Throughout intro week, numerous talented journalists spoke about their experiences and gave advice on how to keep up with the demands of the newsroom in a converged journalism era. Neville (2014) suggests to “learn as many skills as you can, work harder than your colleagues and prove you’re better than the rest.”
It is then apparent that if you want to get ahead of the game in a digital newsroom, you must be able to create multi-media content or risk falling through the cracks.
Whether it’s written word, photography or recording video and audio content, Hannis, Lee, Riddle, Strong and Treadwell (2014) say it is essential for journalists to be capable of remoulding themselves to keep up with technology convergence and the inevitable changes within this.
One of these changes is the expectation by users for journalists to provide of fast-turnaround stories and instant breaking stories supported by video, photographs or audio where appropriate (Sissons, 2014).
‘…Most newsrooms work at only two speeds: busy and feverish. Journalists and editors live by the clock.’ (Hannis et al, 2014)
Currently, I’m still at the stage where writing a story takes time. I cannot just find and write a story like it’s second nature. This is one thing I plan to work on throughout JOUR700.
They say good things take time but unfortunately, time is of the essence in journalism.
Hannis, G., Lee, A., Riddle, C., Strong, C., & Treadwell, G. (2014). Understanding journalism. In G. Hannis (Ed.), Intro: A beginner’s guide to journalism in 21st-century Aotearoa/New Zealand (pp. 1-16). Lower Hutt, New Zealand: New Zealand Journalists Training Organisation.
Harris, G. (2018). Intro: A practical guide to journalism in Aotearoa New Zealand (2nd ed.). Auckland: Massey Texts, Massey University Press.
Golding and Elliot (1979) suggested the definition of news is purely decided by specific organisational processes and their methods of communication. This means what is considered a breaking news story differs as well as how much coverage the topic gets across media outlets and platforms. Aiming to represent the public, journalists’ ensure that people acquire the knowledge necessary to learn how society is governed (Schultz, 1998), to reach this goal the broadcaster’s must direct the breaking news coverage in a way that attracts their specific target audience, meaning the use of different platforms is crucial. With close reference to theoretical research, traditional radio broadcasting and the interweb, this essay will analyse the similarities and differences in coverage of the same news story between Radio New Zealand and Newshub/RadioLIVE and how the use of media platforms affects the success of a stories viewership.
On the 7th of August at approximately 5.30pm, Radio New Zealand National (RNZ), the public service broadcaster of New Zealand, released the radio broadcast of a breaking news story informing that two Green Party MP’s, David Clendon and Kennedy Graham were threatening to resign if Metiria Turei didn’t stand down as co-leader of the party following her admittance to benefit fraud. Newshub soon followed with their own updates but differed to that of RNZ in how the story was covered across different platforms. To understand how a broadcaster reaches its target audience, it is first important to note their differences in age demographic. Radio New Zealand has a target audience of 10+ and Newshub is between the ages of 35-64.
The radio market in New Zealand is one of the profitable in the world (McEwan, 2008). According to the 2016 NZ Media Trends Report (The Neilsen company), approximately 82% of the New Zealand population listen to Radio each week over the age of 10. Of this, RNZ states that the “average time spent listening has increased to 12 hours 45 minutes a week, a terrific result at a time when people have more media choices than before.” (RNZ Audience Research, 2017). On Checkpoint with John Campbell, it was broadcasted that the two MP’s had in fact already resigned due to The New Zealand Herald stating so online. Further into the broadcast, it was corrected to say they had only threatened to. This shows the competitiveness of radio to be the first to break a story, leaving a risk of jeopardising the accuracy of the broadcasts. As Cushion (2012) suggests, “there appears to be an editorial acceptance that sacrificing a degree of accuracy in a fast-moving breaking news story is an editorial price worth paying” (p.84).
Although Newshub, which is simulcasted on RadioLIVE every day at 6pm has a different target audience, their coverage over the radio was relatively the same. The next morning however, RNZ had exclusively interviewed the two MP’S, as well as Party Leader James Shaw. The 9AM Morning Talk slot with Mark Sainsbury instead asked for people to call for their opinion on the matter and followed the updates that RNZ had released, with no exclusive details themselves. As a public service broadcaster, the story was covered differently in the sense that RNZ’s purpose is to serve the public interest and RadioLIVE were more interested in “quick-fire talk with people most affected by what’s happening in NZ and around the world” (Radio Live, 2017). In this case, the age of the audience is not what is targeted, but the interest of the listener’s and the news values of the specific organisations at hand.
Remediation of technology occurs due to new media, specifically the internet which has changed the way that traditional news outlets construct and distribute news (Chaffee & Metzger, 2001). With 4% more people using the internet per week than listening to radio, New Zealanders using the internet per week, online communication is a fast, cheap and easily accessible way to distribute and consume news. (The Neilsen Company, 2016). The internet is therefore a beneficial resource for those that wish to partake in political engagement. In coverage of the breaking story, both networks utilised this new media through the use of their downloadable apps, websites and social media sites like YouTube and Facebook. The difference in how this specific story was covered by RNZ and Newshub across the internet is the aforementioned independent information that RNZ put out. A live Youtube broadcast was streamed of the first interview with Kennedy and Clendon, with RNZ being the first organisation to land an interview. Broadcasted both online and by radio, this was shared further across other media platforms. This is done because their target audience is 10+, so sharing the same content across all media platforms ensures that the broadcaster reaches all of the demographics within this.
With 6 out of 10 New Zealanders choosing to read their news content online, Newshub took a calmer approach to the content they shared online. Rather than producing varied content across multiple platforms like that of RNZ, the company chose to share the website content and articles to Facebook and the app, which in hindsight still accomplishes the goal of reaching their specific target audience because different media platforms tend to attract different audiences and age groups. Multiple theorists actually suggest that with websites including social networking to the process, viewers are encouraged to “like” or “tweet” a story, (Singer et al., 2011) which in turn results in more coverage and therefore a success in reach different audiences across different platforms. (Hermida, Fletcher, Korell & Logan, 2012).
Throughout this essay, the breaking news story of two Green MP’s resignation differed across multi-platform and multi-media sources. This concludes that how a breaking news story is covered across the radio and internet specifically by RNZ and Newshub depends largely on the target audience and the ability to produce original content. RNZ’s coverage conclusively was more extensive than Newshub and was produced in a way that effectively attracted their audiences across different platforms, therefore fulfilling their role as a public service broadcaster.
Tidy kiwis abandon single-use plastic bags and opt for eco-friendly alternatives.
Reusable grocery bags are becoming the latest trend making an impression on Clean Green New Zealand.
According to the Auckland Council, NZ uses a staggering 1.6 billion plastic bags every year.
A little shop with big ideas, GoodFor Wholefoods Refillery, located in Ponsonby, is inspiring this change, being New Zealand’s first entirely plastic-free store.
A healthy and sustainable lifestyle being the main drive he wanted to instil on others, the 29-year-old founder and director of the refillery, James Denton, decided to open the store in hopes of spreading awareness and making a difference, by encouraging people to bring their own refillable containers and bags or purchase them through the store.
“Although it takes a lot of time and responsiveness for people to actually start acting, society is definitely becoming more aware of the vast impact our waste is having on the environment”.
The public has praised the store for going green, saying that the “cool factor” of GoodFor is a smart way of bringing the idea of reusable items to mainstream society.
“If it’s on trend and cool at the same time, it captures those who put their social status in precedence over the environment as well as those who already care for the environment”, Denton says.
Next door to the Countdown supermarket, Ponsonby manager, André, said that he has noticed a large decrease in the amount of plastic bags being used in recent years, with people feeling more inclined to turn to ethical alternatives.
Introducing soft plastic recycling in November 2015, customers are encouraged to drop off their soft packaging, including plastic bags, to participating stores, ultimately reducing the amount of waste going into landfills.
With over 25 million bags in 2016 given back for recycling, shoppers are beginning to develop a better consciousness for the environment.
Denton believes that it’s unlikely large supermarket chains will ever become entirely plastic-free as his store is, but a plastic-bag ban does look possible.
Countdown Waiheke, announced news of a plastic bag ban in 2015 and André believes that in the future, other locations will follow suit, with people discovering sustainable living trends.
Denton hopes that in the future he can further use his influence to produce materials that are actually sustainable – keeping your food fresh but is biodegradable and water soluble.
“The force is strong with this one” family when it came to the collecting of a whopping 9000 Countdown Star Wars character tokens and Disney Movie Star cards, which the Stowell’s donated to Ronald McDonald House and Starship on Friday 14th.
Moving to New Zealand around 3 and a half years ago from South Africa, Greg and Charmayne wanted to create a better life for their now 10-year-old son, Tristan, who they described as always being extremely friendly and kind-hearted.
Originally collecting tokens for himself, Star Wars fanatic Tristan, found his last character card, Rei, about a month ago. Having piles of leftover cards, he came up with the idea to donate the rest to children who couldn’t collect them themselves.
“Their parents won’t bother worrying about collecting the cards because they’re too busy worrying about their child’s health”, Tristan said.
The family created a swap stand outside of Sunnynook Countdown, but it was on social media that people began to recognise the work that Tristan was doing. One lady bought a “hefty amount of cookies”, of which landed her a whole box of Star Wars collectables, approximately 500 tokens, which she donated to the cause. From there, the collecting really kicked off.
After posting on Neighbourly, the Sunnynook residents received an enormous amount of replies from the community wanting to donate their spare tokens and express their gratitude through notes and home visits.
Neighbourly, founded by Casey Eden and Shane Bradley and co-owned by Fairfax Media, started back in 2014 and has approximately 200,000 members nationwide as of September 2015. It acts as a way of connecting with your neighbours within the community in a secure environment.
A recent study by Mashable showed that of the 1,053 people analysed, 51% typically heard of initiatives to give back through social media sites. Charmayne noted that it wasn’t until they posted on Neighbourly that people really began to recognise them and the project. With word of mouth following at 12%, Neighbourly acted as the starting point of community talk, further spreading the word and donations.
Just 30 hours before the delivery deadline, the Stowell’s received stacks of boxes from past promotional Disney Movie Star albums. Through the utilisation of social media, people of the community helped complete a further 100 albums to donate. Charmayne said the project has been an eye-opener. The community coming together to help is something that she rarely saw back in their hometown of Pretoria.
The study also showed that in order for people to actually donate, they have to believe in the cause itself.
Greg stated that what made people happy to donate their cards was the fact that not everyone has the ability to think up doing something so benevolent, nor do they have the drive to actually sit down and tackle the task. The fact that Tristan was able to at such a young age is astounding.
Social media poll results show a clear agreement with the above statement. With 36 responses, 23 said that they believe people contribute to social good efforts because they believe in the cause.
After a month and a half of opening, sorting and assembling, the family went to Ronald McDonald house to hand over a total of 200 Star Wars albums and 106 Disney Movie Stars albums also.Taylor Foster (13), on her second temporary stay of the year at Ronald McDonald House, received a two Movie Star Albums and a Star Wars Album, of which she is passing onto her sister.
Tristan resembles his favourite Star Wars character, Yoda, in the way that he uses his powers for good. As Yoda says Episode II: “Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is”. Tristan Stowell is no exception.
This week involved finally meeting the Stowell’s for a pre-delivery interview, turned 4 hour conversation and unwrapping of collectable cards.
Not knowing what to expect before walking into their house on Knightsbridge Drive, the family welcomed me with open arms. I explained that I wanted to look at their family working together in this project as one rather than just Tristan himself. Because his parent’s happily took on the work load but the idea sprung from Tristan’s mind, I decided my angle would be on how his upbringing might have affected his coming of idea’s to give back to the less fortunate.
Asking Tristan all of the question’s I had prepared, the conversation went off on a tangent. Amazed at just how bright and kind-hearted he was for someone so young, the answer I recieved once revealing my angle stunned me a little. Tristan’s parents, Greg and Charmayne explained “You were mentioning earlier that you wanted to do it on his upbringing, but he has always been like this”.
This interviewing process forced me to rethink my angle as I realised that you really won’t know how the concept of the story will work out until you speak with the subject. Because I didn’t know Tristan whilst trying to think up angles, I had absolutely no idea that his character would be so genuine and benefacting. I assumed that it must have been their parenting that made him the way he is. So… Completely striking out my main angle idea, I have decided that I will look into how social media has affected the immensity of Tristan’s project.
Mentioning how much feedback and help the family has recieved from the community because of social media, I plan on looking further into this for my final story. Next, I need to look into some research of charities and social media content.
Coming up with an angle for my final story is proving to be harder than expected. The story of Tristan is quite heart-warming, but I do not want to completely focus on the physical contribution he is making, but rather look further into why and how he is completing the task. With few days to go before I head to the Stowell residence, my brainstorm of ideas goes as follows:
Looking into Tristan’s family and his upbringing to see how this might have influenced his idea in deciding to donate to charity.
Looking into how the advancement of technology and social media have had an impact on the capacity of donations and help.
Looking at the coming together of the community for a good cause.
With technology being the focus of last week’s lecture (week 8), I realized that something I haven’t yet encountered is preparing questions for a child. If I’m wanting to do a detailed analysis of say, how social media has affected the enormity of donations and help, how do I simplify my questions to what a 10-year-old might be able to answer? Or is technology in younger generations so much more commonly used and understood that he’ll be able to answer this with ease?
I will probably touch on each of the above concepts but choosing which of these to use as the main focus is something that I might just leave up to the time of the interview to see what direction the conversation with the Stowell’s leads me.
After having a reply from a possible story source, my final story topic has officially been set in stone.
I spoke to Greg Stowell today over the phone. As Tristan’s father, he is my main point of contact before the interviewing process, as Tristan, the main subject of my story is only 10-years-old.
Tristan has been collecting Star Wars Cosmic Shells from Countdown for over a month and is building up his collection of sets to then donate to children at Ronald McDonald House and Starship.
Now, I have recently discovered that Stuff.co.nz has actually already beaten me to the chase and posted a story on their website about Tristan’s endeavor. Thinking this might completely kill my chances of utilizing this touching story, my tutor informed me that I just need to consider a different angle when writing about the subject.
After all, I have come to learn in tutorial’s that news outlets occasionally source their information from other outlets, but it is the angle of which the publication takes that gives the story life. Stuff.co.nz has written from face-value. They simply tell the story of what Tristan and his family are doing but don’t look into it any further than that. This leaves me with a lot of leg room of what way my story might lean.
I am meeting up with Tristan and his parents next week for an interview before going along to Ronald McDonald House with them on Friday 14th. Time to prepare my questions and think of possible angles that might give Stuff a run for their money.