Did you get yours?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

By Liz Tjaden

If you have been living under a rock for the past three days, you would have probably still heard about the outcome of the election. No matter what party lines you agree with, it can’t be denied that America made history Tuesday night.

However, newspaper stands also made a mark on history the next morning.

In class, we often talk about where people are getting their news and how they are using the media. From our discussions, we have concluded that although people like to use a newspaper to get caught up on current events, it is not always as popular as using an online version. Traditional newspaper can’t vie with the Internet and how convenient it is, the continuous updates that are available and how the stories are linked with video, audio and pictures.

However, the Internet may have just met its competition last Wednesday.

According to MSNBC.com newspapers announcing Barack Obama’s Presidential victory were flying off the shelves and major news companies had a hard time keeping up with the demand for copies. If buyers missed their opportunity to grab their own personal piece of history, eBay was at their rescue.

By Wednesday evening more than 800 sellers were offering copies for sale. Some bids were up to $400 by early Wednesday evening.

Looks like newspapers finally had their day. After taking an involuntary backseat to different forms of multi-media, people returned to the traditional and reliable source of pure paper and ink.


New York Times creates electronic dashboard

By: Allison McNeal

The presidential election created a wave of new milestones, including a new interactive technology for journalists.

The New York Times recently impemented a new API, which "gives users and third-party developers access to presidential campaign finance data from the Federal Election Commission collected by the paper".

This new API would also allow for detailed and interactive mapping.

One concept that Aron Pilhofer, editor of newsroom interactive technologies at the New York Times, expected to work the best during the election was the election dashboard.

"The idea was to create a smallish, sort of standalone page that you could pull up on your PC or on your iPhone and see the entire state of play without having to flip around network-to-network or Web site-to-Web site," he said.

The dashboard showed the most current results and also allowed a state-by-state breakdown.

This technology also allowed individuals to see what other competitng stations, such as CBS, NBC, ABC, the Associated Press, FOX and CNN, were reporting about the status of the election.

According to Pilhofer, this dashboard was a complete success.

The technology that these journalists used encorporated video, multimedia, graphics, and reporting that added an interactive approach.

Even though NYTimes.com used different strategies to showcase the election, this site still has large competition.

"We'll never be able to keep up with television or even larger Web sites like CNN in terms of speed, but we can be the first place people look when they want to know why something happened the way it did," Pilhofer said. "Our entire package was designed with that in mind: you may go somewhere else for the breaking news, but you'll come to us for the analysis. I think it's really our sweet spot."

After all the success with the election database, this newspaper has plans to start up a campaign finance API, with complete congressional roll call votes.

With the increase in technology, other newspapers have moved toward more interactive journalism.

Organizations like CNN had a similar election page where an individual could click on a state and see the results of each city and county.

As technology is increasing, does that mean that journalists can keep the world updated more efficiently and possibly allow for higher voter turnout?

Even though different forms of multimedia like videos and maps are being widely used by journalists, voters and individuals will have to give online newspapers positive or negative feedback about new technologies that can be used.


Historical vs. biased

By: Kathryn Lisk

When reporting on hurricanes or floods, it is easy for journalists to remain objective. They state the facts, cover the story in an inverted pyramid form, and move on. Even when covering sports stories or movie reviews, most journalists are able to provide information to readers without offending and can stay neutral. 

However, during the past week, endless stories have been written on the presidential candidates and more specifically on Barack Obama's victory. Have journalists still remained completely neutral?

Various reporters have regarded the Democratic Party's victory as an historical event and
a blog posted on npr.org questioned whether this was a fair statement. The blogger said the claim may imply a liberal bias. 

In this specific example, I disagree. Whether or not a journalist supports Obama really shouldn't matter. He is the first minority to be elected president and has made history. This election is without a doubt historically significant within the U.S.

In fact, I disagree with the argument that newspapers have reported unfairly since the election ended in general. It is certainly news that Obama won. After two years of speeches, rallies, debates and so on, the president elect should be front page nationwide. 

Papers would have done the same had John McCain won.


Let's stop it before it gets worse

Google executives are now facing trial in Italy for a video that was posted on an Italian website, according to Reuters. The video displayed four youth tormenting another youth with Down sydrome.

The executives are arguing that they shouldn't be punished for a third party's video.

I am not sure which side I agree with more, but I also feel that I shouldn't have an opinion considering I am not an expert on the subject.

However, I do think that Internet users are taking advantage of their independence online. Things are being published that I don't think should be. It is not all that bad right now, but it will get worse. Just look at the things that are now being shown on T.V. and movies.

Something needs to be done to monitor the Internet. Otherwise, violent and inappropriate messages are going to be spread from home to home with the click of a mouse, which may lead to actual violence in our communities.

With the way things are going in our world today, I don't think we should take that risk.


Everything will be alright.

In the aftermath of this years election, John Carlson of the Des Monies Register wrote a compelling opinion piece on moving forward as a country.

An assurance that every citizen of this country, whether they voted for President-elect Obama or Senator McCain, will be able to move forward from this election, and hopefully under Obama toward a better and stronger country.

Perhaps the most important thing that Carlson pointed out is that our country is bigger than any one person. And, importantly, Obama recognizes that this country is bigger than he is. He has called on every American to work a little harder to put this ailing country back together.

Another point that Carlson makes is that the media was "in the tank" for Obama. But more importantly, it didn't matter. That perhaps the media has been given too much credit for their "control" over the American people.

Instead, Carlson gives credit to the citizens of this country. Crediting them with being able to look at what was happening in the world around them and make the decision that was best for them, without consideration of what media moguls were saying.

So it doesn't matter if you celebrated on Tuesday or were disappointed. What matters is that we recognize that this country is bigger than any one person. Be they Democrat or Republican. And this country is also ailing, and we need to take the words of our next president seriously, and we all need to work at putting this country back together.


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