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Is the Middle Man Dead?

Its hard to argue with the fact that the media industry is changing rapidly.  The change has been happening gradually, and only in the last 10 years has it speed up to a rate that is hard for anyone to keep up with.  According to the video “The News is Dead”, thanks to the internet the amount of articles as well as quality of articles are more easily accessible online and faster to reach.  This is causing a higher demand in online use over Newspapers, or News on the television.  People prefer speed and quantity over tradition.  The internet is fast.  The newspapers not. Also, according to Mark Little, one person = one broadcaster. Anyone can be a reporter these days. With the amount of technology available to us today, anyone can take a video or blog and post it to Facebook or twitter and make it news.  News is becoming impersonal and with a little bit of help anyone can do it.

I believe this to be true! With everyone today now having a smartphone or blackberry, if an event happens and a reporter is not there to report, the citizen then becomes the reporter.  They can record on their phone and post to the internet.  This is so much faster than reporting and waiting for it to air on the nightly news later that night.  News lately is all about immediacy.  If it is not immediate, then the consumer will not care and look other places for it.  That is why the internet is blowing up with popularity in getting news from.  It is immediate and available at all hours of the day.  If you want to look up the score of a game, you wouldn’t go to the nearest store to get a paper.  You would just get online and look it up.  Its easy, fast and available wherever you have access to the internet.

However, newspapers are not disappearing quite yet.  They still have a large following, especially when it comes to local news.  News online is great for sports, entertainment and national news.  But when it comes to local news, newspapers still have the upper hand and still have a substantial roll in the media industry. According to the article “New Media and Newspapers”, the solution to slowing the disappearance of newspapers is to make a newspaper into a niche publication.  This means that the paper would be broken up into different sections, relating to just one part of the news, and providing more in depth stories for the readers, rather than a bunch of short articles that leave information out.

This seems like a great idea! This way, if a consumer is only interested in GOP articles, then they would only pick up the paper dedicated to everything GOP.  This would help boost sales in papers as well as bring back an audience.

Another article refuting the death of newspapers is an article by Brian Steffens.  He claims that newspapers would never die out due to advertising.  Consumers, polled, claimed that they would rather eye the advertisements and pick and choose in a newspaper rather than on television so they continue to buy papers.  So as long as advertising is around and paying for ads in papers, people will continue support the newspaper industry.

As for education disappearing, according to the article “From Gutenberg to Gates” education is becoming more accessible online and less appreciated in person.  The convenience of online learning and the amount of universities popping up online, more and more people are taking advantage of it rather than spending thousands on a traditional university.  Possible due to more available courses or just the fact that it is more convenient while working from home, no one knows other than education is slowly taking a turn to becoming more media based as is the rest of the world around us.

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Truth, Justice and the American Way

If we were to become unmoored from the real, many things would happen, which in turn would cause a chain reaction.  Our society is already on its was toward detatching from the real.  So many new media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, and others have popped up over the years and steadily increased in popularity and intensity.  More and more people are replacing actual contact with virtual contact. No more do people pick up the phone and call someone.  Instead the option to post on someone’s wall becomes the more logical answer, as well as the simplist.  Its hard to believe, but more people use New Media sites than watch the television or visit with a friend.  Our generation is turning into the online generation.  Rather than picking up a newspaper and reading the front page news, we wait to see it on a newsfeed or read it online on either a blog or online news site.  No longer do people call to send out mass messages about some form of news, but rather they tweet knowing full well that all their friends will see it immediately.  It’s become a spectacle as Hedges said.  With each passing year, our world is turning digital and unmooring more and more from the real as well as declining in literacy.  We are detaching ourselves from personal contace, choosing to use in internet instead.  At least on there you can create whatever personal image you want to send out to others as well as moniter your own personal life.  Its almost like a blueprint of your life, putting out there exactly every step of your way.  We are unmooring from the real, and with each year that passes, this happens more and more frequently and soon enough we won’t need to have personal contact with people anymore.  Everything can be done through Skype or email or blogs.  We wont need newspapers or television or offices.  Instead we will use the internet or iChat to conference call people or get our news.  With each new discovery, along with finding a form of entertainment, we are slowly detaching ourselves from the world around us and I see this becoming a huge issue in a few years.  Because in reality, if you don’t need to be in the same room as someone else to get a job done, or run a company, would you choose that over doing it from the comfort of your own home? I think not.  Most likely people would choose to go digital. 

To answer the second question, I do feel as though NEw Media has a huge role in this.  As mentioned above, sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogspot are considered New Media sites.  These sites along with others are the cause for so many things to go digital.  Companies are seeing how successful these sites are and are choosing to get information out through them, whether it be surveys or advertising or just plain work questions to another employee. If these sites were not such a huge hit, then there would be no issue, but since they are, more and more people are being drawn to them, creating the issue stated above of unmooring from the real.  New Media does have a HUGE impact on causing this.

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Our World Digitized

It is hard to disagree that the world is changing from textbooks and teaching to online and digital.  And with that change comes the question of whether or not to trust the digital world.  One quote Sunstein used was “A well functioning society of free expression must have two distinct requirements: first, people should be exposed to materials they would not have chosen in advance and second, many or most citizens should have a range of common experiences”.  I agree with this statement.  With computers and online sources comes the idea of exposing people to things that they may not have chosen in the first place and opening them up to new ideas.  i believe this to be true.  We only know so much and with the digital world, we are exposed to many new ideas that we may never have come across before, expanding our ever increasing knowledge.  Sunstein also used a quote stating “any well functioning society depends on relationships of trust and reciprocity, in which people see their fellow citizens as potential allies, willing to help and deserving of help when help is needed.”  I believe that there is a need in trust and reciprocity when it comes to the digital world, but I also believe that there is not much trust on the internet.  Yes there are many sites that are trustworthy, but for every trustworthy one is another that is not trustworthy.  So trust is a hard thing to come by when there is so much at your fingertips and you dont know who to trust and who not to. 

Another statement, this time from Benkler was that he “believes the nature of power has changed.  The greater the degree of freedom made available by digital technologies requires new capabilities….democracies work better when more people are able to have a role in setting the agenda.”  This was a point that was also brought up in class. Although I do feel as though we have a lot of say in the digital world as to what is important and what is not, such as the site delicious.com….i also feel as though we do not have as important role as we think in setting the agenda when it comes to google and yahoo.  We do not choose which sites on there are most important or useful.  Google or yahoo order them in the order that they choose. So although we have say in some parts of the digital world, the most important or the most widely known places we still do not. 

Another point was that the digital world brings like minded people together.   This I can agree on.  When it comes to politics or sports or stars we tend to cluster together with those who share the same ideals and values that we do.  This can be see greatly on Facebook or lostpedia and other social blogging sites.  The internet and the digital world have an ability to do such a thing whether you are an ameteur or pro at navigating the digital world. 

All in all, Im not really sure if I can take a side in this argument.  There are many points in which I agree and others where I question the positive aspects of going full on digital.  It seems to be the way we are heading lately, and although I will accept that fact, I will still question the pro’s and con’s of doing so.

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Net Neutrality Bill

The video “The Net at Risk” puts into perspective, a lot of issues concerning and circulating around the internet.

For example, the Net Neutrality Bill was first thought up as a way to stop internet/site discrimination.  With the net being as fast and complex and full of information as it is, an information super highway, companies wanted to add a fee to the internet to keep it from becoming clogged with users and information.  However, this would then prevent those who couldnt pay the fee from getting faster internet.  But this was seen as discrimination.  You can’t charge different sites different prices, allowing them different speeds.  This would then guarentee one site preference over another.  For another example, if Google were to load faster than Yahoo because Google payed to load faster, then more people would then visit Google in order to avoid waiting on Yahoo.  This would possibly put Yahoo out of business. 

Therefore, the Net Neutrality Bill was thought up as a way to prevent this discrimination. 
With this bill, which was enforced by the government, everything would cost the same price; different prices would not exist anymore.  It was a way of keeping the internet as it is, rather than how the phone and cable companies want it to be.  This way, every site is equal and gets an equal amount of visitors, rather than just picking favorites.  The freedom of the press would belong to everyone again.

I am most definately in favor of the Net Neutrality Bill.  Although to some it may seem complicated and confusing, in the end it allows equality rather than discrimination.  I dont think it is right for a company to charge a site a specific price in order to have faster speed, especially when it comes to those sites self run by bloggers or small business owners.  They are the ones in the end who lose out.  If companies start charging, most likely, only the large companies such as Google and Yahoo will win, while the smaller, lesser known places will just disappear due to lack of interest.  And although some have brought up the argument that competition is lost with this bill, I do not believe this to be so.  Did we really have competition in the first place? Yes, some people are picky and may prefer to visit one site over another, causing that site to rise in rank of popularity, but there was never obvious competition between sites for who can have the most visitors.  I feel as though this bill will not change the competition level, but rather keep the internet just as it is: free and fast to all. 

In accordance to the fact that I approve the bill, the site, Tech Daily Dose (http://techdailydose.nationaljournal.com/2010/09/net-neutrality-bill-gives-fcc.php)  also approves and goes into some more depth on the consequences of those who break the law.  According to the site, the FCC will enforce a maximum penalty of $2 million to broadband providers who violate the law, in hopes of enforcing the law.  In addition, in order to secure net neutrality, the bill will state that “wireless providers may not block unlawful internet traffic or ‘unjustly or unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic over a consumers wireless broadband Internet access service ‘”.  Although much of this bill is still only a draft, it is a huge step towards internet equality.  Each site will be allowed access and providers will be punished if they are found breaking this law in any way, shape or form.  I highly agree with this bill.

However, there have also been some bumps along the way. Not everyone is so pleased about the bill.  According to CNN.com ( http://money.cnn.com/2010/11/03/technology/net_neutrality_election/index.htm)  many companies such as Comcast, and Time Warner Cable are highly against this.  But this doesnt come as much of a surprise. Such companies as this, cable companies as they’re known for, are the ones losing out; concerned that they will be overshadowed or lose profit.  Even the FCC is finding a lot of hurdles to jump over, fearing that their bill has little or no chance of passing in Congress, no matter who, or how many people are behind it.  So in another attempt to help pass the bill, the FCC is hoping to bridge the gap between the cable companies and the internet sites in order to help move the bill along and propel the legislation forward.  For the sake of the internet users, as well as the internet owners, I hope that this bill is passed.

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Blog #2

Today’s memex can be a variety of things according to Bush.  Memex is defined as a “device in which an individual compresses and stores all of their books, records, and communications..[has] speed and flexibility…[where] a document can be given a simple numerical code that allows the user to access it after dialing the number combination…  are also able to be edited in real time.”  According to this definition, a memex can be anything from an iPad to a Blackberry to a computer.  It can be anything that holds information and has a memory.  Today, there is so much technology available to us that memex’s are widely available and cannot be defined as just one thing.

The record is defined as “useful to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored, and above all it must be consulted”.  In my opinion, I think the record today is anything stored for memory, such as pictures, taken on either camera’s or phones, movies, or even computers.  Computers can store multiple things in it’s memory, to be accessed at a later date.  It doesnt have to be a picture, just something worthy of keeping for an extended period of time.   As Bush said correctly “today we make the record conventionally by writing and photography, followed by printing; but we also record on film, on wax disks, and on magnetic wires”.

Lastly, the new interactive writing space is different than the writing space created by the printing press in a few ways.  Jay Bolter states that “forms of electronic text production ‘threaten the definitions of good writing and careful reading’ established by the culture of the printing press”.  This is true, even though print has a few positives.  Print gives to writing, stability, authority and artifactual integrity.  Also, with books and print, they are ordered, controlled, teleological, referential, and seperately meaningful.  They help to preserve the independence of their authors and allow textual identity.  But with electronic writing on the other side of the spectrum, it is not seperately meaningful since it can only be achieved through interaction with users or respondents.  However, electronic writing can magnify and exhibit the will to power in knowledge, as well as allow the possibility of deterritorialized writing.  All in all, print is a closed system, with little or no room for multiple opinions, where electronic is an open range that grants no one the last word. 

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New Media and the effects on the recording and music industry

Similar to the way the newspapers are soon to go, I feel that the recording and music industry are close behind.  The articles by Neil Postman and Tim Healy prove just this.  We already know that vinal’s were replaced by cassettes which were replaced by cd’s.  But now, with New Media so available, such as the internet and iTunes, cd’s are quickly being replaced as well by free downloads online, or online purchasing of music.  No one wants to have a stack of cds, bought only once and never touched again once uploaded to the computer.  With easy digital downloading, you dont have the mess or hassel of collecting disks. Its all on your computer.  One, easy to access place.  The article by Postman helps to support this by saying ” A new technology does not add or subtract something.  It changes everything.”  Postman then continues to say “fifty years after the printing press was invented, we did not have old Europe and the printing press..we had a different Europe…after television, the United States was not America plus television…”  When a new piece of technology is added, such as the internet and everything that comes with it, it is once again a new America.  Cd’s will soon be non existent.  They will just be another forgotten form of entertainment, thrown into the back of our minds along with the Game Boy color.  When something new is introduced….EVERYTHING changes.  Therefore, the recording and music industry is bound to change as well, if only just to attract a different audience.  It must, in order to stay alive and kicking.

    There was one main contradiction to what I knew, however.  Postman made a statement “such prejudices are not always apparent at the start of a technology’s journey which is why no one can safely conspire to be a winner in tecnological change.”  This meaning, even though technology is changing fast and causing the recording and music industry to change with it, there is a possibility that nothing will change.  We, having technology move and develope as fast as it is, have no way of knowing if it will destroy or ultimately help a business.  It all depends on what and when it comes about as to how things will change or move with the technology.

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