RSS

Tag Archives: journalism

ROBOT JOURNALISM: What Does It Mean For The Industry?

Helloweeni Peeps!

Journalism is a very mighty industry, if not the mightiest (in my opinion).  That is one of the many reasons I have chosen to study journalism.  Journalism has many times been deemed to be on the brink of extinction – seen as a career with a bleak future.  But each time it has pulled through to prove to be an ever-growing and ever-changing industry that always adapts to whatever circumstances.  Journalism has survived the tabloid, the gossip columnists, media moguls and the internet, but it now faces a new adversary – automated reporting (also known as ROBOT JOURNALISM).

The Rise of The Machines

artificialhumans59_01

Image by: Biblioteca Pleyades

This robotic evolution of journalism has already begun.  You’ve probably already read a news story written by a sophisticated computer algorithm and never even knew it.  Advanced software programs take financial reports and the latest sports scores and then transform the data into sentences that humans can understand. The finished product won’t win any CNN African Journalist of the Year Award, but it does a decent job of telling the basic story.  The up side for news organizations is that more stories produced at a rapid rate with fewer people to pay.  This mays sound like it’s all doom, gloom and ka-boom for journalists out there, but it really is not.  Every story needs facts, quotes and a personal angle, and such cannot be provided by artificial intelligence.  Automated content is typically used to expand coverage, not replace existing coverage.  Which is why I believe journalism will survive yet again.

The human element in a story, whatever story it may be, will always be needed and vital.  You can’t give a soccer fan stats and not bring up the joyous emotion felt at the stadium after that last-minute goal, not to mention the heated post-match clashes between the coach and the journalists.  How will an automated reporter explain that “there’s light at the end of the tunnel” to the general public after reporting an impending financial crisis?  Human journalism will never die, it will just multiply.

Business Opportunity

Businesses like Automated Insights quickly saw the potential in the market.  Their software Wordsmith has been used in the newsrooms of the Associated Press (AP) since july 2014 to produce corporate earning reports.  The AP has praised it to be highly successful as it has cut their working time by 25% and the journalists are now focusing on the true essence of their journalistic duties and the best part about this is that no loss of jobs occured.  The only thing that causes journalists to lose jobs is that journalism industry is changing and journalists who don’t adapt suffer a rapid career death (deservedly so).

There is a super bright light at the end of this tunnel, because I see journalists working hand in hand with automated reporters in the future.  It is clear as day that each one needs one!

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

CITIZEN JOURNOS: NO BORDERS, NO MASTERS

Helloweeni Peeps!

It’s impossible to imagine civilization without the art of the gathering and transmitting of news, also know as journalism.  I mean, your girlfriend, mom and sister gossip every passing second.  Excuse the blatant chauvinism, just wanted to piss my girlfriend off there.  But anyway, journalism is everywhere and in everyone.  But what is Journalism anyway?  Where does it originate from?

Origins Of Journalism

Acta Diurna image by: The Museum of Public Relations and Library

Acta Diurna
image by: The Museum of Public Relations and Library

The origin of the word Journalism is “Journal” or “du jour” (just irritated myself there, there wasn’t a need for the French) which means day, where all the day’s news or the news contained in the printed sheet.  Before doing my research on where Journalism originated, I just knew that in the very first sentence I will find the word Romans.  Lo and behold, I was right!  The history books always seem to credit the damn Romans with everything.  But anyway, let me calm down and focus.  Journalism comes from Acta Diurna (Daily Events), which appeared in the Roman era, where news and announcements affixed to or installed in the city center at a time when it was called the Forum Romanum.  It was a daily papyrus newspaper.  The Acta Diurna was distributed in locations in Rome and around the Baths. Its motto was “Publicize And Propagate.”  Probably some low-grade papyrus was used for the daily publishing, no doubt one of the reasons that no scraps of the Acta Diurna have ever been found.

If you think typing is hard, try a chisel! Journalists have always had to deal with technology. image: Cartoon Stock

If you think typing is hard, try a chisel! Journalists have always had to deal with technology.
image by: Cartoon Stock

Nightcrawler

Journalism has rapidly evolved as the years, decades and centuries passed.  The number of active journalists are growing by the second, whether qualified or not, a journalist exists in us all.  There is a little journalistic bone in all of us.  That bit of curiosity that pushes us into investigating the situation deeper so when reporting to an interested ear, it will feel as though they were part of or witnessing the happenings you witnessed.  This is called citizen journalism.  It’s also called  “the threat to journalists.”  It involves regular members of society providing stories, tip-offs, pictures and the like to newsrooms, which can then be published as news (but hopefully no one goes overboard in a Jake Gyllenhaal kind of way).  But fellow journos, there is light at the end of this tunnel as there’s no need to worry, because the members of the public merely provide information-and not necessarily facts-which then enables journalists to further investigate the issue at hand. Citizens are also not taken to task when they provide false statements, meaning that reporters still need to verify the accuracy and newsworthiness of any information that they supply.

8y5ABu4

Mzansi media and citizen journalism have had quite a rocky relationship.  South Africans generally love journalists and journalism, but don’t say that to Etv journalist Jody Jacobs and cameraman Linge Ndabambi who in 2011 were attacked by violent protesters in Ermelo.  Citizen journalism has bridged the gap between journalists and their audience in varying communities.  Citizen journalists are mandated by their respective communities to research the root causes of their biggest challenges, produce call to action films as a tool to get the community to stand together, find effective solutions and seek support to drive social change.  So if you ask me if citizen journalism has a place in South African media, I say hell yeah it does!  Real everyday stories from real everyday people is what needed for the betterment of our nation as this plays an enormous role in creating informative conversations and conversations of understanding between the people and the media. SA media should definitely care about citizen journalism.

P.S. To all journalists out there, I was kidding when I said citizen journalism is also known as “the threat to journalists”…  Or was I? **evil grin**

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

KEEP CALM AND LOVE DATA

Helloweeni Peeps!

The intriguing yet intricate field that journalism is, is unbelievably broad and should be practiced with an open mind.  Broad in the sense that it incorporates different passions.  Whatever’s your forte, journalism can cover it.  One should develop an open mind because we live in an ever evolving world where the rules simply state that we should adapt or perish.  So one need not change what they believe is a way of doing things, but should also absorb the changes of their surroundings.  Like Data Journalism for instance; it need not take over, but we should make full use of and derive benefit from it as a resource.

Uhm…  Let’s talk about Data Journalism for a sec.  As we now find ourselves living in the digital age, journalists should be building a relationship and interaction between journalism, statistics and computer science, so as to produce competent stories by making use of large databases.  South African journalists would benefit greatly if they would embrace this concept.

Computer Assisted Reporting

Computer-Assisted Reporting

The use of computers should be mandatory and equally common part of news gathering, as it is important to use computing power to gather, analyze and present stories.  Computer Assisted Reporting gives journalists the opportunity to dig for truth in data, and the comparative analysis that a computer can do often reveals pertinent questions.  What reporters are able to learn from using Computer Assisted Reporting provides readers with knowledge and insights that can cut through the collection of opinionated noise and celebrity obsession.  It also can allow even relatively small news operations to delve into problems affecting the global community, yet speak to readers and viewers.  As the number of documents that we have grows, it becomes impossible to read each one individually. Computers are vastly superior to humans when it comes to doing things quickly.  This becomes even more apparent when you look at thousands of numbers.

A lot of work has gone into creating tools that make working with data much more accessible.  But there still is that question that lingers: seeing as blogging and Social Media is taking over the role of journalism, has the quality reporting and professional journalism been put at jeopardy?  Because the people demand quality reporting, background, news analysis and investigations, and this demand is very much rising.  One of the possible ways we can bring some life or soul back into the field of journalism, is Data Journalism. Data journalism works best when there is cooperation between print and online media, and demands some convergence between hard copy and online platforms.

001social_growth

Social Media Journalism

The reporting of news in South Africa would be greatly improved should data journalism be used on a regular basis.  People who should account will be held accountable as data and statistics will be doing all the talking.  Now what generation of journalists would not want that?  And as they say, numbers do not lie…

‘Till Next Time Peeps, BHA-BHAYINI!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,