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.