Early this week, I had the privilege to interview Shabnam Mahmood, a Bollywood reporter at BBC World. I asked her a few questions regarding the impact of technology on her work as a journalist. In the interview she highlighted :
Three ways in which technology has changed the way she does her job
The kind of technology she uses for her journalism
The last piece if technology she used in her job
The piece of technology she would have invented and why
A tip technology tip for student journalists.
You can watch the interview below :
After the short video interview, I discussed further with Mahmood about her views regarding the impact of technology on Journalism. Although it is evident that Mahmood has great support for technology, she still claims that: “Newspapers won’t die.” She explains that this is due to there being a great number of dinosaurs, in as well as out of the Journalism industry, who still want paper to hold and read. And according to Mahmood, they are here to stay for a good while. And why wouldn’t they stay as Mahmood believes that, “technology can let you down sometimes”, and I agree with her completely on this one – phone jams, camera malfunctions and so on can happen any time; sometimes just before an important interview!
Moreover, during my conversation with Mahmood, I discovered about her recent work. She has recently written an article regarding a new storyline in Eastenders, one of Britain‘s most popular TV soaps. You can view this article below:
Along with writing articles for the entertainment section of BBC News, Mahmood is also actively involved in the coverage of Bollywood awards functions like the ‘IIFA Awards‘, the recent one being held at Canada:
The above examples are evident of the usefulness of technology. This can be said because of BBC’s use of their online webpage to publish the Eastender’s story and the use of cameras and microphones to cover the IIFA Awards. But does this mean that the world of Journalism is incomplete without technology?
Or are newspapers enough to get news across to the public? Unfortunately, I bet the dinosaurs would argue so.
‘What do the recent Facebook changes mean for newspapers and journalists?’ was the key question of Kathryn Corrick’s lecture at Kingston University. Corrick, a Digital media consultant, summarised Facebook’s September 2011F8 conference, which introduced 2 major changes – the Timeline and the Open Graph App - along with a few minor ones.
The Timeline will enable users to publish only the defining and important moments of their lives and will allow them to ‘backfill’ and ‘curate’ further content into their timeline. Additionally, there will be different filters for timeline views and an option to ‘add apps’.
The implications of the Timeline are :
Users will be able to view the data that they have on Facebook more easily
Potentially produces more highly rich data sets
Provides more coarse privacy settings.
The Open Graph will increase the level of connectivity for the users.This platform is a new set of programming tools that lets you get information in and out of Facebook. This includes the introduction of the Ticker and the Social Plug-ins. The Ticker feature enables the appearance of any articles read by your Facebook friends on the side of your homepage, providing you the choice to read it too. The social plug-ins allow to you see what your friends have liked, commented on or shared on sites across the web.
Below is a video that explains the social plug-ins in detail:
The implications of the Open Graph are:
Emphasis on ‘apps’ instead of ‘pages’
Richer data sets
What effects do these changes have on newspapers and journalists?
Before the launch of the Open Graph App, media institutions like The Guardian and The Independent were able to access it. This was a good opportunity for these news organisations to increase their distribution by targeting a wider and younger readership. Moreover, this app is a mediator to these organisations as it would bring traffic to their websites and increase revenues.
How easy is it to access newspaper apps on Facebook ?
The Guardian is easily found through the ‘search’ on Facebook. It is in fact the top result.
The Independent is difficult to find, however has good control over its subscribers’ privacy.
The New York Times is very easy to find, however does not provide the option of ‘secure browsing.’
The Washington Post is attractive in its design that impresses the reader and makes them want to subscribe.
Overall, I think the Open Graph can in fact push the chances for newspapers’ success higher, however the understanding of newspaper organisations of how to use this app affectively is not quite there yet.
A duck or a rabbit? There is ambiguity in the image that leaves its interpretation up to the viewer.
Duckrabbit, born in 2008, is an award-winning digital production company that acts likes a messenger to the audience and puts emphasis on storytelling. Tony Phillips, Senior Commissioner at the BBC World Service claimed that the duckrabbit team has a sense of “terrific storytelling.”
The company merges documentary audio, still photography and video to produce short films with audio narratives for commercial, charity and broadcast clients.
This is an example of one of the ‘short-films’ produced by duckrabbit. It is a reflection on Sri Lanka’s child soldiers.
Duckrabbit, has recently started to produce spectacular 3D films. They claim that this is the type of production that must ‘be experienced to be believed.’ Their short-films do not feature any presenter or celebrity endorser. Instead, the films consist of honest voices of those with which the documentaries are concerned. This technique, according to Rudge, successfully uses storytelling to provoke change.
Rudge explained that how short films, like the one above, must consist of a catchy title i.e. ‘Maggie Nesciur : The Walker’, that would make the viewer want to click it and watch the full story. He further added, that the length of the video should not be longer than 2 and a half minutes as no one would want to “hang around for longer” and may lose their attention span.
According to the Office of National Statistics, UK internet users spent 240 million hours watching online video in September 2011. So what does this tell you? If you ask me, it proves that multimedia journalism is on the increase as let’s face it, this type of journalism is entertainment as well as news and this is the reason behind duckrabbit’s success; when asked Rudge, he said: “Journalists are the best at telling stories.”
So, DuckRabbit – A Messenger of reports is what I would say.
Economic Development: The wealth inequality factor results in the rich being able to afford better assets ( technology being the asset in this case)
Industry structure: the financial situation of the leading newspapers. Some newspapers can afford to introduce new media to get their news across to the public, for instance, through an online webpage
Demographic trends – the increase in literacy rates resulting in the members of the public wanting and inventing better mediums to access news
Government – the government financially supports the media in its new inventions
Consumer behaviours – the public’s interest in the world around us.
The above factors suggest why the future of newspapers is questioned.
Journalists have various views on the future of Journalism:
In terms of the newspaper extinction timeline, Dawson states : “I don’t know if in years to come I will be regarded as an idiot or a genius for these predictions.” He adds, “but hopefully it will stimulate some useful thinking.”
Free, digital content has crushed long-established ways of making money in the newspaper print industry, and publishers must now find new ways to promote content-creation costs directly. One of the ways to do so is by the invention of the pay-wall ( an arrangement whereby access is only available to users who have paid to subscribe to the site). But is it effective?
The term ‘Media Convergence’ refers to the technology focused merger of different media domains. For several years now, different types of media were clearly detached- broadcast TV, broadcast radio, newspapers, books, video and film. However, in this decade, the emergence of the internet and other digital methods has changed this. Today, we are faced with an era of multimedia.
Additionally to convergence at a distribution level, there are areas in which the same content can be re-enclosed across media, such as, in computer games and films. This also results in powerful marketing synergies - where each element of your plan compliments another.
Convergence is part of a broad change in the media that is being brought about by new technology. But does this mean that print publications will be incomplete without its media companions? Well, that is what the new era of convergence is telling us.
The emergence of networked technologies are resulting in the development of new media systems and are also contributing to remarkable shifts in audio/visual cultures – that basically means ‘moving images’. These are videos, interactive guides, high-quality pictures etc.
The success of the audio/visual culture can be seen by the increase in potential possibilities, for journalists, to introduce and experiment new forms of creating news. The rise of audio/visual cultures would not be possible without the pervasive uptake of the internet and particularly the growth of social media applications, such as, Facebook and Twitter.
The BBC demonstrates the success of the audio/visual culture by using multimedia in their website to aid their news stories. This particular one is regarding the recent Phone-Hacking Scandal :
As verified by the above examples of multimedia being actively used in various forms of journalism, I think it’s safe to say that the internet is now better known as a mediator to the audio/visual culture of the 21st century.