Do Not Fear Big Data

Big Data: the high volume, high velocity and high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making (Gartner).

What is Big Data? Do you know? Do you read these simple seven letters and begin to get scared? During a number of interactions I had this week, I came to the realization that a number of communication professionals may be afraid of the wealth of information that Big Data provides.   Many, and to a certain regard myself included, consider this wealth of data to be clutter. However, I challenge that there is a wealth of value potential within the proper management of content in the growing landscape of data storage.

Forbes reporter Lisa Arthur remarked last summer, “Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source of ongoing discovery and analysis” (Arthur). Her article, particularly focused towards Chief Marketing Officers, challenges that big data is not something that should be feared, but rather something that should be embraced.

From an organizational perspective, the management of big data is dependent on properly organizing and structuring the data sets. While this may appear to be contributing to the acceptance of clutter, think about your kitchen. I imagine that your kitchen has plates and maybe bowls in one cabinet space, glasses in another, pots and pans in another area, silverware in a specific drawer, spatulas and the like in another area, and so on and so forth.

My point?

That as a collection, all of these items within a specific space of square footage – without being organized in a proper manner – will certainly appear cluttered and will cause an organizational headache within your household. However, properly organized, with a stable content management system – cabinet spaces and drawers in this case, this “clutter” will no longer appear as messy and unorganized, but as valuable elements to organizational stability.

Now, let us pivot back to the realm of communications. Communication professionals, whether as an independent consultant or employees within a medium to large scale organization will sooner or later encounter the dreaded big data conundrum. Have no fear.

Communication professionals must prepared themselves for encountering massive amounts of information that may be organized in any number of ways. From an organizational standpoint, smart professionals will recognize necessary adjustments to their content management systems (CMS) if the ability to find and manipulate the data is cumbersome. This is a legitimate problem that must be solved if organizations wish to streamline processes that help maximize time spent on research and analysis.

Research and analysis is perhaps one of the many primary utilizations of stored data.Analyzing business trends, government policy development and implementation, strategic planning, issues management, community engagement, customer satisfaction, and purchase trend analysis are only a few specific uses of big data. Having all the data in the world does no good unless professionals are a storage business, receiving monthly lease payments from customers.

As only one example, the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, has harnessed the organizational mindset and full-circle appreciation for big data. In a Wall Street Journal article this past fall, Liz Coddington, Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Walmart.com, highlights the different elements of big data’s utilization for her organization:

Ms. Coddington stressed that the power of Big Data is in moving the business forward and avoiding “analysis-paralysis.” She tells her team to bring her analysis, not simply data. Walmart.com now uses data to understand what’s trending in social media, as well as buying patterns among similar types of customers and what competitors are charging in real-time.

“You may not have perfect information, but we have enough to know our risk is only between X and Y and therefore we’re comfortable moving forward…You have to be careful that you don’t get to the point that you can’t run your business because you’re waiting for data.” (WSJ – CFO Journal). [Bold for emphasis]

Analysis-paralysis can be a problem for any organization, and it can be a tiny, small, medium, large, or RIDICULOUSLY LARGE dilemma. Leaders in organizations do not require the data, but the analysis of said data to make decisions that affect the organization and its future path or plans. As communication professionals, we may not be engineers designing content management systems to help manage big data, but we need to accept the reality that big data is not going away and that we should help our organizations find ways to utilize the wealth of information that is available smartly and effectively.

Ms. Coddington’s remarks also stress the sensitivity of time in running and leading a large organization. As communication professionals, we should all be intimately familiar with the notion that our jobs require prompt attention and that time is not necessarily always something of which we have a copious amount. Analysis must be made smartly, but also promptly, for delivery and presentation to organizational leaders.

Communication professionals, in the arena of issue management or advocacy, can harness big data to generate an ever growing potential of value for the organization they represent. As a colleague put it recently after hearing me speak positively about big data and content quality – value potential + issue management = relevant content. The emphasis being on not being afraid of the clutter (value potential) to recognize strategic issues that must be managed (issue management) and by combining these two ideals in a creative context, generated content will be relevant and aid in supporting the organization’s values and missions.

I am extremely confident that certain people would rather ignore the availability of information that is readily available to them. Additionally, I am confident that some people would rather ignore this availability of data for their own desires and the potential sabotage of large-scale philosophical changes within any number of organizations or governments. However, as communication professionals , we cannot satisfy the desires of our organizations, foster their growth, or protect their legitimacy and reputations by ignoring the wealth of information that can provide significant organization strength and value simply due to fears of getting our hands dirty digging for the appropriate bits of data.

Tell me what challenges and roadblocks you see to fostering an appreciation for big data within your organization. Does your organization embrace big data or do they run from it? Until next week…take care and thanks for visiting!

Advertisements
Posted in Communication | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Has Happened to Our Newspapers? – 6630

(Blog posts with a four number identifier after the title reflect the course number that this blog was written for. Over the next 10 weeks an increasing number of posts will have a number at the end as both courses I am currently engaged in require weekly blog posts. All visitors are welcome to comment and re-blog as you wish. My blog, regardless of content, is principally used to generate an open discussion about the contents. I welcome your feedback.)

Imagine if you will a gentlemen walking in a delightful main street area. The county courthouse rests a block away with its copper dome shining as the eastern morning sun rises above the horizon. This gentlemen, on his way to his shop located downtown, stops at the local coffee shop for his morning cup of Joe. On his way out of the coffee shop, he drops two quarters into a pull-handle machine housing neatly folded bundles of pages.  Each bundle represents one combination of various sections of pages with each section receiving its own title – perhaps Local News, Local Sports, Classifieds, and State/National news. The gentleman snags his bundle for which he paid, and he continues his stroll to his office. This bundle, affectionately termed a “newspaper,” provides the gentlemen an opportunity to increase his overall knowledge of local, state, and national current events. Additionally, this newspaper provides a level of entertainment that he may not otherwise receive during his regular hours of business. The shear act of reading not only improves the mind and intellect, but it also serves a recreational purpose that can help aid in passing time during a slow period. And, perhaps, he is able to share information learned from the newspaper’s sections with guests of his business, allowing for a conversation to be had between shop-owner and patron that builds positive relationships between business and customer.

Now, imagine if you will, a gentleman waking up in the morning after a delightful evening of sleep. This gentleman, likely woken up by his alarm clock from his Smartphone, immediately becomes attached to the outside world by the most basic task of picking up his phone to turn off its alarm. In the process of turning off the phone’s alarm, the gentleman recognizes the onslaught of overnight notifications from various news organizations, social media websites of which he is a member, text messages from friends or family sharing developments with him while he was asleep. All of this starkly contrasts with the gentlemen grabbing the newspaper and has occurred in a matter of a few minutes – if not even simply seconds.

Do you recognize the difference between the two above scenarios? In one, information is disseminated through an extremely fast medium (the internet, through a connection to an individual’s Smartphone), and the other is disseminated through a traditional print medium that requires an individual to make a financial investment to acquire the limited information available within the bundle of paper.

There was a time when newspapers saw immense value, and readership was very high. However, the past decade and a half has seen a significant decrease in subscribers and thus the size of newsrooms across the country. Consolidation has hit the newspaper industry just as it has any other industry over the past decade. Newsrooms are smaller with fewer resources and less journalists, content designers, and editors than the same businesses were a decade and a half ago. For those of us involved in strategic communications, this reality cannot be ignored and is one that must constantly be evaluated as messages are developed and mediums are selected for dissemination. Traditional media still demands the attention of communication professionals, but more importantly the utilization of the medium requires evaluating and refocusing of the end desired goal of the message campaign.

Emerging media, and the speed at which content can be spread throughout a community without borders, has drastically changed the way communication professionals react to crises, campaigns, marketing, branding, issues management, corporate governance, public policy, client reputation, and credibility protections. Communications professionals now must be connected through various social media avenues in addition to maintaining position relationships with traditional media resources so that they can quickly react to news that affects their clients. Additionally, these communication professionals must be familiar with the tools at their disposal so that they can be integrated into an evolving communication plan and strategy that is proactive rather than reactive.

The first week’s readings for COM6630 have already highlighted the paradigm shift that has occurred, and is continuing to occur, as traditional media (principally newspapers) attempt to realign their strategic focus and attempt to minimize losses.

In August 2013, Amazon Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post. The move, widely hailed by media industry types as a breath of fresh air that could bring new life to The Washington Post and would serve as an example for other large newspaper organizations on how to succeed in the digital age, is one additional example of the changes that are occurring – today, right now – in the traditional media arena. Without successfully pivoting traditional media’s resources and attention to tailored content for readers, readership will continue to decline – as will subscribers and thus sales revenue and advertising revenue.

This is an interesting time to be studying communications, more especially the news media apparatus, as technology aids in the free-flow of content and information with limited restrictions. The news-related scenarios laid out in this blog’s first two paragraphs should serve as a simple reflection on what once was and now is the information landscape of the twenty-first century.

How do you receive your “news?” Do you subscribe to a local newspaper? How often do you drop coins into a newspaper dispensary and snag a paper? Or, do you simply “Like” or “Follow” your favorite sources of “information” through the various social media tools? Additionally, do you subscribe to daily e-mails from news organizations, special interest groups, or even daily academic sources? These are the questions news organization leadership are asking themselves about their readers/viewers. Trust that they have the data to evaluate as well.

Personally speaking, I cannot remember the last time I put change into a box to get a newspaper, but I will admit to snagging copies available to me for free at various hotels around the country when I am traveling. Additionally, I will admit to following a number of news organizations via social media and to subscribing to a number of daily e-mail subscriptions from a handful of organizations that deliver current event analysis or industry specific content every morning.

I am excited to see what the next few weeks have in store. My journey with Troy University is nearly complete, and I am eager to embrace new ideas and theories on how to become a successful communication professional.

For my COM6630 colleagues, until next week! For everyone else, there will be an additional blog post for my second class within the next few days. Stay tuned!

Posted in Communication, News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Human Factors – Check, Cross-Check, and Check Again.

Every commercial flight is operated under a set of rules, either Part 121 or 135 (14 Combined Federal Regulation 121 or 135 [14 CFR 121 or 14 CFR 135]), that provide the legal requirements that the operator and crew must abide by throughout the pre-flight and operational segment of the flight.

One element, often times taken for granted – especially within the domestic Part 121 segment, is the flight planning portion of the pre-flight preparation. For the most part Part 121 domestic crews receive a dispatcher release, essentially the “paperwork,” that provides that max payload numbers, fuel requirements, filed flight-plan, route information, and an assortment of weather and Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) information that is used to program the on-board flight management system (FMS).

This input of information into the FMS is regularly verified against the listed paperwork and any errors found are promptly corrected, usually during the pre-departure crew briefing and prior to the BEFORE START checklist at most airlines. For the most part, and speaking from personal experience as a domestic 121 pilot, when flying to a familiar city from a familiar departure point, the fixes and flight plan remain the same as the last time, or the time before that, or the time before that time, or the time before that time before the first few times. In short, largely, the routings remain the same. Flying over the same route, over the same fixes, that we have done since day one. In some regards, you could say crews may become complacent and take the routing for granted considering that 1) a dispatcher utilized a computer system to develop the flight plan and 2) that an ATC facility provided a clearance, with any modifications, to the flight that authorizes them to operate along a set path.

Three parties, at the most basic level, have agreed to a certain flight path that the aircraft will utilize to depart and arrive at its destination. Here is but just one example. A revenue flight from Atlanta to Omaha, Nebraska. A simple check of flightaware.com produces a handful of flights, mostly operated by Delta airlines or Delta Connection partner ExpressJet Airlines with the following routing:

KATL COKEM7 CARPT BNA PLESS J45 STL LMN MARWI1 KOMA

KATL COKEM7 CARPT BNA PLESS J45 STL LMN MARWI1 KOMA

First, KATL and KOMA are simply the airport identifiers for Atlanta Hartsfield and Omaha’s Eppley airfield. Within the flightplan they merely represent the origination and termination points.

Next we have COKEM7, which represents a standard departure procedure used by aircraft departing Atlanta to the northwest. The utilization of standard departure procedures helps aid in enroute in-trail separation and helps keep the movement of aircraft from the departure corridor to the enroute phases in an organized manner. Most departure and enroute sectors prefer to have 10-15 miles of in-trail separation between two aircraft departing through the same departure “gate” or route.

After COKEM7 we have CARPT, BNA, and PLESS. These three represent fixes, or waypoints, that the flight will fly over. CARPTis actually the last fix on the COKEM7 departure. After CARPT, the flight progresses to BNA, a radio fix called a VOR. All VORs are identified by three letters, however they are also recognized by their name. In this instance, BNA is Nashville, TN. After BNA is PLESS that represents the fix on a recognized airway, J45 that runs SE to NW towards STL, another VOR representing St. Louis, MO. Departing STL, the flight continues to LMN, Lamoni, IA that transitions the flight onto theMARWI1 standard arrival route into Omaha Eppley Field.

Here is a graphical depiction of the flight path:

atloma

I provide this primer on flight routes due to my recent introduction to an accident that occur in 1979. Air New Zealand Flight 901 was a regularly scheduled “tourist” flight that departed Auckland, flew south to McMurdo Sound Antarctic before turning northbound to stop in Christchurch before returning to Auckland a day later.

Air New Zealand DC-10

Unfortunately, the 14th instance of Air New Zealand 901 would not return to Christchurch. Sadly all onboard were lost due to a controlled flight into terrain accident.

Impact trail

Chief among the contributing factors found during the investigative process was the programming of the computer flight plan, developed by Air New Zealand’s navigation department, that the crew was briefed on roughly two weeks prior to the flight. Additionally, this trip was the first for both the Captain and First Officer, both qualified to conduct the flight – however neither of them had actually performed the flight in the past. However, the flight briefing that occurred was customary for all crews who would conduct the flight and served as an indoctrination into the challenges that existed and built a basic foundation of familiarity with the flight route.

For the most part, due to the complacency that may develop, very few flight crews check the flight route presented to them in the dispatch paperwork against paper charts in Part 121 domestic operations. For most companies, this is no longer a required task for the flight crew considering the automation used by the dispatcher to develop the flight plan and Air Traffic Control’s approval or modification of said flight route. In the case of Air New Zealand 901, this proved to be an extremely fatal error. Unbeknownst to the flight crew, there was a typographical error that put the aircraft dangerously close to the primary sightseeing attraction, Mount Erebus on Ross Island. This error was in the formatting of a lattitude and longitude instrument fix that was programmed into the navigation system of the DC-10. The resulted formatting error produced a navigational error of approximately 25 miles, well off course of the previous flight paths normally used during the tourist flights. Previous flight paths took the aircraft south, into McMurdo Sound, well to the west of Mount Erebus and well clear of high terrain. This allowed the flight crews to, once in the sound and familiar with the visual conditions that were in place on each flight, an opportunity to navigate via visual reference around Ross Island to provide for a memorable experience for the passengers. The flight path in question for the accident flight brought the aircraft well left of McMurdo Sound, almost directly into the highest terrain areas on Ross Island, near the 12,500ft peak of Mount Erebus.

While this routing change only represents one element of the accident, this element highlights the role human factors has in the safe operation of any flying machine. More specifically, flying machines that depend on correct data entry from the crew. Which, additionally, requires accurate data provided by navigation specialist and dispatchers.

Contributing factors in the accident, official or not, was the crews belief that any altitude assignment provided by the American administered air traffic control facilities in McMurdo were safe to accept based merely off the belief that controllers would not allow an aircraft to descent to an unsafe altitude near terrain.

Sadly 277 individuals died due to an error that should have been detected by the final trapping mechanism – the flight crew. Perhaps, if at least one crew member on the flight deck had previous experience operating into the complex Antarctic environment they would have noticed the discrepancy (due to previous operational experience) and successfully adjusted to remain well clear of Mount Erebus.

Certainly flight planning has come a long way, at least in domestic Part 121 operations, that flight crews have a high confidence in the routing and work performed by their company’s respective dispatchers. However, flight crews must be cautioned to accept a routing that they are unfamiliar of without some level of check and cross-check of the route against current charts. Not only to verify the legitimacy of the routing, but to become familiar with any terrain along the route and potential diversion fields that are available should the need present itself. Additionally, when crews are going to operate into areas of high terrain or those that pose a significant operational risk, at least one crewmember on the flight deck has operational experience into the area – at least at most companies.

If you find yourself interested in learning more about the unfortunate loss of Air New Zealand Flight 901, I have to recommend the following series of YouTube videos. The clips that follow are from a documentary detailing the accident and the investigation that occurred shortly thereafter.

Thanks for reading. For those in the aviation industry, and specifically those with a safety background, what other accidents are you familiar with that were caused by incorrect route programming or failed cross-check? Stay safe out there – and always, always – check, cross-check, and check again.

Posted in Aviation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An interesting weekend (Pics and Video)

Strong storms across the midwest United States made this past weekend fairly interesting. For the most part the trip was very benign, aside from the cloudiness and strong winds at most altitudes throughout the midwest and eastern United States.

Day one

No big deal, really. Except for when you show up to the airplane a bit ahead of schedule and you realize the jetway is not attached and there is no gate agent around. Time for breakfast. Enjoy a quick bite to eat and head back towards the gate to find the gate agent has arrived but is in a deep gossip conversation with a co-worker. In an effort to no disturb their social time, I relax and enjoy a few more sips of my coffee.

After ten minutes have passed I recognize that I would like to get down to my airplane and start working. I hate showing up to the plane, being the first one, and then not having anything done before the other flight crew member arrives. I want to get to my airplane, set up the FMS, get the pre-flight done, and enjoy my seat and coffee while reading the news until the rest of the crew arrives.

Nevertheless, Captain is walking down the jetway while the gate agent is attaching the jetway to the plane. Turns out this guy was put on this assignment so he could get a line check. Awesome.

For the uninitiated, a line check is when a standards pilot sits on the cockpit jumpseat and observes the operation of the flight by the two crewmembers. For the most part a line check is a non-event. Have your manuals current and fly the way the company asks you to fly and you will be fine. Have your manuals out of date by a number of revisions, or missing a number of bulletins, or fly the airplane in an extremely unstandard manner and you may be getting some more training, off without pay, or pulled from your trip without pay until you update your manuals.

Being the professional I am, most of the time, my stuff stays current and I fly the way the company that pays my paycheck asks me to fly their aircraft. It’s really not too difficult.

Nevertheless, easy roundtrip down to TLH and back to ATL complete. Linecheck complete. New crew arrives, the original crew I was suppose to begin the day with. Easy flight up to Montreal and we called it a day.

I spent the rest of my evening going for a run (1.5 miles in 12:08) and finishing a paper for one of my courses and eventually falling asleep.

Day Two

Another simple day. Fly back down to Atlanta and then up to Madison, Wisconsin for the overnight. This morning Atlanta found itself in some extremely low cloud cover and reduced visibility due to fog.

For any major airport any weather that restricts arrival rates means some sort of holding or reduction in enroute speed on arrival aircraft. For us, we received both. First we were warned of potential holding and that we could slow down as much as we wished. The intent here is that if we slow down, we may not need to hold.

We didn’t quite hold, but we did do two 360 degree turns on the arrival…so, I suppose, in a way we held…but not officially over any “holding” fix, or in a standard “holding” pattern. Note the two circles over ERN TN/WRN NC and in NERN GA.

YUL-ATL

Click the image for full view.

Finally on the ground after shooting a CAT II approach with 1200RVR and VV002 (yeah, sorry, I don’t have any video of this one…but feel free to visit YouTube.com and search for CAT II approach) we made our way to our next flight and flew on up to Madison, Wisconsin, where the frontal boundary across the midwest was beginning to intensify.

Madison turned out to be a wet and windy mess, but was still a nice city to call home for a few hours. Wisconsin’s Capitol was quite impressive, inside and out.

Wisconsin Capitol

Day Three

We made our way to the airport and headed out of the mess that was developing across SRN Wisconsin and NRN Illinois. Turns out as we were trying to escape a moderate to extreme thunderstorm was passing over the departure end of Madison’s runway 36. We made the prudent, and patient, decision to wait it out.

After roughly 20 minutes, we escaped and eventually broke out into a beautiful sight – especially with a meteorologist like myself.

severe storms brewing

Maturing towering cumulus. Note the storm tilt, reflecting the strong mid-level winds. This tilt can be an indication of storm intenfication and threat for potential severe weather. Realize to that this photo was taken at roughly 9:30 or 10:00am that morning, well ahead of the severe outbreak across the NRN midwest and upper Ohio valley that afternoon.

classic convection

Looking out ahead during the same time period. You can see a well defined cirrus-shelf / overhang ahead of us with some mature towering cumulus in the foreground. The storms in the distance and to the right, associated with the cirrus-shelf / anvil were over SERN Wisconsin / NERN Illinois, causing significant delays into and out of Chicago O’Hare and Midway airports.

We continued eastbound and finally made it east of the line of weather with another beautiful sight for a meteorologist laying below us. Some basic cumulus clouds laying across Lake Erie…

baby cumulus over Lake Erie

We were originally scheduled to operate a round-trip out of LGA to Pittsburgh and then back to Pittsburg for the overnight, however plans were changed and we were sent back to Madison, WI and called it a day. Enroute to Madison I managed to record some footage of us cruising along at FL360 well above the convection that was causing havoc across the midwest and Ohio valley.

An exciting approach into Madison with winds at 55-60kts at 2,500ft to about 500ft above the ground, safe landing and a quick taxi to the gate and that concluded day three.

Day Four

Day four originally was going to be a Pittsburgh to Cinncinatti to Dallas to Atlanta day. Originally. However, after our third schedule modification, we ended up operating a flight from Madison back to LaGuardia and then catching a flight home to Atlanta to call it a day.

I managed to get a nice shot of lower Manhattan and even JFK airport on the final portions of the arrival into LGA.

Lower Manhattan

And a quick view of JFK, just to the east-southeast of LGA…

JFK

Overall a very enjoyable four-day trip. I am slowly gaining a new found enjoyment for what I do. The challenges this past weekend acted as a rejuvenating element. Far too many challenges for me to detail, much less it would be a diservice to them considering that I think I lack the creative skills to appropriately express their real impact on our operation, our patience as pilots, and the idiosyncracies of Part 121 flying that most passengers – and some non-121 pilots can not relate, much less understand.

Until next time – take care, be safe, and follow!

Posted in Aviation, Weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journalism’s Evolving Landscape

Journalism, the basic act of providing content to an interested public, is evolving. Traditionally viewed as a practice performed by members of an institutional organization, journalism is beginning to encompass many more individuals than those simply under the employment of a “news” gathering agency. Classically speaking, journalism has welcomed individuals from various walks of life and upbringings, but a traditional characteristic of journalists regardless of background is objective reporting and cataloging of matters of public interest.

Individuals such as Glenn Greenwald are beginning to change the landscape, one story at a time. Moreover, Greenwald is also altering the characteristics of a journalist by taking on a more subjective and idealistic view of an open and free society where information is shared freely (Keller, 2013). In addition to the more pointed and subjective reporting from individuals such as Greenwald, there is a growing number of writers who have taken to the internet in order to disseminate information. The utilization of blogs to produce and share organic information continues to grow. While a majority of blogs do not contain information that would be classified as newsworthy, there are those individuals with strong passions for subjects that provide timely, well researched, interesting content that draws the attention of the public, in both objective and subjective reporting perspectives.

As more individuals utilize emerging technologies, specifically blogs, to disseminate information without affiliation to a news gathering entity, the level of legal protections afforded such individuals will also need to be considered. Following a decision by a New Jerseay Superior Court Judge, a blogger from that state may be entitled to the same protection under the state’s shield law (Atkins, 2013). Granted, protection is dependent on the elements of the individual case. For example, one blogger may receive protection while another  blogger may not due to a blogger’s failure to offer all parties involved to comment or respond.  However, shield law protections are not – yet – federal protections, and more importantly, states differ on the level of protections offered.

Protecting an individual’s ability to share crucial information regarding public policy or corporate decisions without the fear of legal prosecution or requiring the person to share sources can only serve to improve the role of journalists in fostering an informed public that is aware of the world around them. Additionally, an individual’s ability to write and cover public interest newsworthy content that large or medium sized news organizations are not spotlighting can be diminished greatly due to a real or perceived risk of legal action. This risk can serve as an inhibiting factor that reduces the range and depth of an otherwise smart and capable individual to exercise his form of “journalism,” which can have a drastic impact on sharing information that otherwise would not be known to the public.

The likes of Glenn Greenwald, and to a certain extent Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, are spotlighting a new form of journalism that has its roots in the  gonzo style journalism made famous by Hunter S. Thompson. Gonzo journalism’s leading characteristics state that the reporter is a participant of the story, objectivity is put aside for subjectivity, and the reporter’s opinions regarding the subject matter are shared.

For Greenwald, the story of Edward Snowden reflects an internal acknowledgement that the largest American newsgathering entities could not be trusted to share the revelations that Snowden released. Similar to that of Daniel Ellsberg, famed leaker of The Pentagon Papers, Greenwald’s personal opinion regarding large media conglomerates is playing a major role in his philosophy of new journalism. While Ellsberg was an independent contractor at the time and Greenwald assisted Snowden, an independent contractor, Greenwald and Ellsberg share an idealistic view of not allowing governments to operate in an ever growing veil of secrecy.

In regards to a nationalistic approach within traditional journalism in America, Greenwald remarks, “One can, I guess, argue that this is how it should be. But whatever that mindset is, it is…not ‘objective.’ It is nationalistic, subjective, and activist, which is my primary point: all journalism is subjective and a form of activism even if an attempt is made to pretend that it isn’t so” (Keller, 2013).  Greenwald refuses take part in journalism’s classical paradigm, instead he chooses to plot a new course forward. Assisted by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Greenwald will help develop and grow a new media venture that is fueled by Omidyar’s concern “…about press freedoms in the United States and around the world.” (Rusher, 2013).

Omidyar and Greenwald’s venture will potentially change the media landscape in a significant, and meaningful way. Citizens across the world are becoming more concerned with the actions of their governments and the perceived reduction in unhindered access to the press. Further, the increase in citizen journalists highlights the need for comprehensive and clear legal protections for independent journalists operating outside of the media conglomerate umbrella.

Only when this need is achieved may journalists of all types and professional affiliations enjoy a true freedom to inform an attentive public.

Atkins, L. (2013, August 13). Federal media shield law should extend to unpaid bloggers and citizen journalists. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-atkins/federal-media-shield-law_b_3744539.html

Keller, B. (2013, October 27). Is Glenn Greenwald the future of news? The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/opinion/a-conversation-in-lieu-of-a-column.html

Rushe, D. (2013, October 16). Pierre Omidyar commits $250m to new media venture with Gleen Greenwald. Retrieved from: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/oct/16/pierre-omidyar-ebay-glenn-greenwald

Posted in Communication, News, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summertime Convection

Summer convection across southern Ohio and northern Kentucky on arrival into CVG. Enjoy!

Video | Posted on by | Tagged | Leave a comment

The things I see

Over the past few days of flying I realized again how beautiful our Earth’s landscape is, even if it is just the east coast of the United States. That said, every trip I am going to try to snap a few simple photos using my phone’s camera and share them with you. Do not be surprised if you notice a trend of dawn or dusk photos. Daytime, from altitude, photos do not seem to come out that great due to too much lighting.

With that out of the way…

dunkin

I am an unapologetic Dunkin Donuts fan. I run on Dunkin, and can not stand sacrificing my taste buds to anything less. Anytime I see one, I have to stop. At an airport I’m new to, I have to find out if one is near. Just the way I operate.

clouds and sun mix

Dawn. One of the most beautiful and peaceful times to fly. The mixture of stratus/strato-cumulus and some high-level cirrostratus cloud cover on an early morning departure provides an awesome tool to scatter sunlight and bring out some really brilliant colors.

clouds and sun mix 2

Brilliant colors – meet wordpress readers. Pure beauty. Thank you Earth, Sun, and moisture.

One quick video I also managed to snag. Friends and family are always amazed at how closely we may fly by other aircraft during cruise flight. Albeit, this perfect setup does not occur all that often, it does from time to time. Enjoy this quick clip of traffic flying past us, a thousand feet above us. The two of us were both easily flying at least 450mph.

guess this spot

And lastly – flying north along the Hudson river on arrival into LaGuardia, NY. How could I pass up an opportunity to highlight the 1,776 foot tall Freedom Tower of the new World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan.

This is just a small taste. Let me know if there is anything specific, or a type of photograph that you would like to see. I have no problem sharing aspects of my flying life

Posted in Aviation, Weather | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment