JOE ROGAN, JACK DORSEY AND PROCESS JOURNALISM PT. 2

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Following Joe Rogan’s first podcast interview with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, I remarked that the outrage against Rogan for going soft on Dorsey was a bit misplaced, as Rogan’s show is an example of process journalism. Indeed, the initial interview with Dorsey was not the final product, or final podcast, on Twitter, and it was not the final opportunity to address censorship of certain voices on the platform.

Rogan followed up by having on journalist and Twitter critic Tim Pool, not once but twice, with the second time featuring Pool alongside Dorsey and a Twitter exec who oversees the policing of users. This made for some very “healthy” conversation, as the group liked to put it, on the state of free speech or lack thereof on Twitter’s platform. It was the first time the public received answers — satisfactory or not — as to why prominent figures such as Alex Jones were banned by Twitter.

Kudos to Rogan for organizing and hosting what was essentially a debate on social media censorship and freedom of speech in the digital age. I find it quite noteworthy that this important debate was taking place on a podcast, rather than on CNN or some other major cable or network news outlet. Media are rapidly transforming. Interesting times ahead.

Review Of Luke Rudkowski's Change Media University Bootcamp At Anarchapulco

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I attended this workshop last year at Anarchapulco. It was previously marketed as a journalism bootcamp, and I'd guess it still includes elements of that. This year it appears to have a new focus on travel hacking, which obviously appeals to me, too. If I were in Mexico now, or at least on that side of the world, I'd definitely attend again.

Left to right: Luke, Dan and Josh

Left to right: Luke, Dan and Josh

The workshop is put on by Luke Rudkowski, of We Are Change, with assistance (at least last year) from Dan Dicks, of Press For Truth, and Josh Sigurdson, of World Alternative Media. All 3 of them have built popular alternative media brands and businesses. Last year, they went over the ins and outs of how they monetize their operations and package and market their work. There were also some candid discussions about media ethics. Likewise, there was an impromptu video recording, with workshop attendees getting to watch the process of Dan Dicks conducting an interview from start to finish.

For me, Q&A, which took place intermittently throughout the day, was probably the most valuable part of the workshop. If you do attend, I recommend you not be shy about asking questions related to your personal situation and media venture. I found myself frustrated at times with some of the answers I received. But looking back, I see how the comments made by Luke, Dan and Josh were very reflective of market demand in digital media, which is something I need to confront if I am going to grow my own brand.

If you’ll be at Anarchapulco or a related event this year and you are interested in digital media, travel and/or personal development, I highly recommend attending this workshop. In particular, I think this workshop would be valuable for university journalism students. The workshop showcases prospective career paths, media ventures and branding opportunities that would typically get glossed over or shunned upon at journalism school, yet could prove lucrative or even essential in this rapidly changing media environment. I discuss that briefly in my recap of last year’s Anarchapulco at 2:10-3:25 in the following video:

Joe Rogan, Jack Dorsey And Process Journalism

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There has been a lot of talk as of late about Joe Rogan’s podcast interview of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, as well as related videos and online mudslinging. I finally watched the entire interview, as well as some followup segments, and several things come to mind. First, in this day and age, almost anyone can be and at times is a journalist. Even though Joe Rogan is a comedian, MMA commentator and podcaster, he is in a position where he interviews prominent people about current events and sometimes breaks news, so he is taking on the role of a journalist and many people look to him as a source of not-so-filtered information. With that said, he is not required to adhere to some code of ethics. Still, a major mediaethics issue did arise in that Jack Dorsey is the CEO of a company that has a financial relationship with Rogan’s podcast. Rogan discussed the issue during the interview with Dorsey, but not in an upfront, transparent manner. He later discussed it in detail in a subsequent interview. Regarding the allegations that Rogan conducted a softball interview and did not press Dorsey on matters he should have (i.e. social media censorship and Dorsey claiming he did not know why Alex Jones was banned from Twitter — which is very questionable), I view this as indicative of the direction journalism is going — process journalism. Rather than waiting to publish a story or record content until all claims have been scrutinized and facts have been checked, more and more journalists publish or record before verifying.

It’s hard for me to fault Rogan for doing this since I have come to see value in process journalism and engage in the practice myself. For instance, during the peak of Europe’s migrant crisis, I “platformed” many people making questionable claims. I interviewed on camera many asylum seekers who may have been exaggerating or even fabricating stories in attempt to gain legal status in Europe. Likewise, on the opposing side of the issue, I interviewed Bulgaria’s famed refugee hunter, Dinko Valev, who also made some questionable claims. As Joe Rogan has now done with the social media issue, I followed up with more critical reporting on the migrant crisis. Still, I think it was important at the time to give a voice (and a face) to some of the many asylum seekers who were pouring into Europe and about whom there was much confusion in the western world.

Also, a major component of process journalism is audience participation. The audience on YouTube responded very critically to many of the claims asylum seekers were making in my interviews with them. This highlighted a need for some scrutiny and alternative viewpoints. Rogan’s audience steered him in the direction of social media censorship, and he responded by conducting an in-depth interview on the topic and by booking Dorsey for a followup interview. We’ll see if the Dorsey followup materializes. Nonetheless, the initial interview prompted a major discussion on social media censorship. It also included very interesting conversation — a bit surprising I might add — in which Dorsey suggested the world is trending toward decentralization, due in large part to blockchain tech and cryptocurrency. The times are changing, and journalism is as well.

More Than One Side To A Story, More Than One Side To An Income Statement

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I didn't enjoy accounting in university. It was one of the reasons I switched from business to journalism. But I did love playing Robert Kiyosaki's game Cashflow and I would drive around with it in the trunk of my car when I still had one. It was from Cashflow that I learned there are two sides to an income statement (aka profit & loss). Many people focus so much of their attention on one side (income) while neglecting the other (expenses). I recall in Cashflow it was as easy, if not easier, to get out of the rat race as the janitor as it was as a doctor or lawyer. The traveling journalist, which unfortunately was not a player in the game, seems sexy to some because of the lifestyle that comes with it. Financially it's more like the janitor than the doctor or lawyer (notice what happened in the digital media industry this week?). But that's fine if you understand there are two sides to the income statement. High expenses are not necessarily indicative of happiness or a fulfilling lifestyle. Slashing expenses frees up cashflow and can create a lot of opportunities - both financial and in terms of lifestyle. In my case, I went through a restructuring when I wanted the freedom to live abroad and travel. My income took a big hit but that was the tradeoff for obtaining location independent income, which allowed me to travel. In turn, it was easy for me to cut costs. The more I would reduce unnecessary expenses, the more freedom I would have to travel and cover world events, which is what I love doing. Now I'm working on building up the revenue side. Getting out of the rat race (having income from business and investments cover total expenses) is progressing slowly for me. I thought jumping in a business accelerator would allow me to get out quick. It didn't. But that's okay. Being "stuck" as a nomadic journalist can be a very fun way to play the game.

That Time I Embedded In A German Neo-Nazi March

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This is a very memorable moment in my Nomadic Journalism career.

During a trip around Germany in June 2016, I was invited to cover what turned out to be a Neo-Nazi march (of at least several kilometers) through the city of Dortmund — not from behind the police lines like the rest of the media, but rather from within the actual march. Actually, I wasn't so much invited as I just joined — along with my German handler and my camera, which managed to record a great deal of the event:

As you can see, or hear, many of the demonstrators were actually calling for national socialism. That came as a surprise to me and made the event all the more intriguing and newsworthy.

Having been there on the ground, though, I can say the ultranationalists were much more civil than their Antifa hecklers, who stuck the police on me and threatened me with a lawsuit to try get me to stop filming. I was not even there to film Antifa.

Additionally, I interviewed the leader of this nationalist group, and I believe he has some very reasonable gripes. He appears to be a living, breathing thought criminal who has several stories of being imprisoned for exercising his nonexistent freedoms of speech and assembly.

 

Furthermore, it's worth noting, as my handler did in this German Huffington Post blog he wrote, that I am both libertarian and Jewish. Yet the ultranationalists/Neo-Nazis did not stick me in a gas chamber, nor even harass me. In fact, we had civil discussions about major political issues.

Often reality differs from what appears on the TV or computer screen. That's part of why I love BEING ON THE GROUND.