Tag Archives: galleries

Virginia Tech shooting: another citizen journalism milestone?

Poynter Online has a mind-boggling roundup of how students at Virginia Tech have told their story through mobile video, blogs, and forums. Unlike previous user generated content milestones like 9/11 and the Asian tsunami, this story took place in the heart of the new media generation, and the resulting coverage is more comprehensive, more accessible, and takes in more new media forms, including social networking. “Look at this collection from CNN’s I-Report.,” urges Poynter:

“Students text messaged one another while hiding under desks. Read some of those messages here.

Some students are gathering on Facebook. CollegeMedia.com has a collection of cell pictures taken by students. More than 150 tribute groups have formed on Facebook.

“Other students went right to their blogs and wrote about what they saw.”

As this generation ages it’s reasonable to expect such coverage to become the norm, and this presents two challenges for journalists: 1) the need to develop the awareness of, and skills to find, this material; 2) in the face of such comprehensive and accessible first-person reporting, the need to develop new roles, perhaps as gatewatchers, facilitators and filters rather than reporters.

Then there’s a third issue: ethics. When reporting on the MySpace and Facebook content of murdered students, how far can journalists go? Is it OK to quote dead students’ ‘About Me’ sections? Channel 5 did so last night, including one who was summed up by her favourite flavour of ice cream and the fact that her “favourite colour is blue”.

Tony Harcup, a writer on journalism ethics, told me “my gut reaction is that it is perfectly acceptable to quote from the About Me sections that people have placed in the public domain. It’s not as if a journalist has broken into a dead person’s house and stolen their private diary.” But when we live our lives in the public domain, do our virtual selves have different rights? I have no answers, I’m just posing the question.

UPDATE: Shane Richmond includes these points in his blog. He slightly misunderstands my second point above, and I’ve posted a comment clarifying this.

UPDATE 2 (Apr 21 07): I’ve posted a further post on the ethics issue.

Multimedia journalism winners, iPOY 2007

Mindy McAdams has the list of multimedia winners from iPOY 2007. Some stunning material here – the intro alone of The Dallas Morning News’ “Hurricane Katrina: One Year Later” is enough to bring you to tears, combining still images with audio from the survivors. Once you’ve recovered, you can look at slideshows, video, more combined audio/imagery, and even old-fashioned links. Combining still images with audio seems to be quite common judging by the other entries, including “The Lifeline”by the Los Angeles Times, which gets my vote for combining those ‘audio slideshows’ with a messageboard and graphics.

Young journalists should be salivating at the possibilities for engaging storytelling represented by these new technologies…

USATODAY.com relaunches

USA TOday April 19 07USATODAY.com has relaunched with, reportedly, more prominent user generated content:

MediaPost reports: “The revamped site, which went live Saturday, enables reader comments on each story and solicits users’ input in the form of photos and movie reviews. USA Today also is aping Digg, the new Netscape and other social news sites that allow readers to determine which stories are most important.”

Editor & Publisher explains: The site has incorporated technology developed by Pluck Corporation to “create a community around the news,” according to a release. Using the new features, users can see other news sources directly on the USA Today site; see others readers’ reactions to stories; recommend content and comments to each other; interact using comments and in public forums, upload digital photographs to the site; write arts and culture reviews of their own; and interact more with the newspaper’s staff.”

There certainly is a lot of UGC there – but the front page would benefit from being slimmed down from the whacking great five pages you have to scroll down (usability expert Jakob Nielsen says three Page Downs should be the maximum) – the best stuff takes two Page Downs to get to – photo galleries, video, blogs, and interactive graphics.

You can also read USA Today’s own blog post on the relaunch.

UPDATE (Apr 16 2007): The relaunch has been quite a success, as IIN reports “a dramatic 380% increase in registrations. Readers are also spending more time per visit on the site.”