September 28, 2005
My First Blog Portfolio
Since this is my first experience with a blogging portfolio, and blogging for that matter, I appreciate any feedback from those who know more about the subject. The selected entries are a few of my first thoughts with my journalism experience. I hope that you enjoy them and are able to comment.
Coverage: Responses to journalism readings
The AP Stylebook: About my first impression with using the AP Stylebook and how it can impact future writing.
Elements of Journalism: Here I have a brief reflection on how different sources get their information.
The Tribune Review and reading for understanding: This is my reflection on a story that the AP had written, that was printed in the September 20 edition of the Tribune Review. It focuses on the average American reading level.
AP Guide to News Writing: Here a brief reflection of my feelings on "The said of trap."
Spot News vs. Setonian: Here I give a brief comparison between the article that I wrote on the opening of DeChantal Hall and the story that was printed in the Setonian.
Depth: critical understanding
The Reporter's Notebook: An understanding of how this book can be used in a high school English classroom.
Hurricane Katrina and journalists: This reflection is about a comment that I heard a TV reporter make about journalists.
Spot News Workshop: Here I discuss how a classroom workshop helped me in improving my writing.
Interaction: interaction with peer blogs
Discussion: comments that evoke new insight
Timeliness: conversation starter
Xenoblogging: helping others
Inspiration: The peer blog that inspired me
The journalist in me: A reflection of how, in 5 weeks, journalism has changed my life.
Wildcard: My best blog
Comments: my own reflections made on peer blogs
Feelings on Standardized Testing: Jenna O'Brocto's reflection on the Praxis exams for teachers.
Story Pitch: Jay Pugh's feelings about reporting for Homecoming weekend at SHU.
The angle of an article: Katie Lambert's discussion of how a literature major gets started with journalism.
For those of you who have looked at this porfolio, Thank You!
September 27, 2005
Spot News vs. Setonian
For my spot news article on the opening of DeChantal Hall I mainly focused on what the residents thought about their new living arrangements, rather than Setonian reporter, Meredith Ponczak, who focused her article on the history behind Sr. DeChantal Leis. Although Meredith did get quotes from residents of DeChantal Hall, she did not go very in depth into the feelings of these residents.
I on the otherhand felt that it was important to write my article from the point of view of the residents themselves and the staff who made this new residence hall possible.
In my opinion, readers could benefit from either article because they are learning more about the residence hall than they otherwise would not have known.
AP Guide to News Writing
While reading the AP Guide to News Writing by Rene Cappon, I have a hard time actually focusing on the reading. Many of the tips that are given are tips that I have seen in every book that we have read thus far. Though, I do have to say that chapter 8 helped me when I was revising my Spot News article. In chapter 8, Cappon gives readers great tips on what to look for when quoting your sources. After reading what Cappon had to say, I wondered if my quotes were right on or if they were what I thought I had heard?
When reading the section titled "The Said of Trap" I could hear Dr. Jerz's voice ringing out and telling students that they should always use "said" rather than "says."
All-in-all, I found chapter 8 to be useful, so hopefully in the future I will be able to use the others as well.
Tribune Review and reading for understanding
After listening to the class discussion on the Tribune Review's article about North Korea and how it wasn't written for the majority of people to understand it, I began to wonder what the actual reading level of the article was. In my reading in the secondary content area class we found out that statistics show that the average American reading level is only that of an eighth grader. Therefore, the majority of newspaper articles are supposed to be geared toward this eighth grade level. After reading the article I knew that there was no way that it was written at this level, so to calm down my thoughts I pasted the article (from the Trib's website) into a word document and did a Flesch-Kincaid reading level test and surprisingly it came out to be a 10.8 reading level, which is almost three grade levels above the average American. So I ask myself, why isn't the Tribune Review making this article easier for the average American to read? I mean it is an article that deals with a major issue that is taking place in the World, so shouldn't the majority of the American society be able to read and understand what the reporter has to say?
The journalist in me
After reading Jenna O'Brocto's blog I have found myself thinking about how I have become a journalist at heart. When I first found out that I had to take this news writing class I was disgusted. I had no idea how I would ever use this in my teaching and I thought that it would be a waste of time. On the contrary, I have found this class to be very rewarding and I have also discovered that I am putting more effort into my writing.
This course has also made me to begin looking at news in the media in a different light. In the first exercise that we did, where we had to compare WTAE with the Tribune Review, I wrote about how I felt that WTAE did a better job reporting the news. But now that I actually know a few things about journalism, when I sit down to watch the evening news I find myself becoming infuriated with the biases that the reporters have.
So thank you Jenna for inspiring me to write about the journalism in me and thank you Dr. Jerz for helping me to discover this new side.
Elements of Journalism
In chapter 4 of The Elements of Journalism by Kovach and Rosensteil there is a quote from Geneva Overholser that I found to be interesting. Overholser said, "Once a story is hatched, it's as if all the herd behavior is true. The story is determined by one medium - one newspaper or TV account..." This is so true! Since I have been in Dr. Jerz's newswriting class I have found myself being more and more critical when it comes to different reports on the same topic. It now bothers me when I see a difference between what WTAE and The Tribune Review are reporting. Like Overholser says, it seems like whomever the first source is to get the report, they become God and the others just follow off of their story, so that there isn't any discrepancy with what is being reported.
Spot News Workshop
I am very happy that I decided to attend the workshop for the Spot News article. While in my group, I was able to rewrite a large part of what I thought was my revised copy. My peers helped me to see where my mistakes were and suggested ways for me to improve those mistakes. Being that 3 out of 4 of my group members all covered the opening of DeChantal Hall, it was great to see how many different angles a writer can take. Also, looking over each other's articles was helpful because then we realized that some of the same quotes that we had were in fact not the same and therefore we had to paraphrase them, rather than quoting them.
Through this workshop experience I found that my journalism writing really wasn't as bad as I had previously thought it was. Being an English Literature major, I am used to writing long essays, with "flowery" writing, but when I came to Dr. Jerz's class I had to cut out my "flowery" writing, so that it became short and concise.
Below I have inserted my Spot News article:
DeChantal Hall Grand Opening
On Monday, September 12, 2005, Seton Hill University held an opening ceremony for the new Dechantal Hall. The purpose of the open house was to bless the new hall and open its doors to the students and alumni of the University. This new residence hall, built by Building Systems Inc., will house 146 students, with six students per suite.
Dr. Robin Anke, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Lives, explained to a group of students that Dechantal Hall is more than a dorm; it is a residence hall. The difference being that in a residence hall the Resident Assistant’s will hold activities on the floors and that “it’s more than just a place to sleep.”
Senior Tim Blasko said, “It’s almost like living in your own apartment, but on campus.” Tim, who lived in Farrell Hall last semester, said in comparison, “The neutral colors are a lot nicer (in DeChantal Hall), the bathrooms are bigger, and the furniture is much more comfortable.” In reference to this residence hall being the furthest from the classrooms, Blasko stated, “It’s almost feels like a real campus.”
This building, which houses 3 Resident Assistant’s, has a laundry room, a kitchen, a common room, and an elevator. In her speech to the crowd, Melissa Whiteman said, in thank you to the administrators, “This building is beautiful, we couldn’t have asked for more.”
Unlike many of the other residence halls or dorms on campus, the students in DeChantal Hall have to clean up after themselves, rather than having someone hired to do it for them. Blasko stated, “We even have to pay for our own toilet paper.” DeChantal Hall costs residence more than the others on campus, with more person responsibilities. The cost for a single room is $8,600 and for a double room is $8,200.
Paul Roman, Vice President for Finance, said in his speech to the visitors, “This was a 5-month project, which began with groundbreaking on March 29, 2005. The first phase, which holds 84 students, is complete. Phase 2, which will hold 62 students, will be completed sometime in November, but we probably won’t start housing students until January.
The AP Stylebook
Although it is hard to navigate through, The Associate Press Stylebook seems to be a very useful tool when it comes to journalism. When I first purchased the book, I had no idea how I was ever going to use this book and I thought that once again I wasted my money on a book that I would never use. Then, when the class was assigned the workbook pages that required one to correct the mistakes in the given article, this book was my first thought. As I was going through the article, I was able to easily find corrections for all of the mistakes in my Stylebook.
In the future, outside of Dr. Jerz's class, I think that this book will be a very useful tool in both my teaching and my writing.
The Reporter's Notebook
I found The Reporter's Notebook by Mark Levin to be very useful. As a future English teacher, I found myself working through the book and trying to think of ways to incorporate it into my own classroom. Since the book is geared toward a high school student, this would be a great way to introduce them to journalism at the high school level. I think that introducing journalism at the high school level is a good way to get students ready for what is to come when they get into college. At this point in my life, I think that if I would have had a journalism class in high school, my writing would be much more clearer and easier to understand.
This book is a good tool to use when you don't have an idea to write on. The sections that give story starters are great for students who don't feel that they can think of something creative to write about and the brainstorming sections are a wonderful way for a student to write down ideas as they come to them.
September 19, 2005
Hurricane Katrina and Journalists
This past week I was attracted to the television, after hearing a news broadcaster state that journalists need to watch what they write when it comes to Hurricane Katrina. As we all have seen, a lot of the media and print attention has been on this devastating hurricane and people are writing all they can about it. But the problem with this is that most journalists are not getting thier information from first hand sources, they are just relying on what they hear "through the grapevine", which is therefore creating misinformed news articles.
Watching this made me think about the Spot News exercise that I was working on. It made me take a second look at all of the quotes that I had, to make sure that they were accurate. I even went to some of my sources and read back to them what I had to make sure that it was exactly what they wanted to say.
After being in Newswriting for the past four weeks, I have come to realize just how important the news is to many people. Some people solely rely on what they read in the newspaper to keep them informed about the events taking place around them and if a journalist is sloppy; not getting accurate quotes or facts, then their news is biased and inaccurate.
September 02, 2005
I think that I am going to like this new concept of blogging.