Despite the traumatic experience that this assignment has delivered, it has highlighted the value that social media as an essential element of journalism.
Twitter, Facebook, text messaging, smart phones and digital cameras have provided an unprecedented forum for members of the public to become more than mere witnesses.
We are all now citizen journalists, investigators, possible vigilantes, theorists and providers of unedited content as a source for traditional news providers. The newspapers, television and radio news outlets rely on the new media for much of their content. It occurs via an exchange of original ideas from the contents of our electronic devices.
The recent Boston Bombing has shown the world the unstoppable power of social media as it…
- aided in police and FBI investigations
- identified suspects as citizen journalists, closed circuit camera along with amateur photographers captured evidence
- falsely suggested and named some individuals who were believed responsible for the terrorist attack
- assisted in locating the actual perpetrators to prepare them for the judicial system
- showed in real time across the globe how the investigative process was proceeding
- bought multiple perspectives from; victim’s experiences, the attackers’ mother’s reactions, members of the public’s views and international condemnation of terrorism.
As an aspiring journalist, I see the need to comprehend and utilise a greater set of electronic tools than I had at my disposal prior to studying this unit.
I have gained a wealth of research tools through my introduction to databases such as Newsbank. Investigating these resources ensure I am not rewriting what has already been written. I am able to revisit past relevant issues from my region, or from across the world to make the issues contemporary and local, adding to my stories news values.
Twitter has been a fabulous way for me to see news as it happens globally. I have selected contributors who I see as intelligent, versatile, specialists in their fields, passionate about reporting, gifted wordsmiths, who I can emulate in my own writing. Capturing events or ideas in 140 characters is an art that I had never entertained prior to my ALJ 216 studies.
I have provided content for commercial blogs in the past, but have never been responsible for the establishment or updating of a blog. This assignment has been like a baptism of fire, while wearing a petrol covered coat and carrying lit matches. There are few things I can think of which have cause the same amount of infuriation, belittlement and blind rage. At some points during this learning phase, I would have rather filled out a mortgage application in a foreign language for my soul, than be forced to go through this time consuming torture.
I faced the same challenges that the cohort of exasperated students faced with this assignment. These battles included a lack of instructions to make the blog, faulty RRS attachments, an inability to link online resources, difficulty with editing audio files, challenges with sticking photos onto the blog, the blog platforms I selected not supporting any of the features essential to showcase my new electronic intelligences, obnoxious formatting making any word over six letters split over multiple lines, an inability to navigate the controls of the blog set up/editing so I accidentally released dreadful premature versions of my blog and sent it to all of the professionals I had following me on twitter (making me look like a complete twit, who lost said followers!).
The icing on my cake of faeces, was when my dearly beloved 8 year old MacBook died, taking with it my entirely un-backed up electronic research, my search history, the raw audio interview tracks, all the selected and photographed images I hoped to use and my draft blog pages on word doccuments.
This loss forced me to use public libraries and the university computer labs at ridiculous hours and call in a huge number of favours as friends provided child care for my daughters. It has been tuesday evening that finally, I have paid a technician to perform an autopsy on my old computer and Frankenstein it into a stupidly expensive, non budgeted for, new purchase.
But… I will not give up on illustrating my own potential writing and research abilities. I hate quitting before a challenge is beaten.
And so, here it is ~ done and complete!