August 2009 Archives
I had one thought regarding the English Essay vs. News Story handout: to right now, make a fresh mental note to refrain from flowery writing and passive tense. It is good to be aware of personal weaknesses--these are mine.
This should have been listed in the criteria necessary for journalism, if it isn't already instilled in those seeking such a profession from the start. When I picture the ideal portrait of a journalist, I imagine someone inquisitive for life, like Cynthia Gorney.
I love the part in Gorney's profile where she quotes Geisel (Dr. Seuss) on why happy endings are important: "'A child identifies with the hero, and it is a personal tragedy to him when things don't come out all right'" (Clark & Scanlan 173). Talk about great quote selection! This statement contains a lot of appeal. Parents will, If they be anything like myself, read it and think directly of their children and how true an observation Seuss made. This journalist did an exquisite job of illuminating her subject: there is no telling going on here. What there is, is engaging portraiture. To have nailed this piece the way she has done, she must have remained in a constant mindful state during the interview process. Rather than pronouncing Seuss the beloved author of children's books, that he is, Gorney refers to awards received or quotes someone's praise on his keen eye for color; and in place of an additional compliment that would credit him as a simple, non-showy person, Gorney follows the original flattery with a token of his manner, which can summarizes this idea of Seuss: "He does not explain to the art department why each green is wrong--just not parrotty enough, or something" (Clark & Scanlan 170).
Another notable thing, the reporter never uses the word "I," and describes herself in the third person.
"... imagery takes precedence over substance in television."
Found under the excerpt "Filling time between commercials," by Greg Byron.
Everyone probably remembers the movie Up Close and Personal staring Michelle Pfeiffer, and the part in it where she meets with her boss to go over her public persona. The people polled thought her too racy for that town--and they didn't like her hair. So, she was told to dye her hair and get a makeover. I related that scene to Byron's thoughts about the way consultants have modified news content. But it's hard to point the finger and contest the superficiality of it all, when TV news is the product of its environment. Today so many things are appearance based. I've even heard, second hand, about studies done to determine the likely hood of an attractive person being hired over an average looking person. I don't remember the figures, but the results say the better-looking individual has a greater shot at landing the job. TV news subscribes to the same agenda as any other television show, each being a primarily visually driven media. It's all just business. I think we could have inferred as much about news before ever reading Byron's essay. It does help to be aware, though. The problem I see is, if they are surveying focus groups and getting feedback that suggests this sort of type-casting or behavior is preferred best, what does that reveal about society's taste, and how do any of us go about correcting something like that? Maybe, all that can be done is to accept it for its faults and take away what good can be derived from it.
When was it decided that every single news reporter had to don the same verbal etiquette. The only noticeable distinction between any of them is whether the person speaking is a he or a she. You could cut and edit the audio clips from 5 different reports, place them into one, and nobody would be the wiser. To accomplish the journalism accent, are reporters enrolled in vocal lessons or some special from of speech therapy?
I love not only the tone of reporter lingo, but also the word choice. The anchor woman in the onion clip announces breaking news in Haiti, "quite possibly the biggest development to come out of that nation in decades." Is it the BIGGEST, really? Even better, and a reporter favorite, is "I've never seen anything like it." This language as we discussed in class is to keep people interested.
It's clear that live news is more hastily strung together than the daily news and for an obvious reason. Each station wants to be the first to disclose the unfolding story, and that means covering without all the information. The onion video shows how sloppy that can end up looking. The constant confusion over what exactly is happening has the anchor making inaccurate assumptions the entire time, which isn't so far from understandable, since no one knows exactly what is happening when a story is in progress. However, the anchor uses phrases like "we can now confirm" that are not true. Here is where the public can be harmed.
Return to onion spoof
Return to onion spoof
I watched the six o'clock news, and more of the time slot was being filled with car dealership commercials than great news casting. The stories ranged from Big Ben's rape allegations to changes in dog owner laws to bacon, yes bacon--chocolate covered bacon! I wonder what made Diana decide, "hey, I bet this would be good covered in chocolate." I think alot of people at the fair are going to be complaing of tummy aches. The foster children who were dehydrated and beaten, with no social services to the rescue, were the top story.
WTAE and The News Manual seem to be requesting the same criterion from journalist.
Other comments on WTAE-TV "Channel 4 Action News"
The John Cambell comic strip perfectly summarizes the recent amounts of frenzied coverage given to Michael Jackson's death. Definitely there is a need to cover such issues like celebrity deaths because people are interested in hearing about them, but shouldn't there be cut off point where they leave the non-essential stuff to the people at TMZ. And the same information kept being discussed--daily: Toxicology reports, toxicology reports, toxicology reports. That is all you would hear and nothing progressive about them, just that there were still no updates on the results yet. I don't know. I just change the channel when I hear anything about him, now. Derek Tickle said it right in his entry, "If it wasn't for famous people, then the news would be even shorter in length."
I'm still at odds over what exactly qualifies newsworthiness. News is pulled in different currents; the audience doesn't always want to hear about the important topics. People have become finely tuned-in to their voyeuristic natures; any form of media, be it news or whatever, caters to this desire to see into others' lives. The news broadcasters are only aiming at giving the audience what it wants, right?
Return to classmates thoughts
A case of "endless complications without resolutions" (Clark & Scanlan 288) would be "Expected loss of profits rankles business owners," where the reporting simply goes back and forth on the opposed opinions given by business persons in the downtown Pittsburgh area. I don't see here the definitive story Franklin describes to us. "Resolutions without complications" (Clark & Scanlan 288) are overhanging in "Young children master big beasts at Westmoreland Fair." This one was very Charlotte's Web-ish minus the anxiety over losing the animal, which is what made the tale; instead, 14 yr old Hannah Zundel comments, "It's pretty easy to get over them, because you get new ones every year" (B2).
I realize not all news is on the Shakespearean level of Romeo and Juliet, just pointing to some stereotypical pieces like those Franklin mentioned. Honestly, I'm not sure how one might ignite an interest in livestock for all tribune readers: I image it wouldn't be easy. Also, the original headline on B1 differs from that on B2 , the word "beasts" becomes "animals," is that just a typo?
Other examples in the building blocks of journalism.