By Bliss Davis, Bowling Green State University Journalism Student
Trying to ignore it won’t work–it’s already showed up on quite a few news outlets.
The “big thing” and “it” I’m referring to is the currently nonexistent (at least, on store shelves) Apple tablet, dubbed the “iTablet*” and already gaining popularity quickly, (per Mashable.com, TheAppleBlog and others).
With all of the buzz surrounding it’s potential release one can only wonder what digital oriented/multimedia journalists–well everyone, really–could possibly do with a device like this. Its purported size, fitting inside a manila envelope, seems to be optimal for carrying around instead of a laptop. Size and usability play a huge factor in what journalists deem practical enough to carry with them on the regular, as evidenced by the popular Flip camera.
Getting gadget happy can have its drawbacks though. I read a blog entry written by James McPherson earlier this year about how reporters with gadgets are taking over the journalism world. Okay, not exactly, but he does say this, “As technology continues to improve and news organization cut more staffers, those organizations can rely increasingly on non-professionals to provide content.”
McPherson meshes this view with another potential downfall web and broadcast quality producing gadgetry, “…amateur citizen journalism further decreases the need (in the eyes of owners) for qualified journalists, and increases the possibility for error–or even intentional fraud by people who may try to scam a news organization with dramatic–but misleading or false–video or text.”
Now, as a lover of all things technological, I consider it a great thing to have these battery-zapping resources at my disposal, but it does make you think. What will it take to be sure a citizen is accurately capturing a story? Will the judicial system be forced to reevaluate false light and other applicable laws? How about backpack journalists, will they become preoccupied with reporting technology and forget about the storytelling (purely human driven) aspect? True, these are by no means new questions, but the advent and rise of citizen journalism throws a whole ‘nother facet into the mix. The journalism job industry is going to look mighty interesting in coming years.
*This entry is dedicated to the auspicious, yet covert “iTablet,” in lieu unconfirmed of existence.