What is the Future of Local News?

We see it all across North America and the UK: small local news outlets are shutting down, or are bought out and amalgamated into much larger regional or national outlets. At first this doesn’t seem to be of much consequence. If local news outlets do not make money, perhaps the laws of the marketplace should dictate their demise. And without them, we can perhaps still share the information that is important to our communities using social media platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter, right?

A picture of a couple of local newspapers "The Sunday Times" and "The Sunday Business Post"
“Local Sunday News” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Well maybe the local news situation is actually more complex than we might first think. Maybe there is some information that simply isn’t provided when local news outlets shut down. And maybe social media isn’t picking the slack in all cases, but rather exacerbating the problem. Well I, in partnership with a team of ace researchers from the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre wanted to find out the answers to these questions, so last year, we invited academics around the world to participate in a conference on the subject of local news and it’s future. Then we took the best submitted papers from that conference, along with some student journalism on the subject of Canadian local news, and we put together an interactive online publication: The Future of Local News: Research and Reflections.

Continue reading “What is the Future of Local News?”

What is the Future of Local News?

New Article Out: The Instagram #Climate Change Community

Recently, Dr. Ann Dale, researcher Brigitte Petersen and I conducted a study in which we looked at the hashtag community formed by people who post using the tag #ClimateChange on Instagram. We wanted to see whether this community showed evidence of the potential for community agency, that is to say, do the posts related to this hashtag seem like content that could, under the right circumstances, inspire community action around the issue of global warming?

“Social change not climate change” by Global Justice Now is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Continue reading “New Article Out: The Instagram #Climate Change Community”

New Article Out: The Instagram #Climate Change Community

Communicating for social change

We know it happens, because it’s influenced elections.

We know it happens, because it’s impacted people’s careers.

We know it happens, because it’s spawned effective protest movements, and even encouraged people to take up knitting and crocheting.

Communication, via popular social media platforms CAN create social change.

But HOW?

#womensmarch by Rob Kall. Available from Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/23AMGwE

Continue reading “Communicating for social change”

Communicating for social change

Social Media Mindfulness Is Not Enough

A group of virtual reality avatars sitting in a circle engaging in meditation
“VR Meditation Guided by Jeremy Nickel” posted to Flickr by Sansar VR. Available at https://flic.kr/p/GBrspR CC-BY 2.0

It used to be only a few voices on the margin: Ian Bogost, Sherry Turkle, Geert Lovink, or Evgeny Morozov, for example, who urged people to think a little more about the time they were spending on social media. But soon the whisper grew and now the movement may be reaching the mainstream. With the rise to prevalence of former Google design ethicist Tristan Harris and his Center for Humane Technology, and with the Facebook Privacy/Cambridge Analytical scandal all over congress and the world news, people are starting to have conversations that were considered almost laughable before. Continue reading “Social Media Mindfulness Is Not Enough”

Social Media Mindfulness Is Not Enough

How to Survive in the New (Future) Economy

Every day we read headlines about the pending new industrial revolution. Robots will replace most blue collar workers, and soon AI threatens many stable white collar jobs in fields such as accounting, law, or even teaching. While this revolution still has of yet to come to pass, and while AI still requires further development before it is ready to replace human knowledge workers, it is becoming evident that the workforce is at least changing, and thus we must also adapt, to thrive in the coming economic environment. In a world where information is available at the touch of a smartphone button, specific knowledge or skills are becoming less relevant, and instead we all need a range of traits, or behaviors that will allow us to work with new technologies and each other while the world changes around us.  Soft skills are becoming more important than ever. But drilling down, specific soft skills will be much more valuable than others in an increasingly digitized and technologized economy. In this post, I’ll discuss 4 important soft skills that will help people to survive, and even thrive in the new (and future economy) no matter what other specific knowledge is required. They are: adaptability, networking, resilience, and lifelong learning. I’ll address each of these in turn, along with some advice on how one might build these skills. Continue reading “How to Survive in the New (Future) Economy”

How to Survive in the New (Future) Economy