On following the news cycle

It’s easy for me to say that you can do whatever you want when I don’t know you at all.

That’s a weird way to start a post. Hello, how are you? Do you have any idea what it’s like to live in the U.S. this year with all the nonsensical political discourse going on? Maybe you do, but you might not pay attention to politics at all. Maybe that’s good right now. You shouldn’t let yourself get tainted by someone that thinks they know whats right for all despite being loved by a select few. But paying attention to news is something that everyone, no matter where you live should care about and participate in. Why? Because, things like news and current events can shape the type of person you are.

I like to read. Mostly everything. I like to experiment, but one more than one occasion I have stopped reading a book if I simply didn’t like it. If you don’t like what you hear, you don’t need to hear it but sometimes if its important its those things we hate to hear that are the most important. I’m brining it back to news now. I follow the news cycle like I’m still a reporter. I despise the term “news junkie” as it implies someone that likes the news which is seen to be depressing. In short, someone that is amused or thrilled by news events. For most this is not the case, but for me when I am Twitter it is this very place. I share news, I contemplate news, and I share some more news all while knowing that in 24 hours none of what I’m sharing will matter any longer or events will have changed. That is how it works. The news cycle is always changing and is always different and that is why it is the most interesting thing you will read all day.

But don’t get me wrong, there are those moments when I forget to follow the news for few days. I miss an important update to a political story, I miss the news that someone famous has died, I miss that some child has gone missing and I miss breaking news. All in one day.

 

We can’t all be perfect, but we can try to follow the things that remind us of how we’re all screwed up too.

 

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What news can you tell?

 

The news is easy to follow if you have internet or Twitter and even easier if you have an interest in the matter.

My favorite story in the last week or so was that of a young girl covering her local news and she even broke the news of a homicide (go her!). Go here for more:¬†https://orangestreetnews.com/¬†That’s news I like to hear, that of people reaching out in their community, young or old wanting to change people’s minds and wanting to be able to share the news with others. To be able to inform and do a civic duty is what journalism is all about.

Those are the moments when I wonder why I am not working in media right now. I sure don’t know, I did like it. I hope to return when I can write on health news, maybe science too but I won’t go too deep since its not my forte. But, why do any of us stop doing something because of another’s influence? Maybe not directly, but in a way that moves us in another direction perhaps. Maybe for better or for worse. I can say that Hilde is doing a service with her paper and she can’t do it all (of course not) and whether she ends up in the media or veers off into investigative reporting is up to the future.

We think we all have it all figured out but then life throws us curves and some of those curves are sharp, some might even have blades. Not too be too dark, but the truth is that no one knows what will happen tomorrow. Sorry, but we don’t. Anything is possible on any day.

So, I write here and to me that is something that I will hold onto for as long as I can. Actually, scratch that. I will hold on to that. Because why would I not want to write?

Always do what makes you happy.

Write to write

So they say writing is nothing and will lead to no jobs. This is not incorrect, but for literally every job on the market you need to know how to write and even better if you can do it well. Not just write, but compose documents and make sense of it enough to make someone else understand it better. Whatever that is. Wherever your heart lies.

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I have much to say about being a liberal arts student and a person who loves the arts in general. But, don’t misunderstand me and think that’s all I care about. I love science. Especially astronomy and space news. No, of course I’m not a rocket scientist but are most of the people reading this? No. It’s an age-old need to want to be curious and know more than we already know. I can find countless articles about wellness and finding peace with yourself and whatnot, but I’m not going to link any of them. I will say this: Not feeling worth it because of what you are interested in is not something you should let anyone make you feel this way–yes, even if its your own family.

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If you come from a more traditional Asian family, then you have probably three choices of a career and none of them deeply involve the arts. The rest of us either have loving parents who support us no matter what or will do their hardest to sway you in the path they have chosen for you until you are much older and realize this is not your dream nor your personal goal of happiness later. (full disclosure, my parents were of the latter and were- or rather are supportive of what I do).

So what do you do in such a scenario? You make your own rules? You break out and risk your family name? This is all very dramatic and may or may not apply to any specific situation, as everyone is different.

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gif source. Also, congrats to Leonardo on his Oscar!

Luckily, if you love something strong enough you can do it if you have the internet. If all you want to do is write, then start with something like a blog. If you want to write news, think about interning at a local paper or news site. Be ok with blogging though. If you’re an artist, don’t be afraid to share your work online. Learn how to make a unique watermark for your images and work and disable copying. This might be easier to do when using specific sites geared towards artists like DeviantArt, where a community is just waiting to help you. If you love history and political science and see flaws in the American political system (or any other system, depending on where you live) then take a stance on it. The possibilities are endless for creatives. In fact there is a website created by a creative mind for those that are lost though many just tend to waste their time on it with memes and such. It’s called tumblr.

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But is publishing itself dead? I wouldn’t say its thriving, but I wouldn’t say it’s in its grave quite yet. We like to say that to people who we hear write for *gasp* an actual print newspaper?!? But, is it really that surprising? To me, to be able to write on the staff of a newspaper is almost like an honor these days even if the pay is meager and the jobs are difficult with no appreciation for what you do if at all. Why? Because you’re doing a service to the community. A community that might be made up of people in their 60s. Where I live people might be around my age, but not the whole town. Not people who have lived here for years, no. The younger people are the one’s moving to bigger cities and doing big things while the older generation stays because of the town. And the newspaper. It is the traditional way of life. And yes, I might want to get a kindle one of these days but you feel fresh when you grab ahold of a newspaper and get the inky newsprint on your hands. You’ve just been swept up in the local news of the days which is probably not exciting, but its something. And it means something to someone.

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This post got a little long. Here is a post I made a few years ago about being an English major and trying to figure out my next point in life on the chart.

Isn’t that what all these posts are about though? Life and what it means and why I’m happy to be alive.

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Current Events

Maybe I’m only speaking for a small group here, but I don’t feel like current events is part of a kid’s everyday life. There used to be a time when major networks made more of an effort to promote this. This is not a hate post or anything on the topic, I’m just saying I’ve seen like not as much educational programming. But, then thank goodness for not for profit and local companies that work on educational and useful programming. Like, the news. If I went to a regular high school today, I would probably be hard-pressed to find one kind with a good knowledge of what’s going around in the world as well as any local or national news. But, hey maybe I’m judging based on what I don’t know again. Maybe, these kids know. They just choose not to show it.

Don’t call me out here, not calling anyone stupid or anything like that. It’s probably hard to have a conversation without inserting some popular tv show, musician, or movie at the current moment at the same time. It’s high school, I get that. High school is not a walk in the park either, but that’s probably a story for another day. Does anyone remember Nick News with Linda Ellerbee? Like, that was a show that talked about some real issues with some involvement from kids. Now, that I think about it it was kind of like one of those CNN town hall things that Piers Morgan used to do and sometimes what Anderson Cooper does. What’s that? Oh, my. I’ve just read on a Buzzfeed article from 2013 that Nick News is still on. That’s kind of amazing. The Nick News site says its the longest running news show. If its still on, it has been on the air since 1992. A look at the show’s Twitter page, with the most recent tweet on April 25 tells me the show is still on. This is very good and Linda Ellerbee is not the only one surprised it would seem that is has lasted this long. I suppose if you look hard enough the news that matters to the right demographic is out there.

On that note, does anyone remember Mister Rogers? Of course you do. But, he was the soft-spoken leader in bringing educational programming to the forefront. Because, that thing about Beyonce and Jay-Z is cool and all and you can dream to be like them if that’s what you’re into but when it comes down to it what do you want? Like, really want. You don’t need role-models as much as you need yourself to be guided by a model path. As I’m typing this, I’m realizing that pretty much no one grows up without out admiring at least one person or thing. It’s probably a natural part of thinking and growing.

I want to write more in the next week, so without letting this get too long I’ll just end with telling you to keep reading, consuming and doing. Life is always going on.

Making sense of the media

I don’t always like the media. They are always pounding and hammering on issues that are not at all important sometimes, other times they are just annoying. Depends who you talk to. Of course, I am sorta the media in that I write online and share my work with others. As much as anyone else, I would like articles and stories to go viral. It is even more awesome when it is your own body of work. But, when to draw the line where media input doesn’t matter to the issue at hand?

People are still writing about the media. In the media. For the media. What the heck is the media? It’s that need to relate to everyday humans but not knowing how because we are not the same that way. Society groups us into different groups and we relate to one another easily or not at all. Say if I wrote for a well known publication such as the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, I would be in a world of pain. Because whether you write for a small daily or a national paper, the job of a reporter still sucks. There are good days, there are awesome days, then are really suckish days that you want to do nothing. Point is, you keep at because part of you wants to make a change. Wants to do something right with their lives and writing is not only something they love but hey it makes money so yeah. Also, talking to people when you get the chance to can be really exciting sometimes (I sound so exciting, don’t I? Sorry, about that). But, it really is something to be able to reach out to people through what you write. When you write about a local group or person, you might not love it but believe me it means so much to them. That is what matters.

Today, though it’s likely impossible to make use of the media without online means. Not to get super technical, but I mean social media here. If you’re a reporter, blogger, writer, photographer, editor, or whatever if you are not using social media to your benefit then you’re doing it all wrong. But, you’re mostly just not getting the full effect out of social media that you should be.

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It’s actually slightly impossible to describe any type (or most type of media) without including “social” in front of it to some extent.

It can’t be denied or ignored because it’s reality. The media is an everchanging cocoon of ideas and thoughts. Yes, I just typed that out. While some might point fingers at those in the media for what they do or say, the fact is that on the underside there is more good than bad in terms of media. Media relations might be tricky waters to navigate and I’m still not sure I understand all the technicalities of that. Mostly, I do understand that if you want something to mean something then you do something about it. The best way that you can.

Does this whole thing have a point? Yes. The point is that the issues do matter, but so do the hearts of real people. Something that can be forgotten, when actual people are doing the writing and reporting. The human mind can only take so much before it realizes that it’s sick of all the lies and the made up jargon that nobody cares about. I guess that’s where “off the record” comes in though, no?

No, this has no point. Because I don’t usually have one. I just write about what’s on my mind and what I think about sometimes. The media is what I think we are all a part of. In today’s society, we are all interconnected and contributing something online through social media. It doesn’t always have to make sense or be normal, but that’s the fact of it. We are all connected in the messed up media world, that will probably always exist.

The Convergence of Media

In today’s society, we seem to not think twice before we post online. Some of us do, most of us say we do then forget this when the moment arrives using the logic that it can just be deleted later on. That’s just it, what you put online is online. End of story. But, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how everyone wants to take part in sharing their daily lives or breaking news with the world. Everyone wants to grab ahold of the action.

For example, in a world in which pretty much everything is digital it is no wonder that people hold most things as personal parts of everyday life. From updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram it is no wonder that people feel connected on such a personal level to their friends and comrades. When there is a storm or shooting, people want to grab ahold of it. They want to tell their version of the story, further letting people become more personal with one another online in order to tell a story or share an idea. Take the CNN ireport, which is fueled by the idea of citizen news and active participation in events. This lets everyone take part in the news and being a part of the media story. But, does everyone want this? Some people may not like the idea that their story is going to be edited heavily thereby taking away their viewpoint. Of course, that is not everyone. The point is that the stories of events are told in a manner meant to evoke a certain emotion and citizen reporting helps this facet of a news report. Everything is meant to come together in a timely fashion so that it all makes sense when put on the air or placed in a news article. Who does not want to be a part of creating lasting change? Creating the news is easy, it is telling it that is changing.

That first sentence was not a pointless fact, it is common sense. It applies to most practices done online as well. Don’t be careless, send in what you think will be relevant and substantial content. Reporters work to gather sources and if they are at their last source and turn to a citizen for information (that’s you!), then know that you should not make up stories to simply be in the news. All the news stories will come together, but if a story is important enough then more outside sources from regular people may be included. Don’t be scared, this is your chance!

Alright, enough on this topic. Here are some links to pages and articles related to this topic. Everyone should be informed before deciding to contribute or what type of message to send out.

Nieman Reports- Citizen Journalism and the BBC
Citizen Journalism & Democracy: How User-Generated News Use Relates to Political Knowledge and Participation (abstract)
Forums for citizen journalists? Adoption of user generated content initiatives by online news media (abstract)
Good article on journalistic ethics, important for citizen journalists/reporters to keep in mind