October 2009 Archives

Reflection #11: The Power of Having No Name

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After reading through Josie’s blog entry entitled, "The best quotes are those where the speaker is remembered -Anonymous,” I thought that she made many good points about the use of writing an anonymous quote or source. Josie mentioned that if someone is humiliating another person or group, then they should have the right to know who that person was. I think this is part of the reason of why people read the paper because not everything is clear or cited. This leads into the issue of citing someone as anonymous because they want to keep their privacy. The key word that Josie mentioned was how an article or paper keeps it reliability. I think that if a paper contains quotes that are continually anonymous, then the readers will begin to question what is true. No matter what the topic is, I believe that if someone wants to be anonymous, then they should have the personal right to do so. I highly agree with Josie and how several anonymous sources/quotes can lead to a paper’s dismal finish.

You Hide In Order to Attack


"The public sees the growing use of unidentified sources as a basic fairness issue. The public is particularly upset when it thinks the press is providing cover so someone can make an anonymous personal attack on another individual" (Haiman 21).

After reading the next section of Haiman, I found the quote above to be extremely important to the Newswriting world. I think that it is essential for the news reporter to be careful when citing someone if they say they do not want to be. This would be considered an unidentified source, but is it always good?

I think that unidentified sources are good for local stories, but how does it work when it comes to political and national stories. Here is an example case: What if the Vice President said a statement that the paper named as being an unidentified source. What if that source was used to make the opposing political party look bad? No one would have known that the V.P said that quote because it was unidentified, but the opposing team or political party would probably know.

I think that when it comes to politics, then the public knows who says what because of how widespread the topics are and how much coverage they receive. Is the paper using unidentified sources as a means of attacking another person of even another news paper company?

So, do you think that the paper uses unidentified sources in order to make the public read their papers? Is it a form of bias that people do not understand and simply enjoy reading about? Finally, could the unidentified sources be a way of attacking a specific audience - hint: news coverage?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Haiman.

Reflection #10: The Daily Words: Fact or Lie

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Angela wrote a very interesting blog entitled "You don't have to be perfect" which made me think about the newspaper as being a person instead of a factual, non-human source. She mentioned about how everyone has someone that they trust in their life. What if that person lied to you every day? I bet that you would not believe that person very much and would not have much faith in them. It is this type of behavior that can be related to the newspaper. The newspaper seems to have too many lies or mistakes in it and this is causing people to become very upset. The newspaper workers get paid, with money, for what they do, so their behavior in editing the paper should be very good. The famous line of “everyone makes mistakes” holds true, once again, in this situation. It’s okay to have a few mistakes because a paper has many sections and pretty comprehensive. The overall paper should be much different meaning that it should be mostly-error free. If the newspaper employees do not care for their jobs and this is why the errors are occurring, then they need to find employment elsewhere. The newspaper comes with a dedicated task of informing the public, but it should not inform them with errors that could be edited.

Click here for the course web page.

Just Please Look It Up - Hint: AP Style Book


"There is a broad feeling in the public that newspapers not only make too many
mistakes, but that they also are unwilling to correct them fully and promptly" (Haiman 13).

The first 16 pages of Haiman was a good read and also included many facts about newspapers and things that they do wrong. The quote, above, really stuck out to me because of how the newspaper makes so many mistakes. Now, I am trying not to be too harsh because I know it's hard, but they get paid for it.

That prompts a question then about newspapers. If someone is getting paid for working on the newspaper, then should it be error-free?

I think that a newspaper should correct their errors on a weekly basis, but if not daily. Agree?

When a magazine publishes each pamphlet, monthly, then there usually are some errors or mis-communication. I usually noticed that the very next issue (the next month) has a page that is dedicated to corrections and/or mishaps.

Every reader is bringing something personal to the paper when they read it and the paper cannot please everyone. I seemed to be being pulled from two sides because I think well they are getting paid, but then I think mistakes can happen - easily.

Should a paper be published without errors or if errors are found, then should the corrections be published in the following day's paper or even online?

Click here for the course webpage devoted to Haiman.

Reflection #9: The Spread of Information: Purpose and Meaning

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Greta wrote a great lengthy blog entry entitled Be Careful What You Wish For and it contained a visual chart that expressed similarities between an editorial and an academic essay. I had never compared the two types of writing before, but I now understand how similar they both are. It is amazing how an academic essay could be transformed into an editorial by simply changing some techniques and carefully inserting quotes. It may not be that easy, but it could probably be completed without, too, much emphasize. The only major difference that I notated between that two is being careful to credit or quote what is said. A newspaper writer does not want an editorial to look like an academic paper because no one will want to read it. I also love how Greta ended her blog entry by saying “be careful what you wish for” when writing an editorial. If you write something upsetting and the majority of people know you, then you could receive some staring eyes when people approach you. Overall, write for an audience with a purpose and not to simply write negativity or extremely pleasing information.

Click here for the course web page.

Whether You're Complaining or Praising, Just Be Nice!


"Avoid simply listing complaints or attacking a silent opponent with a series of aggressive questions that you have no intention of researching" (Jerz, Editorials).

I have seen that before!! It is amazing how some news writers use their sections of the newspaper to either like or dislike something - especially restaurants. The paper is supposed to be un-biased, but it seems to convey a left or right message sometimes. The list that Dr. Jerz posted is very useful, but very true.

First, I think that "writing it tight" is a key element because people do not want to read a long boring editorial. There is a need to only write the words that are necessary and to not write just because it will fill space.

Secondly, "interviewing sources yourself" is a very promising approach because of how much more truth is involved. If you simply say, as Dr. Jerz stated, "Research said," then you are simply using something that someone else has already said. So, why even say it? If you get quotes from several people and incorporate them into the news article, then the piece has more personality and truth behind it instead of information that is already published somewhere.

Finally, the one that I enjoyed reading the most was about "writing for a reason and not just complaining." The example that Dr. Jerz listed was extremely helpful because of how it shows the negativity behind the topic. The food cost has risen and the editorial is complaining. This would probably lower the amount of money that the cafeteria makes because people will agree or disagree and attend or not attend. Put in some quotes from people who work in management or even supervisors and ask questions that prompt answers about this price increase and why. By simply writing a negative editorial, then you are showing your audience that you are complaining. When you write an editorial with facts and quotes, then you are showing the audience information and not your opinion.

Greta wrote a very interesting blog entitled Be Careful What You Wish For and composed a chart that listed comparisons about editorials and academic essays. There are so many comparisons between the two that make them both so similar. An editorial is like writing an academic essay because you do not want to convey your opinion in the paper, but only through quotes and worthy information.

So, is an editorial another way of writing a short academic essay?


Is an editorial a small column that presents useful information about a useful topic?

Click here for the course web page devoted to Editorial.

The Offical Q & A Session

Guest Speaker Questions

The following questions were prepared in order to ask the guest speaker in-class, but since this has been post-poned, I have posted them in order for the class to read and hopefully comment on.

1. What made you decide to be an educator at the university level compared to the elementary setting?

2. While being the chairman of the English department, has it increased your interaction with students or separated you? Specifically, are there any negative aspects of being a chairman?

3. Since not a considerable amount of students decide to become English majors, are you or the department trying to solicit, in any way, in order to attract more students? Would you wish that more education students become English majors since it is such an extreme component of the teaching world?

Click here for the course web page devoted to the guest speaker.

Breaking News: State Budget Crisis

Day 1 - October 5, 2009:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: After reviewing several newspapers, I came across a really interesting breaking news story about the Pennsylvania budget crisis and how it is still delayed. The article is called Senate leaders boycott state budget talks, promise new proposal. PA is the only state to not have a budget finalized for the FY 09-10 and we are the only state to let a budget impasse go this long. Why? How could we not have a budget? When will it be passed? These are all good questions that I am sure each and everyone of you have, but this breaking news article is proposing that the Senate compose a new budget to be reviewed and hopefully passed in the near future.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Also, I found an article called Tiger Ranch owner jailed; cats, food found on property. This breaking news story discusses how a ranch owner continues to feed cats when he is not suppose to and now it has resulted in jail time. This is not just a man who likes cats, but it is a man who had over "400 cats" (McKinnon). This is someone who kept cats, not for little friends either, and it seems that many of them have died since authorities have found out about this.

Day 2 - October 6, 2009:

WATE's verison: In response to my breaking news article about the PA budget, the Philadelphia Inquirer posted an article entitled Yet again, a Pa. budget appears imminent. This article was posted at 3:00 a.m. and discusses how the budget has come to an agreement, but some issues are still to be determined. The main holding for this budget is a unified agreement and a vote.

WATE's verison: As for the woman with all of the cats and the abuse she caused them, WATE posted an article relatively soon after the Breaking News article entitled Bond Revoked After Deputies Allege Woman Still Has Dealings With Animals. This article keeps the reader in suspense because it begins by stating that "Court Still Waiting For Linda Bruno's Psychiatric Exam."

Update: The Post-Gazette wrote a second lead article about the PA budget impasse called State Senate passes latest budget bill with little debate. This article discusses how the Senate has passed the lastest budget contract, but the House still needs to approve of it before the Governor can sign it into law.

Update: A second lead was created for the tiger woman and the abuse that she caused all of the animals. The article is entitled Judge orders owner of Tiger Ranch to jail and it explains how the lady pleaded guilty and could go to jail for two years with a fine.This article does not appear to have any additional information posted in the coming days so I would conclude that there was a breaking news article and a second lead describing the sentence.

Day 3 - October 7, 2009:

Update: Another article was created about the budget crisis in Pennsylvania and we are informed that the House OKs revenue side of budget; spending vote expected tonight. This article discusses that the state leaders have finally come to a partial agreement in the House, but still awaits the final approve and the signature from the Governor. This lead will most likely turn into a breaking news story if the budget deal is agreed upon in the House and Senate. More details will follow when available.

Day 4 - October 8, 2009:

Update: The Morning Call blog site also published an article recently about the PA budget crisis, but many of the Senate and House leaders said that a budget could be passed very shortly. Hopefully, this is the case, but the Pittsburgh Post Gazette posted an article about the State Senate moves ahead on its version of table games bill. This article, being a more reliable source, talks about the Senate agreeing on the casino slot tax bills. This part of the budget is another issue that many leaders have discussed and agreed and disagreed on. The blog site is just an example of another site that is showing its concern about the PA budget, however the Gazette is continuing its story from the original breaking news article that was posted several days ago (link above).

Day 5 - October 9, 2009:

Update: After 101 days of having no state budget, Gov. Rendell said that the Impasse ends; Legislature sends budget bill to Rendell. This will finally allow money to start flowing into schools, counties, and organizations that have been waiting for a long time. The hardship from the budget impasse has caused people to worry and become upset, but that can all be brought to an end now.

Click here for the course web page devoted to News Cycle.

A Well-Rounded View on a News Reporter's Life

Portfolio #2:

After creating my first Newswriting blog portfolio, I knew that I was learning what a news reporter does each and every day. Each entry was submitted in a very early manner and contained depth, coverage, and discussion.

I always wanted to know how to write a crime report because they seemed so detailed and academically pleasing. I knew there would be one problem that involved the victim of the crime and the police always say Run Quickly, But You Can't Hide. This article created some lengthy discussion and prompted me to respond in order to let my classmates know that there comments were read and well-thought out. In order to gain some understanding in this area, I responded to April's blog entry entitled Questions which presented me with the idea of writing only the necessary words and to not write something twice in order to fill space - this would be called filler. Angela's blog entry entitled Abducted by Aliens concluded as a comment informative. This entry made me re-consider how important it is to only write the facts, when it comes to crime reports, because the reader can quickly conclude that someone was guilty by their style of writing.

The next step that I took in understanding crime reports was studying how one is written and what it involves and I knew that There Is a Manual for Everything. This blog entry describes how a crime article and/or report can make some readers feel uncomfortable and worry if that particular crime will occur in there neighborhood. Richelle and Aja both commented about how a crime becomes more worrisome when the fear is close by instead of in the distance. Matt Henderson wrote a blog entitled Wait a Minute, the Writers Actually Got Off Their Butts and Went Somewhere and this entry made me realize how an article can revovle around people instead of an event or place. Matt, Dr. Jerz, and myself had a discussion and this resulted in a comment grande because of how much discussion we had.

The next important step in learning about Newswriting was to pitch my own story and this resulted in an article about the preparations of Homecoming and how the economic downturn has caused an impact on the campus and the way it conducts events. I had to interview several faculty, staff, and employees in order to gain an understanding of how the event was prepared. Overall, I learned that an article, of any length, takes great detail and time in order get the appropriate quotes and information. It makes a student, like myself, wonder how breaking news articles get published so quickly. After writing this article, I began to compose a sample spot news blog about two articles where news reporters actually traveled to the attraction. In both cases, there was Economic Devastation and Cash for Clunkers because these articles talked about issues affecting community events, but there was a larger issue at heart - the enivornment?

After completing several real-life articles, it was now time to return to Cappon's book and a Blunt News Article. Cappon's book has many real-life and current, in the past several years, articles and this makes for a good read while learning about how to write a news article. Cappon points out, in the text, certain features such as emotion, word choice, opinion and description. In return, Jenn Prex wrote about Careful Wording and how news writing vocab and an article are similar in a variety of ways. Jenn discussed the use of "alleged" in an article and how one mistake can set someone, possibly, free.

Finally, I will conclude this portfolio with a blog entry about the Importance of Information at a Glance. In this entry, I examined The Chicago Tribune and The Daily News. This blog of mine attracted several comments, grande and informative, and made Angela write her reflection on it because it contained so many ideas about the newspaper color and layout. You wouldn't believe how important color is! Jenn's entry entitled Eye Catcher and Angela's I Like Me Some Color made me be the first comment in which a discussion was gathered. Anglea's entry was so informative that I wrote a reflection on The News and Color.

My wildcard entry is The Importance of Information at a Glance because of how much in-depth discussion and interaction it resulted in. I learned a lot from my peers as a result of this entry and it made Angela write a reflection on it also entitled Derek Brings Up a Good Point.

Also, I composed a reflection for each assigned text item throughout this portfolio and the previous one. They include Emotion vs. Academic Words, An Article with a Connection, and Words are Worth a Million Words. All of these reflections link to peers in the class who contributed to my learning throughout the past few weeks in class.

Finally, each student was required to complete a news cycle. Each student had to find two breaking news articles and continually check to see if they got updated. One of my articles was about the budget crisis and another was about a woman who abused animals. The budget crisis has had several updates since the breaking news, but the animal article only had the initial article and a second lead. Please refer to Breaking News: State Budget Crisis in order to see how I tracked each entry throughout a couple of days.

Once again, all of my blogs covered the assigned material, contain depth, prompt interaction, spark discussion, and were all submitted in a timely manner. I look forward to the second half of this Newswriting course because I have already learned a great amount of news law and production. Please refer to my portfolio 1, A Journalistic View on Life, for some previous input and a variety of topics.

Click here for the course web page.

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