Philosophy of Journalism Statement

I’m one of the most passionate NBA fans you’ll ever meet. I eat, breathe, live basketball. With that being said, I would love to be a professional basketball player somehow, someway, but with the likelihood of that declining, I decided to come into uni to study journalism. If playing doesn’t end up happening, I hope to be a sports journalist, specifically covering the NBA. I hope to complete my journalism degree and gain all the skills I need to be a successful sports writer. I love venting my opinion to people, and I think at this point, they are sick of hearing me talk about the NBA, so I thought, “why not write about it?”

I want sports journalism to be a lifestyle for me, and eventually, I want to be able to live in the USA and cover the NBA from there, I want sports journalism to provide a life for me in which I am able to make a living on going to games daily, and writing pieces on the hottest issues of the league.

I feel that I’m up to the challenge of gaining all the necessary skills to be able to live out my journalism hopes and dreams, and what motivates me is the amount of rubbish and biased articles coming from major sports media outlets, I feel that if I can get to that level, I’ll be able to write the most informed, balanced articles, and in terms of aspirations, working for one of those major outlets such as Bleacher Report, Fox Sports, Yahoo! Sports, or even ESPN and becoming a full-time sports journalist would be a dream come true. So far, the JRNL101 course has been helpful in teaching me how to write engaging stories, and I have discovered that I was a much more talented photography than I initially anticipated.

All this being said, I’m keen to soak the information up like a sponge and live out my dream!

Setting The Pace: The Heartfelt Story of Brent O’Rourke

21 Year Old Brent O'Rourke, embracing his most unique feature.

21 Year Old Brent O’Rourke, embracing his most unique feature.

Suddenly being thrust into the middle of a new situation is always a daunting experience – but when the level of uncertainty peaks above what you’ve ever experienced, that’s when fear comes into play.

This is what 21-year-old University of Wollongong student, and Wagga Wagga boy Brent O’Rourke went through as a 17 year old, after he was diagnosed with a serious heart issue. Following a series of dizzy spells and fainting, to which he attributed to “not drinking enough water”, his mother decided to take him to hospital and discover what the problem was.

“Dad had it before but we just totally forgot about the link, so we never thought it was going to be a heart problem.”

He was subsequently diagnosed with second-degree heart block.

Being in and out of hospital wasn’t the main problem for him, and like so many others, he says that hospital never really was a fun place to be in.

“As a 17-year old, I wasn’t classified as a child anymore. So I got moved into the heart ward, which is basically a wing where lots of old men and women were dying. The patient that was in my room with me, he died while I was there.”

For approximately 4-5 months of 11th and 12th grade, Brent was in and out of hospital, and on top of that, he had to get a heart monitor implanted into his body, which is under his skin, but protrudes as a vertical, rectangular shape.

“It was pretty hard to deal with at the start, because I just…I just felt different from everyone else, having something stick out of my chest was weird. But the scar, the scar I feel was a lot worse than the monitor.”

For Brent, finding a way to ignore all these problems was a number one priority, and a strict workout regimen is of the main activities that helped him get over the distractions; it didn’t go waste either, as his strong work ethic improved his heart condition substantially, saying that “ever since I got the implant and started exercising properly, I haven’t fainted once.”

Coupled with this strict workout routine, AFL was just as important, if not more;

“Footy was an escape. Whenever I was out on the field playing the game, I felt like I did before all these problems happened…”

“I felt like a kid again.”

Now studying philosophy and psychology at UOW, he’s looking forward to new challenges he is going to face. He starts to glow when he talks about where he is today, and being an avid AFL follower, the importance of sports and exercise is something he knows better than anyone, and he’s eager to share the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to everyone.

“If someone like me can benefit from exercise, anyone can.”

So what’s the future for Brent O’Rourke? He is currently playing AFL for the Uni Bulldogs, and the monitor he currently has is out at the end of this year, but he says that at 50 years old, he has to get a pacemaker implanted, but that doesn’t seem to faze him:

“That’s 50 year old Brent, he won’t be playing footy anymore. 21-year old Brent wants to enjoy his life to the fullest.”

Crossroads – Journalism in Sports and its Future Direction

Garth Burley - part time NRL referee, full time journalism student, scans a newspaper.

Garth Burley – part time NRL referee, full time journalism student, scans a newspaper.

“I think sports journalism has to be one of the safest aspects of journalism… but I do believe it faces similar problems to all journalism.”

This is what one of four students from the University of Wollongong, Jake Bond, responded when asked what he thought was the biggest threat to sports journalism in 2015. Sports journalism is an industry with blurred lines – and this is now present more than ever. Major attitude shifts have distorted societies view on EXACTLY what sports journalism is.

Garth Burley, studying journalism at UOW, a rugby league referee and an aspiring sports writer, feels as if “a lot of attention is being placed on the personal life of sports people, and less concentrated on the sport itself.” While this is problematic, the relentless rise of social medias involvement into sports journalism has certainly added another layer of confusion onto the industry. Dimitri Lignos, also studying journalism, had an interesting, balanced view on whether social media is a positive or negative thing in sports journalism nowadays: “There is some positivity as it allows those who cannot watch events or matches to get live coverage, and can even spawn career opportunities for social media users with large followings.”

Sports media, much like tabloid media, is starting to latch on to the personal lives of sports stars. Recently, NBA’s Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry brought his daughter Riley to a post-game press conference, and this was surprisingly met with criticism from high-profile sports analysts, and begs the question; is sports media changing for the worst?

I’m not trying to raise the point of whether sports journalism is pointless and/or out of control, rather that it should be re-evaluated, because when analysts are criticising 2-year old children, something needs to be done. Garth Burley agrees; “they have a life outside sport and that we need to lay off scrutinising every move they make.”

Social media plays a big part on the varying attitudes towards major sports stars, and Dimitri Lignos thinks that for social media to have benefits in the future of sports journalism, it needs to be used correctly – to cover the sport and the players performance, nothing more, nothing less. “There is the negative aspect of social media, as it can spawn unpopular opinions that turn into debates, which eventually could lead to negative remarks and comments about a particular player.”

Jake Bond however offers a different consequence of the social media surge: “For journalists it creates a lot more competition as anyone can start doing live feeds obviously they need a lot of followers … but traditional sports media jobs definitely might become more scarce or harder to come by.” Simon D’Ouch, also a student at UOW, presented another perspective; “Twitter feuds and all those types of things seem to add unnecessary drama to sport and personally I think it has the potential to be harmful to sports journalism.”

The future direction for sports journalism is up in the air, there’s no telling how social media will affect the industry, and there’s no way of knowing if websites like ESPN and Fox Sports will evolve into a TMZ-type platform.

But as long as sports are still being played, there will always be at least one viewer who doesn’t care about the personal life of these remarkable athletes.

Print vs Player: The Role of the Web Video in Journalism

Photo: grassrootdiplomat.org

Photo: grassrootdiplomat.org

“Your video will play in 30…29…28…27…”

Dreaded is the idea that us, the consumers, have to drag ourselves through an advertisement just to provide an exceptionally large company with a seemingly minute amount of revenue in order to absorb some news… but is it all that different from conventional print advertising? (Which, by the way, is understandably suffering.)

The movement from print journalism to digital journalism over the last few years has been quite rapid, however, as revenue from print newspapers decline, how do news companies generate revenue? Firstly, like they normally did with physical newspapers, they have paid subscription/membership services for online content, however, subscription numbers are declining, so the next step for many news outlets was to introduce videos into their online service, and generate revenue through advertisements before the video plays; some ads are short and infrequent, such as the Sydney Morning Herald –

The Sydney Morning Heralds' Video Player, with an advertisement playing.

The Sydney Morning Heralds’ video player, with an advertisement playing. (Click to enlarge)

Or, outlets such as Fox Sports (Australia), which have frequent, long advertisements every time the user plays a video –

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 3.09.30 pm

Fox Sports Australias’ video player, also with an advertisement playing. (Click to enlarge)

So what is the role of the web player? Firstly, to generate revenue for the company, and secondly, to report the news in a visually interesting way. But referring to one of my original points – is it all that different from print newspaper ads? While digital players have broken through and are now commonplace, the ads that precede the videos really aren’t all that different from the good old newspaper; for example, on the front page you see an exciting story listed on page 11, but then you have to flick through 11 pages, each bombarded with ads…and some pages with nothing BUT ads.

As is always the case with advertisement issues, the debate will never end.

References:

J. Lynch, May 2015 [http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/news-corp-profit-halves-as-newspaper-ad-revenue-falls-20150506-gguzeu.html]

A. Stadd, June 2013 [http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/journalists-twitter/486900]

B. McNair, May 2015 [http://theconversation.com/newspapers-in-decline-digital-slowdown-whats-new-in-the-news-41364]

A. Mitchell, March 2014 [http://www.journalism.org/2014/03/26/state-of-the-news-media-2014-overview/]

Facebook: Journalisms Newest Avenue

Photo: thedailybeast.com

Photo: thedailybeast.com

Facebook has long been on the throne as one of the most powerful social media platforms around- but what happens as they splice journalism and social interaction into one entity?

Facebook is set to release their newest feature – Instant Articles. If you are not aware, Facebook is arguably one of the most powerful news delivery services there is – even if it doesn’t fully intend to be. The ridiculously high amount of people and content on Facebook naturally creates a whirlwind of opinion and debate, caused by the circulation of news articles and trending topics that Facebook is home to.

The

The “trending” sidebar on my personal Facebook on Sunday, 24th of May.

In short, the new instant articles feature has contracted 9 news outlets, and their content will be accessible and fully interactive in the Facebook mobile app, you can like, share and/or comment on certain parts of an article, all without leaving the app.

The aim of course, is to create a win-win situation for both the users AND media outlets, however this will change how audiences interact with content rather than how they use Facebook itself.

There are concerns with instant articles as well; being a powerful company/brand, Facebook is always looking to gain the upper hand in any agreements they forge, and they have sometimes done this in stealth – luring brands in with attractive deals, only to change the terms later. Some people are claiming that this will just be another chapter in which Facebook will look to milk the companies for all they have through attraction, and then desertion (in which they change their algorithms, which then begin to favour them financially.)

Facebook seems to be gaining a head of steam in the journalism industry, these are the early days of their newest venture into said industry, where will this lead? A fully integrated Facebook news site? The demise of the traditional news outlet? Time will tell.

References:

Daily Beast, May 2015 [http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/05/13/facebook-launches-instant-articles.html]

M. Reckhow, May 2015 [http://media.fb.com/2015/05/12/instantarticles/]

M. Kapko, May 2015 [http://www.cio.com/article/2925115/facebook/facebook-instant-articles-will-shake-up-media-and-benefit-users.html]

Wishpond, May 2015 [http://www.business2community.com/facebook/41-date-facebook-facts-stats-01219342]

MediaWeek, May 2015 [http://www.mediaweek.co.uk/article/1347763/facebooks-instant-articles-divides-opinions-media]

P. Robles, May 2015 [https://econsultancy.com/blog/66398-facebook-tries-to-lure-publishers-with-100-revenue-share/]

The Real Issues of The New Year…

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Hashtag culture has become a phenomenon in the last 5 years, and (from first-hand experience) it can have a devastating effect to upload a great photo to twitter/instagram/facebook, only to get the hashtag horribly wrong, and embarrass yourself, as well as your online persona. This socially awesome/awkward penguin meme captures the idea of the “new years eve hashtag”; a lot of people (myself included) never know whether to hashtag the year that we’re in, or the year that we’re celebrating to come in… it’s a never ending debate! Kind of like “what came first, the chicken or the egg?”

Craft and Digital Making? Huh?

So, I had a lot of trouble understanding craft and digital making… even after going to the lecture, even after looking at the readings and materials, I got the jist of what was going on, but I couldn’t understand how to put that into a podcast.. for this post, I (wrongly) made an audio track related to remix culture, and how the instrumental of a remix can change the whole aura of a rap song (the acapella I used). You’ll understand what I mean.