August 2009 Archives

What News is Good News?

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Quotes from Dr. Jerz:

"Unusual events are news worthy"

"Mayor naps at work"

"Visiting Pope loses dollar in vending machine"

The above quotes are from Dr. Jerz's "Newsworthiness" sound recording. He mentioned several examples that people would find not important for the news. One very important concept that I learned from this recording is that if an article or news piece is out of the ordinary, then the news will love it. It almost has to be weird or have not happened for a long time in order for the news to like it and, therefore, the viewers.

Why does the news have to have uncommon events? Why can't it have normal and happy ending events?

Did you ever notice how the news hardly ever reports on good things, but quite the opposite - negative events. If someone runs naked across a football field, then I bet that would make the news because it hasn't happened in a long time and/or is uncommon.

The news has set standards for what it reports and what it does not report. A great survey, to support this topic, would be to have news companies send out questionnaires asking people about what they find newsworthy and why. I bet we would get a wide spectrum of answers!

Click here for the web page devoted to Newsworthiness.

"Your instructor does not expect you to be an expert. You are supposed to be learning. You write from the position of a learner...The news is supposed to be a source of verified facts, not just a vehicle for passing along what people are saying" (Jerz).

After reading the comparison chart on English writing vs. Newswriting, I found the above quote to be very informative and informational. When we are writing an academic English paper, then we look for quotes that support or deny the topic and compose a very well written paper on a topic that we may or may not be that familiar with.

On the other hand, when we are writing newspaper articles, then we must know the facts and not just learn as we go. Could you imagine a reporter just learning the facts as they spoke? It would be similar to the Onion presentation on Youtube.com.

Sometimes when we are writing English papers, we will, unconsciously, put some fluff into the paper (showing instead of telling) instead of just writing what we want to write. When we are writing for the news, then we need to be as clear as we can possibly be. This seems very important because it shows the reader that you know the facts and are giving it to them in writing as quickly as you can.

So, what if a news writer added fluff into some of their articles? Would it be okay or would it destroy the meaning of news and paper?

Click here for the web page devoted to English Essay vs. News Story.

Amazingly Well Constructed

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"Geisel looked at his turtle pile...I couldn't draw Hitler as a turtle" (Scanlan 167).

Scanlan wrote a wonderful introduction to his article entitled "Dr. Seuss: Wild Orchestrate of Plausible Nonsense for Kids." I thought that he was really talking about turtles and being an artist, until he began talking about history and Hitler. I quickly thought about how Hitler caused so many deaths and how Scanlan drew many turtles piling up. It was an immediate image of how turtles pile up as fast as people when they are dieing.

It was also very interesting that Scanlan wrote without using the word "I." In his sentence, "There are 60 different shades of green on the chart, and Geisel cannot find the right one" (170). He could have written “I” in place of “Geisel,” but he didn't. It reads like a story and is much more interesting instead of focusing on the first person’s point of view.

Click here for the course web page devoted to Scalan.

Is the news a beauty contest or just discriminating?

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How did you like that title!

Now I will talk about the topic. The article entitled, "Anchors are Performers...not journalists" seemed to be very true. When watching television, the news reporters look like models. There hair, make-up, appeal, and body features are perfect. They are prepared to look like movie stars, but why? Well, I would guess that we do not want to have people on television speaking about the news if they do not look good because the audience would probably not like that. So, the news now seems like it is discriminating against who can be a news reporter or not? We do not have control over how we look so why should they be able to judge us on our looks?

The assignment editors and top management professionals do not have to be "on-air" so they can look pretty or not.

It really made me upset when the article said, "An hour before airtime, they put on their makeup and go over the copy others have written for them" (Byron). The news reporters seem to get all of the credit because they are on-air and speaking about the news. What about the backstage professionals who have to write the news, prepare the reporters, and decide on what gets covered and what does not. They should at least have a long set of "credits" at the end of each production to honor the other people who do not get any attention.

Why does our culture put so much emphasize on someone looking good instead of someone who can speak and produce great news, but does not have the looks?

Click here for the web page devoted to Byron.

Is this really news in Haiti?

After watching the "Onion, Something Is Happening in Haiti" video, I thought that the news was not really news. The news anchor in the studio and the news reporter kept going back and forth and did not really know what was happening. It was amazing when the anchor said that there was an "explosion," but was there really?

She begins by saying there was a "protest," then a "soccer victory," then an out of control "riot," then a "celebration," then a "coup," then an "explosion," then a "picnic," but was it any of these or just simply an "election?"

Wow! I couldn't watch television news, if it continually was like this short video from Haiti. There was not a moment of similar reactions about this event, but simply random negative comments that seemed to end by saying there was an election.

Also, why does the reporter say that it is the "biggest event?" She almost seemed to be inferring that nothing happened in Haiti, but I bet a lot does.

It's amazing to watch breaking news compared to pre-prepared news that is worked out perfectly because breaking news changes every second and there is no pre-prepared slides or information.

Click here for the web page devoted to Haiti.

How much of the news is really news?

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On Tuesday, August 25, 2009, WTAE's five o'clock news (till five thirty) consisted of several different news segments. The first category was the news being reported from the studio which was only 13 minutes. The second category was from the reporters in the field which resulted in nine minutes of coverage. Lastly, eight minutes consisted of commercials. This goes to show a viewer that a half an hour of news is really not a half an hour. I always knew that there were a lot of commercials, but eight minutes is almost as much as the time the reporters in the field were given.

On Thursday, August 27, 2009, I watched WTAE's five o'clock news again to determine if I would get similar or mixed results. The time of news from the studio was 16 minutes. The time from the reporters in the field was six minutes. Finally, the rest of the time consisting of commercials was eight minutes.

After comparing two days of news from WTAE, I decided that the news companies want to lure their viewers in because they want them to watch the commercials and hopefully that will result in them buying something that they would have not before. The news companies hope for this because the commercials help pay for the broadcasting of the news.

So, is the news business a money making process or is it designed to only provide information to the general public?

The second prompt for this text assignment was the comparison of WTAE’s news reporter and a journalist. After reviewing the details of both jobs, I discovered that they were both similar because of what they demanded. A journalist seems to require skills that a teacher would have and the WTAE reporter must have these skills, but also have flexible time and work schedules. The requirement of being available for almost anytime of the day is very demanding for a news reporter because if you want to go somewhere and an event occurs, then you must go to work instead. I guess we must take strides in the demands of life, but a news reporter does not have an easy job. I must say the same for a journalist because they, too, have to be on-demand and ready for work and the interaction of people.

I want to leave you with a question of how do the job descriptions of a news anchor, news reporter, and journalist differ? Is there a bias put on these job descriptions because of how demanding the news field really is?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Broadcast Journalism.

The Camera, the Reporter, the News Room, AND YOU (or not)

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After reading the comic stip by John Campbell, a reader can understand that it is referring to Michael Jackson or another pop culture star (as it states in the sentence following the comic).

While reading this comic, I immediately thought of the most recent death of Senator Kennedy. As you read the comic, specifically the fourth square, you know that someone is going to be on the television or in the newspaper stating that Sen. Kennedy was a great person and accomplished many goals in his life. This may be all true, and most likely is, but we must understand that if this event would not have occurred, then we would have never heard from this individual.

Now as we continue to read, the comic states that "someone will read from Wikipedia." So, I browsed Wikipedia and found the Wikipedia webpage devoted to Senator Kennedy. The key word in this specific comic square is the word "edited." At the top of the page, on Wikipedia, it states that the "information will be changing rapidly due to his recent death." This seems to relate with exactly what the comic is saying.

The second to last comic square talks about a "crowd gathering" and this can be seen, in relation to Sen. Kennedy, by looking on his tribute website. This may not be an actual crowd of people, but it is a virtual crowd that is already giving tributes to Sen. Kennedy.

And finally, the last comic square states "what a story" (Campbell) which sums it all up and this applies to any event. The sadness of Senator Kennedy passing can be called a "great story" because of the great impact that he and his family had on our nation throughout his life.

So, why am I talking about the comic strip and the passing of Senator Kennedy? Well, this is because of how the media takes one person's death and puts it on everyone's mind (front row center). Would you agree that the news should respect the family and their thoughts on having his picture and information shared and talked about all over the world. It is good for us to hear about him, if we don't know much, but the news seems to always go over board when someone famous dies.

If it wasn't for famous people, then the news would be even shorter in length. We always, almost everyday, read about a famous person or someone in government, but we don't always seem to hear about the older lady down the street who saved an abandoned animal.

So, is the news bias in what they report?

What is so different from a famous person that dies or a normal citizen?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Campbell.

Terror and Sickness - Topics of Dismay

Scanlan stated that there are "prizewinning stories on the topics of terrorism, war and disasters" (214). It is important to understand that terrible events also attract news reporters and writers because it is not usual news. This may be one reason that the Tribune-Review has listed the fallen Twin Tower memorial on the front page instead of putting it in the national or later section of the paper. The title to this piece is called "Symbol of Endurance" (Tribune A 121, 204). It is refreshing to read that they are still working on the memorial and have not forgotten it, but it seems to be because it was a major historical event due to terrorism. We certainly can agree that it was a terrible act and it should receive coverage, but according to Scanlan these events are what bring the showcase stories.

A second point that is interesting is about the article on A3 called "Swine flu toll may hit 90,000." Scanlan wrote a piece on about "Opinion and Persuasion Classic" (284) which seem to make the public believe what the paper wants them to. The font of the text for the title of this article is rather large (more than 18 font) and may seem to be a scare tactic from the government to some people. Is it or not... When putting aside your opinion, we can agree that the swine flu is a scary topic, but why put that font so large and leave Gadhafi's article title font smaller (like a 14 font).

So between terrorism and persuasion tactics, a newspaper can have it all. It is terrible that we have to report on these issues, but it seems that the way they are written could inform readers that a topic is more important than another based on the font size or wording.

Based on two topics from Scanlan's book and the Tribune Review, do certain topics require different fonts and/or wording?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Clark & Scanlan.

Is the Newspaper a form of controversy or is it simply facts...

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In today's world, politics are just about everything whether it involves the economy or your personal wage at work. In today's Tribune Review, August 25, 2009, page A6 is dedicated to the president and some of the negative effects of socialism. So, now why is there a whole page dedicated to this one political topic, but, yet, there is only a small picture with a caption on the front page dedicated to the fallen Twin Towers.

Furthermore, directly below the fallen Twin Tower picture and memorial is an article about Gadhafi and his approaching date to enter the United States. It seems quite controversial to publish a memorial picture about the fallen Twin Towers, but then publish an article, that is continued in another section, about a victim that was involved in a plane incident. It seems to be quite opposite topics, but very close to what has only occurred a few years ago.

Should we ask a reader just why the Newspaper has published two articles that involve very emotional and subjective material? It makes me wonder...

According to TDS (Travel Document Systems), Gadhafi's government from Libya is said to be somewhat socialist.

It seems that these three pieces of text/pictures from the newspaper make a reader question the paper's beliefs and support. Or is it merely a method of telling the news whether it is similar or not.

Click here for the Tribune-Review web page of class.

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