Category Archives: Newswriting

Journalism and Ethics

I was shocked to see that so many reporters basically forced their way into the home that belonged to the suspects of the San Bernardino shooting. However, there seems to be a lot of misinformation about whether or not the landlord actually gave them permission to enter or not. Regardless, it’s a little much when a reporter uses a crowbar to remove the plywood covering the front door.

Looking at the SPJ Code of Ethics, I found a two specific examples of ethics that these reporters seemed to violate. One was “recognize that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast.” Even if the reporters were legally allowed enter the home, since it was broadcasted live, it was hard to ethically justify that. The other example that I think is most applicable is “avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.” Stories about this say that up to 100 reporters were inside the house. I think an ethically responsible journalists would have stayed outside, even though everyone else went in.

I found an article from the Los Angeles Times that criticized the media about this. It was interesting that a legal analyst for CNN was discussing how it was wrong for the media to do this, and on the other half of the screen, CNN reporters were going through the house. In my opinion, the fact that this was done on live television made a big difference.

After reading the story that Dr. Jerz gave us about a shooting survivor, I think journalists should be more focused on the victims than the suspects. That story made more of an impact, and that’s what journalists should strive for.

 

News Writing Portfolio 5

Cover Post:

It’s hard to believe that this is my last portfolio for the news writing course. It was a little more difficult to create a portfolio this time, since we only had a few opportunities to post anything on our blogs. However, I think my last few entries are evidence of how hard I have been working to achieve our course goals, especially with my investigative article. I was very pleased that I had more than one discussion this time as well. This last portfolio mainly showcases reflections of my work on my investigative article, and also my continuous growth as a journalism student.

Depth:

The best example of depth for this portfolio was my Article Progress 2 post. In this update, I discussed what work I had done for my investigative article in multiple paragraphs. Rather than give a simple paragraph update, I gave the names of people I interviewed and what I thought was most important about those interviews.

Riskiness: 

In general, I think the entire investigative article was a risky project, since the liberal arts curriculum was a vast topic to take on. Some of my risks were evident in my Article Progress 3 post, especially my interview with Dr. Wierszewski. She was extremely ill the week we needed to do the interview, and luckily we were able to complete it. However, my other risk was having to practically rewrite my entire article so the writing curriculum changes were the focus.

Intertextuality:

Since most of the responses for this portfolio were article progress updates, there were not many opportunities for intertextuality. However, in my Current Event response, I included links to both of the websites that I discussed.

Discussion:

Despite not having many posts for this portfolio, I was very happy with the amount of discussion I was able to participate in this time.

Alexi Sakalik commented on my Article Progress 3 post to ask me questions about our article assignment, which I answered. I left a comment on her Smith College response, where we discussed how much schools should be teaching about journalism and the First Amendment.

I also left a comment on Calli Arida’s Article Progress 2 post. Her article was about ISIS, so I suggested incorporating the Paris attacks into her article since they had just occurred. She agreed, and we both wondered if the attacks would change the outcome of her survey.

Timeliness:

Once again, I was able to submit all my blog posts before the class period they were due. This is something I did successfully all semester!

Coverage:

I believe all of my responses for this portfolio fit in at least one of the above categories. In terms of coverage for the semester, I completed all of my assignments.

Conclusion:

In my first portfolio, I said that the course goal I wanted to achieve the most was to “demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the conventions of journalism.” After a semester of news writing, I believe I have been able to achieve this goal, which is evident in all of my portfolios. Although I had some experience with journalism in high school, this course has vastly improved my ability to write journalistically, and also improved my knowledge and understanding of journalism as well. 

My first semester at Seton Hill was definitely a busy one. This gave me a better understanding of what the lives of journalists are like, and I have gained a deeper respect and appreciation for their work. As I spent a great deal of time with news writing, media lab, and other work with The Setonian,  I can honestly say I have achieved my initial course goal and the others as well. I have learned a lot about journalism, to say the least, and I know I will use my knowledge as I aspire to obtain a journalism minor here at Seton Hill.

Current Event

Journalists are just trying to do their job, but lately, it seems like more and more people are trying to prevent them from doing just that.

I really liked reading about the SPJ Code of Ethics and its four principles: seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable and transparent. This provided a good summary of everything we have learned in class, and I think this is something everyone should read to better understand the journalism profession.

It was once again very surprising to hear another story about college protestors trying to keep journalists away, this time at a sit-in at Smith College. If journalists would have agreed to support the protestors’ cause, then they would have violated the principle of acting independently. Under this principle, journalists cannot give favored treatment to anyone. Journalists are also supposed to be unbiased and objective, so supporting the protestors would have hindered their ability to seek truth and report it.

I hope that more people become more knowledgeable about journalism. They are there to report the truth, and people need to respect that.

Article Progress 3

Throughout the past few days, I’ve had setbacks and accomplishments with my article. I unfortunately had to delay turning in my first rough draft due to some unforseen circumstances, but I was able to submit it the next day. Also, I had planned to interview Dr. Wierszewski, but she has missed almost an entire week of school due to illness. However, she just responded to me shortly after I submitted my first draft, so I will be able to incorporate her responses into my next submission.

Since my last progress report, I was able to finish interviewing Courtney Poholsky from Ohio State. I incorporated President Finger’s answers to my questions from our “press conference” into my draft, and I have responses from two freshmen that I can add into my next draft if I need to.

Since I have interviewed all of my planned sources, I just have to edit my draft to include Dr. W’s quotes. I will also make other revisions, including the feedback that I will receive from Dr. Jerz. My only concern at the moment is figuring out what to do for pictures for my article.

Article Progress 2

I have completed a lot of work within the past few days for my investigative article. On Friday, I interviewed Dr. Fran Leap and junior Blaine Brubaker, and Sunday I interviewed senior Chris Dollinger. Leap talked to me for nearly an hour, as she is the chair of the liberal arts committee and had a lot to say. Brubaker gave me the perspective of both an upperclassman and a music major, which was interesting to hear because she has a lot of major-specific courses to balance with liberal arts. Dollinger talked about his senior internship and gave his thoughts on completing the liberal arts courses over the years.

I had planned to interview Dr. Wierszewski on Friday, but she was unable to make it to campus that day, so I will interview her on Monday. Along with that, I have been emailing with freshmen Haylee Schreiter and Brett Segala to work on interviews with them. I have also been in touch with my friend from Ohio State, Courtney Poholsky, and I should have all of her interview answers by tonight or tomorrow.

Along with interviewing, I have also been conducting additional research online, including on Seton Hill’s website. This has allowed me to compile specific information about the curriculum, and it also has given me background knowledge so I don’t ask wasteful interview questions.

I am hoping to have all of my interviews completed by Monday night, so I can work on having a solid draft by Wednesday. Also, I must decide on what to do for my images. So far, I have a lot of work done and a lot of work to do!

 

News Writing Portfolio 4

Cover Post:

As we work through the last few weeks of the semester, I have higher expectations for my last few portfolios. I believe my fourth portfolio displays the continual improvement of my blog posts. Similar to my last portfolio, my depth and riskiness sections are well represented, since I try to give long responses and am more willing to take risks with my work. My intertextuality section has always been improving, and this time I have posts with multiple hyperlinks instead of just one. Even though I did not have much luck with discussions this time, I have a plan for how to hopefully talk to more people for my next portfolio. This portfolio shows that I have continued to learn and improved my responses to demonstrate what I have learned.

Depth: 

One of my best examples of depth for this portfolio was my response to NR&W 21. I began my response with a quote from the chapter, and I followed with four lengthy paragraphs discussing what I learned from the reading. This is probably one of my best depth responses that I have done throughout all of my portfolios.

Although my response to NR&W 22 could be categorized under intertextuality since I included a link in it, I feel like it best exemplifies depth. The three paragraphs I wrote discussed different aspects of journalism ethics, and my addition of a linked article shows how in depth I was willing to research about this topic.

My last example of depth for this portfolio is my post for The Story of an Error. This activity asked us to respond to a mistake made with the name of Seton Hill in a headline. I could have simply wrote a few sentences, but I went the extra step and wrote a few paragraphs instead, connecting what I learned to my own experiences.

Riskiness:

The first post I chose for this category is my response to About Corrections. I included this in riskiness because I never really learned what a journalist is expected to do when they make mistakes. Craig Silverman’s piece included a lot of information as well, which made it difficult in terms of choosing what to write about. However, after carefully examining the information, I was able to gain a better understanding about this topic.

Another post I decided to include under riskiness was Article Progress 1. Although this may seem strange to include because it was a progress report, this is the first investigative article I have done that requires this much work. I also chose a topic that I do not know everything about, so it was risky in terms of determining who I should interview.

Finally, I chose to include my response to the University of Missouri First Amendment Lesson. This could have been put in the depth category as well since I wrote a lot for it, but I placed it here because it is more of a controversial topic right now. Although I am pretty confident in my basic knowledge of journalism, it was difficult to remain objective about the situation because I am a student journalist, so I naturally want to side with them.

Intertextuality: 

My first example of intertextuality was in my Article Inspiration 2 post. I included a link for my first article inspiration post as well as one for the article I discussed in this response.

Similarly, my Article Inspiration 3 post included multiple links. Along with links to my first and second article inspiration posts, I included a link for the article that I chose as my inspiration.

Discussion: 

Since my discussion category is one that I am always seeking to improve, I commented on the blog posts of a few different classmates. Unfortunately, I only received one response out of the four or five people I reached out to. Along with that, no one commented on any of my blog posts. I commented on Marisa Corona’s Article Progress 1 post to give her feedback on her progress for her investigative article. She responded  to my advice and said she will pay attention to my article as well. For my next portfolio, I will try reaching out to different classmates so I can hopefully have more discussions.

Timeliness:

For media lab and The Setonian, I wrote an article about the Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference that was held at Seton Hill. Although it was not for this class, this article was for journalism purposes. I think it demonstrated timeliness in terms of journalism because I uploaded my article within 48 hours of the event I attended during the conference.

For the rest of my blog posts, I was once again able to upload all of them before the class time they were due.

Coverage:

Similar to my last few portfolios, I do not have anything under this category because I believe all of my responses fit under at least one of the categories above.

Conclusion: 

Overall, I am content with the work I have completed for my fourth portfolio. The course goal that I posted in my first portfolio was to “demonstrate a thorough familiarity with the conventions of journalism.” I believe all of my work in the news writing course, including my blog posts in my portfolios, show how far I have come in my understanding of journalism. As I continue to post updates for my investigative article, I will apply everything I have learned so far. For my next portfolio, I will continue to improve my responses as I demonstrate my growing knowledge of journalism.

University of Missouri First Amendment Lesson

Before this assignment was posted, I had already seen the video on the news of communications professor Melissa Click telling student journalists to get out during the protests at the University of Missouri. I was pretty surprised initially, because student journalists have the right to cover events. It was even more surprising that a professor was discouraging students from doing their jobs.

Yes, the First Amendment protects the freedom to assemble, but it also protects freedom of the press. Those student journalists had every right to be there, just as much as the protestors did. Personally, I felt it was unprofessional for Click to yell at student journalists and dismiss them completely. Along with that, she was encouraging the protesting students to create chants in hopes that those journalists would leave, which is also unprofessional to me. It’s good that she apologized, but I do believe the situation could have been handled better.

In spite of all of this, I applaud student photographer/journalist Tim Tai for how he handled the situation. Despite the amount of professors and students getting in his face about being there, he remained calmed and tried to explain his rights to be there, documenting history. If more aspiring journalists are like Tai, then I have no doubt that the future of journalism is in good hands.

In general, I believe this entire situation could have been handled better. However, we should move on from this and consider it a learning experience. People need to be more educated about First Amendment rights and respect the rights of journalists. I’m glad Click apologized for her actions, and it’s good to see so many people standing up and supporting these student journalists.

Article Inspiration 3

My first article inspiration was a piece about the role of technology in the lives of young people, although it wasn’t the best article in terms of objectivity. I decided to switch my perspective for my second article inspiration, this time focusing on liberal arts education in college. My investigative article will be about the liberal arts curriculum at Seton Hill.

For my third article inspiration, focusing on visuals, I chose the article College for the Masses on The New York Times website. It’s difficult to find articles about college that include any images, let alone multiple. This article discussed the benefits of attending college, and included a focus on a specific college graduate’s story as well. The images consisted of a photo of the graduate, a piece of art, and a chart. I liked how none of the images in the article were the same, showing that photo creativity is possible for articles about college.

Although I hope to include more photos of people, this article gave me other possibilities as well. While I might include generic photos, like the campus or images of professors teaching classes, I could take creative photos of the students I interview. Along with that, I could always implement art to make a point, or I could research more in depth and find a chart or similar visual. I don’t have a definite plan for pictures yet, but this article definitely gave me some creative ideas if I get stuck.

Article Progress 1

This weekend consisted of a lot of planning for my article, which will be about the liberal arts curriculum at Seton Hill. I am currently talking to Dr. Fran Leap and Dr. Emily Wierszewski, who have both agreed to be interviewed. We are currently discussing times to interview, and those interviews will be completed this week. I am also working with junior Blaine Brubaker to find a time to interview her. Although I will be interviewing her and a freshman for sure, I am still working on reaching out to other Seton Hill students so I can get a wider variety of viewpoints. Finally, I plan on talking to my friend Courtney Poholsky, who attends Ohio State University, early this week. I have already written some questions for the people who have agreed to be interviewed. By the time my next article progress is due, I am confident that I will have most of my interviews completed.

About Corrections

“A correction that comes from a more human perspective is always going to be more effective.”

When reading about making corrections in journalism, this quote from Craig Silverman really stuck out to me. His first step for making a correction was to feel like a human, so you understand how the wronged parties feel. I think it’s important to take into consideration the people who were affected, and make them at least feel better by owning up to your mistakes.

Going along with that, I liked Silverman’s example of tweets from reporter Brian Stelter, who admitted he made a mistake and gave a link to the correction. No one wants to make a mistake, but taking full responsibility rather than hiding from it establishes more trust with audiences. Silverman gave a statistic that showed many people felt better about a newspaper when it included corrections. It might be a little embarrassing to say “I made a mistake” when journalists are supposed to get things right, but owning up to your mistake gives you more credibility.

In today’s world, it’s difficult to make corrections with social media. However, Silverman gave a lot of good advice for doing this. I think his best point  was to be persistent, and make sure you do everything you can to get the correction out there. One tweet isn’t going to do much, but many tweets from different accounts could. As a journalist, you’ll most likely make mistakes, but taking responsibility for those mistakes is most important thing you can do.