Blockchain, Gothamist, Citizen Journalism, & TV Asia: Updates from the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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So, what do you know about blockchain technology? It is the technology behind Bitcoin, a so-called cryptocurrency. Put simply (probably too simply), instead of there being one, central “computer” where all the records of an enterprise are kept, there are an unlimited number of “users” who are keeping the records on their own computers, which (in theory) keeps any individual user from cheating. Blockchain technology is becoming a disruptive force in many industries, and it looks like the news industry might be next.

The always interesting Journalism.co.uk posted a story about Civil, a “decentralized journalism marketplace,” that is using a USD $1,000,000 grant to set up crowd-sourced online news operations in a variety of places, including Chicago here in the United States.

Personally, I am wary of so-called “citizen journalism.” Being a journalist requires a series of essential skills. Just buying a video camera (or a mobile phone) doesn’t automatically imbue someone with those skills.

The problem is that large news companies seem to be getting only larger, and dropping coverage of a vast number of areas both geographically as well as subject-wise. So-called hyperlocal news organizations were supposed to fill that gap. But here in New York, Gothamist and DNAinfo both closed, as have many Patch outlets nationwide.

In a piece of good news, public media outlet WNYC has put together funding to revive Gothamist. That may be the only way local news can survive, within a “public service” economic model.

As for Facebook, the technology giant which at one point was expected to dominate global news distribution, TechCrunch reports that more efforts are underway to separate legitimate news reports from viral rumors, slanders and propaganda. This points to the key problem with uneditied/unmediated “citizen journalism”: It can easily be highjacked by people with agendas, which often don’t encompass truth…

In alumni news, recent NYFA Broadcast Journalism alum Anita Efraim is now a radio reporter back home in Brazil. She’s working for media giant Globo. She writes, via Facebook:

My first article for Radio Globo was about one of may favorite themes, the race. During the shooting, one of the interviewees told me something that made me think a lot: everyone who runs, runs for something. And maybe it’s true. Hope you like it! 

Broadcast Journalism grad Radha Dhar sent me a long email about how one of the student projects she did at NYFA ended up getting her (and a classmate!) professional jobs:

’ve been working full time as a social producer and news researcher at TV ASIA since December. I was covering the Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali, in Times Square for the NYFA News Package project, where I managed to nab an interview with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). This guy from TV ASIA noticed me and interviewed me on the spot, asking for news pitches, saying “We could use young people like you to target millennials!” I told him about my team (Brigette Mancheno & Elina Mukherjee — who later also ended up getting a job from that story) because he seemed pretty excited hearing that we are from NYFA and wanted to know what the students there are up to! (Below is a pic of me out shooting that day!) 

And now she interviews Bollywood stars on the red carpet. Wow!
 
  
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