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  • 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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  • A 2018 Kickoff From the New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School

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    Welcome to the first NYFA Broadcast Journalism update of 2018!

    Here in New York City, the biggest news story of the new year is the weather. At times, accurate weather reporting can be a matter of life and death. Convincing often cynical audiences that a storm is big, bad and deadly can be challenging. That’s when we need to use all of our skills to first gain the attention of, then maintain engagement with, our audience.
    NYFA grad George Colli — who is with News8 in New Haven, Connecticut — was a great example last week of both traditional news gathering techniques as well as cutting edge “broadcasting” technology.

    George lives at the beach, which most of the year is pretty fabulous. But when the recent mega-snow storm hit the East Coast, George wasn’t going anywhere, including work. So he set up shop right outside his house, and used his iPhone and a fast internet connection to feed his stories to News8.

    Besides reporting “on air,” George was also reporting “online.” At all times, but especially during emergencies, people turn to social media to find out what is going on. And there was George, streaming live on Facebook. One of the advantages of social media is that it is interactive. The “audience” is no longer passively consuming information, but can participate and contribute as well.

    George’s stories were up on the News8 website too. That’s him, up to his knees in floodwater as a storm surge-boosted high tide spills over the beach and the down the street. If a picture is worth a thousand words, that video is worth a million…

    Of course, some of our grads work in places that have been far warmer this month. One of them is Anita Efraim, who is in Brazil. She was just hired to work at a new news radio station being started in Rio de Janeiro. (No icy flood waters there!) The station is part of the dominant Globo media group, a good company to be working with if you want to establish a career path.

    Congratulations, Anita!

    Finally this week, all of the NYFA graduates who receive this update will know exactly what Elina Mukhersee (now of South Asia TV USA) is doing in the image below. It is a long-time NYFA Broadcast Journalism tradition, where new students “sign in” to the program. For the incoming 1-year, 8-week and 4-week students, this is a preview of what you will be doing in a few weeks. And for our alums, it is a visit to “memory lane.”

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  • New York Film Academy Broadcast Journalism School’s Last Weekly Update of 2017

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    As this is the final Weekly Update for 2017, I wanted to tell you about what some of the NYFA Broadcast Journalism graduates have been doing recently…

    Celina Liv Danielsen is one of the hardest working people I ever met, and that hard work has apparently paid off. I heard from her last week via Facebook: “I have been working at the Danish television company TV2 for a year now, and I just found out that I’m among (together with a colleague) a nominee for the Best News Story of the Year at the award show ‘TV Prisen 2018.’ I just wanted to thank you and the school for teaching me so much…”

    Congratulations, Celina! Not bad for one year on the job…

     

     

    Meanwhile, more recent alum Melissa Aleman is now working on “Somos Texas,” a series that airs on Azteca TV. And her most recent story has a definite holiday theme: “Don’t miss out on the best location to take your selfie this Christmas! Today I’ll be showing you the place that has more than 4 million Christmas lights! Don’t miss a brand new holiday edition of #SomosTexas only on #azteca.”

    Want to find out about the plot of the next blockbuster film in the Jurassic Park series, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”? NYFA grad Daniella Gemignani interviewed director A.J Bayona for Globo TV in Brazil.

    Bryanna Reynolds recently interviewed international entertainment legend Kylie Minogue at the Melbourne premiere of the “Swinging Safari,” which Bryanna describes as “an Australian comedy.”  It’s a coming-of-age film that takes place in the 1970s.

    When Elina Mukherjee went to Times Square to report a NYFA student project earlier this year, she had no idea it would turn out to be a job interview for TV Asia USA. Someone from the New Jersey-based programming service saw her doing her stand-up, and he was so impressed he offered her a job as a freelance reporter after she graduated. Her first assignment is the Global Healthcare Summit taking place in India. Then she will be reporting stories from Long Island, which is a suburb of New York City. Congratulations, Elina!
    Finally, on a personal note, it was an amazing year. I never dreamed I’d be asked to participate in the international version of a major CCTV cultural history series … and end up as the host. The six-part documentary series is headed to the MIPTV international TV market in Cannes next April.
    Have a wonderful holiday, whatever tradition(s) you follow, and I’ll be back next year with more news about the NYFA Broadcast Journalism department.
    Until then, stay tuned!
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