Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Take a bow Teignmouth Trio

MUSE
Wembley Arena, London.
Thursday 23rd November

How do you make a sound big enough to fill a stadium, and almost blow the roof off?


Easy! sing Muse, who blast the arena and my ears out of orbit, leaving a smouldering black hole in its wake. Twelve years ago, three boys from Devon brought an idiosyncratic rock style to the music world, but perhaps few would’ve realised they would go on to become masters of the live performance, kings of sound, stage and spectacle.

Hot on the heels of this summer’s success story, fourth album Black Holes and Revelations, Muse have embarked on a European Arena tour. Thursday’s show was the finale in their UK stretch, and they were keen to make thousands mourn their departure! First up were supporting trio The Noisettes. Their raw garage-rock style is a worthy opener to the grandiose of Muse, but not too memorable when comparing to the band you paid for. They are funky and energetic enough, with green-tights-clad singer Shingai Shoniwa proving charismatic, drawing comparisons to the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s.

Their black curtain backdrop is a tease to what it conceals, the most luminescent lights display I’ve ever seen, switched on at Muse’s arrival. One second, looking like a psychedelic 70’s disco, the other like a scene from Dr. Who, Dominic Howard’s drum-kit enclosed in a colour changing Tardis. The grandeur of the setting is a treat for the eye! Yet it only supports the intensity of the music, never surpasses it. Muse energetically and effortlessly drive through scores of hits, the set approaching 2 hours. The soaring single Starlight sees the mesh curtain video screen transported into outer space flight. The ever sexy Supermassive Black Hole shows marching robots, and destructive dot matrix space invaders. The theme is sci-fi, apocalyptic and extraterrestrial, perfectly suiting the out-of-this-world histrionics of Muse’s sound.

Highlights include frenetic Hysteria and renowned Time is Running Out with Chris Wolstenholme deftly creating the bass buzz, a sweaty, adrenalin pumped pulse of the arena. Ambitious Butterflies and Hurricanes confirms front-man Matt Bellamy’s genius hand as he switches from guitar God to Rachmaninoff pianist and back again in ten bars. Writhing and robot dancing across the vast stage, he is orgasmic to watch, strumming silver guitar with reverable gusto, all the eccentric curiosity of a bird about to take flight. His voice is shimmering and soulful, and with a breathless edge, Bellamy never falters.

What Muse lack in on-stage banter, they make up for in spectacle. They have grown from eclectic prog-rock band into glamour rock Gods, comparable to Queen. The crowd throughout the entire show buzzed like electricity, heads bubbling like molten lava, thousands of fans singing along. It is a testament to their talent that their outrageously cataclysmic sound has finally reached the mainstream, the disparate mix of grannies, grandchildren, goths and geeks all united under one roof.

Closing with haunting dance-rock track Take a bow, Muse left their fans whispering the line “you’ll burn in hell…” curiously contrasting to their thrilled faces as they leapt through fluorescent fountains
outside the stadium.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Capturing Cardiff - A Pile of Rubbish

Cardiff is a clean city, and its council wants you to know it. In the four years since the Liberal Democrats have taken control of the city, many new systems and schemes to make the great capital a more environmentally friendly place have appeared. In particular, Autumn 2008 saw the introduction of the kitchen caddy scheme where every household can specially dispose of all their food waste in cute containers, to have it whisked off and turned into compost.

The Liberal Democrats also like to boast the rise in recycling over the last four years. Councillor Elgan Morgan notes the rise in Cardiff from 11 per cent to 27 per cent since 2004. He said: “In 2004 to 2005, just when we took over from Labour, we were at the bottom of the league table for recycling in Wales. But we made a major objective to get this city recycling.”

Kitchen Caddies

Most food can be disposed of every week, and residents should throw it in specially provided biodegradable white liners in their caddies, as shown below:


These are then placed in a larger white bag and placed on the pavement the night before collection, or in a green wheelie bin for those wards that have them. Black rubbish bags are put out weekly, and green recycling bags fortnightly. Residents must check the council timetable, which is available from the council website, to see which days and weeks their refuse is collected.

Some residents of Cardiff are pleased with the kitchen caddy scheme. Mary Briggs, 40, of Dalcross Street said: “It’s brilliant, as a family we are consciously making no waste go spare, and now our food bags and recycling bags are fuller than our black bags.”

However, Ceri Smith, 18, of Bronwydd Avenue said: “To be honest I haven’t used the bin. I find it difficult to scrape it into such a small container without tipping it all over the floor. Now I just forget about it and it goes straight into the main bin.”

Cardiff is planning to convert the food waste into compost, to be then used in the parks and gardens. Their targets are to recycle and compost at least 40 per cent of all waste by 2009/10 and by 2013 to have no more than 50 per cent of all the household waste sent to a landfill. This would be a significant reduction.



Recycling

The following video shows the steps you should take in dealing with your different components of waste and the bags you need to put each item of rubbish in:

video


Here you can access lists showing what goes in your green bag and what is not allowed. It is useful to put it on display on your wall or fridge:



The two pictures below show examples of what can be recyled. It includes: tin cans, cardboard food wrapping, plastic yoghurt/dessert pots, glass bottles and lids, plastic bottles, plastic cartons and cardboard juice cartons.



Everything of this nature goes in the specially provided green bags, which should have been delivered to every household, although you can get extra rolls from some nearby shops.


Some items should not go in the green recycling bag such as plastic bags, crisp packets, electrical items, and kitchen foil:


Presently the Cardiff recycling bags are taken to The Materials Reclamation Facility at Lamby Way. This sorts out all the bags’ contents on a conveyor belt, using a combination of human labour and machinery to separate out the different materials. The recycling machinery has improved so it can now deal with 90,000 tonnes of waste, 15 times more than the earlier amount of 6,000 tonnes per annum.

Educating Kids

The council has launched the Really Rubbish Campaign in local primary and secondary schools to increase participation, learning and awareness of recycling issues. It is combining educational resources for teachers with recycling facilities for schools. Free lesson plans and learning materials have been provided, and the children are taking part in "reduce, reuse, recycle" workshops, with competitions and prizes. The Recycling Education Team, who you can contact on 029 2071 7500 or WasteManagement@cardiff.gov.uk, have more information.

Some of the schools include Adamsdown Primary School and Albany Road Primary School. Local teacher Jane Thomas said: “It’s a great scheme, we have tons of material from the council, and the kids are really getting into learning more about recycling and the wider benefits of caring about our environment. Cardiff is moving in the right direction definitely, and it helps if we can start people’s conscientious and concerned minds young.”


Flytipping and excess rubbish

Another concerning environmental problem in Cardiff is flytipping, which is dumping waste bags and rubbish in inappropriate or illegal areas, such as public thoroughfayres or private property. Councillor Gwenllian Lansdown, of Riverside, said: “It is a particular problem in parts of South Riverside particularly around Fitzhamon Lane.”


Police Community Support Officer Bethan Evans said: “We are trying out a new scheme called alley gating. Fitzhamon Lane is to be closed with lockable barriers at each entrance to prevent illegal fly tipping. We hope this will stop people dumping waste in this manner.”


However Riverside resident Mark Walker, 32, of Clare Street, is disbelieving. He said: “This scheme will not stop the anti-social people dumping waste elsewhere. The council needs to get off their backs and provide wheelie bins for all wards. That would be a start in stopping flytipping. At the moment people have too much rubbish and nowhere to put them.”

Indeed others are concerned about the inconsistencies of rubbish facilities, with no wheelie bins being provided in Cathays either. Eileen Simmons, 64, of Llandough Street, Cathays, said: “This is predominantly a student area. They have too much rubbish because of the large number of people in each house, and they are always putting their recycling bags out on the wrong week, too early or too late, meaning they build up all week. I never see my road completely free of bags.”

Asked what her solution would be, Mrs Simmons said: “Wheelie bins for all, and weekly, or even bi-weekly green bag collection. If the council are committed to improving the environment, they should implement rubbish collection more frequently and more consistently through the city.”


Bulky household waste


The council does provide services for the collection of bulky household waste, most of it for free. If you fill in this form, they will collect fridges, furniture, freezers and other such items from outside your house.

There are also four major household waste recycling centres around Cardiff, which can be found on the below map:


History of Recycling Policies

To give a bit of history about where the Liberal Democrats are coming from with their big focus on waste disposal, this audio explains a few of the legislative initiatives that have given rise to an increased urge to recycle:


Be proud of your pile

For all your council refuse and recycling queries, you can contact C2C (Connect to Cardiff) for information and advice. Phone 029 2087 2087 (English), or 029 2087 2088 (Cymraeg) or fax 029 2087 2086, visit http://www.cardiff.gov.uk/c2c or e-mail c2c@cardiff.gov.uk


Some scepticism remains and some people are unhappy with inconsistencies. But a common consensus seems to exist that Cardiff is moving towards a cleaner future. If anything, the frequent changes, education and innovative recycling schemes are forcing us to think about where our waste goes, and take more pride in our pile of rubbish.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Branding Journalists




Is Robert Peston bigger than the BBC?

That was the idea put forward in a recent Journalism lecture. Robert Peston has become a reporting superstar in the last few months: a house name, a revered example of the crème de la crème of business and economics Journalism. So successful he has become, that it has been argued that his very BBC reports following the rollercoaster nature of the financial markets have themselves affected the financial markets. His mere utterance of a loss in confidence creates a national loss of confidence like a tiny mallet hitting a megaphone.

But what makes some news more powerful and more able to affect events than others? Is it Robert Peston’s deliciously strained and undulating prose or his steely severity? Or his undeniably brilliant Journalistic prowess and networking, with contacts placed all over the stock exchange? Has he become his own brand? Or is he only listened to because he is from the BBC? The BBC is broadcast to over 200 countries and is available to over 274 million households, and is one of the most watched, listened and read news outlets in the world, in its many mediums.


As one of my colleagues contested in the aforementioned lecture: “If Robert Peston ditched the BBC and moved to Channel 5, he wouldn’t be as successful”. So maybe the BBC is the bigger brand.

Either way, in the world of capitalism, the success of the brand transcends to Journalism. That selling asset that creates acknowledgement, trust and embeds itself in our memory works with media reports as well. It is not enough to be brilliant at your job – perhaps Robert Peston would not be as successful on Channel 5 news. You need to extra beacon of recognisability to really be noticed, and to influence the most.

But brands are branching out. With the diversification of the media world, and the rise niche news catering for narrower more specific and often more detailed topics, available as and when you like it, one monolithic brand like the behemoth BBC is not enough. As Susan Soloman notes, different audiences require different brands. “Brand Journalism” was coined by Larry Light, the Global Marketing Officer of McDonald’s in an effort to name the change in mass marketing strategy. Macdonald's would start tailoring its brand communications to specific markets and change them to suit the types of media in which they appear.

Soloman notes with the digital revolution on our doorsteps, and people from Journalists to Joe Bloggs able to talk about more specific things in a wider number of words or frames, mostly online, we can tailor and create our own brands to suit more nische markets.

Returning to Robert Peston? How has he created his own brand? Through his blog! Ahh it comes back to this old cornerstone of the new media world. Much of Peston’s market–shifting breaking news was through his blog – he, and many others like him have built up an entire consumer following by the expanded voice that a blog provides. No longer are broadcasters limited to their 5 minute bulletins – they can expand and offer more information. This is particularly useful in this article's example in the case of financial investors, bankers, those really affected by financial news, who have sought the big BBC brand, and coalesced around an offshoot brand, in the name of the reporter who tells them what they need to know.

Once again, another example of how the online world is transforming Journalism. We ourselves can attempt to create our own brand, and attract our own market of news - the space is out there to achieve it.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

All together now - collaboration and crowdsourcing
















Source: http://blogs.sun.com/cphcampus/entry/crowdsourcing_or_open_sourcing RichardAM


At the Networked Journalism Summit in New York Oct 2007, American Journalist Jeff Jarvis said:


“Journalism can and must expand even as the institutions that do journalism shrink. The future is ‘pro-am journalism’, doing things together.”



Pro-am Journalism is exactly what it says on the tin – a combination of both professional and amateur contributors.

Networked journalism is where the audience contributes to the gathering of information. The public writes, photographs and researches as integral parts of the newsgathering and publishing processes. The professional journalists step back to become filters, connectors, facilitators and editors.


But networked journalism is not just about blogging. It is also about “crowdsourcing”. This is doing things conventional journalists cannot do on their own, for sheer lack of manpower.
Robert Niles explains here :


“It is the use of a large group of readers to report a news story. It differs from traditional reporting in that the information collected is gathered not manually, by a reporter or team of reporters, but through some automated agent, such as a website.”

“Unlike more traditional notions of "citizen journalism," crowdsourcing does not ask readers to become anything more than what they've always been: eyewitnesses to their daily lives. They need not learn advanced reporting skills, journalism ethics or how to be a better writer. It doesn't ask readers to commit hours of their lives in work for a publisher with little or no financial compensation. Nor does it allow any one reader's work to stand its own, without the context of many additional points of view. “



Here is a description of crowdsourcing in the discipline of business – showing how the term is similar to the outsourcing of tasks usually done by employees to a larger external group of people.


Examples scale time and space



Kate Marymount, of the Fort Myers News-Press in Florida, said that after Hurricane Katrina, they went to the courts to attempt to force the federal relief agency to disclose details of which citizens had received government help. They put the data online and encouraged readers to look through it. Within 24 hours, there were 60,000 searches from readers, who then contacted News-Press journalists telling them about neighbours with wrecked homes who had not received aid. All kinds of leads were being made, with the readers doing the investigating but the paper reporting the stories. A union between the dynamic manpower of the public and publication power of the News-Press helped to make aware of dangerous and tragic situations, save lives, and challenge the central government.


Networked journalism exists in unexpected parts of the world. The Guardian website, The BAe Files features an investigation into bribes and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. All the data is now available online, which has encouraged a network of amateur and professional investigative journalists around the world to aid in the digging.

And it is not just mainstream media that utilises this business model of crowdsourcing, the evolution of outsourcing.



In newassignment.net/ , launched in March 2007, users log on and get to find potential reporting assignments they can contribute to. They can suggest questions for the reporter to ask, conduct interviews and sometimes actually write the full story.

Other journalists had rather more down-to-earth ideas for networking their journalism. One writer for Wired magazine got readers to test out sex toys.

It is not just everyday news, but everyday valuable information, both scientific and economic that has embraced crowdsourcing.

GasBuddy.com allows readers in more than 100 communities to share real-time reports on local gas prices in America.


This earthquake mapping website from the United States Geological Survey builds detailed "shake maps"showing the intensity of earthquakes by zip code, through thousands of volunteer reports submitted online by readers.


Source: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsus/ Latest Earthquakes in the USA - Last 7 days
USA earthquakes with M1+ located by USGS and Contributing Agencies.



But there are some problems

But the big question is: Does it pay? Alive in Baghdad is a video blog which aims to present “real life” in today’s Iraq but it needs to look for payment to keep going. Its creatorBrian Conley said: “We have managed to sell some of our footage to major networks like Sky but we are also trying other methods to raise money, such as asking our viewers for voluntary subscriptions. We are raising money, but not enough to keep this going, let alone expand it.”


How do you know it is accurate and credible? This is one problem with all citizen journalism, and a motive for the professional journalists to apply checks and balances. One such check is requesting the reader to submit personal identification along with the report. On The Earthquake Website readers must supply a zip code, name, phone, e-mail and street address

The pros and cons of crowdsourcing are many.
Pros include:
- Community Involvement, the reporting of events commonly missed by the MSM, but of importance to nische interests and markets.
- A valuable and permanent database of content is built up if online.
Cons include:
- The risks of amateur reporting, the majority of interest, i.e. the fact stories people want to report on are prioritized over stories that may be the most important for public interest.
- User bias and prejudices or political agendas.
- Staff reporters may lose value and utility.


But finally I should say that now YOU can get involved: Try free online survey tools and mapping websites which can help you to collect and publish reader contributed data to your desired needs.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Digital Narratives of two technophobes


video


The above masterpiece was created by me and a fellow Journalism student Eleni Cashell in an effort to knock our technophobic hands into shape. Two gruelling three-hour sessions shooting and editing a story later, we realised it was rather easier than we thought . Unlike in our first Online Journalism workshop, we didn’t break the camera this time.

All we used were
- Still cameras on two Nokia N95 mobile phones
- Audacity sound recording program
- IMovie film editing software on AppleMac computers


Simple.
But technical shenanigans aside, our project reveals a wider issue in all the mediums of Journalism. Sure it is a little rushed, takes the easy option of shooting within crawling distance of our department, and I sound like a camp CBBC presenter, but it is an attempt to show that Journalism is about stories.

It takes its inspiration from a wildly eccentric lecture from the talented photo-journalist Daniel Meadows. He showed us a collection of photographs and video stories by both professionals and ordinary people, and passionately said: “Human beings naturally have stories inside them and want to say them over and over again”.

We saw some of the groundbreaking first black and white videos from the early twentieth century, where intrigued people could barely hold back their temptation to pose and perform.

Daniel told us about the BBC project he was a part of, Capture Wales, where he went all over Wales to run five-day workshops with normal technophobic people like myself, and taught them to make simple video stories out of still pictures and their own voiceover script, just like the one above.



We were introduced to the so called “Psycho Geography” project, where people have selected an outline on a map, and walked around the real locations on the street, reporting, photographing and documenting the changing moods, experiences and people on the streets. Murmur Toronto is one such example.

The below picture was taken by Daniel Meadows in 1974, and has been reproduced over the years time and time again in various newspapers and exhibitions.

Daniel Meadows: Portsmouth: John Payne, aged 12, with two friends and his pigeon, Chequer, 26 April 1974. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre. Copyright the artist, 2007.


It featured in an exhibiton a few years ago as an example of photographs that represented the change in British society over the 60s, 70s and 80s, under the banner of a famous Margaret Thatcher phrase:

“...society? There is no such thing. There are individual men and women and there are families.”


And this, for me, I feel, perhaps sums up the point of Daniel’s eclectic collection of presentations.
Photography captures people, and individuals rather than generalisations, collectiveness or broad and vague descriptions. And this extends to Journalism as a whole. Short stories can be little windows into a bigger life, and truth is to be found from individual people, with all their delightful differences. The stories they tell will never be the same.

You can write about statistics or wide groups of society, but what really grabs people's intrest is the nitty-gritty details about one or two people in their own unique words and views.


Through my attempts to try video audio and photography, I found myself employing the same universal skill I apply to print: Journalism is about real people.

If you want to try and make a digital narrative like the one back, check out Daniel Meadow’s online tips here.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Do not peek at my blog

There is nothing quite as awkward as finding out a family member has looked inside your diary. And even worse if they found out something you never wanted them to know.

They might have discovered a silly cartoon of themselves surrounded by expletive adjectives, or secret evidence of your true sexuality. So many scandalous sightings all point to the same thing – the diary was not meant to be read by others.

What a different world we have entered. The blog, in some perspectives is like an online diary, but in complete contrast, it demands to be read. It is representative of a world where we have become increasingly connected, and wish to communicate more and more. We no longer wish to be the muted receivers of information from so-called “gatekeepers”, the all knowing Journalist. We wish to make and spread information ourselves. Voyeurism has entered all mediums and issues.

All this has been made possible by the arrival of Web 2.0. Although coined in 2004, the term represents a complete shift in the last half a decade in the way the World Wide Web works. It describes changing technology and functions that have enhanced creativity, collaboration, sharing, and the ability for the average consumer to create the Web without needing to learn complex and chaotic codes. It has led to the development of such features like

- Social networking sites (like the famous Facebook)
- Video Sharing Sites (the monopoly being of course, YouTube)
- Wikis – online encyclopaedias, which can be edited by anyone.
- Folksonomies – the ability to tag content to organise and direct traffic to certain things and maximise hits when something is searched for.

And of course the great online splurge of thought –
- The Blog.


In this intriguing article, the rise of the blog has created a paradigm shift in the world of journalism and information. Now Mr Random IP can create his own “publishing empire”, and the traditional gatekeeper faces competition.

Yet do we really care what the common layman has to say about the world? Why should we? It seems the blog has evolved to become far more important than anyone could have anticipated.

Wayne Hurlbert explores in an article here how one popular purpose of blogs is to be activist, or promote societal change in areas that may be traditionally ignored by mainstream journalists and politicians alike.


Activist blogs are many and varied, including topics like feminism, birth, libertarian politics, to the legalisation of weed.

It has become more and more common for issues to become popular in the “blogosphere” even before they reach the mainstream. If enough tens of thousands, or millions of people read the issues, a shift in the power relations of information occurs, in the direction of the grassroots.


How does the mainstream media compete? Well, by admitting “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. The old traditional gatekeepers have embraced blogging. Most online versions of major news organisations will have a series of blogs. Here is one of the most popular, seen by millions across the world. The author, like many others, knows his ramblings may be scrutinised as much as his evening broadcast, so quality standards remain vital.

Even so, the more informal style, and comments system are the precise point – they create a more real-time, 2-way, communicative style of information, to be complained about and commented by the audience.

The new information world is dawning, and nothing symbolises it better than the blog. No longer are we scrambling to hide our leather bound secrets under the bed. We want to read, be read, hear and be heard.

We have things to say and we are saying them.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Citizen Journalism and Democracy

When Dr Andy Williams of Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies delivered a lecture on the role of Citizen Journalism in democracy, it got me thinking -



Do citizen journalists make democracy better?

The fundamental definition of democracy is where the supreme power has landed the job in a free electoral system by the people. So at the basest level, the media's role in a functioning democracy is to report and cover the people and parties seeking office.



But one of the old limitations of the mainstream media, is that to find out most of the information we need to about politicians, we are slave to the judgement and choices the hacks on Fleet Street make.




This can therefore profoundly shape the fortunes of democracy, and the successes of individual politicians. How can we vote for someone if we do not know anything about them? Excusing of course information the politicians themselves advertise to us out of their own pockets. But most routes to finding out about our govermentnts have traditionally been through the media.



Until now.



The rise of Citizen Journalism is a recent thing, particularly within the last few years. Most of it is to be found springing up all over the World Wide Web. The average joe is reporting on the issues of the day, and his copy, video, audio and pictures are being seen by millions.



And Citizen Journalism's role in democracy is being seen right here right now, all around us. Next month one of the most important elections around the world will be decided. Will it be Obama or McCain? So simple to sum up, but isn't this bipartisan choice so, well, simple? Is there not more on offer?



Just ten months ago, there actually was, as the primaries gave the chance for voters to elect someone from over 20 different personalities in the main two US parties alone. Sadly, 20 is a lot of people to cram into broadcast timeslots or newspaper margins, so enter the citizen journalists! They had their say in trying to sway the path of democracy away from inevitability.



Nobody represents this shift better than Dr. Ron Paul. A 73 year old Republican congressman from Texas, this man captured the hearts and minds of well over a million Americans, and secured enough votes and delegates in the primaries to take fourth place in the Republican Race. An anti war libertarian, his pro-civil liberties, anti-big government views made him stand out from the rest in his party, who seemed steadfast in their support for many of George Bush's policies.



But I will both be disappointed, and yet not too surprised if most of the British people reading this have not heard of him. Low figures in the official political polls simply meant the mainstream media did not cover him enough over in the US, let alone in the UK.



The blogosphere and networking media went nuts for him. News portal websites like http://www.ronpaulforpresident2008.com/ and http://www.dailypaul.com/ would post multimedia reports covering his every move from professional journalists to an ordinary member of the public. This article showed how for a significant part of last year "Paul" was a number 1 web searched term as ranked by Technorati.



This article shows his placing as the top number of You Tube subscribers for most of his campaign - pipping Obama, who begrudgingly settled for second place. Such was the enthusiasm and buzz generated by his online rise, he managed to break fundraising records, by receiving the largest amount of campaign donations ever received in one day in US political history on December 16th, at over $6 million, all of it received online. In the final quarter of 2007, he raised over $9 million more than the second highest Republican candidate, Rudy Giuliani.



I could discuss the many myriad reasons why the citizen journalist driven revolution for this man did not in the end get him elected. Perhaps their voices are not yet as powerful, and Ron Paul would have needed full, regular, supportive coverage by all mainstream media outlets to secure the nomination. Primary and Caucus voters were clearly not all active Internet users. Yet the Journalistic fire in ordinary voices tried their hardest in making a different, perhaps better choice than Obama or McCain.



Citizen Journalism is clearly causing a stir in the outcomes of democracy, but it has not yet seen clear revolutionary results to suppass the efforts of the mainstream. In fact the relationship between the mainstream and the alternative media is crucial to its success. When the two are combined, does it help or hinder democracy?



Take a look at this video, where Fox News utilised User Generated Content (UGC) in the form of a post debate text poll, which frequently crowned Ron Paul the winner of the Republican debates.



The issue of quality standards is ongoing - can we trust what the public thinks as truthful and accurate?



Sean Hannity as the major pundit is clearly displeased and disbelieving of these polls, claiming the Congressman's supporters must have texted in repeatedly.


As the regular political commentator, who are we to believe? The earnest texters, or the adamant proclaimers of the phrase "he has no chance of winning"?


When there is a discord between what the public say and think and what journalists tell us to think, you begin to realise Journalism's role in making democracy better may yet have a long way to go.