Storify – The Law School Decision

If you’ve followed my blog this summer, you know that I am in the process of applying to law schools for September 2014.  I recently wrote the LSAT in June and scored in the 71st percentile.  Although this is a respectable score, considering I essentially winged it, I need a score closer to the 90s to get into the schools I am hoping to be admitted to.  After just starting an intensive 2-month LSAT prep course, I am focused on achieving my goal at the October writing of the LSAT.  But the decision to push forward with this goal has not been a simple one.  Many people will have differing opinions on whether or not to attend law school, the pain and self-doubt that occurs during the process, and the actual benefits that can be obtained from completing a law degree.

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Module 6 – Final Summary

Well, this is it! And so begins the final blog posting for COMM 2F00.  Not sure if I’ll continue in my blogging career, but it’s been an informative journey either way.  For anyone who cares, I scored a 157 on the June LSAT, or 71st percentile.  It’s not a great score, but not terrible considering I pretty much winged it.  Now I’m starting a 2-month prep course before writing the exam again on October 5th, where I’ll be hoping for a mark in the 90’s, percentile-wise.

After reading everyone’s comments over the last week, it has become pretty apparent that all of us have enjoyed and embraced the opportunity to develop our online voice.  Through learning how to better use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Soundcloud, WordPress, Storify and the other platforms this course has utilized, we are now equipped with the weapons to be citizen journalists ourselves.  At the very least, I think we’ve all grown more aware of the opportunity for unprecedented interaction that is now available to us every day.

Many sports journalists will communicate with fans during games, in publically viewable conversations, giving anyone the ability to broadcast their sports play-by-play and opinions to hundreds of thousands of listeners. This last year, swimsuit model Kate Upton agreed (and then canceled) to go to prom with a high school student, who asked her via Twitter/YouTube.  Another teenager asked 600 porn stars to go with him over Twitter (2 said yes).  These bizarre stories have only recently had the ability to become stories.  Not only because everyday people would rarely have the opportunity to communicate with celebrities, but also because these stories can be carried, blogged about, and re-tweeted by a new breed of journalists, as these stories would likely be ignored by mainstream news outlets.

And perhaps here is where the opportunity for social activism comes in.  It’s even been suggested that uprisings over the last few years in parts of the Middle East, Iran and Egypt were largely caused by, or least aided by, campaigns on Twitter and Facebook.  These opinions then lead to counter-arguments by journalists such as Malcolm Gladwell.

Stay tuned while I try to get a hang of this Storify thing over the next few days…


Citizen Journalism – 1st Entry

In this week’s readings, Peter Dahlgren introduces the new age of citizen journalism by discussing the ability of those who are not journalists to utilize platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to share material, resulting in journalism developing into a more interactive endeavor.  Dahlgren suggests that “such civic participation is altering the character of journalism”, and I would most definitely agree.  Social media has presented opportunities for myself to get involved in these journalistic endeavors through Facebook, Twitter, and some other new methods introduced through this course: blogging, podcasting, and now, Storify.  Although this course has allowed me to discover and utilize my own online voice and persona, I still typically remain a consumer of this media.  Facebook is still primarily for checking up on what my friends are up to, and I’ve only sent one tweet on my Twitter account (that number was zero at the beginning of this course, so, baby steps).  Still, because I follow various news outlets and personalities on Twitter, it remains a valuable tool for me to obtain news, information and perspectives on current topics.  In addition, Twitter presents the unique opportunity to communicate with celebrities and personalities and collaborate with them to produce a new tool to delivery information.

However, Bruns and Highfeld point out that the emergence of citizen journalism goes beyond everyday people re-posting the news of others, but also allows amateur journalists to be first-on-the-scene and deliver breaking, first-hand news stories (Bruns & Highfield, 2012).  An example of this was as recently as this past weekend, when an airplane crashed while attempting to land in San Francisco.  Immediately video and eye-witness reports were available, but not recorded by CNN or NBC, but by everyday people recording the crash on their cell-phones, and uploading the videos to YouTube or other websites.

Certainly, the growth of citizen journalism presents a number of question marks, similar to those presented in discussion of Wikipedia, mainly the credibility of the source, and the accuracy of reporting, giving the opportunity for relative anonymity.




Dahlgren, P. (2012). Reinventing participation: civic agency and the web environment. Geopolitics, History, and International Relations. 4.2, p27.

Bruns, A. & T. Highfield. (2012). Blogs, Twitter, and breaking news: The produsage of citizen journalism. pre-publication draft on personal site []. Published in: Lind, R. A. ed. (2012). Produsing Theory in a Digital World: The Intersection of Audiences and Production. New York: Peter Lang. p15-32.


Podcast about NFL player Aaron Hernandez’s recent murder charges.  My blog is about law and my major is Sport Management, so it was meant to be. – Aaron Hernandez Murder Timeline – Business Insider – Aaron Hernandez arrest: Timeline of events – SB Nation – Aaron Hernandez – Wikipedia

Summary: Music Copyright

In response to my initial post, Dave from Paideia Posits wrote:

“…would this leave a common group with the burden to donate enough money while others consistently wait for the free version? Or will artists continue to raise their “bottom line” for new songs in order to make more money? Perhaps it would result in better products as people would only donate for new songs if the previous one was good. Poor quality would require artists to lower their new price to win back the fans…how would the consumer know what they are donating money for? How would they get their “sample”?”

I assume the donation requirement would be dictated by the popularity of the artist.  Therefore, the cost would be dependent on demand for that artist’s music.  A musician such as Jay-Z would ask for tens of millions of dollars, while an unknown artist would need to set their requirement much lower, even as low as hundreds of dollars.  It’s interesting to note that this system wouldn’t reward an artist for the success of a breakthrough debut album, as their payday wouldn’t come until they released their second album.  The financial reward for an album wouldn’t be dependent on the quality of an album, but on the quality of the album released previously.  This may result in issues if the fan base isn’t satisfied with the quality of the latest album.  It’s hard to imagine that a refund policy would be possible.  Also, the price the artist demanded would be up to them, so they could always set that requirement to “0” and release a “sample” if they wanted to.

In response to Amanda’s post, I suggested it would be interesting to see a study showing the economic impact through future purchases that are the result of free music downloads, particularly of artists that one wouldn’t have become a fan of otherwise.  After some quick Googling, that exact study wasn’t found.  However, related studies have been done, analyzing the correlation between music downloads with increases or decreases in sales.  This study found that music sales were not hurt by downloading, and suggests that downloading has allowed consumers to “sample”, and actually led to an increase in sales revenues.  However, other studies found the opposite, a decrease in sales.  Clearly this question raises several other questions, none of which have a black-or-white answer.

Copyright in an Era of Free Copies

Burkart and McCourt’s reading analyzes the legal case of A&M Records et al v Napster from 1999, also revealing the ultimate goal of the “Big Five” record labels (EMI, Universal, Sony, Time Warner, BMG): to control distribution.

Oligopoly isn’t just a funny-sounding word, it also represents a dangerous reality in any business-consumer marketplace, and like monopolies, should be avoided to provided the best conditions for the consumer.

Steinmetz and Tunnell’s article describes a study of “digital pirates” and their motivations.  Motivations were found to include their want to distribute content, to be able to sample music before making a purchase, to access content they would normally be unable to afford, as well as to avoid copyright laws.

One possible solution to the dilemma of music piracy is the concept of “Street Performer Protocol”, introduced by John Kelsey and Bruce Schneider.  This idea essentially collects “donations in escrow, to be released to an author in the event that the promised work be put in the public domain.”  This means artists will be able to say “if fans can put together $XXX, then I will release a new album”.  Once that album is released, it can be freely distributed.  If the fundraising goal is not reached (or the artist subsequently fails to produce the promised creative work), the money is returned to the users. This scheme ensures that artists are rewarded for their efforts, but also eliminates the need to control the distribution process through copyright enforcement. Interestingly, Kelsey and Schneider’s proposal was made in an academic paper in 1998, but a similar idea has recently seen widespread adoption, with the popularity of Kickstarter, IndieGogo, and similar “crowd-sourced” fundraising sites.

Kelsey and Schneider also discuss why copyright enforcement will be so difficult in the future.  Advances in technology have allowed information to be copied and shared efficiently and at very little cost.  This, combined with advances in encryption software and storage technology eliminates the previous dependence on larger, expensive and noticeable piracy factories.



Kelsey, K., Schneier, B. (1998). Electronic Commerce and the Street Performer Protocol. The Third USENIX Workshop on Electronic Commerce Proceedings

McCourt, T., P. Burkart. (2003). When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of On-line Music DistributionMedia, Culture & Society. 25 (3), pg. 333-350

Steinmetz, K., K. Tunnell (2013). Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line Pirates. Deviant Behavior. 34 (1), pg. 53-67