Web tools every journalist and web-savvy should know and use

31 07 2009

I’m all about technology that saves time, money and work.

With that being said, here are a few tools that I use daily (and that journos and non alike can use) that makes life easier: Read the rest of this entry »

Can journalists be outsourced?

24 07 2009

Today’s world is all about global collaboration, opening of resources and creating accessibility. You see it almost everywhere in jobs, businesses and the economy.

Pulitzer Prize winner, NY Times columnist and author Thomas L. Friedman writes much about this 21st century phenomenon  in “The World Is Flat.”

Though the book didn’t focus on the news industry, it got me thinking: if Friedman is explaining how virtually all industries are being affected by globalization and new technologies, what about a news company like the very one he works for?

Courtesy of Kewei Shang

Courtesy of Kewei Shang

There’s a likely chance the customer service person you’re speaking with on the phone about your U.S. product is, in fact, not from the U.S. but working in a call center in Bangalore, India.

The several hundred parts used to construct the laptop or computer you are using to read this post can undoubtedly be traced to dozens of different countries (don’t worry, Friedman did the dirty work for me)

Much of today’s technology and past world history contributes to the shift being witnessed in the global economy. Part of  this shift, as illustrated above, is about cutting out unnecessary hindrances and costs.

For example, when was the last time you bought a plane ticket through a travel agent? The internet allows people to cut out the middle man (or woman) and directly purchase tickets through Web sites like Orbitz and Expedia.

Friedman’s book got me thinking: with almost every job sector experiencing the effects of globalization (good and bad of globalization), in/outsourcing and some sort of “flattening” process, what about the news industry? Can journalism be outsourced?
Read the rest of this entry »

Iran and social media: a case study on the role of social networking tools

23 06 2009

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you know that young and old (mostly young) Iranians have been on the streets of Tehran over the recent dispute over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s “landslide” victory in Iran‘s presidential election.

Photo Credit: Ben Curtis, Associated Press

Photo Credit: Ben Curtis, Associated Press

Since this post, at least a dozen deaths have been reported since the peaceful-protest-gone-violent started. This has been the biggest protest since Iran’s similar revolution in 1979 and has been one for the history books.

It seems like all the world is watching – many protesting in their own neighborhoods for Iranian’s democracy. But what makes this particular event in time even more intriguing is the pivotal role social media sites have served.

The vast majority of the videos and reports shown in news outlets have been made available not by professional journalists but by the people of Iran.

Because of the Iranian government‘s barring and outright censorship of news media to cover the riots in Tehran, Americans and others in much of the world are allowed on-the-streets access of what’s going on inside Iran’s political upheaval thanks to social media.

More cases than not, news outlets have been using social media sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to report the news on the protests. Social media tools like these – which traditionally have not been considered reputable sources – are now on the forefront for coverage on the Iranian elections and protests.

Citizen journalists in Iran are shooting their own video, writing their own headlines, and reporting their story – all with readily available technology. Although that is not to say the Iranian government having been reported to use the very same tools for their purposes.

As the protests continue, social media and citizen journalism will undoubtedly playing an important role in news coverage.

Not only have social media shaped how the events in Iran are covered, but the events in Iran are also shaping the role of social media in journalism.


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