Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Well I got through the seminar ok - just. Saddo that I am I went to a yoga class at 7.45 this morning to calm my nerves. Urgh, it felt like the middle of the night. You wouldnt think I get up at 3.30.
Anyway the PowerPoint worked (most of the time); I didn't drop my papers or swamp the computer in water.
I might post my seminar up here if I can work out how to do it.
Anyway rather than go and have a stiff drink which is what I'd really like, I'll post the questions that came up that I should now be thinking about.
1. How do different media outlets use User Generated Content? Ie does News 24 use UGC in a different way to the Ten O Clock news (prelim answer: yes and I think rolling news is the sort of situation where UGC can start to skew the news agenda towards the unexpected and the sudden)
2. Is the tsunami really the moment the world changed in regards to UGC as Dan Gillmor alleges? Several people cited 9/11, Buncefield, or 7/7 as more significant. (I still think it is; Suzanne Franks put it better than me when she pointed out that the tsunami was the significant moment because it is the event whose iconic image is a UGC one. The 9/11 ones were not UGC.)
3. Was the tsunami so important in UGC terms because it was "half a world away". It was argued that the reason it took off so quickly was because of the decrease in foreign correspondents - UGC filled the gap (True - except for the fact there were actually a lot of journalists holidaying there. Although there is an ongoing debate about whether the use of UGC is merely so attractive because of the business incentive - its far cheaper.)
4. How can we keep the quality of newspapers/broadcast up to scratch when citizen journalism can often be so biased/not as good quality (Ah this is a potential problem; I think a lot of people see UGC through rose tinted spectacles. It can be very poor, boring and unfocused. It needs labelling properly and editing properly. The pictures of 9/11, the tsunami and Saddam which appeared in the mainstream media had all been edited for taste and decency)
5. Why was it South Korea the first country to really go for citizen media - cf Oh My News etc.(Now this is what I would like to know; Sang Woo Kim, one of the Reuters fellows usually at YTN suggested it might be something in the divided nature of the country).
6.Who are the people who are providing UGC? And are the people who send into the BBC different to those sending into Channel 5 for money? Could make a fascinating study. The truth is I don't think we know - we are just assuming we know.

Tim Gardam made the point that in the 70s and 80s when the BBC had far less funding that ITN it used a lot of different sources - anything it could - some of which it could not verify the provenance of. The question is when the dramatic starts to squeeze out analysis.

Now time for a G&T.

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