Internet vs Journalism. Ding!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In this day and age, the Internet is a big buzz and everyone is using it for everything. Literally. When it first came about, the original users most likely didn't have a clue what it would become. And what exactly has it become? For America, it has become a huge part of everyday life that we depend heavily on.

This generation has grown up on the Internet and it seems that we do not know a world without it. I can honestly say, that I log on to Facebook approximately ten times a day. Embarrassing, I know. But it's the truth! We also get the chance to whip out our phones and text our friends, "Hey, what's up?" when we are bored or we want to hang out. Our parents had to physically go to a telephone and dial the person's number, to reach them. As a college student, I notice that I use the Internet all the time for research. There is a thing called the library, that students back then had to use in order to do their endless researching. My point is that people had to do much more effort and take much more care to get things done.

This brings up a question. What has the Internet done for journalism? For a few years now, newspapers around the U.S. have declined in circulation. It is so much easier to get on the Internet and click a few clicks to get a colorful article, than picking up a newspaper. I don't think there is nothing terribly wrong about this, but journalists now have to appeal to their audience and give them what they want.

In print form, there was an audience that would take time and find time to read the newspaper. The current audience, is more busy with their own lives and have a short attention span. Due to this fact, journalists have to condense their articles in order to keep their audience's attention. I also don't think there is anything terribly wrong with this concept, but there is something lost in journalism when the writers don't take the same amount of effort to get the nitty gritty and making sure the editing is just right.

Blogs are making it pretty big right now. Heck, I'm writing one! But with these new 'in' things, the Internet has made it increasingly possible to express one's opinion. Because of this, anyone who feels they have something to say, will write and blog what they feel. This could perhaps, bring down the quality of some blogs. It used to be that journalism was the facts. But now, we are all smothered with opinions and "I's" and "you's". It is, after all, hard to write in this world without being first person.

So now the question is this. Should newspapers go out of style and be posted on the Internet? Should blogs be looked at more carefully? Can we as America, be proud to say that we have evolved and erupted this Internet sensation that is going to be passed down to our kids and generations to come? These are very broad questions, but we do need to think about them and what the Internet could possibly come to, in the future.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


A Groundbreaking Device

When Apple released the iPad it was described as a groundbreaking device. It has thousands of applications varying from games, weather, to the latest magazines and newspapers. Although, this has many benefits it has its downfalls too.

According to at&t a 16 GB iPad is $629, this is the cheapest option with the least amount of storage space. A 64 GB iPad is priced at $829. These devices are fairly expensive and not that many people have access to these devices. This of course can change in the near future, just like anything else, but at the moment the iPad can be considered a luxury. I beileve this to be one of the biggest downfalls of the iPad.

A benefit to the iPad is how much you can access at just a mere touch. It can serve as an entertainment or informational tool. You can play games, update your Facebook, or send out a tweet. You can also check the weather, the news, and be informed of any breaking news. Not only can you just check the weather or news, you can read full articles or editions of a newspaper or magazine on the iPad. Will this affect the journalism world as we know it?

I believe it will. By having the option of accessing newspapers and magazines on devices such as the iPad paper waste can be eliminated and so can clutter. This will benefit the environment but will it be better the company's that write the articles? In a few ways yes, by not having to physically print the information on paper money is saved, and this will allow for more information to be published. Also it is still possible to get advertising dollars from companies because online ads are often seen more than in print ads. I think the iPad and other devices that are similar will benefit the world and although it will bring change, I believe it will be for the best.

Photo Credit: Ariel Schwartz, Via CreativeCommons


Is it Dillenberg or Dillenburg?

How many times has your first or last name been misspelled? I can remember this being a problem all the way back to elementary school. My teacher would constantly spell my name “Dillenberg” instead of my actual name “Dillenburg.” Eventually, my awkward fifth grade self decided to call my teacher out and inform her that she is spelling my name wrong. Did this have any impact? Yes, for only the next couple of days. After the weekend went by and Monday came, it was back to “Dillenberg.”

Unfortunately, misspelled names are a common problem within the journalism world.
Craig Silverman, the author of Regret the Error, claims that academic research shows that misspelled names are the sixth most common newspaper error. That is quite absurd and not a good way to attract your viewers.

Misquotes is the number one mistake which is then followed by incorrect headlines, numerical errors, general misspellings and incorrect job titles. Look on the bright side though my fellow BNR peers, we have our soon to be best friend textbook called the
Associated Press Stylebook 2010. Therefore, none of these mistakes should occur!

Misspelling names is a common mistake because it is easy to verify, yet journalists are not bothered to confirm the source’s title. Maybe this is because the interviewer is embarrassed of having to ask the source? Regardless, get over it because you will end up being more embarrassed in the long run when your article is published and you misspelled the name wrong in front of everyone.

Misspelling may be an issue because of two reasons. The first is that journalists have the tendency to assume that the source’s name is spelled the “common” way. The second is that journalists are lazy and spell the name based off of other sources that are incorrect.

A good example of a big source that would seem reliable yet is well known for these types of errors is the
New York Times. There has even been an article written by one of the NYT editors with the title "So Many Names, So Many Titles."

In order to eliminate this problem, it is strongly encouraged to ask your source for the correct spelling of their name. If you are still worried about this silly yet easy-to-do mistake, read what you have written down back to them. This may seem repetitive and annoying, but in the long run the source will greatly appreciate it.

Another important fact to remember is that you must be consistent with the name spelling throughout your article. I was guilty of doing this today, but fortunately caught my mistake before handing my paper in. I spelled the name “Oroonoko” two different ways throughout my paper: Oroonoko and Oroonoco. Yikes! Double check your work.

If none of this information has helped you, I strongly encourage you to think back to a time where your first or last name was misspelled. How did you feel about this? Were you slightly annoyed? If so, take pride in what you do and make sure you spell people’s names right so they do not get annoyed like you did.

Photo Credit: Simone Trum,


Olbermann is Olber-done

"In the mundane world of television goodbyes, reality is laughably uncooperative."

Those were some of the last words from Keith Olbermann's final "Countdown" Friday night. Olbermann, who was released from NBC Universal after being with the corporation since 2003, was grateful for the experiences he had while being host. No one is sure why the political pundit was booted from MSNBC, but there are some reports out there that make NBC once again the villain when it comes to releasing media personalities.

The release of the former ESPN anchor comes after two days after Comcast and Universal officially made their merger. Did the merger lead to Olbermann's ejection from MSNBC? A report from TruthOut says maybe. Senator Bernie Giffords now wants the merger to stop after believing that Olbermann being ousted was due to the merger.

NBC has its shadowy ways of how they oust their members. Most recently, it was Conan, now it's Olbermann to receive a pink slip. So what does NBC deserve?

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


iPads: The Sole Device of Future Journalism?

Over the past months since Apple released the iPad in April of 2010 the new device has been growing in popularity. Not only is it the hot new gadget on the market, but it is also taking on a large role in the world of journalism by the ways it is changing how the media is presented to the audience.

As stated in an article on Nieman Journalism Lab, publishers that have realized the importance of this device will no doubt be ahead of the game compared to those who choose to ignore it. Publications like Sports Illustrated have shown their intentions to have a fully interactive magazine that even customizes the magazine to the readers’ interests. Not only does the proposed magazine have interactive features, but video clips as well. Not only are the publications altered to fit each reader, but they would be able to be continuously updated and would no longer have a routine issue every week or every month. The publications that have these ideas will be the ones to keep the reader engaged and will set them ahead of other publications and eventually make them more successful. People want their entertainment and info fast and free. The iPad can provide that for many people, but that is where many arguments about money come into play. The idea of having publications on iPad worries many companies when discussing subscription fees that they still need to stay afloat. The question has come up of how the subscription costs would be shared between Apple and the publication. With growing technology like the iPad publishing companies also worry about information being shared with others who have not paid for the product. Another downside of publications on the iPad and other technology is that a large percentage of the population is not familiar with this technology or does not have access to it yet. The coming years will be a time of difficult transitions for journalists and publications as decisions will have to be made as to how the publication will be distributed to its readers, but changes are necessary with the developing technology that will eventually serve as a large asset to the media industry.

The iPad and other new technological devices will truly revolutionize the way journalism works and how people get their news and entertainment. However, journalists and publishing companies need to realize this and utilize the new technology that is now available to them.

Photo Credit: FHKE, Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons


The Searsboro Flash: Zach James

Hello, everyone. I am Zach James, and I am a sophomore at Simpson. My majors are Integrated Marketing Communications and Sports Administration. I am also one of three very hard-working student assistant coaches with the men's basketball program. My passion for media is very deep as well as my love for sports.

I also have another blog which I started during my senior year of high school at Montezuma, named Running Off the Print, which you can also find here on Blogger. I realize it hasn't been updated recently, but that is soon to change!

My nickname, if you are wondering, is from an old friend who admired me for participating in cross country.


Tablets: A Successful Journalism Tool?

All the rage these days are new tablet devices such as the Apple iPad. However, are these devices helping increase communication? In some ways, no. So far at least.

An article found on TechDirt talks about some of the problems that still persisit with the iPad and other tablet devices. One of these issues is that they are geared mostly towards one-way communication. This, obviously, can be problematic for budding journalists. If a journalist is unable to make his or her work available to consumers, their input will never be heard.

Lack of a keyboard is also a problem with tablet devices. Anyone with experience with a touch screen knows that it is not easy to type using a touch screen keypad. They are prone to errors and accidental misspelling.

Another problem with the iPad specifically? The lack of Flash capabilities. Many websites have pictures or videos that are only accessible if you have Flash. With the iPad, a user is unable to view these. However, this is a problem specific to the iPad.

Do any of you have an iPad or other tablet device? Have any of you ever used one? Do any of you want one?
Photocredit: Glenn Fleishman, Wikimedia,


Smart Phones Susceptible

Technology Review has a new article showing just how careful smart phone users need to be in the future.

The smart phone is quickly becoming an indispensable journalism tool that allows thousands of journalists to do things ranging from rapidly communicating with one another to recording video or audio for stories. But like knives, saws or hammers, tools can also end up harming those who use them.

The problem lies in how new the phone technology is in a general sense. Serious, wide-spread security issues have never been that large of a problem before. This, coupled with the technology's growing popularity, is creating interest in the hacking/spamming/malware community. While the phones do have quite a few built-in defenses, a stray app or two can be all that is needed to open up the floodgates to infection.

If the phone becomes infected one of the prevalent fears is that it will become part of a botnet, a group of devices working together to spread spam and other malicious activity by receiving instructions from a central location and obeying them like a "zombie," the user completely unaware. Since this infection leaves very few clues about its presence it can be a costly problem for many people who use their phones for secure activity (i.e. bank transfers). Imagine the problems a journalist might face if a contact list of confidential sources is leaked to the public or put on the Internet for any to see.

Unfortunately, with shiny new tools come important responsibilities. Users of these technologies need to be aware, be safe and be smart about what they do with their wireless devices. At this stage of the Technological Age "I didn't know" can no longer fly.

Photo credit: Creative Commons


Journalsim Doesn't Have An Age Limit

In an article posted on Yahoo!News it was revealed that 90 year old Helen Thomas has decided to come out of her retirement which began in June of 2010 after some comments she made about Israel. She was formerly with Hearst newspapers but will now have a weekly column focusing on politics. Ms. Thomas' new employer is the Falls Church News Press, located in Virgina.What I find truly remarkable is that Ms. Thomas is still working even though she is at an age when a large number of people are confined to wheelchairs and are in assisted living facilities. Instead she is getting her voice out there, letting people know what her opinion is, and is trying to make a difference in the world. In my opinion dedicated journalists are hard to find.

Then and Now

Black and White Photo:Marion S. Trikosko

Color Photo: Official White House Photostream


Countdown to the "IPcalypse"

It's said to happen on February 2 around 4 a.m. The Internet is scheduled to run out of current IP addresses. So what exactly does that mean for you?

Basically, your IP address is your way to use the Internet and every device you use. Whether it's a smart phone or computer, it gets a unique code called an IP address. You don't get the same address every time you use the Internet, but pretty soon you may not get any at all.

Today we use a system called the Internet Protocol version 4 (or IPv4) to give out those codes and there are about 4 billion to give out worldwide. That probably sounded like plenty back when this standard was introduced in 1981, but it was hard to foresee a computer in every home along with extra devices using the Internet.

Now, when we do run out of IP addresses, it won't mean the internet is over, so don't panic quite yet. We have guardian angels that foresaw this dilemma long before we did and created a system called IPv6.

The difference with this system is, instead of using just numbers, it will include letters in the code, making it a much bigger source for IP addresses.

Ideally, when we switch to this new system, people won't see or notice a thing. The only real problem that could happen in the days of "IPcalypse" is if enough networks don't move in a timely fashion. In this case, some people would literally see nothing because of their inability to connect to the Internet.

So I'm glad we had people to see this coming way before the deadline because, what if we weren't prepared in some way? Because of the fact that the Internet has become such a huge part of most people's lives and in some cases the internet is their life, I can only imagine their panic, anger, and inability to really live their lives.

So, as epic as the "IPcalypse" may sound, don't get too worked up about the transition because it will slip by around 4 a.m. on February 2 while you dream .


How much is too much?

Social Media has been on the rise and is continuing to do so as technological advances keep occurring. Americans are wondering if these advances are setting new extremes for the safety of their lives and their children. Many Americans believe that the new technology should be viewed as a positive outcome for the economy. Tasks are able to be done quicker and at a more consistent rate. With this increased amount of technology the use of workers is slowly decreasing. Why hire a worker if there is a electronic gadget to do the work at half the price? With these new advancements many people are losing their jobs because they are not needed in the media and journalism industry. What happens when the technology source crashes? We still need reliable workers to make sure that the job is going to be done and done on time. If there was an electric outage and the media world was not prepared then the news would not get delivered on time and many people would be upset.

One new gadget that was added most recently is the invention of the Apple iPhone. These gadgets help individuals stay up on the most current news just from the touch of their finger. Whats cooler than that is the invention of the ipad. This handheld electronic allows total access to the web 24/7, with a monthly fee of course. Consumers are able to view the news from the touch of a button. These electric advances are very exciting to American consumers. My warning is, don't let technology consume you, pick up a hard copy newspaper from time to time. Appreciate the work of those who created it.  

photo credit: Jason Kottke,


Katie Buchholz 101

Hey! My name is Katie Buchholz. I am a Communications major and possibly a minor in Art History here at Simpson College. I am involved in theater, intramurals, PLC, and a Bible reading group. Around campus I am known as K-Fresh, so don't get confused! I grew up in a small town about 45 minutes from Indianola. In my day to day life I love to be goofy and spontaneous. I always try to see the bright side of things, and I am open for anything new. My roommate is my college best friend and you might see us playing video games in the Barker basement or singing our hearts out to Britney Spears in our room.

I look forward to writing a blog weekly and reading each others blogs!


Could You Live without Your Newspapers?

Do you miss the newspaper boys on the sidewalks yelling the news ? Back in the time people know that to keep on track with the news they had to read the papers and nothing else. The newspapers were accesible to all given their price and number of outlets.
Certainly nothing has changed on the side of the newspaper industry but the emergence of the Internet has facilitated the accession to the news and made them virtually obsolete in their printed form.
It is not a news that the Internet is softly killing the newspapers but could we live without our local newspapers? A study by the Pew Research Center states that 31% of American cite the newspapers as their main source of national and international news (from 34% in 2007). This reflects both the growth of the Internet and the gradual decline of the newspaper readership. In 2010, more than 100 newspaper companies closed because they were not economically viable.
However, people still think that losing their local newspaper would hurt the civic life in their community and that they would personally miss reading the local newpaper a lot if it were no longer available. So, we could have the dream that the newspapers will stay forever because people care about their local news and they like to sit down and read the newspapers.

Photo credit: The Pew Research Center,


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