Signs of the Times - September 2013 - (Page 12)
Darek Johnson is ST’s Senior Technology Editor/Analyst.
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Darek Johnson
High-tech news sources may not be good news
I wrote this column after having
viewed a popular company’s YouTube
video where a person of knowledge
explained the workings of his firm’s
products. The video was terrible.
The images were shaky and blurred;
the sound was garbled, and the
speaker, although knowledgeable,
was unrehearsed. Further, the screen
image was dark, and the speaker
wore dark clothes against a dark
background. The video, lauded on
the corporate website, was impossible
I wouldn’tYouTube –offend Hurley,
Steve Chen and Jawed Karim – but,
one night, should I drive by the
three of them during, say, a darkening
rainstorm, and find them cold and
huddled alongside their 7-Series
Bimmer that, say, is down with a
flat tire, I might just speed up and
splash frigid road water across
their already sodden bodies.
In part, those guys and their technical counterparts – smartphones
that record videos – starting in 2005,
inadvertently began razing the products of news agencies, professional
journalists, moviemakers and videographers by significantly lowering
that industry’s standards to an
almost amateur level. Over time,
they have reduced (and will continue to) the public’s quality demands.
In turn, they’ve weakened the media
profession even more – and, consequently, the public’s awareness
of the world around them.
When audiences and buyers
freely accept poor-quality work, the
products and professions decline.
As trivial as this may presently seem,
we’ve already seen (but may not
have noticed) the weakening of
professional standards in television
and other news-reporting sources,
plus videography, commercial
advertising videos and filmmaking.
How? Unprofessional websites
that provide avenues for bypassing
or eliminating professional media
standards cause America’s news
and media-agency products to
diminish to less than what we
YouTube has launched a “reporters
center” webpage which, it says, will
educate existing and aspiring citizen
journalists on how to report news
in the digital age.
CNN.com prominently displays
its online iReport tag for amateur
news reporting, so the news corporation can gather news from places
If you make videos, buy this book
Bruce Block’s The Visual Story instructs you
on digital media, television and film creation
and structure. It gives you ready-to-use
information for the preparation, production
and editing of videos in a sequence that
will immediately improve your work. Block
says you face the same visual problems that
have confronted all picture makers. His
chapters cover visual components, contrast,
affinity, space, subcomponents, frame, line,
space, tone, color, movement, rhythm, story
and visual structure. Find it at www.focalpress.com or other bookselling websites.
12 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / SEPTEMBER 2013 / www.signweb.com
or events where it may not have a
Yes and no. On first examination,
it seems like a cool idea. Nice
name, too: Citizen Journalists.
However, such a system lacks
professional, trained researchers
and investigators. Further, “citizen
news writers” have no editors, no
professional fact checkers, no
ethics code, no copy editors, no
analysis sources – and their text
can include heavy opinion and
CNN’s iReport site says, “The stories
here are not edited, fact-checked or
screened before they post.”
More worrisome are the younger
generations, those which have
grown up with less-than-professional,
news-gathering services and aren’t
aware of the changes. They often
accept non-professional sources –
YouTube presentations and latenight comedians, for example – as
reliable information providers.
Time Warner owns CNN. It
also owns American Online, HBO,
Cinemax, Warner Home Video,
Turner Network Television, Cartoon
Network and 33 magazines (Sports
Illustrated, People, Fortune, Entertainment weekly and DC and
Google owns YouTube.
Such Internet-based sites have
certainly affected print agencies.
Since 2008, for various and traceable
reasons (mainly the web and related
sources), most news agencies have
severely cut their professional news
Here’s a few recent headlines:
- More Than 35 Newsroom Staff
Laid Off at The Oregonian.
- Daily News Lays Off 12 Opinion
Writers and Reporters
- Layoffs Loom as The New York
Times Shrinks Its Newsroom Again
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - September 2013
Signs of the Times - September 2013
Who Uses the Phone Book?
The Moving Message
Technology Review - DGS 3D POP store system
Technology Review - KIP C7800 poster printer
When the Cheering Starts
Enter the ST Intl. Sign Contest!
Starting at the Bottom
LED Lamps for Box/Cabinet Signs
The Aria’s 260-ft. Pylon Sign
Signs of the Times - September 2013