Here is some more of my thinking on the future of journalism:

Journalists need to take many cues from the changes that the Internet has undergone in its transition to Web 2.0, even as we head into the new era of Web 3.0. The understanding of this transition is simple: we are now entering an age of user-generated content on the Internet. The implications of this transition are slightly more complicated, however, as we must adapt to our new relationship with our former audience.

As Francis Pisani attributes to Dan Gillmor: journalism must be “less of a lecture and more a conversation.” As I touched on previously, we as journalists must be prepared for direct interaction with the people we want to consume our media. Journalists must be skilled at public relations and effective communication with the audience. Beyond this new requirement, Tim O’Reilly’s report on Web 2.0 would have us believe that user participation is also going to become a key component of the new journalistic paradigm in the digital era. Perhaps journalists need to step down from our thrones and accept the input of citizen journalists who may have unique insight on topics. Unfortunately, the effective process for receiving this input has to date only been in the comments section beneath a web package. The question we must now answer is: how are we going to make it easier for users to submit their input?

Another lesson that I believe journalists can learn from Web 2.0 is that of what O’Reilly described as the “perpetual beta.” Journalism traditionally has been a slowly changing institution, whose strong roots and deeply ingrained methods have often made it unable to adapt with the world around it. We must work in the exact opposite manner if we hope to survive in this digital age. Users look for services that are constantly updating, continually testing new trades, and consistently allowing feedback to shape the future of the business. Journalists cannot be slow in adopting this new facet because without the perpetual beta model, we will certainly be buried by competition that uses such a model.

Social networks and blogs, seen initially as enemies of the pristine institution of journalism, are actually one of the most important tools for disseminating information to the new masses. These tools can reach more people instantaneously than any other medium for journalism ever could. With a click of a button or the posting of a link, articles and other online packages can be shared with audiences worldwide. Not only will this spread of information increase readership, it will also allow journalists to reach what O’Reilly refers to as “the long tail” of the audience.

The great difficulty that we face as we enter this global digital marketplace is the question of ethics. Journalists must always keep in mind the principles that have made journalism such an important part of society. Although we must make our trade more appealing to an audience that is infatuated with the sensational, we must not go to far and make our content sensational. While we must engage our audience and open ourselves to contribution, we must not lose our objectivity and our journalistic principles. In lieu of the digital era, we must stand as beacons of truth and justice, which will give us competitive advantage in the niche of professional journalism.

For the last two weeks (maybe more), I have been covering extensively the debate and build-up to the November election, specifically focused on the issue of Proposition 203. While investigating this topic, I have found more information than I ever really wanted to know; however, I think it is important to disseminate some of this information for the public good. First, Prop 203 looks more and more like a cover for legalized marijuana use every time I read through the text of the initiative (which is rather long, for the record). This initiative allows for medical patients to get 2.5 oz per two weeks. That amount of marijuana is ludicrous.

We may as well label legislation what it should be: an initiative to legalize the use of marijuana. Even the amounts of government regulation detailed are far too slim to make a difference. Overall, Prop 203 does a poor job of what its known agenda is; however, I think it might be a step in the right direction with its hidden agenda.

The prohibition of marijuana is a heavily debated topic, and I don’t really feel like delving into it too much right now. I do believe that people should have the choice to do what they want as long as they aren’t significantly harming others. If we want to keep marijuana illegal, perhaps we should take a look at other things that are causing easily as much damage, if not considerably more. Alcohol kills and injures far more than marijuana, particularly in cases of domestic violence and driving under the influence. Prescription drugs and doctor mistakes account for over 700 thousand deaths in the U.S. annually, begging the question if our medical system is doing its job.

Of course, there are many other arguments and many more layers of complexity to this debate. I hope that I can continue to uncover the truth regarding marijuana and report it accurately to my audience (which is currently just me).

musings: like father, like son

Posted: 27/09/2010 in musings
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Today I finally got a group of people together to just chill and play some music. I was on guitar (which I picked up a few months ago), and it made me think about something my dad had told me when I was first heading off to college. His time in college was spent mostly hanging out, playing the guitar for fun, and he eventually developed a group of friends who would come hang out and jam with him. I guess the old adage “like father, like son” is very true in this case because I am traveling down the same path of my father. Although our end points may be vastly different, I still like to think of myself as a younger version of my father, encountering the same difficulties and overcoming them just as he did. I guess it just goes to show how much I love my dad. (I know that the rest of my family would feel left out if I did a post only about my dad, so I love all of you guys too!)

deejay: a start

Posted: 25/09/2010 in deejay
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I recently visited the Club Rain in Scottsdale, AZ, and noticed just how awesome of a venue that place really is. When I was there, the spacious dance floor was filled with attractive women, late teens to early twenties, all ready to dance the night away. The club’s aura was beautiful, and so I quickly decided to give them a call asking if I could “try out” for the deejaying position. My call this morning turned out successful. I am going to drop off a mixtape of my work (likely my Mixology CD, unless I want to record something just for them) and with any luck I could get a job as deejay at one of the nicest 18+ clubs I have seen in the valley area.

Here is a bit of thinking I did after reading parts of the Cluetrain Manifesto and comments from Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of the New York Times:

The industry is changing. This fact cannot and will not be ignored by those in all fields; however, it is particularly important when discussed in relationship with journalism, which must adapt to a society as described by The Cluetrain Manifesto. People are becoming increasingly plugged into the internetworked market—where journalism must make its presence known—and are becoming increasingly tired of the drab and superfluous—two titles that journalism must space itself from.

As Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. confidently states, we as journalists will continue to deliver exactly what the people want: content. Clear and concise content is a must for the future of journalism. However, clear and concise content might not be enough as the method of getting this content to the people changes. Although Sulzberger exaggerates with his idea of beaming information right into the consumer’s cortex, the truth of the matter is simple: journalism must find a means to reach its consumers in a world that is becoming more absorbed with the sensational.

How can journalism reach such an audience when it strives to be objective? The key manifests itself in the delivery. Who said that a news story could not be delivered with the same wow effect of a 3D motion picture? Who said that journalism could not step into the digital age and embrace the techniques that win some people Academy Awards? Certainly we cannot step too far into the realm of entertainment, which would take away any journalism organization’s credibility. However, my question is why do we set limits? Why do we hold ourselves back? Why are we stuck in the golden age of print when the platinum age of digital media lies right before us, within our grasp?

Digital journalism might not be as profitable. That fact is understandable. If I had wanted money, I would have become an actuary. Journalists do not take up the mantel looking to load their wallets; we do it as a service to the people who need news (or beyond that, high-quality news).

Digital journalism might not be as easy. Our newsrooms of the future may not house thousands of editors. In fact, our newsrooms of the future may be near nonexistent, as digital journalists work on the go, from Internet cafés and local Wi-Fi spots. This type of journalism will make up the new age, where journalists not longer congregate within large buildings and determine the rank and merit of the day’s news. Instead, the people will decide for themselves what is the top story. Along with the added competition journalists will face in appealing to the people, a new job will be placed upon their shoulders: the job of public relations. As The Cluetrain Manifesto stressed, people do not want an Ivory Tower organization; they want to talk to every person in that organization, and the power structure of said organization will come crumbling down. Every journalist will be a hyperlink away from their consumers, and every journalist must be open to questions, comments, and concerns of their readers. The future of journalism may not be in money or easy living, but I warn all journalists to never think that the future of journalism is dark. It is brighter than we could ever know.

deejay: Whole-Z

Posted: 22/09/2010 in deejay
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I figured that it is my duty as a deejay to expose other deejays who I find to be inspirational or skilled in the trade. This deejay contributes to the Hathbanger website; however, I encountered him first at a friend’s recommendation. His mixes are fresh mash-ups (common for Hathbanger), and I enjoyed many of his tracks, which can be found at http://soundcloud.com/whole-z. Check him out. You won’t regret it.

slam poetry: a new beginning

Posted: 21/09/2010 in slam poetry
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all we ask is for a new beginning,

somewhere to start,

a pure heart,

free from hatred, free from sin,

and yet we are stopped short.

why is it that the good die young?

is it so that we sinners may live to repent?

I ask myself questions as I stare upon this empty wall,

and pray that someday I may be washed as clean,

unblemished by the ills of society,

unmarked by the beast that lies in waiting,

unleashed like a bolt of lightning

from a heavy cloud,

for I will beat the thunderclap to the ground.

a new beginning.

photochop: a little art

Posted: 27/08/2010 in photochop
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It’s been a while since I posted anything, so I figured I may as well post a little bit of art that I created using Photoshop. I’m trying to beef up the amount of categories I have.

an interesting photochop technique

This is supposed to look as though it is made from a bunch of colored dots.

musings: the college life

Posted: 21/08/2010 in musings
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I know I haven’t been in college for long, but I can’t help but think this is going to be incredibly easy. However, the more I think about college life, the more I worry about after college. I’ve devoted my life to learning, to improving myself, to living life to its fullest. After college finishes, I’ll be thrust into a world of diminishing hopes and growing unrest, attempting to begin a family and assumedly accomplish something worthwhile in my life before it ends. College, beyond the parties and the girls, is really the first part of the rest of my life.

musings: my family

Posted: 18/08/2010 in musings
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Today I said goodbye to my family as they dropped me off at my dorm, and I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness. My parents spent nineteen years not only raising me to be the person I am today, but also preparing themselves for the day when I would no longer be living in their house. I am thankful for everything that they have given me, and at the same time I am excited for the rest of my life. Along with my parents are my siblings: I hope that both can carry on independently of me, while maintaining that close relationship that is “family.” Farewell for now.