Thursday, April 21, 2011

Panos London

In searching for a topic for our final project I found this organization who promotes media and communication projects for people in poverty and those disenfranchised.  Panos London "promotes dialogue, debate and change" by telling the stories about development and stories of the effects of forced immigration, climate change, economic struggles, improving media coverage and empowering the oppressed.

The website is funded through grants from organizations such as World Bank Institute, Department for International Development Cooperation (MFA Finland), Department of Health UK, European Commission and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The media group has helped, in 2009, 40 journalists in 27 countries to report on climate change. Also, empowered citizen journalists with exploring the benefits of mobile phones and pushing countries to address poverty as a main issue in the media' agenda. 

In one article they addressed was Uganda's elections and the corruption in rigging the polls. Another article discusses a Tibetan man's experience as a political prisoner for 27 years in China. 

This site is able to provide journalism from the voices inside the countries giving new perspectives on situations and events that isn't apart of the mainstream media. This organizations goals are too empower people to speak out about oppression, which is a difficult task especially when in poverty and trying to feed their families. Exploring the issues and cases of disenfranchisement is a result of globalization and richer countries taking advantage of weaker one. The global economy plays a big role in effecting social, economical, political success or failure around the world. The ease of technology and trade has enabled every country to participate in another countries decisions and actions. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Straight Goods News

Straight Goods News is a canadian online independent news source published in 2000. The front page has subheadings similar to a newspaper. Local News, World News, Science, Humor, Editorials and Cartoons.

This week they are focusing on Earth Week and tailoring most of their content to have an environmental spin on it, "UN to debate Nature's rights, Parliament of Fouls, veggie virginity, Mexican union victory, potash royalties, Libya as weapons showroom, defining NATO, and much more..." 

Besides the World News section they are very focused on providing content for Canadians.

The reporter model is similar to Huffington Post where they have contributing writers and bloggers who provide most of the content. There are only three paid staff members including the publisher, editor and web master.

Their revenue comes from their 30 shareholders and paid subscriptions ranging from $15 to $95. Ads also attribute to their revenue and I like that they place them near the bottom or to one side. It doesn't distract a reader from the important content. They have ads promoting public works such as the United Steelworkers and Public Values.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ethics and Social Media

With everyone plugged into social websites like Facebook or Twitter, ethical dilemmas have been created including whether journalists should be apart of the atmosphere — posting opinions, “friending” sources, “liking” posts or pictures, and choosing to be fans of certain pages.  It bring into question if transparency is the new objectivity?

Each journalist making the decision to “friend” a source or publicize a political opinion by hitting “confirm friend” or “ignore request” button they are choosing what they value more — transparency or objectivity — based on their morals as a journalist. 

In a Neiman report article, Marc Cooper, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California, said new ethics created by online journalism are asking journalists to be transparent.

“What this new ethic asks the reporter to do is to be honest in disclosing his or her point of view, his or her bias, his or her affiliations,” Cooper said. “Then in writing or producing his or her story, make it very clear the perspective from which it has come.”

One could also argue that a journalist a part of social Web sites expresses trust and credibility. In an article by The Guardian, Richard Sambrook, the director of the BBC Global News Division, said transparency in the new media age is what delivers trust.  

In his article Reed Richardson, journalist for Nieman Reports, said a reporter could be scrutinized if his or her political opinions are publicized.

“If this reporter discloses his vote or drives a car with Obama bumper sticker, his work is considered to be tainted,” he said.

Reporters should strive to protect their free speech and join social Web sites, but at in doing so they are losing personal privacy with each post and decision they make on their personal site. When reporters reveal information about their beliefs, like political views or get tied up in a conflict of interest, the public will be able to assess that information because of its accessibility. 

Since no one is going to choose not to be involved in the fastest growing communication outlet, a solution would be to have companies regulate the kind of information shared. Employers should create policies that limit the extend of use of a social Web site declaring that a journalist should not “friend” a source and be careful of what one posts. 

When using a website like Facebook, a journalist should strive to act independently by avoiding conflicts of interest and remain free of associations and activities that could compromise integrity or damage their credibility. With an influx in social outlets popping up everyday, journalists need to determine how to utilize them by staying true to their morals as a journalist and strive to be objective in writing any piece of journalism. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hip 2 Save

While my mother was in graduate school her friend use to clip coupons out of the newspaper and fill drawers with them in the 80s.  She was the "master saver"  and never paid for anything without a coupon. It has been over 20 years since my mother say her friend and because of another social network site, LinkedIn, she was able to reconnect. Apparently, her graduate friend has turned in her scissors for a printer and used various sites including Hip2Save to find her coupons. She gets so many free items that she sends boxes of cereal with her kids to school to hand out to the teachers.

Hip 2 Save is a coupon website. An the electronic version of the Sunday newspaper where homemakers can clip, or in this case print out, coupons. It's founder was a mother who started blogging to gain encouragement to be more frugal. With three kids and one income from her husband she decided to clip coupons and find ways to save. She started sharing the coupons online in 2008 and got a great response.

Especially in this current economic state and gas prices on the rise everyone is looking to save a $1 here and there. It is a great niche idea that has hit home with families and friends. 

Mobile Snappers: Ethics

Mark Johnson, photojournalism lecturer at the University of Georgia, found himself in an ethical dilemma when he had to choose between two photos of a union rally —one was of the participants quietly discussing the issues (they did this for three hours) another was of them yelling and scream (only for five minutes of the three hours) — and he chose the first one.

“[The second image] was really dramatic, but not representative of the overall story,” he said. “[A citizen journalist on the scene] made an image that was really dramatic and the next morning there was the article with the dynamic photograph but no where in [the article] does the reporter talk about people yelling and screaming.”

With the easy of technology always at our fingertips, citizen journalists have created many ethical dilemmas, including whether or not to use a citizen journalist’s photograph that cannot be verified, but it is dynamic and timely.

Johnson said he questions what the future holds for news organizations with the emergence of a new information outlet — citizen journalists. 

 “Because we don’t have people looking at the big picture we are now going to run into situations where we run images that aren’t accurate and that aren’t a fair depiction of what happened,” he said.

Mobile snappers are taking photos to please others such as news organizations and friends. They want to be the first to have a photo of an historic event and share their findings with the world. Also by news organizations using the interesting photo, they probably will sell more copies and, in turn, sell more ad space.

Credibility is one of the main issues here. Photojournalists cannot be everywhere, but mobile snappers can. However, trusting that mobile snappers are getting an accurate photo depicting an event cannot be confirmed because they don’t follow the same ethics a journalist adheres to. The context of an event can change when an image is framed a certain way.

One can also argue that citizen journalists are trying to create more transparency in the world, in which everyone is held accountable for their actions.

In recent years, some of the most powerful photos have come from mobile snappers including ones from the London bombings and Asian Tsunamis. 

Getty images bought the company Scoopt, which acts as a middleman between mobile snappers and news organizations. Mobile snappers send in their photo submissions, the company ensures the photos authenticity, and then splits the profit from selling it to a news organization.

"If someone is there and gets the picture that is truly evocative and captures the moment, they deserve to be published," Kyle MacRae, founder of Scoopt said in an interview with the BBC. "I think citizen journalism has the potential to change what we think of as newsworthy events. A lot does not get reported because they have not been photographed." 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Dominion

The Dominion is a grassroots news organization published monthly.
Beginning in May 2003 it aims to provide “accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles.” It’s named after “Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force.”
Newspaper articles investigate politics, culture and daily life. Most contributors are citizen journalists providing content. However, the paper has a few experienced journalists and many editors. Editors and reporters pride themselves on the paper’s model as creating articles for the public good and not to maximize profits as the majority of other Canadian papers do.
The paper was formed from Canada’s media cooperative; it is owned and controlled by its subscribers and donors. Monthly payments are on average $20 for each subscriber. The Dominion supports itself on reader support and not advertisers. They also have received a few grants over the years to continue to publish the paper both online and in print.
Several issues are extensively covered offering background and historical context including the war in Afghanistan, global climate change and research in Haiti.
The Dominion claims, “we are biased towards the perspectives of those most affected by events, government policy and corporate activity.”

China Controls its History's Narrative

In a recent New York Times article At China’s New Museum, History Toes Party Line it states the new museum showcases China’s history in support of it’s communist party censorship. 

The author, Ian Johnson, said:

“But one tradition has remained firmly in place: China will not confront its own history. The museum is less the product of extensive research, discovery or creativity than the most prominent symbol of the Communist Party’s efforts to control the narrative of history and suppress alternative points of view, even those that exist within the governing elite.”

The article also addresses how the museum has rarely been open throughout its’ own existence because of criticisms of being too radical in providing certain aspects of history.
The Museum acts as a place for the Chinese government to spread its propaganda of its history. Parts of Chinese history such as reform during the 1950s and ’60s is called “10 years of tortuous development” while the First Opium War of 1839 is referred to “The Road to Rejuvenation.” Great Leap Forward’s devastating famine, considered the worlds worst famine, is described as “the project of constructing socialism suffered severe complications.” And only one photograph and a few sentences describes The Cultural Revolution.  While Tiananmen Square demonstrations in the late ’80s is not mentioned at all. 

What the exhibit does feel is worthy to display is what they referred to as “precious objects” like Deng’s cowboy hat and Mr. Hu’s bullhorn. These are hardly as significant as China’s move to communism and famous poltical riots. As well as, China’s involvement in the World Wars.

“A public museum in China is seldom about the past,” Hung Chang-Tai, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said. “It is about the current image of the party and how the party wants itself to be seen.”

Many question whether the National Museum of China should be considered one of the world’s top museums.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Swimming Against the Steam in Canada

The Tyee is “B.C.’s Home for News, Culture and Solutions” located in Vancouver, Canada.  It is one of the largest regional independent media outlet covering everything from News to Arts and Culture to Opinion news.  
Tyee is Chinook meaning Spring or King salmon of thirty pounds or more. For Tyee it is about swimming against the current like Salmon do each year.  They are known for their investigative articles which present information other news outlets neglect to cover.

In 2009 they received the Edward R. Murrow Award, Excellence in Journalism Award (Canadian Journalism Foundation),Three Canadian Online Publishing Awards (Best News, Best Website Design, Best Community Feature), and they were a Finalist for two Jack Webster Awards: Excellence in Online Journalism and Excellence in Community Reporting.

The established news site is managed by an editorial board including legal and business contacts. Reporters and bloggers write the articles. The site says they recruit journalists who write articles many times about “viewpoints banished from corporate media and shined a light on corners of the province Big Media ignores.”

The site began in November of 2003 and promised readers "at The Tyee you'll find investigative reporting no one else is doing, and fresh viewpoints from all over B.C." They claim they are not owned by any big corporation and advocate the need for investors, advertisers, and funders for their investigative projects. Also, Tyee greatly benefits from free subscriptions drawing in many potential donors who spread the word about the integrity of the site.

Their readership is about 150,000 unique visitors each month. Advertisements cover travel, environmental, online higher education courses and upcoming events. None are from large businesses. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Little White Lies Magazine

Little White Lies: Truth and Movie is an independent bi-weekly magazine out of the UK featuring writing, illustration and photography about cinema. They say their mission is "to reshape the debate across the movie landscape."

The website features film's of the week, movie reviews, interviews with actors, and a digital version of the magazine. The graphic design art work is really interesting and captivating. Each cover is of a different actor of that weeks top movie. Articles inside are also illustrated with the same design feel.

The site also offers tv news packages, prints of the magazine's art work, blogs and current independent film DVDs.

They make money off of a yearly subscription of 40.00 Euros and selling the artwork from their magazine.

It offers a different take on film and gives a reader an artist look into creating cinema.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Internet Censorship

Censorship of the internet is near to impossible to accomplish in the United States. We can search anything we want and get a million and one opinions on the subject. Of course, we can thank the first amendment for that. But, what about countries who live under authoritative rule? How can you control something available to everyone? And is it right?

The Sydney Morning Herald discusses Google's announcement to "uphold the principle of free access to information while obeying Chinese law." The chinese governement only wants to use the interent for business and education. It is concerned with pornographic and dissident voices. Since China is such a big market Google doesn't want to lose them. They are sacrificing objective information for revenue. And in turn silencing voices allowed to be heard by the company's home base country.

Less than four months ago I was in China traveling on a study abroad program. After our daily excursions I would attempt to log in to Facebook on my iphone and the page would keep trying to load without success.  Other students encountered the same problem. As soon as anyone steps into China they are subject to the same censorship. I had never experienced anything like that before. It is scary to feel disconnected from information. There are terms, topics and events wiped clean from the internet. Searching Tiananmen Square 1989 results in one government fabricated lie after another. I even asked the tour guide about the riots and he said it was something no one discussed and wouldn't provide me with any addition information.

Censorship takes away a persons right to information, truth and justice.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

NBC Reports Wrong-Doings of Corporate Partner

The Daily Show reports NBC discloses their affiliation with General Electric in their news programs. The broadcasts reported on failed coffee makers, medical scanners, convicted GE employees and within each story they disclosed "GE, parent company of NBC Universal" or "GE, parent company of this broadcast," etc.   It is shocking to see a big network such as NBC being transparent.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Family Matters
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Friday, March 25, 2011

Handling New Media

The internet has allowed everyone to be a form of journalist and this is causing issues. The press gets special privileges including attending some private meetings, events and hearings. But what happens when everyone is a journalist?

An article discussing an incident at one of Oregon's executive sessions suggested there needs to a law which states the definition of media. A blogger wanted to be able to sit in on one of theses sessions with the rest of the press, but he was asked to leave.

New media has created outlets for everyone to be involved in creating news from someone sending in a photo of an event to submitting an opinion piece to a news website to just blogging about it. The article also addresses the issue "What is news?" They are right. Is a Tweet news? A Facebook status? And who decides this.

I think these are fair questions to ask, which will only get more complicated as the internet evolves. We need to address these issues and their implications now.

Big Newspapers and Their Struggle to Survive

The newspaper industry has been in a downward spiral since the availability of news on the internet, creating a greater competition to survive. Many newspapers can't survive as subscriptions plummet and news seekers resort to more interesting news sites. 

When the mainstream newspaper, Hartford Courant, bought, the alternative newspaper, Hartford Advocate it not only gained revenue from their readers, but became their "big bother." 

A New York Times article stated: 

 '''This is the other shoe people have been waiting for,' said Abe Peck, an associate dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, who is an authority on the underground press of the 1960's. 'The alternative is now the mainstream. The alternative press emerged as a voice beyond the massified downtown dailies. Now, we're just talking about an alternative tone.'"

Many fear the newspapers was silencing their competition. They can control the content just like a corporation buying an alternative newspaper or website. Recently we have seen AOL buying Huffington Post. News gathers question whether Huffington Post should still be considered alternative. And its true, how can we really know if the site pumping out talking points or providing the same content as before? 

Newspapers and other media sites need to figure out a model to make money. Whether charge annually or by number of articles to access their site like The New York Times is considering. 

The Hartford Courant stated they also decided to buy Hartford Advocate to target 18-35 year olds. From hearing what my friends look at for news daily it is mainly independent blogs, The Daily Show and other alternative news sites. Many of these mainstream newspapers are last on the list and to me it isn't a surprise. Other sites offer a different take on the issue and aren't afraid to criticize big businesses. 

If mainstream newspapers take over these alternative newspapers, then newsgathers are just going to look elsewhere. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Analyzing Go Fug Yourself

I am most amazed at what our society finds important. And the blog is no exception.

It is the simplest concepts and rakes in a revenue of an estimated $6,240 a month. The site is a place where the bloggers post photos of celebrities and mock their clothes, make up and hair. The content is limitied to a few short sentances and then a poll for readers to interact. Yet, they have 3.5 million unique visitors a month.

The site itself is laid out like a blog — just one continuous stream of bad outfits and criticizing comments. The humorous photos themselves are what draws the viewer's attention and keeps them reading.

Advertisers fund the site including clothing, food, and beauty product ads.

The site's content isn't advocating for human rights, political issues, or other major issues facing our world, but it's a great idea with fun, interesting, engaging and creative content.

With an ever increasingly short attention spanned society who wants the cliff-notes to life, a site that can produce a simple and humorous outlet will come out on top. And for GoFugYourself this is what makes them so successful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


As part of Buzzsaw’s militarization week they showed the movie Restrepo. It is a documentary of the U.S. occupation in the Korengal Valley, a highly disputed area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, filmed by embedded journalists Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington. About 70 percent of all bombs dropped during the Afghanistan war, up till 2007, were dropped in this valley.

The movie is a powerful work of war journalism that captures the life of a soldier. It shows the cultural divide and the struggle to ally with the village elders.

It was a different perspective of war not seen in mainstream media. It shows the daily struggles of the American soldiers, their fears, the importance of brotherhood, and killing the enemy. 

The film addresses issues beyond the points made in mainstream media. From watching the news I remember hearing the many successes of the soldiers and the benefits of Americans being in Iraq and Afghanistan. The film shows the 15-month deployment of the Second Platoon. In that time their greatest success was establishing an Outpost. Then in 2010 we withdrew from the area. The reality of war, which is portrayed in the film, is how much time it takes to make ground and develop an area. Its something that wasn’t covered enough when deciding to go to war. 

Junger also wrote the book War, which is a companion to the film. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Reflection on Voices of Revolution #2

For my extra reading I read “Educating America on the Merits of Socialism.”  This chapter highlights the dissident weekly newspaper Appeal to Reason. To be honest, I was fascinated by the ability its’ founder J.A. Wayland had in creating the circulation to almost equal that of the mass media of its’ time. Especially since there was such a backlash against anything communist in the 50s. This paper survived before a time of complete and utter hatred for a philosophy and the paper was supported by 80,000 “foot soldiers for socialism.” I didn’t realize how popular socialism was in this country or could ever be for we have fought many wars trying to prevent the “spread” of these kinds of ideals.

However, I was most troubled by Wayland’s suicide note where he said, “The struggle under the competitive system is not worth the effort; let it pass” (Streitmatter 111). I thought the whole point about being a dissident voice was struggle, competition, being the under dog and hopefully rising up? Wayland just gave into the pressures from the mainstream media. I suppose not every story can be about winning in the end. Wayland was able to influence many people and share hopes for a better work place. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Voices of Revolution" Reflection

Roger Streitmatter discusses in Voices of Revolution, the people who made rights, that are sometimes taken for granted, into laws. The dissident press in America advocated for labor laws, education and children’s rights. Newspapers like The Revolution discussed women’s rights including abortion, voting, harassment and domestic violence. Mainstream media renounced these publications. But like today independent media plays a large role in creating dialogue on issues swept under the carpet. It is their voice, which brings these issues into the open.

The Revolution opened a public forum to talk about women’s issues. They allowed the public to contribute opinions and stories engaging the people. Media today is doing the exact same thing with blogs. An article is written and a blogger can either comment right on the bottom of the page or can link to it with comments. It is an updated model of the kind of call-to-action collaboration that was done during the nineteenth century.

Independent media today is still as powerful as it once was. Jeramy Scahill brought the discussion of Blackwater and private contractors to the table of the justice system. Wikileaks showed the world images of unsettling events in the Iraq War. While even satire, like The Onion, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are able to question the reliability of their own field into question. The dissident voices in the nineteenth century continue to be heard. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Resistance through music

After watching the clip El General, the Tunisian political issues rapper in class, I was reminded of the film I recently watched — I Love Hip Hop in Morocco. A documentary about Moroccan Hip-hop artists and the struggles they face. This kind of music goes against their way of life — their traditions, religion and laws (No one is allowed to speak ill of the King of Morocco or criticize the government). They confront much resistance as they express themselves through not only this art, but with the lyrics which discuss political issues, key events important to remember as in opposing their government, and views on the western culture. However, despite it all they fundraise and create a concert featuring all of these underground bands like Fnaire and Don Bigg. Hip-hop in the United States is about relationships, love, sex, and drugs. We all dance, sing and listen, but for Moroccan rappers music is their freedom of speech.

In September I traveled to Morocco and was determined to find a Moroccan Hip-hop CD. I was worried about finding the CDs in Morocco because I didn’t know the language and knew the music was offensive to the majority of the population. The first day, I got the courage to ask my waiter about Moroccan hip-hop, but he immediately said it didn’t exist. The next day in the market in Marrakech there was a small stand pushed between a restaurant and convenience store. At first glance I could only see the typical “Sounds of Morocco” CDs, but after asking the man and reassuring him that I really did want hip-hop music he pulled out a small box from under the counter. The CD covers were cracked, they weren’t covered in plastic wrap and the artwork looked like it was made on a home computer. I found the artists I knew and paid the man the equivalent of 5 dollars for each one.

Music is such a powerful tool and with the increase use of social media viral YouTube videos of these artists spread their message throughout the countries. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

AOL/ Huffington Post Merger

Last night the Huffington Post was bought by AOL. But what is this going to mean for the future of journalism? Will one of the most visited independent sites sill retain it's bravado? Is it even possible to still be considered or called independent with a corporate backing?

The Boston Globe reported AOL has set a plan for creating traffic to their site:

* AOL tells its editors to decide what topics to cover based on four considerations: traffic potential, revenue potential, edit quality and turn-around time.
* AOL asks its editors to decide whether to produce content based on "the profitability consideration."
* The documents reveal that AOL is, when the story calls for it, willing to boost traffic by 5 to 10% with search ads and other "paid media."
* AOL site leaders are expected to have eight ideas for packages that could generate at least $1 million in revenue on hand at all times.
* In-house AOL staffers are expected to write five to 10 stories per day.
* AOL knows its sites are too dependent on traffic from, and it wants its editors to fix the problem by posting more frequently, with more emphasis on getting page-views.

As The Boston Globe points out, AOL is does not appear to be concerned about journalistic integrity or values the Huffington Post has. In this odd merger of corporation and independent media outlet and it is yet to be seen what will come of their partnership. We can only hope for the best. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

News 21

News 21 is an impressive independent media site. Each topic covered by each institution is researched, investigated and displayed with extreme care and professionalism. This site really showcases the next generation’s talent and the use of multi-media.

This would be a great outlet for the Ithaca community to get involved with. Especially if Ithaca College students were able to invest their energy in building a page discussing a unique issue  to our region.  One feature not being discussed amongst the schools is the issue of poverty in America. It is highlighted as one of the under pinning reason for overcrowding in prisons in “Califonia’s Convict Cycle.”

Also there is the issue of sex trafficking, slavery and prostitution. Much discussion about whether is should be legalized or decriminalized. I feel the site is a great source of topics not always covered in mainstream media news and I would love to see it expanded. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Indy coverage of SOTU

Several of the Independent Media Outlets such as the Colbert Report and the Onion enjoy poking fun at the terms Obama used in his State of the Union address on Jan 25.

The Onion decided to highlight the President's call to action as a call for "Americans who save all their cardboard boxes, write feverishly in the margins of newspapers, have backs covered with a giant eagle tattoo ..." They decide not to analyze the actual points the President makes about his plans for the future in terms of education, innovation and infrastructure.

While The Onion stays true to their “entertainment news” style they could of given more of a punch by criticizing or commending a key issue of the President’s future goals for America.

The Colbert Report was able to address more of the issues or lack of issues the President talked about. Colbert felt the President should of spoke about climate change, gun control and the President’s plans to tackle the unemployment rate.

Even Colbert's guest Michael Waldman, author of My Fellow Americans, said the President had a good catch phrase, conveyed optimism, had a plan for the future of the economy, and drew some lines for the republicans to set up fights later on, but still it didn’t make the cut among the best inspirational speeches. Waldman said the President failed to mention the important issues our country is facing.

on and infrastructure.

While The Onion stays true to their “entertainment news” style they could of given more of a punch by criticizing or commending a key issue of the President’s future goals for America.