Research on Internet Interactivity Trends in Public Relations: Meta-Analysis


The work shown herein is part of the Digital Media Issues Summer 2015 course. It’s been exciting to learn so many insights about the creation of the Internet and the WWW and all the innovators who have contributed to where we are now. Their creative minds contribute constantly to new developments.

The research herein proposes to explore the Internet Interactivity trends in the field of Public Relations. I’m sharing with you a 5-minute video and a power point presentation. Should you have any questions, please contact me anytime.

Best, olga




And the winner is……..



Finally I succumbed to joining the Pinterest platform!

I joined this morning and have been playing and discovering its merits.

I heard a lot from friends about the marvelous things you can create, or recreate, if I follow Girl Talk’s premise… Well, I did find a trove of fun things to do which I like–food, cooking, wines, etc. and others that I intend to explore.

Had not joined before because, really, I don’t have much time to spare. But so far so good. It was easy to join and it works together with the Facebook account. Looked into the pins and the albums and with time I’ll be able to build myself a good recipe book worth of having friends over!

Have to add in this last blog that while in this class, I adopted the Instagram account and learned how to use it. Also, I’m using the Facebook and Twitter accounts to communicate with the group.

Best of all, the digital social media platforms have created conversations, dialogue, discussion and friends.

Thanks for a great summer course!



tech evolution

Future Digital and Technology Issues: TRENDS…

The one month summer semester has brought to light relevant information about digital media, its environment and never-ending potential as well as our challenges and opportunities. Immersing in its history and previous historical background, getting to know the wisdom in each creation, leads us to where we are now.

The Internet as I see it is already a part of our present and our future. Those of us from the baby boomer generation have either take it on with ‘gusto’ or are still trying or have refused to accept it. Either way–it’s here to stay. No judgment, guys!

On Digital Apps

As we move forward, let’s identify several of the trends. Introduction of more Digital apps will continue to complement our lifestyles and needs. We’ll see more apps that help us in the expanding Mobile at our finger tips– needs that help us be more efficient in several areas such as financial, health and beauty, education, pets, housekeeping, record-keeping, car maintenance records and fuel mileage, transportation, restaurants and entertainment,  sports, food purchases and take-out ordering among others. The market solution and business model targets niche audiences with special interest and hobbies. Just take as an example the various apps this semester’s students sketched for future design! I was amazed at the creativity in the topics. Bravo!!!!

On Social Media Platforms

The variety of social media platforms is appropriate for each personality and specific needs. As a trend, we’ll continue engaging with other new ones or moving from one to the other, like selecting candy in a candy store. I use Facebook and love it. However, the millennial don’t; they have moved to others. We should try new ones anyway, particularly when we are communicators.

On Generations

Another trend generation-wise is to accept the fact that new ones own specific traits and personalities which we should get to know and embrace. As the groups move from the “depression and market crash of the 30s” to the baby-boomers to Millenials, to Gen X and now “Z” we see how the environment, the social and economic environments have molded each one. So as The New York Times reported, “Make Way to Generation Z.”

On Mobile

Maira Garcia, The New York Times homepage senior staff editor, recently shared with graduate and undergraduate students at Texas State University’s Digital Media Entrepreneurship Speaker Series.  As alumni, Maira was prompt to compliment the width and depth of her studies and link to her present success. Among the recommendations, tips and suggestions to the mass comm students present at Old Main, was to continue developing skills with Mobile as it is expanding by leaps and bounds. “The future is in mobile” she said. Therefore, looking at analytics becomes more relevant as a research tool.  Users and consumers have moved from the desktop to Mobile. Maira told the audience that in order to face these trends the NYT created and maintains audience development group responsible for keeping tabs on metrics analysis of users and their consumer media habits. New Apps may be recommended and developed with these insights. Besides, Maira said, the Innovation Report carried future trends with millennial as consumers at the helm.which brings us to another relevant point as users, consumers of media and practicing communicators and instructors.


The New York Times: TREND- users moving from lap tops to mobile.

Don’t become stale: Keep up with research reports results on innovations!

All of us need to be updated with the most recent reports data and information submitted by reliable sources such as the Pew Research Center. Check out the graph below. Innovation and consumer trends are very important. Not only to position the digital publication in the format that the readers prefer but how they adapt and adopt the format and venue (Everett’s Diffusion Theory).


Dr. Cindy Royal’s piece on the things you and your organization must know is the case in point. Very precisely Dr. Royal indicates what are the basic points of what we need to know : the history and background; key terms of digital media; how Google makes money; explain the importance of social media and how data can tell a story; the language of the web is HTML and CSS; and the elements of digital mobile media as first strategy in the communication delivery process.

Digital literacy programs in schools are needed since the early grades. Today’s child is already using technology by the age of three-early adopter, isn’t it?  Several programs have been developed by both private and non-profit organizations, and the government at national level as well as across the globe. Research indicates that digital literacy needs to be embraced at early age with proper guidance and instructions. This will definitely helps in mitigating the existing digital divide of the “have’s and the have not’s” worldwide. A good example is that of amazon and Google supported program “One Laptop per Child” (OLPC) which has Nicholas Negroponte’s support–it is inspiring and real!

ONE laptop Per Child image logoONe Laptop per child photo

Coding and Academic Curricula

Coding is one of the technology and digital skills in tool box needed to succeed. Being coding-literate opens the understanding of the digital environment at another level. Not to mention that it may help you land a job. There are many schools, camps and workshops that provide coding certificates. It’s available and affordable. As recently as today, PBS Media Shift published an article about the Virginia Quarterly Review funding Instagram journalism–innovative, yes! Data journalism is also of essence in the mass communication degree for aspiring digital journalists and reporters. There is so much data mining done through the social platforms and Apps that its metrics analysis and strategic use is important. Understanding the data and translating into visual journalism makes the reporting more complete, responsible and attractive to the users.


Never Ending Innovations

We have wearable technology. More innovative tech products will be created by innovators who have the tools of design thinking and venture capitalists economic backing and trust. Voice and touch commands already exist. Will we see brain to web connection? Probably. The Jobs and Gates, Ives and Andreessen are out there. Gaming and entertainment are fertile soil for innovation. Music, mash and sampling will continue as part of the digital innovations. The avatars will be used in more than just fiction movies. The sky is the limit…and beyond!

Change: Adapt and Adopt

And, you ask: “As a society, how will we deal with the rapid pace of digital change?” I believe that human kind is resilient and has adopted through the centuries to be where we are now. We will adopt the change. Its speed may be somewhat unnerving because of the abundance in which it all appears. Adoption may be different according to the individual’s generation. Just like the computer led to a desktop, to the laptop, to the tablet, to the mobile and wearable watches and eyeglasses, so will society become accustomed and eventually try to adopt them. One important factor is the cost of these new technologies–will they be affordable? If they are not then the economic divide will set us back. An area of utmost importance is the legal and policy issues. There will always be some groups that may fight against net neutrality. Also, we must have watchful eyes on privacy rights, Fair Use, Free Speech and all our constitutional rights.

changechange 1

Course Takeaways

Many indeed!  I learned so much from the history of which I only had bits and pieces. It was conceptualized and presented through vast readings, videos and reports. Some was dense and some was humorous. Most of it was just awesome.  Perfect theater! I learned that I could sketch a very rudimentary App! No more mystery about its basic design and use. I learned that I will be able to share the information with my students to help develop the skills. I learned about all the available tools to maintain myself updated on future developments. I confirmed that, as I knew before, I never finish learning and I feel fortunate and blessed for this gift. Thank you, Dr. Royal!

Cyberlaw: Legal and Policy Issues in the Digital World


Does the Bible has copyright? Well, after reading and studying this week’s selected readings,  you become curious over things you never thought about before. So I checked and this particular source indicates that the Bible translations are copyrighted but not the “original” work –the Holy Bible itself. Interesting, because it brings other issues to the surface–author, copyrights, time restrictions, royalties and receivership of money, and so on.

And so, we arrive at Girl Talk! What a rush! Love the music, the excitement, the artist’s passion while working the mash-ups and selecting the digital selections. I had not heard of Girl Talk nor knew of his controversial standing; all this due mostly to  generational divide. However I can relate and to me Greg Michael Gillis is an artist, a creator, a composer and a digital engineer all combined. He creatively mixes sounds and tones; he has the artistic ear to recognize what goes with what in harmony to what his goals are in each individual piece.

GIrl Talk

Is Girl Talk a theft? I don’t believe so. Gillis borrows from his surroundings, from his digital environment and adds his personal touch. He adapts and adopts the technology’s real potential and is a manifestation of the possibilities just as Everett’s diffusion theory and process was explained. Girl Talk’s works are sold because the public creates the demand in our consumer-based economy. Even if he were not to record, the audiences attending his concerts surely do and distribute them.

The question we need to ask ourselves is  who benefits and who loses in these situations? It all comes to Economics–business models–control. I believe he should record and sell and keep fighting in the legal arena. If not, how is culture to become free? He is representative of a new generation and digital literacy.

Who controls it all when there are other issues of more importance in life? Which brings me to the topic of patents and how discoveries made in the scientific field are kept under wraps. For example, a medical discovery kept from being shared because its patent prevents it. Is that fair? Is its origin that of scarcity or of abundance?

I believe that the ideas originate in our minds and brains as sum of our experiences, our surroundings, our weaknesses and strength, but–who created them and who owns them? Are the pyramids in Egypt less or more important than the pyramids of the Mayan, Inca and Aztec cultures? Who owns the architectural and intellectual property of the pyramid design? Were the buildings and structures copies? If so, copies of what? Of whose brain and mind? Who copied who/what and who was the original artist, architect or engineer? Who is to say that two persons in opposite sides of the globe with no communication or accessibility have the same idea? Maybe the pyramids are an example of the Remix Manifesto – statement # 1: “Culture always builds on the past.”

Why hasn’t Girl Talk been sued? Lawrence Lessig states that by criminalizing technology’s use, the creativity is driven underground. What is forbidden is attractive. The media conglomerates have the interests and the control of lobbying firms advocating in Washington D.C. on their behalf. Their reality is different from that of the users and consumers. The Federal Court judges are experts in the Laws, interpretations, and decisions based on our forefathers and the Constitution. However, how are they going to rule on issues based on products and services they hardly use nor understand? The same applies to the director of the U.S. Patent Office. Definitely there’s a disconnect that is working to benefit the big interests. Case in point: the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)–they both control the capitalist business model that works for their members. The rules will be up to each user and consumer. To act is to make a difference; to remain passive is to disappear.

net neutrality

Act of Life vs. Act of War: Brazil is an inspiring model that we can all learn from. IT’s so ahead that it leads us to the digital world. Its government decided in favor of the democratization of the HIV medication thus bringing the cost to a fraction of what it used to be. It was made accessible and affordable to the population; health took first place.


Legal considerations associated with the digital environment:

The broadband accessibility and connectivity facilitate the democratization of digital use and mitigate the existing digital divide; the users and consumers must learn their rights as well as their responsibilities; the policy issue of net neutrality was won for a while but it may be challenged by opposing forces and interests at congressional level.

Users and consumers must develop knowledge about what is intellectual property, Fair Use and the importance of legal resources available to better understand the ramifications– this could be defined as digital literacy.

The implications for culture: Lawrence Lessig

Lessig is the voice for the preservation of culture in the digital world. He’s a professor turned digital advocate who travels around the globe learning about possibilities of how to set this culture free for expression and development and evangelizing the audiences. in his book Code 2.0 (2006) he says:”a second generation takes the ideals oft he first and works them out against a different background. It knows the old  debates; it has mapped the dead-end arguments of the proceeding thirty years. The objective of a second generation is to ask questions that avoid dead-ends and move beyond them.”

Lessig adds in The Future of Ideas that blindness will harm the environment of innovation; that the transformation by the courts and legislators will jeopardize the “new” that was envisioned. Culture and ideas–ideas and culture, both tied together to built the foundation.

More to come on this topic…it’s not over yet!

Business Models

Long Tail and Free: Concepts brought to life

Two books’ shelf-life and marketing–Touching the Void written by author Joe Simpson and Into Thin Air by John Krakauer, cleverly demonstrate how online business models work as a result of innovation in technology and creative thinking far beyond the traditional. In 1995, two worlds collided–the world of scarcity geared by the “hit-driven” economy and the world of abundance geared by the opposite –the “misses-driven” one. In the first one, not enough shelf space, screens, radio band waves nor hours in the day–it responds to physics–plain and simple. On the other end, abundance of everything with online digital ordering, storage, distribution, retail, payment and delivery processing, and inventory control. Amazon understood how this model could work and jumped in combining the infinite digital shelf space with data mining consisting of customer information. algorithms analyzed trends and patterns, and market niches based on public opinion recommendations and suggestions.

book case

Abundance or Scarcity? 

Empty bookcase

Where are the books, the CDs, everything else?

Digital World

Amazon took users comments, and recommendations and translated into patterns and trends… then went where anybody had gone before!

The long tail concept, as explained by Chris Anderson, Wired editor and author of the books The Long Tail and Free, works best with certain rules: everything is available; price is cut halfway and then… more; and, assistance is provided to help the customer find the item. E-bay and Amazon developed a business model that successfully linked plastic credit cards, capitalism and the world-wide web. A new standard was set for customer service where the users and consumers rule. The economy of abundance now drives the business. Scarcity and hits ended.

Today Taylor Swift claimed Apple’s attention over free music downloads in their latest product intro. Swift’s claim directly targets the Free business model and the ethical considerations. It was discussed today on NPR. Check it out.

Free explains a business model that based on abundance makes money by giving away something of value for free. Gillette’s marketing with free razors to sell blades is an early example of how this model works. The reputation and the attention are bartered over financial gains. Wikipedia and Craig’s List are two examples of how it works. The business model gives everything for free to the user in a barter-type framework.

Craig, owner

Craig, founder.

Craig's List

Concepts change our understanding of business models: Approach, marketing and scale

The Pareto Principle where 80 percent of the business comes from 20 percent of the titles of books and music in a store was analyzed as well. However that 20 percent is important for the business when framed within a specific and appropriate business model.  For example, customers and users of digital technology who love documentaries and foreign films and music in their native language will not be able to quench their thirst with mainstream media TV or movies in a theater. Why? Scarcity. Physical constraints. A miss, not a hit.  When Netflix arrived, the thousands of India’s Hindus living in the U.S. could easily access these expressions of art as well as others. The same applies to the documentaries. As an avid consumer of documentaries focusing on politics, history, art and the environment, Netflix was a God-sent!

“Is it good enough? Cheap and simple will be just fine.” That’s another school of thought. Quality is not so important after all. Make it good enough and cheap enough and it will go through with customers. Another name we have heard that refers to the same concept is “disposable” clothing. You buy it; it gets stained or torn and just toss it. No separation anxiety over loosing it! An here we have another example why consumerism is so prevalent in younger generations. Is it good? Is it bad?

The Internet transformative powers! 

The Internet infrastructure came about because of the bubble. The economy was totally transformed after that with new business models surfacing originating with entrepreneurs who took risks.

Let’s take Twitter. 140 characters and images. Accessible and free. Yes, we can post a status or ask a question or post comments. However, information about threat of fires, flash floods, gas shortages and the places where it is cheaper by the gallon are but a few of the practical uses. It may be used for professional or personal reasons as well as for advocacy and awareness. Evan Williams said so in the 2009 TED talk concluding that “more good things happen when you follow people.”

In the area of Public Relations I foresee a targeted effort to strengthen the curricula in colleges and universities to meet the needs of the students who will be the practitioners of tomorrow. The skills need to be up to par with the strategic definition of what Public Relations is responsible for, not only in function but in strategy building. The use of digital media and digital online tools are part of our new tool kit.  The Institute of Public Relations and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) are working towards that common goal.

Predictions for entrepreneurship in media

As long as Venture Capitalists, or VCs, have the capital, the interest, the eye to identify trends and eager and savvy entrepreneurs with creative minds, entrepreneurship will prosper. VCs know that with every new innovation surfacing in the market so will transformation, adaptation and  adoption.

More Gary Vees will surface by building their own personal brand through online digital mechanisms. He did it and he encourages others to do the same. Unconventional and rough, he suggests how to develop a personal brand and asserts that we all have it.

Kickstarter arose out of entrepreneurs with big ideas and no capital. Their idea is great and have produced products and services as well as solidly funds fo cause marketing and people in need.

Creativity and design

Some people are born with the creative light “ON.” Others need to look inside to discover their gifts. But design thinking  can be learned just as meditation or yoga. Training is needed and guidance. We all possess it inside however deep and buried it is. The Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and David Kelley’s among others are but a few who transformed this era.

Native advertising is a creative and cost-effective form to use in online media advertising. Altruistic examples of technology use such as non-profit foundations to eliminate the digital divide is also creative in and on itself.

Learning about the Design Thinking School in Stanford and its premise reminded me of the Montessori education model very popular a few decades ago. The D-School in many ways is modeled after Maria Montessori’s thoughts and premises of a child’s built-in awareness and a white slate mind where everything around him/her may be wholly absorbed. At the same time, the creative within each one is pure and knows no boundaries.

MAria Montessori 2MARia MOntessori quote

CBS News Charlie Rose’s interview with David Kelley is a joy to watch. Kelley’s intuitive mind, creative and daring, carries through to his sharing with so many other students and people in general. His “gift” lies within him but crosses boundaries to benefit others in places where his touch is needed–China, Peru, and in his own environment. The D-School “Use Our Methods” are based on empathy and suggest to solve problems creatively with no self-imposed limitations.

Apple‘s Jonathan Ive, who designs “Tomorrow” and Mark Andreessen “Tomorrow’s Advance Man,” are two exceptional minds who use creativity and design thinking as second nature. Their contributions to society are many and have impacted our way of life, of learning, of communicating and learning. I’m sure this is not the end and we’ll hear more from them. Stay tuned.

STAR Trek Transporter

Andreessen’s dreams of Star Trek transporter are almost a reality already!

Kitt car Knight Rider

Knight Ryder’s car, KITT, another favorite of Tomorrow’s Advance man Mark Andreessen.

Mobile and Big Data

The six-minute video Planet of the Apps shows how a group of young innovators develop the Text Hog iPhone App with the purpose of keeping tabs on daily expenses–very useful, timely and well thought-out!  Of course their main objective is to sell it and make money which they do when they meet  and the acquisition is approved. The guys are dedicated and follow the steps to deliver a successful product following a realistic business strategy. The innovation, business goals, users and consumers were all aligned.

In An Internet of Things we learn how sensors in our bodies will determine alerts. These sensors will be set up as part of an App for the tablet and/or mobile formats.  Other formats may also be used, of course. Games and entertainment are not the only purpose for their creation.  Personal assistance and supervision of adults, reminders for medicines, energy conservation in the house and monitoring of lights on and off when you come in and leave, are all but part of the daily routines covered, or administered by the Apps that give people peace of mind and a sense of control.

Along these lines, the App I designed is related to the recent flash floods experienced in Hays, San Marcos, Comal, Blanco and neighboring counties. I though of an app whose objective is to inform and educate the residents of the area and visitors to maximize their experience. The beauty of our natural scenery is maximized when precautions and educated decisions are made. Thus the App herein which I sketched by hand with pencil and paper. Rudimentary? Yes, indeed! Next time I will play with the free design and wire framing app. In the meantime the sketch contains a storyboard or tree relationship board that include the suggested screens, format, mobility, and sharing for the City of New Braunfels Parks Services. including rivers and lakes in its immediate surroundings as well as neighboring vicinity.

The windows will include one for the rivers and their names: Guadalupe, Blanco, Comal; and the  Lakes: Canyon Lake and McQueeny. Each window will have sub screens for Schedule, Contacts, Photos and videos, Google maps and Earth, restrictions, Activities and Nature Attractions. Other screens will feature historical chart of recent flash floods with photos, videos, interviews and impact on lives, property, agriculture and nature. It will feature annual visitors, pets rules, the Do’s and Don’ts of Flash Flood Alerts with links to the U.S. Weather Service, Radio and TV, Emergency numbers and shelter / first aid services.

Olga's first App prototype

Olga’s first App prototype

The Guadalupe River

The Guadalupe River in New Braunfels.

Visitors enjoy the Comal in New Braunfels!http://
This photo of New Braunfels is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The use of mobile technology has moved the interactivity among humans all over the globe through technology development, innovators, accessibility and connectivity. The data journalist as well as the mobile journalist encounters challenges and opportunities. The legacy news media organization are adapting to the new and establishing more open structures of reporting. Still among the challenges are meeting the purity and rigor in editing as well as the editor’s review and the confirmation of sources before publishing. Citizen journalists however jump the gun and publish online with less rigorous structures or none at all. While the citizen journalist is an asset in many occasions in real-time or Internet time, certain parameters should be followed. The use of drones for reporting is an added innovation that will assist in better in forming the public. This was the case in the recent flash floods which devastated and displaced communities in the area.

Mobile and big data will better serve the citizens. The more exposed to the new technology the better informed and more used to it we’ll all become. The technology is here to stay–the mobile platforms, tables, iPhones, sensors, wearable technology, the drones…all of it will be part of today and tomorrow.

Online Journalism: Charting the Course

Future of Journalism: Charting the Course

The predictions made decades ago by whom we would call “futurists” today are already a reality. The readings and videos prompt us to engage in analysis and discussion for the last two weeks over digital media and its issues. As the Internet gave way to the World Wide Web and to the revolutionary changes in mindsets and technology, we look into today and tomorrow. Media consumers and technology users specify how they will consume the news, when and where and for how many seconds…if they don’t zap you before. The first assertion is to recognize that the past is past…and it’s a new era! Move on!

Moving ahead, adapting, adopting, supporting, converging systems and methods, creating and facilitating the changes are of utmost relevance in today’s education system not only at the Schools of Journalism in our country but earlier at primary elementary levels. The pre-schoolers of today are already the users and consumers of information through games and lessons presented to them on sturdy and unbreakable LeapFrog tablets. These children are tomorrow’s students, consumers of news, users of all the new technology and the creators of content. But we are talking about today.

Role of Data and Programming in Journalism

According to the American Press Institute (API) report  “Journalism in the Age of Data” visualization should be democratized and data should be accessible to all. Data sources are abundant collected with the expertise in geography, environment, climate, economics, crime, and education– and are two just to name a few. Journalists can use the data by explaining what it means and why it’s important to learn about it through visualization–the strongest learning sense humans possess. Excellent examples of media actively involved in owning and producing data visualization are The New York Times with Amanda Cox, known as the “Queen of InfoVis,” the Washington Post, Texas Tribune, BBC and MSNBC, Brazil’s Editora Globo, and Paris Le Monde. Sophisticated charts and neighborhood maps that move and pop, that flow and ebb with colors in all hues provide a four-year deficit projection framed within a historical context, or the US jobless rate, or the United Kingdom fatalities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Whatever you think you know about the world will change with what you see and witness in front of your eyes. Data visualization is a tremendous tool for reporting and  learning. Graphic artists and journalists unite their visual, analytical and storytelling narrative capabilities to explore and integrate with a common purpose–inform, educate, share. New technology platforms–Java, Adobe Flash–emerge well as tools and templates that help to program in the newsrooms or in the content builders environments.  Vampire Energy and Crisis of Credit data visualization (Jonathan Jarvis 2009) are two of the best examples developed to ease the process of understanding on the great depression and the energy crisis–both affecting millions of people in the US and the world.

A second API report in 2015 titled “A culture based strategy for creating innovation in news organizations” refers to:

   “Innovation is a product of culture. … Relatively small changes to an organization’s processes and structure can have magnified effects on its culture, which in turn can enable vital innovation in news organizations.”

As in any organization, enablers and stiflers are part of the innovation process. Often referred to as tribal behavior, human resources departments come to the rescue to recommend culture of change or change management–both theories are part of the strategic communication process. Best practices and ideas are part of the process where the mindset may or may not be changed. Among the findings in the process it is stated that:

“Tribes can be a powerful, and potentially positive force.”

Or not, as this case study in The Chronicle of Philanthropy discusses with Dr. Kentaro Toyama, former Microsoft researcher who co-founded Microsoft Research India 2004 and is the author of the book Geek Heresy (Fig. 1). Dr. Toyama applies the theory of amplification to technology discusses how it is not a panacea to save the world in all cases. The existing tribal behaviors in  non tech accessible locations may hinder the process of learning and development more than advance it. The limited mindset prevails. This work connects with Everett Rogers “Diffusion of Innovation” where he analyzes five characteristics of innovation as relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trial-ability and observability.  The social system, or tribe, and its adopters’ characteristics determine the innovation’s future. The two-year water boiling educational campaign in a Peruvian village is a case in point.

Module 8 Book Geek Heresy

Figure 1: Book title: Geek Heresy, Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology Author: Kentaro Takama, Ph.D.

BuzzFeed and Facebook are showing how cross networking works by sharing and making content the way users/consumers want it. The role of data and processing in journalism today is best shown with this example. A win-win situation for all: good experience for the user, insights and analytics integrated for analysis on user data and return on investment for the brave ones. As Wired (2014) reported, “BuzzFeed is the Apple of media and the rest is Microsoft.” Module 8 BuzzFeed and Facebook 2015

In API’s 2015 report of Best Practices, innovation is defined as “the process of bringing new practices, culture and products alive within an organization to preserve core values but to serve them in radically new ways.” An excellent example is the Russ family in Austria with businesses in Germany, Hungary, and Romania. See brands below. Russ’ leadership is defined as transformational and when analyzed, the theory of disruptive innovation is applied. In other words, this leader “took the bull by the horns” and implemented change wholeheartedly–products, services, data, and processing.

Module 8 Ross Media Austria Uebersicht-Marken_2014-04_SW_b470

The role of data and processing in journalism is clearly delineated in three works included in module 8; they are the Data Journalism Handbook; Cindy Royal and Dale Blasingame’s Data Journalism: An Explication, and Cindy Royal’s Social Media and News as User  Experience, Revisited, Chapter 12, in The Future of News. These pieces are positive, firm in their analysis and specific in trends and needs described, and lastly, very clear in the objectives being pursued. By themselves I believe that the course for data and programming in journalism is charted.

News media is a category in business and as such it should be treated. Same applies to journalism schools–they are academic institutions that should be managed with business goals in mind in order to maintain relevance within society’s needs. Marc Andreessen refers to the future of news business as a monumental Twitter stream all in one. You get the picture! The “softer” side is that of philanthropy attained through the likes of independent non profit newsrooms Pro Publica and First Look Media among others.

I came across an article yesterday that I want to share with you. It interested me because it embodies the desire of improvement and learning at all levels and in all areas by peer PRSA member and educator, Marcia Di Staso. Enjoy!

Journalism Schools: Adapt or bust? … and,  how?

CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is an excellent example of how schools are adapting by embracing the innovations. Both data and programming are important elements in the curriculum developed for the social media program that started in January 2015.Module 8 CUNY

Module 8 CUNY logo

Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism is also ahead of its times. The Knight Foundation funded the report Above and beyond: Looking at the future of journalism education. It provides a detailed analysis of the current situation in the news and information environments recognizing that they live and breathe in a digital ecosystem. Results specifically underscore the journalism programs challenge by the tenured system. Reinforces the fact with a 2013 Fidelity Investment study about full-time faculty age versus time of retirement. The report concludes with a strong recommendation for the creation of a non traditional J-School. Among the guiding principles are currency as the new core value, faculty cannot teach what they do not know, and that accreditation standards should value educational outcomes rather than institutional traditions.

Dr. Royal’s position on J-Schools curriculum and skills is totally accurate, timely and relevant. “Communication is technology and technology is communication” she asserts leading readers through a thought-provoking piece which ends with ten poignant questions– a discovery path for those of us who aim to be better and more involved educators and permanent students in life.

Legacy institutions of higher learning are slow to adopt even when there are exceptions. I believe that it’s in their nature. But the J-Schools alone are not the ones to issue recommendations. The responsibility lies with the trustees, the university system, the administration, donors, alumni, faculty and ultimately the students and their parents who respond to the offering. It’s all related.  It’s a business formula based on offering and demand; and, on demand and offering. A financial analysis of U.S.’s J-Schools already adapting to digital media innovations could provide additional input in the discussion as well as provide financial numbers that could facilitate a more rapid adoption.

A suggestion is to research and analyze data of graduated students from J-Schools with Digital/Data Journalism and Social Media programs and who are already professionals in the field of journalism reporting and content development. How useful was it for them? From their learnings and experiences improvements may be recommended and integrated to the use  development of new tech tools.

Another question I ponder is: are the young J-Schools mobile users and news consumers more educated on current events, society issues, politics and culture because they are connected to more platforms and longer during a normal day? Are we witnessing it in our J-Schools with our present student body?

As the Knight Foundation report indicated, faculty need to know in order to teach, however, realistically speaking all the faculty we have now in our J-Schools cannot be magically trained. The human process takes time to adapt and adopt. A suggestion could be to do it in phases with new faculty and professionals working side by side and hand in hand inside the classroom and out. They can both learn from each other and increase the abundant knowledge-offering instead of cancelling one out by elimination.

My last suggestion is for the J-Schools to partner with the tech software and hardware companies and the media conglomerates that have vested interests in further developing their business. It’s key for them to have a skilled and prepared work force that understands our present and our future. The role of the journalist helps advance the participatory democratic form of government we now have. Let’s think carefully how their role is upheld, preserved, and enhanced with transparency and trust from all academic institutions.

 Module 8 Trust Transparencey