Stunt Journalism

How far would you go to write a story that gets read? Is it still journalism when you are the story? At what point is it a journal, like a diary or log, rather than a news story? How far will a stunt journalist go before the story is about the danger of performing your own, untrained and irresponsible stunts?

When did journalism get so physically degrading?

Immersive journalism is not new. In 1887, the reporter Nellie Bly feigned insanity in order to be committed to a New York City insane asylum. Her stay resulted in a landmark undercover account of appalling conditions at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum. Eighty-odd years later, Hunter S. Thompson wrote a manic first-person account of the 1970 Kentucky Derby, which more or less invented the genre now known as Gonzo journalism.

If the modern stunt essay has a film antecedent, it’s Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 hit documentary chronicling his own attempt to gorge on nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days. However jokey it seemed, the stunt served the public interest in clear ways: Spurlock drew national attention to the obesity epidemic, and McDonald’s discontinued its Super Size option shortly after the film premiered. Less journalistic value is accomplished by ingesting nothing but alcohol for a week. Duy Linh Tu, the journalism professor, wonders whether the term “stunt journalism” is a misnomer. “I don’t think all of this is journalism,” Tu says. “I’m not making a quality judgment. It’s all content…. [But] you won’t be able to build a long-term journalistic organization pulling these stunts.”

This is an old journalistic instinct—don’t look for a story, be the story—funneled through new media channels. It’s not the recklessness that’s new (war reporters have long put themselves at risk) but the desperation. Still, what the stunt piece and the personal essay have in common is that the best writing stems from horrible experiences—and that neither of them are going away soon. The stunt craze is liable to change how would-be journalists go about breaking into the industry. Or maybe it already has.

Source: Are We Living in a Golden Age of Stunt Journalism?

Hey Guys We All Know… These are Offensive Phrases

We all know that…

That phrase really bothers me. I don’t like the cajoling, persuasive feeling of those words. I don’t like the assumption that there is a “we” and that I have anything in common with whoever is speaking or writing those words.

Yet this phrase comes up so often. Why? It’s so phony. So irritating and so slimy! I change my mind about whatever “we” are all supposed to know or think or feel as soon as I see or hear that.  I have a mind of my own, thank you! I don’t have a love of all popular culture, the entertainment industry and I don’t own a mobile phone. I’m an independent, free thinker as often as I choose to be.

So, whatever you think “we all know”… I’m just offended and contrary enough to unknow it on purpose!

The other phrase I just can’t stand is anything referring to people as “guys”.

Hey you guys…

Obviously you are only talking to the men because I’m not a guy. I never have been and don’t intend to change that.

Why, when the media is so heavily pushing transgender issues are we also all being called “guys”? Why ask people which pronoun they prefer when you call them all guys and think it’s ok?

Both of these phrases offend me. I hear (or see) them almost daily in advertising, online media and casual conversation.

In short, keep your little marketing hands and small marketing mind to yourself. People are don’t come out of a box each morning – we are unique individuals and we are not all men.

There is an Ice Hockey Photographers Association Niche

Everything has a niche if you just keep looking for it on the Internet. I love finding little groups, even if I don’t have an interest in them personally. It’s just so great to find them existing.

Today I found: Flickr: Ice Hockey Photographers Association

What niche could you be working on? Something interesting to yourself and a group of 2 or 3 people at most? The odd thing about these micro niche topics is how they grow. You start with one person, other than yourself and think that’s nice. But, once people begin to find your niche it just grows and grows.

I began my own niche group on Flickr (years ago). I didn’t do a lot to promote it and there was no SEO involved as far as anything I did. But, my group has over 600 members. Sure some will be forgotten accounts and so on. But, even half that many members is quite amazing for a little niche.

Pick a niche of your own and try it. Put up a free site to start with, post about it on social media and begin making posts to the site. Add photos, add ideas, etc. You might be pleasantly surprised.

The End of News Sites?

The rise of syndicated content hosted on social platforms is a disruptive model that will get more user eyeballs on the content, but spells commercial suicide for established media brands, says Andrew Pemberton, director, Furthr.

Source: ‘Homeless media’ will make media companies like Buzzfeed homeless | Marketing Magazine

Seems this is working for generic/ general or miscellaneous content feeds.

I think there is still value in building a niche feed. Something geared to a hobby, personal interest or a personality site with a combination of linked interests. The big sites can’t do that, they’re too big and inclusive. A niche site has the exclusive focus you want to find when you are looking for ideas and information on something specific. The rest are glorified news readers, just more available now.

Applying for Wisdom Pills

Yonder crazy woman who is she? Where and what her dwelling?

Good King Wencelas has been on my mind over the holidays. Is it true that people don’t know the lyrics beyond the first couple of sentences? It’s one of my favourites but, I admit, I’d have to have the words in front of me to get very far. (It’s a long song!)

Anyway, tonight I impulsively looked at Craiglist. Not for good reasons. I started with the platonic friends and it went down from there. But, I thought I would check the writing/ editing job posts before I left. Usually it’s a lot of freebie work, scams, etc. But, tonight I found and looked into, Wisdom Pills. I read the site, checked the author bios to see what kind of space they get and I read a few posts. The site looks good. This from someone who has reviewed about 500 writer sites in the past two days with dmoz.org.

I had a good feeling about it and… I applied for the job posted. I applied for the midlife topic at BellaOnline this week too. But, I knew that was more about fixing and saving the current topic than something I really wanted to do for myself. It wasn’t a good kind of challenge for me. (I haven’t heard back from them, and likely won’t for awhile, but I’m not going to do it for other reasons too).

Meanwhile… there is Wisdom Pills. It’s a challenge that gives me a bit to worry about and I need something I’m not sure and confident about because I’m letting myself be ok with less, under achieving and just taking on challenges I’m sure of. They aren’t really challenges if there isn’t at least some hint of risk and danger and possible failure. I don’t really think I will fail but… I don’t feel sure about it.

This is what I sent to them tonight:

wisdompills

Wisdom Pills – Something For Your Soul?.

You Might Change your Mind

“No matter what happens: Go buy books. Share the love of those books. Talk about them. Give them to others. Get on social media and crow about them. Don’t be afraid of ideas and politics and people who aren’t like you. Embrace it. Come into the pool. The water’s warm. The drinks are cold. The stories are amazing. Read on.” —Chuck Wendig

I like to read things I don’t agree with, in case I change my mind.

I’m Changing the Way I Blog

I’m changing the way this site works. I think we are past the days when one person could run a whole site, alone while doing all the site maintenance, promotion, writing, publishing and so on. I think having a schedule for posting is more important than it has been in the past. Keeping a daily post does make a lot of difference for traffic to a site. I have seen that with my own sites, clearly.

However, I am still working alone here. I like it that way but it does leave me with more than I can take care of (with several sites now to take care of). So, I am changing the way I blog.

I’ve been a content curator in one way or another since 1998. As an editor at the Open Directory Project I decided which sites suited the topic and I edited the submissions before posting them. No one had thought up content curation then but that’s essentially what running a directory is. Later I worked on other sites, writing, listing links, publishing newsletters, managing forums and all that stuff. Currently I have several topics via the Scoop.it site. I’ve changed them around, deleted some and started up others again when I missed them. It has been a good way to find my focus or niche area. You need that understanding to find a topic or niche you can sustain.

Onto the present with several sites not so active for awhile. I’ve decided to continue posting them with a mix of my own original posts and posts created with my comments on curated posts from other sites. The hold up on getting it all flowing right now is just the technical side of making it work in the way I can work with it.

Anyway, this site is one which will be converted soon. It’s a topic I have a lot of passion about but anything about blogging is drowned out by the SEO “experts”. There is a lack of creativity and originality in blogging. I’d like to keep that element from disappearing. I’d like to see blogs go back to being free spirits rather than marketing hags.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need that and a lot of coffee. 🙂

Content Creation: The act of writing original words, taking an original picture, shooting an original video, etc.

Content Sharing: Taking a piece of content created by yourself or others and distributing it to a following or audience. This can be done in many ways and through many channels; blogs and social media outlets being just a few of the more popular examples.

Content Aggregation: This is like content sharing on steroids. An aggregator typically uses software that automatically pulls in content from multiple sources (such as RSS feeds) and reposts it all at one central location, usually a blog.

Content Curation: Similar to content aggregation, content curation also pulls from many sources. However, instead of automatically posting every piece of content pulled in there is a manual filtering and sorting process that takes place in order to select only the most valuable pieces of content for a given audience. Curation also involves adding helpful annotation that frames the information already provided from the original source in such a way as to add additional value and/or understanding.

Source: Curating Content for a WordPress Blog (How I Do It) – ManageWP

The Media has Become the Emperor

We live in the days of the Emperor’s New Clothes. The media is our Emperor, the leader, the trend setter, commander, ruler and most of all the judge. How did it change from the days when the media reported the news and kept judgement and opinions out of it?

When I studied writing in college, not so many years ago, I was taught the importance of the media reporting from an unbiased point of view. But, even then, we talked about how psychology, marketing and peer pressure could be used to slant the facts.

What do you think?

What do you really think when no one is listening, tattling on you or judging you? What do you think when you strip away political correctness and public expectations? Do you even know what your real, sincere and genuine opinions are any more? Can you still admit to yourself that some of your opinions aren’t popular in today’s world? Are you intimidated by peer pressure, popular opinion and the media or can you allow yourself to disagree, even just a little?

I think we live in a world where the media is the Emperor and we all tell it how wonderful it’s clothes are, even though we can plainly see the media isn’t wearing anything at all. The problem is the media is the best tool of everyone who wants to start a witch hunt and witch hunts are a great way to become famous, in the media.

Add in Google for social media online and even without offline resources a witch hunter can do quite well for at least a short time. Fame and fortune for the small sacrifice of people having a mind of their own.

The media Emperor thrives on it all. The Internet may shake the print publishing industry but the media itself is thriving on gossip, scandal and witch hunting.

emperor

You can read The Emperor’s New Clothes online if you’ve never heard the story or forget how it goes.

Living Longer on the Sidelines

Most predictions of life in the future expect increased life spans where people live to be over 100 years old. However, we have a culture oriented to being young. What will all these old people do and how will they fit into our culture? How will it feel to live an extra 20, 30 or so years, on the sidelines of life?

Watch commercials, TV shows and other media. Young people involved in the plot, central to the action. Notice people over 45. Mostly they are extras or being sold insurance policies in commercials. Seldom are older people seen as important or vital.

How will the future be when we live a lot longer?