Journalism futures

Week 1

Here I will be looking at my chosen publication : The Bristolian analysing its content online and as a paper. I will be using the information collated  to create a good basis for a case study to use within my end of year assignment. To aid in my analysis of the publication I will also be comparing it to a larger publication called Vice Magazine/ in order to also gain other relevant information that I would only be able to from a more mainstream publication such as Vice.

Every week I will be writing a blog regarding weekly appointed tasks, looking at my chosen publication.

Week 2

Looking at the website and any other online information that I could find The Bristolian doesn’t seem to be owned by any companies. There is obviously someone that runs the domain on the internet and someone who takes charge of collating stories and getting them ready for print. However, due to the nature of the publication its creators have deliberately remained anonymous. The newspaper is free and in their own words a ‘scandal sheet consisting of only 4 pages therefore funding is most likely minimal. To say ‘how’ it is specifically funded is impossible as that information is unavailable, probably because the cost of producing the publication is so minimal that it most likely only comes out of one persons pocket at minuscule regular printing costs. This is assumed as at the top of the paper publication it states that its funding is donation based.

This greatly differs from Vice Magazine which says online that it is funded by advertising allowing its paper publication to be freely distributed. Off the record however, it was unofficially announced that Rupert Murdoch’s corporation 21st century Fox had invested $70 million in Vice media.

Week 3

Again due to the free and anonymous nature of the publication on paper and online there are no stated terms and conditions attached to using The Bristolian publication at all. Similarly Vice also have no terms and conditions attached to using any of their publications. Maybe this is also due to the nature of it being distributed for free.Having terms and condition for using a publication insinuates that you are engaging into a contract of some sort. In respect of media and viewing media, terms and conditions are usually presented where the writer, artist or creator does not want any of his/ her work to be reproduced without their prior knowledge or consent. Or more commonly terms and conditions are presented to make sure certain people are not liable for anything as the websites are publicly accessible, meaning anything could happen.
A more noticeable feature that appears on many of the even more popular and mainstream publications is the choice to subscribe to their physical or even a more complete version of their online publications such as Vogue, Time magazine and National Geographic magazine just to name a few. This gives the reader or person entering the online site a more obvious ‘contractual agreement’ as it were, where terms and conditions are also present.

Also as part of this weeks assignment I was asked to download all of the information that Facebook have on me, or have at least acquired so far. This ties in well with terms and conditions that are tied in with publications that you may access on a daily basis. You may not have even been aware that there were terms and conditions at all, but they are almost always definitely there. Facebook is one of the most controversial topics when it comes to terms and condition as there are so many that we consciously and unwittingly agree to. They have unfathomable amounts of the worlds personal data flowing through there website and they have it in their power to own certain parts of that information such as your photographs.
Recently Google have now come into the ringside with front seats at the ‘data selling and buying convention’ which is sceptically looked at in the latest documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply


Week 4

This week I am looking at my home newspaper from South east London the Greenwich Time and the News Shopper . At first glance on the website (to tie in with my previous post on ‘terms and conditions’) there are in fact terms and conditions at the bottom of the web pages. There is also unsurprisingly no kind of ‘further information incentive’ or subscription offer for the publications as well. This is similar to the Bristolian and to Vice magazine which both share the same characteristics.

The Greenwich Time and the News Shopper are very local papers for the Royal borough of Greenwich therefore almost all of the news items are community based. The Greenwich Time being the more glamorous of the two publications seems to have taken on more of the arts and culture stories alongside the community based ones. Its page layout seems simple but professional providing access to local council services and archived publications. The News shopper is more simplified in its aesthetic on its website. There is a myriad of tabs to choose from in order to find the kind of news/ information you want. Both websites also have the option to sign up to get sent emails with updates on the latest news similar to Vice Magazine and the Bristolian.

The Bristolian is distinctively different from my local newspapers in terms of immediacy in news and visual content. The Bristolian’s website offers a constantly updated service as well as the Vice Magazine publication. This would be due to the target audiences and what the publications think they want to see. The Bristolian’s audience want a constant feed of ‘scandalous news’ as soon as the story comes in with constant updates. Vice magazines audience are young and would be assumed to be very well-connected and therefore also want constantly updated news on the latest . My local papers on the other hand are trying to cater for all ages and encompass all the information they can which makes it impossible to have a constantly updated service with ‘news just in’. Especially just for local news.

Week 5

The Bristolian could almost fall into the hyper-local news category were it not for the scandalous stories that they still produce from some kind of internal workforce for print and digital publishing. I would use the term hyper-local because half of its material is reader generated. Reader inclusion and interaction with the publication (but mainly online) is massively encouraged but does not dominate. Which is why it is not entirely a ‘hyper-local’ news source. Again the anonymity of the people who produce all of the news items makes it hard to establish whether or not the stories are from a set group of journalists or are provided by public or even maybe a ix of the two. It also is not really a forum centric website as well. This is actually probably a major indicator of its material and were it is sourced from.

So, the information and material within my chosen outlet is mostly self-generated with maybe a third of public input.This input being provided  through the ability to comment on the website, send in news stories and tip off’s and competitions ect.
The publication as mentioned in previous weeks is also provided mainly for free. Although, the publication does state on its printed pamphlet that it is funded on a minor scale through a donation bases. Nevertheless the content is freely provided and there is no advertising involved at all.

This obviously contrasts greatly from the similarly controversial vice publication which exists on various news media related websites and as a freely distributed magazine supplement. Almost all of its material is self-generated aside from the comments sections that the public can access freely for all news and multimedia items. This is similar to the Bristolian. However, one thing that keeps it distinct from the Bristolian  (amongst other things not related to money :)) is how some of its content is actually paid for by larger media companies and bought in by paying journalists through funding from any other large media companies. It must be noted, this is not a proven statement but must be brought to light as Vice do work with companies such as HBO and send a multitude of journalists abroad to do investigative pieces worldwide. There is definitely money involved in bringing in news on a large-scale somewhere along the line, but it is hard to hold them to account as there is no public access to that information, via the internet at least. At first glance there are no links on their website to access terms and conditions ect. but when you enter one of their partnership website with say…HBO the terms and conditions for Vice magically appear at the bottom of the page.

Screenshot (15)


Week 6

In 2010 ‘The Arab spring’ revolutionary wave enveloped various Arab states very quickly. Riots, protests and civil war ensued some intending to come together peacefully and some violently. Without a doubt the incredible role that technology had in this historical event is paramount in understanding the immense momentum and speed that it spread.
 Egypt-facebook-300x225The reach  that social media has across the globe to even the hardest  to reach regions on the planet empowers the user to export news, ideology, politics and activism, amongst a plethora of others, to anyone that has a phone , computer and access to social media networks on the web. It’s instantaneous and personal and is a powerful weapon as was proven in the Arab spring revolution. This idea is expanded upon in an article by Al-Jazeera  that comments on the digital revolution explaining how it ‘ is here to stay in Egypt’. The writer of the article ,Ramesh Srinivasan continues to support the claim that social media was intrinsic, ‘enabling activists to communicate and co-ordinate’.

Social media has become the line of communication, PR platform and advertising space for activists all over. The effectiveness of the tool has been proven as stated before but even so it hasn’t always worked for everyone. smaller and more professionally produced campaigns through social media reaches millions of computers but do the people who enact in joining the group, adding the people or click attending to an event actually actively and physically partake ?  The act of clicktivism begins to enter the debate. It’s a subject that is too deep in breadth and stretch in its complexity of argument but must be mentioned in order to gain oversight and context of the role that social media has played in moments of unrest in countries and activism online.

Back onto the subject of the role of social media in the Arab spring. Social media here was and is the medium for the message and as Marshall Macluhan would point out “the medium is the message”

The readiness of access to information provided by social media and the internet creates a very personalised and hypodermic intake of that information. It becomes part of your ‘domain’ as it were . You can choose whether or not to read or interact with information or news. You are in complete control. Here the medium has the upper hand in empowerment of the user. With regards to the Arab spring  this empowerment over information and access to the huge network of voices empowered people. And, It eventually materialised because the conditions determined it right the people felt empowered enough to use this medium to take their views onto the streets.

“the world appears and in which the world is constituted in its worldliness, and through which
we learn about those who are and who are not like us. It is through communication conducted
through the mediapolis that we are constructed as human (or not), and it is through the
mediapolis that public and political life increasingly comes to emerge at all levels of the body
politic (or not)” (Silverstone, 2007: 31)

Week 7

The intricate web of anonymous voices or sources makes definite and transparent quoting within The Bristolian difficult. They are geared towards protecting the Identity of all of their sources. Any quotes that are made in the publication are definitely not made foolproof in their reliability but there is a massive level of trust that it ‘s audience has, this is the verifier of its reliability, for its audience at least. As of when people are quoted it tends to be politicians or people from the Bristol city council. This is because they are the most common topics in the publication.

The idea of the information presented is that it has come straight from the horse’s mouth and tends to be of a ‘scandalous nature’ therefore the quoted do not tend to be the public.

This understanding has led me to conduct a content analysis on The Bristolians use of quotes or rumours across three articles based solely around George Ferguson and to look at where they are sourced from. I thought it would be most relevent to focus on a story that mainly uses George Ferguson as a subject matter as he is most popular throughout previous archived publications. This will help me to identify where and how many times they have directly quoted him or where they haven’t.

data will be based titled under:

Rumour or quote sourced from institution i.e. Bristol City Council,Councillor

Rumour or quote sourced from George Ferguson himself

Links to the chosen articles:
Tally: George-2 vs Institution-0
Tally: George-0 vs Instituition-1
Tally: George-2 vs Institution-0

Week 8

This week I will be focusing on how my chosen publications deal with data and asking the question ‘What data does it provide about its subjects?’. In order to provide a balanced result I will also be applying the same questions to Vice magazine or at least another publication regarded ‘popular’ by the public.

Looking at the more recent news items that have been published any data that is presented is not normally sourced and tends to be centred around financial figures. It seems that data presented is on a ‘trust’ basis however where there are major referrals to data that is substantial integral to the news item they will provide links to the data for readers to look at themselves to come to their own conclusion or to back up claims that they are making:


 “Just in case you were starting to believe Mr Owen’s fanciful claims, here it is in black and white, from the BANES ‘reports pack’ (entitled ‘20112013 1400 Development Control Committee.pdf’) accompanying yesterday’s Development Control Committee meeting”

Data used on the Bristolian is not necessarily presented to the reader within the news item through graphs and charts, instead they seem to be trying to free data resources that may not have been presented openly to the public by making them available in hyperlinks within articles.
‘Promoting freedom of access to data maybe?’

Whereas websites such as HELLO magazine clearly use polls and questionnaires as sources of data and use them to produce stories normally centred around Health, Beauty or lifestyle. Here is an example:
“A survey revealed that nearly three quarters – 74 per cent – of size 16 women are comfortable in their own skin, compared to just 42 per cent of those who are a size six. The poll also found that recipients named celebrities including Nigella Lawson, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Christina Hendricks and Adele as women they admire…”

Week 9
Drone journalism  is a new phenomena that hs arisen from new technological discourses within the defence industry. Drones are typically  ‘unmanned vehicle devices’ used as a means of looking for targets within the army. The use of drones have been speculated upon and debated highly within all kinds of media outlets including social media. This has typically been centred around the dehumanization and distancing that it creates from feeling responsible from attacks internationally as the person in control of the drone tends to be very far away from the target in actuality.
Surprisingly this new form of surveillance technology is now being used by journalists as a source of data that they feel will provide ‘a bigger picture’. More recently journalists sent in drones to the typhoon impact areas to see in ‘real time’ the vast impact that it has had on citizens affected. This actually also resulted in saving the lives of a handful of people who were spotted in the rubble by the drone users.

It has become a debate of bad and good. Ultimately it is down to the users motives to decide whether they can be used  for bad or for good reasons. However , the easy invasion of privacy that the technology provides is disconcerting raising questions on privacy and use of the tool. However the wealth of information that can be gained is quite substantial.

For example, if I sent a drone above Bristol I could gain information on: The amount of police vehicles on the streets during certain times of day, the amount of people who tend to frequent within certain areas; You can clearly see where development is being focused on within the city and where it is not, traffic problems, cyclist problems, transport problems, possible social problems within certain wards such as drinking zones ect….I could go on. The possibilities really are endless. But as stated before it is entirely up to the user to determine the use of the information or data gathered and whether it will be used for good or ‘bad’ purposes.

Week 10


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