Cartoons? News? Yes!


They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. And the saying does not exist not for nothing.

In journalism, many reporters tend to forget this premise however.

Sometimes we encounter long texts we don’t even want to read to, as at a glance they just look they will go on forever as the Bible.

Truth is words are not the only way to tell a story.

Although cartoons have been used for many years now in the journalistic field, to some, the only connection between comics and newspapers is in the funny pages, or a single panel editorial cartoon.

Nonetheless there exists another way for making good use of such attractive illustrations. A way that, although aesthetically pleasing, still ensures the essence of great journalism. “The complete and reliable reporting of the facts.”

With that being said, a new breed of journalism is emerging. One that is betting on visual narrative storytelling, using the framework of comics – the traditional combination of words and drawn images.

You can call it “Comic Journalism.”

While cartoons often aren’t automatically thought of as serious narratives; journalism pieces per say, several journalists are using this approach to explore complex topics around the world. Journalists have had to dig deep into their creative side to increase validity of the genre though.

Joe Sacco is widely considered to be one of the pioneers of the form, who actually got to produce the first known magazine specifically focused on comic journalism.

And as the use of the comic’s medium to cover real-life events continues to develop, is no surprise that other organizations will begin to adopt and embrace the format. Perhaps among the most popular today is Symbolia Magazine, a digital magazine that publishes stories illustrated in the form of a graphic novel.

Technology and journalism — ‘BFFs’


There’s no doubt about it.

Over the past few years, journalism has changed and partly it has been because of its continuous effort to stay on track with its “BFF.”


So let’s face it; we all have tried to be like somebody else in our lives so there’s nothing wrong or to be ashamed of. (You are forgiven Journalism!)

Essentially what journalism has attempted throughout the course of the years is to fit in into the current society’s needs and wants. Or at least try to juggle with them.

So in a world were we find ourselves continuously dissatisfied and looking for the next “big thing”; that which increases our efficiency and makes our life easier, you might ask yourself what could be journalism’s next card?

Well, believe it or not it might be wearable technology.

It might sound odd at first, be the thing is that wearable technology is here. And is here to stay.

Wearable technology goes beyond just smart watches; it could includes other smart jewelry, Google Glass, fitness trackers and beyond.

Therefore, with the increasing popularity these items are experiencing, journalists should start focusing their effort on how to best format content to all of these different types of technology.

Because, again, let’s face it as people start using this items and as long as the trend and interest keeps on, they will become an everyday staple.

Hence, wearable technology may open the door for new platforms and ways to deliver information, forcing reporters to adjust getting the most pertinent details of a story across in the quickest way possible. One thing is for sure though; it will push journalism even further into the world of “at a glance.”

“Backpacking” — not just for tourism


Journalism has entered a new era. With tight budgets and evolving technologies, adaptation has become a staple. (Adaptation towards the “minimalist” for the most part, though. Cutting on the middlemen, who represent “unnecessary” expenses when having technology handy that make things easy.)

As a result, efficiency and productivity has boosted within the industry. Tools for instant, global, visual communication have paralleled and managed to adjustment throughout this evolutionary process destined  for convenience.

Unintentionally, this has propelled a new form of journalism.

As mentioned before, the countless benefits of new technology continue to open up the door to better and improved tools for journalists and thus the industry.

Now we can all easily fit a video camera, laptop, editing software and hard drive into one backpack. And with this concept in mind people started to wonder … if you already got it all wouldn’t you be also able to do it all?

Here the birth of “Backpack Journalism”

The term expects for one to be an “all-inclusive journalist.” A multi-tasker. A complete combo.

It requires for the journalist to be a reporter, photographer and videographer, as well as an editor and producer of stories. It is a one-person team. This takes out the cost of having other members of a “crew” on site.

Some producers see the method as a key to unlocking new techniques of storytelling and certainly, for some instances, developing personalized or in-depth approaches to the occurrence of the event.

Agree or disagree one thing is certain.You’ll be traveling for many miles if you really want to “get the heart of the matter” of your story no?. And hey, wouldn’t this be an alternative form of tourism? Time to pack those bags!

Jurnid: Self-marketing for journalists


All aspiring freelance journalist should acquaint himself or herself with this groundbreaking creation.

Jurnid; set to be “the next big thing,” is a platform aim to connect journalists with outlets in need of content creators.

Founded by Miami-based freelance media creative Andrew Quarrie, Jurnid works as a platform for students and professionals to showcase their talents and build an audience that is interested in publishing their content.

The site welcomes all journalists regardless of specialty and it’s free to sign up to be a contributor.

It serves multiple purposes. You might want to use it as a blogging platform or as a place to find worthwhile paying projects by connecting with business and branded newsrooms. Or it might also work the other way around.

People might take a glimpse at your posts and then ask for a helping hand. Even to the point that, you can establish a pay plan for your readers if they are finding it so interesting to whip through your writings.

Either of the ways the application has the added benefit of dealing with payments, that to be honest, they just don’t tend to come always on time on the real world. The service is designed to provide a low-cost way for either print or photo journalists to monetize their work.

And why should we students care? Not just for early exposure, but for the further ‘prep’ and training it has to offer. The site provides a mentoring community between journalists and professionals. This for providing feedback(mainly aimed at beginner and journalism students) as they publish their portfolios on the platform to help them thrive as self-managed entrepreneurs.

On an era were everything seems to be shifting towards the digital, you sure want to keep an eye on this. Word of advice.

Freelancing: Start a journalism career


A computer. A topic. That’s all you need to come up with a story. And that’s all the tools journalists essentially make use of during the writing process.

So if it’s that simple; can anyone do it? Am I up for a journalism work position then? And the answer is that, in theory, yes.

Anyone can call themselves a journalist. First, because we are all able to come up with stories, thus making us attractive employable material for the newsrooms, which is always in need for material to add onto their publications.

Here the birth of this popular trend; an amazing way to make a couple extra bucks; not to mention under your own rules.

Becoming a freelance journalist is essentially being self-employed; being your own boss. You send your work to whichever publication you want to write for and you are paid for each piece of writing that is published.

So why is it popular? There are no rules or qualifications for entry. Even if you don’t have the experience. Or the degree that reads “Bachelor in Communications” (sorry for that four year college expenditure. Ouch!) All you need is a website and a LinkedIn account (Contacts darling!), an interesting story to report about and mad writing skills. With these, you’ll certainly be successful and even to prevail in the industry up to the point where you can make a living out of only freelancing gigs. In other words; “Your hobby can become your career.”

Investigative reporting … going extinct?


Investigative journalism and reporting is a broad realm within the industry, which through the years has certainly awarded various media enterprises acknowledged social prestige. It was for example, thanks to the whole Watergate scandal, that The Washington Post made a name out of it, but also Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein; the reporters, for uncovering the espionage plot organized by the White House and reelection committee of Richard Nixon, received a Pulitzer Price.

However, such detailed and well fabricated throughout subject analysis are hard to find today. The newspaper industry, which is undergoing various crises and evolution, such as budget constraints, evolving technologies and an overall decline in the readers, pose threats and difficulties to continue exercising what is undoubtedly an exhaustive research work.

Since the advent of the Internet, news media have clearly undergone drastic changes in their financial structures and, of course, we all know what happens when there’s a budget problem. The first thing you get rid off is that which is the most expensive. Unfortunately, this decision is terminating valuable investigative work as well as professionals in the business.

Certainly, journalism is also being changed by the influences of the times in which we live: social media and global communication among them. It seems to me that journalists now just report the most “relevant” issues based on convenience or comfort. And I say this because it is evident how news media enterprises now rely on a much more “citizen” approach when it comes to producing content such as photographs or on-the-scene video for generating revenues. (Spoiler alert: Yes! They make use of social media for finding out what to report about as well as what is it that you want to hear about.)

Voiced by the audience’s perspectives and targeted to the populous interests, the model might come across not only attractive but efficient as it evidently makes the research process less costly and time consuming. The big question is, though, does this represent a disadvantage for consumers of everyday informative sources?

Are we losing our creative thinkers? Problem solvers? Our hungry curious professionals that will likely take an event and further develop it into a story? Or we might as well just hear only facts happening worldwide for the rest of our lives.

Interactive storytelling, our future


Journalism is certainly an industry that is suffering. Not that it will disappear, but the print field is pretty much condemned with a possible execution date. It is interesting how the evolution of the field has paralleled the transformation of society and the modernization of the different technologies. Thus, with the passage of time, it hasn’t been surprising that the industry and its professionals have had to adapt in order to deliver and enhance the value of the product they have to offer.

The New York Times has been extremely successful in doing so. After transitioning to the digital platform as many other newspapers have done as its plan B, the NYT had yet another plan A under its sleeve. The company was clever enough to take advantage of not only the technologies available, but the tools and opportunities the platform had to offer like no one else before. It embarked on a project, which ended up being an overwhelming success, thus changing the way of telling stories and challenging other media enterprises by setting a high standard to look up to.

image[2]“Snowfall” was released in December 2012 and it brought with it everlasting reviews hailing the piece as the future of journalism.

Based on the story of group of skiers and snowboarders trapped beneath an avalanche in Washington state’s Cascade Mountains; the piece is formatted in the form of an eye-popping multimedia feature.  At its peak, reportedly as many as 22,000 users visited “Snow Fall” at the same time. It also received around 2.9 million visits for more than 3.5 million page views.

Unlike a standard online article, which doesn’t diverge much from the original print layout, Snow Fall, a multi-chapter series by features reporter John Branch, it’s a visual feast, which integrates video, photos and graphics in a logical and almost effortless manner.

Screen shot 2014-10-03 at 10.55.08 AMAs you scroll through the various sections of the content you don’t get the feeling that the mix of elements are just tacked on.

The media elements are well planned and placed, embedded in a redundant fashion reinforcing the written statements and even developing further on the facts.

Future or not, it sure turned out to be successful. And people can’t get enough of it.

A few months later, The Washington Post, refusing to be outdone, made ​​his own version of “Snow Fall” with “Cycling’s Road Forward” — a media report of similar characteristics, which featured a young rider named Joe Dombrowski. As with the NYT skiers, Dombrowski’s story surprised by the use of unconventional tools that worked for embellishment and support on the retelling of the events. For example, The Post detailed one of Dombrowski’s training rides near Nice, France, using satellite imagery and explored his ride out of Lance Armstrong’s shadow.

Inside the CNN studio tour


One place certainly every aspiring journalist should visit is Atlanta. The capital of, and the most populous city, in Georgia is home to massive media operations and newsrooms power houses recognized worldwide.

It was in this city were the legendary Ted Turner would begin the Turner Broadcasting System and  establish the headquarters of the infamous “Cable News Network”; better recognized today by the simple acronym of CNN .

These days, the CNN Center is adjacent to the Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta and is open to anyone who is down for a taste of what real world journalists undergo on a day-to-day basis. It allows visitors to get a feel for what goes on behind the scenes during news gathering and broadcasting as well as an insight into the various CNN networks. Notably, the center is responsible for instructing the ordinary citizen on how dignifying the world of news coverage and reporting can be.


CNN center: home to the world’s largest freestanding escalator

Along the approximately 55-minute guided walking tour; one is able to peek into the newsroom, control room, studios and headquarters main hallways.

The tour begins on a long ride up the world’s largest freestanding escalator as recognized by Guinness World Records. The 196-feet long and eight stories high escalator used to take visitors up to “The World of Sid and Marty Krofft,” an indoor amusement park, but is now CNN’s main newsroom.

You’ll find a replica of a CNN newsroom studio set when landing on the base after that long flight up. While you are waiting for the tour to begin, you’ll be able to videotape or photograph yourself broadcasting breaking news stories as an anchor.

As the tour begins, you’ll access a control room replica of the headquarters’ cable-TV news service, which is actually located on the same spot three stories below. Guests are instructed on the main concepts and activities that take place under this technical hub, allowing them to experience the behind-the-scenes elements of a news broadcast.

10441958_10152751416883134_8403776665373654303_nNext, you’ll visit one of the many CNN spin-off cable news channel studios, HLN’s (“Headline News”) Studio 7E.

This special-effects studio demonstrates visitors the technology that goes into the production of news. For example, the use of a teleprompter, on-air graphics with the aid of a green screen and high-tech touch screen are explained.

Although the tour will involve traveling down many levels of stairs, the following station is totally worthy to get to. A glass-wall on the building’s main hallway will allow you to catch a panoramic view of the main CNN studio, Studio 7. Actually, this is the largest studio CNN has ever built anywhere in the world and, if you are lucky enough you might even catch someone working on air.

10665667_10152751416843134_638452646018851032_nAfter touring the on-camera presence sites you’ll be redirected to the equivalent of a “chem-lab” for a journalist; the newsroom.

Here you are able to take a bird’s-eye view of both the main CNN and HNL newsroom as people downstairs are on working-mode. This is actually were the magic happens, because it is here were writers compose the news scripts after long processes of gathering and verifying information. In other words they are the responsible for the accuracy and relevance of the facts that households will eventually receive.

Exiting through another of the building hallways you will soon find yourself in front of other of the CNN en Espanol and HNL’s studios were, again if lucky, you might be able to catch an anchor and support crew on duty.

Soon after, you are dismissed, but not after being thanked for your visit. Of course, then you are redirected to the souvenir store where you are able to find amazing merchandise all encrypted on one way or another with the iconic reddish acronym.

Although such tour might sound as fun, it is really just the simplest of the bunch the place has to offer.  If you prefer a more extensive (and therefore expensive) VIP tour, you would actually get the chance to step out onto the main CNN newsroom floor and explore production areas that are not normally accessible to the public.

There’s also the possibility for you to go behind the scenes of HLN’s popular morning show, “Morning Express with Robin Meade” on another of the packages.

10609530_10152751415863134_9059171804339138202_nNo matter your choice, visiting this news landmark will definitely add to your knowledge and experience.

If you are not news savvy, you’ll learn the basics and, if an aspiring journalist, it will complement your understandings and light a beacon of persistence and perseverance to get a job on the spot (because it sure did in me!).

Getting to go inside Atlanta’s CNN headquarters is certainly an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not to mention a game changer.

iReport now a major storytelling toolkit


The world of professional journalism, with specialists trained in universities and prepared to offer news to meet the five classic questions of who, what, when, where and why, is undergoing a complete transformation.

Advances in digital technology and the wide spread reach of the Internet have certainly led to a new era of journalism that which we may call “citizen journalism.”

Not a day goes by that we aren’t bombarded by an endless succession of tweets, social media, blogs and video clips, all generated by citizens, but that still follows the prevailing principle of news reporting: To inform.

Aside from social media, which have now become one of the greatest allies of newsrooms for discovering and delivering news, we found major news organizations creating their very unique “apps” and sections to its websites for citizens to submit information, videos or photos of any relevant incident they have witnessed.

For example, there is CNN with its iReport site, which has been extremely successful by doing so, so far. Still not many know about this wonderful news coverage application.

CNN’s iReport was born in 2006 as a citizen journalism project that was later bolstered with the help of professionals to standardize the content. Currently the site receives about 15,000 monthly contributions, of which about 10 percent are used as content for traditional programming news network.

Basically what it is, is a “social network” for news. The news organizations can later take advantage of any and all of the content, especially for breaking stories. It allows for people to share the stories happening around them; where the cameras are not able to reach in time or the media do not get to find out the occurrence of a particular down-to-the minute news break, and thus still be able to capture it for communicating it to the world.

Certainly the iReport toolkit is that which best meets all the characteristics at the time of transmitting information, whether for written media, television channels, radio stations or citizens. In other words we could describe it as a social media in steroids. Yet, reputable and reliable.

So, want to be part of CNN’s news coverage? Now you know you are just one step away of possibly being featured by this prestigious newsroom.

Snapchat: from social to informative


What is Snapchat? It all depends to whom you ask.

imageThe social media app is certainly one of the most buzzed and controversial out there.

For parents, the ephemeral and private nature of the content goes in hand with “sexting.” For  teens using it, it is just an alternative medium for sharing pictures they would otherwise be uncomfortable posting on other well-known social networks.

If you ask me, I’ll probably agree with both of the sides, but I would also argue it has some useful properties to it. Asides from letting you interact with other users, it is an invitation for you to be a part of news coverage of the stories you have the opportunity to experience.

As I woke up last Tuesday morning and I logged in on Snapchat, I couldn’t help but notice I had an unconventional live story showing. “Fashion Week in NYC.” I had no idea it was that time of the year again.

image-2I pressed my screen with immediate curiosity to get a hold of it and see what was all it all about. It was pretty obvious from the title (and so do I supposed) that shots of the different shows would be featured.

But then there were also the backstage moments; a deeper look onto the collections, the models, the celebrities that were attending and bits of the overall urban atmosphere the city was experiencing.

It was not much after I realized that the platform was actually reporting on the event. The giant collections of “Snaps” (pictures and videos) were certainly informing users about every single thing that was taking place through a unique perspective. That of an insider. In addition, the different angles of coverage on the same subject further helped for a broader understanding of the facts.


Heidi Klum being interviewed at Fashion Week.

The platform has being doing this for a while now. They did just the same thing for the Electric Daisy Carnival back in April and the FIFA World Cup Final in Brazil in July. The truth is, the “Our Story” addition in nothing more but a feature that allows for the most simplistic (and yet alternative) of the ways out there to do news coverage.

It basically compiles the best of the items submitted by users who attend a certain event and then makes them available to other “Snapchatters”, so they can feel like they are right in the middle of the action. And isn’t that what journalism is all about? Recreating the moment?

On an era were newsrooms are making use of social media for discovering and delivering news, it wouldn’t be surprising if they were making use of this app already. The truth is, this is a powerful platform. Aside from instant communication it also provides for pieces of evidence that can support the entire backbone of a story.

I have the feeling that not far from now, we might as well go and thank Snapchat, as we have Twitter and Instagram for reporting us on down-to-the minute newsbreaks. After all, isn’t social media aided lately in revealing and covering the most recent breaking news?