October 2009 Archives
"Many journalists apparently believe that since they are writing the “first rough draft of history” and doing it under deadline pressure, it should be expected that some errors, misunderstandings and misinterpretations will occur; that historians eventually will sort it out...But the public sees it quite another way. They say they understand that reporters have to work very hard and fast under pressure...But they do not believe this should exempt the newspaper from cleaning up its messes promptly and fully.Seeing as many errors as they do, the public would like to see many more corrections and clarifications" (Haiman, 17).
I can definitely see where both sides are coming from here. However, I don't agree with the attitude that some journalists have concerning the "first rough draft of history." The wording seems to imply that they believe they are better and should not be challenged to to write well and perfectly since they are already doing such hard work. But, reporting news is just as important as finding things out. The public has a right to read and hear the news nearly error-free. The news affects the public, and if if they are misinformed, then the affect is altered, which can sometimes be serious. Journalists do work very hard to find out the news, and their aim is to get the truth, so shouldn't they want to report the truth mainly without errors? I don't think it's a huge deal if there are some grammatical errors; those are pretty much the only errors that should be there. The content should be error-free.
I really liked reading this portion of Haiman's Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists because it wasn't telling me how to be a journalist or setting out a strict set of rules, as mentioned on page 3: "It is not intended as rules for journalists. It is not even a set of guidelines...Rather, the handbook is an examination of the concerns readers have expressed about newspapers and a list of best practices used in many of the nation's newspapers to address those criticisms." I like that readers' opinions are viewed as important and almost essential to good journalism. Readers' opinions about journalism should definitely influence the writing, for, they are basically the ones that the journalists are writing for. They should have a say in what they read. However, it's important that we are informed about new things, things we don't ask for. When we are informed and when we learn, we have the ability to change things and come up with ideas as to what kind of stories we want to know about.
I agree with the complaint that "there is too much focus on what is wrong and what is in conflict..." (2). Sometimes, I don't even want to read or watch the news because it depresses me and makes me sad. I feel helpless. Overall, I think we all know how much cruelty, crime, and corruption go on in this world, and it would be nice if we could be informed on something positive, something that can cheer our lives for the moment, think that the world isn't so bad after all. If the news doesn't showcase that often, that's what our individual happy moments in life are for. I'm not saying that sad things should not be displayed in the news; that would be unrealistic because negative things are a part of reality. I think a major role of the news is to display reality while keeping it "fair," as the book also discusses.
I like the idea of the goal for journalism to be free and fair. The sound of the words flow, and the concept acted upon should flow as well. These are basic concepts that we as human beings need, and since journalism usually reflects human life, it makes sense that it should be free and fair.
I felt as thought I have not written as many blogs during this part of the semester of Newswriting, but I think it's because of the actual newswriting experience Dr. Jerz has assigned for us. I liked writing the articles for the imaginary Elizabeth Mount College and writing about Seton Hill's Homecoming weekend. For my last portfolio, I definitely had more blogs but I think this is because Dr. Jerz knew we were all pretty inexperienced and needed time to discuss and really figure out what newswriting is about.
Below are all of my blog entries since September 21st up until now.
Cappon, Ch. 6 and 8 - this blog can be found towards the bottom of this page. I was unable to use my Seton Hill blog account on this day.
Comparison of Front Pages - the same goes for this blog.
Straight Forward - This is Jennifer's blog on which I commented.
There is a manual for everything, but this one is good - This is Derek's blog on which I commented.
The Big Picture and the Little Picture: Spot News - Jeanine's blog I commented on.
Crime = Repetition - I was unable to put the link for this, so click on the above link for this blog.
A Learning Experience for the Reader, a Possible Victim - the same goes for this blog.
The first breaking news story I found for the News Cycle assignment was from the Chicago Tribune. The story was very short and definitely a very rough draft because of its short length and a few errors, such as the repetition of "said." This is understandable, though, because quotes from witnesses or officials are the only sources of information obtainable at this moment. The "quotes" weren't even actual quotes because they were just stated by the reporter without quotation marks. I think this story will be ongoing since the victim hasn't been fully described and an autopsy awaits. Also, the suspected criminal has not been identified.
The second breaking news story I selected was from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, my local newspaper. This story involves two men getting arrested for informing others on Twitter about their G-20 protest. It's written pretty well, with few errors. This story is newsworthy because it seems uncommon for people to get arrested for something they post on their Facebook or Twitter page. I could see if it were a bomb threat or something, but this story just seems a bit uncommon. It's also newsworthy because it affects everyone. Many people have Facebook or Twitter pages and post opinions, thoughts, etc. everyday.
I found another article today about the G-20 protest (however, this article is also from yesterday, October 5, and from the TV news station KDKA) that states "more charges could be forthcoming." This shows that the story probably will be ongoing.