On Rappler.com – Welcome, Congratulations and Caveats

When a Phoenix dies it is said to lie down and its bursts into flames that consumes it. And if you were to look at the ashes afterwards you will find an egg that will hatch into a new Phoenix. The past years the world has seen the shutting down of several newspapers. News and Media Groups have adapted and are adapting to the emerging technologies. A great number have and this will continue.

Consider this bit of news about CNN that came out just before Christmas – CNN, REVOLVING DOOR: Dozens of Jobs Cut at CNN; New York, Atlanta, Washington, DC, Miami, LA Staffers Pink-Slipped via TVNewser

And here is the email of CNN Senior VP Jack Womack that was posted in the news article:

From: Womack, Jack
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011 3:59 PM
To: *CNN ALL Cities ImageSound (TBS); *CNN ALL Cities Tech Ops

For the past three years, we have been analyzing our work process across Image + Sound, both in the field and in our editing and production areas.

Our goal has been to make sure we have the right resources in the right places to meet the demands of all of our programs. Technology investments in our newsrooms now allow more desk-top editing and publishing for broadcast and online. This evolution allows more people in more places to edit and publish than ever before. As a result of these technology and workflow changes, CNN is reducing the number of media editors in our work force in Atlanta. CNN Image + Sound will continue with high end craft editing that has positive impact on our networks and platforms.

We also spent a great deal of time analyzing how we utilize and deploy photojournalists across all of our locations in the U.S. We looked at the evolution of daytime and evening line-ups. We analyzed how stories are assigned and more importantly the ratio of stories assigned that actually make it on to our networks or platforms. We know that we have to sharpen our focus on stories assigned to ensure that this great work gets on air. We looked at production demands, down time, and international deployments. We looked at the impact of user-generated content and social media, CNN iReporters and of course our affiliate contributions in breaking news. Consumer and pro-sumer technologies are simpler and more accessible. Small cameras are now high broadcast quality. More of this technology is in the hands of more people. After completing this analysis, CNN determined that some photojournalists will be departing the company.

We cannot begin to thank these individuals enough for their service to CNN. They leave with our respect and our sincere best wishes.


Times are changing.

Yesterday, I was at the Far Eastern University to watch the forum of Rappler.com. I went to find out what Rappler.com was and it was a chance to see FEU. I am glad I took the time off to watch the Rappler event, because I got to see what rappler is and what it aims to be.

Rappler and move.ph is a unique Filipino enterprise in media in that it combines together the advantages of digital media and the interactivity of social media. A rappler correspondent is a one-person team, something bloggers would be familiar with, to each news event they go to they come equip with a computer of sorts, a smart phone, a camera and wifi connection. The articles and posts are text, videos, images and sound = or a mixture of each or two of each – in other words multi-media, something bloggers, vloggers, podcasters and micro bloggers would be familiar with. Rappler Reporters and writers are also heavily engaged in social media with Facebook and Twitter accounts – in fact Rappler itself has a Facebook page and twitter account, something all netizens have and other media outfits have. For each post/article/feature, Rappler invites its reader to comment and to indicate how they feel about the article/post thus engaging the reader – people can comment by doing the old fashion way commenting or by indicating how they feel about the bit of news or post – this goes beyond the usual Like button in Facebook.

Clearly, Rappler seems to be the latest stage in the metamorphosis of media in this age. It has embraced the new technology plus its nuances and at the same time maintain the practices that make a writer – whether a journalist or a blogger – credible. Rappler also has a very strong faith in Social Media and its efficacy.

As Veronica Pedrosa of Al Jazeera delivered her keynote on Social Media for Social Change; As Patricia Evangelista talked about telling stories; As Natashya Gutierrez proved the fun and challenge of being a Multimedia Reporter; As Chay Hofileña pointed out the Responsible Use of Social Media; Maria Ressa explained what Rappler was all about a few cloud tags or sound byte entered my mind.

It was important to be transparent. Bloggers would be familiar with this because of the principle of Disclosure. This would probably be familiar with the readers of Rudyard Kipling who relied on five wise men – who, what, when, where and why – that are indispensable in writing an essay, news report, and a commentary. The five wise men are also important in terms of transparency: disclosure.

I am biased. I am here to tell a story.. At first this seems to be an extension of transparency but followed by the second sentence it takes on a different meaning. Yes when someone writes or create a story it is biased, it has an agenda but its still a story that you can choose to listen to. It is a warning a Caveat – more precisely a Caveat Lector – to readers.

Social Media is a powerful online tool at present. One cannot argue with this. Like the printing press the Internet has changed the world. The printing press allowed knowledge and information to be accessible to near all … eventually. It has also given a greater number of people a voice or several voices to air their opinions … eventually. And most social advances – like the emancipation of slaves, declaration of independence, religion, and the Internet itself – would not have been possible without the printing press. So it seems the case for social media. This however is a multi-lane intersection that can go several ways. It is said the day the Telegraph was invented two messages were sent across the seas: The first was a message of husband to his wife and the second one was the telegraph version of a chain letter.

All in all the Rappler.org during the event presented itself as probably the most contemporary media group. Aware, tech-savvy and optimistic.

Optimism is good and bad. They say a person walking and looking at the stars and fail to look at the ground will most likely trip and fall. Optimism is good but it must be tempered. Tempered that despite the high numbers often cited about social media by social media experts not everyone in the world is connected to the Internet. In the Philippines only about twenty to thirty percent of the population is connected to the Net. There is still a Digital Divide – caused by poverty. fear and ignorance. Tempered that it takes more than digital success to make a campaign a success. Digital and Social media is a means not the end. And lastly tempered with the understanding that the Internet, Digital Media and Social Media can be used for different things – and sometimes not necessarily what you might like. In fact you might hate what people are using it for.

Good Luck Rappler.com!

Just remember the Internet is a multiple lane intersection during rush hour on a payday Friday.

Internet is for Porn from Avenue Q

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