Portfolio 3

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Coverage and Timeliness:

And the Cycle Continues. I Hope.

-For this entry, we were assigned to pick a breaking new story we thought would cycle.  I chose three articles (better safe than sorry), one dealing with the investigation into the death of a child; the second concerning the trial of a young boy for murdering his father's girlfriend; and the third about a drug bust involving 29 people, the result of an 18-month investigation. 

Part 2 of the Cycle. Kinda.

-This entry is a follow-up of the previous one.  The article that cycled in two days was the piece about the investigation into the death of the child.  I note in this entry that there was not much more to tell the second time around, except for more details into the investigation, which it seems the police were now able to give.

Many People Say...No, Really, Many, Many People...

-Here I explain why journalists should avoid vague references to sources, such as, "many people say" or "it is a very popular belief."  I also share some of my own frustrations while on the receiving end of such obscurity. 

Fixing Our Mistakes Before They Happen

-A comment on Haiman's chapter, followed by a question of where responsibility lies.  Haiman states in his book that the editors should make accuracy a higher priority, and I question why not start with the journalists. 

"The best quotes are those where the speaker is remembered." -Anonymous

-After my own forray into the land of anonymous sources, I read this chapter from Haiman and better understood why such quotes should be avoided.  This entry is an explaination of the why's and how's of avoiding anonymous sources, and also an observation about why people may be more comfortable leaving their names out of things. 

Are You Happy Now: Sensitive Interviewing During Tragedy

-How can a reporter be a compassionate human being and still get all the facts and quotes a story needs?  What are the ethics of interviewing "the average citizen" and how should strategy change when these people are in vulnerable situations?

 Diversity- What's the Difference? 

-How does one attain diversity in a newspaper?  Have a diverse staff.  But what happens when qualified white men get turned away from jobs because of race and gender?  This entry explores the catch 22 of avoiding discrimination.  

Depth:

Many People Say...No, Really, Many, Many People...

-This entry touches on the importance of conclusions: What should they be, as opposed to a summary of the thesis?  Here I share some advice I was given about conclusions.  The entry also advises against the use of "many, many people" as a phrase in journalism.  The reasons this doesn't work, and the reliability that is lost when it is used, is discussed here.

Fixing Our Mistakes Before They Happen

-Though I agree mainly with a point Haiman makes, I question whether or not he is shifting responsibility away from journalists.  Here I give reasons why accuracy should start with the journalist, and move up the ladder.

 "The best quotes are those where the speaker is remembered." -Anonymous

-Anonymous sources can be a quick fix to a big problem: What happens when someone is willing to give you a quote, but not a name?  Anonymous sources can also sometimes be the only way to get a quote, especially if the topic of an article veers from traditional paths.  However, the ethics of using anonymous sources are questionable, and the weight these sources put on the paper's reliability is not worth the gain.  This entry discusses these problems.

 Are You Happy Now: Sensitive Interviewing During Tragedy

-How do the goals of a journalist change in the midst of tragedy, and how can a person "learn sensitivity"?  I read a little more into the text, bringing up these questions and answering them.

Diversity- What's the Difference?

-While I agree that something needs to be done to avoid discrimination in the news, I also point out that there is no perfect solution.  Is discriminating against white men any better than discriminating against minorities?  And why should we still be talking about race and gender at all?  This blog answers these questions.

Interaction:

Preaching to the Choir- Matt Henderson

-Matt outlines the importance of remembering your audience, especially in a persuasive piece.  I agree with Matt's points about maintaining a calm, rational tone, because in an editorial, one goal is to convince the unconvinced.  However, someone disagrees with my comment, and a discussion ensues.

Whether You're Complaining or Praising, Just be Nice -Derek Tickle

-Derek compares an editorial to an academic article, and while Matt agrees, he points out some differences in his comment.  I add my views on the matter, and why some differences are very problematic.

Be Careful What You Wish For - Greta Carroll

-In this insightful blog, Greta points out the differences between literary papers and newswriting.  I comment on a very interesting aspect of the chart Greta composed: There are many similarities between the two types of writing.  This observation leads to a "writing is writing" comment, lest we lose sight of the obvious.

I Wish to Remain Anonymous- Angela Palumbo

-Angela intelligently points out that even though the Haiman books lists exceptions to the "never use anonymous quotes" rule, it's really better just to leave those quotes out.  A discussion follows on what to do when a source won't share his/her name, and how to move on from there.

Getting it Right- Greta Carroll

-Greta talks about ways to ensure an article is accurate and quotes are correctly used.  I comment on the fact that, despite the daunting nature of talking with an expert about one's article, it is sometimes necessary.  Also, checking with the person quoted to make sure their quote is being used in a way that accurately represents them is a way to be sure the paper is not losing readers because of carelessness.

Bummer Dude- Aja Hannah

-Aja talks about times when anonymous sources are necessary--Those articles about drug and alcohol use, for example, when those providing the quotes would not want their names shared.  She also brings up that not being able to use anonymous sources kills these articles before they can start.  A discussion on whether or not the Setonian would benefit from these types of articles takes place, and I add my opinion.

The Experienced Always Win or Not? - Derek Tickle

-Derek brings up a point from the Haiman text about the diverse treatment of people when interviewing.  I comment on why this concept can be difficult to wrap our minds around, but necessary nonetheless.

You Better Have an Explanation- Greta Carroll

-In this entry, Greta states that the public is often unaware of the motivation behind certain practices of journalism.  I agree with this completely, and mention that this is also the reason behind much public dissaproval of newspapers.

Sorry Mom - Aja Hannah

- A problem with viewing the news, is it makes the negative seem normal.  When someone sees coverage for a robbery, suddenly it seems as though the entire world is being overtaken by criminals.  Aja talks about this difficulty, and I join in the conversation.

 

Xenoblogging:

You Better Have an Explanation - Greta Carroll

-Since Greta's entry expressed some of the same concerns as an earlier blog of Aja's, I directed her to the blog in a comment.

Sorry Mom - Aja Hannah

-The problem Aja covers in her entry is one that has concerned me for a long time with the news: Misrepresentation- which is, I feel, the fault of both the news crew and the viewers.  Since this issue is one I've thought about, I share my idea for a step that would help solve the problem.

Bummer Dude - Aja Hannah

-Would an entire paper devoted to issues like drugs, violence, and alcohol drive readers away?  Possibly.  Would a column devoted to these topics drive readers away?  I share my opinions on this question.

Fixing Our Mistakes Before They Happen

-Greta wrote a reflection on this entry.  The link is posted in a comment.

"The best quotes are those where the speaker is remembered." -Anonymous

-Derek wrote a reflection on this blog, the link to which is posted in a comment.

Discussion:

Many People Say...No, Really, Many, Many People...

-A discussion about conclusions throughout the comments.  What's the difference between conclusions in an academic paper and conclusions in a news article? 

Fixing Our Mistakes Before They Happen

-OK, so a few people disagreed with my point in this entry, but by the time the discussion ended, I like to think we'd all broadened our horizons somewhat.

Are You Happy Now: Sensitive Interviewing During Tragedy

-Can sensitivity be learned?  Some said yes, some said no, some thought it was a horrible notion that sensitivity could be missing in the first place.  Overall, we all had something to bring to the table in this conversation.

Wildcard:

Diversity- What's the Difference?

-Since this is my most recently added entry, it has not had the time to generate interaction that the others have had, however, I still think this is one of my stronger pieces.  This entry demonstrates my ability to look beyond the text, while still applying what I've learned to come to my own conclusion.

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