All posts by jp10sq

Summation of Citizen Journalism

After observing other posts this week, on the topic of citizen journalism, I found that most people think that it is a positive advancement. It is a way for the community to have a voice in current topics and is able to express themselves by re-posting and commenting. I think it is a great opportunity that we are now all given the chance to participate in journalism and it is a way to get involved. Citizen journalism is also a way to bring awareness, a good point that was talked about in http://salubrioussarah.com/2013/07/04/increased-citizen-journalism-social-activism-as-a-result-of-flourishing-social-media/ where she said through citizen journalism she was able to “increase awareness of the issue and hopefully persuade others to get active politically as well”.

Along with the many positive aspect that citizen journalism offers, I still think that there are some downsides. As expressed in my previous post on the topic, the problem of validity and truth to journalism has been compromised through the mass sharing of news stories and articles. A comment that I received on my blog post by cg10lj.wordpress.com stated “like anything else, you cannot just rely on one source” and I think that is a great point. To be sure that you have the truth, we have to rely on more than just on source and I find that now with citizen journalism there is a large abundance of material that can be found on one single topic.  This can potentially be harder to find common ground between all the sources. Because of this I’d like to argue that citizen journalism makes for easy access to information but it has made it harder and more time consuming to verify that the information is actually correct.

In regards to the temptation of participating more with citizen journalism, I have found that users who were already active in posting and being “producers” of social media are the ones that are participating more. And the users that participated very little in social media are no more tempted than they were before. I think the reasoning for this is because the use of social media is a lifestyle and not something you do because it is becoming easier to use. If it is not something you do not enjoy doing, than regardless of the simplicity of it, it will not change your mind.

Some thoughts on Citizen Journalism

With the way that social media is flourishing in today’s society, citizen journalism has become the new way to spread news fast. No longer do you have to wait for the 6 o’clock news to find out the latest stories, but you can simply sign on to one of the many social networks and find streams of new stories. This citizen journalism provides easy access and a relatively constant flow of incoming news stories, which is a great advancement in terms of getting the story out there. The problem that I have with it is that I feel as though the journalism loses its authentication by being passed along by so many people. As explained in the article by Hermida, “through the discipline of verification, journalists determine the truth, accuracy, or validity of news events, establishing jurisdiction over the ability to objectively parse reality to claim a special kind of authority and status” (Hermida, 2012). I think that this accuracy and validity is lost in the social media and it is sometimes hard to decipher what is the truth and what is fiction. Before the media created the opportunity for citizen journalism, we got our news from watching it on TV or reading it in the newspapers and it was pretty safe to believe that the content was accurate for the most part. Now with sources such as Twitter and Facebook, anyone can post a story or a news fact and it has the potential for it to go viral without any verification of its truth. With all these new social media platforms where citizen journalism can occur, “this simply means that few journalistic organizations can afford to engage in much long-form, resource-intensive, investigative journalism” and “such tendencies lower the average quality of journalistic publications and broadcasts, and thereby further undermine the attractiveness of the journalistic product” (Bruns & Highfield, 2012).

I think that there are both pros and cons to citizen journalism but even though there are plenty of easy opportunities to participate, I am no more tempted to post now than I was before. I have never been one to post a lot on social networks, even though I have accounts for some of them. I am more of a consumer in that I use them to find the stories and try to educate myself on the latest news but I am not the one to share the stories. As easy as it is to find information these days and how convenient it is, I think that true journalism should be left to the professionals to try to preserve the accuracy of the information we receive.

Hermida, A. (2012). TWEETS AND TRUTH: Journalism as a discipline of collaborative verificationJournalism Practice. 6:5-6, p659-668.

Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site [Snurb.info]. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32.

Childhood Obesity as Childhood Abuse

This podcast discusses the debate of whether childhood obesity should be considered child abuse and whether it is right to be able to take a child from their home because of it. I chose this topic because it seems to be a “hot topic” in the the area of child obesity and I think it is very interesting. The passage I will read will be a short blog post I found on the topic from the website http://www.bioethics.net/2011/07/is-child-obesity-a-form-of-child-abuse/ . This blog post talks about another article on this issue and I discuss it further and use some examples.

Hope you enjoy listening!

Summation of Piracy

After viewing what others had to say on this topic I’ve realized how difficult it really it to take a side on what is right and what is wrong. Even after commenting on fellow classmates blogs and expressing my opinion, I still find my thought to be confusing and somewhat contradicting. I’ve learned that everyone has their own opinion on what should be done and the ideas have been diverse and not in unison as they have been in past weeks. I think this is one of the problems that we face with piracy in the music industry; is that everyone’s idea of piracy is different, which leads us to do what we think is right but is what we are doing actually right? This week’s topic has been hard to express my opinion and I often found myself frustrated trying to make my thoughts make sense. I do believe that artists should be paid for their music especially for new artists who are trying to get their names out there and make a living doing what they love and giving us music that we love. On the other hand there are a large handful of musicians who have more than enough money and it just doesn’t feel the same paying for their songs when you know they really don’t need my additional 99 cents. As for any suggestions to the music industry regarding this piracy issue I still don’t think I have a realistic suggestion that would actually make any difference. My one idea is that perhaps there should be a cap on how much money an album or song can make, therefore giving an equal opportunity to all. The artists will still get paid but eventually the songs will be free. This may seem like an unrealistic idea and potentially unfair to the ones who have to buy it while others can eventually get it for free but all the suggestions I’ve read so far have pros and cons to them as well. I find myself being quite negative and I don’t mean to come off in a bad way but I honestly don’t think that there is an easy fix to this problem. I think that it has already gone too far for anything to change at this point and with technology increasing as it has been I think it will just get worse.

Piracy…Where do we draw the line?

Piracy is a problem that keeps on growing in today’s world especially with technology thriving the way it has be lately. The music industry for instance is no stranger to stealing and sharing and has caused sales to continually decrease. The biggest question is what can be done to eliminate this problem of piracy? After reading this week’s articles I find it hard to take a side without contradicting myself. One the one hand, I think that music is a privilege and the musicians should definitely get paid for their work. For years I have paid for my music whether it be on iTunes or to physically purchase the album from a music shop and wouldn’t think of any other way of doing it because that is the right thing to do. On the other hand, I am the perfect example of unintentionally committing piracy as I lend my CDs to my friends or let them take songs from my iTunes to put on their iPods. I have never really thought about that to be piracy because I’m not giving it out to hundreds of people and I did pay for the CD. That being said I think it’s not always clear of where to draw the line and determined what is to be considered wrong or acceptable. Condry states that “If music is free, no one will pay for it. If no one pays, artists and producers will stop creating music” (Condry, 2004). This exact reason is why something needs to change before the music industry falls beyond repair, something that would be terrible for not only the artists but for the general public who caused it.

Honestly I think that there might not be a solution to this piracy situation that would make both consumer and producer happy. With technology getting better and better, I think that we are just making it easier for piracy to take place. The only way I see piracy from stopping is if drastic measures are taken, making it a huge penalty to share and download music illegally, but in reality that may end up causing more problems than we began with. And then what do we draw the line? Is sharing a CD between friends the same as sharing a song online, available for hundreds to access? Steinmetz and Tunnell bring up a good point in their article saying “Piracy allows a greater distribution of a given product than traditional means” (Steinmetz & Tunnell, 2013). As sad as that statement is, I think it’s completely true. Piracy and sharing is an easy way to get out stuff out there, unfortunately it’s not right and not fair to the artist who isn’t getting paid for their work. So I don’t really have any suggestions to the music industry they could really make any difference but rather I have a suggestion to society; music is not a given right, we are blessed and privileged that individuals decide to take the risk of becoming musicians and to share their music and talent with the world. So instead of taking it for granted and abusing what isn’t ours to abuse in the first place, we should take a second thought before illegally downloading or sharing music online.

Condry, Ian. (2004). Cultures of Music Piracy: An Ethnographic Comparison of the US and JapanInternational Journal of Cultural Studies. 7 (3), pg. 343-363

Steinmetz, K., K. Tunnell (2013). Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line PiratesDeviant Behavior. 34 (1), pg. 53-67

Summation of “The balance of Copyright Laws and Cultural Commons” (Module 4)

The one thing that I have learned this week from reading other posts and the comments I have received is that I am not alone in my frustration with being a consumer of the media. As much as we try to be producers and create something new we are faced with the challenge of all these laws telling us what we can and cannot do with the resources we find. I mentioned in my last post that the key to restoring this imbalance between the consumer and the producer was respect, but after reading a comment by my fellow student, I now think that the greed for profit is another key component. “When profits stop ruling our motivations we will produce better content. I think that profits should remain in the markets of physical goods and services”. I completely agree with this comment by http://salubrioussarah.com/ and think that if producers weren’t so greedy then we wouldn’t be faced with all the copyright problems we have in today’s world. If the producers would just start producing for the purpose of sharing rather than gaining profit for their work than I think things would be a lot different.  It gets me thinking of all the opportunities and great ideas that we could potentially be missing out on because it has become so hard to produce something without the risk of getting in trouble that many go silent and are never heard. My worry is that this imbalance is going to keep getting worse and eventually no one will be allowed to share anything because people will be copyrighting every sentence they speak. I do think that if we all gained a little more respect for people and starting trusting a little more than it would be a start to fixing these problems. This is not something that will change overnight and there is a lot more to it than just respect, and I am sure that there will always be people out there disrespecting and misusing other’s work but we have to start somewhere.

The Balance of Copyright Laws and Cultural Commons

Copyright laws have seemed to create a problem of an imbalance between producers and consumers in the online community. In order to establish a robust and freely accessible cultural commons would be to restore the imbalance that we face in today’s world. I feel like there is a big cycle that has caused this “producer-consumer” imbalance such that people misuse other’s work in a disrespectful way or try to take credit for something that is not theirs. This then causes the producers to enforce more copyright laws, making it harder for consumers to use anything without the worry of copyright rules. Because of this we are more likely to break the rules when we re-post, remix, or simply express ideas, and so the cycle continues. Shifts have been made in the technological infrastructure because of the imbalance and “the way in which those various transitions play themselves out will determine the balance of power within this new media era” (Jenkins, 2004). Hilderbrand explains that these copyright laws tend to lean in favor of the producer, creating more restrictions for the consumer (Hilderbrand, 2007). I completely agree with Hilderbrand in that it is hard to find anything these days that doesn’t have some type of copyright laws and I personally think some people have taken it too far.  There are definitely things out there that need to be copyrighted in order to preserve the original ideas but there also needs to be more respect for others work so there becomes less of a need to use these laws so frequently. People are mistaking commons, something that is free and does not need permission to use or take (Lessig, 2001), for commerce. In my opinion, I think the biggest thing here that needs to be fixed is the amount of respect for others and their work. Don’t take credit for something that isn’t yours and if you are re-creating, remixing, expressing ideas or discussing topics, be sure to mention were the originals came from. There is nothing wrong with creating something new from something old, but just remember that the something old has a creator and deserves some credit too.

Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence  International Journal of Cultural Studies March 2004 7: 33-43

Hilderbrand, L. (2007). Youtube: Where Cultural Memory and Copyright Converge. Film Quarterly. Vol. 61, No. 1,  48-57.

Reliability of Wikipedia (Op-Ed)

Wikipedia is one of the most controversial sites on the internet. Because anyone can add and edit articles it has brought up the concern that the information can be incorrect and unreliable. The big question is is it really that unreliable or has its bad reputation damaged its value? Based on what I have observed I have decided that the information that is found on Wikipedia can be just as reliable as other sites. Now I’m not saying that Wikipedia is the holy grail of accurate information but it definitely deserves more credit than it is getting.  Because there are so many article and different topic areas, and having the most coverage on current topics (Royal & Kapila, 2009), it’s hard to say that every single Wikipedia article is correct or on the other hand unreliable. There might be some pages that are more reliable that others but in a grand overview of this site I would say that you could rely on its information.

Using the “Childhood Obesity” page on Wikipedia, I have done some background research on the validity and the reliability of this page in particular. While reading the “talk” page I was brought into the light on how things are discussed before they are approved to be removed or changed to the page.  There seemed to be a good amount of respect for each other between the users, finding very little disrespectful comments to any of the users. There were some unnecessary comments but on average the respect level was high. In doing this research it was a surprise to find how much voting when on before action was taken to address the concern. On this particular site about childhood obesity there once contained multiple pictures of obese children with their faces burred and after multiple votes they were taken down and replaced by a picture that is more respectful. After viewing these comments and suggestions regarding the pictures I realized that there are people out there who truly care about the content that is on Wikipedia and are actually willing to do something about it and not just sit back and criticize. This leads me to believe that people willing to take time to contribute to the sites will most likely be providing valid information because they care about the topic and want to share their knowledge with others.

Contrary to common belief that anyone can easily add information, this page seemed to prove that statement wrong. There were a couple cases on this “talk” page where a user wanted to add a section or change a paragraph but these proposals were declined based on lack of valid sources and plagiarism. This was actually quite shocking to me that this occurs and further increased my opinion of the reliability of the information. In regards to the authority and credentials of the users of this page, there seemed to be one user that was actively involved with the process of information removal/ change and in answering any questions. An additional search was done on this user and it was found that he is an ER doctor. These findings further increased my faith in this website, that not only does there seem to be users looking out for the well being of the article but that some of the users actually have some type of credentials. This begins to explain the results found in the Nature article, explaining that there is no significant difference in the number of errors between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica (Giles, 2005). Because there is more than just one person contributing to these Wikipedia pages, some of which having good credentials and an education in the topic, lead me to believe that there can be good outcomes to having the community work together to create an article. Wikipedia is not just an online encyclopedia but it offers the opportunity for people around the world to come together to collaborate and work as a team. In an article by Brown and Duguid it says “in passing between communities, documents play an important role, bringing people from different groups together to negotiate and coordinate common practices” (Brown & Duguid, 1996). There are thousands of websites out there that contain false information that can’t be changed or corrected by anyone but the author. Wikipedia offers a way for things to be changed and corrected when errors are found. Because of this, I believe that Wikipedia is reliable and shouldn’t have the bad reputation that it holds.

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Brown, J. S. & P. Duguid. (1996). The Social Life of Documents. First Monday. 1, 1.

Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.

Giles. J. (2005). Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias go head to headNature. 438, pp 900-901.

 

http://slynnharbers.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/module-4-behind-the-scenes-of-wikipedia/

http://salubrioussarah.com/2013/05/22/new-faith-in-wikipedia/

http://cg10lj.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/wikipedia-misconceptions/