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New Media & Citizen Journalism

Author Archives: jamesjshort

For this project I jumped from idea to idea due to annoying weather issues and the lack of a working camera with manual focus.  However, I finally got a chance to commit to my original idea.  During my train ride to school I often notice a lot of interesting things while glaring out the window.  What I decided to do was to take a picture of each thing that caught my eye near each train station on the way to the school.  In each picture I have incorporated the distinct LIRR sign for every area.  All of the photos with the exception of the last one are actually made up of two different pictures – one with the LIRR sign and one with the interesting scenery.  My personal favorite is the Brentwood photo which shows part of an abandon parking lot that was converted into a small skateboarding area by some teenagers.

I felt that posting the pictures in a slideshow was best for their quality.  I chose not to make a video montage of the pictures with someone’s music cause I feel that it would have taken away from them.  Even though I didn’t use another reporting medium in this project, I definitely went beyond in terms of editing in Photoshop.  The pictures took hours of editing to get what I wanted and I’m pretty happy with the results.

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For my second community reporting project I plan to do a photo essay with the help of some audio or video.  I’m going to report on my daily commute to Old Westbury which is a major part of my college experience.  On my journey to the school I see a lot of interesting sights and scenes that would make great pictures if captured.  I also come into contact with several other commuters from Old Westbury that I can perhaps record an interview with using an audio recorder or a video camera.  In my project I hope to capture both the pros and cons of commuting to school.

In this photo essay I have captured the major issue that Hurricane Sandy has given to my community.  The area where I live has a very large amount of trees surrounding the houses.  In most cases, the trees are very foot tall pines that tower over everything.  The power lines in my community run underground, but the chance of a tree hitting someone’s property is very high especially since there is nothing else that the trees can hit.  Thankfully, only one house in the neighboorhood was struck by a tree and it suffered minor damages.  In the immediate aftermath of the storm, many people from my community came together and helped remove the large trees that stretched accross the street.

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Speaking with Peter, a founder of Upworthy and Claudina; a web designer who had experienced a Startup bus ride first hand, was very interesting.  Peter’s company strives to find important stories that educate people on subjects such as equal rights, which in my opinion is needed in our society and is a very good cause.  It was interesting to hear how Peter and his co-workers come up with stories that they deem “upworthy”.  As I can imagine, Peter explained that doing this was one of his biggest challenges.  What also intrigued me about speaking with Peter was his response about advertising on his website.  I thought that ads would be the primary way of a website like his to make money but there are currently no advertisements on Upworthy.  Peter explained that ads don’t make that much money and he was not sure if he was ready to start advertising for big corporations.

With Claudina, I found her answer to my question very helpful.  I asked her if the Startup bus influenced her career as a web designer and her answer was yes.  She explained that one of the most important things her experience on the Startup bus provided was the networking opportunity.  Claudina told us that she is still in contact with some people that she met on the Startup bus and that her experience led to more job opportunities in her field.


Defined accurately by Ana Sofia Knauf in her blog post about memes and politics, an internet meme is  “a catchy phrase or idea associated with an image, which often becomes viral online.”  A meme in more broad terms is any idea, phrase, joke, or picture that is shared from person to person.  Today’s memes are primarily shared through the internet.  More specifically, they are shared and viewed through social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

In Knauf’s post, LOLcats and the election: how memes have taken over the news she discusses how internet memes have influenced todays politics.  Knauf concludes that while memes can perhaps get people more interested and talking about politics, they probably don’t change anyone’s views on them.  I agree with Knauf on that point.  An example of a political meme is one depicting Governor Mitt Romney that can be found in this post by  Alex Marin who shares the 50 most popular online memes.

     This meme pokes fun at Romney’s inability to relate to the unemployed working class American citizens. Personally,  I don’t think political memes played an important role in this election.  I think that they simply were just ways for people to show what side of the election that they were on.  This whole political meme thing strikes me as strange though.  Usually politics are avoided as a topic of conversation.  And many people including myself, get tired fast of campaign ads that seem to air during every commercial break.  For some reason though, political mudslinging is okay when provided in the form of a user generated meme.  Perhaps people are comforted by the fact that these political memes are not produced by the opposing party unlike the demeaning campaign advertisements.

So why do regular people participate in online memes?  I think for most people, viewing and sharing them is just for comedy.  Perhaps so that they can come off as having a good sense of humor or that they can come off as being funny.  When it comes to political memes, I think that people view and share them to support their own party and interest.  People who create memes probably intend for them to get insanely popular and go viral and possibly see them one day being shared by someone else.  Occasionaly, I will laugh at some of these memes but not very often.  They are not my favorite form of comedy and I don’t seek them out.

When I think about my community I immediately think about a geographic location. This project has shown me how many different ways he word “community” can be interpreted and now I realize how many communities my life consists of besides just my neighborhood. To start, my geographic community is Yaphank on Long Island. I currently live there but most of my childhood was spent in Deer Park; also on Long Island. In my geographic communities there were always kids my age that I became friends with. I was always the type of person to spend more time outside or at a friend’s house than my own house. The community that consists of my friends nowadays is strongly based on common interests. My friends are a very diverse group of people with different races and personalities. However, we are brought together by shared interests and hobbies.

There aren’t really any major issues around my community. Geographically, Yaphank is a small place. It consists of an elementary school, a fire house, a pizza place, some lakes, trees, and a few delis. It’s pretty boring. My friends and I make the best of it though and spend most of our time hanging around my house or getting some pizza. It’s not very diverse in Yaphank, my group of friends is but we come from different towns within the district. Honestly I’m having trouble coming up with an idea for the project that I can stick with. My most recent idea is a photo essay on my community on friendship and how we make the best out of the community. I’ve had an interest in photography for a while so a photo essay would be the best medium for me.