A few years back it would have sounded crazy if someone had told me that I could go into the computer and take a peep at the large ancestral compound where I grew up; five thousand miles away. In the days of Jules Verne such a phenomenon would been termed ‘science fiction’; projecting the mind way out beyond the boundaries of reality and imagining where scientific discovery could take us. Jules Verne did just that when he wrote a novel called, “Around the World in Eighty Days”.
At the time Jules Verne wrote the novel it was classified under science fiction. Since then man has been to the to the moon and back a few times. Science is reality and so is Informational Technology (IT)
Computers and Internet technology have revolutionized the playing field of this booming enterprise called journalism to a field where anyone with a creative mind can generate a pile of money and fame simply by exploring and exploiting the digital bowels of cyberspace.
These past few months I have been exploring the digital mines of cyberspace from lecture halls at the Journalism Department of San Francisco State University. In a few more months when I am done exploring I will step out boldly into the world and make me a pile of dollar bills and some modest fame, using the digital skills I have learnt and acquired from his great institution of learning.
I am not a prophet of economic doom and recession. I refuse to be an apostle of those who preach such theories. The journalism industry in bustling with new ideas and opportunities and there are fortunes out there to be made.
I am a traveller from the old school of newspapering vocation, where news reporters were trained on the job like auto mechanic apprentices. In those days a high school diploma was all one needed, plus a good grade in the English language and the ability to write simple sentences. There were no computers; neither were there tape or audio recorders. The excitement was in the initiation into the labyrinthine crevices of a publishing house. The revelations of the mystic activities of the case room, where printers and their apprentices picked type from jumbled cases of alphabets and laid them out for a newspaper page. The secret tomb of the photographer’s dark room, out of bounds to the uninitiated reporter, unless he was on an errand to pick up a contact sheet for the news editor to make a choice of photos for the next edition of a paper.
A reporter’s aspiration, among many other things in those ‘primitive non computer age’ was to learn to write short hand and learn to hunt and peck his story out from a typewriter in the newsroom. And was all fun and exciting, same as it is to be a trainee reporter in this computer age.
Suddenly things began to change. The age of computers dawned and the art of editing copy shifted into a new age where re-typing stories became a craft of the past. Yes, suddenly the printers’ case room and the photographer’s darkroom disappeared into the bowels of the computer.
The Old School is no more. We live in a brave new industrial age where the computer is a powerful miracle machine. From the keyboard of the computer one can actually navigate incredible journalistic worlds and territories hitherto unthought-of and unseen. Whoever heard of Microsoft some fifty years ago? Yahoo; what is Yahoo? Google? Weird name? Imagine living in this brave new world where people twitter and Google. Do you Yahoo?
Do not let anyone hear you ask the question, “What is Facebook?” They might think you are an undocumented alien from planet Mars.
So; as I was saying, I am soon going to step out of this San Francisco State University Campus and make me a pile of money and earn me some modest fame. How? It will not be because or due to who I know but how well connected I am to the computer and the social media. Follow me on Twitter and I will let you into my secret in the next Blog.