22 August 2006

I can be my own reporter

When I was younger, I briefly thought about being a reporter. Part of
this was due to watching Dad as a freelance reporter for a couple of
newspapers in the area. My only problem was that I was a little on
the shy side to ask people questions. I have since gotten over that
issue, as far as it is concerned with finding information.

With the new media that has been popping, mainly due to RSS and the
explosion of electronic devices that make it easy to record stuff, I
realized that I can be my own reporter. How is this possible? Here's a
rundown of things you can do.

Do you own a digital camera? A camera phone? Do you have a blog?
Do you own a wireless device that allows you to get on the internet?
Do you own a digital voice recorder?

Say you see something interesting that you think people would be
interested in like a fire. You can take pictures of the event with
the camera, take notes with your PDA or even record and interview with
the Fire department or owner of the building. With a little editing,
you can go to your nearest WiFi hotspot to upload the pictures and mp3
files and post the story that updates your RSS file. Anyone who
subscribes to your feed can then see the story.

With Flickr's new email capability, allowing you to send pictures from
your camera phone and posting to your blog as well (Blogger has this
capability too), you can do this from almost anywhere.

I find this exciting. In a way as Mom and Dad post pictures to their
Flickr site and Dad updates his blog as well as Mary and I, and Amy
and Brendon, we can report our own stories that our families find
interesting. I report stuff for Mom and Dad, and everyone else who
reads my blog, provide my opinion and analysis, and just provide
pictures for people to see.

I have been debating on starting my own podcast (i.e. my own radio
show for people to download). I always liked doing radio when I
worked at AccuWeather, so I always to see how I can get back at it.
My biggest stumbling blocks are time and what to podcast. Well I have
the latter figured out. I look at what kind of weather information
people would want here in northern Michigan. Most of it is available,
but a lot of people don't know how to interpret some of the weather
data to apply it to their situation.

Here, the main thing is recreational weather. Outdoor activities here
are one of the main economic forces. So I have been toying with the
idea of doing recreational forecasts for here. The only problem that
I will run into besides time, will be that as a federal government
worker, I have to be careful about doing anything that is related to
my field of work and using the tools or the appearance of using the
tools and my government time to do a personal thing, especially if I
could make money with it.

So what am I saying here? You can do almost any type of reporting and
you don't have to work through the traditional media. I subscribe to
several different types of news services, some of which are not
traditional, but are blogs and podcasts, and I find that I am just as
informed as anyone else.

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