Sunday, October 4, 2009

What drives Citizens Media?

So yeah, I'm taking an on-line journalism course on line at my old Alma Mater, Umass. This was Friday's assignment.
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A search for the truth drives those who would call them selves “citizen journalists.” And holding up a mirror to reflect what actually occurs at an event is now far easier because of technology—digital cameras, cell phones with built in video, micro-cassette recorders, etc.

Plus the Internet makes publication for the whole world to see just a click away.

But facts still matter. The old “who, what, when, where and why” still matter. And yes, for God sake spell names correctly because somebody will notice, and they’re going to think “If you can’t spell my name correctly what other facts did you mess up.”

When it first made the literary scene in the late 60’s and early 1970’s New Journalism, where a writer immersed themselves in the actual story, was viewed by journalism purists as a red headed bastard stepchild.

But with talented writers like Joan Didion, Truman Capote, and Norman Mailer to name a few, it proved to be more than a passing fad. The New Media journalist has a tremendous advantage with new technology and can capture actual scenes instantly thus relying less on writing skills and more on layout.

A good lead, however, still matters—as does a catchy headline. And these days a citizen journalist can’t rely on a photo editor or headline editor, which of course can be good or bad. But who better to chose a headline or photo than the person who actually wrote the article?

Since most Citizen Journalists are not paid a salary obviously their motivation is similar to an Olympic athlete who does things for the love of the sport.

And yes in spite of some of the recent articles about competition between mainstream media and citizens journalists being a thing of the past competition is a powerful motivator. I hate to say it but I dearly love scooping my local newspaper (not that it’s all that hard to do).

About the only good thing to come out of the 2004 Presidential election was the common use of the term “core.” (I think it came up in a negative sense in ads paid for by the Swift Boat Veterans against John Kerry and he made the huge mistake of not responding instantly but—for the sake of this discussion-- that is irreverent.)

Core is an all or nothing thing. You either have it or you don’t. And being motivated by altruistic principals goes a long way to ensure you do indeed have one (although it’s nice to bring home a paycheck at the same time).

Bobby Kennedy once said something to the effect that if a politician really, really believes in the message then they should be able to present it without a script or (if they had them back then) a teleprompter. Extemporaneous speaking often comes from the heart.

On the day Martin Luther King was assassinated (4 April 1968) Bobby was in the middle of his ill-fated Presidential run and against the wishes of his advisers got up on a flatbed truck and spoke from the heart to a predominantly African American crowd in Indianapolis, Indiana in what was supposed to be a routine campaign stop.

He broke the horrible news off-the-cuff and ever so eloquently, closing with a message of non-violence. That night Indianapolis was one of the few cities not to go up in flames.

No, I don’t honestly think Citizen Journalists or bloggers are the reincarnation of Bobby Kennedy—but many of them share the same ideals: to dream things and say, why not?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah yeah, flags, 9/11, god and country, yeah yeah, hard hitting in your face Larry Kelley, yeah yeah man about town where the stench of corruption follows like shit on the bottom of the shoe.

Town government a festering cesspool but must get that picture of the flag when it should be at half staff!



WTF kind of a narcissist is this?





Failed.

LarryK4 said...

Glad you like the blog so much (even on a Sunday).

If you think you can do a better job, Blogger is free (and I post 5 or 6 days per week over the past 2.5 years and still have only used up one-third of my bandwidth allotment.)

You sound an awful lot like the Anon who wanted to hang the tragic death of a 2-year-old child under the wheel of a bus on faulty maintenance.

And readers of this "hard hitting" blog know full well I was the first by many months to expose that two police investigations (State and local) concluded it was a tragic "accident".

The District Attorney only recently released her “official report” confirming the same.

Anonymous said...

but i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidth

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but i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidthbut i have heard you complain about people using up your precious bandwidth

Anonymous said...

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LarryK4 said...

Yeah, that is what we bloggers call sarcasm. Cowardly, Anon, Nitwit.

Anonymous said...

Hey Larry, where's the school "mechanic" now, tough guy?

I'll tell you where he is: working for van pool AS A DRIVER.


That's right, a home boiler repair man had NO PLACE fixing school vehicles did he, eh, Larry?

Nice of the town to pay him off with a $10,000 check for his troubles... and to keep him quiet.

Nice of the town to let that situation go on for almost three decades...

Hey, how come they asked him to go Larry? Hmm? I mean, he spent most of his time driving anyway. And he did such a GREAT job fixing vehicles!

Didn't he, Larry?

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I kinda thought that was you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, didn't think you'd have an answer.

LarryK4 said...

So what you saying (in journalism it's called "alleging") is that Amherst PD and Massachusetts State Police accident reconstruction team BOTH screwed up?

And I happen to know all those officers/troopers involved signed their NAMES to the report/findings.

Can you say the same?

Anonymous said...

If you are going to be a citizen journalist you might want to learn some grammer.

Quotations marks, such as Larry is a "hard hitting journalist" actually imply that that is in question. Are you trying to say you are not a hard hitting journalist?

LarryK4 said...

Actually you Cowardly, Anon, Nitwit I only put quotation marks around "hard hitting" and did not add "journalist" because the original Cowardly, Anon, Nitwit (and for all I know you are both the same) I was quoting used only the exact term (as sarcasm of course) "hard hitting".

I added to his term "hard hitting" the word "blog" (because of course I am.) Damn, now you got me putting quotation marks around things I just said.

Quotation marks can/should also mean that is EXACTLY what some Cowardly, Anon, Nitwit said.

Anonymous said...

Geez, and I thought it was Sendelbach.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, he sucks up a fair amount of bandwidth as well (but hey, at least it is still free.)

Anonymous said...

"narcissist"

Anonymous said...

No, dickless.

Anonymous said...

"And I happen to know all those officers/troopers involved signed their NAMES to the report/findings."


An insider's insider. Totally useless narcissist's "blog" if there ever was one.

"Bad boys bad boys what'cha gonna do, what'cha gonna do when Larry comes for you?"

No fcking wonder...

Anonymous said...

"So what you saying (in journalism it's called "alleging") is that Amherst PD and Massachusetts State Police accident reconstruction team BOTH screwed up?"


LOL, nice little "redirect" there Larry Larry quite contrary...

I think it is EXCEEDINGLY obvious what I'm getting at... and why.

Three decades Larr Larr, three fcking decades...

Wow, Amherst really cares about kids, eh Kelley?


One big viper's nest.

Anonymous said...

off your meds again, eh?

Anonymous said...

IT'S ON PEOPLE
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Anonymous said...

bandwidth hogging is just NOT cool...

Anonymous said...

Love the blog.

Don't love the self-congratulation on it, however.

LarryK4 said...

Well you sure as Hell are not paying me.

S.P. Sullivan said...

Newspapers self congratulate all the time. Did you see all the nonsense that came out this week, which was National Newspaper Week?

Headlines like "Informed? Thank your newspaper" made me want to throw up. And I run a newspaper.

Citizen journalists are absolutely valuable, and you're probably going to see a lot more blogs like this one crop up in coming years.

While you're taking UMass journalism classes online, you might want to take one with Frank Faulkner, a former Republican reporter who now teaches from Ireland. That guy knows his stuff.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah the Gazette had a front page story recently about Publisher Jim Foudy winning some award I never heard of as well.