A massive fire broke out this morning on Queen Street West.
I initially found out about the fire on a friend’s Facebook status update. The above photo came from BlogTO, one of my primary resources for news on my city. The Star’s website even refers its readers to Flickr for more coverage of the fire. Our friends and neighbours were able to supply us with first-hand accounts, photos and video that traditional channels were unable to.
Social networking sites are becoming the “go to” sources for breaking news. I remember a time when I would have to watch the evening news to know what was happening. Now we know about it minutes after it happens. Is this a good thing? I think it is. Information is always good to have; nowadays, you just get it sooner.
I think this would be akin to teaching your parents how to use the computer. Well, mine anyways.
Wired Journalists is like a MySpace website where traditional journalists can create a profile, network with each other and together learn how to find their way around the “Interweb” (that’s how I imagine they call it).
“Bravo!” I say to these Johnny-come-latelies. If this isn’t proof that social media is force to be reckoned with then I don’t know what is. It is not so much a matter of these old schoolers taking an interest as it is a “do or die” reality. You either adapt or you slowly become extinct.
But I don’t believe traditional media will go the way of the dinosaur. It will adapt by absorbing aspects of social media, sort of like a fish growing limbs and walking on land (there’s my Cole’s notes version of Darwinism. Feel free to use it.). And it’s already happening – every media outlet has a website with either a blog, RSS feed or podcast. Television stations are even asking their viewers to submit their “newsworthy” digital images. Either they are embracing the concept of “citizen journalism” or have figured out its cheaper than using their own cameramen. (I guess you aren’t “everywhere” anymore, CityTV.)
Former colleague and dear friend Andy Donovan posts his client’s videos on YouTube. It’s been his experience that journalists are hungry for new content and are looking to the web for it. (To any journalists who see this: go to Andy’s YouTube page and feast away!)
Now if Lloyd Robertson would only start blogging…
If I had to assemble the top ten reasons Barack Obama should be President, this would definitely be on the list:
This was taken from the YouTube account for BarackObamadotcom. I love the fact that social media is being used in the race for the presidential election.
I love Tina Fey. In this world of Paris Hiltons, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohans, Tina is like the fresh air of the country blowing in your face after escaping the smog of the city . She’s intelligent, witty, the creator and star of one of the best shows on television – 30 Rock – and was formerly the head writer on Saturday Night Live during one of their not-so-bad seasons. Plus, she proves that women can be hot and sexy in glasses. (Which, until recently, mattered to me since I used to wear glasses. Then I got lasik eye surgery because I think I look better without glasses. Yes, I am aware of the irony.)
So when I heard about the upcoming Tina Fey movie Baby Mama, about a single woman who wants a baby, I thought “Oh no, they got her, too!”. After all these chick flicks in the theatres about women as princesses (Enchanted) or bridesmaids-wanting-to-be-brides (27 Dresses) it seems Hollywood hates women over 30 who are single and childless. The world does not need another cinematic diatribe on how miserable it is to be a single woman. Apparently, we have not come a long way, baby – if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “Why aren’t you married?” I would be rich enough to have these people killed.
But after watching the trailer I have renewed hope. Fey plays a single woman who wants a baby but is unable to have one. So she turns to a surrogate, played by another of my favorite comediennes, Amy Poehler, and hilarity ensues. I hope Tina puts a unique spin on this retched genre. Enjoy.
Last week the blogosphere picked up a story about a PR Newswire employee who was fired for slugging a release inappropriately. (If you are unfamiliar with the industry, a “slug” is a short label which helps editors figure out at a glance what the story is about (CP Stylebook). For example, “Leafs-win-Cup” would be a slug for a story about the Leafs winning the Stanley Cup (like that would ever happen).
Anyhow, this employee was formatting a release about a rally taking place in Philadelphia to raise political awareness of mental illness and homelessness. She slugged the release “loony-bin-rally”.
Something like this would typically go unnoticed by the public, since a news release slug would only be seen by the news media in their wire terminals. However, one intrepid reporter spotted the insensitive slug and notified PR Newswire about it. And it must have been a slow day in the newsroom because he then wrote about it. And like all good stories about complete and utter stupidity, it spread like a virus.
PR Newswire responded with an official public apology and the employee was terminated for exhibiting “very poor judgement.” (Ya think?) Personally, I think they handled it the only way they could. Keep in mind that PR Newswire distributes thousands of news releases a day and it would be logistically difficult to vet each release before it is sent out. They must rely on their employees to practice good judgement and this comes from having faith in their staff and hiring practices. However, it just takes one bad apple to spoil the entire barrel. And in this case, they got rid of it.
This wasn’t a case of some poorly-trained employee making a small mistake. It was an act of pure ignorance and insensitivity. If someone believes it is perfectly acceptable to refer to the mentally ill as “loonies” it wouldn’t be a huge assumption to think this same person would ascribe offensive labels to other minority groups. Could they have given the employee a second chance? I wouldn’t. Having worked in a newswire service, you can train a person on where a slug is placed but you cannot train them on what to put in there. That comes from common sense. And that, my friends, is incredibly hard to teach.