Lessons learned from my internship at Yahoo!

22 07 2010

Almost as soon as I landed in Australia, I was lucky enough to snag an internship as political news intern at Yahoo!7, Australia’s top internet, television and print media company.

One of the many lounge areas of Yahoo! where I interned.

With a federal election coming full swing, I was pushed into the deep end of Aussie politics and government history. My main duties included researching and sourcing online galleries and story ideas, and working with news assets through Yahoo!’s content management system for their online exclusive campaign package.

As I did with my previous internship, I wrote the most important things I learned from my experience. Below are three from working at Yahoo!7:

  1. I love and miss the process and intricacies of reporting. Sifting through bureaucratic reports, obtaining public documents, interviewing, shoe-leather reporting, researching, multimodal reporting and the list goes on. Although my work involved journalistic qualities, working for an information technology, product and services company was not that same as working for an intrinsically news-oriented organization. Since news content from places like Google and Yahoo! rely on wire services, I worked more with managing news content than producing it. While it allowed me an opportunity to critically analyze more of the theoretical aspects of news dissemination in online platforms, I realized just how much I missed good ol’ shoe leather reporting. I’ve come to realize it’s the interaction, involvement and intimacy related to reportage that I love the most about journalism.
  2. News companies can learn a thing or two from Yahoo and Google. News companies and publishers might hate aggregators like Google, but after working for an internet information company, there are some gems the news industry, who’s shaky internet economy is causing financial strain, can take away. Unlike what many people think, Yahoo! and Google are two very different companies. Mashable Co-Editor, Ben Parr, likens Yahoo! to be a content-driven company while Google focuses on technology. For news companies, it wouldn’t hurt to take a case study of Yahoo! and  learn more about how useful services and engaging content can drive eyeballs to their site (most national news companies understand this, but many smaller to midsize companies are floundering here). News companies could also benefit from Google’s experimental ethos in creating innovative technology and tools that benefit users.
  3. As an intern, you work for your company, but your company should also work for you.  Yes, you’re the fresh-faced, wide-eyed eager intern responsible for duties your boss hands to you, but he/she is also responsible to make sure you get the best experience possible (I’m not talking about lame stuff like your boss assigning you coffee runs). I’m still learning how to be more assertive when it comes to making sure my experience is holistic and rewarding as I can make it. For example, because I was handed a list of tasks to be completed by my last day as soon as I started, I felt I would inconvenience them if I asked to reach out and have experience opportunities. I would have loved to have shadowed with their Seven Media Group partnership, one of Australia’s top network news companies, to see what TV journalism is like outside the states, but in the end, I was to afraid to ask. Simply put, it never hurts to ask.

Getting my toes wet in radio broadcasting

18 04 2010

As a student journalist specializing in multimedia, radio production is one of my least areas of experience. My home university doesn’t offer the best in this area of journalism, which is in part why I decided to study at a university that has the resources and technology to provide deeper knowledge and experience on how to make news in a medium that solely depends on sound.

The audio file below was my first assignment in my radio production unit. A partner and I was given the task to think up of a question and ask it to people on the streets while we capture their responses with a recorder. This bread and butter practice in journalism is known as vox pop.

A reporter interviewing a protester outside Calgary's U.S. consulate. This is one of the pictures by me at the Pan-Canadian Day of Action on Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan put on by the Canadian Peace Alliance in downtown Calgary, Alberta.

Vox pop is from the Latin phrase vox populi meaning “voice of the people.” The method of asking people on the street about their opinions on a particular issue is a common practice in radio, print and TV journalism (The online medium has similar practices such as crowd sourcing and interactive capabilities that allow for comments and dialogue in forums, blogs and news sites).

My vox pop question: If your home was on fire and you only could save one possession, what would it be? With the recent fatal roof insulation program debacle that sparked criticism towards Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, We asked students at Macquarie University what they would save. Most responses were sentimental or purely for practical reasons (and some outright kooky that didn’t make it to post production).

Click on the link below to listen.


A Yank soon-to-be Sydneysider

12 02 2010

For the next 11 months, I will be trading in fuzzy little squirrels for kangaroos in Australia (and proof that my dream to ride in the pouch of one is that much more realized).

This saturday, I’ll be enduring a 20-hour flight before I can finally set my feet in Oz. And of course what better way to start the cultural immersion early by flying QantasLonely Planet guide to Australia in tow.

I’ve been practicing my Aussie accent, but I have to say it is not nearly as developed as my queen’s English. But I’ll be the one with an accent for once…a strange realization.

From Seattle, then Los Angeles, to my final destination in Sydney.

I will be studying at Macquarie University under their media studies program.
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How our digital society is changing storytelling

9 02 2010

I recently watched “digital_nation” a PBS special on the impact of digital technology on habits, behaviors, way of thinking and humanity. The more I watched, the more I realized: we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Via FRONTLINE's "digital_nation" special page

Much of my generation grew up right in the middle of the surge of the personal computer, Internet and digitization of our reality. And right now, everyone–not just news companies–is trying to understand what this means.

But an interesting aspect to look at is how the nature of storytelling is being molded by the digital age.

As technology further develops, more and more avenues for media are being created, allowing storytelling to be told in a dynamic and new way.

The art of storytelling has surpassed its oratory roots, and encompasses almost any outlet and tool that technology can provide.

There is no medium that has been untouched by humanity’s urge to tell and hear a story. In the same vein as Ray Kinsella played by Kevin Costner heard in the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams,” if you build it, they will come. If a new compelling way to communicate, connect and share information is created, people will utilize that medium.

But perhaps no other medium allows the flexibility and possibility for multimodal storytelling as the Internet so freely permits. One of the most visible effects of this recent phenomenon can be seen in the news industry.

News saturates every conceivable medium: print, radio, television and the Internet. Much of the news is driven by stories.

Whether it be about a community overcoming tragedy like the 1999 Columbine shooting or a country devastated by natural disaster like the recent deadly earthquakes that hit Haiti, it is not just the facts that people crave but it is always in the context of a person, community or society.
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The one man band: a visual illustration of what a multimedia journo typically does

15 01 2010

Click for larger view (PDF)

With the exception of the “digital journalist” banner at the top, I haven’t added  any of my design work on my blog (though I should start).

I created a vector illustration, along with adding some copy for a print design project (right).

I decided to explain a little bit of my job description as a multimedia journalist for those who might not really quite understand what I do.

Because this blog is dedicated to digital journalism I thought it would be an apt place show what many  journalists are doing now in the digital age.

The print design was used with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. I’m not sure how many of you would be interested to read the technical process of how this was created so I will spare you some geek speak. But if you are interested, feel free to ask.

Media convergence under five minutes

24 09 2009

A nicely made flash animation that illustrates what media convergence and how today’s digital technology effects just about everyone.

Tools currently advancing Journalism 2.0

1 09 2009

As mentioned before, I’m all about technology that saves times and energy. Tools that are seamless and work for you instead of against you are a major plus especially in the world of multimedia journalism and new media. Media convergence is changing.

So here are tools being developed or  are already out there that can help journalists today:

1. Google Voice. Once again, Google creates a new powerful application (though access to Voice currently is by invitation only). What I love most about this app is how customizable Google has made it to users. Here’s an excellent article from Poynter Online explaining its capabilities and  how journalists can improve by using Google Voice.

2. WebCom. It’s a new commenting system that doesn’t follow the traditional comment by chronological order that virtually all comment-enabled sites use. Washingtonpost.com developed this Flash-based system and allows for a more visual, popular-based form of interaction. Click here to read more about it.

3. Zemanta. Many journalists today run their own blog and Web site. Zemanta is a free internet browser based aggregation service geared specifically towards blogging (try the demo). Zemanta cruises the Web and looks for any relevant links, images and related articles (while respecting copyright laws) and brings them to you. You can use Zemanta in other ways like when you use email or Facebook.


Google’s vision of the future of journalism

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