Technology and Social Issues Converge at the Forefront

•February 13, 2012 • 1 Comment

I come from the wonderful town of Springfield, Missouri. It has approximately a population of 200,000 and is the origin of wonderful institutions such as cashew chicken and Bass Pro shops. I even am part of the few who can claim that Brad Pitt is an alum of their high school and college. However, Springfield, and more largely, Greene County has been known as a bell-weather county in Missouri which has consistently been known as a bell-weather state. Needless to say, election season in the 417 is an exciting time had by all. 

This past Tuesday, Springfield voted on an issue known as E-Verify. To sum up the issue, E-Verify was an initiative to strengthen labor laws on immigrants. E-Verify would require businesses to electronically verify the worker visas and green cards of all employees in the Springfield area. The city was very much at odds with this issue. In general, people in favor of the ballot initiative believe it is necessary for employers to check the legal status of immigrant workers before hiring them and those opposed to it believe that businesses should have the discretion to choose who they hire or do not. 

Springfield, which is also known as the “Buckle of the Bible Belt” tends to have a generally conservative landscape on contentious issues such as immigration, however as the above link points out that Springfield’s political makeup makes more of a doughnut effect. 

While there is a ring of mostly “red” voters, a “blue” hole shows up in the middle of the city. The middle of city consists of lower income areas which typically vote more liberally but also the collegiate population of Springfield. In the center of town you not only have students from both Missouri State Univeristy and Drury University where typically college students tend to vote more liberal and also, a wide range of faculty/staff and more highly educated residents will also vote progressively on issues.

The doughnut effect is very interesting as it doesn’t exactly split the town into a red side and blue side but rather shows the changing sociopolitical geography of Springfield, which catches my attention. Springfield is one of the fastest growing cities in Missouri and the conservative population being the outer ring is moving out towards the newer suburban areas that are also rising in socioeconomic level going from rural areas to highly residential areas.

Though E-Verify passed in Springfield (voter turnout was only 14.6 percent), it is more than likely it will be repealed since they are many areas of it that conflict with Missouri law. E-Verify is an example of how a mid-sized town like Springfield is becoming less homogenous and more diverse (yes, diverse) as it expands to areas such as Christian and Webster County. 

A Society of Journalists

•February 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

On my last post, I touched on the idea of how multimedia is changing journalism and communication into a more social experience for the community at large. For this post, I’ll coin this movement as “citizen journalism” and particularly referencing this J2150 reading.

Though it’s not an officially recognized genre of journalism, I would definitely consider it a “trend of the times.” With the emergence of Twitter and Facebook in the current technological revolution, the accessibility and efficiency of communication has grown exponentially. Particularly with the growth in blogs and bloggers, many internet users take it on as responsibility to do their own reporting.

Though I am afraid I’m getting a bit J1100 for you all, I believe that citizen journalism is becoming a matter of concern for quality journalism everywhere. With so many opportunities for publishing through the internet, it seems that the public and the “objective journalist” have become closely intersecting and it’s become too close for comfort. For many of us, this is our fourth journalism class here at the Zou and we’ve been indoctrinated with the concept that we are the third party between the public and story, the moderator you could say. However, citizen journalism is overwhelming the moderator role by allowing Op Eds to trend and become top results on search engines and Twitter while thoughtful articles by the likes of William Safire and Paul Krugman are pushed aside and deemed “boring.” The sensationalism and personality of blogs have raided the internet as the new journalism when it really isn’t even journalism at all. In a changing world of political and social values where the moderate is becoming extinct, the self-righteous, radical Tea Party and the bleeding, godless liberals live in some perfect chaos of shattered discourse, and mass communication can summed up by a 40 year old guy living in his mom’s basement with a Huffington Post account. Journalism’s soul purpose was to tell the public when the “man” was bringing them down and to tell the public when to stick it to them. Even back to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, journalism has been a tentpole is preserving American values such as free speech, liberty, and transparency in government.

But I guess I am no better than the public as I write this blog ranting about how blogs destroy journalism while I myself am only just a student. Can I even be considered the public when I’m still being claimed on my parents’ taxes? Eventually we get into a discussion about what is truth whether the party we report on is honest or if the public decides the what the truth is or if the journalist properly represents and reports it. We could get into that discussion, but frankly there isn’t enough time in an eternity to find an answer to that question.

So I find myself asking the questions of a schizophrenic: Who am I? Am I the public? Or am I the journalist? And if I am the journalist, does that in some way make me the proverbial “man?”

Multimania

•January 25, 2012 • 1 Comment

Multimedia is a fascinating thing. Because of its accessibility  and variety, journalism (and communication at large) has found multimedia to be both a blessing and a curse, a double-edged sword. Multimedia proves to be vibrant and personable with stunning pictures, shocking video, and raw audio. As technology becomes more user friendly and even more wallet friendly, the amount of contributors and contributions have grown exponentially. On one hand, this increased communication has allowed for more dialogue and more visual storytelling to take place. However the increase in communication does not necessarily equate to an increase in effective dialogue. Technology and social media has allowed for anonymity and efficiency to take the reigns in journalism and while it’s nice to know that perhaps maybe the public is becoming more aware and socially conscious however, it becomes hard to sort through the comments filled with bias and “lol ur so stupid”. So we’ve become a more communicative society, but at what price? If social networking shows us anything, the public can no longer differentiate from opinion and objectivity.

Hello world!

•January 19, 2012 • 1 Comment

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.