Final Project: Engineering and Refugees in Tucson

For my final project, I visited the Refugee Resource Center in Tucson, Arizona. I found Bill O’Brien, a volunteer who teaches refugees engineering. I was also able to speak with two refugees themselves. Amani Lukeba, who is from DR Congo, and Shah Moradian, who is from Afghanistan. I was able to speak with Lukeba and Moradian on their thoughts about the U.S., and some misunderstandings Americans may have of refugees.

For a secondary element, I have included two interactive graphs that are below my video. One graph highlights the number of refugees admitted to the United States from The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). The second graph highlights the number of refugees admitted to the United States from Afghanistan. In order to get the full experience, click on a graph, then hover of the blue bars to find the number.

Note: These numbers show the refugees that we’re admitted, not all the ones that applied for refugee status.

Source:

Refugee Processing Center, also used by the U.S. Department of State

https://www.state.gov/j/prm/releases/statistics/

Sources for video:

Shah Moradian (520) 848 – 9753

Amani Lukeba – (240) 389 – 7001

Bill O’Brien – (520) 561 – 6467

A6: Live Event

For my live event (A6) I decided to attend Refugee 101 info night. It was held on Aprl 27, 2017. The location was Pima Community College 29th Street Coalition Center. The event was held to educate the public on what a refugee is, and how does one help them?

B4

Review of “The Fight for Falluja” 360 VR Video, The New York Times

When reading different news stories, I often find myself bored, especially when I am reading the same story, from different sources, over and over again. I’ve come to realize that it is not simply the repetition that bores me, but also the method. If I am “experiencing” the same news again, it isn’t that fun when I am reading it once more. However, what about watching it?

Thanks to 360 VR (Virtual Reality) technology, there is a new method to experiencing news stories. Rather than simply show a video, and talk over it, news reporters can now, with new technology, show the audience what it is like to be in the places they are reporting. It does this by allowing the viewer to click on the video, and drag around their mouse to get a 360 view of the picture.

For “The Fight For Falluja”, reported by New York Times photographer Ben C. Solomon, this has an incredible affect on the story. Reporting on Iraqi forces’ attempts to take back the city of Falluja from ISIS,  Solomon uses the technology to his full advantage. The video is very easy to use, and the reporting done in it is excellent.

One of the things I really liked about it was the ability to really see what was going on. Whenever Solomon points out something, like how here is a battle taking place, the viewer is able to see it from all angles. Rather than wonder what the landscape is, or what people are doing all around him, the VR let’s the audience see those things for themselves.

One specific example I like is when Solomon is talking about the cells where ISIS would keep prisoners. When the cell doors are opened, the viewer can then experience what it would be like to be there. This is because, unlike a normal video where you might only get one perspective, the technology allows you to see just how small the “prison” really is. Thus, the technology enhances the detail of the story, as well as the experience.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend the video, which I will link below. It is a sad watch, but the way in which it was shot was very well done. Also, I do have to commend Ben C. Solomon on a job well done, and The New York Times for using this technology so well!

Here is the video:

 

 

 

B3

Review of “The 5 Biggest Problems Plaguing Digital Journalism”

On Medium.com, there is a very interesting article called “The 5 Biggest Problems Plaguing Digital Journalism”. The article was written on January 6, 2016, and was written by Simone Stolzoff. In the article, Stolzoff says what he feels are the 5 major problems, which are; “Monetization”, “The filter bubble”, “Clickbait”, “Disruptive UX”, and “Our attention spans”.

On the topic of monetization, Stolzoff argues that while there are many companies, and news agencies, that can make money from online resources, many still can’t. And one of the main problems is that the companies that can make the money, take up all the readers, leaving the other places in a worse position. Adding to that problem is the issue of what Stolzoff refers to as “the filter bubble”. Because of algorithms, there are ways for the internet to simply show us content “based on past behavior.” Stolzoff says that this in turn keeps us from exploring new content, and with that the means to broaden our horizons, or even challenge our own worldview.

Another issue Stolzoff mentions is “clickbait”. When using that word, the author is mainly trying to highlight the use of “clickbait headlines”. Stolzoff says that because of the amount of clicks a headline can bring, there are many that are “full of superlatives, numbers, and curiosity gaps”. Though I do like that the author mentioned this as a problem, I am somewhat disappointed he did not go into more detail.

When Stolzoff uses the phrase “disruptive UX”, he is referring to the design of some websites, claiming that by increasing the amount of ads on their pages, that sites are in fact discouraging visitors to re-visit. As someone who has not re-visited certain websites, due to a disruptive layout concerning ads, I found this reasoining to be very relatable, and true.  Finally, the author mentions that “our attention spans are shrinking”, and that this damages are ability to read in-depth, and also causes readers to skim, rather than actually read an entire article.

Stolzoff, concluding his article, the suggests for the reader to “Pay for an article, just one, and see how it feels.” A reader should do this, the author argues, for three main reasons.The first one is that paying for an article can be a commitment, and when one commits to something their investing in it as well. Next, Stolzoff says it may feel good to know you’re directly supporting an artist, writer, or creator. Finally, he says that paying for an article will put the reader “back in the drivers seat”. This is because the reader is actively choosing what content they pay for.

In my opinion, I thought Stolzoff wrote a very interesting essay. However, I must admit to feeling a bit dissapointed. As I mentioned, the author came up with 5 different problems digital journalism is facing, and listed them. But rather than expand on his ideas, he only really jotted down a sentence or two for each one. To me, it just felt a little big too rushed, but I still appreciated the topic of discussion.

Article URL: https://medium.com/adventures-in-consumer-technology/the-5-biggest-problems-plaguing-digital-journalism-5b2bda0d24ed#.yx9dcy7ic