November 2009 Archives

Fairness, Quoting, and Quality

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Portfolio #4:

It is amazing how fast this semester has went, but I have learned more about news writing, than I ever knew before. All of my blog entries were submitted early, promoted discussion and interaction, and sparked some in-class discussion.

I always wanted to know The Power of Law and Privacy and I discovered that news reporters must be careful when publishing public names. If a person tells the reporter that they want to remain confidental, then they must abide by there wishes. I assume that everyone understands that the paper contains a negative bias and this is because of how the reporters personality and opinion gets incorporated into the article. I told my class to Use Some Positive Judgement in order to make the paper have a more positive angle. Many studies, listed in my article, have shown that negative news gets more attention than positive news. Why? One reason is because of how people like to know what negative things have occurred and why they have. Most people do not always want to read about positive news because there is nothing to talk about then.

During most of this semester, I have learned about the structure of articles and how they are composed. I actually never thought about how reporters use slideshows, multi-media, and pictures in their articles. When understanding What the Great Recession Has Done, I began to think that slide shows are important for the reader to quickly see what is going on. Most readers, in the United States, enjoy watching videos or slide shows because they can understand the information in a quicker way. This usually can be contributed to how the American society is fast paced and wants to get things completed fast. In addition, to slide shows, Dr. Jerz introduced the class to multi-media and interactive films. The example that was given to us was about garbage and recycling and I thought it was A Current Event With An Educational Twist. Since my future withholds a lot of teaching time, I found this interactive site to be very beneficial and news worthy. Recycling is an important part of the world and by teaching it to younger generations, then it may change the perspection of our future students. One downfall to this site was that the videos had a lot of "fluff" in them which resulted in a longer film. Some basic editing could enhance the film, but it was enjoyable.

Another very popular news site that we were introduced to was called Wired, but my first impression was that The Children Are All Linked Together. The Wired news site is a great place to get a lot of information quickly without going to several sites. There are many pictures, links, and writing on the homepage. It is a very creative and busy site for viewers. In addition, to Wired, we were introduced to Harvards newspaper site and I, personally, found it to be more professional than anything. The entire site made me think about Professionalism Without the User-Friendly Quality. One reason for this king of mindset is that the site seemed more basic and professional, than being a site full of pictures, links, and videos. I believe that Harvard wants to maintain their status as being a top university and they do not want to look like modern sites.

Furthermore, the Cavailer Daily made me think about only Color, Caption, and Conception. This news site quickly introduces the viewer to three top stories with pictures (color), short captions (caption), and a lot of links (conception). The entire news writing class seemed divided among which site was more popular, but it seemed that many people enjoyed the Harvard paper and the print edition of the Cavailar Daily. Many students thought that the website had too much going on and was too busy whereas the Harvard site made the reader feel like they were reading a typical newspaper.

My last two blogs of the class involved Haiman and his book about newswriting. The readings made me think about Freedom, Fairness, and Futility, but made me wonder If Freedom Is Free or Free by Chance. These two blog entries of mine discuss how the news seems more bias than they used to be and is this contributed to our society and how much information is available on the internet? The main concern among most of my comments was that the news is bias and un-fair when it comes to politics and elections. I believe that most people know which paper is conservative and which is liberal and this is on reason for the unfairness.

All of the previous entries sparked discussion and a lot of it online and in-class. Josie Rush's entry entitled Diversity- What's the Difference? can be considered one of my comment grandes. This entry was about how the newspaper staff does not usually have a diverse staff and this adds to a lot of the unfairness in the industry. As for the media aspect of the news industry, Jenn Prez wrote about how Interactive Content Draws You In and how the "Tonight Show" has changed over the past several years or even decades. My comment prompted questions about interactivity and slide shows. Kaitlin Monier wrote about A Maestro's Hair which shows how slide shows can teach history and success while also being a news article. In addition, Wendy Scott published What a Waste in relation to the recycables and garbage site. She is interested in starting a recycling center on campus in order to reduce the amount of paper that is wasted each year. This site is only a start for her and hopefully the campus community will help her achieve her goal.

As for Harvard, Josie wrote Ivy League Material? without a positive assurance to whether it was or not. On the other hand, Angela thought that This is ok...I give it a C+ which prompted seven comments from my discussion. This is one example of a comment informative because of how it continues a great discussion and asks questions. Next, Josie said that the Cavailer Daily was A Solid Meh and Angela gave This Website a Solid B. Most of these entries that were listed were consisted link gracious, informative, and grande because of how much discussion they prompted.

Another addition to all of these comments being successful was my thoughtful reflections. They included The Well-Rounded View, An Interactive News Article, Human Duties: A Curiosity to Earth, and Color vs. Coverage. All of these reflections were extra aspects to the blogging community, but they helped spark discussion which gave students a good feeling with a pat on the back.

Finally, after meeting all of the requirements for each of my portfolios, I feel that I have contributed and learned a great amount of knowledge with news writing. My wildcard entry includes Freedom, Fairness, and Futility. This entry discusses how the paper industry has become more unfair over the years and my classmates had a similar reaction. After five comments over three days, the discussion became developed with links to other blog entries.

I would like to finish by saying thank you to all of my classmates who helped make my blogging become successful and worthy of comments. This is my last blog portfolio for my college career since I will be student teaching in the near future. Thanks to everyone and please feel free to refer back to my blogs in the future for academic information and references.

My previous blog portfolios include News Reporting, Bias, and Sensitivity, A Well-Rounded View on a News Reporter's Life, and A Journalistic View on Life.

Click here for the course web page devoted to the News Writing class.

Is Freedom Free or Free by Chance

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"We don’t have to earn the right to pray. Or assemble. Or speak out. Or petition
the government for change. And news organizations don’t have to earn the right to exercise their free-press rights" (Haiman 71).

After reading the final few pages of Haiman's book, I thought about how the newspaper industry has a right that they didn't even have to pay for. While, I mean the news reporters, but history has shown how much people have paid for freedom. It is a wonderful opportunity that we have as Americans, but do some people take advantage of the freedoms that we have?

If you want to go to church, then you can freely go.

If you want to hold a group meeting, then you can freely do so.

If you want to have your voice heard, then you can freely say so.

If you want to protest, then you can do so as long as you don't distribute police order.

Finally, if a news reporter wants to publish an article, then they can do so without a charge.

All of these rights are given to us, as Americans, but it seems that many people hold the freedom of press to a high position when they get into trouble after publishing an inappropriate article. Where is the line drawn with the freedom of press or speech? This also goes for the other freedoms, too.

If you start a news paper company, then you are automatically given, previously had, the right of the press. What if you abuse the right and take it to far lengths in order to convey a person’s opinion?

There are so many questions that a reader so understand when studying the news industry and I believe that the press has done a remarkable job in delivering the news each day in such a quick time period also.

So, in addition to my other questions, is the news fair with their "freedom(s)"?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Haiman.

Color, Caption, and Conception

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I thought that my title would bring you in to read my article!

Anyways, the Cavalier Daily online had great appeal to me because of how much color was involved when the web page loaded.

Also, I like how the top stories were listed at the top and the links to other parts of the site were easily viewable at the top.

The further I scrolled down on the page, below the fold, I began to see how the articles had just titles listed and were not that organized. The only organization that I saw towards the end was the topic headings.

Another positive feature, is that I enjoyed the print edition of the paper because of how it looked just like the Tribune-Review or a typical newspaper. I enjoyed that paper moreso than the online edition, but both of them were pretty good.

Which do you prefer? The online edition or the print article?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Cavailer Daily.

Professionalism Without the User-Friendly Quality

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After viewing the Harvard News online edition, I had mixed thoughts. First of all, I really enjoyed reviewing and reading it, but I found myself thinking about other things that I had to do in the day.

Is this because of how it reads from one article to another?

The most major issue that I had is how fast the pictures scrolled on the top. I began to read the first caption and the next thing you know is that there was another picture. I had to wait for the first picture to come back in order to finish reading. This was a little frustrating, but not too bad.

I really liked how there were galleries at the end of the newspaper online. I wish there would have been on top because, like most, we are fast visual learners.

Overall, I give it a B, but check out Angela's blog for the C+ rating.

Click here for the course web page devoted to Harvard Crimson.

Reflection #16: Color vs. Coverage

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Josie Rush wrote a blog entry about “A Solid Meh” and it prompted me to inquire how university papers do not always mean that they are the best. I definitely believe that schools are excellent for designing papers and there layouts, but we must consider a multitude of possibilities. I never thought about how article teasers can throw a reader’s mindset out of place or simply distract them from what they were looking for. The Cavalier online publication was an excellent visual pleaser, but the Harvard paper seemed very professional and collegiate. I think that the Cavalier print production was more pleasing than the online addition. One reason is because it looked like a typical newspaper, but with lots of color and clarity. The main point that Josie made me realize is that all online publications whether in print or not, take a lot of work to complete and that is why we have a choice in what we buy and read.

Reflection #15: Human Duties: A Curiosity to Earth

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After reading Wendy Scott’s blog entry entitled “What a Waste,” I began to realize how important visuals are to people and achievement. If you want to start a committee, then you will, most likely, create a poster or flyer that you will post where people walk. The same rule applies when trying to get people to clean up the earth and recycle their products after using them. Wendy proposed a simple, but very important question: “What if one day we ran out of landfill space?” Did you ever hear anyone say that we have unlimited landfill space and the answer is no. If we, as a community, start to advertise recycling with a visual aspect, then the message may get across much quicker, than having someone conduct research. Remember that the first ten seconds that you look at a visual is what stays in your mind. Finally, people need to create web sites that focus their attention to younger generations because these people will be the ones who will have to deal with population and the environment.

Swine Flu: Interactive Content and Links

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USA Today

a. A map of the U.S. shows how many cases of the Swine flu have been reported in each state.


Science Today

a. This article includes links that relates to science and third world countries

Medical Insight

a. This slideshow presentation shows the effects, symptoms, and causes of the Swine flu.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention

a. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention posted audio links about preparing, spreading, and traveling with the flu around you.

Freedom, Fairness, and Futility

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"In the 1930s, public skepticism about the press’s ability to cover politics fairly was very high. It reached a peak in the spring of 1939 when 61% said newspapers were unfair in their treatment of political news. That’s not much different from the result obtained by the Pew Research Center in 1997 when 67% said news organizations tend to favor one side in their reporting on political and social issues" (Haiman 65).

After reading this section of Haiman's book, I found the above quote to be extremely important in today's 21st century news reporting industry. I bet that each of you know what type of paper your hometown has - liberal or conservative?

It seems to be amazing that politics have been named for particular papers. I also believe that this is not a good thing because if someone is conservative, then they might not buy a paper that is deemed liberal. Fariness is the right thing to do, but it seems that a reporter may interview more conservative politicans than liberal or the other way around.

Why is the paper unfair when reporting politics?

Has the media influenced the way articles are reported?

In 1939, Haiman said that more than half (about 60%) of the surveryed people said the paper was unfair, but in 1997 more than half (about 70%) said that the paper seemed unfair.

Why has this number increased with the new types of technology that we have available to us?

If the paper seems so unfair, then why do people read it? Is it because if one is conservative, then they will buy a conservative paper and if one is liberal, then they will buy a liberal paper?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Haiman.

A Current Event With An Educational Twist

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I thought that the very beginning of the slideshow was impressive because of how it gave the viewer an option from the start.

I chose Follow the Garbage and it directed me to another web page that was awesome.

I am going to be a teacher next year and I think that this site will be extremely useful when teaching a lesson about landfills, garbage, or recycling. I was also amazed at the videos and graphics because I actually never followed the entire procedure of garbage and where it goes after being picked up from the house.

As for the recyclables, it was impressive how the truck driver didn't even have to get out of the truck because a machine picked up the garbage. I think that this goes to show people how technology is changing and enhancing the way jobs are performed.

I think that a multimedia news feature is extremely important when it comes to teaching a topic (e.g. garbage).

Is a multimedia feature better to use than writing a news article with links?

Click here for the web page devoted to Arizona Star.

The Children Are All Linked Together

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"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) The original books by C.S. Lewis are charming in that wry British way. Some of that charm was preserved in the cinematic version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but it was lost near the end of that movie amidst emphasized battle heroics" (Hart).

After reading Underwire Taking the Pulse of Pop Culture Where the Botched Children’s Book Adaptations Are, I thought how important links are in articles because the reader can immediately go to the related information. Do you get upset when you are reading something and there is a reference that you don't know or can't remember?

Well, I think that links are an instant example of receiving feedback about topics, movies, books, or just about anything. An example from this particular article included "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) The original books by C.S. Lewis are charming in that wry British way. Some of that charm was preserved in the cinematic version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but it was lost near the end of that movie amidst emphasized battle heroics.

The example above shows you exactly what I mean because the links are already in place by the author and the reader can simply read-click-learn!

Question:

Do you like web links in articles and are they necessary when talking about movies and literature?

Click here for the web page devoted to Wired.

Reflection #14: An Interactive News Article

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After reading “A maestro's hair” and “Interactive Content Draws You In,” I thought that it was amazing how interesting the interactive slide shows were. I personally enjoy watching videos, slide shows, and audio clips compared to reading a long news article. There is just something about the interactive content that makes it more interesting. I believe that it is because of how our culture is such a fast-paced society and we like to get things completed quickly. My reflection of Kaitlin’s blog entry was very positive and I found it to be an excellent example. The depiction of the Maestro’s life through music and pictures was very powerful because of how much he has accomplished throughout his life. Finally, the interactive content brings the news article to a new level of appreciation. Instead of black and white text, there is a vast amount of color and images to support a very newsworthy story.

Click here for the course web page devoted to the NY Times and Interactive Content.

What the Great Recession Has Done

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"A duplex apartment in Krakow's city center is on the market for 1.4 million Polish zloty ($478,000). This 130-square-meter (1,399-square-foot) duplex apartment is in a complex of tenement buildings that are about 100 years old" (NY Times).

FYI: Maybe the answer to my title is that the recession has lowered the value of this home.

Link to slideshow from NY Times: Great Homes and Destinations

So, what makes this place so special? And the answer is its history!

Wait until to view this slideshow because the house is very very very nice inside and out. I found it amazing how the NY Times linked this slideshow to a story which means that it must have been a slow news day. It seems like a filler story, but it is very interesting.

If I had that basement living room, then I would have a huge game room for events (slide eleven)

The best part about the entire story is that it is located in the middle of a city and there are several landmarks that are within walking distance.

Did you enjoy the slideshow? Did you like the house? Let me know your thoughts, but specifically let me know if this could be a news story in itself?

Click here for the web page devoted to NY Times.

Reflection #13: The Well-Rounded View

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After reading Diversity by Josie Rush, I had never thought about the crew of a news reporting agency. I usually focus on learning the reporter’s role or the process of revising and finding AP Style mistakes. When thinking about the entire reporting crew, then it makes sense that some newspapers are more conservative and some are liberal. It seems like some news companies have staff members that have similar believes or stances on topics. It is understandable, during this difficult economy, that not ever newspapers staff can be diverse. It just seems that gender bias occurs in almost all professions, but why doesn’t the employer search or wait for that right person? Maybe there just simply is not that right person applying for the job. This blog also made me realize that society is still bias when it comes to their thinking, but we can see it more frequently in quotes from news articles. Many people, when emotionally distraught, release their emotions in their quotes to the reporter and the reporter must use their words (unless offensive). Finally, Josie made me think about how a news company should consider the option of making, if they have the choice, their staff more diverse. This would allow for many more opinions, topics, and personal knowledge.

The Power of Law and Privacy

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When conducting an investigative report, one must "protect confidential sources of information" (Jerz).

I found this first quote to be extremely important because no one wants to have their information mis-used. This topic made me think about identity protection vs. fraud. If a news reporter used confidental information without, prior, consent, then that reporter could be in danger of being in trouble with the law. I would assume that this would fall into the realm of identity fraud. I recently read an article, while browsing online, from US News and it talks about someone who mis-used confidental information.

I don't want to leave you with only this one quote, so I found another very important quote that everyone should consider if in an unusual situation. Quote:

"Always consult a lawyer if you have any worries about the legality of what you are doing or writing" (Jerz).

So, if you are not sure what to do or if there will be consequences for publishing certain information, then you should seek help from a lawyer.

I found another very interesting article about news reporting and the law and it is from FindLaw.com

I have a question for all:

If you are a news reporter and need to seek assistance from a lawyer, then do you need to pay for the fees or does the news company provide the funds?

Also, when protecting someone's information, should one get written consent or just verbal?

Click here for the course web page devoted to investigative reporting.

News Reporting, Bias, and Sensitivity

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Portfolio #3:

After completing well over half of the course, I have learned more about newspaper writing than I ever knew before. The first big coverage concept was editorials and I quickly thought about Whether You're Complaining or Praising, Just Be Nice!. This blog discusses how some news writers compose entries that are focused on making someone or something look negative based on their experience. It is extremely important, as a neutral reporter, to be as un-bias as possible. Heres a hint: If you are upset about something (e.g. dinner) then write all of your thoughts on a Word document instead of putting it out in the paper for the world to see. Believe me, you will look back at it and be proud.

The next coverage topic that we have just began was a book called Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists by Haiman. This book not only discusses problems in the news world, but it gives great suggestions for how to improve on specific issues. If I was a full-time reporter, then I would tell my co-workers to Just Please Look it Up - Hint AP Style Book before making a mistake. I wrote this blog in response to Haiman and also to the future of anyone in the class that wants to become a news reporter. One may think why should a news reporter be allowed to make mistakes, but a CEO can't mess anything up without getting into a lot of trouble. Do you see a bias? The need for more accuracy with the editors is important, but everyone should do there part in order to make the paper the best it can be.

In addition, another coverage entry consisted of when You Hide In Order to Attack. The use of anonymous sources is becoming a popular topic in the news industry. If a politics is named as being anonymous and is talking about their opposing opponent, then most people will know who it is. With Haiman still in thought, do you think that The Experienced Always Win or Not? I always find it uneasy to watch the television news when the reporters are interviewing a person who has just been through a terrible event. It makes the reporter seem unearthly and not professional. I know what some of you are thinking though and you are probably saying "well it is there jobs." Yes, I understand, but I believe that more sensitivity needs to be used in some cases.

My last coverage entry discusses how some people need to Use Some Positive Judgement. The news and newspaper love to write/talk about negative events and why is that? Based on my blog entry and my secondary sources, I believe that the negative news is what people will listen to. What if the news was always good and only mentioned the positive aspects of life? You will quit watching because it would not be "interesting." Sounds true, huh?

As for this third portfolio, I have written all of my coverage entries for each assigned text on time and each entry prompted discussion and feedback from my peers. Also, each entry was submitted in a timely manner and I interacted with my peers for each topic.

A more recent article of mine entitled Use More Positive Judgement uses outside sources and goes in depth with the topic. Not only did this entry go in-depth, but all of my entries went in-depth.

As for my comments, I wrote a comment grande on Jenn's blog entitled Editorials vs. Persuasive Essays which talked about the differences and similarties in editorials compared to persuasive essays. Within my comment, I linked to Gretta's blog entitled Be Careful What You Wish For because of how she wrote on a similar topic and used great detail in his explanation. In addition to this comment grade, I made a comment primo on Gretta's blog entry (Be Careful What You Wish For). Over a two day period and more than seven comments, I found this entry to be extremely helpful, so I wrote a reflection about The Spread of Information: Purpose and Meaning.

Aja wrote a blog entitled Bummer Dude and I made it a comment primo, grande, and informative because of how much disucussion it prompted. Finally, Gretta wrote another entry entitled You Better Have an Explanation which talked about credibility and I was the first to comment about the newspapers should consider writing, somewhere in the paper, about why they do what they do. So, the "whys" made me write about how Explaining the Answer is not that hard.

In addition to all of my entries being submitted very early, generating discussion, and prompting interaction among my peers, I wrote a reflection for each of the assigned text blog entries of mine. They included The Spread of Information: Purpose and Meaning, The Daily Words: Fact or Lie, The Power of Having No Name, and how reporters are Explaining the Answer.

Lastly, Whether You're Complaining or Praising, Just Be Nice! is my wildcard entry beacuse of how much interaction, discussion, and in-class feedback it generated. It is also a very important entry because if you are a reporter, then you need to use the AP Style book.

Click here for the course web page devoted to Newswriting.

Use Some Positive Judgement

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"An environmental leader said, 'Bad behavior is rewarded because what gets reported is the most outrageous statement made.' For every reader who thought the press was guilty of showing a political or ideological bias in the news columns, there were many more who complained about what they called 'negative' bias" (Haiman 49).

Haiman, once again, brings up some very interesting and debatable ideas and topics about the news industry. The quote above made me think about newspapers and also the television media. What is the most common phrase that, most, people say about the media or news?

"All that I see or read is bad news. Where is the good news?"

This statement is so popular among the variety of people I talk to that it has become second nature to even think differently.

According to Marano, "it [our brain] is simply built with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news" (1).

Marano wrote the above quote in Psychology Today and it matches our society and most people's brain. When you hear of an unusual or tragic event, then what do you do? I would think that you would find out more information or talk to other people about it. The same concept applies when writing a news article. The author wants to find the "news worthy" aspect of the story and they usually will do whatever it takes.

Dr. Nauert, in Psych Central, stated "The researchers found that news about local health threats increased attention and memory in readers more than news about distant, or nonlocal, health threats" (1).

It is amazing how negative news attracts more people than good news.

So, why does the media and newspaper usually report from a negative angle?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Haiman.

Reflection #12: Explaining the Answer

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Gretta wrote a blog entry entitled You Better Have An Explanation which talked about what newspapers do and why they do it. I never thought about how an audience views a newspaper and their journalism techniques and styles. When thinking in a reader’s mind, then I became concerned at how people judge things that they do not understand. If the readers would take one class in journalism or even news writing, then they would understand that the newspaper staff have a lot of standards that they have to follow. Unless the writer makes a mistake, then they usually have a reason or it is because of the AP Style guidelines. If the newspaper would break-down one page and explain its reasons, then the readers would, most likely, begin to appreciate the articles and techniques. Overall, Gretta did a great job at making me realize that a reader does not always know what we know or understand the whys of the paper.

Click here for the course web page.

The Experienced Always Win or Not?

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"As a best practice, the news staff should consider whether it is fair to behave differently when questioning ordinary citizens unaccustomed to being interviewed than with people experienced and knowledgeable about the press" (Haiman 32).

Sounds true, huh?

I always think about how ordinary people feel when being asked a question from a news reporter. The news personnel seem to try and invade other people's privacy and even when they say no with a thank you. Is this because they have to for their jobs?

If someone is interviewing a political figure, who is well known, then usually they will act much nicer than if it is an ordinary person.

Haiman added "But let’s not treat somebody’s old Uncle Harry or Aunt Millie the same way we treat the pols and the pros" (32).

It is very interesting how reporters have different attitudes in different situations, but it kind of makes sense. If you are in the presence of an important political figure, then you will act accordingly - probably very conservative. What if you have to interview someone at their house and they are just a typical citizen, then you will probably act much more relaxed and open.

Why can't news reporters treat ordinary people the same way they would treat political figures or important representatives? Is there a stereotype or tradition that says this? I was amazed at how news reporters treat non-important or traditional, everday citizens.

So, should news reporters act according to the situation?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Haiman.

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