Archive for March, 2010

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Where the Jobs are.

March 23, 2010

Tonight was the “Where the Jobs are” lecture as part of J-Week at WVU. The guest lecturer, John Harris, the editor in chief of politico.com, was tasked with informing a group of students and staff, simply, where the jobs are in the changing world that is the media. As the creator of his own blog, he should be well versed in the ways an aspiring journalist might approach seeking out the beginnings of a career in the media. However, there was little insight to be found, really.

Granted, Harris did an excellent job of explaining how he got started with his blog, but though he preached the importance of optimism throughout his lecture, he left little hope for we younger folks. Sure, it may have been simple for an experienced reporter and editor from the Washington Post to find a place in the blogosphere and develop his own niche, but what about the rest of us? If the roof is going to cave in on the traditional structures of the news business, where can we, as young journalists just starting out, get the experience we need to develop a reputation among our colleagues and our audiences? Like Harris said, news outlets are falling short on their end when it comes to building a new generation of journalists. There is no more room for growth in the traditional media, and certainly no room for the specialization necessary to take on blogging. So where are we to get the specialization and experience we need to set our careers in motion? And even if we can, where are the jobs? This question never got answered.

It’s obvious that the ideas Harris touts as so important to success do have their necessity in gaining experience and standing in the media, and especially in the online media. Impact, efficiency, optimism, and specialization are all clearly necessary, but what Harris doesn’t tell us is how to develop these aspects of our professional selves. He says we need to specialize, but how does a journalist do that without an audience? without an editor? without a platform to support them? Sure, we can all start blogs, but for the most part, we’re shouting into the darkness. We, as individuals, don’t have the funds or time (since we have to work, afterall) to promote our blogs, and take them mainstream as politico has. We can’t just go out and hire the best journalists to work for us – and we don’t have a way of becoming the next best journalist, since there are no traditional jobs left out there for us newcomers. So there goes impact and efficiency, and probably with it optimism and specialization. All in one fell swoop.

So where does that leave us? Where are the jobs? Where are the new places that are willing to give newcomer journalists a chance? To help them develop their specialization? their impact? their efficiency? their optimism? I sure would like to know, ’cause it doesn’t sound like politico is willing to give us a chance – given that their editor says he only hires really good, experienced journalists?

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PAX East: Itinerary

March 17, 2010

Alrighty, I got the tickets for PAX East on Friday (’cause Saturday was sold out – super lame!) and now it’s time to figure out where to go, what to see, and how to best not miss the MC Frontalot show.

Here is the gameplan:

2:00 pm: Panel: Journalists vs. Developers: The Ultimate Grudge Match

3:00 pm: Panel: PAX East 2010 Keynote

3:30 pm: Panel: Online Gaming Communities and “Real Life” Relationships (time permitting)

5:30 pm: Panel: Storytelling in the World of Interactive Fiction

6:30 pm: Panel: Traversing the Twitterverse, and Beyond!

7:00 pm: Panel: Bringing up the Next Generation of Geeks (time premitting)

8:00 pm: Panel: Girls and Games: The Growing Role of Women in the Game Industry (time permitting)

8:30 pm: Friday Night Concerts! Featuring The Protomen, Anamanaguchi, Metroid Metal, and MC Frontalot!

In the in-between times (if there are any) I’ll do my best to check out everything else PAX has to offer, and snap photos of any epic cosplayers that happen to show up (’cause cosplay – good or bad – is always good photo material).

After PAX, it’s off to New Hampshire on Saturday to meet up with an old pal from highs

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Twittering

March 16, 2010

This week’s interactive journalism assignment was to set up a twitter, start tweeting, and get a bit of a following. All of this was very easy. Remarkably easy, actually. Finding folks to follow is pretty easy – especially with a blogroll to loot and a keen interest in the PAX writers. Followers were also pretty easy to come by – most individual tweeters that I followed, with the exception of the PAX writers and a few classmates, started following me.

The most difficult part of tweeting was coming up with something to tweet, and remembering to put in the correct hashtag (for the most part, I forgot, which resulted in a bunch of re-tweets with additional hashtags). I didn’t want to be one of those people that tweet about what they’re thinking about wearing, what they had for breakfast, whatever mundane thing they’re doing at the moment. And, being the sort of grad student that’s consumed by a constant influx of homework, I find it hard to come up with meaningful posts – I don’t get out much. But, the requirement was 10 posts over the course of 5 or 6 days, so it wasn’t that difficult. If anything, it made me think more about what I was doing, what I was thinking, and whether it might have any value to anyone else who happened across my twitter feed.

That, I suppose, is what I liked about twitter. Having to evaluate what you say, what it might mean to others, before posting it up for all to see, is never really a bad thing. Granted, not everyone does this when tweeting, but depending on who you follow, you can filter that stuff out. I’m not particularly fond of having to constantly check the site to find out what’s going on. It feels like I’m missing something if I’m not checking up on the feeds I follow, but, even with the 140 character limit and the meager collection of feeds I am following, it’s almost impossible to keep up. It’s too much information too fast. In a way, it’s a good thing to recognize right off the bat though. If I learned anything, it’s that keeping track of who you’re following, and limiting the feeds you follow to those you’re actually interested in, is key to getting what you want out of twitter.

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Masticate Morgantown

March 15, 2010

For all interested parties – as part of the interactive journalism class that caused the creation of this blog in the first place, I’ve now got another blog going called Masticate Morgantown. This is a group project with five other students in my class. We’ll be covering the food in Morgantown, from critiques of the best and worst places to go, to updates on where to get the best or cheapest drinks for your weekend outings.

I’ve got one post up for China Wok (currently my go-to place for take-out chinese) right now, and more will be coming in later days. So check it out, if you feel so inclined.

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taking things to the next level

March 13, 2010

Well, I’m back, I suppose. I had to take a brief un-official hiatus (if there can even be official hiatus’ on blogs…I don’t know) to get some work done on other projects. But worry not – these projects were still in line with my investigations into the blogosphere, though not so much into social media/networks as is on here.

As part of my job as a graduate assistant, I’ve been working on a research paper, looking at how commenting operates in blogs. Specifically, I’ve been studying whether comments can operate as a form of public sphere radicalization in the online public sphere, and how normative forces work to develop or hinder the discourses in the comment threads leading to the development of an online radicalized public sphere. It all sounds very technical and academic (at least that’s what my boyfriend tells me before he goes into smile-and-nod mode) but really it’s just an investigation into how people are talking with each other online, what good this talk might bring about, and what can be done to bring about this stuff from this talk faster (possibly oversimplified here, but that’s about it).

So, as part of developing and writing this research paper, I went to the AEJMC mid-winter conference to present my ideas thus far, and get feedback on what I’ve been working on. I also presented a paper I wrote for my women and minorities in the media class, on Gay blogs and the discourse occurring in the comment threads there, with specific interest in how counter-publics are developing out of minority discourses. All in all, it was a pretty good time, and I got a lot of good feedback out of it, which should help me prepare for submitting and/or presenting at the national AEJMC conference this summer.

Naturally, the trip out to the conference was fun as well. A friend from the WVU J-School, who was also presenting, and I road-tripped it out to Oklahoma City, an 18 hour drive from Morgantown. I’ve had my share of cross-country driving from my move out to Morgantown from Seattle, but I have to admit, it’s much more fun over shorter distances, and in parts of the country that are as-yet unknown. Stops along the way included St. Louis and Indianapolis, which are both lovely cities that I hope to visit again some day soon.

But anyway, getting back on track, now that the conference is over, I should have more time to devote to scouring the internet searching for new fodder for this blog site. I’ll be heading out to PAX in a couple of weeks, and hope to get lots of good info from some of the presentations there, especially the one concerning journalists versus game designers. The PAX weekend will also include a stop in New York City (another place I’ve never been) and possibly New Hampshire and Maine. Very exiting.

So, to conclude – there’ll be more to come soon. In the meantime, check out my group blog for more shenanigans from the Interactive Journalism class.