Archive | August, 2013

All-in-one Journalism

29 Aug

backpackThey say men are unable to multi-task. If this is truly the case, then no doubt we will soon see the journalism profession rid of all male reporters. More and more frequently, reporters are being required by their employers to be a one-man (woman, actually) band, sending out fully finished stories from the scenes of news events back to the newsroom.

Marissa Calligeros from the Brisbane Times gave an excellent lecture to our online journalism cohort about the mechanics behind being a working journalist in Brisbane in 2013, and it was an eye-opening speech. Marissa spoke of how, at the scene of a car accident last year, took a video of the scene, wrote a few lines of copy, and sent it back to the newsroom, all on her iPhone. The video was one of the first to appear on Brisbane news websites, and has since become the most viewed video on these sites ever.

She explored how it is necessary for us journalists to be resourceful in the way we operate. There’s a whole lot of doom and gloom over the industry right now, so it seems inevitable that, if we want to become journalists, we’re going to have to work hard for it. That means being a photographer, videographer, editor, subeditor and reporter all in the one breath. (Perhaps we should be getting paid more.)

Apparently, it’s called backpack journalism. According to pioneer backpack journalist Jane Stevens, backpack journalists must also “know the difference between when you’re a lone wolf and when you’re part of a greater whole.”


Backpack journalist Cameron Atfield

There is always the counter argument from the critic. Here, some argue that – surely- if we have less time to research, edit or verify a story, the quality of our stories will become diluted. However, if Marissa Calligeros is anything to go by, the new breed of super reporter will not have any trouble in more efficiently managing  and balancing their days on the job reporting. Indeed, it seems more of a process of evolution, rather than devolution. The characteristics of backpack journalism will change and expand news coverage.

We keep talking about instantaneous journalism birthed from the internet. It is a natural progression that people want to see the full story instantly, and that means photos, videos and words. If I can get as good as Marissa Calligeros is at her job, I think I’d be doing a pretty good job as a backpack journalist.


Online Journalism exercise

19 Aug


Find original article at the Gold Coast Bulletin:

A TEEN who allegedly rammed three police vehicles while leading officers on a two-hour chase through south east Queensland has been denied bail.

The 16-year-old Stockleigh boy, who is facing 15 charges, applied for bail in Southport Magistrates Court today after handing himself in to Coomera Police Station yesterday.
Police will allege he reached speeds of up to 140km h during a two-hour chase that started at Warwick at 10.30am on Sunday when officers sighted a vehicle wanted for an earlier evade police incident.

The teen allegedly rammed a police car at about 11.30am while avoiding tyre spikes set up on the Cunningham Highway at Willowbank.

Police said the youth allegedly drove along Beaudesert-Boonah Rd to Bromelton. He  allegedly drove at an officer and rammed two police cars at 12.10pm when he avoided road spikes on Waste Facility Road at Bromelton.

Police will allege he then abandoned the vehicle on Kurragong Drive at Jimboomba.
Duty lawyer Bridget Patchell told the court the teen had gone off the rails this year after his family situation at home deteriorated.

He had been living with his father after the relationship breakdown but recently moved to live with his mother.

Ms Patchell said all his possessions were left at his father’s house and he was driving to get them on Sunday when the incidents happened.

“It was a situation that just blew out of proportion,” said Ms Patchell.
The teen’s parents were visibly distressed in court when Magistrate Catherine Pirie denied him bail until a bail plan, including counselling and employment, was drawn up by Youth Justice Services.

He was remanded in custody and will reappear in Southport Magistrates Court on Friday.

Citizen journalism: Friend or foe?

14 Aug

Let me properly introduce myself. My name is Alex and I am an emerging journalist, fresh from a semester abroad in Spain. I am most interested in online journalism and particularly, how quickly it has changed the media landscape.


Now to the topic for this week’s entry: citizen journalism. These days anyone can produce and publish news. It’s as easy as posting a tweet, updating a blog or snapping a few photos or videos.  People want to actively participate in the news they consume, be it through commenting, sharing or writing their own.

The growing use of mobile devices with Internet means most people have the capacity to record and almost instantaneously publish what they see.


It is a wonderful thing for citizens, but what I want to know is- what does it mean for journalists?

Well, according to this week’s lecture presented by Trina McLeallan to our ‘Online Journalism’ cohort, it means a serious decline of traditional news methods. The rise of social media, blogs and other free platforms is making it increasingly difficult to turn journalism into profit.  No one wants to pay for a print newspaper when they can read, share and comment on online news for free. What this means for us is, more journalism; less jobs.

Don’t worry; it’s not all bad news.

Citizen journalism and mainstream media can work together. On the 28th of November 2010 WikiLeaks began publishing over 250,000 leaked U.S State Department cables, cables which were seized by mainstream media outlets and have subsequently become the basis of reporting for journalists around the globe.


This means we (budding journalists) can use citizen journalism, which is often published first, to find stories.

It looks like citizen journalism is a little bit friend and a little bit foe. The mass of free content it creates is contributing to the demise of paid jobs, while also providing inspiration for mainstream media reporting.

Either way, I think it’s here to stay and might as well be embraced.

Snow Fall- The start of something new?

5 Aug


Snow Fall, was a predominantly online, multimedia story by John Branch, one of the New York Time´s Pulitzer Prize-winning writers. It consisted of six parts, each of which working together to present a brilliant multimedia story on skiing fatalities. The piece received great attention, praise and criticism not for its words but for its “revolutionary” use of the unwritten – videos, graphics and bios.

Groundbreaking? Hardly.

Despite the acclaim and attention (3.5 million views within the first 6 days), Snow Fall is not the start of a shift to a multimedia landscape for journalism. I (like probably most of the traffic to the page) came for the spectacle not to read the particularly long story. I skimmed most of the content, focusing my attention on the pretty pictures and videos. Yes it´s engaging but not enough hold my attention for the 12 minutes it would take to read through and despite the hype, Snow Fall is not the first multimedia story out there.

Journalism has been becoming increasingly online and interactive since the slow demise of print media began over a decade ago. For example, it is commonplace now to have interactive social media “buttons” on news sites that allow readers to like, comment or share stories on several different platforms. In addition, there are a number of non-news sites that have been utilizing multimedia tools. Click here for examples.


Snow Fall is not the start of something new; it is just one, particularly well presented, example of how media corporations are adapting with their market. Readers no longer want to be passive consumers but rather active participants, taking part in the news they read. Aljazeera, the Guardian and basically all major news corporations have been utilizing videos, graphics and interactive discussion boards to engage with consumers for some time now.

In my opinion, Snow Fall is a great story but nothing more.