November 18, 2007

As a whole

news organizations don’t have to earn the right to exercise their free-press rights. For better or worse, these are constitutional rights without constitutional responsibilities. (pp 71)

Best Practices for me disscussed the morality issues or better yet, how to remain objective and open in the newswriting world. So the quote to me reminds us of the oppurtunity we have been given as reporters to get the stories out there, and uncover the hidden truths. But it also means we have an obligation to the public to do it in a manner thats as fair and justly(don't know if thats even a word) as possible.

So what does that mean for a free press exploring exploring the concept of a fair press? (pp 72)

Best Practices also reminds us, that we're not quite there yet. The newswriting world is far from perfect, and we are still working to find the best methods of running a fair press. One where people know they can rely on without wondering if this is someone trying to influence me or force their opinion on me.

"Here is my article", "great now go out there and get those interviews"

"In framing a story, reporters and their assigning editors must be sure they have not concluded too soon about the nature of the story or its likely outcome." (pp.60)

This quote was of particular interest to me because it talked about the dangers of making assumptions, when it comes to writing an article. I always thought a repoter had to know where they wanted to go with their story, so that they were able to get the right interviews and ask all the right questions. But if we pre-determine our stories, won't we interview people we know will help prove our point or only ask the questions that will give us the answers that make us seem right. If we go about doing that, then we're not telling the whole truth or all sides of a story, and that would make us bias. In this section of Best Practices, it talks about asking questions about articles as a whole, before we file them down to one specific part. It asks us to view stories from as many different perspectives as we can, so that we may find the best way to report it. I think that's great advice, but I also think its that easy. It seems that no matter how hard we try, our own personal view will wind up in a story. Simply because I most likely will tell the same story in a way different from someone else, and that could be based on my background and other factors. So how are we supposed to fix that?

November 1, 2007

What do you think, does this make my @$$ look fat??

Nevertheless, for all of its flaws, what Churchill said of democracy can also be said applied to peer review: it is the worst system for judging research, except for all of the other alternatives that have ever been tried. (IANS161)

I have never been one to enjoy peer-review, while I do like the feedback I recieve from my peers, I hate the immense pressure I feel to look over someone else's work. Simply because my thoughts may not be right. I may not be giving that person the correct answers. It is a huge responsibility to critique someone's work. So with that in mind why is that peer-reviewed work seems to be given the most credence. Is it because someone checked to see if you made any mistakes, when in fact they could have made several of their own? We trust opinions when they come from a credible source i.e. someone who knows what they're talking about. But even then no one will exactly interpret your work the way you do, so is it worth it? I think that perhaps it is, simply for another perspective that could open your mind, and allow you to witness your own work in a new way. However, ultimately it's up to the reader to form their own opinion despite whatever yours may be.

Voice to the voiceless

It seems as a budding journalist, I’m going to be faced with many hurdles. There are many decisions I have to make on what kind of reporter I’m going to be or if I’m going to be one at all. From reading IANS chapters 7 and 8, and from Jackie John’s blog Those crazy tree huggin' activist the question has now become do I want to be the one holding the protest signs or writing about them. I am not going to lie, I did have this idea in the back of my head of traveling the world and telling all the unknown stories about all the injustices people are facing in the world. I thought that I could give a “voice to the voiceless” so to speak. But by doing that am I a journalist or an activist? Is it possible to remain unaffected when faced with things such as extreme poverty, genocide, war, and illness? Jackie mentioned that activist were being unjustly blamed for “perpetuating fear in the media”, when in fact activist are the people trying to help. I don’t think it’s fear that they are trying to cause, so much as it is awareness. Jackie also speaks of how a journalist is to remain unbiased and objective, which is absolutely true, but where is that line? After all journalist are still human, and still conflicted with human emotions.

Twist and turns- reflection IANS ch 5 & 6

From reading IANS, I can know say I will never look at statistics the same way again. In Madelyn Gillespie’s blog I want a glass of milk, but do I want it 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? She discusses how all statistics and numbers can be viewed different ways. I hadn’t ever really thought to look at the other side of a number, but by not doing so, I’m not ever getting the full truth. Madelyn gives several examples such as the percentage of young woman with AIDS, and how the number was portrayed as something negative. Well of course AIDS is nothing to be happy about, but what was failed to be reported was that the percentage had actually gone down; just not as down as the men’s percentage. Also the questions asked in these surveys and polls, is a big determinant in the response. Because anyone can phrase a question a certain way, to get the response they want, which is what it seems is being done. So it’s up to us, the journalist and the readers, to look beyond the numbers and ask questions.

Through the looking glass

I've frequently heard the expression "numbers don't lie", and while that may be true, the people presenting the numbers do. Not all numbers and stats used in an artical are going to be fake or wrong or untrue. Most likely the numbers are correct, but it's the context in which we place them, that leads to the lies.

"In short, even when tendentiousness is not at issue, lack of clarity may be. Again, you need to know what the question is before you can interpret its answer."

If people were able to examine the questions posed to people during polls and surveys, maybe we'd come up with different conclusions. Anyone can phrase a question or ask during a certain time of day, in a certain area, to get the response that they want. Numbers are easy to munipulate, so in order to really get the truth out of what's being presented to us, we need to view numbers from all sides.

assignment page

Blogging Portfolio Deux (that's French for two)

We are now entering the second half of my journey into the wonderful world of newswriting. In our last visit (my first reflective portfolio), I was coming to terms with what it meant to be a journalist. I had been confronted by my own preconcieved notions of what writing articles was about. I realized that I was seeking advocacy, instead of real news reporting. I won't say that a part of me doesn't still dream of saving all the starving children of the world, or fighting for gay marriage, but I have learned that if I want to be the source that people go to for information, I can't afford to hold an inch of biases in me. That may be an impossible goal to achieve because who is without their opinions? But I've learned the truth to "there are two sides to every story" and that just because I might agree with one side, doesn't mean I can ignore the other.

Coverage
This is factual proof that I have blogged for the assigned readings =D. But it is really my thoughts as well as, what I took and gathered from the selected readings assigned to us in class.

Depth

With alot of the reading that we've been doing, and just with the more we talk about journalism, the more questions I seem to have. Most of them asking me to look deeper into myself in order to find answers. Journalism is definetly not all black in white, it's a whole stream of gray area, that could potentially lead to trouble. Here are a couple of entries in which I question journalistic practices.

Interaction

I guess its true that you won't certainly agree with what everyone has to say. In this space, O'm going to discuss a peer's blog entry that I had opposing views on.

Pink Power was a blog posted by Shannon Moskal, in which she talks about the fear scientist and activist invoke, when trying to hype a cause, which in this case happens to be breast cancer. Shannon quotes 'what the mass media reports about hazards-which ones they select for emphasis and what information they present about them-becomes crucial in shaping public perceptions of hazards and their attendant risks.' My take is that scientist, activist, sufferers, all bring such issues like breast cancer to the forefront of public attention, to educate. I don't believe it's fear that they want to instill so much as it is for people to realize the severity of a situation. How many people if they hadn't seen the signs and commercials on breast cancer, would have went to get tested, and caught the cancer early before could spread. Shouldn't we the public, be thankful instead of spiteful that issues such as cancer are being brought to our attention. Are the pink mixmasters an extreme? yes, to a certain extent, but not to someone whose wife, mother, sister or father survived or loss the battle with breast cancer.

Disscussions

Here are some lovely blogs, brought to you by my peers. These are blog entries in which I left comments.

Timeliness

Blogs done on time...hey better late then never right???

Xenoblogging

I was the first to leave a comment on my peers blog, and then the hordes came

October 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Mrs. President....

I have to say I was certainly surprised, when our very own president walked into class on Wed. Probably because minutes before a few classmates and myself were having one of those "imagine she came in" conversations, and she actually did. I was nervous at first, and I think we all were if the akwardness of the first few minutes was any indication. I spent most of that time turning questions around in my head, testing which ones sounded legit and smart. I did get one good question in, and I'm quite proud of myself for that. However, I was cut off by a couple of people,whenever I would go to raise my hand, which I'm not mad about. I thought it was a good learning expierence because in a real situation their will be cut-throat reporters trying to get there quote and I'm going to have to step it up if I wanna play the game.

October 21, 2007

Giving them what they want, but at what cost?

It is no secret, that we all enjoy reading something that's entertaining, well atleast I do. As a writer I like to write things that will entertain people. However, as a journalist I won't necessarily have that option. Sure their are entertainment sections and magazines, but when dealing with hard news articles, you're not writing to entertain, you're writing to inform.

News accounts, as we stated above, should aim for truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth--not the excitement, the whole excitement, and nothing but the excitement. (pp. 53)

 As we've disscussed in class you have to remain objective, and that means viewing a strory from both sides, or from however many sides there are. We don't have the luxury not to, our careers and reputations, depend on how "truthful" we report stories.

 

assignment page

Who wants to hear good news anyway?

In reading chapter 1 of IANS I have to say I'm somewhat shocked, but really just disappointed in the news writing world.

As we have argued elsewhere, the media's coverage of AIDS has tended (to reverse the words of songwriter Johnny Mercer) to 'accentuate the negative' and 'eliminate the positive.' As a result, many inherently newsworthy findings about AIDS have not in fact become actual news.
Many people rely on the news to recieve facts, and to get info on what's going on in their world. Especially if it concerns their health or that of their loved ones. So why would we choose to dis-regard a story about the AIDS epidemic? and on top of that one with a positive spin, that could perhaps have lent some modicum of hope to many. It only leads me to question again, just who decides what we should be told? I know it's a very tricky subject. Too much info could lead to mass paranoia and that's never good. But what about the rest of us who want to be informed about what's really going on, the good, the bad, and the ugly?

assignment page

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