Posted by: Katie B :) | June 6, 2012

Everything must come to an end…MI1 task 2.2

After a semester of work the end has finally arrived, yet it seems as though I have been left with more question than answers. While our group has thoroughly addressed the questions that we confronted, often the answer just lead to more questions. However this is the nature of the project that we tackled– a project that explores a system that is still in its early stages. As I sit and reflect on the work that has gone into this semester, might I add with little stress, it has dawned upon me that we may have just done something right.


As I defined my role in previous blog posts as “the analyzer” I would argue that each of my group members were all participants in the analyzation process. Early on we discovered that no longer was the project about “who was doing what” but instead “how are we as a group going to approach this question of open journalism.” In order to define my role it is necessary to discuss my background. I approached this topic of open journalism from a journalists perspective. I am currently studying Journalism, with the intentions of getting a job in the industry, and I needed to discover how open journalism will affect the likely hood of that. So for that purpose, I was responsible for dissecting the changing role of the journalist. This required in depth research to the current state of the journalist and how open journalism is threatening the way that the journalist works. I also looked into solutions for the threat and what the journalist needs to do in order to move along with the times. Some of the issues that I encountered through this exploration would have to do with sifting through an overwhelming amount of information and making sense of it. There is A LOT out there to influence my findings. The key to working through this problem was to not get carried away with tangents. I needed to constantly remind myself of what our group goal was to discover and to stay focused.


As I sit here now, two days before our assignment is due writing this post with little stress it has been clear that our progress throughout the semester has been the key to our success. As a group we employed a strategy of consistent work throughout the semester rather than attempting to write everything at the very end. What this meant was that every week, individual group members were responsible for completing a task that the group would collectively decide on. This did not mean that some people were in charge of assigning roles, but on our weekly group meetings (which I will touch on later) we were able to assess our progress and in turn decide what we needed to accomplish in the upcoming weeks. On a personal note, while I was often able to complete the tasks that my group set out for me (mostly out of fear of being “that exchange student”), deadlines did not seem concrete. It was much easier to approach my group with the story of how I had “no time” than it would have been a professor for instance. Essentially, this came down to self-discipline, which when employed is your best friend and when forgotten about can be your worst enemy. I almost always made friends with self-discipline, but there is always the week when you show up with no work to show for yourself, I guess it’s just a fact of life. Most importantly, our group consistently contributed to our research blog, where we were able to compile our information throughout the semester. What this meant in the end was that when it came to developing a report, there was a lot more cutting in pasting of work we had completed than frantic smashing on key boards with blank pages.


The strategies that my group and I employed throughout the semester is a reflection of the in-depth research report that we have ended up with. For starters, our weekly meetings Monday morning at Pearson’s were a great way to monitor ourselves. Not only did this force us to acknowledge the existence of Media Industries 1 within a crazy semester, but it forced us to actually do some work. We would use this time to discuss what we had contributed in the previous week and what preparations we needed to make for the following one. It was also a great way to meet face-to-face and chat rather than just send email or write in a Facebook group. That being said, Facebook, Google Docs and email were a fantastic tool that our group used to communicate. It was a way for us all to contribute any ideas that we had at any time, rather than holding onto it for a group meeting. It also gave us a chance to develop on a more personal level which I believe allowed for easier communication between group members. Our most effective strategy would have to be the use of our research blog, as I have previously mentioned. The blog was a way for us to consistently write for an audience and force ourselves to get ideas out there. Originally we created the blog as a way to get feedback from external resources- in a sense to participate in open journalism. However, the blog never really blossomed into a dialogue with an audience, but that does not mean that it wasn’t useful for us. It has been the bulk of our final product, and the work we did on it throughout the semester has placed us in a good situation at the end.


I would hate to say that we had no problems, as there are always problems. However as a group and personally I would say that they were few and far between. The major recurring issue had to do with the fact that my group members struggled with creating a balance between their PP1 course and this course (on top of all the other courses we had). While this was not detrimental to anyone’s work, it presented that issue that the members almost had to choose. This meant that at times there would be an unbalance in the amount of work that some group members did on a weekly basis compared to others. However, in the end, each member put in a substantial amount of work resulting in what I believe is an in depth report. The way that this was dealt with was the assignment of weekly tasks, which helped keep everyone on track (for the most part). Also having the ability to communicate via the strategies employed as discussed above, made it easier for the group to be open about there problems. A personal issue that I struggled with through the semester would often be “what do I do?” For the most part, we worked on everything as a group, but there would often be times when I felt like I could have been doing something more, or that maybe I wasn’t doing the right thing. This was worked out by eventually just laying on the table where we were and where we wanted to be. From the analysis we would be able to delegate tasks to reach where we wanted to be, this really helped me keep focus.

Connections & Intersections

This course for me has been an opportunity to thoroughly analyze a topic that has concerned me since I began studying journalism three years ago. But aside from the actual content that I have absorbed, I think I have also learned a lot about my abilities as a student. At fear of sounding cliche, coming to a foreign country and engaging myself in the education system and people has been a remarkable experience. When you come to a country that on the surface may seem so similar to your own (as Australia may seem to Canada) it is only when you really invest yourself can you notice the difference. What I have learned from this country and the people in it has been substantial and will be so important to my growth in the industry. I have had the opportunity to work with a group and enjoy it! Group work is one of those things that is not always easy or preferable, but the learning journey that I have been on with my classmates has been enriching. I have learned how to discipline myself to do work rather than just rely on professors to tell me when and where to be and what to have done. This class has really allowed me to grow and mature as a student. The content of our assignment will be so imperative to my future career as a journalist. This assignment has given me the opportunity to research one of the major problems facing journalists now and what this means for the career of a journalist. As I head back to Canada to complete by Journalism undergrad I have a new, more optimistic view on what the world will hold for me as I embark in a career in journalism.

Posted by: Katie B :) | April 18, 2012

Assessment task 2.1: Individual Progress

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company, work, a society work, a civilization work”…and for that matter a collaborative assignment work. Our group on Open Journalism has worked quite closely in similar roles thus far to get our feet on the ground with tackling this assignment. My particular role in the group has recently molded itself into “the analyzer.” This role entails taking articles found by our group and turning them into something tangible.This requires reading through the articles, picking out what is relevant for our topic, and attempting to turn that into a definition of Open Journalism. This specific role will transform in the next couple of weeks from analyzing documents as I am hoping to, along with the rest of my group, have developed a definition by then and move on to applying this definition to case studies.
The progress thus far has mainly entailed focusing our topic on Open Journalism and delegating the tasks for each of the group members. Spending time discussing as a group what exactly we wanted to get out of the assignment and developing a brief based on this discussion. With the project brief under our belt the group has begun to take on the task of compiling a folder of different articles and journals related to the umbrella topic of open journalism, including subjects such as; blogging, citizen journalism, social media etc. Simultaneously, it has been my role to read through these articles and develop a relevance to our topic. After reading a couple of the articles it is becoming increasingly clearer what Open Journalism is. In the next week it will be my task to use the research that I have gathered thus far to write an 800 word report on Open Journalism.
The most important strategy employed thus far by my group and I has definitely been the division of work. While we all work well together, splitting up the responsibility has made tackling the large amounts of literature much more manageable. The strategy to start the research (after the division) has been to search mainly the library database and find articles and journals pertaining in some way to concepts of Open Journalism. This has included looking at the background behind Open Journalism as well as new ideas as to what it is and where it’s going. This strategy of secondary research is giving us a good foundation to explore new research outlets such as primary research with different interviews and the analysis of case studies. Another useful tool we have incorporated into our research strategy has been dropbox. This tool allows us to share different documents and ideas effectively with the group, which in turn has lead to more efficient research. In the coming weeks we hope to continue our secondary research and use it to conduct interviews to further our knowledge.
With any kind of research I think there are always going to be basic problems of where to start. The main problem that the group has encountered so far I would say is has been focusing our research question to something that is attainable. Open Journalism is a very big concept that includes several different sub-concepts and to decide which of these sub-concepts we want to focus on was a very difficult task. However, by asking ourselves both individually and as a group what we want to get out of the assignment helped to re-focus our ideas and we decided that we wanted to come up with our own definition for Open Journalism. This definition has been the largest problem so far. With Open Journalism being a relatively new idea there is a limited amount of literature out there on exactly what Open Journalism is, so it has been our role to compile the different information and try and decipher what the most important ideas are. This has proven a difficult task as there are so many different ideas of what Open Journalism could be including citizen journalists, bloggers, people using social media and so on.
The way that I intend to tackle this problem is to find a definition that is focused yet still inclusive. The way to go about doing this has proven to be by continuing to read as much as possible, yet being selective about what is important. I think it is easy to get carried away with all the different philosophical ideas about what Open Journalism will do for the consumption of news and forget that we must first decide what Open Journalism actually is. I think the best way to tackle defining what Open Journalism will be to be patient. It is a large topic that several people have different ideas about. If we are able to understand all the different ideas by continuing to read and beginning to speak with the right people then we can decide for ourselves what we think that the most appropriate definition is in our opinion.
The topic of Open Journalism, while still pretty new, will connect with several important parts of the media sector in general. For myself, I am particularly interested in what Open Journalism will do for the future roles and jobs for journalists. Open Journalism is a practice that in a way takes the role of writing away from the journalist. There is a huge transformation happening in the world of journalism in general which is in part driven by this idea of Open Journalism and that “anyone can be a journalist.” I am interested in analyzing the parallels drawn between how the consumption of news is changing and how the role of the journalist is therefore forced to change as well. Another project that may be encountered is the idea behind transparency of work. The practice of Open Journalism is holding the industry including owners, publishers, journalists etc. more accountable for their work. Our studies of Open Journalism should intersect interestingly with both of these ideas and likely several more that are yet to be discovered.

Posted by: Katie B :) | April 15, 2012

Social Media Fad?

Social media is one of the primary forms of communication used not only in everyday life, but also as a production tool in open journalism. It is a two way communication tool that is making it much easier for people to share their ideas, give feedback and interact about an issue without ever leaving their computer screen. Open journalism is a system that seeks to organize the ideas of many contributors as a mode of production. One of the most popular ways to contribute to these discussions is via social media.

The video I have attached below was shown in my Intro to Public Relations course and inevitably is relevant to the topic of open journalism. It shows how connected people have come within their own lives and how this has created a desire to share their personal discoveries with the world wide web at the click of a button. People want to participate, they want to share their ideas, contribute their findings and give their opinions. Open journalism welcomes all of these contributions and seeks to organize them in a comprehensive way.

Social media is not a fad…it is a revolution…

Posted by: Katie B :) | April 10, 2012

Defining Open Journalism

In the broader sense of things open journalism is not a method of producing journalism. It is rather a systematic organization of different forms of journalism that are often produced by a third party. Alan Rusbridger, of the Guardian, describes open journalism as:

journalism which is fully knitted into the web of information that exists in the world today. It links to it; sifts and filters it; collaborates with it and generally uses the ability of anyone to publish and share material to give a better account of the world.

The Guardian, as one of the leading examples of how Open Journalism can function successfully, developed these ten principles of what open journalism is:

  • It encourages participation. It invites and/or allows a response
  • It is not an inert, “us” or “them”, form of publishing
  • It encourages others to initiate debate, publish material or make suggestions. We can follow, as well as lead. We can involve others in the pre-publication processes
  • It helps form communities of joint interest around subjects, issues or individuals
  • It is open to the web and is part of it. It links to, and collaborates with, other material (including services) on the web
  • It aggregates and/or curates the work of others
  • It recognizes that journalists are not the only voices of authority, expertise and interest
  • It aspires to achieve, and reflect, diversity as well as promoting shared values
  • It recognizes that publishing can be the beginning of the journalistic process rather than the end
  • It is transparent and open to challenge – including correction, clarification and addition

While it is inherently clear from the above points what open journalism sets out to achieve, without those participating in open journalism, the system that it is would seize to exist. In the article Anyone can know by Sue Robinson and Cathy DeShano, there is extensive discussion about citizen journalism and its contribution to mainstream press.

Since the early 2000s there has been a dramatic increase in trust that the public has for ‘qualified’ bloggers, sending the message that journalists need to move over and make room. This trust increase has been good for society as the it encourages citizens to participate in their democracy now that they have a say in the news production. And for those that are doing it well, there is no shortage of recognition from the public. In 2005 it was shown that over half of American’s who read blogs believed that bloggers should have the same rights as traditional journalists. This information shows a clear shift from traditional consumption of news into the digital age.

The case study that was observed and reviewed in this article concludes the necessity for the citizen journalists to work together with traditional journalists. This is where open journalism comes into play and recognizes the traditional journalist as the curator of information. There seems to be a competition between the objectivity, credibility and accuracy of the traditional journalist and the connections, freshness, volume and transparency of citizen bloggers. Open journalism is an opportunity for the competition to turn into a collaboration. Both journalists can use their set skills in order to work together and create journalism that encompasses all of the aforementioned skills.

As discussed above, open journalism is an ecosystem where in all the parts must function together to work effectively. Open journalism is the tool that manages, filters, links to, and collaborates with all parts to create a platform for anyone to share or publish material.

Posted by: Katie B :) | March 20, 2012

Introduction to Open Journalism

Recently the winds have blown me south to the Land Down Under where I will continue my Journalism studies for a semester at RMIT University in Melbourne. As part of my courses in Australia, I have the pleasure of working on a collaborative assignment to help uncover what Open Journalism is.

Now if you’re reading this blog and have any opinion about it (although I only use it for educational purposes, so it’s really not that detailed at ALL) you probably have some interest in Open Journalism. While I don’t know too much about the topic at the moment, I will be spending the next four months trying to decipher a definition for Open Journalism and hopefully analyze some of the ways that it is currently working around the world.

On that brief note I will leave you with a video that I have come across in a few of my Media studies courses. The video is from the Guardian and depicts in two short minutes a little bit about Open Journalism.

Enjoy Mates

Posted by: Katie B :) | April 13, 2011

House of Hope

The Doane House Hospice in Newmarket, Ontario, is a place for people living with life-threatening illnesses to drop into at anytime that they feel in need of care or support.

The Doane House is over 150 years old, and has recently been relocated to the busy intersection of Yonge St. and Eagle St. The Hospice is a non-profit organization that runs all of its programs free of charge for clients. These programs include art-therapy, group counseling, day programs, yoga and more.

In order to offer these programs free of charge, the Doane House Hospice gets some funding from the government, but is still left with a lot of fund-raising to do. With a staff of only five, and 85 cents of each donated dollar going towards programming, the Doane House raises funds by holding three main fundraisers each year; a fashion show in the spring, golf tournament in the summer and a golf tournament in the fall, as well as several mini fundraisers throughout the year.

With the success of these fundraisers allows the Doane House to hire staff such as Allison Jane, an art-therapist. The art-therapy program is unique to the Doane House and is an outlet to allow for clients of all ages to deal with the struggle they personally, or a family member may be going through.

Another unique program to the Doane House is the Oasis Day program. “It is a place where people can go to and have someone to relate to,” says Juliet Irish, the executive director at the Doane House. This program brings clients together for lunch and often a craft allowing them to discuss anything that they may be going through. “Family and friends try as much as they can, but they really don’t know what that person is going through,” says Irish. The Doane House is a place where people relate to each other.

The Doane House Hospice is not about dying, it is about living. At the Doane House, clients can come to speak with staff and volunteers. They are able to read a book at the bay window. They have friends around the kitchen table, all willing and able to talk or to just simply be. They are in a safe environment ready to prepare for whatever life-or death- has to offer.

An overhead look at the Doane House Hospice:

Posted by: Katie B :) | April 12, 2011

Ryerson Community Food Room

The Ryerson Community Food Room is a place where Ryerson students can turn to when the student budget just simply does not include groceries.

The Food Room is located on second floor of the Student Centre in a small room run by volunteers. The Food Room works on a point system, where students are given 10 points per week to use on the food items lining the shelves.

The problem however is that the shelves are looking a little bare of late. With the bulk of donations coming from the Daily Bread Food Bank and a few others from students, the Food Room is having trouble keeping a variety of items on the shelves.

The Students Union has taken it upon themselves to invent creative ways of encouraging donations from students. For some events held on campus, admission for students is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item. There are also food drives held a couple times a year in hopes of increasing donation flow.

Check out the following video to get an inside look at the Community Food Room:

(video made by : Nicole Witkowski, Katie Bryan and Tasha Zanin)

Posted by: Katie B :) | March 29, 2011

Earth Hour: success or fail?

Last night, people living in countries all over the world turned off their lights for an hour to help raise awareness about climate change.

The event asks residents, businesses and corporations to turn off all lights, televisions and electronics off for an hour between 8:30-9:30pm.

Earth Hour and two weeks before. Photo by alexindigo

This is Torontos fourth year participating in the event, Earth Hour, since Australia’s World Wildlife Fund began the event in 2007.

The theme of Earth Hour this year is go beyond the hour, but for many in Toronto, they didn’t even make it to the hour. According to the Toronto Star, the hour only resulted in a five per cent energy drop- half of what it was in 2010.

Though it seems like the novelty of the event is wearing off, there was greater participation on a global scale last night than ever before. Over 134 countries participated in the hour, blacking out grand monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, the great pyramids of Eygpt, and Toronto’s own CN Tower.

According to CP24, World Wildlife Fund’s Steven Price, says that Earth Hour is not about boosting energy savings, but rather is about creating awareness and allowing people to take action to fight climate change.

Earth Hour all over the world

Posted by: Katie B :) | March 21, 2011

Jones defeats Rua in championship bout in the UFC

Last night Jon “Bones” Jones defeated Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to become the new light heavy weight champion in the UFC in front of a full house at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

After dominating the first two rounds of the five round fight, with unorthodox spinning elbows and vicious kicks, Jones delivered a body shot mid way through the third round. As Rua began to fall, Jones delivered another punch, forcing referee Herb Dean to end the fight at 2:37 of the third round.

At only 23-years-old Jones is the youngest fighter to hold a title in the UFC. The Endicott, New York native improves to a record 13-1 with his defeat of Rua who falls to 19-5.

The title shot was originally offered to Rashad Evans, however,due to injury, Evans was forced to pull out of the fight. The February bout between Ryan Bader and Jon Jones would determine, unkowingly to the fighters, who would step up. Immiediately following his defeat of Badder, Jones was offered the title shot in the ring, to which he was eager to accept.

Defeating Rua would not be the only fighting that Jones did last night. According to the Ultimate Fighter website, Jones took down a robber mere hours before he stepped into the ring.

With a great attitude, and matruity beyond his years, Jones is a great champion and ambassador for the UFC. At such a young age, he is a reflection of the sport of mixed martial arts and the growing empire of the UFC.

Jon “Bones” Jones is shown great respect by some of the UFC’s greats

Calgary Police have issued a first-degree murder warrant in connection with the 2010 murder of 57-year-old Serafino Virgilio.

Pablo Rodrigo Russell, 34, has been on the run from police since April 2010 when he was first identified as a suspect in the case. Russell, who goes by the first name Paul, is believed to

WANTED: Pablo "Paul" Russell, 34, First degree murder

 have fled the province and is suspected to be in mainland British Columbia.

The body of Virgilio was found on January 19, 2010 in his GMC Denali that was parked at the 100 block of Falsmere Way N.E. An autopsy revealed that Virgilio was the victim of a homicide, likely to have taken place January 17, 2010.

Russell, who is also charged with one count each of accessing and possessing child pornography, is Hispanic and 5’11” tall. He has brown hair, green eyes, is 176 pounds and has a notable scar on his nose.

Anyone with information about the murder of Virgilio, or the whereabouts of Russell is asked to call police at 403-266-1234, or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Suspected whereabouts of Russell, Mainland, B.C.

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