Thursday, 25 December 2014

Five Things That Will Happen in 2015

The year 2014 is almost over, and with it all the things that happened in the past year will be forgotten, as we enter a new dawn, filled with new possibilities.

Let us see, what are five things that will or can happen in 2015...

1. YouTube will be the new Television Set

We have already seen how YouTube has dominated the web world in 2014, when it started full-fledgedly live streaming major events around the world. Even if YouTube didn't live stream the Fifa World Cup 2014, don't worry it will the next time. I am already expecting the Oscars being live streamed followed by ICC World Cup 2015, etc.

YouTube or major live streaming networks across the globe have finally realised the importance of being there 'live' on the internet. People do not have time to sit at home and enjoy a show as much as they could five years back. Blame the busy work life but that is it. We are travelling long routes and it would be awesome if we could catch the live streaming of our favourite team's match on the move.

So yes, be it mobile or desktop or laptop, or your iPad, YouTube is the new Idiot Box.

2. Mobile users will slowly start taking over Desktop and Laptop users

Most of us spend 12 hours of our life in the office, in front of our desktops or laptops. After that, if we have to come back home and sit in front of the same machines for important personal work that needs to be attended, then it becomes really irritating.

Now imagine the cellphone in your palm, with which you can buy stuff, transfer money, book tickets, and even do PowerPoint (even if it hurts your eyes). That is the power of the palm, errr, the cellphone.

Gone are the days, when you would find people working with their heads inside their laptops, trying to put things together. You have the simple mobile system — be it your iPhone or iPad or a tablet — life has become too easy and comfortable because of these machines.

They are lite and easy to be carried.

If you are in website business, you would know how much mobile and tablets already dominate compared to desktops or laptops. For example, if I check my Google Analytics, 63 percent are desktops/laptops users and the rest 37 percent are mobile or tablet users. The 63 percent can be understood because, again, 12 hours of our life is spent in office, where I am guessing people are likely to use a desktop or laptop.

3. Twitter will become the new News Agency

According to Google, crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

We are already in an age when journalists keep an eye on Twitter 24x7, like literally, 24x7. Breaking news like Osama bin Laden's death, Boston Marathon attack appeared on Twitter first rather than news channels. Journalists were seen using pictures, videos for their stories from Twitter. That is the power that Twitter holds right now.

The third season of The Newsroom also shows how the new management of ACN tries to implement the fact that in this digital age, Twitter and social media will rule the news circuit rather than news channels and newspapers.

What Twitter breaks now, news channels break 30 minutes later and newspapers, a day later.

4. News aggregation sites and mobile apps will take over individual news websites and apps

All of us have by now got used to Flipboard, Reddit and other news aggregation apps. Why would someone download numerous news channels or magazine apps, when one click can give access to various websites. Rather than going through 10 different sources, readers can click one app and check the news on their favourite and selected topics.

5. Marketing will be the new Editorial team

Marketing has always played a vital role in the running of the business. And now it will dominate how the way a newsroom work. Reporters will be made to work on the guidelines of marketers, who endlessly try to impress the advertisers and earn more money for the company. Terms like Journalism ethics are no more valid in this fast-paced, competitive world. The year 2014 saw the slow rise of marketing gimmicks; 2015 will be the year when the marketers fully take over the proceedings of the newsroom. Good or bad? Time will say (no hard feelings; that's how businesses run).

Saturday, 6 December 2014

It is time to stand beside our fallen, fellow journalists

In the first episode of The Newsroom of season three, there is a particular scene when ACN's Mackenzie McHale calls up producer Maggie Jordan in Boston, to confirm whether any arrests have been made in the bombing case.

Earlier, CNN reported that an arrest was made. However, Maggie stuck to the point that there was no confirmation of arrests being made. Minutes later, CNN retracted the news stating that no arrests were made in the Boston bombing. The ACN newsroom, which was earlier tense about not being able to be the first to break in the report, erupted in joy, as the staff starting applauding.

At this point, Charlie Skinner, ACN's executive and Director cuts short the party by saying, "Hey, what you doing? Worst moment in this guy's life and you cheering why? Because you think if someone gets in line in back of you it means the line moved? We still blew Genoa. And if there's anyone in the world who should be able to empathize with CNN right now, you would think that it would be the people in this room! Empathy! He got knocked down! We didn't get taller."

Why am I narrating this story? In the recent past, there have been occasions when journalists, be it digital, print, and electronic, have screwed up. Pictures have gone with wrong captions, sleazy comments have been passed on digital forum by reputed news organisations, so on and so forth. But, let us just think for once - Is it a crime to make mistakes?

We are human beings, and no matter how much we try to avoid, we will make mistakes in our life. The profession that we are in however demands that we don't. Very early in my career, I was told something by my editor, "Make a mistake, learn from it and don't repeat it." It was all those mistakes we had committed over the years, that made us into the near-perfect-yet-imperfect journalists.

Unfortunately, journalism is one profession in which if you make one mistake, the whole world will be laughing at you. It is not a funny scene. Have you ever imagined how would you feel if you were to stand in the middle of the road, and be laughed at by millions of people? Imagine, you ending up at a party and being mocked at. It is likely that you will end up becoming a recluse and honestly, negative publicity does not help the individual, the company only gains profit. The person who made the mistake has to suffer in the most unthinkable ways.

As fellow journalists, we at this point, need to support and stand up for those particular individuals, who tend to fall prey to public laughter and entertainment. For example, the Doordarshan anchor who was mocked, laughed, and criticised, recently came in public to say that she feels suicidal.

"My career has been ruined. I am so distressed I have not eaten in four days. My family approached the cyber crime department so the video was taken off but new people keep uploading it," she had earlier told TOI in an interview. (Text taken from Times of India)

"Of the smooth two-hour broadcast, only my mistakes have been posted. I have been successfully hosting corporate and entertainment shows since college."  (Text taken from Times of India)

Yes, it is true journalism is no-nut-job. It takes "balls" to stand out amidst blasting cannons, loud protestors, crazy fans and report about scenes from ground zero. However, that does not mean they cannot make mistakes.

Unless, fellow journalists stand beside their colleagues, inspite of which company he or she works for there will be cases such as Gary Webb.

Again, journalism is no-nut-job, especially with the kind of rivalry (be it Company A vs Company B, or in-house), and pressure of being the first to break a news and pressure of ratings and pageviews.