New Forms of Digital Journalism in Addressing Anti-Poverty Efforts
Cassidy Hansen email@example.com 00-777-5550
Dr. Ed Carter – School of Communications
Digital technology continues to revolutionize the journalism industry as the mediums where messages are shared have become more diverse. The internet provides a unique platform for niche or specialized news sites for readers. Pop-up news websites are specialized news sites dedicated to a single topic and have a time-limited existence. These websites draw audiences that are interested in the topic or who are affected by the issue. For my pop-up news website, I and a team of students focused on covering anti-poverty efforts in regions around Santiago, Chile. Through our website we attempted to cover different efforts working towards reducing poverty, including the categories of development, relief, awareness, education and entrepreneurship. These efforts included individuals working on a family, government, and business level, which gave us several places to find sources who could speak on the issue.
Our project began through a meeting the six students going on the trip, Dr. Quint Randle and Dr. Ed Carter to determine the scope and goals of our project. After conducting research about which BYU programs were implementing anti-poverty projects during Spring Term 2016, we discovered that no programs were conducting these projects at the time. Because of this unfortunate development, we decided to go to Santiago, Chile. This location was chosen because of Dr. Ed Carter’s extensive contacts near Santiago, Chile and due to the area’s slowly shrinking socio-economic gap.
We then paired together students who have video experience with students who have print experience so they could help one another with media development weaknesses. The three pairs were assigned a category to focus on finding sources who were knowledgeable in the topic. These categories included: Education, Entrepreneurship and Social Conscience. My partner and I were assigned the Entrepreneurship category. A few weeks before our 10-day reporting trip to Santiago, Chile, we contacted several sources to interview and scouted potential places to find sources who could help us better understand how Chileans use entrepreneurship to provide for themselves. We planned to create at least three videos for our website section, an in-depth print story and other pieces of multi-media, such as slideshows and graphics.
Once we arrived in Chile, we began gather video and interview several individuals for our project in Santiago, Viña Del Mar and Valparaiso. We interviewed the individuals who were contacted beforehand and several others we met while in the country. Through visiting several historical landmarks and museums, we also learned more about the history of Human Rights violations in the country and its effect on the citizens of Chile. We were also lucky enough to cover a few different protests outside of La Moneda, which is comparable to our White House.
After returning from our trip we began craft our “pop-up news” website focusing on how Chileans are challenging personal and societal poverty. As a team, we decided to use wix.com as
a platform for our site and use the Adobe Creative Suite to craft multimedia content after our raw content was translated into English. We used several elements of design to help make our website engaging and interesting to those who visit.
Our website can be found at http://www.changeforchile.com/. We created a homepage dedicated to our project theme and three other website pages titled, “Social Conscience,” “Education” and “Entrepreneurship.” The homepage includes our logo, photos, videos, a timeline and background information about Chile to aid those who are unfamiliar with the country’s history. The other website pages feature 3-4 videos along with text describing the topic. We plan to keep the website active for five years to fulfill the characteristics of a pop-up news website being temporary.
There were several difficulties in creating a pop-up news website using content we captured in a foreign country. The first obstacle was the amount of time it took to translate the interviews and video we took on our trip. While over half of the group who went to Chile spoke Spanish some vocabulary words were out of our skill level and we had to consult several Spanish speakers for guidance. Another challenge was coordinating our diverse video and writing styles. We had to go through several drafts of our content to ensure a similar style that was consistent throughout our project. This coordination issue also persisted in our website style but was fixed by establishing a style guide.
For future pop-up news sites we may participate in or create, making sure we have the necessary language skills is essential while interviewing and transcribing project material. Establishing a video, text and website style should also be completed before people who are part of the project. This will help expedite editing and placing content online at a faster pace. Other topics individuals can explore in pop-up news websites is other multimedia we did not take advantage of, such as podcasts. These sites may also consider adding content to what they currently have, or including updates in policy issues or from interviewed sources.
Creating content for a pop-up news website about poverty was challenging and unlike any other experience I have had thus far in my education. Reporting on poverty in a different country was a unique experience because poverty in Chile comes from different roots than in the United States. It was challenging and fascinating to hear different people talk about the issue and how they worked with others to combat poverty. Asking the correct questions was essential as to not offend your source or portray Chilean poverty incorrectly. It was also beneficial to put a website together from scratch. Most traditional reporters work within a framework that has already been set up at a media company. For this project, we were able to determine our own definitive style for out content and website. This will be beneficial as we participate in several different media companies and projects in our careers.