Reality in Journalism

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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.

2 Comments

Michelle Tantlinger said:

I really liked the last few lines in your blog about journalism being "free and fair." It really does flow well. I also liked that you mentioned it's important for readers to learn. And once we learn, we can demand what we want to know next and keep journalists in business. Nice, well thought blog!

Jessie Krehlik said:

You make some valid points in this entry. Before taking News Writing, I can honestly say that the only time I picked up a copy of a newspaper was when the new issue of the Setonian came out. I just hate reading or watching bad/sad news. But like you said, it's the journalists' duty to present that information to the readers. The more we read in this book, the more I feel like being a journalist is a giant catch-22. You have to keep the readers informed, but at the same time, you have to appeal to the readers, and these might not always go hand-in-hand. But I think that's why it is so important to have more than one newspaper in each area-like we have the Trib and the Post-Gazette, which clearly have different political views. This gives the readers the opportunity to read editorials that they will agree on while still reading unbiased (usually) news.

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