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Digital Storytelling Track

Posted by Seth Putnam on September 14, 2008

We are storytellers, plain and simple. But one of the major hurdles facing journalism today is that the advent of the Internet has made everyone else storytellers, too.

With the explosion of user-generated content, everyone has the capacity to be a gatekeeper, and that has left those attempting to make storytelling their living–their art, their craft–wondering how to respond. And responding they are. Friday morning, in the Fred Smith Forum of the Reynolds Journalism Institute, several speakers presented on projects that they have spearheaded to address journalism’s approach to storytelling in the digital age.

Roger Fidler and the “Digital Newsbook Project:”

Fidler spoke about “introducing a new way to deliver, access and read in-depth special reports.” These will come in the form of electronic books and be available for sale and download onto electronic readers like the Amazon Kindle. Unlike the breaking news and developing updates commonly found on the Web, these newsbooks will fill the of longer form enterprise stories and allow the consumer to delve more deeply into an issue that interests or affects him or her.

Predecessors of the newspaper, newsbooks are actually a throwback to the 15th and 16th centuries when those in power would publish and distribute information they considered newsworthy (for instance, reasons for going to war.)

“We’re going way back and taking it forward and making it digital,” Fidler said.

Since 2007, 16 of these “eBooks” have been published and are currently on sale for $4.95 a pop.

Matt Thompson and “Epic 2014: Progress Report:”

In 2004, Thompson and Robin Sloan, formerly of the Poynter Institute, created an eight-minute movie (Epic 2014) that attempted to describe our mdia consumption habits. It focused on three things: cheap and easy distribution, cheap and easy production, and a proliferation of mobile consumption.

Now, four years later, Thompson is attempting to further explore what he considers to be the most important word in journalism: context.

With regard to content produced on the Internet, the focus has mainly been to break news and update developing stories. Consequently, a lot of pertinent content has the potential to get lost in the shuffle (case in point: this blog). With that in mind, Thompson will spend the next nine months as an RJI Fellow creating and encylopedic webiste that hosts a database of related stories so that relevant background information is available and doesn’t only last the three to four minutes users stay on the home page.

Brian Storm, founder of MediaStorm:

Perhaps the most exciting–and well attended–presentation was Storm’s talk on his company, MediaStorm. MediaStorm is a multimedia Internet-based publication that offers in-depth profile stories that employ photo, video and audio tools to shed light on basic human struggles: coping with death, coping with war, maintaining friendships, caring for sick loved ones, navigating new marriage and more.

The paramount idea that Storm tried to get across to his audience was that a committment to storytelling should always trump the medium through which the stories are told.

“It’s not about the delivery mechanism,” Storm said. “It’s about journalism and transmitting the stories. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to tell stories.”

To put it into perspective, Storm speculated on what it must have been like to be the owner of a horse and buggy business when the first automobiles came on the market. Storm said that, instead of batting a cynical eye, the business owner should have been quick to embrace the new development because of a key fact: He isn’t just in the buggy business; he’s in the transportation business.

So it is for journalists. We aren’t in the still camera business, or the radio business, or the newspaper business; we’re in the business of telling stories.

Posted in Centennial Post, Friday, Media, RJI | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rewarding the Enduring Values of Radio-Television Journalism

Posted by Emily Reinbott on September 13, 2008

Walking into this session about broadcast journalism and values, I really didn’t know what to expect.  I am quite positive I don’t want to go into broadcast journalism so I don’t know much about the people and business.  I also wasn’t really sure what they meant by “values”.  I thought maybe that meant like telling the truth, you know, the simple stuff.  So really, I didn’t know what to expect at all.  Surprisingly, I listened to one of the most motivating talks I have ever heard.

During my three short weeks as a journalism student, I have heard over and over again of the uncertainty of the future of journalism.  Bob Priddy, the mediator of the panel, compared the future to “playing with a deck where all 52 cards are wild.  [Journalists] are still trying to learn the game.  We don’t even know what the game is.”  The dilemma; how to keep up with the changing audience but still hold true to the values on which Walter Williams founded the Missouri School of Journalism.

Journalism, contrary to popular belief, is supposed to be a public service.  It’s not about being flashy; it’s about finding stories that mean something.  John Ferrugia, a member of the panel, showed a video that his team had spent months researching.  It was about rape within the Air Force Academy.  This particular investigation brought about changes worldwide.  That is what it means to provide for the public.  That is why people should get into journalism.  It’s not about the fame and glory because really, the fame and glory are nonexistent.  It’s not being on TV and gaining recognition.  Journalism is about bringing problems into light so they can be resolved.

As I listened, I silently let out a sigh of relief.  I don’t want to spend my life writing about kittens in trees and the dangers of doorknobs.  I want to write about things that matter.  I thought I was just crazy for thinking I could do this within the journalism world but, apparently, this is what journalists are suppose to do! I am so excited!

But as I said before, the world of journalism is changing as the audience looks for a more convenient and digital form of media.  At first, media came in the form of a weekly newspaper.  Then it upgraded to the daily news and then news channels, such as CNN, were created to put on a constant stream of news.  But even this is not enough.  The Internet is now becoming a main source of constantly up to date news.  Newspapers and television are being thrown by the way side because of their inconvenience.  Marketing is now taking a larger role in the world of journalism.  Sadly, this means that those stories that can change the world are not being sought after.  They require lots of time and money, money newsrooms don’t have to spend.  The easy stories about kitty cats and doorknobs are much easier to fund but that is not journalism.  Those stories do nothing for the good of the public.  Keeping to the journalism creed, we journalists need to suck it up, put in those 14 hour work days, get those stories that mean the most and try not worry about the money.

At the end of this session, I looked at my partner, Becky, and said, “Wow, lets go write!”  It took such a load off my shoulders to know that, yes, I am doing the right thing with my life.  I can help people with my words.  All I have to do now is work my butt off!

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Best of the President’s Roundtable

Posted by Daniel Everson on September 13, 2008

Technology, communication, and journalism industry leaders convened in Jesse Auditorium Friday afternoon to discuss the futures of technology and journalism. The session, officially titled “Communication for a Digital Globe,” was taped by KETC/Channel 9 of St. Louis for future broadcast. University of Missouri System President Gary Forsee hosted the roundtable, and Russ Mitchell, BJ ’82, of CBS News moderated the discussion. The seven panelists were

  • Carol Loomis, Senior Editor at Large, Fortune;
  • Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO, AT&T Mobility;
  • Sue Bostrom, Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer, Cisco;
  • David Dorman, Chairman of the Board, Motorola, Inc.;
  • Mark Hoffman, President, CNBC;
  • Amy McCombs, President and CEO, Women’s Foundation of California;
  • Dave Senay, President and CEO, Fleishman-Hillard.

Below are some of the best of the comments offered by these experts. (I say “some” because to capture all the great insights would be an impossible task.)

 

On the future of handheld wireless devices (Blackberries, iPhones, etc.):

“Devices will be more complex and yet simpler to use.” —de la Vega

“Technology evolves in step functions, not always smoothly.” —Dorman

“We have to have both the content and the devices together.” —Bostrom

“I think it’s (wireless communication) making the world smaller. It’s making the world more accessible.” —Hoffman

“If the market sees value in the new apps, they’ll survive.” —Hoffman

“If you build it, they will come, and they will find it.” —Hoffman

 

On the mainstream media:

“When I graduated, there was no such word as ‘convergence.'” —Mitchell

“The mainstream media have got their head out of the sand and have really started to move forward. … Look at where the elephants are dancing—and you want to make sure they’re dancing and not rushing at you. … I think we have a lot of those elephants at this table.” —McCombs

“There have been many times in history where (people said) the mainstream media would be dead. … I think none of it will die. I think all of it will change. There will be written word … on paper. There will be written word … on wireless devices.” —Hoffman

“I probably have my feet stuck in the mud of the mainstream media more than anyone else (on the panel), and I can tell you, we’re trying to slog out of it. … There’s always going to be a market for trusted information, but the question is who’s gonna pay for it.” —Loomis

“You will see our students inventing the future of journalism (at the new Reynolds Journalism Institute).” —audience member Dean Mills, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism

“Where the quality comes in is (in) the analysis, in the thorough discussion of what’s going on. … If we do let ourselves get away from that which is fundamental in journalism—and that is telling the story—we’re going to have a pretty boring society.” —Hoffman

 

On credibility:

“If you had to pick one thing, I think that’d be the one that you’d pick. … Credibility, which is quality, is at the center of every successful media (outlet).” —Hoffman

“Credibility, regardless of the medium you use, is important. … I think it is better … to just let the credibility sort itself out.” —de la Vega

“It’s the self-policing nature of the Internet.” —Bostrom

 

On citizen journalism:

“When I hear terms like ‘citizen journalist,’ it strikes me like ‘amateur physician.'” —Dorman

“I wonder if people are flocking to places of comfort, rather than places of tension, of dialogue.” —Senay

“The journalist today is engaged in a seminar and not in a one-way lecture anymore.” —McCombs

“Does it scare anyone that there are no gatekeepers? I know it scares me.” —Mitchell

“I can tell you I’ve been misquoted online as many times as I have in the traditional media.” —de la Vega

“The idea of the gatekeeper is very frightening. … The role of the journalist is really the curator, helping (the reader) to wander through the vast array (of information).” —McCombs

 

On future communications and interactions among people:

“It’s not about the power of physical connection, it’s about the human network.” —Bostrom

“Informing people, persuading people, and connecting people with people—that sounds like a great description of the Internet.” —Senay

“The market itself, the killer application, is still people talking to each other.” —Dorman

“I was talking to an 18-year-old who thought e-mail was passé.” —McCombs

 

Advice for current students in the J-school:

“Consider the mainstream media notion a pretty elastic notion.” —Senay

“This is a great time to be in school here. … Be the risk-taker and an entrepreneur.” —McCombs

“Journalism is going to be with us forever. … It’s gonna be more complicated. You’re gonna have to have all the fundamental skills. … It’s gonna get more complicated on one end, but it’s got to stay as pure as its ever been on the other.” —Hoffman

“The opportunity all of you have is to become an expert.” —Bostrom

“Don’t run away from the challenges. Inside every challenge is an opportunity.” —de la Vega

Posted in Centennial Post, Friday, Media, RJI | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Let’s Party Like It’s 1967 (and 8)

Posted by Elizabeth Rinehart on September 12, 2008

The excietment was evident in the air last night, Wednesday September the 11th, at the Reynolds Alumni Center for the 1967 and 68 class reunions. As I walked to the reception, I saw old friends reuniting and reminiscing about their college experience.

How was it different back then? Well, for one, according to an atendee, there were only 230 people in class! Sure is different from the thousands we have now… Also, some members of the class of 68 were the firsts to live in co-ed dorm groups (Schurz for women and Hatch for men!) Before this, dorm groups were single-sex (such as Hudson and Gillett for men and Laws and Lathrop for women.) It is through the co-ed dorm ‘areas’ that two members of the class of 68, Neal and Valerie Barry, met. They were set up on a blind date and married in September 1966 and just celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary and now reside in Alexandria, Virginia!

When I left right before dinner started, I could see the happiness on the faces of the alumni. As the night progressed, I’m sure many happy memories were shared that contributed to this events’ success.

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Missouri Photo Workshop

Posted by Hollyce Cervantes on September 12, 2008

Thursday morning started off a little crazy after my group sighted our first celebrity walking the Mizzou campus, John Anderson from ESPN. After basking in the glory of seeing our idol roaming in our habitat, we quickly ran over to the Missouri Photo Workshop. When we entered the room, there were people packed in rows and sitting on the floors. Many people might have thought that Britney Spears was hosting a seminar because it seems the paparazzi decided to come to the workshop. There were cameras everywhere–in front of me, behind me and to every side. After settling down in the front, I realized I was sitting right next to Kim Komenich in the front row. I was immersed in the action.

Bill Kuykendall started the seminar with a historic and informational slide show on the history of the Photo Workshop. I learned about how much this seminar has grown from a small gathering in Aurora, Missouri to reaching the J-School in Columbia, Missouri. He showed us slides of “Small Town America” pictures that were heartwarming and touching. Kuykendall discussed how these pictures show the fundamental values of Americans and our mythology. These pictures conveyed stories–stories that the photographers wanted to show us. The photographers acted as teachers showing us the importance of these values through pictures. The audience is cooing with oohs and aahs as he flips through the pictures. Everyone in the room was able to connect with the raw essence of human life captured in each photograph.

Next, Kim Komenich stood up to speak to the group. He started off by saying, “There has not been a year where I have not learned something about photography.” Komenich continued by saying that his favorite aspect of photography is the intimacy in photographs. Photographers truly get to live in the world and know the people within it. Then he talked a little bit about Bill Eppridge, who was not present at the seminar. You can view his blog at http://www.billeppridge.com/ . We listened to an audio clip as he reflected on MPW (Missouri Photo Workshop). It is evident how much these great photographers care about pictures as narrative stories. Komenich talked about how Missouri makes the MPW so important. He said, “It’s something about the Midwest. Homecookin’. People have a way of making time for you.” Missouri is the real world and the people make this great state what it is. I glanced at Kim’s notes sitting next to me (being the nosy journalism student that I am) and at the top of his yellow legal pad in doctor’s handwriting is, “Real pictures happen on their time, not yours.” I think that is very relevant to many things in life. However, pictures that truly capture the moment can capture the viewer’s heart. Komenich emphasized that statement multiple times throughout the seminar.

During the question and answer section, my attention was drawn to an older man sitting in the back row. He has been attending MPW since the second one many years ago. His grin fills his entire face. He has lived the “picture perfect” life, recording moments and memories with photographs. He is an inspiration to students, and I had a wonderful time hearing him speak.

Next, a sweet lady in the front row commented on the beginning of MPW. She said, “Show truth with the camera. Early workshops were a bootcamp.” This woman is precious with her light blonde hair and blush pink pants. Her nike shoes are pure as snow white with tiny light baby pink Nike checks. She has the cutest smile plastered on her face. You can tell she is so happy to be a part of this. Her pink cheeks and lips are truly picturesque. She should be in front of the camera instead of behind. Her name is Mimi Smith, and after the seminar, I had the chance of talking to this delightful woman. I will always look up to her.

Overall, even though I am not a photojournalism student, I enjoyed this seminar. Everyone relates to people in pictures because at one point or another, we are those people in the photogrphs. It is a lovely way to capture time and cherish it always. Props to the photo workshop!

More information here!

To contact me, e-mail hmczbd@mizzou.edu.

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Seminar on Delivering Health Information

Posted by abmq39 on September 12, 2008

            The intensity of the Delivering Health Information session at the centennial of Mizzou’s J-school was apparent when the moderator, Susan Dentzer, said, “People can die from bad health information.”

            The first speaker was John Barklow, who works for the National Institutes of Health. He expressed the common view of the need for immediacy in today’s world. He also spoke on credibility. NIH is one of the most prestigious and credible research firms in the county, but they still have trouble convincing everyone their information is correct. They also have trouble getting information to the public. He said that he wanted to try and send people information they need to know vie email and text messages, but the general population would regard that as junk. It’s hard to get people information when they won’t accept it.

            After Barklow, Glen Nowak took the stage. He is part of the Center for Disease Control. He discussed how he works with the media. The CDC utilizes educational materials, a weekly publication, press releases, tele-conferences, briefs, and networking through larger organizations. He explained that it’s hard to get important information to the public because a lot of people get their information from “infotainment” shows likes Oprah. Even reporters aren’t specialized like they used to be. The biggest challenge he had linked to new technology was the number of blogs and the inability to make sure they are all accurate or contained. It’s impossible to control all of them.

            Next up came Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press. He was the only journalist on the panel. He discussed the difficulties of working with people like Barklow and Nowak because what one considers news depends on their perspective. Stobbe finds news in information that contradicts previous knowledge or new information on a hot button issue, whereas the health organizations may find something more mundane equally important. In the end, the story is up to the journalist. The media may also want more information than is necessary for the agency to release, and that can be a conflict of interest.

            At the end, the panel discussed how difficult it is to reach all demographics with the information they need to know. Market segmentation makes it impossible to reach everyone through a single source. Another interesting topic the panel approached as a whole was the lack of math and science experience as a journalist. Stobbe explained that he joined an association of health journalists who help each other out. They help with quick education or ideas on where to find sources. He also suggested reporters go back to school if specializing so they honestly understand what they’re writing.

            Health information is constantly changing with new research, and finding a way to tell it where people will find it and understand it is a huge challenge of today’s media. 

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Seminar on Advertising Ethics

Posted by abmq39 on September 12, 2008

            The session of New Enhanced Role for Advertising Ethics began at 9:00, and, despite being the first time slot of the day, it was packed. There was standing room only, and I wound up sitting on the floor to the side of the tables in the brand new room in RJI. The panelists were introduced and each gave a short presentation.

            The first panelist to speak was Wally Snyder.  Snyder works at the American Advertising Agency. He spoke on the competitiveness of advertising today, between advertisers themselves and between advertisers and their audience.  The key to advertising is connecting to customers, and it must enhance the company and the product image.

            He defined advertising ethics as truthfulness, fairness, and taste and decency. The major idea he wanted to get across to the audience was “Advertising ethics is not an oxymoron,” even if that’s how many Americans see it.

            After Snyder came Bob Wehling of Proctor and Gamble. His presentation proved that Americans don’t trust advertising with evidence from poll showing ad agencies are less trusted than politicians. Ethics to him were more than just a single action. Corporate ethics are based on advertising ethics and the standards they are held to, and those are based on personal ethics. It takes a truly ethical person to keep a company honest.

            Wehling introduced some questions he has to deal with every day to the crowd to demonstrate the issues that are double sided. Does a good end justify bad means? Is it better to hide the truth and help someone or to be truthful and hurt someone? Should politicians be held to different standards? These questions made everyone think.

            Linda Eatherton presented ethics more from the public relations point of view, and ethical behavior as companies in general. A lot of people choose products and companies based on what she called “egonomics” as opposed to economics: they feel better about themselves for choosing a company that is socially considerate.

            She introduced the three P’s of today’s marketing: price, planet, and premium. People want to be environmentally correct while buying quality products for the best price. Companies these days must have solid reputations. “Reputations build trust,” she says. Her ending questions, leaving the audience wondering, was, “Do ethical ads and policies make a company ethical?”

            Allison Price Arden was the last individual to address the audience. She also showed the results of the poll about professionals trust. She wanted to remind us that companies should get attention for the good things they do, like Access Surf Hawaii and Tap Project. These are public relations dreams come true.

            A lot of companies are doing it right, Arden says. Companies are trying to do the right thing, and the customers are responding. Since 9/11, interest in companies supporting causes has risen nearly 30 percent. This attitude was more uplifting and a nice was to end the session.

           The session ended with a few questions from the audience. I thought the most interesting question involved making companies’ ethic codes public. Even though everyone was in favor of companies following ethic codes, no one was in favor of publicizing them. They explained that rules change so quickly that it’s not safe to release them in case of legal trouble.

           The panel was very knowledgeable and really explained what they did well. It was an interesting session that really expressed how difficult their jobs were. It translates to every industry and every day life as well. Ethics is everywhere and everyone has to make decisions.  

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The Frank Lee Miller Journalism Library

Posted by Allie Spillyards on September 12, 2008

For two hours on Friday afternoon faculty and alumni authors filtered in and out of the Frank Lee Miller Journalism Library. They came to meet and mingle with their peers, and to enjoy refreshments and conversation in the newly furnished Library. Many seemed disappointed to find that their books were not in the Library because they are temporarily being displayed in the school bookstore for the centennial event. 

The Library, the oldest of its kind, has been moved to and refurnished in the new Reynolds Journalism Institute. The two story library provides faculty, staff, and students alike with advanced technological resources. The Library provides access to iMAC’s, laptops, scanners, printers, iPod Touches, and video equipment. Space is efficiently used with privacy screens in the study areas, conference rooms, and moveable stacks. Collections of newspapers and magazines fill the shelves of the Library. 

With the Library’s move from a basement to this new and prominent home, it is hoped that faculty, staff, and students will use the Library as a more welcoming place to study and work.

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