Wednesday, June 24, 2009

iPhone: The Future of Newsgathering?

The thing I love about interning at WISH TV is that no day is every the same. This particular day got me thinking about how newsgathering might change and evolve as I enter the field in the next several years.

Today a homeowner received the kindness of strangers when two paramedics stopped by her Anderson, Ind. home to say that oh, by the way, her house was on fire. The home is beautiful, I might add. It is Victorian-style, built in the 1870s and has customs trimming and painting. Luckily, the firefighters showed up pretty quickly. The story aired at the 10 pm (MyIndy, Channel 23) and 11 pm (WISH TV 8) newscasts.

That's the side story. The main story is how the iPhone is revolutionizing a journalist's newsgathering abilities. Let me explain.

It's been on stories like these - and others - that Web 2.o tools and ever-evolving PDAs can change our world. We can find directions, make phone calls and do research from the comfort of a handheld device.

With the mapping, address book and calling applications, reporters and photographers could more efficiently contact interviewees, find good places for B-roll and - with the new video-iPhone - shoot an entire news package with it ("good enough for the evening news). At least that's what the CBS affiliate in Miami did.

CBS4 branched out, using newer technology to report the news. Only time will tell how these tools will be used in the future of broadcast news.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Opening Hearts, Minds and Doors

When I first created this blog, I was in the middle of an internship with the United Methodist Church - at their Indiana headquarters. I wrote for Hoosier United Methodist Together publication. I feel it is time to give them due credit to what I learned. 

Church operations are a fascinating thing; it works something like a business, with clergy for employees and believers as the clients. But there's one difference.

Church staff members, clergy and members aren't working on commission; they're working for The Great Commission. 

Before I started work at IAUMC, I didn't know much about the United Methodist Church - other than that it was one of many Christian denominations. And with my solid Catholic upbringing, I hadn't heard much about the "other guys."

This weekend, my former supervisor, Dan Gangler, and the rest of the office will be at Annual Conference. It's the big event where all UMC Hoosiers get together to talk about ministries, missions and the church structure, outlined in The Book of Discipline. It's happening at Ball State University, and will include a one-day mission project in town to promote "Rethink Church," the campaign to drum up UMC support and members. I'm praying it will be a fruitful weekend for them.

Don't know much about Methodism? Well here are a few things I learned as an outsider:
  • It is a mainline evangelical branch of Christianity.
  • United Methodists are different from Methodists or the Free Methodists.
  • UM is based on the teachings of John Wesley, who believed in using faith as a catalyst for social justice. 
  • UM has a strong relationship with church plants in Sierra Leone
  • Ever wonder what Cokesbury is? A UM publishing company, named after US Methodists Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury.
  • There is a strong emphasis and stance against gambling, smoking and abortion. One of favorite experiences was my first trip to the Indiana State House. We got to hear HB1213, which would ban smoking in restaurants and bars. Dan presented his reasons on behalf of the Hoosier Health and Faith Coalition
  • The official motto is "open hearts, open minds, open doors."
  • The symbol is a cross with a red flame running through it. 
  • UMC has a history, but it also keeps a new generation engaged. The extensive summer camp options and community centers keep kids involved and learning about the Lord.
  • UM churches are diverse. Some are more inner-city focused, while others might have eco-friendly efforts or a conservative approach.
I have been so blessed with the folks I have met through this internship, arranged through Butler's Center for Faith and Vocation. During this time, I've become highly interested in religion reporting - thanks also to my trip to RCC in Boston this past March. 

Who knows what's next? But this was one internship I won't - can't - forget.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beth Moore Wisdoms

Hello, dear friends. I would love to fill you in on how my bible study is going. 

As you know, the study is written by Beth Moore. She is a wonderful woman with such a passion for the Lord. She is someone you know you could instantly be friends with. In continuing our study today - with an awesome group of girls, I might add - it occurred to me that Ms. Moore has some excellent quotes. I like to a share a few with you:

  • Human help is wonderful, but it is always human
  • Sometimes the Father even uses our dissatisfaction to show us He wants us to move to another ministry in another place
  • If we want to understand God, we must do it on His terms
  • Somehow, in his limitless capacity to love, nurture, and watch over us, Christ can attend to each of us as if we are the only one in the world
  • Christ will never take us into a battle we cannot win
  • He has surrounded you even when you don't want Him anywhere near because of your sin
  • God's Word was meant to be applied to our reality!

Here's my very favorite:
  • He is the ultimate Prince Charming to every woman, especially the one who forgot she was Cinderella.
And with that, I hope you will sleep well tonight.



Thursday, June 11, 2009

Face Value: Judging a Book by its Cover

Bookstores are one of my favorite places. Of course, libraries are even better because they're free. 

But on a recent shopping escapade, I was pretty disappointed (and humored!) with a some of the titles I saw. I even wrote down a few of them here:

How Not to Die
O's Big Book of Happiness
Why He Didn't Call You Back
Livin' the Moment: Getting to Ecstasy through Wine, Chocolate and the iPod Playlist

It's not a surprise that these were found in the "self-help" section. The human race has always looked to outside sources for answers to success, happiness, health and remedy. It's a lesson I need to learn, too. I am constantly seeking the approval of others and admit to "livin' the moment" every now and then. I'm not perfect; but I think we need to remember to keep our eyes focuses on the things above, rather than to other imperfect human we place with high authority (i.e. Oprah). What better person to follow than the only one who truly was, is and always will be P-E-R-F-E-C-T? I don't know anyone else who has achieved that status in human form other than Jesus. 

In our Beth Moore study, it's clear that I need to keep my attention focused on the things above. Where I look indicates what I hear, which influences how I feel and tells me what to expect. Therefore, I know that if I look to God, I know what I can expect. People, books, food, can never fully give me what I desire. Psalm 121 says, "I lift my eyes up to the hills/From where does my help come?/My help comes from the LORD,/Who made the heaven and the earth."

Case Study: Jon & Kate

They are household names: Jon and Kate (Plus 8). The religion section at the bookstore featured: "Multiple Bles8sings: Jon and Kate." While pop culture is obsessed with the unique family and, most recently, the couple's rocky relationship, I am sorely disappointed. Every People article, entertainment show and even the local news has taken a piece of the Jon & Kate Pie.  To what avail? Perpetuation of their scandalous behavior only further deteriorates their marriage and could lead to a very public divorce. Shame on the media for invading their lives, scripting their every move. The book portrays a loving, Christian family. Pre-scandal, the family seems to put prayer at the center and put their trust in God as their provider and sustainer. But what of it now? Media seem to have pitted Jon and Kate against each other. One entertainment show teased, "Up next, you'll find out why Jon and Kate aren't even sitting on the same couch in this exclusive interview."

Who will answer for their divorce when it happens? True, Jon and Kate chose to be featured on a reality TV show, but media also need to know when enough is enough. Has Princess Diana's death taught us nothing?

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. - Psalm 34:13

Thursday, June 4, 2009

NPR: Trailblazer of Journalism

In my rapidly growing affinity for NPR, I've discovered some pretty neat people.

Barbara Bradley Hagerty is vital in the field of religion reporting. She recently published a book, "The Fingerprints of God," in which she recounts her experiences abroad with different faith groups. USA Today profiles her and others who are making an impact on religion reporting these days.

Andy Carvin is the "social media guy" for NPR. Props to him - Mashable (THE online social media guide) cited him as one of the reasons NPR is at the forefront of social media (among the top 25 followed accounts on Twitter). The article applauded NPR for increasing its listenership/readership in a time when most news outlets are being forced to change. That's something to be proud of.

According to the article, NPR has embraced changing media platforms using a three-pronged system:
  1. A focus on local. Experts have predicted that the future of journalism is in hyperlocal news.
  2. A focus on social media. They are on top of this. Everytime I visit my Facebook home page, NPR has a new story posted with a video or podcast link. My most recent favorite was a story with amateur video footage of the beatboxing champions. That's what I call entertainment.
  3. News on "my" terms. With the "me" focus of social media, NPR has created its platform in a way that allows news consumers to build their news consumption. You can create playlists and channels based on your interests.

Either way, NPR is blazing the trail for what lies ahead in journalism. Snaps to NPR!