September 28, 2005

Blog Portfolio Round One

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Here are my blog entries so far. Yes they are rather far and few between. I have no excuse but will strive to do better next time. This semester has started out late and is just beginning to pick up for me. One happy note in this class is my appreciation for Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel's The Elements of Journalism. I feel that I am defintely learning concepts from this text and I'm sure O'Reily book will prove the same. Lastly, these entries serve to balance out the feeling of dread every time I start to write a news article, that emotion that hisses, this writing will dumb you down, and make your writing short and choppy!

Elements of Journalism - A look at the statement "Journalism's first obligation is to the truth."

Elements of Journalism Chapter 3-5 - A discussion of the relevance, credibility of the media and "Journalism's first loyalty is to citizens."

The Comment Primo/The Link Gracious - A comment I left on Johanna's site, concerning the blamegame coverage of Katrina

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Elements of Journalism Chapter 3-5

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"Journalism's first loyalty is to citizens." This point, made in chapter three of Elements of Journalism, stands out as very significant. If, for instance, a reporter’s loyalty lay with his boss’s boss’s, boss’s interest, as is seen from time to time, a very big problem is created. Namely, journalistic credibility and relevance is at stake.

Case in point, going down to Louisiana for a week after Katrina was a very moving and positive experience. One memorable event occurred on the way back to Pennsylvania in hotel room. Pastor Brian, the guys, and myself were all gathered around the small television set in one of the rooms watching CNN. We watched for a few minutes and then turned it off, all of us disgusted. The topic? Who was to blame! Great, let’s allow the reconstruction and search and rescue efforts to be sacrificed on the alter of politics once again! One of the guys in the group talked about this in front of the church on Sunday. “That’s the last time I’ll be pointing fingers instead of using my feet,” he said. I couldn’t agree more.

Johanna Dreyfuss points this out well in her blog writing, “For instance, from what I observed of the Hurricane Katrina coverage, I felt that an overwhelming majority of it focused on attacking or defending a particular political slant. Now, while discussing the politics involved in the disaster is certainly important and newsworthy, I felt that it really overshadowed some of the other stories that should have been covered more. For instance, this story on foreign aid appeared seven stories below a story regarding the political "blame game." I couldn’t have said it better Johanna.

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Elements of Journalism

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Arguably the most thought-provoking and helpful text this semester, The Elements of Journalism defines journalism for contemporary times, setting down rules and guidelines for the ethics and purpose of Journalism. For instance, one guideline is the statement that, “Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.” This may seem elementary at first but the fact that reporters are increasingly having to “kowtow” to the pressures of bonuses and business, it is an unfortunately phenomenon that truth it taking a hit.
Among the most recent examples that I can think of, although not included in our text, Dan Rather’s whole debacle which led to his resignation as chief editor basically surrounded getting out a sensational story as fast as possible. Perhaps if the truth was first in line instead of dollar signs- well maybe “the Don” of News would have checked his facts a little better and would still be running his little show.
Truth, I feel is needed desperately it times like these.- Well, actually in any time. But especially now, perhaps, since in our current day of the Internet and of course blogs (blogs debatably had a rather prominent role in debunking Rather and ultimately in exerting enough pressure that he stepped down from his CBS high horse) truth is so accessible. As responsible citizens, then, it is imperative that we seek out impartial and honest news reporting. To be an informed citizen is to be the most authentic and profitable-to-society citizen that I can be.

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