Journalists need to explore new ways of using modern technologies to remain relevant, according to a US journalism lecturer and self-professed nerd.
Professor of Professional Practice in Journalism at the University of Southern California, Robert Hernandez, believes things like social media tools and augmented reality (AR) wearables like Google Glass and Oculus Rift could be adopted and hijacked by media professionals.
“We are all content creators and storytellers,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re doing it on paper or if we’re doing it on our laptops, we have now the tools to do and tell our own stories. So AR is a new platform that does that.”
Professor Hernandez, who plays with new technology to see how we can best use modern devices, told students how far they could take the use of technology within the realm of journalism.
Describing himself as a mad scientist of journalism who likes to nerd out, his main focus is exploring and developing the intersection of technology and journalism. To empower people, inform reporting, enable storytelling and engage the community.
Professor Hernandez said people were all so connected to mobile devices “for better or for worse”.
“Everyone has a mobile device on them all the time, whether it’s in your hand, at arm’s reach or in your back pocket. We are all using them,” he said.
“More than 90 per cent of Americans have their mobile phone [on them] 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s the first thing we look at when we wake up and the last thing we look at before we go to bed.”
Professor Hernandez said the Boston bombings showed the world how society’s use of these devices was at the forefront of our being.
He said the use of Twitter and the photos taken by the public on Twitter helped to find the suspects. He said even in an emergency situation, where people were running for their lives, the first instinct was to take a photo and share it online.
Professor Hernandez pointed out that when the social media platform first emerged, Twitter was shunned by the public as being useless.
“They used to say ‘nah the Internet is just a fad, why would I use that when I can read the paper’,” he said of the technology that now reaches two billion people worldwide. – Jacinta Scott
You can take one of Professor Hernandez’s USC Augmented Reality lectures online at: http://scholarsonline.usc.edu/augmentedreality/lesson/
Top photo from Nan Palmero’s Flickr photostream.