Critical Report

This module has provided me with the opportunity to better develop my research, editorial and production skills in regards to online media. Through a weekly research assignment I have been able to grasp a broader understanding of the various methods that can be used through online media to best present the art of storytelling. Following on from this project we were then asked to complete two individual projects, one being a multimedia app idea pitch and the other being a storytelling exercise presented by our own choice.

When undergoing my individual storytelling project I entered the idea process with an open mind and so left all ways of presenting whatever I chose up for consideration. I felt it was more important to find a piece that I wanted to share and then decide the platform in which to do so rather than the other way round. With the content of the project being my main focus I then looked to find any relevant stories or subject areas focusing around the time of which I would be completing the project. It was from this research that I discovered the anniversary of The Great Escape would be occurring around the hand in date of our project. One of the most valued documents within my family is my Great Granddad’s diary which he kept as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 3, the camp in which The Great Escape took place. I felt this would be a great insight into the camp life that was taking place around and after the escape and so saw this as a great opportunity to present individual, historic content in a modern way.

After coming to a decision on what I wanted to complete my project on I was then faced with a vast amount of ideas and ways I could present it. The diary is very detailed including pictures, diagrams and daily accounts about life on the camp and so there was a number of ways I could approach this. I decided to write down all my ideas that I could have taken from the book which ranged from a cookery blog based on the recipes he wrote about or simply a daily blog uploading the diary account on each day of the week anniversary. It was when conducting research on the event I came across an audio slideshow that the BBC had produced with similar content from another prisoner of war who was at the camp at the same time, the link of which being below.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8369000/8369096.stm

I particularly liked the way in which this gave the user the opportunity to gage some context to the content that was presented in the diary as a family member retold the stories that she was passed down. This personal storytelling approach was one that I found most compelling and brought a much more raw insight to the piece. As a Radio Production student I felt confident with my audio ability to pursue this form of storytelling and so decided to create an audio slideshow.

Perhaps the most tedious part of this whole process was individually scanning the documents on the computer so that I could incorporate them into the slideshow. However, this gave me time to individually review each page and so when sat completing this task I began to organise the pages that I would want to include and began to consider the order they would appear. I felt it was first most important to consider the question of who and so provided the listeners/viewers with a bit of context as to who my Great Grandad was and how he ended up in Stalag Luft 3. When sifting through the content I also considered that there has been a lot of coverage over the years about the Great Escape, mostly telling of the story of how they did it. I felt it would be interesting to give a slightly different perspective and fresh content and so included the little anecdotes about camp life including the recipes I previously mentioned and what appeared to be a betting page where prisoners would bet when the way would end. Again, the drawings displayed in diary are incredibly unique in terms of content and so I tried to include as many of these as possible.

Once the positioning of the photos was complete my next task was to compiling a script for the audio. This I found very easy and quick to complete as it was just to compliment the order  I had already selected for the photos and was recorded on Zoom recording equipment. The editing of the audio was completed on Adobe Audition and then later uploaded to Adobe Premier which I used to complete the video editing. I used this software as it was software I had a pre existing knowledge of.

Overall I was happy with the result of this project as I felt it presented a historic account of an iconic story in a completely modern way. With documents like my Grandad’s diary I feel its important to not let them go forgotten and so digitalising this type of content allows the stories to continue for much longer on the internet. I was a bit disappointed as it would appear the last few clips of audio near the end were not perhaps to the same level of quality as the beginning, something that I should have review more closely.

The next project I was set to complete was a multimedia app idea to be pitched to our lecturers. I decided that as I have a strong interest in music that I would look to develop an idea that would support that industry. When beginning brainstorming for my idea I thought that the most successful ideas and inventions come from the solving problems, and so I understood that my idea needed to be something of use to an artist/fan to overcome an issue otherwise it would perhaps be not so successful. When considering this I thought of both sides of issues for the fan and for the artist. Whilst conducting some research I saw in an article that was published near the time I discovered that the band Mumford and Sons had banned the use of recording  mobile devices at their concerts as they felt it took away from the atmosphere of the concert. This is something that I’m sure many artists can relate to and can also sometimes be frustrating for a fan if they’re behind someone doing this. Now it’s very unlikely that all concerts across the world would ever be able to stop this and so I set to find a way to make this a benefit for the artist rather that an annoyance.

When reviewing fan footage of concerts I was surprised at the level of quality, both audio and visual they were able to capture. One project I came across came from one video editor who grew tired of waiting for Kanye West to release his official footage of his concert and so took matters in to his own hands by compiling an entire run through of the concert from various crowd angles all sourced from fan uploaded footage of this concert.

http://pitchfork.com/news/57647-kanye-fan-compiles-two-hour-yeezus-tour-film/

This video was a great success and recognised by the likes of NME and Pitchfork Media. It was from this I found inspiration. As a music lover when I do unfortunately miss out on concerts I look to social media to find the earliest footage that may be uploaded from the concert. Now as a fan I know I certainly would benefit and be interested in a platform that could allow me to see live streaming of the concert in full, as it happens. As an artist, surely if people are going to record your concerts anyway wouldn’t they rather that they do it on a platform that promotes their brand rather than social media sites which will gain money from advertising and views?

The platform I felt it was best to present this idea on was Spotify. As of early this year the national charts company now recognise 100 streams on the music streaming site to count toward 1 physical sale. Spotify also pay their artists based on the number of streams they receive on their page. I came to the conclusion that as an artist surely it would be more beneficial to come to some sort of agreement that allowed people to live stream their concert for a company like Spotify that could later increase their own revenue and sales figures by bringing more attention to their streaming page? I then looked in to the logistics of streaming from mobile devices and there was similar technology available and working now.

This project was one I most enjoyed as it gave me the opportunity to explore a wide range of online media and best understand the logistics of how these technologies work. It developed my research skills and provided me with opportunities to critically asses the best way to present various content.

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Individual Project Prep

In the weeks leading up to the hand in of our final projects I took some classes to better understand how best to present the project I was completing. I was unsure of how best to present my project and so met with the course leader, Jim, to discuss my ideas. I wanted to focus my project around the notion of story telling and so set myself the challenge to rejuvenate historic stories and make them relevant to younger audiences. In doing so I had began developing the idea to take a family artefact of mine, my great grandfathers world war two diary, and digitalise its content.

Through attending the workshops I was able to explore a number of avenues in which I could do so. These ideas included creating a week long blog that would relay the diary entries from my grandfathers book and accompanying this would be information surrounding the great escape that he was a part of during his time as a prisoner of war.

Another idea presented to me through these workshops was creating an audio slideshow. I was able to personally develop my knowledge of premier pro as this was the software that I found most suited to the task. I also used audition however as a Radio Production student this was something I already had a substantial knowledge on.

In the week following I began to asses my options. With the sheer level of content from within the diary I decided it was best to not attempt a week long blog at such short notice as it was a task that would demand a vast amount of content. Instead I opted to continue developing an audio slideshow. Once this decision was made I began to conduct research into other similar slideshows that had already been created from larger corporations such as the BBC. This is one slideshow that I found most inspiring.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8369000/8369096.stm

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Mobile News and the World of Citizen Journalism

Following on from one of my previous posts about how our mobile phones are now being developed to become a method of completed transactions in stores it is evident that these devices are far from the simple means of communicating for what they were previously designed for. Apple have revolutionised the purpose of our mobiles to mean not only a phone but a device with multiple possibilities for use. Due to the portable nature of these devices mobiles are perhaps the most on demand way to retain news stories and breaking information about world affairs. Through the development of social media apps and the citizen journalism we witness today through various blog sites there is a much larger increase in circulation of user created content for news platforms. There are many concerns around this form of news coverage, primarily being the stories validity but it is perhaps best to first consider the benefits this form of news can bring.

As discussed our mobile devices are not merely limited to communicating with one another and so one of the greatest advancements that our devices have seen over the years is the increase in quality of our cameras. Mobile news is able to capture footage from live scenes of disaster, protest, concerts etc and broadcast it to a global audience, all from the phone of one user. This form of reporting is so incredibly insightfully raw as it provides a first hand perspective and real time account of the events unfolding in a particular scene. Considering the digital age which society operates in we as consumers have become increasingly inpatient and long to receive coverage of stories at the earliest opportunity. This notion of mobile news allows readers/viewers breaking coverage earlier than most corporations are even made aware of the events.

Through studying this module I feel this concept of immediacy is something that is paramount to creating a successful new media technology.

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Data Journalism

Data journalism is the visualisation of different sources to help journalists tell their story through engaging info graphics. What differentiates data journalism from traditional journalism is its ability to condense the vast amounts of data that society today has in a compelling way.

Journalists can tap in to a number of sources to gather their figures for data journalism. As we live in the digital age and many of us use the internet on a daily basis we are constantly inputing data into a wide range of databases such as social media. There are a number of other non digital sources for gathering and combining data include local governments, police and other civic sources.

Data can be viewed as the source of data journalism, but others see it as more of a tool used by data journalists.


The Guardian – London Fashion Week – Where All The International Attendees Come From

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2015/feb/20/london-fashion-week-where-all-the-international-attendees-come-from

This article explores the international influence London Fashion Week has over a global audience. With thousands of guests set to visit the UK’s capital the Guardian look to question the perception that the British fashion industry will portray to the rest of the world.

Through visual data the journalist who has composed this article has used scaled circle graphs to represent the number of guests from foreign countries and continents.

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Live Blogging

Examples of live blogs produced by UK media outlets:

LSE – Scottish Independence Referendum  http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/scottish-referendum-live-blog/ During the voting period of the Scottish independence referendum London School of Economics posted from a live blog sharing information on voting statistics and results. The blog included a minute by minute account from a number of other sources including tweets posted from voters and politicians in Scotland, and also posts that other major UK broadcasters were sending.

The Guardian – Museum Week http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/2014/mar/24/museum-week-uk-2014-live-blog In March 2014, through live blogging, The Guardian launched the UK’s first museum week. More than 300 museums across the country came together on twitter covering posts under the hashtags #MuseumMemories, #BehindTheArt and #AskTheCurator. The blog proved to be a huge success sharing a wide variety of online content, such as videos, images, statistics and information on how and when to visit the museums.

GQ – London Collections: Men A/W 2015 http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/style/articles/2015-01/09/london-collections-men-autumn-winter-2015-live-blog-news GQ provided a live blog to give its readers an inside look as to what was being displayed on the runways. The blog was a daily account across brands such as Burberry, Tom Ford and Topman. Sourcing primarily from Instagram, images and videos are shared through the blog to visualise the show for the readers. It would seem from the blogs that I have looked at that there is an infinite number of topics/stories that live blogs can cover. The format of live blogging is best used when a story is “live” and so the content is ever changing/developing. Arguably the more popular forms of live blogging are those that follow key stories such as political elections or riots and protest, however this may vary in different reader interests. Another area that proves most successful through live blogging is sports journalism. If unable to attend the readers are able to follow a minute by minute account of what is happening in the game or match to quickly determine the results. A key skills that is necessary for a successful live blog is maintaining the attention and interest of the reader. With evolving stories it is important as a journalist that you are able to provide the latest up to date content.

From the blogs that I have seen today it would seem that social media is also a paramount element of a live blog. Journalist should try to include relevant posts, images and videos that coincide with their story to support their own content and provide a visual for the reader.

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This One’s On Apple

With everything transferring to the digital world it wouldn’t be long before we saw even the method in which we pay for our purchases to follow the trend also. Mobile applications have us ordering our takeaways, doing our laundry, booking taxis and even planning our exercise routines, so it comes at no surprise the titans at apple have seen the opportunity to revolutionise society once again focusing this time on our payment procedures.

In the past year or so contact-less payment has been on the rise, and for many has become the method of choice for most when on the go in the busy metropolitan lives that we seem to answer to. Transport for London announced that they would too be accepting contact-less payment on their underground and bus systems, and so begins the decline in popularity or need for the former favourite Oyster card method. But why let it stop here? New technologies and apps are now emerging that are removing all need for card payment at all, and instead using our mobile devices to complete transactions.

So what’s this all meant for Apple? Well, never one to seize an opportunity to attain more of our highly personal data the company are set to launch worldwide a system they call “Apple Pay”.

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Apple Pay works by letting users scan their credit cards, from MasterCard, Visa or American Express, and then upload that information into the Passbook app. Rather than rely on the traditional 16-digit credit card number, shoppers receive a digital token that is unique to each device and can only be used with that device. The app will also be made available on the highly anticipated Apple watch, the first in the companies line of wearable technology.

Many are naturally concerned about what this means after those nights where one to many drinks may have led to leaving your phone in the taxi but we have been rest assured and informed that the user can suspend payments from their iPhone if the device is lost or stolen. The hope is that these features can improve security by limiting the customer’s exposure.

Apple is expected to take a cut of each payment transaction processed through the platform, perhaps providing another significant revenue stream that could also help its bottom line. Multiple researchers have projected that mobile payment volume will surge in the coming years, with Gartner estimating that total transactions will hit $720 billion in 2017 and IDC estimating mobile payments will top $1 trillion in 2017.

But this research isn’t the only thing to suggest that it will be a success, articles on the likes of Mashable have also projected great success for the company, link below.

http://mashable.com/2014/09/10/5-reasons-why-apple-pay-is-the-sleeper-hit-of-the-apple-event/

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Exploring New Online Media + Technology

Like with fashions, music and culture technology has a number of emerging sources that retain content of the latest advances in the digital age. The vast majority of us may simply wait to hear about such developments in the technological world on the likes of social media, however more and more of us are now looking to find outlets that can keep us at the forefront of the industry and innovative designs.

Wired

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http://www.wired.co.uk

Wired is one website that provides its readers with articles ranging across science, future technology and culture. Its approach to these subjects is one that can be easily identifiable with mass audiences and so appeals to a wider consumer market. This is something that we see becoming increasingly popular amongst technology news outlets as there is in turn increasing numbers of people interested in the field, and also as it becomes more paramount to our daily lives. The site is easy to consume with witty articles presented in a sharp and to the point manner, accompanied with photos.

When conducting my research into these types of new media outlets I found wired to be the most beneficial to younger audiences, however here are a list of other sources I also found beneficial and may look to tap into in the future of this project.

http://www.theverge.com

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http://www.gizmag.com

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http://www.popsci.com

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http://techcrunch.com

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