This course did not so much introduce me to the tools of the digital age as it reinforced and re-educated me to the inter-connective powers of blogging and linking, but especially to the social media network that is developing exponentially.
I have experienced the power of blogging. Four years ago, while embedded with a local Army Reserve unit in Iraq, along with the daily articles and photographs I sent to the newspaper, I sent blogs on a daily basis that were more of a personal diary, sharing my perceptions and experiences with the troops and on the forward operating base. I believe that I received more responses from the soldiers' families about the blogs than I received from the newspaper's readers about the articles.
Here is a gallery of photos from my embed in Ramadi, Iraq:
My experience at the newspaper has inclueded producing a number of photo galleries and a few audio-slideshows using the software Soundslides and Audcity.
Pros and cons of multi-media
It affects my work in both positive and negative ways. The positive is in the way it improves the way I tell the story, whether I'm recording ambient sound or interviewing someone, sometimes while capturing the audio the subject reveals something that has remained hidden until that moment and then I know to stay on the watch for that moment to capture it with my camera.
The negative is that it is rare to find the time necessary to capture all the facets of multi-media, photos, audio and video, let alone find the production time to adequately edit all those components into a cohesive, linear story.
Where do we go from here
But, as I wrote in my lead paragraph, it is the power and potential of the social media networks that this course has opened my eyes to understand. As journalists we have to incorporate blogging, linking, RSS and multimedia, in our daily work, it is the next wave of reporting, 21st century journalism, and it is the social media network that we must utilize in transmitting our work.
You can make better use of all these tools by constant use. It's like a language, as you use it more you become more fluent and more proficient. And as you use it more, you will develop more connectivity to an expanding community, a community that has no borders, no borders and no restraints, other than the ones you impose on yourself.
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