Data Storytelling/Journalism

Which of these did you find most interesting? Why?

Of the case studies that I read and analyzed, the one I found to be the most interesting was Data in the News: Wikileaks.  Using spreadsheet data obtained from WikiLeaks war logs, The Guardian wanted to create an informative infographic on six years of IED attacks in Afghanistan. Taking the incredibly long spreadsheet (comprised of 92,000 rows), journalists at The Guardian used a map of Afghanistan and surrounding territories to display where IED attacks took place. This infographic succeeds as a visual aid because it shows the viewers of the infographic where the attacks took place and how many there were.

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Wikipedia Worldview

Making use of a point map, Wikipedia Worldview, is capable of displaying points on a world map where information is being recorded and posted online. It allows users to see where the most high density information posting is occurring. This is valuable to see which specific areas on the planet are posting the most information and data on Wikipedia. It’s also very visually appealing to readers.

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Luminous Cities

Luminous Cities allows users to view photos of Flickr users. Each dot, which can be colored to the specific country and region, is a Flickr user with photographs to view. The maps are both beautiful and interactive, and can be used by journalists to view photographs that they find relevant.

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The Future of the Digital World

Looking across the semester, what do you think are the most important trends or issues affecting the future of the Internet, Web and digital communication?

What’s the biggest issue that’s been argued over this past year? There’s so many to choose from. People have opinion on everything from Ebola to Bill Cosby, but one issue has remained on the minds of online consumers, and that issue is Net Neutrality. For those that might be unaware, net neutrality is the idea that Internet providers and government entities should treat the data present online equally. This basically means that there should be no attempts by the government to discriminate of charge the internet user, site or platform that they use. In the article, Why 2014 Could Be the Year We Lose the Internet Why 2014 Could Be the Year We Lose the Internet the authors has raised concerns over the frailty of Net Neutrality, pointing to the federal government’s inability to implement a new plan protecting net neutrality.

In regards to the Web, the biggest trend that I noticed was the way in which it is viewed on different platforms. To be more specific, on mobile devices like iPhones. This topic was covered in-depth in the article The Web is Dead, Long Live the Internet, where the author spends the majority of the time talking about how people wish to receive information fast and in the simplest of forms. According to the article Internet users are turning to semi-closed platforms that use Internet for transport, but not display. This simply means that Internet users are actively rejecting the current web browser in favor of using apps in its pace. The article points out that users gravitate towards apps because if the way they present themselves; making it easier to navigate and get the information they desire. Everything from Facebook, Twitter to Netflix has apps readily available and use. If companies that predominantly exists online need to think about one thing, it’s apps and mobile presentation.

How, as a society, should we deal with the rapid pace of digital change?

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Whether people like the changes or not, digital media needs to be embraced in order to progress as an online society. What I mean by that is that people need to stay connected online in order to pay attention to larger picture. Relying on the radio or television is not good enough in today’s world. New information doesn’t show up in the newspaper, newscast or radio broadcast. It always premieres online first with newest details. Is the information always accurate? No, but it’s no more accurate than one might receive when watching the nightly news. Social and digital media have campaigned causes, brought down dictators, promoted politicians and shamed celebrities. It’s something not to be trifled with, but that doesn’t mean it should be feared. It needs to be recognized as an invaluable tool, and not seen as cute toy or a time waster for teenagers. No, digital media is the future of information and the way in which it is presented to the masses.

 

The Future of the Music Industry

What is your vision of the future of the music industry? Frame your answer in terms of artists, the business (labels, etc.), consumers and legal implications. Over a decade ago, people had a view of the music industry as an all-powerful media conglomerate that sold CDs and had young budding artists under strict contracts. As digital media has proliferated, the music industry went through a crisis that struck it to its core. Rampant decline in CD sales due to piracy and sites that gave away “free” music played a major role in the industry’s decline. As other have pointed out numerous times, the industry was slow and unwilling to come up with as solution to save themselves and put a stop to music piracy. In order to appropriately prevent their further decline into irrelevance, the music industry has to embrace the very thing that put them in the spot they’re in right now. Only by relying on digital sales of music (easily the predominant way people get their music) will they hope to stay afloat. napster In the article “Music Industry Sales Rise, and Digital Revenue Gets the Credit,”  the author of the piece talks about how in 2013 the music industry revealed that their global sales increased in the first time since 1999. The primary cause for this increase in sales has been attributed to digital sales of music. Though the increase was relatively small (only 0.3% to be exact) the fact that there was an increase at all shows that there was at least some change by focusing on digital distribution of music. Not only will the business side of the music industry have to look to digital sales to make a profit, but musicians and song writers will also have to stay engaged online and come to understand that selling their music online is the future. In the article “Five Tips for Musicians to Engage Their Fans Digitally,” the author talks about how musicians need to be engaged online to further their careers and earning potential.

The Five Tips

  • Add functionality that will connect to your fans.
  • Technology is not a “one size fits all” solution.
  • Do not underestimate time commitments.
  • Create a plan for implementation and awareness.
  • Use all available web properties.

The tips generally focus on how a music artist should attempt to use all aspects of social media to stay engaged with their fans, including making use of various social networks, establishing a home site for fans to seek out information about the artist and using digital technology to stay in touch with fans. 

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In a recent article published on Business Insider, Academy-Award winning composer Hans Zimmer commented on the state of the music industry and the recent removal of Taylor Swift’s music off of the streaming service, Spotify. “I think Taylor Swift, and really honestly, I haven’t quite been following it, I’ve been a little busy, but my point on the whole thing is, you know, it’s very easy to say, ‘Oh, those rich musicians. Their music should be free or whatever.’” “It shouldn’t be free. It’s their livelihood. It’s their job. And I’m not talking about the rich musicians. Anybody should have the chance to as their dream say, ‘I want to become a musician and I want to make a living at it.’ You know? And why shouldn’t they be afforded a living? It’s a great big world and if there are millions of people listening to your music and enjoying it and enjoying it and getting something out of it then it’s not a hobby, it’s work.” So, I personally believe that both the businessman and the creators in the music industry need to adapt in order to survive and succeed in a world that is increasingly becoming a digital one.

Legal Issues

What do you think are the most important legal considerations associated with our digital environment?

In the age of digital and social media, the way in which people attempt to protect their creative content in an environment that seems so open is very complicated. Legality over what is free use, an intellectual property or something that is copyrighted can be very confusing in an online world that offers supposedly unlimited access to everything. Today, I believe the most important legal consideration a person must consider is how to appropriately copyright something while allowing some creators to access that copyrighted thing or idea.

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In the Wired Magazine article “How I Learned to Love Larry,”  author Hilary Rosen talked about Lawrence Lessig’s role in creating the Creative Commons, a non-profit organization that provides copyright licenses that allows creators of an intellectual property to state which rights they reserve regarding their intellectual property, and which right they feel they can waive. According to Lessig, waiving some rights to an intellectual property allows other potential creators to benefit.

In the first chapter of The Future of Ideas, Lessig himself talks about how there is a need for a creative environment to exist so people can contribute their ideas. He talks about how the legality surrounding copyright law can be a burden on creativity, and even stifle creativity. By having an open environment or creative space (online space) would allow an exhibition of copyrighted material to be displayed and protected, but allowed to be used in such a way by others that it does not infringe on the person’s copyrighted material.

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When thinking of copyrighted material, or the legality over the ownership of specific property, it’s hard not think of film industry. For film fans, one of the biggest controversies over ownership of copyrighted material is between Disney and 20th Century Fox. Both own film right to Marvel Comics and its many characters. One of the biggest controversies to date has been Fox’s recent acquisition over the use of the word “mutant” in Marvel movies. After obtaining the copyright to the word within the X-Men film universe, Disney cannot say nor make references to “mutants” in any of their Marvel superhero films. It’s strange, but it’s just another example of how crazy and complicated a copyright can be in the hands of a billion dollar film studio.

Future of Journalism

Discuss your view of the future of journalism.

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Probably during the later years of high school, I made the decision that I wanted to spend the remainder of my education concentrating on becoming a journalist. I enjoyed writing and reporting, and actively participated in extracurricular activities that honed my skills as a writer. I was not naïve to changes that were occurring within the profession. Everyone has heard for years how the print medium has been slow to adapt to the changes of the Internet, with many print publications such as magazines and newspapers ending their multiple decade long runs. According to the article “A Terrible Year for Newspapers, a Good Year for News,” newspaper sales have been in a steady decline for years, and more importantly ad revenue, the single thing that keeps many papers in publication, has supposedly fallen by 55 percent. This isn’t unusual, but it is alarming for any prospective student pursing an education in journalism.

Now, it’s time to discuss the future of journalism, and more importantly, the specific mediums within journalism that are currently growing. Journalism has become reliant on one thing, and that one thing is the advancement of technologies. The most important of these technologies is Internet and social media sites. In the video “The Rise of the Reader: Journalism in the Age of the Open Web,” Katherine Viner, editor-in chief of The Guardian, talks about the changes occurring within the newspaper business and how the process of obtaining information has gone from fixed (newspapers) to free flowing (online sources/articles etc.).

“A newspaper is complete,” Viner said. “It is finished, sure of itself, certain. By contrast, digital news is constantly updated, improved upon, changed, moved, developed, an ongoing conversation and collaboration. It is living, evolving, limitless and relentless.”

The quote defines what the print medium and the online medium are today. A printed newspaper that has been published exists as it is. It cannot be changed or updated once it has been released. Only another publication can explain or update facts at a later date. An online source can be updated and easily changed. It is because of the online resource’s ability to change constantly that make it a superior medium in terms of receiving potential updates to a story that is important to people.

What role do you think data and programming will play and how should journalism schools adapt?

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According to the article “Guardian – Data Journalism: What It Is and How Do We Do It?,” data journalism is that is shared and distributed among online platforms. Data journalism has played a role in the way people obtain their information. Whether it’s from Google, Wikipedia or other sources, data journalism has proved that journalism no longer exist as the sole source of obtaining information on stories occurring in the world. The role of data journalism will only make newspapers and magazines struggle even more to stay relevant in a digital age.

Finally, journalism schools and students should adapt to these changes by understanding the world of the Internet and how it continues to shape the journalism profession. In the reading “The Programmer Majored in English,” the author beings up the value of learning online programming and coding. As stated by Cindy Royal in the reading, coding, programming and digital journalism can all be practiced together in order to create user interaction and engagement with others. It

And it can be practiced in such a way that it can create interaction, user engagement, and more information in terms of seeking the truth.

Mobile App: Movie Times

For my Mobile app, I wanted to create something that is both fast and easy to use. My app, Movie Times, says exactly what it provides. It’s simply an app that provides information on the latest theatrically released film currently in theatres. Specifically providing the times and locations of the movie you want to see. Simply type in the name of the film in the upper-left search button and the app will bring you to a page that displays the closest theatre locations and times the movie is playing. To the far right of the page, viewers can read a brief description of the move. To the far left, the most current poster and film credits can be seen. So, is this an app worth having? Well, you’ll never have to type in a theatre name again or waste time scrolling through all those other movies you don’t want to see. It’s quick, easy and perfect when you’re on the move. It can be used for both tablets and phones. The version displayed here is for tablets.

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While designing the main page of my app, I thought about everything from the look, to the possible ways a person can interact with it. Though simple in appearance, I wanted to create something that didn’t feel cluttered. After watching the video “Planet of the Apps,” I realized just how complicated the process of designing an app can be. Even the simplest app can take many weeks, even months of work. The app creators in the video also made sure to rigorously test their budget keeping app TextHog in order to make sure it was working well enough to be submitted to Apple for approval. Even after watching the film and designing my basic app template, I feel the need to make many changes and improve the overall layout of the main page design.

Also, the video “Mobile Development Strategy” talked about Mobile apps. The video explained that in order for an app to be successful, a responsive web design is needed. Again, the web design is key. If an app has a poorly developed design, people are less likely to use it. The video talks about how having a tasked focus experience and device specific capabilities planned before-hand can lead to a successful app.

In addition to the information provided by the readings and videos on app development, it seems that mobile devices will dominate online media for the foreseeable future. The reading “The Future of Apps and the Web” talks about how there is a significant increase of Internet connectivity in the last few years, and mobile devices have played a larger role in that, especially in developing countries. That’s why it’s so important to develop an app now and make as much money as possible!

Why Go to Grad School? – Mass Communication Week Presentation

Though I am already in grad school, I was interested to hear the thoughts and opinions of my fellow grad students on their graduate school experience. The panel, comprised of five Texas State graduate students, talked about the graduate classroom experience, and the difficulties and rewards of teaching undergraduate students. The grad student panelist included Jordan Brown, Charlotte Singleton, Aisling Niestroy, Cody Herring and Kerry Motunrayo. The panel was also moderated by Texas State Professor Sandy Rao.

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When talking about their classroom interactions, the panelists emphasized that school work and classroom activities often took presentence over other things in their lives.

“It’s important to be organized, because you can easily get behind,” said Motunrayo.

When talking about extracurricular and employment opportunities for grad school, many of the panelists talked about their work as graduate assistants. As a graduate assistant myself, I could relate to many of the struggles and rewarding aspects of the position. One of the greatest rewards of participating in graduate teaching is the hands-on experience working with undergraduate students. I and the panelists agreed that while it could be frustrating trying to get undergraduate students to understand specific sections of the course material, it can help prepare you for what you may encounter if you choose to pursue a profession teaching communication in a university setting.

“It’s some of the most intense work I’ve ever done,” said Brown.

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Finally, when talking about the programs available to take within grad-school, the panelists talked about how it’s possible to tailor the program to you own needs. Herring and Brown both talked about how the classes they’ve taken have helped give them a clear understanding of they want to do once they leave the academic field, and pursue work in either the public or private sector.

As a graduate assistant, I agreed with many of the opinions that the graduate assistants brought up. Their personal experiences working with undergraduate students and tailoring the graduate program to match their interests and goals is very similar to my own graduate career right now. I am hopeful my time at Texas State will lead to even more positive experiences in the future.