Archive for September, 2011

Page One; Not Scared.

Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times is a video documentary that takes viewers inside one of – if not the – most well-known, influential newspaper in the world.  The only problem is, however popular it may be, newspapers in general are going the way of the dinosaur, and The New York Times is afforded no immunity.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you can easily tell from the trailer that a strong focus of the film is the fact that the “Digital Age” continues to devour us, and those who resist are simply being left behind.  The movie seems to hook viewers in the same way that the nightly news likes to hook us; scare tactics.  Or maybe that’s just how it hooks us aspiring journalists.

It’s no secret that the journalism industry is changing.  Almost anything that you can read on a piece of paper nowadays, you can find online in an instant, and read on anything from a 25″ computer monitor, to a two-inch iPhone screen.  And for older journalists and writers, perhaps this might be a cause for concern.  But the journalism industry as a whole? I don’t think so.

As was mentioned during an in-class discussion earlier this week, it seems that a lot of people are getting the impression that journalism is dying, when really, it’s just changing. But nobody wants to watch a movie about how journalism is changing, which is why the trailer places so much emphasis on David Carr’s line of, “Could The New York Times go out of business?”

So just because the platform for modern journalism and reporting is changing, all of these news outlets are going to go out of business?  I don’t know about you guys, but my tweets don’t tweet themselves.  My blog doesn’t just generate random postings every once in a while.  And my stories on the Manitoba Bisons website don’t write and publish themselves, either.

Page One was an interesting movie to see, just for a behind-the-scenes look at The New York Times, and to see just how these changes are affecting big-name news outlets.

There will always be a need for good journalists, reporters, and writers.  So that’s what I focus on.  Improving my skills, building my portfolio, and getting as much experience as I can.  Personally, I couldn’t be more excited to be breaking into journalism at this time.  We’re really the first generation who is going to bridge the gap between the way journalism used to be, and the way it’s going to be.  And that doesn’t scare me in the least.

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A Writer, You Are Not.

One of the most frustrating things that I’ve encountered as a journalist thus far, is outside interference from pens that are not my own.

Everything that I wrote over the summer, was required to be proofed with the contacts who contributed to the story, before it could be published.  This is a great way to make sure you don’t piss off the people who have probably purchased advertising space in the publication, but it also creates a lot of headaches and additional time for the writer.

Sometimes it’s so hard to get ahold of the person you need to speak to for a story, that the thought of then having to engage in email correspondence with them after the story is written just depresses me.  The story is written, but a lot of the time, that’s the easiest part.  Sometimes it would take me upwards of five emails to get someone to send their corrections back to me.

And here’s where we come to the part of getting corrections that I don’t necessarily agree with.  Maybe they’ve inserted a new quote, or a piece of information that not only adds nothing to the story, but also derails the entire flow of it.  It’s senseless to get into a virtual argument over it, because it’s way too time consuming, and ultimately, the reason I sent them the article was so that they could make these changes.

It’s hard to “finalize” an article that is not entirely your own, and have your name stamped on it.  Luckily, I never encountered anything that was too awful, but there are definitely people out there who should not be writing; until they learn how.

All The Big Guns…

I can’t get enough of this song.

Hockey fans know what I’m talking about.  Jets fans know what I’m talking about.

There are certain songs, for everyone, that bring you back to your youth, and make you feel comforted because they remind you of a time when you had a lot less to worry about in your life.  For me, this is one of those songs.

Saturday night; Hockey Night in Canada. I would probably be sporting my Jets pajamas, cross-legged on the living room floor and watching the game with my mom and dad.

I can’t say that I ever expected to be watching the Winnipeg Jets on Hockey Night in Canada ever again.  It really is a phenomenal thing, and a dream come true for me to have the Jets back, this time in my adult life.

Got a favourite Jets memory or story?  Let me hear it!

How Early Did You Start Writing?

As Journalism students, we (likely) all have a certain flair for the written word.  Every so often, I think back to the days when I was just a young lad, and specifically the writing that I used to do.

I started when I was about seven years old, on a Macintosh that I’m pretty sure is older than time itself.  For the technologically-inclined among us, I believe the hard drive space on the thing 99 Megabytes.  Not even one Gigabyte.  And to think that I just ordered a portable hard drive the size of my hand that’s got 1 Terabyte of storage… but I digress.

I wrote the dumbest stories you can imagine when I was young.  And I loved it; absolutely loved it.  I can distinctly remember the feeling of just having a thought or a concept come into my head, and being insanely pumped to go sit down at the computer to form and write a story about it.

This strays a little bit from the topic of just straight “journalism” of course, because no, at seven years old I was not breaking compelling local stories.  I was writing fiction, but I think any journalist worth his salt will agree that story-telling is a crucial aspect to a good story, whether it’s fiction or not.

One of the first stories I ever wrote was called “Wing-Wa-Soo: Fighting Chinese Monkey”.  It was a story about a monkey, whose owner was cruel and kept him caged up all day long.  So one day, he decided to teach himself kung-fu from within the confines of his cage, and the next time his owner opened the cage to feed him, he beat him up and escaped.

Can’t believe I actually just publicized that information.

I still have the folder that houses every short story I wrote when I was a kid, and, of course, all of them are pretty brutal.  But they are a reminder of why I am where I am, and how I got here.  They remind me to never underestimate the most basic but important aspect of journalism; story-telling.

If you can remember the very first story or piece of writing you ever wrote, feel free to share it.  Chances are it’s not as embarrassing as mine!

Fan or Not; You’ve Got An Opinion.

As my IPP gets underway, I’m interested to get some feedback on Professional Wrestling in general.

Like the title of this blog post says, whether you’re a fan of Pro Wrestling or not, you know (maybe just vaguely) what it is, and what you think about it.

So let me know!

If you’re on this page, and reading this, do me a favour and take two seconds to answer the poll up at the top of the page.  Classmates and friends have been reading this blog ever since it first went up, and I’m interested to know what people really think of the topic I write about most often.

The poll is completely anonymous, but even if it wasn’t, my feelings are never hurt by hearing someone talk about how stupid they think Pro Wrestling is; I hear it all the time.

If you want to go into more detail about your thoughts on Pro Wrestling, please feel free to do so by leaving a comment, or shooting me an email.

So answer the poll, and/or let me know your own personal thoughts on it! I’m always up for having a discussion about Pro Wrestling, whether you love it or you hate it.

Thanks to everybody who takes the time to answer the poll and/or leave me a comment.