Tag: YouTube

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Mom’s Memorial Got Me to Thinking…

In June 2009 missive “Iran and the Internet Democracy“, I explained how then-recent contextual cloud services used with cell phones had begun, in just three years, to dramatically empower anyone and everyone to self-broadcast/report in ways that not long earlier was the monopoly of media professionals. I have repeatedly revisited this concept since, particularly as more tools became available, mobile broadband expanded reach while becoming less costly, and consumer behavior adapted to the opportunities presented. Most recently, in April 2017: “Praise Be Citizen Journalists“.

Today, the memorial service for my mom, who died August 5th, took place in Burlington, Vt. The church broadcast the farewell live online, via Ustream, which was founded in 2007. But had the family chosen to instead hold a more intimate gathering, anyone with a smartphone could have shared the send-off via a number of services, such as Facebook Live, Periscope, YouTube, or, yes, Ustream, among others. FB opened to the public in September 2006; Live, to everyone, in April 2016. Periscope: March 2015. YouTube is the grandpa service, officially opening in November 2005 but live streaming for the masses debuted only about four months ago.

The power is in your pocket to broadcast to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Just ask all those crazy Instagrammers and SnapChatters. They know.

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Praise Be Citizen Journalists

On this Easter, like others, I think about resurrection—but this day, strangely, how it should apply to the news media. Three years ago, I wrote largely-overlooked ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers. The concept germinated from my June 2009 essay “Iran and the Internet Democracy“, following protests in the country that citizens documented on social media/self-publishing platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, which at the time were little more than three years old (with respect to availability to the public). I predicted that these nascent services would disrupt editorial monopolies on news and other information, which has occurred in varying degrees during the nearly eight years since.

By March 2010, a troubling trend lead me to write what would become the other genesis for the book: “The Difference Between Blogging and Journalism“. Too many news gatherers single-source blog and socially-shared posts, without independently confirming their accuracy. As I have told my reporters over the years, when working as an editor: Write only what you know to be true. If you haven’t communicated directly with the source, then you don’t know what’s true. But I am more disturbed by social media activity that mainstream media presents as news, such as stories that turn trending topics, or simply single tweets, into clickable headlines. Often they’re unconfirmed filler for driving pageviews. 

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Red radically improves YouTube Viewing

Wow, weird is my reaction to YouTube Red, which is live starting today. The experience is so different from the regular service, I am stunned. Fast-loading is the first thing, so be careful what you click—or turn off autoplay. Videos on Facebook feel like a moped racing a Lamborghini compared to YT Red.

Using this 2012 MissFender video as example: Pressing the stopwatch on my Nexus 6P at the same time I click to enter the URL, 9 seconds passes before I can start watching the vid. The time includes the auto-loading ad, how long it plays before YouTube permits me to skip, and lag caused by my own responsiveness dismissing the advert. 

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Who Mourns for the Fourth Estate? (Part 2)

June 2009, the future of 21st Century journalism moves with protestors across Iran’s capital. In an area somewhat removed from the commotion, philosophy student Neda Salehi reportedly steps from a car and is soon shot by a sniper. A bystander videos her death and uploads it to YouTube. The moment becomes the rallying point for demonstrators in the country and for spectators from around the globe. It is a seminal moment of change for the news media.

The next night, June 21, I write

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Nexus 6 delights the Ears

Compressed audio gives up so much, I am surprised by the fidelity Nexus 6 gives back. Shocked is better word. I ordered the smartphone from T-Mobile on January 21 and received it the following day. As I will explain in my forthcoming review—tentatively planned as an “I love you” post on BetaNews (and here), Nexus 6 is amazing. I haven’t enjoyed using a handset this much in years. The overall user experience is spectacular.

My audio expectations were modest, when first connecting my Grado Labs Rs1e headphones and streaming from Google Music. Soundstage and detail exceed streaming from iTunes to iPhone 6, or—I do not lie—listening to music stored on MacBook Pro SSD. The differences in detail are shockingly apparent. On all three devices, graphic equalizer is not enabled. 

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Is that Video Legitimate or Propaganda?

In the era of misinformation, Amnesty International—rather than a major news organization—provides tools for ensuring accuracy in the media. Launched today, Citizen Evidence Lab is an outstanding resource for journalists, or anyone else, for assessing whether videos are real or fake. Amnesty’s agenda is straightforward: “To assist human rights researchers to systematically assess citizen videos that depict potential human rights violations”. However, benefits for news gathering cannot be overstated.

Hat-tip goes to Nieman Journalism Lab for posting about the tools, which include a step-by-step how-to guide that “integrates best practices of citizen video authentication and brings the myriad of required verification steps into one, linear format”, according to Amnesty. There are lots of useful tools here, and I strongly encourage review of these how-to ones, many of which predate today’s launch. That makes me wonder how much is really new versus packaged as a new resource. Regardless, Amnesty serves a cornucopia of valuables for anyone actually willing to do the work of validating videos. I worry too few news gatherers will make the effort.

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Microsoft Has Lost Its Way Part 2

Microsoft has abandoned the fundamental principles that made it the most successful software company of the last decade and ensured its software would be the most widely used everywhere. But in just three years, since 2006, startups and Apple have set a new course for technology and how societies use it.

For Microsoft, this change is scarier than movie “Quarantine.” Without a course correction, Microsoft in the 2010s will be very much like IBM was in the 1990s. That’s no place Microsoft should want to be.