My Experience With Citizen Journalism

For my citizen journalism assignment, I turned to a source that I am already familiar with. During my senior year of high school I worked on a large research project about the intersection of the LGBT community and the world of sports. Throughout the year I consulted The-Latest.com, a citizen journalism site. I specifically referred to the “Sport” or “Gay” news sections (http://www.the-latest.com/tags/gay or http://www.the-latest.com/topics/sport).

What I appreciated most about the website was the lack of bias. By this I do not mean that the articles themselves were free of bias. I mean that since the various articles came from a variety of different sources and writers, there is not a consistent slant.

In doing my research I of course looked at other news sources. I referred to an article from USA Today about Michael Sam leaving the NFL (http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/08/michael-sam-announces-he-is-stepping-away-from-football-montreal-alouettes). The main difference between these two sources is the style of writing. In citizen journalism, the writer is free to use his or her own diction and syntax. With an organized source like USA Today, the writer is adhering to the rules set forth by the editor of the paper. When reading from a newspaper with staff writers, the personalized touch on the story is harder to find.

I personally enjoy reading from both of these types of sources. I regularly read The New York Times on my phone and I like to google additional information on the stories that fascinate me. I try to use citizen journalism sources to fact check the corporate media which tends to have bias.

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Alumni Panel Event

The PRSSA alumni panel was an enlightening experience for me as someone aspiring to work in the field of communications. While the information was not entirely relevant to the specific focus I am looking to work in, but much of the panel pertained to finding a job in New York City as a young professional fresh out of college. I also picked up on the point that you need to be willing to compromise when finding that first job. It may not be exactly what you wanted or studied, but ultimately a paying full time job offer is a privilege in this competitive market. My other key takeaway was that I need to make a LinkedIn profile as soon as possible and begin networking with my peers early.

While the panel was centered around a different concentration than the one I plan to study, I was able to draw some important information from it that I was keep in mind as I proceed through my college and into the working world.

Up Close With My Dream Job

Last Wednesday was the final presidential debate of 2016. I had one of the best seats in the house to watch the fiasco. No, I was not in Las Vegas to watch it in person, but I did get to sit with the studio audience for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and view it from the many screens on set. Following the debate, Trevor Noah went live to talk about it. I was in the second row up from the set, so I got the experience of watching the making of a television show up close.

This experience was incredible for me. Since I was young I knew I wanted to work for a television show. Around my early high school years I started watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I instantly became hooked by the format of it. The mix of humor with “journalism” allured me. I knew I wanted to work for a show like that.

In 2014 a new show hit television that would completely convince me that I needed to work in television– Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. The former Daily Show writer got his own series on HBO. It was the Daily Show but funnier, more informative, and more adult (Oliver loves to point out that he can say whatever he wants on HBO). I had never wanted to personally be on camera because the news bored me and I had no acting chops whatsoever. The idea of having a candid and passionate conversation laced with humor about current events sounded like my dream journal come to life.

This past week I had the privilege to glimpse this type of job without a screen in the way. Instead of watching Trevor Noah, the host, I focused on all the people working the production elements of the show. The camera operators, audio crew members, makeup artists, stage manager, etc. It amazes me how many people are required to produce such a simplistic episode. On tv it appears that Trevor Noah is the only one doing work, but from the studio you see that he is one of many many professionals producing the episode.

I cannot wait to begin my internships and start figuring out which aspect of television I want to do in my career, and in the meantime I will try to get tickets to the Daily Show and Last Week Tonight.

ASMR- The “Weird” Corner of the Internet

Ever since I was 4 years old I have truly loved the sound of typing on a computer. As a child I loved to go to the library just to listen to grown ups clack on the keys. The sound would tickle my brain– that’s the only way I could describe it.

Thanks to YouTube, I discovered that there was a name and reason for my strange affliction with keyboards. Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, is the occurrence of a tingling sensation traveling from the scalp down the spine as a result of a triggering sound or touch. In simple terms, ASMR feels like someone is massaging your brain and pouring cool liquid down your spine. It has been described by researchers as a “brain orgasm,” although that term is disputed for accuracy by many. It can result from a variety of triggers. Common ones include nails tapping on wooden surfaces, keyboard typing, whispering, and page turning. When I was 12 I looked up “people typing” on YouTube. The results would genuinely change my life.

Within seconds I was exposed to the entire online ASMR community. Turns out millions of people feel this same phenomenon and several YouTubers have channels dedicated to making videos that will trigger it. I bookmarked more than I could watch in a week and started getting lost in the sounds.

Years later ASMR was still relatively unknown despite its massive presence on YouTube. The New York Times wrote an article about this in 2014 (link: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/28/rustle-tingle-relax-the-compelling-world-of-a-s-m-r/?_r=0), but still most people were unaware of ASMR. The community continued to grow and gain more producers and consumers of these videos.

In 2016 ASMR was brought to the mainstream via a YouTube video of a different genre. Comedy Shorts Gamer, a YouTuber who talks about video games and internet memes and happenings, made a reaction video after discovering ASMR videos (link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFFCacFYERE). Following this video, mainstream media began looking at ASMR as the “weird corner of the internet.” Those who are not in the ASMR community are often disgusted by it because they don’t  understand the effects it can have. The research on ASMR is continuing, and hopefully soon scientists can explain why the sound of whispering can be so magical.

While the ASMR community continues to grow on YouTube, the rest of the world becomes more aware of it. In the near future I expect this to become a business. Currently, a handful of ASMR YouTubers actually make money from the website for producing videos.I expect money to infiltrate the ASMR world as it grows on the internet. In the meantime I will continue to listen to my favorite ASMRtist, Gentle Whispering (link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6gLlIAnzg7eJ8VuXDCZ_vg), whisper in Russian while typing on a laptop.

Recording vs Watching

In the world of concerts, there are unspoken rules that all must obey. For example, throwing a bra onstage can only occur during a fast song. If you’re going to hold up a poster you should only do so for the duration of two songs at most. One should never judge others for how they sing or dance in the crowd.

One area tends to lack standard regulation. It is the topic of discussion amongst concert-goers in this day and age: the great debate of the cell phone.

Since their creation, smartphones have been used for visually recording concerts. The evidence of this is ever-present in the depths of YouTube. Thousands of low quality, bass filled shaky videos have been uploaded to the website. People use this method to share the experience with those who could not attend the concert.

In the realm of concerts, many believe that it is disrespectful to spend the concert recording and poking commands into a phone. In the spring of 2016, Adele called out an audience member in one of her concerts in Italy for filming rather than paying attention to the show in front of her eyes. Immediately Twitter exploded with tweets for and against Adele’s stance. Those who supported her said that hiding behind a screen and recording something to watch later is a waste of time and money. Those who opposed her said that audience members who pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for a ticket can spend the concert enjoying it in a way that suits them.

I saw the The 1975 in concert in December of 2014 and I specifically remember one song of their set. The song, called “The City,” was one of the faster songs on the album. The band slowed it down and specifically asked all members of the audience to completely put their phones away. No recording, no photographing, no waving a flashlight in the air. The moment was so intimate and serene that some audience members started crying. It was probably the first time many of us had experienced a phone-free moment of a concert, and it was more memorable than a video would have been.

When I was a freshman in high school I went to see my favorite band of all time, Maroon 5. I recorded the entire first half of the show right up until my phone died. During the second half, the band preformed an acapella version of their hit “She Will Be Loved.” They orchestrated it so that the crowd harmonized with their voices. The result was chilling, and it was by far the best version of the song I had ever heard. To this day I regret not getting at least the audio saved so I could revisit that incredible moment.

I do not claim to know whether or not recording a concert on a phone is the “right way” to spend your time. All I know is that after spending my money on several concerts during my life, I have spent my time either with or without my phone, and I have had good experiences one way and the other. I would like to get the input of people from a span of generations, as well as people who like a range of musical genres and see how others weigh in on this topic.