Posted by: Alex Peery | November 27, 2017

What does the future look like for visual journalism?

Nicole Smith Dahmen makes the case that a visual restorative narrative can be a sustaining value for the future of visual journalism. She posits that this narrative-style is able to go beyond the scope of what can be provided by the person on the street. While compelling, it seems unrealistic that this style will be successful in the current social news climate.

The main reason for this exists by looking at the margin. Visual reporting is costly, typically for the in-depth nature of the work described in Dahmen’s study. The study cites the Chicago Sun-Times sacking of their entire 28-person photography staff. There is no doubt that photojournalist will produce stronger photographs than the average, untrained journalist. Newspapers don’t always have the luxury of large payrolls. Beyond this, the instant access to social media and others such public platforms makes it so much easier to outsource visual elements to the public.

The hurricane in Puerto Rico, including the ongoing recovery, are an excellent example. Consider this well known photo by Alejandro Garcia Padilla, former Governor of Puerto Rico:


(source in link above)

The photograph is newsworthy and covers an ongoing story of disaster recovery. It was also posted for free and widely picked up by many news outlets. It is hard to see where photojournalists will be able to overcome the access to free content that technology provides.


There is a new genre of journalism in town, and it’s been termed the “restorative narrative.”  After reading Images of Resilience: The case for Visual Restorative Narrative by Nicole Smith Dahmen, I think that visual storytelling has the potential of being very impactful when it comes to social change.  Dahmen comments that “journalism has a responsibility not just to report the news but also to contribute to civic engagement for an informed populace and functioning democracy (94).”  For those segments of the population with a lower socioeconomic status who may not be inclined to read the news on a regular basis, learning of current events through visual storytelling may be the key to engage those groups of people.  Or bring light to issues that may not have been heard otherwise.

One concern that Dahmen has of the “restorative narrative” is that it has “the potential to intrude on private moments and to exploit subjects (102).”  There a fine line between sharing a powerful, intimate story and exploiting someone for personal gain which should be discussed further.  I also have to ask, will these images actually cause people to act or will society move on to the next big news story?

Posted by: alexandrapdxblog | November 27, 2017

Social Change Communication: Reciprocal Journalism

Lewis, Holton, and Coddington focus on how social media (specifically Twitter and Facebook) facilitates reciprocal forms of journalism. News organizations strive for high engagement of their audiences, yet are reluctant to allow them fully in the creating of content. Reciprocal journalism encourages community members to “like” posts on Facebook, retweet links from news sources, and tag locations and people in the community. That on its own is a public invitation for reciprocation.

The authors break reciprocity into three components: direct, indirect and sustained. Direct reciprocity is most easily achieved with journalists exchanging posts with followers one-on-one. Indirect journalism encourages discussion around various hashtags, and involves the community as a whole. Lastly, sustained reciprocity can expect longterm exchanges on community pages shared by audiences that are involved in the same community or share common interests. Having a sustained engagement allows readers to be actively involved with news content, and encourages more conversation and participation.

Journalists have accepted the way social media has changed journalism, and recognize that while Facebook is not a media source, it is a space that reaches a large population, and a way to bring more voices into the conversation.


Posted by: fnanbe | November 27, 2017

Hashtag Activism: More Than Just Slacktivism Organizing

In the article entitled ‘Media Ecology and Hashtag Activism: Kaleidoscope’, the authors explore the world of hashtag activism and the negative and positive effects of this media ecology. The author approached this perspective of Hashtag activism through the unique metaphorical lens of a Kaleidoscope.

Hashtag Activism is Digital solidarity. The usage of hashtags on platforms like Instagram and Twitter allow people across the world to communicate about important social and political issues and sometimes respond beyond the virtual world by organizing movements. Without Hashtags Activism, movement like #BlackLivesMatter would have remained an idea in Oakland, California and wouldn’t have transpired into the movement it is today. The article made mention of the ‘Die-ins’ in response to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. I remember vividly exploring this hashtag on Instagram and the photos of demonstrations that accompanied it. I was powerful so I decided to participate on my college campus.

In section entitled ‘Kaleidoscope Turn: Beautiful and Interesting’, the authors reflect on popular hashtags of the past couple of year, many of which were a distant memory to me. As I thought back on my engagement with some of these hashtags, I remember being emotional and provoked by the issue – I ‘shared’ and participated in conversations. But for some hashtag movements, that was the extent of my participation; a share and a few dozen ‘likes’. The article says that being ‘superficially’ involved helps the reputation of the movement. If this is the case, is slacktivism actually activism or are there levels to becoming an activist?

Posted by: kaylagee91 | November 27, 2017

Dahmen’s case is well meaning, but nothing new

‘Images of Resilience: The Case for Visual Restorative Narrative’ is well meaning, but nothing new. Nicole Dahmen’s piece starts off by recounting the life-altering experiences of people who were photographed in the midst of tragedy and how in some cases, the circulation of those images caused a great deal of pain and humiliation.

Dahmen contemplates whether or not photojournalism can also, “convey the story behind the immediacy of the horrific event? Can they capture and convey recovery, resilience, and restoration?” (94). She proceeds to make the case for restorative narrative, a newer genre of photojournalism or ‘visual journalism’ (Santana & Russial, 2013, p.81) that aims to tell stories through long term photographic reporting that builds trust with impacted subjects. Dahmen notes that duty of journalists from a traditional point of view is to report the facts rather than advocate, but contends that the responsibilities of photojournalists are too changing with the times (95).

One can’t help but wonder whether the underlying agenda is to conserve the practice of photojournalism or to tell restorative narratives in a responsible way. Can it be both?

As a woman of color, I’m wary of stories centered around tragedy. People of color embody a richness that transcends tragedy and there are counter-stories that deserve a space in public discourse. Why not use image power to tell stories about people of color who are empowered so that we can begin to change the narrative? Aiming to elicit empathy for the purpose of baiting donors is paternalistic and short sighted. It’s time to do things differently.




Posted by: Tony Hernandez | November 27, 2017

Hashtag activism & a Burnside Bridge die-in

Burnside die in

#DontShootPDX protester hold a die-in on the Burnside Bridge on September 2016.

Reading “Media ecology and hashtag activism: #Kaleidoscope” brought me back to first-hand observations of local protests with national hashtags.

While covering a march in September 2016, I remember the unusual silence on the Burnside Bridge as protesters lay on the span for 4.5 minutes, representing the 4.5 hours Michael Brown lay dead on the street after a police shooting.

The die-in on the Burnside drew a lot of local attention, but those local voices were part of 1,000s nationwide who spoke up against police violence to black communities.

Heather Crandall and Carolyn Cunningham, our reading’s authors, point out that die-ins related to Brown’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement were fueled by hashtags, such as #Ferguson #BlackLivesMatter and from my observations #DontShootPDX, a hashtag that remains active today (click here to take a look).

Crandall and Cunningham point out that social justice movements and statements, like #BlackLivesMatter, allow activists the opportunity to “reclaim public spaces that have been used for racists or violent means.”

In Political Violence @ a glance, Oliver Kaplan for Denver Dioulouges writes that die-ins have been around since the 1960s and 1970s. Their power comes from quick mobilization of people with few resources needed, while still having an “outsized effect on public attention,” he wrote.

I remember that die-in during that September afternoon disrupted traffic for longer than 4.5 minutes on the Burnside. Images were shown on the news, and importantly, dozens of people were sharing their own images on social media, including myself.

Posted by: lucaspisano | November 27, 2017

Restorative Narrative

There are countless ways to tell stories. As strategic communicators, it’s our job to make sure the method we choose to convey our stories will have the longest lasting impressions. In this week’s readings, we read: Images of Resilience: The Case for Visual Restorative Narrative by Nicole Smith Dahmen, this article brought up an interesting genre of storytelling – restorative narratives. Restorative narratives is media coverage that intends to explore the stories beyond the immediacy of the tragic event, and focuses on the individuals or communities and how they are moving from a place of disperse to a place of resilience.

The article examines several famous pictures taken during moments of tragedy in the world, one specific one was during the Vietnam War. In this picture we see a naked nine year old girl screaming in pain because the skin on her back has been scorched off by napalm.



“Photojournalism can certainly be a sustained endeavor that shows meaningful progression. Images can most definitely capture resilience and forge a human connection. In fact, the preamble to the code of ethics of the National Press Photographers Association speaks to the value of images as restorative narrative.”

Through restorative narratives we are able to take a more profound look into the journeys of people or communities who are cast into the national spotlight in the wake of tragedies. When we get a story from their perspectives, we find a story of resilience, one that is gripping and sheds new light on a story we thought we knew.

Posted by: selenasierra | November 27, 2017

The Hashtag Turned 10

“Media ecology and hashtag activism: #Kaleidoscope,” by Crandall and Cunningham, uses a kaleidoscope as a metaphor to examine activism through hashtags. Through media ecology, possible results of engaging in this hashtag activism are analyzed. I had a hard time remembering various social media without the hashtag; so I looked up! According to CNET, it turned 10 years old this year, 2017.

Hashtags have the power to bring together conversations, serious and not. We have seen an influx in hashtags being used in an attempt to bring about social change. Before the internet and hashtag, organizing movements would have taken days to arrange. Now, with the hashtag, responses to movements or protests are down to a matter of minutes; all it takes are retweets or reposts.

I believe social media is a catalyst for change. Users respond to world events via social media to stand with others during a tragedy or bring attention to specific movements. It is a great way for us to find like-minded people quicker and allows for faster congregation. It even allows those that are physically unable to leave their home to still partake in forms of activism and not be limited by their inability to be physically present.

“A Digital Activism study conducted by Cone Communications reported 75% of Millennials uses social media to discuss issues they care about. The same study also found that 58% of Americans considers tweeting information about issues an effective form of advocacy or support.” [] Critics may say that digital activism doesn’t create tangible results. One perfect example of “tangible results” is #ALSIceBucketChallenge. It raised over $100 million for ALS research. Hashtag activism allows for open dialogue on important topics; dialogue is a huge, important first step.


Posted by: daniellerad | November 21, 2017

Humans that emulate robots: My thoughts on Poppy

In the NPR segment “What is Poppy?” reporter Scott Simon introduced (to me at least) the world of Poppy, YouTube phenomenon and recent Breakthrough Artist award winner at the 7th annual Streamy Awards.

With over 200 million views, Poppy has attracted a passionate following, also known as Poppy Seeds who seek to find answers to who and more importantly what is Poppy?

For all intents and purposes, Poppy is the brainchild of the director Titanic Sinclair and Moirah Pereira, a platinum blonde, white woman with a very youthful appearance. Videos include “I am Poppy” where she literally says, “I am Poppy” repeatedly and “Poppy Eats Cotton Candy” a 90-second video of, you guessed it, Poppy eating cotton candy! Her demeanor is robotic and obedient, reminiscent of a science fiction where a pubescent boy build his perfect girlfriend.

The work is creative, albeit bland, and provides an interesting commentary on life (and love) in the digital age where we are only beginning to build relationships with objects. Is it any wonder why Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are all female? They are calm, polite, helpful, and do what they’re told, all in a female voice. Poppy is the physical embodiment of these voices. Let’s hope as technology progresses, so does our picture of what an assistant should be.

“I’m from the Internet,” Poppy says in the interview – the only place she could possible exist, for now at least.



Posted by: Alex Peery | November 20, 2017

Facebook and the Expansion into AR Technologies

Back in August, Mashable discussed new patents from Facebook that provided more information about their venture into AR glasses. This step has been inevitable since the purchase of Oculus VR in 2014. These glasses will be fairly unique, as the technology can be used for virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality or in any combination of those areas.

Mashable explains that the technology uses laser, mirrors and other elements to present images and video. Lasers emit light into the lens, which in turn will transforms it into media that will be projected on the eyes of the user. The technology is still about five years away from public use, according to Oculus’ chief scientist.

The glasses are designed to provide an immersive experience. Augmented reality will be blended with audio via connected speakers or headphones.

It’s important to note that these glasses will be an always-on wearable, similar to the way that Google’s Assistant or Amazon Alexa operate. The latter technologies have recently provoked questions questions about privacy and data collection. Facebook is no stranger to these concerns.

It is becoming quite clear that technology is outpacing both regulation and ethical research. This patent provides a glance into a technically impressive emerging technology. However, is Facebook to be trusted with the data that can be gleaned from such a device? These next big pieces of technology are exciting from the perspective of a consumer. As we move into the future, it will be important to also look at the reason why a company like Facebook wants to use this technology.

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