Archive for February, 2009

Is cable the next to go after newspapers?

Posted in Research on February 22, 2009 by danbastian

Newspapers, as we all know, are unfortunately on their way out. Is cable next in line?

If you own an XBOX 360 you can subscribe to Netflix. What does this do to cable? Well you can stream movies in high definition. Take YouTube – all the videos on there are streamed – not downloaded. That’s the way Netflix works in this case. The movies are streamed through the Internet – and in high definition.

The Baltimore Sun has a great article on this topic as it talks about how companies are developing new technologies to make streaming easier. Televisions are coming out that will be WiFi enabled as well as blu-ray players and boxes that are designed to do nothing but stream.

Cable will be around for the rest of our lifetimes but will technology become so advanced that it pushes cable out the door? If you think that’s crazy just think about time before the Internet – if someone had told you that newspapers would be near extinct in 20-25 years you would have thought they were crazy? I think it is safe to say that the Internet is capable of anything – anything.

As far as gearing this towards my project – I am not sure yet I am still thinking about it. I am leaning towards this technology as being unusual itself because I do not think many people know about this and I think it is a little unusual that a gaming system such as the XBOX 360 can now play movies without inserting a DVD. Any ideas on where to go with this?

Reporting with Detective Joe Grossman

Posted in Reporting on February 22, 2009 by danbastian

I got to sit down and interview Joe Grossman, a Detective with the Baltimore County Police Department. Grossman has been on the force since 2005 and was just recently promoted to Detective. Keeping with the theme of technology changing our lives in unusual ways, I can’t say that I discovered anything unusual with his profession and the technology that the police are using. There was one technology that Joe told me about that has to do with fingerprinting that I thought was pretty cool – but didn’t seem unusual. Fingerprints can now be taken and enhanced to 3-D. I had never heard of this before, but it is something that I sort of expect with the way technology continues to improve and advance but as far as unusual? I don’t really think so. Wire taps, polygraph tests, DNA testing and ballistics are among the other topics we spoke about.

I recorded the interview and took some pictures of the precinct but I think they are of no use to me since I am not going to use any of this information in my project.

I have sent out e-mails to some people high up in the FaceBook world to see if I can talk to somebody about the inner workings of FaceBook but I have a feeling I may not get much. More ideas to come.

Reacting to the text and online readings

Posted in Reaction on February 22, 2009 by danbastian

Journalism 2.0 has a chapter dedicated solely to blogs. I found this chapter informational and useful because this is the first blog that I have kept up with ever. When I thought I wanted to be a true journalist, I started a sports blog (I wanted to be a sports writer) but I only posted three times over 2 weeks. Blogging takes a lot, by that I mean having the time to do it everyday and wanting to do it everyday is a lot. Anyways, this chapter sort of changed my perspective on blogs because I assumed everybody would just read mine right away, which is where I was wrong. Developing an attracting writing style as well as keeping up with posting seems what fuels a successful blog, and hopefully that is what I am doing.

And the online article that I feel like I’ve paid most attention to is Writing for the Web – Tips. I thought I knew how to write for the web – well sort of. I interned for the baltimoresun.com and got a crash course in writing for the web. Little did I know I must not have paid that much attention because the concept of brevity and conciseness is hard for me to grasp. Maybe because I like to be wordy and try to sound smarter than I am. Anyways I’ll take the advice of the article and stop now.

Reporting – Upcoming interviews.

Posted in Reporting on February 15, 2009 by danbastian

Unfortunately I was unable to conduct an interview this week relating to my topic, but I have a scheduled interview with Joe Grossman this week, who works in a drug unit for the Baltimore City Police Department. He is a friend of mine who I’m meeting for lunch to interview him for this project.

Details to come.

YouTube used to solve the case

Posted in Research on February 15, 2009 by danbastian

In keeping up with the theme of how technology is changing our lives in unexpected ways, I was surfing the web to find some other ways besides ID scanners being used in bars, and I found something rather interesting. I read an article on TechNewsWeb that identified YouTube as an online tool used by authorities to catch criminals filmed in the act.

I found it rather amazing that there was a story about somebody was charged with murder through a YouTube video. Whether it was stupidity or bad luck that brought this video to YouTube, it seems to me that even the social networking sites can get you in trouble these days.

The story featured a part on Brian Johnson, who is a patrolman for the Franklin Massachusetts Police Department. Johnson isn’t just using YouTube, he himself is using podcasts and creating his own videos in an attempt crack down on crime. It makes sense, considering how popular YouTube has become. Take a look at the David After Dentist video. It has nearly 10 million views in just over two weeks of being on YouTube. If the police can post information about crimes and wanted criminals, I think they’ll find that YouTube’s audience is sufficient.

Ira Glass Storytelling 101

Posted in Reaction on February 15, 2009 by danbastian

Not to hammer a cliché but Ira Glass seems on video more than meets the eye. I found Glass to be very informational in his video on storytelling. To be honest, I’m not that interested in the broadcast side of journalism, but Glass was convincing. His analogies with storytelling and riding a train sort of painted a picture for me to realize how effective storytelling can be in broadcast.

He made something that was boring to me before interesting and that’s what his main point was. His points are well thought and spoken as he seems like somebody I could be interested in listening to on the air – no matter what the topic is. I respect his opinion when he talks about finding a story, but I think that he sort of double crosses himself here when he said finding the story is the most important part. I agree that finding a story is difficult, but wasn’t he just talking about how storytelling can make a bad story interesting? Oh well I believe that any story can be made interesting, based on of course how it is told and built.

Glass’ infinite wisdom and confidence appeals to me, as those are characteristics that I look up to, and his videos were very interesting to me, despite my initial interest in the topic. I especially got a kick out of his interview with Letterman; he shares a somewhat odd but funny story.

Reporting – Towson’s Liquor Stores

Posted in Reporting on February 8, 2009 by danbastian

With interviews with bar owners and employees to come, I figured I’d venture out and see what other establishments were doing in order to limit the sales of alcohol those underage. I went to four different places, and I didn’t conduct proper interviews, instead I just asked the person at the register how they checked ID’s and if they used scanners.

York Liquors (liquor store next to Pizan’s) – The person behind the register told me that they didn’t have scanners, and that the employees were all trained on how to spot a fake ID. He did show me a book that he had that had hundreds of pictures of fake ID’s that were all used at one time or another by somebody underage attempting to buy alcohol. It seemed like a publication of some sort and not something that this store made.

Dulaney Liquors – Again the two gentleman told me that they do not use scanners, and that all employees can spot fake ID’s.

Seasons Pizza – This time the gentleman behind the counter told me something the other two had not. Instead of using scanners, they ask multiple questions about the ID, no matter what. The gentleman told me that they usually ask the customer to repeat their birthday, address, zip code, etc.

Wells Liquors – The last place I stopped by, they do not use scanners either, but the young looking fellow behind the counter said they second guess a lot of ID’s and also pass the ID on to a manager if it looks suspicious.

I think that the so-called ‘training’ that the employees receive regarding fake ID’s either isn’t working or the employees aren’t following up on it. I remember how easy it was to buy liquor and beer when I was under 21, and I think that more attention needs to be paid to the liquor stores instead of the bars because, in my opinion, more is being sold at the stores then at the bars.