Citizen Journalism: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Unfortunately it seems that for this very last post, I was oddly only left with one comment to think about. Thus, I’d like to thank Alex Allan for her comment!!!

Alex mentions that most of the news she comes across is “from some online source, be it Twitter or Facebook”, due to the fact that most people are looking for news through online social media outlets these days. The reason behind this appears to be fairly rational. With the rise in tech gadgets, being able to access online social media sites pretty much anywhere in the world has never been easier; our iPhones and Android devices have become the primary go-to resource for news, leaving the television set miles behind. However, Alex states that “The only problem is that it’s hard to know if it is accurate or not”. Reliability will unfortunately always be an issue in terms of what we see online. False statements can go viral within seconds, causing a whole slew of problems. In example, I left a comment on Sarah’s page in regards to a time where I saw citizen journalism go very, very, sour. When the Boston Marathon incident happened, I recall reports roaming around social media outlets which were accusing the wrong individual for crimes he did not commit. Some random person online had thought that an individual fit the description of the accuser, and a snowball effect occurred, which unfortunately even ended up on some major news sites. Imagining the impact this may have had on the wrongfully accused family and friends is terrifying. It really goes to show how fast statements can float online, whether they are true or not.

Although the Boston incident was an example of citizen journalism at its worst, I still believe that for the most part, these new opportunities of journalism are for the better. With a mix of producer/consumer opinions, we get a much broader perspective on an issue. In example, on occasion I take interest in reading articles on science and space through various online news-sites. These articles can be quite complex, and I can often get lost in the authors choice of words. My solution to this has been to always check the comments posted in response to the article. Most, if not all the time, someone with a vast amount of knowledge will have broken down the main points of the article in simplified terms.

Faraan Majeed | Brock University | COMM 2F00

A Healthy ‘High’: Endorphin’s & Exercise

The topic of my Storify article is on the relationship between exercise, stress, and anxiety. I particularly talk about hormones known as “endorphin’s” which are released from the brain during exercise, and how they can contribute to the overall well-being of the mind and body. This topic was chosen based off personal relatedness, in the past I have come across times of anxiousness, and exercise was the best outlet for me. Further, many people rely on ways to fix psychological issues through medication or substances, which can lead to harmful side effects. Exercise is a natural
cost effective way that provides numerous benefits to the mind, and should be further recognized for it.

Thank You.

http://storify.com/faraanmajeed/the-healthy-high-endorphin-s-and-exercise

– Faraan Majeed

The Future of Journalism

With the rise of online social media outlets, journalism has been opened up to just about anybody, and we now no longer rely on one source of information, i.e. dedicated news broadcasts. Users from all over the world can contribute to online media, which creates an in-depth multi-user perspective. In Sharon Freidman’s article “Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima: An analysis of traditional and new media coverage of nuclear accidents and radiation”, Freidman discusses the differences in how nuclear accidents have been reported in journalism over time, stating that Fukushima, a more recent event “has been much more extensive and much better in many cases because of the emphasis on explanations and background information” (2011). These new opportunities of citizen journalism seem to be the way of the future. According to Hermida, “a new literacies approach suggests journalists adopt a more collaborative method to determining the truth that, in theory, could be reached through an iterative process played out on networks” (2012). Although I would not consider myself much of a citizen journalist, as a consumer, I feel comfort having multiple perspectives on a report. In example, when I surf websites like Reddit for my daily news, after reading the article submitted I always check the comments for further insight – where users with a vast amount of knowledge frequently post their opinions. It would seem that content available online may lack in reliability though, at least compared to professional journalism, where writers are hired for their knowledge in a particular field (Freidman, 2011). However, many newscast websites have adopted methods to make sure valid information stays on top. For example, Reddit is based off users “upvoting” or “downvoting” comments, which allows the opinion in majority to stand on top – and often, the top comments may even be backed with references.

According to Freidman “Unfortunately, one of the Internet’s impacts on US newspapers is that they are downsizing and consequently buying out or laying off many specialty reporters in the science, environmental, and health fields” (2011), and that a lot of these reporters are now working for web based journalism. So has the rise of online social outlets encouraged users to be a part of citizen journalism? Absolutely! Whenever we hear a new story, we often hear it online first, and online content spreads like wildfire. Even newscasters have come to this conclusion, according to Hermida “Major news organizations such as the BBC, the New York Times and the Guardian have published accounts of breaking news events in ‘‘live updates’’ pages that combine unverified social media content and authenticated professional reports” (2012). Following along with live updates allows people to learn more about a situation, and having the ability to interact with other users that are somehow tied to an event is very appealing, we are drawn in. Citizen journalism makes the world a much more interactive, “real” place. When you see pictures of a deadly protest uploaded on websites like Reddit, by a user you can communicate directly with, it connects you to the situation in a different way. It opens up the opportunity for you to take charge, and be an activist yourself.

– Faraan

References

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

Friedman, S. M. (2011). Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima: An analysis of traditional and new media coverage of nuclear accidents and radiation. Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists, 67(5), 55-65.

Physical Activity for Stroke Prevention

Hey everyone!

The passage I have chosen for my podcast is from a blog post titled “Study Finds Moderate Exercise Reduces Stroke Risk”. Yes, it sounds boring already, but my idea was to expand on the topic of how physical activity can play such a huge role in reducing the chances of stroke and promote a healthy heart. Using an educational approach, my podcast is meant to inform the web world of the link between stroke and physical activity.

Article: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/exercise-reduced-stroke-risk/#axzz2XGV7SmaP

References:

Wendel-Vos, GCW.,Schuit, AJ., Feskens EJM., Boshuizen, HC., Verschuren, WMM,. Saris, WHM.,Kromhout, D. (2004). Physical activity and stroke.A meta-analysis of observational data.International Journal of Epidemiology, 33, 797-798.

Warburton, DE.,Nicol, CW., Bredin, SD. (2006). Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 174(6), 801-9.

Lee, CD., Folsom, AR., Blair, SN. (2003). Physical Activity and Stroke Risk: A meta-analysis. American Heart Association Inc, 2475-2482.

http://www.canadianstrokenetwork.ca/ – Canadian Stroke Strategy

Music Piracy: The Cycle

After a discussion with my fellow group members, it has come to my intention that we all have similar feelings towards record companies and piracy. Previously I mentioned that, what record labels call “piracy”, helps promote artists more than anything, and that companies should do nothing to deal with this issue. Sarah also writes that “Artists are not negatively affected by file-sharing websites; in fact, it is like free advertising”. One of my ideas was that the music industry should maybe offer full music streams of songs and albums, so that users can discover new music and really take things in before making a purchase – I believe it would at least make for a more competitive model in today’s market. On the other hand, David brings up a very interesting issue that I never thought of, by stating: “I still find it sad that some of the music and videos found on torrent sites cannot be legally obtained anywhere”. It is true! There are documentaries I have watched that are not obtainable outside of the “piracy” world. So what does a consumer do when they cannot purchase copyrighted digital content without being named a “pirate” by big corporations? As Sarah comments, “They have to realize that piracy and file-sharing is not a bad thing. And in some ways can help their artists and sales in other areas”.

Furthermore, the hypothesis I made about record companies making a big deal about piracy during the days of CDs and tapes turned out to be correct. David comments with an interesting article regarding the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). In short, BPI fears that audiences listening to the radio will be able to record songs onto cassettes and that it will lead to declining record sales, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_Taping_Is_Killing_Music). Of course, this was during the days of tape decks and VCRs. However, the same issue arises today, just in a different format.

I believe the digital world should be place of freedom, where creative minds can share, think, and create content without the feet of big corporations standing in harm’s way. In “Under the Pixelated Jolly the Roger: A Study of On-Line Pirates”, the author states that “pirates, as a group, also happen to be the largest purchasers of on-line content” (Stenmetz & Tunnell, 2013). It’s kind of ironic when you think about it – the people pirating all of this music may also be the biggest supporters of the companies that are trying to sue them for copyright infringement.

– Faraan

References:

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

From VHS, CDs, to Torrents: The Ongoing “Problem” Record Labels Face

Ever since the rise of Napster, an online file sharing hub with the “means to circulate content” (Bradley, 2006), a battle between record label companies and internet consumers was born. Users were not only able to download the song of their choice, but also share their own music library with the rest of the world. Napster’s model which is based on the “formation of participatory communities” as Bradley states (2006) was however, only a gateway to other file sharing concepts we see today such as torrents. The notion of file sharing or “downloading digitized intellectual property” (Steinmetz & Tunnell, 2013) has been termed as “piracy” by the recording industry, and a major issue still circulates in the media today – what should record companies do to deal with piracy?

To answer this question, I feel as if there is only one simple yet slightly blunt answer, and that is “nothing”. In my opinion, record label companies need to learn to accept online piracy. One of the key reasons as to why piracy is deemed so negatively by media industries in the first place, is due to idea that companies will lose money to consumers that download their music instead of purchasing it – and If I were to make an hypothesis, I would state that when the first VHS tapes and CD’s came into this world, similar rebuttals were taking place. So does online piracy actually have an impact on record sales? According to Stenmetz & Tunnell in their article “Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line Pirates”, movie companies like Sony, “seem to be doing fine” (2013), despite large amounts of movie piracy issues. Speaking from personal experience, if there is an artist I thoroughly enjoy or a movie that catches my attention, I will buy the record or go to the theatres to support them.

Within days of a new music record release, a download is typically already available through torrent based sites. I believe consumers deserve the ability to try out records before making purchases; it not only saves time, but money (Stenmetz & Tunnell, 2013). Furthermore, major record companies make a substantial amount of profit off of artists (Stenmetz & Tunnell, 2013). The internet, with its massive distribution capability, opens up the opportunity for consumers around the world to support artists directly. For record label companies to thrive in today’s industry, I believe that changes must be made. Perhaps offering full streams of music releases at no cost, this would provide consumers with much more comfort and allow them to ‘take-in’ what they are listening to before making any purchases.

– Faraan

References:

Bradley, D. (Mar. 2006) “Scenes of Transmission: Youth Culture, MP3 File Sharing, and Transferable Strategies of Cultural Practice,” M/C Journal, 9(1). Retrieved 17 Jun. 2013 from .

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

Fit For Your Mind (Module 4: Short Video)

Hey,

Hope you enjoy this short video I put together. I have spent quite some time messing with music production over the years but never really dabbed into the video side of things, so this was quite a nice change, and fun to make. The concept of my video is essentially a montage promoting different forms of physical activity. The application I used is Windows Movie Maker – I created the video by cutting out numerous scenes from clips and syncing them to the tempo of music playing – which in this case, I decided “hey! It’d be cool to use some of my own music!”.

– Faraan Majeed

From convergence to expression

At the rate of how fast computer technologies are converging, it seems more and more people are discarding the use of singular devices like Television’s and Radio. We have access to internet radio and television stations which provide us with diverse networks of programming, far beyond local broadcasts. Sarah comments, “In my student house we don’t even have cable and we get along just fine keeping up to date with shows by streaming them online.” Furthermore, David agrees that he also has no use for a television subscription anymore, but brings up a very interesting issue stating that “internet speeds and bandwidth are quickly becoming a limitation preventing further growth in the industry”. It is true – most companies do put a cap on the amount of bandwidth we can consume, and it would be great to be able to stream video formats at higher definitions (1080p). So, who are we to blame for these capped internet speeds? It came as a huge surprise to me, but according to David, huge corporations like telecom have argued that there is no use for faster internet speeds, (http://bgr.com/2013/06/05/comcast-executive-google-fiber-criticism/) – I found this to be very ironic, and just another way that corporations might be trying to control web users, “convergence lag is not in the population, but in the corporations” – David.

In my previous post I mentioned how YouTube is a great way to not only to express yourself but find new forms of art. Alex comments, “YouTube is much different than television and the radio, like you said, there are so many things you can, see, learn and do on YouTube that you just can’t anywhere else”. Since not every artist has the ability share their music in the offline world, I believe that YouTube provides them with that audience. On the downside, corporations will take down copyrighted material; However, I’m learning that users are actually finding their own little tricks to get by companies. For example, numerous music videos which are not uploaded by company related YouTube pages get taken down daily due to YouTube’s detection services – even if the music in the video is not the original (a remix of a song linked to the original video). What I noticed recently is that users will actually mirror the image of the video, and by doing this, YouTube is not able to detect the video. Overall, I really feel that users are, and will always find new ways to get past all these forms of regulation, and that it will be an ongoing battle!

– Faraan

YouTube: An Artists Perspective

Over the past year I can say that I’ve not only been big consumer of internet media, but I have also taken part in creating my own content as well. Being involved with music production and remixing, I found this module to be very interesting, and coincidentally enough, was introduced to Ferguson’s “Everything is a remix” series a couple years ago by a friend. According to Jenkins (2004), “we are entering an era where media will be everywhere and we will use all kinds of media in relation to each other”, with the huge technological shift that we’ve been going through these past years, we have access to things that were unimaginable before – From YouTube on our smart-phones, VOIP applications, to live sports broadcasts on our computers. In fact, I’ve come to realize that I may not even have use for a cable subscription anymore; everything I need is a click away (via. the internet).

When I think of YouTube I think of opportunity, and I think of expression – despite content regulation disputes (Hilderbrand, 2007). From a consumer perspective, YouTube has allowed me to discover new music that would otherwise not have been possible, and from a producer perspective, I can share my music to a universal audience at a click of a button. As stated by Hilderbrand in “YouTube: Where cultural memory and copyright converge”, “YouTube’s success has been attributed in large part to its user-friendliness” (2007). The community based platform of YouTube really is ingenious, allowing users to add songs to their ‘favorites’, create playlists, subscribe to channels, and even network with fellow artists and fans from around the world. According to Hildebrand (2007), “killing off YouTube may do more damage to the content industry than good, if doing so eliminates the industry-friendly site”, I can attest and say that there are a lot of artists/movies I discovered on YouTube that I later on became fans of and supported – Therefore, I believe YouTube really helps the industry more than anything. Sure a lot of people will hear and see content without any sort of fees, but how else will they learn about it? I mean, the radio and television can be great media outlets, but what if you want to find content that isn’t produced for the masses? (I.e. niche and obscure) YouTube is an avenue for expression, whether it’s for educational or entertainment purposes. Although I rarely post “remixes” on YouTube, I believe that other artists who re-create content are a lot of times, doing more for the original author than bad – Promoting, and reviving and old forgotten idea in a modern way!

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

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

Meal Frequency and Metabolism: Wiki-Analysis

In this day and age, we tend to gather a lot of our information from online sources due to its fast and easy accessibility. Wikipedia, a “socially produced document” as Royal & Kapila state, is one such source, becoming a first stop for almost any information we desire (2009). The users who contribute to Wikipedia are simply volunteers from around the world, working together to build a stronger database (Dijk & Nieborg, 2009). I feel that since Wikipedia reflects the perspective of an on-going multi-user network, it hypothetically ought to be reliable and less biased compared to other resources. However, due to its open source nature of allowing anyone to edit, Wikipedia remains in constant debate (Royal & Kapila, 2009).

With the internet full of dozens of health and fitness related websites, it’s sometimes hard to know whose information to trust. A common trend found among fitness (particularly bodybuilding) advocates, is integrating a diet which consists of eating several equally proportioned meals a day. While there are many benefits to this method, many false claims have been made in the relationship between meal frequency and metabolism – essentially stating that the more frequent you eat, the faster your engine will burn, which studies have shown no evidence for. Working in the past as a sales associate in the supplement and nutrition industry, I often heard many customers adopt this way of eating for the wrong reasons. For some, it does provide a sense of satiety, and prevents overindulging. For others, it even helps maximize energy intake – those who have trouble eating a lot in one sitting may be better off having several meals a day. However, despite its popularity, no evidence has linked meal frequency to a change in metabolic rate. I thought it would be interesting to see how Wikipedia handled this discussion.

While observing the “talk” page on the topic of bodybuilding, I was a bit surprised when I read the very first sentence under “meal frequency”, what do you know? – The first paragraph states that eating more meals a day is correlated with an increase in basal metabolic rate (metabolism). However, the statement offers no citation or evidence whatsoever – A mythical fad or myth shall I call it, making its way onto Wikipedia… At this point I became a bit weary of Wiki, but after realizing that these claims were not listed in the “main page” and were simply just a quote from an old edit, I was in relief. Other users seemed to notice the error, and provided evidence debunking the claims with links to over 9 peer-reviewed journal articles. I was impressed to see the initiative from other users, especially with the usage of reliable sources, one particularly from the Scandinavian Journal of Nutrition, as Jensen states “the one major link to the outside world is the requirement that all text be verifiable based on reliable secondary sources, with a preference for traditional published scholarship” (2012).

Although the debate between meal frequency and metabolism did not last very long on the “talk” page, it’s great to see users keep track and acknowledge inaccuracies. According to Royal & Kapila (2009), the philosophy of Wikipedia is that “with so many people looking at the content, in the long run accuracy will prevail”, although there were errors before hand, they were corrected over time. David Nadeau, in his blog “Crowdsourcing our Knowledge” brings up an interesting perspective on how news providers are under timelines and don’t always have the time/money to cover all aspects of a story, which can lead to a biased view. I believe the same could be said about fitness magazines and articles, and to add, are mostly sold for product promotion and advertising. Since Wikipedia has all the time in the world (literally), accessibility to over 200 languages (Royal &Kapila, 2009), and doesn’t cost money to update, bias is set to a minimum. My only concern is that the topic I reviewed lacks further detail on the main page (under bodybuilding). But as David states, Wikipedia is a “great starting point into a topic as an unbiased overview” and that understanding a topic further would require reading into the sources provided.

So would I recommend Wikipedia as a source for information on diet or nutrition? For a general overview, I would say yes. Alex Allan mentions in “Wikipedia: Reliable or Unreliable?” that Wikipedia is to the point, and a great place to familiarize yourself due its diverse network of editors. Although we don’t know what qualifications these editors have, as long published articles are provided, I believe we have connection to real world (Jenson, 2012).

As far as research goes, we’ve all heard it before from our professors, that Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information (Jenson, 2012). After reading Adam Mansour’s “Wikipedia Can be your Friend!” he talks about using Wikipedia as a “source for sources”, and that most of the information is lead back its original authors. Even though the section on meal frequency is rather slim, the statements are backed with published journal articles. If I wanted to learn more about a diet consisted of eating frequently, I could do so at a click of a button!

References:

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.

Van Dijk, J. & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its discontents: a critical analysis of Web 2.0 business manifestos. New Media & Society.11, 5.pp 855-874.

Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History.76, 1. pp 1165-1182

David Nadeau: http://www.soote.org/newmedialiteracy/crowdsourcing-our-knowledge/

Adam Mansour: http://adambmansour.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/wikipedia-can-be-your-friend/

Alex Allan: http://tthehealthblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/wikipedia-reliable-or-unreliable/