apply in online communications- refer back to my post  Media Law: for you bloggers.

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A whole new meaning to body art

Thailand’s tourist associates are encouraging body painting events to go global. ‘Samui International Body Painting Competiton’ is an annual event that took place on the Lamai beach resort over the 26th and 27th of this month.

Samui hopes to gain more recognition for their event going international, matching similar competitions in Germany, Austria and Canada. ‘Preserving the Peace’ is the theme of the works of arts on the whole body. ‘Under the Deep Blue Sea’ and ‘Heaven on Earth’ seem to be the most popular and the most beautiful amongst the models. Thai art is an admirable talent that should be celebrated and where best to do this than the buzzing atmosphere of the local beach resort. Paradise is an accurate dipiction.

Anyone and everyone is encouraged to participate, with various creative activities, from nail painting to painting yourself! Admission is free, so it is an ideal community to join, if ever holidaying in the location. It is an amazing opportunity to witness the amazing sights of one the most extraodinary tourist spots in the Gulf of Thailand. Take a look at some of the most intricate paintwork over the two days:

Sea underworld theme

Nemo's new home

Complex designs

Under the deep blue sea by German artist

Heaven on earth

Scenes of artistic expertise in the perfect sunny location, what more could you ask for?

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Skylar Gray who?

Recently, a reappearing name has had me intrigued. Skylar Gray has featured in Diddy Dirty Money’s ‘I’m Coming Home’, but her vocals at the beggining aren’t enough to do her justice. The chorus is carried on by the ‘Dirty Money’ duo and do not compare, in my opinion.

Little-known fact, Skylar actually wrote one of the biggest songs of 2010 ‘Love The Way You Lie’ represented amazingly by Eminem and Rhianna that became one of the years most overplayed songs on the basis of collaborative talent. Although, Rhianna is a globally recognised talent and a hard-working one at that, Skylar’s original demo is out of this world. I discovered that an old favourite ‘Where’d you go’ by Fort Minor is complimented by her voice.

Introducing...

Since then, she released an album Like Blood Like Honey in 2006, which could be guilty of poor managment or bad promotion. Skylar has impressive vocal talent and deserves more than her 15 minutes.

A brief appearance was made by the songstress in her performance with hip-hop legend Dre’s comeback, with a modestly-lit stage something tells me Skylar may not be one for the limelight. In a brief interview she mentions that she was born to perform and not a very good talker. I think her voice makes up for this, so we can forgive Skylar for her socially awkward conversation and allow her to communicate with us through her music:

Also check out her track on Lupe Fiasco’s new album, ‘Words I Never Said’.

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Formulate a feature and engross your reader

Feature journalism can be treated like a genre of journalism. Although, there are types within this term such as those conducted in an interview style, profile, lifestyle, opinion columns and news features. It is defined by dictionary.com as “a newspaper or magazine article or report of a person,event, an aspect of a major event, or the like, often having a personal slant and written in an individual style”. It is also considered as the most prominent story in say, a magazine.

Upon first glance many writing enthusiasts would sigh and think of more rules, more guidelines and more boundaries to be drawn from their writing expectation. Except this is a mistaken view. There seems to be a craze forming and becoming a feature journalist is seemingly more desirable (Steenson, 2009). Truth is, feature writing does not have one clear-cut rule. Although, there are some generalities journalists prefer to use such as, the inverted pyramid which is closely followed for news stories. However, it is important to remember that feature articles differ from typical news stories. A feature attempts to add depth and colour to a subject, whereas news stories should be objective and informative. This does not mean that the writer hasn’t done as much homework as your average reporter. In fact, probably more, because a feature intends to grab the readers attention through using anecdotes and quotes.

What are you waiting for?

Patterson (1986, cited by, Garrison 2009) outlines three basic rules for feature writing; firstly have a character, secondly develop a narrative within the piece and allow the reader to visualise it for themselves. He claims that most features have these elements in common and emphasises the importance of the engagement factor- using an active voice. Bleyer (1913) agrees that feature writing should be like a miniature story and also believes there is no definitive guidelines for its treatment. I agree with this statement and feel that everybody has an individualistic writing style, if this is incorporated in the feature there is a more personal touch that readers can identify and relate to.

Of course, nowadays there are many more opportunities for feature writing in the online world. From the Guardian website to personal web blogs like this we are surrounded by such opportunities. So my take on all this feature business: get writing!! About anything and everything that you are passionate about, put it into words and captivate your readers.

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