Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Paley Center for Media, founded by William S. Paley in 1975, is an organization dedicated to the collection and preservation of television and radio media (from news to comedy shows to commercial advertising) for the sake of discussion and posterity. Throughout the year they hold special events and programs (for the public as well as for industry professionals) in an effort to spearhead an international endeavor to tackle media and technology issues.(1) Fittingly, due to it's concentration on TV and radio, the center's collection comprises more digital information than physical artifacts and memorabilia. Visitors to the center can access these 150,000 programs and advertisements via the center's screening rooms which include 2 full-size theaters.(2)

One outstanding initiative of the Paley Center is "Lost" Programs, their effort to recover broadcasts that seemingly no one took the time to record and/or save. The "Lost" Programs website states that many very important programs are not known to survive, including the first televised Presidential address from the White House. The Center advertises for anyone who has old videotapes, film canisters, or audio reels of unknown origin to contact them, in order to locate more of these lost programs.(3) The website even has a list of specific radio and television programs that the Center is looking for, including The Tonight Show on October 1, 1962, Alan Freed's 1942 radio program, and Elvis Presley's interview on WHBQ, Memphis on July 5, 1954.

The Paley Center for Media houses an essential collection of media. With locations in NYC and LA, that collection will continue to grow exponentially, due to the quickly developing nature of it's contents.

(Image, courtesy of The Paley Center for Media)

1. "Mission & History." http://www.paleycenter.org/about-mission-history/ (accessed Aug 16, 2011).

2. "Paley Center for Media." Aug 24, 2011.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paley_Center_for_Media (accessed Aug 16, 2011).

3. ""Lost" Programs." http://www.paleycenter.org/lost-programs (accessed Aug 16, 2011).

The Paley Center

The Paley Center is named after its founder, William S. Paley. Paley was extremely involved in radio broadcasting during the 1920s and 1930s, he bought United Independent Broadcasters at age 26 and turning it into what we know as today one the biggest media broadcasters, CBS (Columbia Broadcasting Systems). Paley saw radio as an opportunity to present news in a distint manner, which CBS did and is to this day well respected new source. The company evolved along with technology with the rise of television, broadcasting epic shows like Playhouse 90, 60 minutes and M*A*S*H.

The Paley Center for Media was founded by William S. Paley in 1975, his mission was to collect and preserve media and keeping this media available to the public. On November 9th, 1976 the Museum of Broadcasting opened its doors to the public to explore its 3 floors of media in its first home on East 53 St. The Museum changed its name to the Museum of Television and Radio to keep up with the changing media in 1991. Later that same year the museum moved to the William S. Paley Center on West 52nd St. In 2007 the center is named after its founder, William S. Paley.

While exploring the Paley Center for Media's website I became very interested and intrigued by the "Screening Room", which online offers clips from the collections that can be found in the center itself. Many of the videos are of actors, directors, and writers being interviewed about their shows and what their characters and creations mean to them. It is so interesting to hear and see people who are behind the scenes of my favorite shows and the face of my favorite shows speaking about the process, which has helped me get a better understanding for what I watch. I hope to visit the Paley Center very soon and see all the wonderful media collections it has to offer.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A social phenomena

Global, social, ubiquitous, and cheap. That's how Shirky describes the Internet in today's world. He explains the idea of mass amatuerization and how it affects social media. Mass amatuerization has developed with the help of technology. It is basically when people use tools such as cameras, cell phones and computer to publish news which potentially can reach numerous amount of people world wide. People who are not specialized in journalism who post anything they want on the web. This social phenomena is due to the never ending use of the Internet.
Every second of the day thousands of people worldwide are surfing the web downloading, uploading, writing and reading what others write.
Whether the news is true or not is being put on the Internet. People love to gossip and tell their friends what they've seen if it's worthy enough and if it is it will be all over the Internet within minutes. The thought of news being "events covered by the press" is replaced by the increase of mass publishing outlets.
Facebook and Twitter and many other social networks are thousands of bloggers postings on the Internet and many other news sources on a daily basis. From politics to celebrity gossips to new trends in fashion everything you can imagine is being put on the Internet. You don't have to leave your house to keep with current events. Its simple, you just need a computer and Internet access and your in touch with the world.
Journalism is no longer reserved for professionals and publishing has been “deprofessionalized” (p. 63). I don't believe journalists will disappear. However, many jobs will be lost due to the lack of resources available. Shirky explains, "A profession exists to solve hard problems, one that requires some sort of specialization" and "because there is a scarce resource that requires ongoing maintenance"(p.56). Maintenance meaning the cost of printing, publication,production, and distribution. This will lead to lost of jobs in many corporations were once there was a great need for professionals to write the news. Now fewer professional will hold those jobs because mass amateurization takes over.
Today the traditional news outlets are no longer what it was before. The Internet took the newspaper's place. It has become the gateway for everyone who wants to put out news. Mass amatuerization begins and people now rely on their news feed or tweets for news. Breaking news will be posted within seconds or even in real time as opposed to the newspapers where it has to be published the next day. Amateurs are ordinary people who post news to their blogs or on one of the many social networks highly used today.
The future represented by the internet is the mas amateurization of publishing and the switch from "why publish this"? to "why not"? (p.60)

Shirky, Clay. “Everyone Is A Media Outlet.” Here Comes Everybody. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. (54-80)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

We Are All Media Outlets

In “Everyone is a Media Outlet” [1], Clay Shirky discusses the idea of mass amateurization and what this means for the media business, particularly journalists and traditional news outlets. To understand this concept of mass amateurization one must first understand what a profession is and why it exists. A profession, Shirky explains, exists “to solve a hard problem, one that requires some sort of specialization” and “because there is a scarce resource that requires ongoing management” (56). In the case of professional journalists, the basic problem being solved is how the public will be informed of the news. The traditional journalist’s answer to this is newspapers, or perhaps a television news broadcast. The scarcity in resources refers to the fact that the cost of printing, publication, production, and distribution were too expensive for just anybody to disseminate news. However, the internet changed all this. The web provides a platform for just about anybody to put out ‘news’ at no cost at all, thereby eliminating that ‘scarcity of resource’. It is because of this that we get mass amateurization of the media; newspapers and other traditional news outlets are no longer the only place where society can consume its news.

We can find many examples of the consumption of non-traditional news in our day to day lives. For instance, one way I hear about news is from The Philip DeFranco Show, which is a YouTube channel. He talks about ‘newsworthy’ topics ranging from politics to celebrity gossip. It is common for me to hear about a particular news story from his show first. Recently I was listening to him talk about the London riots. Philip DeFranco, despite having gotten better at what he does over the years, is technically an amateur. He has no professional journalistic training and when it comes down to the basics he is simply a guy with a camera, computer, and internet connection. There are so many other vloggers (video-bloggers), and bloggers like him that put out content which is consumed by the public. DeFranco himself is quite popular with, 72,332,024 channel views. This is a clear illustration of how an amateur can easily reach a mass audience through the internet.

The Philip DeFranco Show


This change in how people get their news and where people consume media from raises many questions and has many implications that can affect the traditional media outlets. What happens to traditional outlets when their purpose can be fulfilled elsewhere? Will they become obsolete? What does this mean for the type of news we will get? What is the role of the traditional media outlet in society now and can they still turn out profits? Shirky addresses some of these questions. As for the content of the news, Shirky says that this mass amateurization of media has caused there to be a democratization of information. That is to say that what gets deemed as ‘newsworthy’ is no longer only up to a small group of professionals. Shirky cites the example of Trent Lott. Lott was a Mississippi senator and majority leader. He had made some questionable comments praising a senator who had run on a platform of segregation. The mainstream news media ignored it, deeming it not newsworthy. However bloggers caught the comment and did not let it slide. All the public attention the story got forced the mainstream news media to cover the story. “Indeed, the news media can end up covering the story because something has broken into public consciousness via other means” (64-65). Shirky also mentions another outcome: the blurring of titles such as ‘journalist’. What makes a journalist? Is a blogger a journalist? Who gets journalistic privileges (privileges that protect journalists from getting into trouble with the law when they promise their sources confidentiality)? All these questions arise out of this mass amateurization of media. The traditional media sources must start coming up with solutions to these questions in the upcoming years, as the internet is sure to grow even more as a common source of news.

I believe that it is a mistake to think that the only value in a journalist and traditional media outlets relied in their ability to cover expensive publishing and production costs. There is still much value in the profession. Although there are a plethora of different bloggers that discuss current events, most of them still get their information from the traditional media outlets. The Philip DeFranco show viewers are getting their information from him, but he gets his information from other news sites, which he links us to under his videos. Most internet bloggers do not have the resources, money, or access to acquire the news the way professional journalists do. A professional news channel can send a reporter to lets say Iraq to report on the war, most bloggers don’t have this power. A professional news outlet has access to many politicians and presidential conferences that bloggers do not have. There is also the issue of legitimacy. Although I do get much of my news from untraditional sources, I always check the facts with traditional ones because they are more reliable. Professional journalists are held accountable for what they write and are expected to check facts, bloggers usually are not.

Overall, journalists and traditional media outlets are still valuable because their capabilities and accountability surpass that of internet bloggers. Just because there are new sources of news does not mean the old sources will become obsolete. Shirky compares the situation to scribes and the printing press; scribes disappeared once the printing press was made. But old technology does not always vanish just because new ones appear. For instance, when television became popular movie theater owners worried that they would go out of business. They did lose some business, but there is still a big place for them in society. I believe this is the same case with professional journalists and traditional media outlets. While I do not believe they will become valueless or obsolete, I do believe their role will change. Perhaps they will have to think how much they charge for their product, considering the public can get it elsewhere for free. And perhaps they now have less control over what is ‘newsworthy’. I believe the old media and the new media (the internet) must work hand in hand to deliver news to the public .Both can benefit the other and keep the other in check. Traditional media outlets offer a legitmate source, while other news sources have a variety of opinions and publish more than what the traditional sources deem newsworthy. Hopefully the relationship will grow to benefit societies’ consumption of the news.

[1]Shirky, Clay. “Everyone Is A Media Outlet.” Here Comes Everybody. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. (54-80)

Publishing this Blog Makes Me a Professional Journalist

In the Reading, Clay Shirky divulges into a phenomenon that he calls Mass Amateurization . This , Shirky believes, begins with the nature in which we define what is professional or amateur in the media world.

Using the definition by sociologist James Q Wilson, "a professional is someone who receives important occupation rewards from a reference group whose membership is limited to the people who have undergone specialized formal education and have accepted a group-defined code of proper conduct"(58)

However this idea is compromised by the fact that in the journalistic world, the membership line has become blurred. Just as with the invention of the printing press (truth #4 Hanson) the education once needed to maintain that exclusivity is now no longer needed in order to carry out that profession.

What hes really explaining is the long tail vs short head phenomenon,(Hanson).

A single news outlet has only a limited amount of news that they can carry. Their methods of discretion are simply a necessity to continue to turn a profit. However the internet carries nearly thousands if not millions of different news sources. Thus, what was once a small group of media publishers being defined as "professionals" is now expanded to each new blogger or idiot with a camera. The idea of news being "events covered by the press"(64) is replaced by the proliferation of mass publishing outlets.

Shirkly's question is.. does that each of these publishers a professional? Or does it make none of them?

Food for thought f'sure.

This is a really interesting video that real limitation of mainstream news compared to the expanding spectrum of long tail.

In this video, The BBC news team is trying to capture the horrors of the London riots but encounter Darcus Howe, a writer who believes that people shouldn't be surprised by the riots because of the perpetuating racism, especially among the law enforcement in London.(really similar to the l.a. riots btw).

Whats great about this video is that the BBC would've never given this story any more air time that it had already. In fact, throughout the entire interview, the reporter is trying to undermine the interview-ees credibility.
Ironically, that same video is now circulating thanks to the internet only because of the callous attempt by the journalist to move away from the topic.
To her, the idea that the riots may have been a result of provocative behavior is not something that is news worthy to her. But to the millions of people on the internet, its headline news.

Still, Whenever I look at proponents of "old" media as being disillusioned, I think of how invested we are to the internet as a permanent medium. After all, one day, someones going to be talking about the internet, just like we talk about the printing press now, and just like how they talked about scribes in the 1400s. The question is ... (if we're alive), will we be ready?
Clay Shirky writes about "mass amateurization" in his chapter Everyone is a media outlet. He explains that with new technology comes more power for the average person. The power to publish things such as books, photographs, news, and music, no longer lies in the hands of a professional publisher. Now anyone with a computer and internet access can publish his/her ideas to the world. Shirky gives an example of photography. Years ago a photography was a profession, a photographer had expensive camera equipment, photo paper and a red room, now all a person needs is a camera or not even a camera, a phone with an inbuilt camera, and a printer. Shirky describes how professions such as a scribes are embedded in technology, now the question is are journalists embedded in technology, and now that there is new technology will journalism become a profession that will shrink in importance, as the photography profession did?

Shirky goes into detail about the change journalism is going through, and has been going through since the widespread use of the world wide web. In today's world anyone can publish news, and more and more citizen journalists have been publishing news before "legitimate" major news sources have. Twitter, blogs, facebook, youtube, and even e-mails are just a few of the ways average person can publish their works. What effect does this have for journalists, those journalists who are considered professionals that is, will they soon become extinct? Shirky says "if everyone can do something, it is no longer rare enough to pay for, even if it is vital", this is becoming true with journalism, who wants to pay for a newspaper if they can just go online and view the paper online for free?

Journalistic privileges are in danger, because now everyone can be a journalist. I can report a news story on this blog right now if I wanted to, but what if I posted a story about a crime that just happened and had inside information as to who committed the crime. Do I have journalistic privileges? That is the question Shirky poses, with mass amateurization everyone can claim they are "journalists", "who are journalists" and "who, exactly, should enjoy journalistic privilege"?

No one can predict the future, but we can speculate. I agree with both Dan Rather and Shirky. Professional journalists are still necessary and hopefully will continue to be necessary. Journalists are "gatekeepers", as Shirky calls them, they are respected as professionals whose work is credible. Journalists can tell us the whole story, with background information and still have the power to reach people of higher status (such as the president, or an expert) and to share their talk's with those of higher status with the general public. Citizen, or amateur journalists can present some stories professional journalists can not, such as in Iran where there is much government censorship, or like in Egypt during the riots. I like the balance between the two and hope that this balanced relationship will continue.

Shirky, Clay. "Everyone Is a Media Outlet." Here Comes Everybody: the Power of Organizing without Organizations. New York: Penguin, 2008. 55-80.

Newspapers Beware the Bloggers are here!

A major shift is occurring in our world and it’s being assisted, like the Protestant Revolution, by technology. The power and control that a few huge companies have held over the heads of the general public is slowly coming to an end with the help of the World Wide Web. Clay Shirky presents to us “mass amateurization,” the idea that our ability as the public has changed from just being consumers, who receive messages and goods from a few huge companies, to being our own producers, no longer leaving publishing to be a thing for only a select group of “professionals."

The Internet has greatly cut down on the costs that have been attached to publishing for so long, one of the most important aspects of “mass amateurization.” Today anyone can go make a video (maybe on their phone), edit it in iMovie, and then upload it to Youtube, which can then be viewed by anyone with access to Youtube. The new age of the general public publishing their own content means that a lot more people that have views will actually voice their opinions, because it is so simple. There are a plethora of examples of “mass amateurization” today, but one that I particularly like is Etsy.com, a site that has beco

me increasingly popular since its start in 2005. Etsy allows users to sell their handmade goods to consumers through the website. Their mission statement is something that I believe more people are beginning to value today.

Our mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works. We see a world in which very-very small businesses have much-much more sway in shaping the economy, local living economies are thriving everywhere, and people value authorship and provenance as much as price and convenience. We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.”

Another example of “mass amateurization” is blogs about celebrity gossip, such as Dlisted, Perezhilton, TheFrisky, and Jezebel. These blogs, that say essentially the same things as the weekly celebrity tabloid magazines, and way more, are free to read, use no paper, and can be updated all the time, meaning the stream of gossip and information is never ending. Shirky explains it as, “the individual webblogs are not merely alternate sites of publishing; they are alternatives to publishing itself, in the sense of publishers as a minority and professional class” (pg. 66) I used to buy a tabloid magazine most times I went to the supermarket, but now I just rely on blogs to get my embarrassing celebrity information. I am not saying that blogs are ready to take over for all magazines yet, I still occasionally will buy a tabloid because I like, and miss, the familiarity of having the magazine to look at, and, I think, a lot of people still feel that way.

There will always be respect to people that are professionals in their fields. They will always be the people (in most cases) that graduated, or were specially trained in that field; there’s something there that makes them stand out from the rest, it could be their style of writing or their technique with photography. Although the line is now blurred where professionals start and amateurs begin, it still exists. The media now has to change to accommodate to their viewers for example, NPR has many informative blogs available on their website that are written by professionals, but in an informal style. The blogs can be on a wide range of topics that can catch the interest of more readers than some of NPR's radio broadcasts, and it allows readers to comment on the story. The biggest difference I see occurring in the future for media professionals, besides less demand for them, will be media professionals listening to the public, because we will have more say in what’s important.

A lot is about to change and it’s exciting, but at the same time, there’s a chance that it could be chaotic, which has happened with new technology throughout history. Shirky explains “…because social effects lag behind technological ones by decades, real revolutions don’t involve an orderly transition…”( pg. 68). I don’t think that this new technology will create as large a change as the printing press, TVs will not become obsolete and people aren’t throwing out their radios, but it will change some aspects of our culture. The London Riots could be looked at as the “social effects lag” to technology. I’m not fully educated in what caused the riots, but it is a way of rationalizing it.

Sources: Shirky, Clay. "Everyone Is a Media Outlet." Here Comes Everybody: the Power of Organizing without Organizations. New York: Penguin, 2008. 55-80.

image: http://www.markevanstech.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/social-media-consultant.jpg

I'm not just a blogger, I'm a journalist

Clay Shirky the author of Here Comes Everybody discusses the effects that the World Wide Web has on our society. The innovations of the Internet can be compared to the invention of the printing press, since both can cause careers to become obsolete and create loss of control from many of the world’s core institutions. (73) Mass Amateurization in the scope of publishing is giving anyone at anytime the ability to become a journalist by publishing their posts on the Internet. Since the content is being posted on web pages and blogs, the message can be accessed by a mass audience on a global level.
Shirky explains that the amateurization of publishing undoes the limitations set on news sources by traditional press outlets. (65) Mass Amateurization poses a threat to the market because it creates competition for professionals. Mass Amateurization not only affects the business of journalists and publishers, but also photographers, singers, models and many other occupations. When an amateur photographer publishes their photos on sites like Flickr, they give the professional photographers a run for their money. (74) Just as aspiring models who market themselves online and singers who upload their songs on YouTube are competition for their respective industries.
There have been instances when people I know would dip their feet into viral self-marketing. A few classmates from my high school put together a funny skit on YouTube a few months ago.

In an effort to gain more views, they posted the video on their facebooks and asked friends to share the video with their friends. I posted the video on my wall, sent it out via Aol Instant Messenger to my AIM buddies, and even shared a link on my tumblr page. Unfortunately, the video was by no means a viral success and didn’t even reach 1000 views. Although the World Wide Web provides the potential for success, not everyone will gain attention from a mass audience.
Many others have expressed their opinions on the Internet’s affect on society. Robert L. Webb explains that the Internet benefits consumers and gives access to information in a way that’s never been utilized before. “For the first time in history, people from all social levels can publish their opinions and there is someone out there to read them. (…) This requirement is leading to a culture revolution.” (2) Due to the rise of popular developments such as search engines, the way people think, translate, find and even transmit data has forever changed.
I feel that the future of the media professional is at risk. The fate of the profession is dwindling, because there are more and more media outlets arising daily. Just as the scribe was replaced by the printing press, professionals are rapidly being replaced by amateurs in their fields. As Shirky mentions: “at the end of the 1400s (…) the scribe’s skills were eminently replaceable.” (67) The movable type had its benefits: events such as the Protestant Reformation wouldn’t be possible without its invention; however, it was at the cost of all the scribes losing their jobs. Today, the wide circulation and easy accessibility of news has its benefits, but at the cost of hurting the professional news market.

[1] Shirky, Clay. “Everyone Is A Media Outlet.” Here Comes Everybody. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. (54-80)

[2] Webb, Robert L. “How the Internet is Changing Society.” 2001. (
http://www.motivation-tools.com/changing_society.htm) Web. 11 Aug. 2011.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In the reading “Everyone is a Media Outlet,” Clay Shirky describes “mass amateurization”. Shirky discussed the significance of the internet and the web. Anyone can publish content on the internet. Communication costs are cheap and it is easy to transfer information. With the internet, there is no cost of production, reproduction, and distribution of news. Publishing is now simple and effortless. Anyone who owns a computer can produce and distribute media content. For example, I experienced mass amateurization when Michael Jackson died. I learned about his death from the many publishers of the news on Facebook and not from reading any newspaper or watching television. Mass amateurization came about because publishing is now global, social, ubiquitous, and cheap.

There are many outcomes of mass amateurization. Professionals have lost control over the media. Journalism is no longer reserved for professionals and publishing has been “deprofessionalized”. (p. 63) Publishing is no longer unique because anyone can publish over the Internet. Shirky explains that “you no longer have to be a professional publisher to publish.” (p. 66) Mass amateurization of publishing led to its lack of scarcity. Because of the World Wide Web, newspapers no longer have “a monopoly on the written word” and a “new ecosystem” was created. (p. 60)

The content we are now exposed to is limitless. There is more content published because it is easy and cheap to communicate. There are now many more outlets of publishing and public expression is now easier than ever before. Blogs can now keep stories alive that otherwise would have died out. Mass amateurization made stories “breaking news” that before were “not worth covering”. (p. 64) Anything can now be news and news no longer requires professional judgment. Any news can be distributed to the public without professional consent. The public is now exposed to more content that may otherwise not have been published due to some sort of professional bias. In addition, Shirky states that mass amateurization has made public speech and action more valuable, while the written word has lost its value because it is no longer rare.

Mass amateurization breaks professional categories and has led to the necessity to redefine many media terms. First of all, mass amateurization led to a change in the definition of news. According to Shirky, news can now be defined as “a communications ecosystem, occupied by a mix of formal organizations, informal collectives, and individuals.” (p. 66) Although Shirky tries to differentiate between professional publishers and bloggers, bloggers can be considered the new journalists of today. The definitions of publisher and journalist have also changed. Publishing is no longer expensive and therefore, publishers are no longer rare. Anyone can be a journalist and anyone can be a publisher. The scarcity of journalists and publishers no longer exists. Shirky also discusses the “shield law” for journalists and the need to alter journalistic privilege because of the difficulty in defining who should be considered a journalist.

The future of the media professional has definitely been threatened through mass amateurization. Just like scribes kept working alongside the printing press, I believe that newspapers will continue to be distributed along with news distributed over the internet. There is still value in newspapers and they can be considered a more reliable source than many internet sites. However, the internet definitely poses a major threat to the newspaper business.

Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody. New York: Penguin Press, 2008.


Amateur Vs. Professional

When newspapers were just becoming popular the owners would obsess over the advancing of competing newspapers, such as printing in color. However, they did not obsess over the invention of the internet. They simply did not view it as any sort of threat. Being that the internet is not a business, and because it is not professionally produced, it didn't even cross the minds of the owners of the professionally produced newspapers. The only threats to them were those that came from other media outlets. This gave way for the development of mass amateurization through the world wide web.
"A profession exists to solve a hard problem, one that requires some sort of specialization, and most professions exist because there is a scarce resource that requires ongoing management." [1] For example there are few channels with many viewers, and so there must be a professional who will choose what to put on those few channels that tons a viewers will ultimately watch. [1] Being that there are such few professionals per career, they are the ones who dictate what product they put out. These people are the ones that set the trends and basically tell people what is important and what's not, based on their opinions and other professionals in the same field; not the public's. If a story was too expensive to print, they would not run it. Which raises the questions, "what happens when the cost of reproduction and distribution goes away? What happens when there's nothing unique about publishing anymore, because users can find it for themselves?" [1]
The answers to the these questions came about as a result of mass amateurization, which is defined by "the process whereby the dichotomy between experts and amateurs is dissolving and creating a new category of professional amateurs." [2] This is shown by the fact that almost anyone can become a publisher of news today with the new technologies we have. The professional is no longer needed for the world to receive news, they could access by means of the internet. People could also decide what news was important and what was not on their own. They didn't have to only listen to what the journalists published in the newspaper because there was no such thing as something being too expensive to publish. The web is essentially free. You no longer need an education or even much of a talent in journalism you simply need access to the web and the ability to use it to publish something today.
Just the other day I was checking my Twitter and saw a tweet about how Team 6- the Navy Seal team who killed Osama Binladin- were in a helicopter and shot down by the Taliban killing the team and all others onboard. This tweet was not by a professional journalist, yet I was reading the same news story that was published by most newspapers that day.
In his book, "Everyone is a Media", Shirky raises the question of who is now considered a journalist? The Oxford English Dictionary defines a journalist as "a person who writes for newspapers or magazines or prepares news to be broadcast on radio or television." [3] This definition was suitable in the world of pre- mass amateurization. Only those who worked for a media outlet were the ones who reported or wrote about the news. Today there are the non professionals who are spreading news sometimes even before the professionals have a chance to, either by blogging, tweeting or posting it on Facebook, because it is just so easy to. Shirky also argues that while competing for news breaks can be harmless to the professional media outlets other effects of mass amateurization are actually harmful to them. With the new easy technology of a digital camera, almost anyone can take a decent photo and upload it to the web to be sold. If someone is looking for a nice picture to buy and there are two pictures on the web of the same thing and same quality, if one is by a professional and expensive and the other is by an amateur and cheap people will buy the cheap one. This therefore is taking sales away from the professionals. All of this just shows how the gap between the professionals and amateurs has shrunk over the years and almost no longer exists. [1]
This all poses a major problem for newspapers today and they want the answer to the question everyone is wondering about; will newspapers ever become obsolete? Will there no longer be a need for media professionals in the future? I think over time their importance has, and will decline, but in some way, shape, or form, they will always remain. Today we have an enormous amount of new media outlets from which we can receive our news, yet most people still look back at the professional news sources to verify or detect more of a story. The new media outlets may be the first places from which we hear breaking news, but it won't necessarily be the last.

[1] Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody: the Power of Organizing without Organizations. New York: Penguin, 2009. Print.
[2] "Mass Amateurization - P2P Foundation." The Foundation for P2P Alternatives - P2P Foundation. Web. 11 Aug. 2011. .
[3] Oxforddictionary.com. Web. .
[4] picture- http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/WindowsLiveWriter/volunteer.gif