My dad and I start every morning with the same routine. We roll out of our beds (though he does so at 6 a.m., and I usually wake around 11 a.m.), we shower, we make bowls of cereal, and we read the newspaper. But whereas he unfolds page after page of traditional broadsheet from The Chronicle and New York Times, I simply open up the daily e-mails I’ve signed up to receive from news agencies.
Reuters, Politico, the Washington Post — they’re all there waiting for me, so there’s no need to wait for the next day’s paper or for a headlines update on TV. Thanks to new technology like e-mail alerts, RSS feeds and podcasts, I’ve got a whole newsroom in my computer so I can get all the political news I want and need. By the end of the day, I’ll get information from the traditional sources — the Post, NPR, ESPN, CNN — without using the traditional mediums of print, radio, and TV.
As a student, I’ve taken these lessons to heart, and used my experience as a new media connoisseur to make my reporting more accessible to young consumers like me. Next week, I will report for Youth Radio at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Whereas, 20 years ago ,I would have walked around the Pepsi Center with a notepad and paper, I’m covering this event in a way that blends traditional and new forms of media.
Sure, I’ll be up all night writing and editing stories that are perfectly capable of conveying news. But I’ll also use the capabilities of new media by liveblogging from the convention floor and posting candid video of the event on YouTube. I won’t have to wait for an air time or the next day’s paper to come out: once I click “publish” on my blog, the information is out there for people to see.
All the hierarchy set up in traditional media is gone on the Internet. NBC News posts to the same Internet as a blogger with no formal training in journalism. When I search on YouTube, I’m just as likely to find a video from the Asssociated Press as I am to find one from some kid with a Webcam. Walking around the Democratic Convention floor, I’ll see the titans of TV news pursuing stories alongside bloggers and the writers on the cutting edge of new media.
Even though I hope to eventually work as a journalist in the traditional media, I like the endless possibilities and immediacy of self-publishing blogs, videos, etc. Sure, I struggle to get 10 hits a day on what I write or post, but I’m honing my online journalism skills and getting ready to be the one filling content in the inboxes of other political junkies.
Nicholas Savidge-Wilkins, 17,, is a reporter for Youth Radio, a youth driven production company. He also maintains a daily politics blog, “Savidge for America” at www.youthradioflows.wordpress.com
©2008 Youth Radio, Oakland, California, USA