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Posted in Blogging, California News

Emmy® Awards Gala Social Media Coverage

There’s a new type of coverage today’s journalist must be experienced with. Why not add one more task to the one-woman-show?

It’s not all that bad, really. It’s something we already do.

Social media coverage.

At big events, we send photographers, reporters and videographers. But what about, instant coverage? I mean, what’s more instant than sharing a story on the web just after the show?

Tweeting, and posting in real-time – of course.

I volunteered at the 46th News and Documentary Annual Emmy® Awards Gala and this was a type of coverage I had never done. Professionally, that is. It was easy to catch on to, because I am always sharing just about everything from my own events, but it was definitely a learning process.

Myself and one other social media manager took on specific accounts, to make things easy. We stuck with the hashtags, #EmmySF and #EmmySFTV, provided by the marketing team and my job was to capture the behind-the-scenes stuff and mention our  sponsors here and there.

The only difficult task was keeping up with matching the winners’ names to their photos. There were sooo many to mention!! Also, groups of winners, (well, award recipients, no one is a winner) from both English and Spanish categories were called out at once and lined up to enter the stage. If one of the award recipients was not present, this jumbled up the order. Also, if someone already accepted an award, they could not give a speech, this also jumbled up the order as well.

Another task I struggled with, was tagging the appropriate people. I found it so hard to believe that some of the award recipients did not have Instagram or Twitter handles! Either that, or they are under different names – very likely. However, the show goes by quickly and there is not much time to research social handles. Instead I hashtagged names of people and news networks.

Providing social coverage and helping out with Facebook Live interviews had my adrenaline going, in a good way. You know what I mean. Being able to walk around the event freely to snap photos, videos and create Boomerangs, made the coverage flow flawlessly. The night went smoothly and everyone enjoyed themselves and interacted with the Emmy® SF TV social handles.

So if you’re wondering how the night went, you can catch a quick rundown here.

Posted in Blogging

“Get Out” movie review

The same producers who brought you “Insidious” and “The Visit” have teamed up with Jordan Peele for “Get Out.” In other words, we knew it’d be good before we even saw the trailer.

Resembling “The Stepford Wives,” this film has a common theme – everyone knows something you and the main character don’t know and the suspense leaves you on the edge of your seat.

Peele classifies his first film as a “social-thriller,” a new genre he coined himself and it is just that. The film was released in February of 2017, during such a divisive time in the U.S.

The main character, Chris, (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Katie, (Allison Williams) are a madly-in-love, young, bi-racial couple. The plot begins when she invites him to meet her family.

But this isn’t your typical meet-the-parents deal. Already hesitant, Chris agrees, as Katie has him wrapped around her sweet little finger.

Throughout the movie, Chris has a buddy he calls as things take a turn for the worst. He’s your average best friend you’ve known since high school. The writers make him likable from the very beginning.

The film takes you on a journey of interracial love gone completely creepy and wrong. From hypnosis, to the discovery of missing people, to organ stealing and a shady twist.

But does Chris make it out alive, or does he fall victim to hypnosis? What happens to Katie? You have to check it out for yourself. This eerie film is definitely worth making the trip to the theater.

Posted in California News

The ugly side of social media

Most Americans check their social media first thing in the morning. There are new Likes, views, followers, friend requests and mentions. Enough activity to make a person feel important and well, liked.

Social networks have also been linked to causing trouble in relationships, not just the romantic kind. The lack of face-to-face interaction has changed the way people communicate with each other. Distraction, isolation, illusion and a negative outlook on one’s self-image are all the result of the social media boom.

Are the above factors enough to contribute to rising suicide rates in the U.S.?

The big social media spike really took off in 2007 and the suicide rate went from 29,000 per year to about 37,000 by the year 2008.

This jump alone is a cause for concern.

This bumped suicide up to the list of top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., knocking out Septicemia.

Suicide rates have grown by about 625 each year since then.

What changed exactly?

Data via Facebook & CDC

According to Diane Cvetic, Behavioral Science Professor, “one other significant event in 2007-2008 was the housing market collapse, which would be very likely to contribute to increased suicide rates. The biggest spike in suicide rates in the last century was back in the early 1930s during the Great Depression, so economic downturns are a well-known contributing factor.

Social media is linked to increased levels of social isolation, which increases the likelihood of suicide. Also, the recent live-streaming suicides on Facebook may glamorize suicide for those at risk and put them at higher risk. Demographics is key here. For example, suicide rates have jumped much higher for middle aged women than all other age/gender groups. Do middle aged woman have a higher rate of social media use?”

Well, let’s see…

 

While the recession ended in June of 2009, suicides rates continue to grow for middle aged women. Men between the ages of 25-34 dominate in suicide throughout the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Men are four times more likely to commit suicide, whereas women attempt suicide three times more than men.

The use of social media has opened up the door for discussions on how to kill yourself. People are live streaming self-harm videos, which make up for 58 percent of YouTube’s most-watched videos. Suicide pacts among the youth grow on a daily basis. The addition of cyber bullying is the final touch, to a recipe for disaster.

With these tools, suicide is becoming normalized.

In an effort to deter suicide, Google displays the National Suicide Prevention Hotline when searches such as how to kill yourself are keyed in.

Facebook has also teamed-up with a non-profit group in both the UK and Ireland, which provides notifications to the group when suicide-related terms are searched on the Internet.

There is no doubt that social media is an effective tool for information and communication, but there is no restriction on the types of messages conveyed and accessed.

The social networking tools which were created to bring us closer, appear to be doing the opposite and the vulnerable are the true victims.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/feb/04/facebook-in-numbers-statistics

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/datasources.html

http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/

https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/

https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-data-science/how-diverse-is-facebook/205925658858/

Posted in Blogging

4 tips to help create blog posts that don’t suck

Blogs are everywhere.

Your neighbor has a blog, the place you work for does and even news outlets have blog pages.

Readers enjoy them because they deliver information in chunks and typically include eye catching GIFs, videos and images.

BUT, no one cares about your blog post if they don’t see it.

Social media is the main source when it comes to these types of articles. The stories are shareable on just about every channel, but no one cares to click when they see just another blog post. 

  1. The story is as good as its title. 

Maybe not to the writer, sure. But when a reader sees, “When to use different shutter speeds” they keep scrolling.

Instead, the writer should use second-person pronouns to appeal to the reader on a human level. Including the words “you” and “your” in the title alone will make a huge difference in the traffic to your blog post.

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2. Make your reader cry, laugh, or even scare them.

Appealing to your audiences hopes, fears and emotions in general will help capture their attention long enough to click your story. When they share it, they are sharing the emotion it conjured up. Buzzfeed pulled this one off wonderfully in their story, 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity.

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3. Catch them off-guard. 

Susannah Breslin, an award winning blogger, says to, “pick a niche that isn’t boring.” Her blog was called, The Reverse Cowgirl.

Young writers often select topics they think their audience cares about (guilty), when in reality, the story should be important to the author. When you truly care about what it is you are sharing, you pour your heart and soul into it. You put the effort in and go the extra mile. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a blogger, is that the deepest and darkest topics you touch on, bring the most interactions.

Of course you need to appeal to the audience, just don’t be so predictable.

4. Choose your images wisely. 

Lastly, imagery is everything. People don’t want to spend time reading a thousand word article. The convenience of blog posts is that they are considered to be snackable content. Don’t be afraid to incorporate GIFs, memes, brightly colored photos and snap shots of social media posts.

Social media has been a huge contributor to blog traffic and will continue to do so. But, you still have to do the footwork to get your blog seen.

What’s working for your blog?

Posted in California News

Arrest warrant for covering North Dakota Pipeline protests?

Amidst the widespread controversy over Colin Kaepernick’s  silent protest, Americans seem to have missed one that has been taking place right under our noses.

North Dakota’s Energy Transfer Partner planned to run a pipeline through sacred Native American burial grounds, within miles of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation’s drinking water source, according to Buzzfeed.

Most of the country has been oblivious to the outrage that has been taking place since the project’s approval in late July. Things took a dangerous turn when the protests became violent.

the-route

Energy Transfer Partner includes the following in their project mission statement:

“As an operating principle, Dakota Access Pipeline is committed to working with individual landowners to make accommodations, minimize disruptions, and achieve full restoration of impacted land. We will listen to and address questions from the community, landowners and other interested stakeholders about the project, proposed routes, landowner communications and more.”

However, their actions remain inconsistent.

Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota reached a boiling point, with reports of violent attacks on protesters by security dogs and numerous instances of macing,” according to a report on MotherJones.com.

The people of the United States did not see this story on T.V., no one was talking about it on the radio and social media continued to buzz with reports on Kaepernick’s jersey being number one in sales.

It was not until Democracy Now!’s executive producer and host, Amy Goodman’s report went viral, did the people learn about what was going on in North Dakota. Goodman was able to film the horrific treatment the protestors underwent that Saturday. The video spread over social media like wildfire and continues to grow in shares.

Because of the public outcry, the construction has come to a halt by the Obama administration. However, a warrant has currently been issued for Goodman’s arrest.

amy-goodman
Photo via Democracy Now!

“This is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press,” said Amy Goodman in a statement. “I was doing my job by covering pipeline guards unleashing dogs and pepper spray on Native American protesters.”

How is this possible?

Goodman has been accused of trespassing, a misdemeanor offense.

According to North Dakota’s Century Code 12.1-22-03 criminal trespassing is defined as:

2. An individual is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if, knowing that that individual is not licensed or privileged to do so, the individual:

a. Enters or remains in or on any building, occupied structure, or storage structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof.

b. Enters or remains in any place so enclosed as manifestly to exclude intruders.

3. An individual is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if, knowing that that individual is not licensed or privileged to do so, the individual enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by actual communication to the actor by the individual in charge of the premises or other authorized individual or by posting in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders. The name of the person posting the premises must appear on each sign in legible characters. An individual who violates this subsection is guilty of a class A misdemeanor for the second or subsequent offense within a two-year period. 

As a journalist, Goodman is entitled to cover a newsworthy event, which took place publicly.

The warrant poses serious implications in regards to our Freedom of the Press and is still under investigation.

Posted in Photography

How much photo editing is acceptable for news stories?

This week’s Digital Newsroom course lecture focuses on photo manipulation in news. Photography is a key visual in news stories and must uphold the same ethical standards as written stories, or broadcast reports.

This means they must be:

  • Factual
  • Objective
  • Relative to the story
  • Not manipulated

There is a difference between photo editing and photo manipulation. Manipulation is simply altering the truth of the photo. Photo editing tools are easily accessible, whether you are in the field of journalism or not. With almost everything on the web including some kind of filter, or edit, it is so easy to try and create the perfect photo. This is not OK when it comes to news photos.

If perfection is what you seek, then it would be wise to come up with creative angles and shots while you are actively taking photos. Once the shot is taken, consider it the final product.

In news, you do not want to enhance, or manipulate the truth to the image. Would you do this while writing a story? For example, would you alter a quote in hopes to get the best reaction? No. Well, the same goes for images. News photos are the visual story, they are depicting truth.

I recently met with an officer at the Pittsburg Police Department to discuss the upcoming surveillance cameras that were to be added to the freeway to deter crime. I was able to capture some good shots of their camera room, as well as the gun buy back program, which had been going on at the PD that Saturday morning.

Below is a photo of an officer meeting with a resident who was selling an old rifle. Again, because news photos require very little editing, I spent little time with this particular photo.

I use PicMonkey, which is a great free photo editing tool. I began with a small crop, which closed in on the two individuals and cut out some unneeded dead space. Next, I used a filter called Burst, which simply makes the colors pop. The image doesn’t have too much eye-catching color, so this helps brighten up the greenery in the background.

And that’s it.

A nice clean image, that depicts what happened that day at Pittsburg’s Anonymous Gun Buy Back Program.

edit

Among all of the photos I take, news is my favorite. You have to really strategize during the photo taking process and think about creative ways to make the photos look compelling, while telling the story and without depending on photo editing tools. This is when skill comes into play. Sometimes, simply being at the right place at the right time will create the most compelling images to accommodate your story.

The process is unpredictable and that is what makes the art of photo journalism so captivating.

How do you feel about photo editing when it comes to news?

 

Posted in California News, US News

Behind Melania Trump’s speech

Cleveland— Americans tuned into the 2016 Republican National Convention July 18 and witnessed history. From what seemed to be a heartfelt speech, Melania Trump has received a ton of media attention since then and not in a way she would have hoped for.

It was not until an independent journalist shared on Twitter that it was plagiarized, that it went viral.

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How could this happen?

According to the New York Times, a long time speech writer for the Trump organization had sat with Melania to draft the speech. Trump expressed her admiration of Michelle Obama to the writer, Meredith McIver, 65, and read parts of the first lady’s 2008 speech.

McIver claims the plagiarism was unintentional and has taken the blame for the incident.

According to the New York Times, McIver said she had inadvertently left portions of the Obama speech in the final draft, “this was my mistake. Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences.”

Although McIver planned to resign, the Trumps did not deem this necessary, according to the report. At this time, no legal action has been taken against neither McIver, or the Trumps.

CNN reports that amidst the controversy, Melania Trump’s website has been taken down. While Trump advises that it contained inaccuracies, others believe it to be much more than that.

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The Huffington Post reports, “The disappearance of Trump’s elaborate website comes just days after news outlets, raised serious questions about whether she actually earned an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana,” to which her online biography claimed she had. In the unofficial biography, Melania Trump: The Inside Story, includes details on how she left college to pursue her modeling career.

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Melania Trump has yet to address the above accusations.