New Periscope helps us explore world


New applications and types of social media come out everyday. This is no surprise since it’s almost impossible to see someone not walking around with their smart phone in their hand. People love posting pictures and statuses about their life and liking things about their closest 500 friends’ lives. So, naturally, the next step for social media was a live-streaming video app.

Enter Periscope. Periscope allows users to live-stream whatever they’re doing at any time of the day and anyone can watch and post comments that momentarily appear on top of the video.

The Periscope team said the idea behind the app is to be able to see the world through someone else’s eyes. For example: seeing though the eyes of a protester in Ukraine or watching a sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia. But that might be wishful thinking on their part because the most popular videos so far have been people showing you what’s in their fridge.

The app, acquired by Twitter, is already expected to have new updates in the near future including being available to Android users and film in landscape mode.

Net neutrality and journalism


On Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to implement new rules regarding Internet neutrality. These rules make sure that Internet service providers allow open access to all legal content and applications.

What does this have to do with journalism you ask?

In the digital age that we live in, half of all Americans use the Internet as their main source for news. For the younger generations, up to 70 percent say it’s their main source for information.

Imagine if Fox News used Comcast as a service provider while CNN used AT&T. Depending on the amount of money either service provider could pay would determine the kinds of stories you are allowed read and block the ones they didn’t want you to see.

Big companies would be able to spend larger amounts of money for faster services while smaller, independent companies would be stuck with slower access because that’s all they could afford. People would prefer going to the larger company’s site because they would rather not have to wait longer for their videos, pictures or stories to load. In some ways that is a form of censorship. That is a clear violation of our First Amendment.

Thankfully, due to this recent ruling all information will still be available to everyone will any kind of Internet service.

‘Our Story’ offers news option


The Snapchat “Our Story” is nothing new to all social media buffs, but the use of it as a reporting device adds a different level when it comes to reporting.

Current events being placed on everyone’s feed brings a new dimension to finding out more about different events going on around the world because it allows real-time videos to be posted and a new point of view to be seen.

As an aspiring fashion writer, I loved seeing live coverage of New York Fashion Week right on my phone. It’s one thing to be able to read about the latest trends and who attended what show in articles online but it is another thing to be able to view behind the scenes from the point of view from supermodels or fashion magazine writers.

Snapchat story has been known to show other events ranging from concerts like the Electric Daisy Carnival to international news like the “Je suis Charlie” movement to holidays such as New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world.

Although much of this wouldn’t be considered hard-hitting news, I think it helps people learn more about things going on around the world and helps show a first person point of view instead of hearing it from a reporter.

Snapchat’s “Our Story” is just another medium that shows us a new dimension in news reporting. I think it will be interesting to see where the next level of reporting takes us.

Ignorance about public records


This week, the topic of public records and the information people can gather by looking at these documents came up in not just one but two of my classes. By just logging in online, a person can find out if you own a house, if the house is paid off, what kind of car you have, your tag number, any criminal charges against you, whether you own a gun and much more.

The thought that so much of your personal information is available online for anyone to see can be a little daunting. I know I think it is, even though I know I have nothing to hide.

The uses of these tools for a journalist are invaluable to finding out basic background information before delving further into a story. Some people just fail to realize that this is all public information and become upset when certain information, such as a map of all the gun permits in their area, is published.

Despite the fact that it’s scary to think your information is open to anyone, I think the use of public records to gain more knowledge on a story is a great tool. It can lead to new information in a story that you wouldn’t be able to find otherwise and can give a great background toward any kind of story.

Is media coverage too free?


Although freedom of speech and personal expression are undoubtedly celebrated in the media by the wide range of topics covered, the recent execution of Japanese journalist and ISIS hostage Kenji Goto lead me to wonder whether certain topics should be covered?

The late Kenji Goto was a freelance video journalist who covered topics such as wars and conflicts, poverty, AIDS and child education around the world. Goto was captured by Islamic State militants only a day after entering Syria to try and rescue Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa, despite being warned not to.

ISIL released a video on Jan. 20 demanding $200 million from the Japanese government for the release of Goto and Yukawa. A few days later, another video was released with Goto holding a photo of the decapitated Yukawa and audio saying they would exchange Goto’s life for the return of Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, a suicide bomber. When ISIL realized the exchange would not happen, a video was released of Goto’s beheading.

In another story of a journalist being held hostage, a New York Times journalist, David Rohde, and two of his associates were kidnapped by the Taliban while in Afghanistan doing research for a book in November 2008. Their kidnappers were quick to make contact with many American news outlets including The New York Times. Their ransom: the release of Taliban prisoners being held in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay and millions of dollars. The men were held captive for seven months before Rohde and Ludin made an escape.

The difference between the stories of Goto and Rohde were how much the media covered their capture. The capture of Goto was widely publicized on international news outlets all the way down to local station across the world. On the other hand, when Rohde was captured, the media barely covered it.

That is not to say one life was more important than the other. Rhode’s capture was not widely publicized because The New York Times requested a media blackout of the abduction in order to maximize Rhode’s chances of survival.

This difference in story coverage could lead to the question of whether it is ethical for journalist to hide a story when it is their obligation to report timely events. I personally think the difference in coverage really just shows the balancing act and difficult choices the media must sometimes make: informing the public or potentially further endangering the life of someone.

Although each hostage case is different and many factors must be taken in account, it is hard not to wonder whether Goto’s story could have ended differently.

Deflate-gate — Scandal or overreaction?


Football fan or not, everyone has heard about the latest National Football League controversy commonly called “Deflate-Gate.” But is it really worth all this recent media coverage?

For those who have yet to hear, “Deflate-Gate” is a recent scandal in which the New England Patriots were found to have used underinflated footballs in the recent AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots beat the Colts 45 – 7 giving them a spot in this weekend’s Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks.

But what’s the real scandal here? The fact that it may be cheating? Or that no one can decide whether a little less air in a few balls makes an actual difference? Unlike the real scandal of Spy-Gate in 2007, also dealing with the Patriots, Deflate-gate is a little harder to prove because the evidence is literally thin air.

When previous sports scandals have come to light in the past, physical evidence is usually already found before the media becomes frenzied. Lance Armstrong had been accused of doping years before he was actually investigated and found guilty, yet the media didn’t give it real coverage until an investigation began. The media covered the story of Ray Rice, NFL football running back, assaulting his then-fiancée in an elevator than dragging her out by her hair only after a video was released.

So, if something as simple as defective balls or weather conditions could be the real culprit of underinflated balls, why is the media so concerned with who to blame when there is no real proof of foul play?