Archives for posts with tag: citizen journalism
My Debate Command Station

My Debate Command Station

Some might be asking “What’s up with this post….” My PhD work is in the area of Journalism and live blogging debates is something that amateurs and pros alike have been doing this US Presidential Cycle. So, livin’ the anthropologist’s life, I thought I’d give it a try.

It’s not as easy as it looks. In fact, Twittering is much easier that trying to write anything substantive. This, believe it or not, was better than my first, unpublished attempt during the VP debate. Balancing watching, thinking, typing, and keeping watching is a lot harder than it seems. So without further adieu, my rather weak ramblings on the proceedings:

  • 10.34 pm — Gotta love what happens when the candidates block the teleprompter. And we go to hand shaking…
  • 10.24 pm — So much for yes or no. McCain’s “maybe” was the perfect response on that one. And we heard the audience on that one.
  • 10.17 pm — For an interesting view on the debate, check out Intrade’s tracking page for the debate.
  • 10.13 pm — Whelp, it’s official Brokaw should just get up and leave at this point.
  • 10.11 pm — Twitter looks to be down from the traffic
  • 10.03 pm — I want a doctrine! The Bernius Doctrine…
  • 10.00 pm — Ok, Brokaw is absolutely toothless.
  • 9.54 pm — I wonder if the audience is miked? McCain, whose cracked more jokes so far… But if there isn’t the sound of chuckles from the audience, it just sounds like the jokes are dying on the floor.
  • 9.49 pm — Brokaw really needs to start cutting these guys off…
  • 9.37 pm — Ballston Spa NY — Central NY Represents!
  • 9.29 pm — Interesting production note — is it me or are both candidates wearing lapel mics? If so then why the hand helds? Are they even on? Or is it just for the look?
  • 9.27 pm — The Hack the Vote live twittering is lagging way too far behind the debate. It’s interesting, especially since there’s a healthy amount of tweets from both sides of the aisle. But I think I’ve seen enough… let’s try some live blogging…

On Monday, at approximately 10.00pm, the Rochester citizen journalism site Rochester Turning broke the news the state is partnering with Patec to help absorb the costs of demolishing Rochester’s Midtown plaza to make way for a new corporate headquarters for Patec. Spitzer made the announcement on Tuesday. Today it was the lead story in the D&C.

The announcement is huge for the region, as it means at least 600 jobs moving into downtown, a major employer keeping it’s hq in the area, and an end to the ongoing saga of what to do with Midtown.

Its also significant from a CJ perspective. Rochester Turning’s post was a day and a half ahead of the D&C. This may be the furtherest a local CJ has been ahead of the traditional press. The question is now will RT get credited with breaking the story? Nothing was mentioned in the D&C article about the posting.

As for me, I learned about it through an e-mail list that quoted the RT article.

THE LOOP has soft launched. A news r&d project, run by Rochester’s Gannett paper, the Democrat and Chronicle, the Loop is a college focused news magazine. What makes it unique is that the end result has been developed and created by a team of students from 8 of our area colleges (basically everyone but the University of Rochester). One of my students from the School of Print, Heather Hynes, is responsible for the visual design of the site.

My involvement with the project has been as an adviser and a researcher. Basically, I’ve spent a few days a week in at the D&C sitting with the team, discussing online content production, and getting their views on the news. This is all part of my grounding for the work I’ll be doing at Cornell. It also is material I’ll be bringing back to my courses this year at RIT.

Oh, and all the cool kids have installed the Loop Facebook App and follow the Loop on twitter.

Another update on the RIT presidential search (I guess I’ve officially begun the participatory part of my study on citizen journalists):

Your Senators failed in their attempt to have the Senate hold a post-visit session to discuss the mood in their colleges and potentially take action on this matter. Two of the Senate’s Executive Committee voted against holding such a meeting. As Wade has noted, President Simone expressed that he felt such a meeting was a good idea.

RIT Presidential Search LogoI first heard about this on RIT’s AAUP discussion board, and this excerpt from an e-mail provides more details. I can’t articulate how frustrating this news is. Possible reasons for this could include that the Senate is concerned that they will have to work with whom ever wins and that they might end up supporting the wrong horse. Or, perhaps some felt that if the Senate backs Dr. Destler, it might lead to chilly relations with the current administration (the general opinion on campus is that Dr. Watters is President Simone’s pick for the position). Or there could be those on the executive committee that simply don’t want the voice of the campus heard.

If it is any of those reasons, what occurred was an act of cowardice, a distinct lack of spine. We are in the midst of a critical time in RIT’s history and leaders of our Academic Senate has shied away from the responsibilities of their positions. Its difficult to see how we as a campus can move forward when our leaders retreat from this most important of discussions.

Kudos to President Simone for encouraging that debate to take place. Kudos to everyone who has participated in the various surveys and written e-mails. Get involved in the debate, even if it isn’t going to take place in the Academic Senate! We have to lead, as our representatives have chosen not to.
Here are things you can do:


Two parting points:

  1. Why all the effort? One, I believe in RIT and want to see it continue to improve. Two, I believe in Rochester NY and want to see it improve as well. There’s a lot at stake here for both areas. As the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle puts it, what’s at stake is [t]he future of one of the area’s most important institutions. Rochester Institute of Technology is the area’s largest four-year higher education institution with nearly 13,000 undergraduates and 2,300 graduate students. It also is among the area’s 10 largest private-sector employers, with close to 3,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff.
  2. There could be one more reading for the Academic Senate’s choice: they felt that if they decided for Destler it might hurt his chances. Even if this hypothesis were true, the choice is still wrong and acting out of fear. This needs to be discussed and regardless of candidate, we need to take a stand.

Man, what a week. A ton of interesting developments in media and the online communities that I’m interested. Here’s a quick recounting (if for no other reason, so I can get it down).

Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us
Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, becomes an “overnight” YouTube star with his brilliant little ethnographic film Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us.
He then takes it a step further and posts it to the Mojiti site where visitors can tag it with their own comments. While the Wesch’s video can be taken to task for what it doesn’t contain, it’s a great little peice and it will be interesting to see how this affects the production and distribution of ethnographic films.

Bloggers at the Libby Trial
As I mentioned in an earlier post, bloggers and citizen journalists got direct media access to the Lewis Scooter Libby trial. Their content is being syndicated by the AP. This has brought more attention to the field of Citizen Journalism.

New York Time Editor Talks About its Online Future
Arthur Sulzberger, owner, chairman and publisher of the New York Times dropped what seems to be a bombshell in an online interview:

I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care either.

Sulzberger went on to break down how the online model would actually be more cost effective for the times. It’s the first time that I’ve seen anyone acknowledge this.

Edwards campaign hires and sticks with bloggers
The gist is this: John Edwards campaign hired Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, two well known blogging pundits to help manage his online presence. A number of groups, most notably the Catholic League, protested the move noting that Marcotte and McEwan have made a range of inappropriate remarks about Christians and other groups on their personal blogs. Edwards ends up stuck between a rock and a hard place:

He could either keep the women and have to answer for the at-times vulgar and intemperate writings on their personal blogs or dismiss them and face a revolt by the left-wing blogosphere, which is playing an increasingly important role in Democratic politics.

Edwards, via his official blog, announces that while the content of the posts in questions “offended” him, he keeping Marcotte and McEwab on his staff. Both Marcotte and McEwab post their own responses as well. This one has it all, clashing of speech communities, pundits, journalists, and politicians. I can’t claim to have my head wrapped around it yet. I expect were going to see a lot more cases like this in the weeks and months to come.

Yahoo launches Pipes
I’m not quite sure how to describe it. Pipes is a new visual programming tool from yahoo for combining data feeds. Like I said, I can’t quite explain why yet, but I think it’s important. If for no other reason its going to allow non-programmers to begin to create web applications mash-ups. I’m still not quite sure what I need to mash up. But if I can figure that out, I’ll let you know.


I’m sure there’s more. There always is. I’ve fallen out of touch with things at YouTube. To my knowledge there still hasn’t been an official announcement about revenue sharing to the community. Still lots going on across the board.