Slackershot : Nikon D40 accessorizedI went to the polls yesterday with my mind set on who I would vote for (President-Elect Barack Obama) and a Nikon D40 with an SB600 speed flash. As I’ve mentioned before many times, perception is everything. Lugging around a DSLR with a speed flash and a long lens instantly creates the perception among many people that you’re a photographer in some official capacity. No fewer than 8 times waiting to vote, I was asked by fellow voters and election officials if I was a reporter.

In the 2004 elections, the answer would have been no.

In 2006, the answer would have been I don’t know. Blogging, podcasting, new media was still so new that no one really had a feel for what they were doing, for what kind of power they had.

Yesterday, I quietly and confidently said yes. Yes, I am a reporter. I may not be to the caliber that will ever put a Pulitzer Prize in my office, but I fulfill the role of a journalist by finding and presenting news to an audience, whether it’s for the Financial Aid Podcast, Marketing Over Coffee, or my blog here. I am a journalist, even more so than the “traditional” media in my hometown, which couldn’t even get a photographer to one of our largest polling sites until late morning, and the photos I’d taken were up on Flickr and CNN iReport shortly after they were taken as polls opened.

More important, you are a reporter, too. If you have a blog, if you have a media production like a podcast, if you have anywhere you publish online, you are a reporter. You are a member of the media, and that carries great opportunities and great responsibilities.

As we open a new chapter on America after the election, we legitimize all of new media for playing a role in the outcome of the election and for President-Elect Obama’s judicious use of new and old media combined to engineer a victory.

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