The Future of Lenny Letter

lenny2.pngSome millennials swoon over the prospect of joining Taylor Swift’s #squad, but if there’s any power lady clique worth joining, it’s Lenny Letter‘s line of guest contributors, helmed by “Girls” co-producers Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. The duo launched their radically-feminist email newsletter in October of last year, and they’ve since amassed 400,000 subscribers in just six months. Lenny defies the argument that the email platform is archaic, touting a 65% open rate — 42% higher than the average email campaign’s (according to MailChimp).

Lenny epitomizes the concept of “art for social change.” The newsletter has thus far featured essays authored by influential female figures — not just celebrities from popular culture, but respected leaders in a variety of fields such as politics, business, technology, and so forth. Its list of contributors currently includes actresses Jennifer Lawrence and Jane Fonda, comedienne Sarah Silverman, First Lady Michelle Obama, and former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao. Its list of exclusive interviews thus far includes presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and businesswoman Melinda Gates. It’s clear that the celebrity names have largely prompted readers to subscribe and read, and the appeal has yielded fruits of financial success, as well.

Emailed to subscribers twice every week, Lenny doesn’t shy away from long-form content, even when modern media seems to be obsessed with the fleeting attention spans of millennial audiences. Usually with six articles in each Tuesday’s email, Lenny isn’t a 5-minute read like TheSkimm, another feminist newsletter. Instead of capturing current events in short, digestible bites, Lenny digs deeper into trending topics of the moment: Lena responded after Kesha lost her sexual assault court case; she wrote about photo retouching after her image was morphed in a Spanish magazine; Lenny opened conversations about abortion, gun regulation, equal pay, and birth control during the weeks the government discussed them.

According to Buzzfeed, Lenny’s lucrative model now employs a full-time staff of four: Editor in chief, Jessica Grose, is a former Slate editor and Jezebel writer. Editor at large Doreen St. Félix has written for Pitchfork and BuzzFeed, associate editor Laia Garcia still writes for Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie magazine, and editorial assistant Dianca Potts edits for LIT magazine.  With not many staff to compensate on the payroll, Lenny has constructed a star-studded reputation where contributing to the platform is more an honor than an opportunity for freelance pay. Its contributors rarely write more than one article, and illustrators usually only submit one piece of art.

Ultimately, this is why Lenny Letter is, and will continue to be, successful:

-the EMAIL NEWSLETTER medium

-strategic SOCIAL MEDIA usage

-the CELEBRITY FACTOR

-its HEARST PARTNERSHIP

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EMAIL NEWSLETTER MEDIUM

Curated newsletters have been successful as of late because they understand and cater to their niche audiences. It may help that they select and deliver news straight to the inbox, so readers don’t need to seek out — amalgamate from blogs and social media — their reading for the day.

Specifically, Lenny seems counterintuitive: its target demographic consists of young millennial women whose waning attention spans are supposedly “responsible” for the death of long-form media (hence the rise of Buzzfeed, listicles, and 140-character stories). However, Lenny exemplifies giving readers what they “need” instead of want. Lenny’s introductory message was 7,300 words alone, and each newsletter averages 6,000-7,000 words — a seemingly nauseating amount to read.

Katie Penrod, a University of Michigan sophomore and Michigan Daily news editor subscribed to Lenny Letter upon a friend’s recommendation. In an email interview, she said, “I think the density and length of the newsletter could be a deterrent for some people, but the themes and stories throughout the emails are powerful and worth reading.”

Lenny editor in chief Jessica Grose told the Washington Post in an interview:

When it is read in the e-mail newsletter format, it’s so much cleaner, and the images and the words — it’s almost a throwback to reading magazines,” said Jessica Grose, the editor at Lenny Letter. “We want that kind of experience. We want the individual experience.

According to a Neiman Lab article published just last month, “Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter has grown to 400,000 subscribers with a 65 percent open rate.” TheSkimm can be viewed as a model for comparison, because its key demographic also includes females aged 18-34. According to a 2014 Wall Street Journal article, “At Year Two, TheSkimm Hits 500,000 Subscribers.” So, whereas it took two years for TheSkimm to reach 500,000 subscribers; after just half a year, Lenny Letter has already hit 400,000 subscribers. Whereas TheSkimm built an impressive 45% open rate, Lenny has already a 20% higher open rate.

In 2015, one year after WSJ calculated, Neiman Lab reported that TheSkimm’s subscriber numbers exponentially increased from 500K to 1.5 million. If the email newsletter platform is to be accounted for, TheSkimm’s growth trajectory could reflect what Lenny has the potential to do at an even faster rate.

According to the Neiman Lab’s Justin Ellis, “The Skimm’s passionate readership helped its newsletter grow to 1.5 million subscribers“:

Media companies have been rediscovering the power of email in recent months, building out newsletters to amplify their work and create new connections with readers in their inboxes.

When Ellis asked, “Is email an old technology?” Danielle Weisberg, one of the co-founders of TheSkimm, answered:

A lot of the original investors we pitched to would say things like ‘Email is dead’ and ‘Why don’t you create an app instead?’ But they would say it to us over email, which kind of illustrated our point — we don’t believe email is dead… We believe email is how people really communicate with each other, especially when we looked at the morning routines of our target audience… The Skimm focuses on women ages 22–34 in big cities throughout the country… And email is very much in the routines of the demo that we’re going after.

SOCIAL MEDIA

To counter lamentations that newsletters are archaic because they’ree time-consuming, Lenny uses social media for faster consumption.

FACEBOOK

It all started with Jennifer Lawrence’s personal essay — controversially titled “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars?” — about Hollywood’s gender pay gap. As Lenny’s first-ever published piece, JLaw’s essay didn’t appear on its website or in people’s inboxes; the text was first pasted into a Facebook post on Lawrence‘s account. Even if Lenny wasn’t first to publish the text though, Lawrence made it clear that the piece was specifically for Lena Dunham’s publication:

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Lawrence’s powerfully-feminist statement almost singlehandedly launched Lenny into widespread recognition: liked over 178,000 times and shared almost 26,000 times on Facebook alone, not to mention covered in several other publications. The Internet went crazy, and it sparked heated discussion about the sexist wage gap in the entertainment industry.

INSTAGRAM

Upon first glance, Lenny’s Instagram bio makes it clear that it understands and caters toward its audience: “Dismantling the patriarchy, one newsletter at a time.” Lenny’s content is multimodal — featuring commissioned illustrations alongside its articles — so Instagram is more suited to highlight the art where Twitter promotes the writing.

Instagram is a photo-focused platform where links can’t be clicked or even copied in captions; users must make the extra effort to follow the “link in bio.” So, Lenny uses Instagram specifically to feature their original commissioned illustrations and photography, allowing their articles to come secondary. Here, the feature of artwork feels like a less commercial, more altruistic form of native advertising — supporting up-and-coming artists instead of large corporations. Consequently, Instagram is more widely-used platform that can showcase original artwork in ways even Lenny’s 65% open rate can’t. Of Lenny’s 400,000 subscribers, 140,000 (the 35% who subscribe but don’t always open), could belong to the 220,000 Instagram followers who can quickly consume the artwork without the time commitment of reading.

TWITTER

Lenny Letter’s Twitter presence is the best testament to the digital community of feminists it’s created. Recently, Lenny brought its online community to real life when it held its first event — a reading by contributors at a New York City bookstore. Twitter was the perfect social interactive to promote attendance.

 

YOUTUBE

Though Lenny’s YouTube isn’t as active as its other social media accounts, its videos support its feminist agenda and certainly emphasize the celebrity interviews it conducts. The clips, later shared on Twitter and Facebook, are rarely more than 4 minutes and often under 60 seconds, such as this 14-second bit here:

The channel further’s Lenny’s “celebrity branding” that helps raise awareness of the newsletter. Below is a scripted skit featuring Dunham and comedienne Amy Schumer, who also has many devoted fans that could discover Lenny through the video.

HEARST PARTNERSHIP

As a result of its Hearst partnership, Lenny’s sister publications help promote the newsletter by selectively republishing stories on their platform. This helps monetize the publication, recruit writers, and diversify its readership.

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As Dunham announced in the fifth newsletter:

We also wanted to let you know that in the next few weeks we are going to start running advertising in our newsletter and on lennyletter.com through our new partnership with Hearst Magazines. Hearst is going to help us by spreading the Lenny word across its digital platforms like Elle, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Marie Claire, and more. (Our articles will be online a day after our email subscribers have had the exclusive look. Y’all are the originals)… (This partnership will help us) pay our authors and artists fairly

For comparison, TheSkimm is independently operated by investors and sponsorships, such as Chelsea Handler, the NBA, and their “Skimm’bassadors” — readers who voluntarily promote their content. On the contrary, Lenny operates under the umbrella of Hearst; instead of separate sponsorships, it feeds off of Hearts’ advertisement sales.

As Konner told Buzzfeed, “The project will be self-funded at first, but slowly establish revenue streams from a mix of carefully selected advertisers and e-commerce that collaborates with independent female artists and designers in ethical, affordable, and witty apparel and design items.” Thus, Lenny has even opened its own online store of “feminist merch,” such as banners that say “STAUNCH” or nude-figure incense holders, all designed by commissioned artists.

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It’s uncertain how much Lenny editors are salaried, and even though Konner confirmed that all contributors are paid, it’s significantly less than keeping on staff writers. The four staff Lenny does empoly help recruit guest journalists and interviewers from the publications they’ve formerly worked for, such as Jezebel, MTV, Hello Giggles, Rookie, Slate, and so forth.

CELEBRITY FACTOR: pros and cons

PROS: Whereas TheSkimm grew from 200 to 6,000 Skimm’bassadors in one year to help grow readership, Lenny uses it’s “star power” to gain traction instead.  Posts written by or interviewing famous figures almost immediately go viral, most notably like JLaw’s piece, Lena’s essay on Kesha, or model Emily Ratajowski‘s story on body love. It also helps to have Lena Dunham, an activist active on most social media platforms, at the helm.

Penrod stated, “I think the stories with celebrities give Lenny an appeal and an edge. Having celebrities share sometimes very personal stories is something that intrigues people maybe more than a writer who is not well known.”

CONS: One of the main critiques of Lenny Letter is that it isn’t formal journalism. This is partially acceptable because Lenny’s content is akin to magazine or features journalism.  While it doesn’t deliver straight news, it covers current events and trending topics through features of figures in the field. Grose explains the aesthetic they aspire to is like “Rookie’s Big Sister” or “Goop meets Grantland.”

The four staff editors and many contributing writers come from editorial backgrounds (many are currently reporters for other publications), but most celebrity contributors do not. This is where Lenny differs from traditional features journalism, and it begs the question: “Does ‘celebrity authorship’ offer more leniency on ‘quality’?”

Ultimately, Penrod states, “I think Lenny Letter will be successful for a long time, especially because of the niche audience who watches ‘Girls’ and admires Lena Dunham (sic).”

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Artist Activst

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie soared to recognition when her viral “We Should All Be Feminists” TED Talk was sampled in Beyoncé’s “Flawless” in December of 2013. Adichie’s TED Talk hit a viral 2.3 million views on YouTube alone, and her words in the single sold almost 830,000 downloads in just three days. In the song, an excerpt of Adichie’s speech defines: “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.” Going forward, Adichie joined “Queen Bey” and the force of public figures promoting feminism to a mainstream audience.

Adichie, 38, was born to university-affiliated parents in Enugu, Nigeria, an ethnically-Igbo college town. After pursuing medicine at the University of Nigeria for slightly over one year, she transferred to the United States at 19 to study communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Academia now regards Adichie as a venerable author who holds higher degrees from John’s Hopkins and Yale, as well as a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as the “genius grant.” Her most recent novel, Americanah, won the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award in 2014. Around the same time, “Flawless” rose to the top of iTunes charts in 104 countries then won the Grammy Award for album of the year, launching Adichie’s words into “fame.” In amalgamation of her scholastic and pop culture identities, Adichie embodies a “celebrity author” – an identity, when coupled with that as a woman of color, that galvanizes her mission to promote social justice.

As a celebrity who writes about her marginalized identity, Adichie assumes the responsibilities of a social activist, translating issues of feminism, racial equality, and Nigeria from her novels for a wider audience. In fact, Adichie views her activism as almost an obligation since she has a platform to megaphone her ideas. In her most recent novel, Americanah, the protagonist’s friend “used that word, ‘lazy,’ often, for…black celebrities who were not politically active” (Adichie, 312).

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Adichie’s 5 books: Americanah, Half of a Yellow Sun, Purple Hibiscus, We Should All Be Feminists, and The Thing Around Your Neck

In January of 2015, Adichie published a short story on Medium.com based on Olikoye, a Nigerian leader who opened wider access to vaccines and family planning classes in the ’80s. However, Slate writer Katy Waldman reveals in an article literally titled, “Chimamanda Adichie’s New Story Is Gorgeous. I Wish It Weren’t Also Propaganda,” that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned Adichie along with 30 other artists to promote the importance of vaccines. Waldman berates art commission as an initiative that simplifies a complex issue into more digestible pieces for mass consumption. Her description of “commission” seems quite similar to giving a TED Talk – also a compromise of authority with TED regulations that must appeal to mass audiences. While Waldman critiques Adichie for exploiting her celebrity status, she ultimately describes Adichie’s task as “fashion(ing) a narrative that might ‘break into new audiences who may otherwise not be paying attention to the issue’ of vaccination.” In this case, Adichie simply fulfills her activist duties by using her fame to raise awareness of an important health care issue.

Adichie’s art functions for social change, so reproducing her work contributes to the eradication of ignorance. As Adichie’s messages are shared, they become ingrained in society: feminism is gaining prevalence and more people are becoming aware of racial microaggressions. Over time, what society deems “charismatic” now (feminism as trendy, racism forgotten as an ever-present issue) will later become tradition – laws enacted to bridge gender pay gaps and racial inequality.

Traditional academic instincts often discount popular culture as ideally autonomous from literature. However, Adichie violates the unwritten rule that “serious” writers should be dismissive towards more widespread forms of communication. Consuming Adichie’s body of text – beyond her novels – only enhances readers’ understandings of the activist messages in her traditional literature.

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Vogue U.K. March 2015

Photo Story: ‘Present Day’ Filming Week 3

“Present Day” is a 30-minute short about a recovering alcoholic, and the story aims to raise awareness about addiction. The film, the University of Michigan’s highest-level production, will premiere at Traverse City Film Festival this July.

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Set: Before
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Set: Dressed
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Scene: Marie’s Lab
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Rehearsals for cast and lighting for crew
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Slate: Scene 2, Take 1
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Cameras: rolling
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Action!
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Goofing around in between takes
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Reviewing footage
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Wrapped Week 3!

Infographic: Digital Communities for Social Change

Change.org is a platform that implements social media (Facebook and Twitter) to create and share petitions for social change. After reaching 10 million users last summer, the organization broke down its growth.

They defined their “victories” as petitions that prompted real life action and change. Some of their biggest successes included the release of a new epilepsy drug in Brazil, the investigation of a government official in India, and the implementation of certain disciplinary action in FIFA. change

Source: Change.org

This particular graphic is effective because it’s easy to read. In data visualization, simplicity is key. From a visual standpoint, the design is clean, the font is legible, and the scale is unambiguous.

Instead of cramming excessive facts into one visual, this graph focuses on only one concept (growth of user and victory numbers) so the reader isn’t overwhelmed. Quality over quantity. Instead, the article simply creates a separate visual to account for the other facts.

Perhaps one small shortcoming with having 2 visuals instead of 1 is just more work on the reader’s part.

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Source: Change.org

The duty of journalists has always been to tell stories. Traditionally, reporters did this through words, their primary responsibilities spanning research and writing. Now, the demand is for modern reporters to represent stories beyond the text.  Visuals (like infographics) and interactives (like GIFs) provide ancillary support to the article. According to the Data Journalism Handbook, data visualization can back up the facts, it can allow readers to engage with the material, it can “transform something abstract into something everyone can understand and relate to.”

More importantly than just telling the story, journalists must analyze it — make sense of it for the reader. With multimedia, “a journalist can build a strong position supported by data… They can analyze the dynamics of a complex situation like riots or political debates, show the fallacies and help everyone to see possible solutions to complex problems.”

 

As “Post Industrial Journalism” states, today’s journalist must “(understand) the technological changes to their field of practice and (experiment) with new tools and techniques.” Modern reporters are expected to have a multitude of capabilities — shooting photo, taking video, editing footage, designing graphics, embedding content, the list goes on. Consequently, they must learn additional software such as the Adobe suite, Final Cut, Javascript — again, the list goes on.

The Data Journalism Handbook outlined the difficulties of investing time (and money) to train journalists with these multimedia skills. As Mirko Lorenz writes:

Working with data is like stepping into vast, unknown territory… It needs experienced journalists, who have the stamina to look at often confusing, often boring raw data and ‘see’ the hidden stories in there.

App Review: NPR One

When I first open the NPR One app, the home page automatically plays Michigan Radio, my local station. I understand that one of the app’s main aims is to offer and promote more local content — apparently upon NPR listeners’ request according to a recent Neiman Lab article:

One of the biggest indicators of people coming back to NPR more often is the presence of a local newscast. If you hear a local newscast, you come back more often,” Sara Sarasohn, editorial lead for NPR One, said.

Sarasohn’s statement intrigues me because I wonder if it applies to tech-savvy millennials who consume largely on mobile on the go. Being constantly on the go means having to be more selective about listening content — so the popular podcasts that people do rave about are usually ones like Serial — either for entertainment or for national breaking news.

I’ll admit: I’m not very interested in local news, so I was looking for customization based on interests instead of proximity. Perhaps a “pre-test” that could filter stations and stories geared toward genres I liked (comedy, politics, etc.) would have been helpful.

Under the explore tab, the “recommendations” required a “guess and check” process; I had to scroll through all the stories, click blindly on ones that sounded interesting, then manually tag them as “interesting.” Again, filters could tailor metrics to narrow down recommendations. Also, tags other than “interesting” (such as “funny,” “intellectual,” “long,” “quick listen,” etc.) could help personalize listening preferences.  

 The top stories presented to me were “Planet Money: Why Do We Tip?” and “TED Radio Hour: Getting Organized” — finance and social science, two subjects I have the least interest in.   

Next was Michigan Radio content: “Stateside with Cynthia Canty: Karen Korematsu…civil liberties,” then much further down, a Flint water crisis story. Typically, I don’t follow local news closely unless it’s critical breaking news. I conjecture many listeners share the same sentiment: they would sooner catch up on the Flint water crisis than learn about Karen Korematsu. So, if the app was trying to push local content toward me, why wouldn’t they suggest the Flint water crisis story on top? 

 
When I reached the “popular programming” section at the bottom, I finally found pop culture happy hour, something I’d actually listen to. I ended up listening to interviews with Trevor Noah, Fred Armisen, and John Mulaney.

Overall, the NPR One app aims to be the “Netflix of listening” but the app’s lack of categories limits it’s customization features. Especially since users can log in via Facebook, there seems to be an opportunity to draw personalized recommendations from users’ Facebook likes and activity.

Ultimately, I was surprised there were so few tabs: search, listen, and explore. I didn’t know where to start with the unstructured search tool; I wasn’t interested in local content under the listen tab; and the explore tab’s recommendations couldn’t customize my preferences without extensive scrolling. Therefore, I give the app a grade of C — average. NPR One is an innovative idea, but it could use some improvements.

Live-tweeting Photojournalist David Carson

On Thursday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m., Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist David Carson spoke to an intimate crowd at the University of Michigan’s Rackham Graduate amphitheater. At an “Evening Through the Lens of David Carson,” he shared his experiences photographing war zones in the Middle East and most importantly, Ferguson following Mike Brown. Carson’s career has consistently involved putting his own safety in peril — including being beaten up, almost arrested, and threatened by rioters — stories that shocked listeners. It was inspiring how Carson not only portrayed raw emotion, but told narratives of America’s most important cultural moments, through visuals. His compelling journey inspired the reporters and photographers in the audience to use their craft as a vehicle for awareness.

Is Arts News Effective in Print?

Ben Brantly of the New York Times recently reviewed the off-Broadway play, ‘‘Skeleton Crew,’ a Tale of Autoworkers in Hard-Hit Detroit.’ His review highlighted the character and actor dynamics of the performance, which he says narrates the relationships and social issues of Detroit during the Great Recession.

In print, there are always spacing constraints, especially for the Arts section, which is usually given far fewer pages than the five larger sections that precede it. These spacing restrictions firstly impact the headline, as character-count limits in print cannot afford the details of the lengthy online headline. Second, the paper must omit this second photo, as seen online, again because of space issues:

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Photo courtesy of The New York Times

Additionally, the online version can include this embedded map, which may prompt the reader to actually attend the play. When given a concrete location like this, the play isn’t just an abstract review, but a tangible event.

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Perhaps most importantly, articles online have the ability to hyperlink, which can expand the discussion and offer readers more background beyond the article. As Brantley does it:

“a very fine new play by Dominique Morisseau that opened on Tuesday night at the Atlantic Stage 2 … the third installment in Ms. Morisseau’s trilogy of plays set in Detroit”

Thus, readers can learn more about Morisseau through a NYT feature on her work (a nice NYT self-promo), and they can also get more information about the play’s venue (drawing traffic and publicity Atlantic Stage 2’s way). Ultimately, these hyperlinks create a network that wouldn’t be possible with a one-dimensional (literally) story in print.

 

I typically find myself more prone to skim (or read faster) in print, since there are so many stories right at my fingertips — it can be overwhelming.  Especially for Arts articles, it’s easy to be distracted by more “newsy” stories when flipping through a physical paper. When I have an article open online though, that is the only piece I’m committed to, so I’m reading more carefully.

According to Clay Shirky’s blog article, Last Call: the end of printed newspaper, print ad revenues are at their lowest in history, as they have plummeted by almost 65% in just 10 years. Unfortunately, The New York Times Innovation Report provides ancillary confirmation to Shirky’s statistics: the NYT has 40 times more mobile and web readers than print subscribers — 50 million compared to 1.25 million.

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Infographic courtesy of The New York Times Innovation Report

In response to their readership numbers, as laid out by the Innovation Report, “The Times needs to pursue smart new strategies for growing our audience. The urgency is only growing because digital media is getting more crowded, better funded and far more innovative.”

Their goal is to ultimately become a “truly digital organization.” Their strategies for audience development started with making their articles more readily discovered, then retaining loyal readers — both of which require involvement through social networks. Print becomes very limiting without these functions.

 

 

After reading the Report, I’d grade Brantley’s online story a B+, as it incorporated photos, an embedded map, and hyperlinks, which fulfills many aspects of the NYT goal engage more digitally. Perhaps the online article could’ve additionally included some backstage or rehearsal footage, or maybe a photo gallery to engage readers further.

 

About Me

Welcome!

My name is Karen, and I originally hail from Boston. I’m now a third-year senior double majoring in English and psychology at the University of Michigan.

As a contributing writer for Forbes, I’ve covered digital culture, education, and tech news. For USA Today College, I’ve written about campus culture. In 2015, I served as the Television/New Media editor at The Michigan Daily, where I oversaw arts features and TV/film reviews. I also have a personal travel blog on Medium.

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According to “Post Industrial Journalism,” an essay published in the Tow Center, as newsrooms become smaller, individual journalists must “(understand) the technological changes to their field of practice and (experiment) with new tools and techniques.” Thus, a modern reporter’s responsibilities encompass not only research and writing, but taking photos and video, editing them both, and adapting them for both print and web audiences. Personally, I practice photojournalism on Flickr, where I mostly shoot concerts and music festivals. I have been working with films for about three years now, and my interest in filmmaking fuels my fascination for arts journalism.

(‘Three,” A short film I wrote, directed, and edited last year).

As a millennial, I am incessantly connected to my mobile devices, as some would say, to a fault (thank you, Sherry Turkle). I not only receive most my news from social media, but I use my personal accounts for journalistic purposes, as well. I use my Instagram to photographically share my own print articles; I repost think-pieces and long-form features on Facebook; I retweet breaking news and live-tweet TV shows through Twitter.

Primarily due to the onset of smartphones, my media consumption level has exponentially increased since starting college. Growing up, my parents and I would watch NBC Nightly News then Access Hollywood every weeknight over a two-hour sit-down dinner. From these two programs, I received a brief run-down of breaking news — stories I passively consumed since they were “selected” for me to hear. Now, select the news sources I want to follow, the stories I want to see, and the depth to which I want to know about a story.

As a university student, I no longer have lengthy free time in front of a television; news must move on the go with me. On the other hand, my parents, not only of another generation but also Chinese immigrants, find that the of visual, audial, written, and spoken text on TV allows for easier consumption.

As an aspiring journalist, I’ve found that there is now more pressure to find a “niche,” or have specialist knowledge, instead of learning “hard skills” from J-school. In an example “Post Industrial Journalism” cited, “SCOTUSblog demonstrates that journalism can be done outside traditional newsrooms, by individuals free of traditional demands of both commerce and process.”

My personal “niche” primarily includes arts & entertainment, and lifestyle news. Taking advantage of the local scene, my beat will encompass art for social change in the metro-Detroit region — from community theater that raises awareness of an issue, to art exhibits that benefit poverty alleviation, to local artists working to make a change.