Let the cyborgs emerge!

robot

We are living in an ever changing society as we are witnessing the emergence of many techno tools and methods that are redefining space in the newsroom.

According to a research article by Matt Carlson, The Robotic Reporter, the term auto journalism denotes algorithmic processes that convert data into narrative news texts with limited to no human intervention beyond the initial programming choices. It has the ability to create thousands of news stories for a particular topic in a cheaper and more efficient way. Unsurprisingly, according to Andreas Graefe’s Guide to Automated Journalism,  this has sparked fear for professional journalists as they feel that this new development may exterminate newsroom jobs.

What these journalists need to understand is that this new development still requires them to be around. Yes, algorithms are able to generate news faster, at a larger scale, and potentially with fewer errors than human journalists – without their intervention and yes algorithms can use the same data to tell stories in multiple languages and from different angles, but without the watch of human journalists algorithms produce data and assumptions, both of which are subject to biases and errors. It is not human and does not have the ability to observe, ask questions and relate. I thus believe that with its strengths and weaknesses, both automated journalism and human journalists can merge to create a new kind of journalism as expressed in Andreas Graefe’s Guide to Automated Journalism  as a “man-machine marriage.”

Though journalists may not think so, they are given many benefits from the development of automated journalism, not only in a professional capacity but also in a personal capacity. They will be challenged to create faster and cheaper news outlets for their audiences. This will challenge them on a personal level because it will make them analyse their ethics and routine as to how they deliver content.

In Andreas Graefe’s Guide to Automated Journalism he explains that society will benefit from this development as it will decrease the burden of looking for news stories relevant to them.

“In automating traditional journalistic tasks, such as data collection and analysis benefits include increasing the speed and scale of news coverage and most importantly it allows for news to be produced almost immediately, making the audience, who are the most important people to consider, feel a part of what is being shared with them.” Guide to Automated Journalism. That right there is why I have a passion for journalism.

Automated journalism is emerging. As journalists and ordinary citizens, let us not only support this emergence, let us become a part of it.

References:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21670811.2014.976412#aHR0cDovL3d3dy50YW5kZm9ubGluZS5jb20vZG9pL3BkZi8xMC4xMDgwLzIxNjcwODExLjIwMTQuOTc2NDEyP25lZWRBY2Nlc3M9dHJ1ZUBAQDA

http://towcenter.org/research/guide-to-automated-journalism/

Citizen Journalists out to inspire

Citizen journalist filming a police office a protest in Ferguson, Missouri
A citizen journalist filming a police officer during a protest in Ferguson, Missouri

As a journalist, when I first heard about citizen journalism I became fearful – fearful about the fact that journalism would become an everyday trade. Will I be competing with the security guard down the street from my office? What about the street vendor selling newspapers for the publication I work for? I then shifted the scenario to a doctor’s profession. Imagine what the world would be like if there were citizen doctors? All these questions haunted me until I read an article by Elvira Van Noort Will citizen journalism shake up SA media?’

We live in a day and age where news is easily accessible – all it takes is one click and an image or headline can possibly be made available to thousands of people.

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Living in a country like South Africa, not many people were and some still aren’t afforded the opportunity to study and become qualified professionals. The uprising of citizen journalism is changing that. In Will citizen journalism shake up SA media? I read about a security guard who reports about news daily and that he had a dream of becoming a successful reporter. This inspired me and I realized that the career I am passionate about is a platform for those who never had the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

All I want is for the truth to be published to the people – even if it is by the people.

Not only is it advantageous for a democracy like South Africa as it voices the opinions of those who were once voiceless, but it is also an easy means to address problems our society us facing. This form of journalism is helpful for professionals as it allows for relationships to be established between them and the average citizen. This is critical for a journalist.

There are many other advantages to this as well. Citizen journalists can be of  massive help when it comes to reporting in real-time –as it makes citizens feel part of whatever is happening.

Citizen journalism is growing at a rapid pace and it cannot be stopped. This is a good thing. According to Dan Gillmore’s Chapter Journalism’s Evolving Ecosystem in his online book MediaActive South African media should nurture and protect them. “When I wrote We the Media in 2004, I was confident that citizen journalism would become an essential part of the ecosystem. Nothing I’ve seen leads me to believe otherwise. But the genre has a long way to go.”

Citizen journalism is on the rise and is here to stay. Journalists need to come to terms with this fact and use it to further drive them to do more than just the average citizen.

References:

http://mg.co.za/article/2006-01-06-will-citizen-journalism-shake-up-sa-media

http://mediactive.com/4-0-chapter-4-journalism%E2%80%99s-evolving-ecosystem/

 

 

Getting to know Katlego Maboe

You might just know him as “The guy from Expresso” But boy have I got news for you! Singer songwriter, MC, presenter and qualified accountant Katlego Maboe(29) generously took the time out of his very busy schedule to allow us to get to know him slightly better. Hope this gives you a few chuckles and simultaneously fuels you with inspiration.

Let’s get to know Katlego:

 Nickname you grew up with?

Mmutla which means “rabbit” in Setswana. A nickname given to me by my late uncle who once saw me sleeping with my eyes half open and so he thought it appropriate.

 What was your most embarrassing moment as a teenager?

I asked a popular girl to be my girlfriend during a Sunday visit and I’d even written a song for her. Alas, I was friend-zoned into the next galaxy.

 At such a young age you are a singer, songwriter, MC, presenter and qualified accountant! What drove you to accomplish all the things you have in such a short period of time?

An insatiable desire to make my mother, my family, friends and myself proud of the hard work and sacrifices invested into my life. I owe it to  them to succeed. I have no excuses.

I believe that there is greatness behind greatness. As a young man/boy who was your role model and why?

My mom. She is the most selfless and strongest person I know who when confronted with the toughest challenge in her personal life story chose to protect me and face the harshness of life. In doing that she opened up an entire world of possibilities for me to thrive in. A world I now get to enjoy everyday.

 Seems like you are a very busy guy. What goes through your mind when waking up in the morning?

“Thank you Lord for waking me up!”

A day in the life of Katlego Maboe?

No day is ever the same. The only constant is the early wake-up call time and 6am start on Expresso. Every day is filled with meetings, client engagements, training, planning, rehearsals, etc. All these occur in interchangeable order depending on what needs to happen. That’s what makes what I do so exciting. I am in charge of what I choose to fill my day with and thus feel like I am in control of my destiny with God’s blessing.

Have you set any goals to wish to accomplish in the near or even distant future?

Yes, I want to start putting original music out into the world and performing as a professional musician. I’d like to do that while continuing to grow my broadcasting career towards that “Ryan Seacreast Level”.

If you were to advise someone who wishes to achieve what you have, what would you say to them?

If you can dream it you can do it… but be prepared to be tested and to work hard everyday. Most of all, enjoy the ride!

Follow Katlego:

Twitter: @KatlegoMaboe

Facebook: Katlego Maboe