Youth and Gang Violence

My blog will discuss the issue of youth gang violence in our society

Module 6: On My Way to Becoming a Citizen Journalist

The topic I chose for my Storify article is youth gang violence because I believe that it is an on-going problem in our society today and more effort needs to be put towards preventing youth individuals from joining gangs. Also youth gang violence does not only impact just the individual, but all of us as a society so why not do something about it? With that being said, hopefully with more awareness on this topic we can help reduce the amount of youth who join gangs which will in turn help combat the issue of street gang violence.


Module 6: The Conclusion to Citizen Journalism

Wrapping up the course on the topic of citizen journalism could not be more appropriate. The comments from this week seem to suggest that most of us consider ourselves to be reader’s of citizen journalism rather than the actual writer. Elisetakahashi says that “I actually find that social media (well i only have Facebook) actually discourages me to participate in topics of citizen journalism, I am content with just reading what everyone else has to say.” I was kind of surprised by this to be quite honest and figured that more people would consider themselves citizen journalists, especially being in a course of this nature. With that being said, Twitter and Facebook appear to be a couple of social media platforms that are the most popular amongst us for either viewing or participating in citizen journalism. Melaniemunroe makes a great point that “twitter is definitely the best place to go for news updates. It is up to the minute with new information and with big broadcasting stations having their own Twitter pages; it is easy for citizens to follow.” Therefore with this technology now available to us why wouldn’t we make use of it especially when it is so fast and easy to use.

A prime example would be when I was younger I use to grab the sports section from the newspaper the odd time to get the recent news and opinions of journalists. However I did not always have the time to do this before school and the newspaper would end up in the garbage. But now I have the option to just scroll through my Twitter feed and have access to all the information I need and do it at a time that is convenient for me. Then I can comment and post my own opinion and even include the author of the original post in the discussion for their viewing. Therefore without citizen journalism I feel that the youth of today would not be as informed as they are on trending news topics all around the world (not just sports).

In the end as Cromero2013 pointed out “it’s great that the ordinary person now has a way to have his opinion heard by a large audience or contribute to information sharing on topics he is knowledgeable about.” My belief is that with social media continuing to be on the rise it only encourages us as a society to participate as much as possible with regards to citizen journalism. However whether or not we actually participate as a citizen journalist on whatever social media platform is obviously a choice left to the individual behind the phone or computer. However with that being said, maybe after the completion of this course it may have turned some people into citizen journalists that use to just sit back and enjoy reading instead of being the writer.

Module 6: Citizen Journalism

So this week we are talking about citizen journalism which “refers to an assemblage of broadly journalistic activities which are characterized by specific practical and technological affordances: they draw on the voluntary contributions of a wide-ranging and distributed network of self-selected participants rather than on the paid work of a core team of professional staff, and they utilize Internet technologies to coordinate the process and share its results” (Bruns & Highfield pg. 4). Therefore two social networks where citizen journalism is very common on is Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter “has flourished as a network for real-time news and information since its creation in 2006 and is affecting the way news is gathered, disseminated and consumed” (Hermida pg. 3). Personally I can’t think of any better two social media platforms than Facebook and Twitter for viewing and commenting on news events from all over the world. As a user of both Facebook and Twitter I am able to get access to all kinds of news such as sports, politics, justice, health etc from different media outlets as well as my friends. These new opportunities definitely encourage me to participate as a citizen journalist because it seems like everyone these days is contributing somehow with their views and/or opinions on relevant news. However that is not to say that I am frequently posting on Facebook or Twitter all the time, but every now and then I like to give my two cents on a topic if I feel that I have knowledge or something important to contribute to the discussion.

Furthermore an interesting stat I found about twitter was that by March 2011, “an average of 140 million daily messages were circulating on Twitter potentially providing a constantly updated representation of the lives, interests and opinions of the users of the service (Hermida Page 3). Technology has definitely created an easy way for users to get up to the minute access to any news by being able to share content such as status updates, links, photos, and videos. We no longer have to wait for news stations to broadcast breaking stories because these social media platforms give people the opportunity to weigh in on different events from all over the globe. This definitely encourages me to participate as a citizen journalist just because of the wide range of topics that are always readily available to talk about.

So to sum up twitter’s “underlying social, organizational, and technological structures make it exceptionally easy for users to participate in such ambient journalism processes: all that is required is that they post a short message containing the information or opinion they intend to share, as well as perhaps to mark it with a hashtag in order to increase its visibility to a wider target audience” (Bruns & Highfield pg. 12). Personally I think that citizen journalism is definitely on the rise especially with the increase in technology and more specifically the creation of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Therefore could we potentially see newspapers stop being printed in the near future?

Hermida, A. (2012). TWEETS AND TRUTH: Journalism as a discipline of collaborative verification. Journalism Practice. 6:5-6, p659-668.

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.


The information from my podcast is based on the article Developing a plan to stop Toronto’s gang violence by author Shawn Jeffords of The Toronto Sun ( I chose this article because it is relevant to my topic of youth gang violence and it also is about the city of Toronto which is home for me. Also the article gives opinions from a few criminologists about how to affectively tackle the youth gang activity and that jail time is not always the best solution.

Jeffords, Shawn. September 29, (2012). Developing a plan to stop Toronto’s gang violence. The Toronto Sun.

Module 5: Let us Download Music

The comments on this week’s topic of online piracy in terms of illegal music downloading were very interesting and all quite similar. It seems that the majority of believe that we do not see a problem with downloading music illegally and in fact “it has become something quite natural in our society” (cromero2013). Furthermore the days appear to be gone where going to your local music store and buying a CD is the most appropriate option especially for the youth in our society. Also because ITunes has seen such an increase in popularity maybe we will eventually see record companies stop producing CD’s for stores and just use the internet as their source for making money.

Bigtuna90 brought up a great point that “for many new and upcoming artists I believe file sharing their music helps them and gets their name out there much faster than the conventional route of which they may have to go which takes a lot more time.” I couldn’t agree more that file sharing actually is a great way to almost advertise these musicians who have not yet become huge stars in the music industry by allowing us to get a sample of their talent. Furthermore I would say file sharing does benefit small artists trying to make it big with an example being PSY and his song “gangnam style” which now has hundreds of millions of views on Youtube. Therefore I believe the downloading of music illegally really only has a significant impact if any on the artists who are already well known in the music world and are pretty wealthy anyway.

The downloading of music illegally certainly is a great topic for discussion and one that will continue as record companies try to get the most possible profit for them and their artists. The main problem is that file sharing is so easy and accessible that why would anyone want to pay for music now a days. On the other hand I will say that if people truly support an artist they may end up purchasing their CD and most likely attend a concert where tickets are already expensive enough. Therefore I personally do not have a problem with downloading my music illegally.

In the end I think if record companies want to at least reduce illegal music downloading it starts with educating the next generation of youth that what they are doing is in fact stealing. However completely putting a stop to the illegal music downloading issue is almost out of the question, but there are certainly ways in which to reduce or control the problem. Nevertheless whether or not the music industry and it’s artists are greatly affected from file sharing will continue to be up for debate.

Module 5 – Downloading Music Illegally

I have always been an avid music listener and therefore downloading music illegally continues to be something that I have done ever since I learned how to use the computer. Downloading music illegally is so simple and growing up I felt that I was never taught that I was technically stealing and harming the music industry and all the artists. However I did start out going to the store and buying CD’s or asking for them as gifts to play in my Walkman or Boombox. Then along came programs like Napster, Limewire and Frostwire which made downloading music so much easier and it seemed like everyone was doing it in order to keep up with the latest music. In addition, I believe it was due to the fact that there was usually only three or four good songs you liked on a CD and therefore purchasing a CD was almost seen as a waste of money. Also there is a particular pleasure to be had in turning on a friend or family member to music that they don’t know. In a very real way, it creates a social bond (Condry pg.6).

Furthermore as Steinmetz states, it is “young people, using computers to download digitized intellectual property, are today’s pirates (Steinmetz pg. 53). I agree with this statement because no one really ever taught us about piracy and copyright laws, and even though we knew it might be morally wrong it did not feel like we were harming anyone because these musicians were still making so much money at least in my mind.

However as we have seen over the years the issue of downloading music illegally has continued to increase and many websites and file sharing programs are being shutdown. The “Department of Homeland Security has shut down 82 websites that either engaged in the sale of counterfeit goods or facilitated on-line piracy” (Steinmetz pg. 54). I have found it more difficult of recent to download music then it was before, but if you copy a song link from Youtube and type in Google for an online mp3 converter there are a ridiculous amount of sites still available to help download music illegally.

Therefore in order to help reduce pirating some suggestions would be to “focus on strengthening the property aspect of music, and making file-sharing less attractive. This includes teaching youngsters, either in the classroom or in the courtroom, that downloading is stealing. It also means developing new technologies, laws and business models aimed at managing consumers’ access and uses of entertainment products” (Condry pg.2). Moreover, record companies just need to continue to push for the ban of these websites and make it more difficult to download music because it is still too quick and easy to do on the computer.

In the end I believe that stopping piracy altogether is almost impossible with the technology now available today, but there are certainly ways to reduce or control illegal music downloading. However I think enough people still support the musicians they like by either buying their CD’s or purchasing their songs of ITunes so is there really a need to continue with lawsuits or other government action.

Condry, Ian. (2004). Cultures of Music Piracy: An Ethnographic Comparison of the US and Japan. International Journal of Cultural Studies. 7 (3), pg. 343-363

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

Module 4: Short Web Video

Here is the link for my video about youth and gangs enjoy!

Module 4 Summation

After reading the comments from this week it was very clear that most of us consider ourselves consumers rather than producers. The main platforms most of us use to consume would appear to be Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. This further proves the stat that only between 0.5 % – 1.5 % users of most popular social media sites (Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia) contributed their own content. However I was still a bit shocked when I found out there was no one that commented who seemed to consider themselves a producer especially since we are taking a class related to online media. On the other hand there seems to be a few reasons for most of us being just consumers and not producers.

One comment that was made suggested that many of us find ourselves in this category (consumers) because it is a low–effort process where-as being a producer to me requires a more high-effort process. What I am getting at is most of us are lazy, do you agree? I would very much agree with this comment because being a producer takes a lot of work and time and not everyone wants to dedicate themselves to producing media content that most of us believe will only get recognized if it is of good quality. Also I might add another reason which I think contributes to the lack of producing is due to the fact that we are not quite comfortable or feel we are capable of producing which is a relatively new field to most of us. Therefore being a consumer is very simple and requires little effort in order for the individuals using these platforms to get their online media fix.

Another comment talked about the song “call me maybe” by Carly Rae Jepson and all the remix’s to the song that were created and posted on Youtube. It also mentioned that Carly Rae Jepson was thrilled with the outburst and believed it to be the ultimate compliment that people enjoyed her music enough to create their own versions. I found this very interesting and can understand why Carly Rae Jepson would feel this way about people remixing her song. Not only does it prove that people like the song enough to use it as something they can remix too, but the remixes make the song become more popular through Youtube and other platforms. In addition, more and more people are now aware of the artist Carly Rae Jepson and will be waiting for her next song to be released.

To sum up, even though copyright laws attempt to control remixing I believe producers will continue to produce regardless of these laws. Hollywood is a prime example of how recreating scenes and movies can lead to making millions of dollars and most of the viewers don’t even know the movie has been remixed. I have no issue with users remixing because everything seems to be remixed these days, however I believe we should always recognize the original creative work of an individual.

Module 4 – Everything is a Remix

In an era of “producer-consumers” I would consider myself as a consumer as I am sure the overwhelming majority of us are also consumers. Even as a consumer I know that when attempting to produce new media there is always the challenge of abiding by copyright laws. Furthermore because I would consider myself an amateur with respect to producing new media I may be infringing upon restrictive copyright laws without even knowing or meaning too. However, as mentioned by Kirby Ferguson, if you are the one producing a new product you may be fine with copying and transforming an idea already used on another product. But when someone else using your ideas or product to copy and transform into something new we then become defensive and decide to take action against these individuals or companies. Regardless, I think as an online community we should recognize the original creative work of an individual with reward, but not punish those who then remix in order to create something new.

A stat I found remarkable in this week’s readings was that “according to 2007 statistics, only between 0.5 % – 1.5 % users of most popular social media sites (Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia) contributed their own content” (Manovich, 2008). This just shows that many people are consumers and very few actually contribute themselves. However blogs sites, Facebook and YouTube allow as well as encourage us as consumers to comment and/or like photos, videos and posts creating a way to a robust and freely accessible cultural commons.

Another interesting example of was given by Jenkins of how “producer-consumers” can work toward building a robust and freely accessibly cultural commons in the face of restrictive copyright laws. He suggested that “major successes have come within franchises that have courted feedback from consumers during the product development process, endorsed grassroots appropriation of their content and technology and that have showcased the best user-generated content” (Jenkins 2004). Gaming companies use this strategy and see the value in forming relationships with their consumers compared to the music/recording industry who usually resort to legal action in terms of copyright issues.

No matter what “producer-consumers” will continue to face a great challenge with copyright laws, especially when “the world’s cultural structures are dominated by nine corporation who own 85 percent of world music, all the major Hollywood studios, most satellite and cable services, much of book and magazine publishing and a vast array of broadcast TV” (Miller, 2004). On the other hand, so much of everything in our world today is copied and reproduced that it makes it very difficult to determine what is considered to be copied and what is not. Therefore this makes it easier for online communities to remix and copy, but also usually results in an improved or better product which benefits our society.

Miller, T. (2004) A view from a fossil. International Journal Of Cultural Studies, 7(1), 55-65.

Manovich, l. (2008) The Practice of Everyday (Media) Life: From Mass Consumption to Mass Cultural Production?

Jenkins, H. (2004) The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence International Journal of Cultural Studies March 2004 7: 33-43


The youth of today continue the need for quick, easy to read, reliable information and Wikipedia is a platform that can provide these demands. Nicole Zduban makes a great point that “Wikipedia is helping give knowledge out to those who want to learn something new, quickly” ( Furthermore “in 2012 Wikipedia ranked near the top in usage among all websites; it was ranked number five in Switzerland; number six worldwide, and in the U.S.A., Italy and France; number 7 in Canada, Australia, Germany and India; number eight in Britain and Pakistan; number nine in Russia, Mexico, Poland, and Spain; number 10 in Japan; and number 78 in China, where the government is hostile” (Jensen, 2012).

Wikipedia continues to grow as a website and I believe will keep rising globally as technology is always improving making Wikipedia a great source for information. The fact that Wikipedia can be updated on a regular basis gives it an advantage over textbooks and encyclopedia’s that can take years to reproduce. Also, as mentioned by Jensen, “there are over 280 different language versions of Wikipedia—each with its own distinctive articles” (Jensen, 2012). How many websites or books do you know of that have the capability of having 280 different language versions because I did not know of any that even included Wikipedia until now.

A Wikipedia page has the ability to attract tons of different people and views which I think is pretty neat and makes for a great article. As researchers and students we were always taught that the more sources and opinions you have about your topic usually the more reliable your information. An example of this was given in the Richard Jenson article Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. The example was that the “War of 1812 was worked on by 2,400 different people, with no overall coordinator or plan. Debates raged as the 1812 article attracted over 3,300 comments by 627 of the most active editors. The main dispute was over who won the war” (Jenson, 2012). This shows that Wikipedia has the ability to attract many users with knowledge on different topics and create discussion whether or not the information is accurate is obviously up for debate. However I believe that the more users the better quality you will have of a Wikipedia article and the more likely the information you find is of use to you as the researcher.

Another quote I found intriguing by Jenson was that he suggested “Wikipedia is now a mature reference work with a stable organizational structure and a well-established reputation (Jensen, 2012).” Although this may not be the case for all subjects and fields because of lack of writers, he still does acknowledge the fact that Wikipedia is improving. Also Caroline Romero points out that “one benefit of information being put up for public consumption by members of the ordinary public rather than professional writers is that biases can be removed” ( I agree with this statement because when I am doing research I sometimes find scholarly articles can be quite biased.

In regards to the topic of youth gang violence, Wikipedia has thousands of articles relating to crime, youth violence, gangs, juvenile justice etc. These pages have some heated and opinionated discussion, but I believe the talk page is useful in order to make sure the information being displayed is correct. Even though we all have our own opinions and views on different matters and I personally think it is great to read everyone’s comments on the talk page. Because youth violence and gangs always appears to be a relevant issue in the news today, Wikipedia can be a source where we can gain more knowledge on this matter.

Wikipedia just like anything else has its advantages and disadvantages but for the most part I think the pros outweigh the cons in this situation. Bryan Rybanksy makes a great point that “the structure of each Wikipedia link is the same, simple, informative, and most importantly current” ( Also Wikipedia has become the world’s dominant educational resource, with over four million articles in the English language edition that reach hundreds of millions of readers” (Jensen, 2012). Therefore as a society I think we can only benefit from websites such as Wikipedia even if it is not allowed in an academic environment.


The reason I chose the picture below was because it says “imagine a world without free knowledge” and as a frequent user of Wikipedia, I could not imagine what the internet would be like if Wikipedia was not an option to access for information. The controversy surrounding Wikipedia I am sure will only continue to increase as it is a great discussion to have in order to deem Wikipedia as a reliable source for information.


Brown, J. S. & P. Duguid. (1996). The Social Life of Documents. First Monday. 1, 1.

Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.

Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182

Talk Page –

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