Monthly Archives: September 2015

NR&W 10

“If we succeed, our work will be not only informative but also enjoyable, not only educational but also entertaining, and not only bought but also read.”

This quote from The Missouri Group on page 195 resonated with me as I read this chapter. Even though news writing has a lot of guidelines to follow, it’s still necessary to keep readers engaged. Good journalists are able to combine following the rules and keeping their writing interesting.

Another thing that stuck out to me was how the book reemphasized how important it is to be accurate and concise. Being accurate is important because journalists have to report the truth, but it can also paint a vivid picture for readers. Great writing involves being able to convey specific details in an engaging way. Although being concise may seem to limit creativity, it allows readers to understand the main ideas easier. I think it’s a skill to be able to use specific details while being concise, and this chapter explained how important those two ideas are in journalism.

NR&W 14 (2 of 3)

I learned a lot from reading this section about beat reporting. Since I don’t know a lot about the government, it was interesting to read about covering city and county governments. For example, I didn’t know what subordinate administrators were at all. Even if I don’t become a professional journalist, it’s still beneficial to have the knowledge of different people to talk to. I didn’t know a lot about the police either, so reading about how to cover the police was interesting.

Also, while I’ve seen articles about school-related business in the past, I didn’t realize that it’s possible to have a school beat. It makes sense to me now, because there are a lot of school events that are newsworthy. For example, my high school just voted for a student with Down syndrome to be the Homecoming Queen this year. Luckily, WTAE was at the football game and covered the story on TV. Great stories are everywhere if you look hard enough.

Finally, I thought the book gave good advice for covering sports. I definitely think it’s important to talk to the losing side of a competition so you get both sides of the story. Also, it’s common to see stories about star players, but sometimes there are more interesting stories about the other players on the team. Finding a good story in sports involves looking at everything from different perspectives.

Reading this part of the chapter made me more knowledgable about beat reporting. I learned some important tips for covering different beats, and it’s always beneficial to be knowledgable about the government, police, schools, and sports.

Print Layout Readings

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

Lead Story: Pope, faithful in celebration

This is the lead story because it’s above the fold, and the lead art and subhead are both for this article. The other stories include: UPMC, Highmark working on deal for cancer care; Volkswagen CEO quits amid scandal; ambulance driver off road after officials learn of DUI; and privatizing any aspect of liquor sales is complex process, experts say.

Lead Art: The lead art is a picture of the pope kissing a child on the head near the White House. It’s the lead art because it’s the largest picture on the page, and it’s also above the fold. There is another smaller picture of the pope as well, along with a picture of Volkswagen’s CEO and a picture of Yogi Berra as a sidebar for his obituary.

The lead story and lead art are both for the article about the pope.

 

Chicago Tribune

Lead Story: U.S. Welcomes Pope Francis

This is the lead story because it takes up the majority of the front page, and the lead art and another photo are both for this story. Other articles include: In Kane case, a seesaw day of allegations, and boyfriend’s cousin held in Bali killing.

Lead Art: The lead art is a picture is of President Obama shaking hands with the pope. This is the lead art because it’s the largest picture and it’s at the top of the page. There is a picture of the pope taking a selfie with some people, and a picture of Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Similar to the first newspaper, the lead story and lead art are both for the article about the pope.

 

Most of the headlines in both newspapers had a bold font, and the size of the typeface was larger if the story was more newsworthy. However, the length of the headlines varied from 4 words all the way up to 11. The majority of the headlines were vague; you can get a general idea of what the article is about, but you need to read more to find out any specific information. This is a way to get people to actually read the full articles.

Although I have learned a little bit about print layout before, I always find it interesting to apply new knowledge to analyze actual newspapers. I know that the main story is supposed to be made obvious, so when I create my layout, I’ll make sure I carefully choose how I use the typeface size and font. I’ll also pay attention to how I space out my articles and how I incorporate photos.

 

NR&W 12

As I read “Writing News for the Web,” I thought it was fascinating how my generation is really the first that has grown up with online news. Older journalists only learned how to write for print because that’s all that existed. They had to figure out how to write for the web, and even though that process is still happening, it will be easier for my generation to do since we’ve grown up with it. We’re used to using social media, so I think we’ll be able to market the news better online.

Being a journalist in today’s society isn’t simply writing articles anymore. Journalists have to consider a number of things, including how to optimize their articles for print and online publications. They have to have a vision for images and videos and hyperlinks within their online stories. Being able to efficiently promote news on social media is necessary. The Web is a great platform for the news since so many people use it. At the same time, it changes the role of a journalist, and journalists must be willing to embrace the challenges of writing news for the web.

NR&W 14 (1 of 3)

Beat reporting shows how intense the job of a journalist can be. Even though they only cover one specific topic, they have to know their topic extremely well. Journalists have to have some basic knowledge of everything so they’re prepared to research into their beat even more. The Missouri Group provided a quote that explained this well. “To work effectively, a journalist needs a basic understanding of the workings of society and its various governments. You need to know at least the rudiments of psychology, economics and history. That is why the best education for a journalist is a broad-based one, providing exposure to the widest possible sampling of human knowledge” (289). Journalists have to be prepared to specialize in anything. For anyone aspiring to be a journalist, I think this quote can motivate those students to go beyond English and take different classes to broaden their knowledge and make them better journalists.

Something that I could relate to was how beat reporters use social media. When we covered Seton Hill’s fall honors convocation, we had to live-tweet what was happening. I didn’t expect it to be so difficult, but I didn’t realize how much I had to multitask. Along with tweeting, I had to take pictures, keep a written record of events and collect quotes from the speakers. For people who think the ceremony is boring, I encourage them to attend it from a journalist’s perspective. It keeps you engaged, and it made me feel a little overwhelmed. Beat reporters do this daily, and that definitely requires dedication.

After reading about beat reporting, I have even more respect for the journalists who do this. They have to be prepared for everything and be constantly alert, and they know they face the risk of being constantly overwhelmed. As we continue to study beat reporting, I’m looking forward to learning more about different beats and how they differ from each other.

Book Discussion Video

Watching the interview with Nicole Peeler showed why asking open-ended questions is extremely important. When she was asked about the summer reading book, she gave lengthy responses because they required her opinion. The questions kept her engaged in the interview, and I think her responses showed that she was passionate about the topic.

The first question for Peeler reminded me of the prompt we responded to for NR&W 4. It required us to evaluate a student who emailed a professor a list of questions, focusing on the types of questions and the professor’s responses. Dr. Jerz asked Peeler when the book discussion will take place, and she didn’t know the answer, telling him to check the “Happenings” page on Griffin’s Lair. This question is something that a journalist should look up prior to the interview, because it’s a fact and not an opinion. Asking questions like when something takes place wastes the person’s time.

I think being able to observe this interview allowed me to understand the process better. When I write questions in the future, I’ll definitely make sure my questions focus on “how” and “why,” because you get better responses from people this way. Peeler’s passion toward Ready Player One and why she pushed for this book is something I will highlight in my preview article.

News Writing Portfolio 1

Cover Post:

After just a few weeks as a student journalist at Seton Hill, I already have a portfolio with my online journal responses that display the knowledge I’ve gained so far about journalism. As I analyze my responses, I know I have the capability to produce them at an even higher quality. Although there are areas that I need to work on, I was happy with the depth of many of my responses and the slight risks I was able to take.

Depth: 

One response that I believe I went in depth with was my response to NR&W 2. For each question, I answered with multiple sentences, and I utilized quotes from the textbook for some of them as well. I went very in depth when I discussed the distrust of the media and how the objectivity of journalists can restore trust.

While my response to NR&W Appendix 3 wasn’t as long as some of my others, I feel like the quote I chose to discuss was strong. I think my response conveyed my understand of the role of a journalist in society.

Also, I believe my response to NR&W 5 Part 2 was supported well. I discussed specific examples that The Missouri Group gave when explaining quotes, such as dialect. An example from the textbook that I mentioned was of football player Clinton Portis being quoted differently by two sources.

Riskiness: 

I definitely felt like I was out of my comfort zone when I wrote my response to NR&W 3. The business side of anything is difficult for me to understand, so I took a risk by trying to formulate what I learned into words .

The Invisible Observer was an assignment that built on my strengths and also took me out of my comfort zone. I consider myself to be pretty good at editing and revising articles, so I felt confident in my ability to correctly format it. However, I struggle more with completely rearranging articles because it takes a lot of time for me to sort through the information.

Intertextuality: 

I had no problem quoting the textbook and relating it to my own ideas. Being able to use hyperlinks is something new to me, and as I continue to work with it, I hope to include more in my next portfolio.

My response to NR&W 9 included a hyperlink to a news account on Twitter that I follow. I used this account to support my claim that the inverted pyramid structure will last in the future since the character limit on tweets requires only the most important information.

After watching the video, my response to What Is Newsworthy? included a link to a news article about Donald Trump making controversial comments about a journalist and other presidential candidates. I chose this article because it proved the point that almost anything a famous person says or does is newsworthy.

Discussion: 

Unfortunately, I had no discussions with other classmates about the blog posts we wrote. I will definitely make sure to focus my attention here for our future assignments. That way, I can engage with my classmates and gain more insight. Although this discussion was done in class, my handwritten notes and response to the TV News Exercise created a good conversation between Emily, Danisha and I.

Timeliness: 

I made sure all of my responses were posted no later than the night before they were due.

Coverage:

Making sure I complete my work is something I always do. I have responded to every online assignment so far, and any post that I didn’t reference in the above categories is listed below.

The CRAFT of News Writing

NR&W 1

Media Awareness Exercise

NR&W 4

NR&W 5 Part 1

NR&W 5 Part 3

Conclusion:

One of the course goals I hope to achieve is to “demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the conventions of journalism (as presented via reputable publication, as spoofed in The Onion, and as presented in your own work.” After just three weeks, I believe I’m working toward this goal at a good pace. My responses have deepened my understanding of journalism by causing me to critically think about our course readings. I’ve mostly been exposed to “reputable publications” so far, like ABC News and CBS News, which I included links to in a few of my responses. I will use the knowledge I have gained so far to deeper my understanding of journalism and apply it to the assignments I complete in the future.

NR&W 9

Although I’ve learned about the inverted pyramid structure in the past, there was plenty of information in this chapter that was brand new to me. I never realized there are different lead variations, and I never knew the “you” lead existed. Also, since I’ve really only written one-subject stories, it was interesting to learn about the memo-structure and multiple-element types.

Personally, I don’t think the inverted pyramid structure will ever go away. As the reading mentioned, Twitter is a popular media platform that utilizes this structure, since tweets are limited to 140 characters. One of the Twitter accounts I follow is CBS Top News, and the account only posts important news stories with very short descriptions and links to the full stories. They have to use the inverted pyramid structure so they can very briefly give an idea of what the story is about. Sometimes they have leads with flair, which usually makes me more willing to click on the link.

With media like Twitter, the inverted pyramid structure is necessary for readers to understand what happened with little words. I think it’s one of the most important aspects of journalism, and it’s definitely not going away anytime soon.