November 14, 2005

Newswriting - We the Media 3-5

Chapter 3 - "The Gates Come Down"

"A peculiar silence reigned in the most major newspapers and TV networks the first few days after Trent Lott, celebrating fellow Republican Senator Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday in late 2002, seemed to wax nostalgic for a racist past. Lott, then majority leader of the US Senate, recalled Thurmond's presidential campaign in 1948, a race in which he called for the preservation of segregation. The nation would be better off if Thurmond won, Lott said" (44).

Webloggers, emailers, and online journalists caused so much fervor when this statement was released that President Bush had to denounce Lott, and Lott stepped down. Of course, we must remember as fair journalists that both sides of the story need to be presented. What were the virtues that Thurmond campaigned for? Did anyone ever considered that it is nice to be kind to the elderly on their 100th birthdays? It is these and other little thins, that we must keep in mind when we set out to work on our own personal agendas.

On the up and up, technology can help us to document history as it happens. The book cites cell phone cameras as being advantageous for catching kidnappers. Current technology enables journalists to gather scores of data on anyone or anything, but once again, the difference between good and bogus journalism is how one sorts and responds to it.

Chapter 4: "Newmakers Turn the Tables"

"CEO blogs are useful. Even better, in many cases, are blogs and other materials from people down the ranks. For journalists, some of the most valuable communications from inside companies come from the rank and file, or from managers well below the senior level. Why not let them communicate with the public, too?" (74)

This entire chapter showcases the notions of journalists listening to the people they interview and work with; it also shows what the power of one person can do. For instance, according to the book, the Department of Defense posts interviews with Rumsfield and Wolfowitzin Q and A format. This is ultimately important because readers are able to back track to the actual account of the conversation, rather than just reading a written article that may be slanted to make either gentlemen look like monsters. This chapter also reports guidelines we all can use to clearly articulate our points and make it easier for readers to navigate our blogs. Chief amongst these ten points, is that people who teach you new thing and experiment all the time. Taking risks, while thanking your teachers with accreditation shows some form of maturation in the learning process that is life.

Chapter 5: "The Consent of the Governed"

"This evolution is also about reinforcing citizenship. The emerging form of bottom-up politics is bringing civic activity back into a culture that has long since given up on politics as anything but a hard-edged game for the wealthy and powerful" (89).

While I do see the benefits of weblogging to raise money and elect political candiates, we must remember not to jump so easily on people. Howard Dean, weblogged candidate, is not sitting in the Oval Office today - Kerry ran as the Dem nominee. Dean might have triumphed on the Net, but not in the numbers. Grubb didn't unseat Coble who "kowtowed" to the Hollywood crowd (remember Bill Clinton - boxers or briefs on MTV? Playing the sax on late night television? Barabara Streisand relocating from the country if GW got in?) It takes cash to win - we can't just single out groups because everyone, at some point, needs the almighty dollar to make it to the next phase. Ending the chapter with allusion to Yeats "The Second Coming," wasn't tasteful: different generation of people, different problems, different ideologies. Yes, the internet is useful - but we as citizens need to recognize our core ideologies before turning to the internet to retrieve thought. It is an era that we need to revert back to thought, rather than recitation of other people.

Posted by KatieAikins at November 14, 2005 1:53 PM