Longshot Magazine and TK Zine

Longshot Magazine-

Longshot Magazine was created from scratch over a 48 hour period. The first 24 hours is used to accept submissions, and the last 24 hours is used to select submissions, edit, and format them. This project required the collaboration between writers, editors, photographers, film makers, and programmers. This large-scale group effort was possible due to the internet. A loose theme for all submissions was provided, the theme for the 3rd Longshot Magazine was debt.  The finished result was released as a PDF ($1), a 60-page glossy magazine ($25), or a tablet version ($?).

TK Zine- 

This project started up at Syracuse University and was inspired by Longshot Magazine. This project was also created in 48 hours by Caitlin Dewey and Kuan Luo as their last project before graduation. The theme for the first issue was In Between, and Access for the second.

These two publications are great examples of of new publishing and authorship- they use social media to let others know of their project and find contributors. These projects work great as time-sensitive collaborative efforts.There is a huge variety in the type and style of the writings, which is something that wouldn’t have been possible for one person.

Time-sensitivity is an important factor, just take a look at the lengthy process for books and magazines. Books can be in the development stage for years, and most magazines are published either monthly or weekly. The 48-hour writing, editing, formatting, and publishing window of Longshot and TK Zine is only possible with the fast collaboration  between all involved parties. This type of collaboration has become popular fairly recently with the widespread use of social media. Facebook and twitter were used to release quick updates, GoogleDocs so simultaneously edit articles, SubMishMash to collect submissions from people all over the country, and Tumblr to post all of the submissions that were not included in the magazine.

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Chapter 3 Clay Shirkey Reflection

A potential advantage of the “mass amateurization” that Clay Shirkey discuses in traditional media is being able to revisit old news stories. Unlike the press, bloggers don’t necessarily keep up with the 24-hour news cycle, so they can analyze topics that would never be covered by major news networks, unless there was a new development.

Another advantage of “mass amateurization” is the ability to connect to people with similar interests, and the “de-professionalization” of this process. Since everyone can now have a voice towards a topic of their choice on free online platforms, it has become much easier to find people that share the same interests as you. Whereas in the book publishing industry, the only people who led the discussions were authors that were considered “experts” in their individual fields.

The third benefit of “mass amateurization” is the public being able to bring something popular into the eye of the tradition press, instead of the press having the right to decide which stories are to be considered to be “news” or not. As Clay Shirkey state, “the news media can end up covering the story because something has broken into public consciousness via other means” (65). With the old publishing structure, there was a limited number of professionals that decided which stories to cover, and in some cases stories that would have been relevant to the general public were missed due to professional biases. But thanks to bloggers and editorials, the public can now be the entity to “signal boost” or raise awareness, instead of the other way around.

A potential drawback of “mass amateurization” is some services becoming obsolete, or at least loosing clients. Before, it took a great deal to get published, involving many years in book industry, or an education/experience to be a journalist. Now, anyone can publish their words on the internet by creating a blog or purchasing their own url. In addition, online selling services and auction sites are taking away business from the Classified sections of newspapers.

Another drawback to this fairly-new phenomenon is the issue of reliability. It is a well known fact that the information taken from blogs and personal webpages are not nearly as reliable and accurate as with the websites of major news networks. This is because articles have to go through editors and fact-checkers before they are allowed to be published, but with personal blogs, people can write whatever they wish and make it off as something statistically accurate.

Zakaria, Lehrer, Anderson- Plagiarism

The article that matched the most with my concept of plagiarism was the one about a journalist named Fareed Zakaria. This was because some of his passages in his article “The Case for Gun Control” were very similar to historian Jill Lepore’s article on guns in America. He did not give credit to JIll Lepore when he used her text. However, Zakaria publicly apologized and Time magazine suspended his column for a month.

In the situation with Jonah Lehrer, the fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan for his book “Imagine”. Leher is also known for self-plagiarizing, which is recycling your own former works for new articles. This brings up the topic of whether copying your own works is really plagiarism, since you are consciously recycling your own material, not another writers’ without their permission.

Chris Anderson was accused of plagiarizing in his book  “Free: The Future of a Radical Price”. It was found via a Google search that Anderson took passages from Wikipedia and other websites, and changed them up a little bit. He responded to these accusations by attributing it to a mistake during the editing process; he decided not to use footnotes due to not knowing the proper format of them. Another issue that is raised with this situation is the WIkipedia issue: should plagiarizing penalties be as severe if the content is taken from WIkipedia, where anyone can edit articles?

These three cases are not the same because the first one was taken from a historian, the second involved making up quotes and self-plagiarizing, and the third was taken from Wikipedia and claimed by the author as an editing mistake. I personally believe that these cases should be treated differently depending on the background of the information. A case of plagiarism from a reputable author or website is more severe than taking information from Wikipedia, in which any “common person” can insert information. What this says for my idea of plagiarism within universities is that universities should take instances of plagiarism and examine them on a case by case. The severity of the penalties should depend on where and under what circumstance the student copied information from. The principles that should guide our balance between collaboration, research, and original authorship are integrity and honesty. Even if you are not sure whether a passage could be counted as plagiarism, it is better to give credit to the author or at least mention that another author brought up the same points that you are making.

Chapter 2 Clay Skirkey Reflection

How do the conditions that Shirkey describes in his first 2 chapters apply to a project like Wikipedia? 

In chapter 2 of “Here Comes Everybody”, Clay Shirkey says that “we haven’t been able to get organization without organizations; the former seems to imply the latter” (29). In other words, in order to organize people, information, or ideas, there must be an organization already in place.  This can apply to a project like Wikipedia because due to the massive amounts of information that can be stored on it, there must be a way to organize it all. The information on Wikipedia is categorized into topics and subtopics. This very organized structure allows for anyone to be able to find what they are looking for.

The first job of a group is self preservation. If a group does not have adequate funds for utilities, payroll, and advertising, the group will not be able to stay afloat and perform the function for which it was set up in the first place. The creation of Wikipedia made it possible to skip the preservation step. It is self sufficient because it runs on donations and is edited for free by volunteers. Since the cost of coordinating group action is lowered, Wikipedia can shift its focus onto developing and expanding its knowledge base.

In addition, Wikipedia works because it is open for anybody to contribute information. If it had to pay journalists to travel, take photographs, conduct research, and write articles, it would have been too costly and time consuming. With volunteers editing and adding information, the operating costs are greatly reduced.

Projects like Wikipedia make collaboration of organizations easier due to simple navigation, reduced management costs, and being open to contribution by anyone. The invention of Wikipedia has created a platform on which collective action can occur much more efficiently.

Chapter 1 Clay Shirky Reflection

Clay Shirky starts his book “Here Comes Everybody” with a story about a stolen cell phone to illustrate that humans can gather into organized groups without monetary incentives or formal management. All that is necessary for this is social media and people that believe in a common cause.

This story is a perfect example of how social networking can be used to raise awareness of an issue and to help recruit others to help out. Evan used his platform as a programmer in the financial industry to create a blog and a chat forum where developing information could be posted immediately and where interested parties could discuss a further course of action. If he did not create a central place where he could post daily updates and didn’t spread the word about the blog through his existing connections, the story would not have developed at such a brisk pace or even happened at all.

Social media has flourished because it is a platform on which immediate feedback can occur- information can be edited and updated in real time, and visitors to the site can interact with the content through comments, forums, and emailing the creator of the site. In this situation, the blog caused people to discuss the actions and threats of Sasha and her brother, the pictures Sasha posted that were taken with the stolen phone, and the classification of this case to be “loss” instead of a “theft” which does not warrant action from the NYPD.

A handful of individuals would never have been able to reverse the verdict of the  NYPD. However, mass public complaints by millions of people due to Digg and the coverage of news outlets were able to do just that. If steered correctly, a minor story can spread like wildfire and gain leverage just through the sheer number of people wanting to come together for a mutual cause.

Although this was not the first nor last phone forgotten in a cab, this was the first phone which successfully used social networking tools to raise awareness and spur action from the audience. Social media alone has the power to “self-assemble and for individuals to contribute to a group effort without requiring formal management” (21).

Skirky chose this story as an example of using social media to organize and to share a goal with a relatable, non-financial motive: to return a stolen cellphone into the right hands. This made all the difference in calling attention to a verdict that would gone unchallenged otherwise.

Response to McSweeny’s articles

The two articles we read are meant to be extremely satirical yet they hold a grain of truth about modern writing in the 21st century. In the Syllabus article, Robert Lanham pokes fun of young people preferring simplified internet speak while blogging, tweeting, and interacting on facebook. He states that we are in the post-print age and goes on to outline a class that teaches its’ students how to write in 140 characters or less, adapt their writing for short and easy to read blog posts, and why printed words aren’t good for the environment.

In Cameron Dodd’s article, he provides us with a list of 11 humorous writing class assignments that can actually be applied to the real world. My favorite one was “Write an obituary for a family member who was, by all accounts, an emotionally distant asshole and unaccomplished poet.”

The purpose of the humor in the aforementioned articles is to point out where our writing classes are lacking in the contemporary world. In college writing classes we are taught how to write analytically and in the proper MLA format. We write research papers that can easily be over 10 pages and cite our sources so we are not accused of plagiarism. We are advised to expand our vocabulary so our writing appears to be at college level and not like the book report of an 5th grader.

Needless to say, some of the information learned in writing classes are valuable; I believe that my writing has improved tremendously after high school. But the main point of the articles (which I agree with) is that what we are taught is outdated. After graduation, many of us are going to be working primarily on the internet or uploading our work on the internet. Whether it be journalism, filming, marketing, or advertising, we will be (and already are) spending a massive amount of time on the internet. Our research and writing classes need to reflect that.

Unless you are going into a science related field, there will be no need for to write wordy research papers. Professors need to focus on more modern writing styles like blog posts and online news articles that are meant to be read by the common person and not a research scientist. Some of the points the articles make are a bit extreme, for example in the Syllabus article, Lanham outlines that books and magazines are obsolete. Although satire is heavily used throughout, the underlying message rings true: our college level writing courses are not easily integrated with the internet world.

Articles:

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/college-writing-class-assignments-with-real-world-applications

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/internet-age-writing-syllabus-and-course-overview