September 2009 Archives

Presented Well

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"And they’re nothing new, Recreation and Parks Director of Finance Katie Petrucione said" (House)

 To be honest, when I first glanced at the subject of this article, I was worried that it would be one of those readings were I would catch myself glazing over the paragraphs because of lack of interest. It's not that I don't care about what is happening in our environment, such as the layoffs affecting how the parks are being taken care of, it just happens to be one of those subjects that its hard to give my full attention too. However, this article I felt did a good job presenting the information from a smaller scale and using other statistics and quotes to expand that information and show how it is affecting people on a larger scale. The stats and quotes she used helped me to focus my attention more instead of just skimming over long paragraphs and blocks of information. The only question I had about it was the above quotes. Did she mean to write it this way or shoudl the "And they're nothing new" have been in quotations?

"How could a man who perfects his patent on clean wave energy Monday through Friday do so much damage to the environment on the weekend?" (Baker)

I really liked how Baker included a question in the beginning of his article. I felt more involved as a reader because I felt like I wasn't just being told facts by a reporter but that I was actually asked to think about what was being told to me. Also, the way he presented the information was just as interesting as the topic itself. He approached it by interviewing someone who had been part of a problem and was discovering new ways to fix that problem. To write an article about conserving fuel and preventing toxic fumes from harming the atmosphere, he could have easily tried to interview an already eco-friendly environmentalist. Instead, he chose a race car driver, someone who in his career has burned up hundred of gallons of fuel into the atmosphere and was finally deciding to change his actions to make a difference in the environment. I found it very informational as well as interesting.



Red Tape

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Unusual crime attracts people's attention for both good and bad reasons. It's good because people want to know what is going on in their communities, but in a way it's bad because part of the interest in crime stories is because people are attracted to the drama surrounding crime. It's even reflected in the TV shows people want to watch in their free time, such as CSI, etc.

But, as this web page reminds us, the crime is more than the details of what the suspect did. The victim is more than just six letters of black ink included in the details. The vicitim (or victims) has a name, a family, a life. Many of us brought this point up when we were discussing the bus plunge stories. Those stories were desired by newspapers to help fill up space, but there were people on board who lost their lives and people else where who lost relatives on those buses.

Crime reporting seems a little difficult to deal with in general. It seems like you have to be very careful about how you word things and about dancing around the privacy rights of the victim as well as the suspect. I didn't realize there would be so many fine lines we would be walking with this subject.


Whoops and Parallels

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"Police said he had a dark bandana covering a portion of his face, police said" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

I think for the first article, this above quote will stick out like a sore thumb to all of us. Obviously, someone missed this while editing or it was a typing error that slipped by. The double "police said" shouldn't be there. Personally, I think it works best at the beginning of the sentence.

I also found another little area were I think another word should have been chosen: "Anyone with information is asked to call the state police barracks at Greensburg at 724-832-3288" (PPG). Shoudn't it say "in Greensburg" instead of "at Greensburg"? I feel like I'm getting way too picky when I'm looking at this detail.

What I also find interesting about this article is that the reporter refers to the suspect (I'm not writing an article so I'm going to use that word) as a "would-be robber" in the final paragraph. Although the man wasn't actually caught (so no charges or trial is in the near future), isn't this still kind of crossing that fine line of what is okay to say about a suspect in a crime report and what's not? Wouldn't it have been better if the reporter had just stayed with more of the basic facts, refering to the "would-be robber" as just the man who got away or something like that? Maybe it's okay the way it is, I'm not sure, so let me know what you think!

 "They were charged for allegedly holding the teen against her will..." (Paterra).

"The Tribune-Review does not name alleged victims of sexual assault." (Paterra)

This article remined me of how important the word "alleged" is to writing a crime report. That single word can help a reporter provide a lot of details without getting themselves into hot water over their phrasing. It keeps everything out of the definate: it indicates that although these details are surrounding the person or situation, it doesn't necessarily mean that the claims will turn out to be true. As we have been discussing in our class, it also helps to prevent possible damage to a trial if the public is influenced by the newspaper too much.

Another aspect I found interesting about this article was where the reporter decided to insert the extra background info about how the three accused in the article had a previous history with kidnapping. The information, at least I feel, is very relevant because it kind of gives the reader the impression that the charges against these three are most likely to turn out true because of their past, but I thought it was placed in an awkard position in the article. Even if it wasn't placed at the very end, I feel that it should at least have been moved lower in the article so more information could be provided about the current case first.

I noticed the reporter used the quotes in the story as a kind of parallel to the background information provided as well as the list of charges for the new case. Most of the quotes were in favor of the three charged as being innocent. The one even raised some questions as to what the victim's intent may be with these accusations. Whether or not the article audience trusts these perspectives, I think the reporter did a great job hiding their own opinion about the case as well as preventing either side from having a more positive outcome by using the quotes to parallel the other information in order to try to keep a level playing field.




Cappon Chopping and Condensing Crazy Sentences

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"The bright side of the obesity syndrome is that it's so simply to control. The person mark in lieu of all those ocnjuctions, participial and relative clauses is a splendid anitdote. Some of us need to rediscover it" (Cappon 38).

I think we all can tell from this chapter that one of Cappon's favorite things to do must be sentence chopping (is this reporting, an inference, or a judgement linguistic people?). It seems that after writing three chapters of the "do"s and "don't"s of newswriting, Cappon just needed a chapter to vent and do something fun. There's only a small amount of information in this chapter, but a pile of examples. I found parts of a it kind of funny because you can almost see the excited of sentence chopping in some of Cappon's comments.

Anyways, I like sentence chopping myself (whereas in essays I spend most of my time trying to lengthen my sentences which isn't so much fun). Not only do I like doing this in writing, but when it comes to reading a newspaper article, shorter sentences are necessary for quick reading and comprehension. After all, when you only have moments to glance at a paper at the breakfast table or on your way to work, who wants to spend time trying to interpret and comprehend long drawn out sentences? I don't really like to do that even when I have time.

Bye for now.

Walking On Eggshells?

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"Reporters indulge in tennis-ball writing and legal jargon because they don't quite trust themselves to tell in a straightforward way what is going on" (Cappon 34).

"Another abused word in suspect. It's seldom a very good word to use in any case; if somebody is questioned or wanted for questioning, let those facts speak for themselves...It is ridiculous in crime stories, however, to refer to unknown but indubitable culprits as suspects. While nobody knows their names, they're the ones who have done it" (Cappon 34).

Touchy, touchy, touchy. For me it's a love-hate relationship. I love how direct and concrete newspaper writing has to be. I actually like editing (even though you probably wouldn't be able to tell with the many typos I make throughout my blogs), especially when it comes to trying to condense paragraphs or phrases. I think I picked this up because when I was younger, I had the bad habit of using "that" after every couple words. My teacher always made me go back and take out my overused "that"s to make my sentences shorter and more direct. This part about newswriting I love.

I think hate might be a little strong to express my opinion about the second part because it's more like an uncomfortable feeling. It seems like editing for a news story goes on and on forever. There are so many rules and guidlines to remember that it seems impossible to create a well written lead, much less story to go with it. Even Cappon mentioned in this chapter that the sentences edited as examples could probably be edited even further. Where does it end?

If I were to take the rules for newswriting and apply to papers I have written for other college classes, I would have much left to my papers. I would have so much fluff and extra stuff to take out and condense that I could have saved part of the rain forest had I written all my papers newswriting style (although they would all be way too short for the requirements). I find this amusing because I like the directness of news writing so much better than the fluff and stuff of essay writing.

Getting back to my quotes, one area where I see as a "walking on eggshells" zone is when it comes to legal issues. As we discussed before in class, you can't write "the robber was arrested", etc., because it assumes that the person is guilty and displays that assumption to the public even though a legal trial to determine so may not have been held yet. However, once I read Cappon's paragraph about how "suspect" isn't a good word to use as well, I think it would make the subject a little more difficult to write about. Yes, I realize that a reporter doesn't need to make it anymore obvious that someone committed a crime, but doesn't "suspect" save a reporter from accidently claiming someone a criminal? Maybe I feel this way just because I'm new at this and I would feel a little uncomfortable dancing around this touchy topic with my green newswriting skills.

I also related to Cappon's discussion about other legal and business topics that sometimes come off too complicated for a reader in the reporter's writing. I always hate when I try to read an article about a subject I feel is important and I can't understand what is going on because of all the jargon. However, I guess the uneasiness I talked about above still applies because a reporter doesn't want to alter and possibly create false information by trying to report news about a complicated subject in their own words.


I Must Be Getting Old

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Last week, when I was working at a day care center, I was talking to one of my coworkers about the weather. I had asked her what the weather was supposed to be like for the weekend and she replied with a full weather report. She then said, "I watched the news this morning so I saw the weather report". I noted that this was part of what we had been talking about in class lately: some of the top reasons why people watch the news.

However, this wasn't the most interesting part of the conversation. After that comment, she rolled her eyes and said, "Yeah I watched the news. I must be getting old". I had to laugh because this too was something we had talked about in clas: associating TV news with older generations. This conversation happened with perfect timing I guess.


Portfolio One ~ Learning the Basics

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       This portfolio includes work from the first few weeks of our EL227 Newswriting class at Seton Hill University. In this class, we are learning the basics about newswriting as well as attempting some small exercises that simulates having to write for a newspaper. The blogs I have listed below are my opinions and thoughts on some of the topics we have been discussing as well as reactions to some activities and exercises.

       While I was creating this portfolio, I could see through each blog where I was learning something new and beginning to apply it. I personally have never had any experience with studying or practicing newswriting. In high school, I was always irritated with the poorly written articles our school newspaper had because most of the editors let their best friends' last minute articles slide so they could get a decen grade. I wanted to write for the paper, but it never fit into my schedule, so I kept my complaints and buisness to myself.

       When I realized I had to take a Newswriting class for my major, I was kind of excited. Journalism was something I had always had somewhat of an interest in, but as I mentioned above, I never had a chance to try. Even though our world has turned into a digital one, I still like the newspaper and physically having it to read. Also, I was always interested in what all you could do with newswriting. I saw it as a tool that reported the good and the bad, as well as caused change. I always loved the news stories that managed to stir up some hidden dirt about topics that huge companies, politicians, etc, tried to keep hidden from the public. Although I don't believe in digging in people's personal buisness, I think if it's something that is harming a community for just a small group's benefit, then something needs to be pointed out and brought up. But then again, I need to know the reality of newswriting, that it's not always that blockbuster journalism that's so interesting but it also includes the obituaries, bus plunge stories, old news, and wrongly informed news.

   I think this portfolio really shows the foundation we as a class are laying for our experiences at attempting to write some articles for a newspaper. We're starting with the basic building blocks by learning the "do" and "do nots" and some possible "what if"s. Overall, although I do feel that there has been some repetition on some simple issues, I feel that I am beginning to understand some concepts of journalism more clearly. Take a look at my blogs and let me know what you think!  



~ Coverage ~

This is mainly to get you started with my portfolio. It's sort of an example of how our blogging works for this class.

   -- Reflecting More Than Just the One Who Passed Away - An obituary can reveal not only information about the one who passes away, but it also shows the personality of those who were related to or friends with the person.

   -- Cappon Chopping and Condensing Crazy Sentences - Cappon has a field day editing long sentences.

~ Depth ~

These blogs are ones I put more time than usual into because I was really interested in the topic.  

   -- News, Roger and I: An Old, But Not Forgotten Friendship - I had some run ins with the news throughout highschool, but this particular experience left a lasting negative impression. By the way, check out the headline that is on the actual webpage, it's a little obvious that I made a mistake.

   -- Their Writing Makes Reading Effortless - The better the writing is, the more you can concentrate on the content rather than the style and grammar. Especially if you're an English major.

   -- Ending Statements - I compared two bus plunge stories togehter and took a closer look not only at their overall content, but especially at the ending lines.

   -- Pitch One, Hit Another - When it comes to pitching news story ideas, the key is to keep trying and working your idea. For me, I find (at least with my paper topics) that sometimes when I pursue one idea, it leads me to another one that is much more interesting.

~ Interaction ~

This is the category where I need the most improvement. Unfortunately with blogging, I tend to have the bad habit of "Out of sight, out of mind". In other words, once I finish a blog, I usually forget to check back later for possible discussions that might be taking place because of what I wrote. For the next portfolio, my goal is to improve in this category to see if I can get some stronger discussions taking place. Also included in this category are comments I have left on others' blogs.

   --Bright Points and Nut Graphs - Every story, no matter how depressing the news might be, has to have a bright point in order to give the readers some sort of relief. By the way, what's a nut graph?

    -- Derek's Blog, Megan's Blog, Kaitlin's Blog, and Greta's Blog - show comments I left to help discussion on my classmates' work.

~ Discussions ~

Below are examples of when discussion did take place on some of my blogs. Although I do have more for this category, I still would like to improve it more by becoming more a part of the discussion rather than just allowing others to discuss what I wrote without my additional input as well.

    -- Applying the Rules - Our class was given a handout about some of the AP styles and rules that we were to learn and to a few sample sentences on our course website. Take a look and see if you agree with the changes I have made.

    -- Somewhat Vague - The more information you can put into citing sources, especially for statistics, the better.

    -- Tune In For Breaking Guesstiments - Even though i t is an exaggerated video, it helps to  show how the need for speed when it comes to developing news stories sometimes overshadows the need for factual information.

    -- What About the Person Getting Profiled - I can understand if the person is unavaible to be interviewed (deceased), but if they are still living shouldn't they be interviewed for their own profile?

    -- A Serious Topic Just for Wasted Space - Even though it seems funny (at least to those with a dark humor) to fill up empty space in a newspaper with bus plunge stories, it's also important to remember that they are serious as well.

~ Timeliness ~

For the most part my blogs were on time. After a few semesters of blogging, I have come to realize that the earlier I can post a blog on the course website, the more people will tend to look at it and comment on it.

    ---- Bringing Personality to Writing (But Not Your Own) -  As a reporter, you can't put your own opinions or anything that reveals your personality in your writing.

    -- Personality Through the Writing - Even though as a reporter you can't put your own personality in your writing, you can bring out the personality of who you are writing about. 

    -- I Like the Difference- Newswriting is a nice break from the usual essay writing.

~ Xenoblogging ~

With a fair amount of our information being online (such as additional websites instead of handouts in class), I found myself linking to a lot of different sources as well as to other classmates' blogs. I like this aspect of blogging because when I go back to look at what I have written, most of the sources I referred to at the time are all linked to my blog and ready to be accessed.

    -- Presentation Reviews- We all had to talk about our relationship to the news. Here is my group discussed. Check out their blogs for their projects!

    -- WTAE News...More News Than What I Thought - When I looked back on this blog, especially after our class discussion, I realized even though I thought there had been a decent amount of information on the TV news that night, there really wasn't.

    -- A Famous Person Has Died...I Think My Life Will Go On The Same - I think I manage to continue on with my life pretty well even when a celebrity passes away.

    -- A Little Sarcastic- We had an article to read that was written about the news gathering process by someone who had been on the inside for years. Although there were several good points of information, his sarcasm kind of created a fine line between what was fact and what was opinion.


~ Wildcard ~

For my wildcard, I chose to make an extra blog about a quick, yet interesting conversation I had last week at work. Check out what someone else had to say about the news in "I Must Be Getting Old".


           I hope you found some interesting topics in the blogs I have created and that you joined in somewhere in the conversations. As we continue to learn more about newswriting, hopefully even more will be added in for the next portfolio. Thanks again for taking the time to read some of my writing!

Go Back to the course web page

Pitch One, Hit Another

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"If your pitch falls flat, it's easy to blame it on an editor. Too easy. If your story matters to you, find a way to recast it and pitch it again so that the editors can see what you have. Don't drop the idea at the first obstacle. If you really have a good idea, it deserves more than a half-hearted pitch" (Grimm)

First of all, I always admire people's creative abilities when they pitch ideas for news stories, books, advertisements, magazines, etc. Not only do I think their creative abilities are a great talent, but also the time they are able to think up an idea and run with it is amazing.

From my own experience (although I have never pitched a news story), I find that suggesting one idea usually leads me to another interesting topic that I would rather write about, especially if I didn't feel completely satisfied with my first suggestion. An example of my own personal pitching (or at least anything close to it) would be trying to come up with different paper topics. Although they may fall from from newspaper article ideas, I may start with one paper topic and end up with another because of where the first one started taking me. Also, although I don't have an editor, I do have professors with different tastes. A thesis that might sound terrible to one professor may be acceptable for another.

Also, as the website mentioned, if I come up with a topic that I really want to pursue, I usually have to reword the thesis for it several different ways before it gets accepted.

I think pitching ideas for a news article would be an interesting way to see how creative you can be and also how perceptive you are to seeing different angles to an idea or story. Also, I think it would definately be more fun than pitching research paper topics.


Ending Statements

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For my comparison, I chose to compare the Kashmir bus plunge and the Nepal story. One major point for each of them that stood out for me was the ending or concluding line for each.

Nepal's ended as such: "Most accidnets in the impoverished Himalayan country are balmed on shoddy vehicles, reckless driving and bad roads". As we learned the past few classes from our AP style tips, this sentence is a good example of how a newspaper article doesn't really have a conclusion, but rather a concluding line that adds some left over information. This line, although still pertaining to road accidents, is just a little bit of extra background info that wasn't really necessary to tell theh story of what happened, but it helped to cut the article off.

The Kashmir's ending line, I thought, was a little more random: "As the injured were being taken away, relatives and residents threw stones at officals, complaining of poor local medical facilities, AP reported". I didn't feel this line really belonged in this article because it kind of opens up a completely different topc and problem rather cutting off the one it was originally talking about. If the relatives had been throwing stones because they were angery at the officers for doing a poor job with the rescue operation, then that would have been more appropriate. However, because their actions were due to poor medical facilties, I don't know that even for a concluding line that this would be appropriate. I believe the article could have eneded with the line above it or possibly have switched the helicopter info around with the background on India's car accident history and ended with that.

I also felt that the reporter for the Nepal article had gained a lot more information than the writer of the Kashmir bus writer. The Nepal reporter had quotes and more stats, such as how many people had originally been on the bus and how many were still missing. The Kashmir writer however, only seemed to have gathered two lines of info about the actual incident (and it looks like that info was taken from another source).

I guess when it would come down to placing these two articles in a newspaper's small left over space, you would need to look at length and size first before you could add more content. The bare basics would be needed if you had only a limited amount of space.

Back to class

A Serious Topic Just for Wasted Space

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"'It was better when buses plunged in countries with short names,' he says. 'A bus plunge in Peru was infinitely easier to deal with than a bus plunge in Argentina or Paraguay.'

Of course, it's callous to make light of anybody's tragic death. But by the gallows-humor standards of journalism, competing to publish bus-plunge shorts was fairly benign" (Shafer)

Although at first this article sounded somewhat amusing, once you open some of the links to the articles were the actual bus plunge stories are, it doesn't seem quite so funny. As the website mentions, it does admit that these reports have to have a certain level of a sick sense of humor, but it still seems a little disrespectful to the people who died in the accident to admit that newspapers get excited over these stories because it helps them fill up empyt space.

On another note, it is pretty interesting that a type of news story because of its shortened, yet interest-grabbing healine turned into a kind of category all on its own. At first I would have thought stories like these to be rare and I always found it kind of weird when I did see a little article in a paper about a bus plunge in some little country that I never heard of. However, now I know what the actual use of these stories are: not necessarily to get the news out to the audience, but more so to take up small, unused space. It's kind of pitiful when you think about it.


Applying the Rules

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After reading the hand out on the AP style tips, I realized there had been a lot of information that I had assumed was correct for news writing just because it was correct for writing else where (such as English papers). One that I really crashed and burned on with the obituary was the rule "Do not include 'Dr.' as part of a faculty member's name" (2). I had never even considered that this would be a point that I would need to edit.

 With these rules, I feel more confident about writng a news article. I feel like I have more direction to what detail I need to pay attention to. Now that I have read these rules, I'll probably pay close attention to my own writing, even if it's not for News Writing.

Here's what I found wrong with the examples on the course page (or at least what I thought was wrong):

1. Assistant News Editor, Anne O'Nymous read the article.

            The comma should be taken out between Editor and Anne. I still think this sentence looks funny so there might be something else wrong with it.

2. She was highly appreciated by Jameson for solving the problem. "I really appreciate her work ethic and problem-solving ability," said Jameson.

            The whole first sentence isn't necessary because it is telling. The quote shows he obviously appreciated her abilities.

3.Spunky Inkworthy has only written for The Setonian this year, but Obituaries Editor, Lazarus O'Mortigan, was very complimentary towards Spunky's contributions.

            Either say "the obituaries editor" and use lowercase for obituaries and editor or take out the comma between Editor and Lazarus if you are using it as a title. Once again, I still think it looks funny.

4. In a telephone call from Head Librarian Marian Paroo, she discussed Inkworthy's contributions.

          I don't really know if you should keep "Head Librarian" capitalized or not. It looks like it's being used as a title, however I would just rewrite the whole sentence completely to look like "Marian Paroo, the head librarian, discussed Inkworthy's contributions in a telephone call."

5. "Here is a quote", said Bill Jones freshman.

            I would move the "freshman" to go before "Bill Jones" so it reads "said freshman Bill Jones".


That's what I could figure out from the rules and the examples. Let me know what you think!




Personality Through the Writing

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"'You have the opportunity of awakening your senses. You have the pleasure of eating with your family and friends,' she said. 'You have a sense of time and place. You feel connected to a community.'" (Cox)

Although a reporter isn't supposed to reveal their opinion or anything else personal about them in what they are writing (including their personality), I really enjoyed how this writer brought out the personality of the woman he was interviewing through his writing.

His descriptions of his interviewee helped to create a picture of the interaction: such as "She talked in a soft, elegant tone but glowed with excitement when she mentioned straight-from-the-garden ingredients". This sentence tells us how she reacted, but also shows us what her interests are. His descriptions of her business as well as quotes from her employees/friends helped to really show her personality through his writing.

Not only did he manage to give the reader a sense of personality, but as the quote above mentions, he even created "a sense of time and place". As "a truck putters" that is "filled with plump, corn-bred, nine-week-old ducks", as a reader I immediately was not only able to visual the scene, but also to hear it. These small details make the article seem more alive and personal.



Presentation Reviews

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I really enjoyed these group presentations and I feel as if I learned alot from them. There were some general points made that were really interesting and surprising. One of the main topics being discussed was how all of the journalism students in our group didn't like the news. Printed, radio, or TV didn't seem to matter: they just didn't like it in general. As I go through each section of the presentations, you'll find out why.

Angela's presentation demonstrated how news can reunite people. They might come together because of a similar cause or even because of a disagreement. Even just seeing someone's picture in the paper or their story can help to reunite people who have lost touch with one another. Her story about her grandfather helped to show the power news has in this positive aspect. However, along with her positive relationship to news, she also reminded us that news can put fear into people. Sometimes headlines and stories are blown so out of proportion that what should cause little concern causes widespread panic when it's not necessary.

During Kaitlin's presentation, she informed us what she does with the news, such as when she takes the time to listen to it or read it. She mentioned how key headlines are, especially when she is in a hurry. The headlines sometimes make or break the story: if the headline is boring, then who is going to take the time to read the rest of the story?

Richelle's presentation shared some similar qualities. She too admitted that her interest in the news was minor. The newspaper held some importance to her because she used it to look for places of employment (which seem to be getting more scarce with every copy printed). She also mentioned how her family has influenced how much she pays attention to the news which is mainly when it directly affects her. The experiences she had in high school journalism classes were included, which also related to several other presentations.

Jessie described how she didn't really like the news (even though she's a journalism major) and avoids TV because of how sad it makes her feel. Her interests are mostly in columns where more opinion can be included. She also discussed how joke shows tend to help spread headlines.

Megan discussed how she is a journalism major and doesn't really have a love-hate relationship with the news. Once again, I found this very interesting since her major is centered around writing and studying news.

Cory discussed how September 11 really sparked his interest in the news. This is when he began to like and watch more broadcast news because "it provides information when it counts". I completely agree with him on this point -- no matter how much we slam TV news, I know the majority of us were glued to TV screens on 9/11. It was our main source that was providing the fastest information at the time.

Matt gave us a great monologue of how news affects his life in the fact that it really doesn't because he doesn't have the time for it. We all appreciated his humor in expressing his lack of interest.

There were several other presentations that included more journalism majors discussing why they don't like the news. Overall, there were several themes that we all had in common:

      • a lack of interest in the news
      • an influence from a high school journalism class
      • a bad experience with news
      • as a journalism major disliking news

Our presenations made for some great discussions and really helped me to see other people's perspectives. 



Their Writing Makes Reading Effortless

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"Orwell puts this sentiment more plainly, despite the help of a similie: 'Good prose is like a window pane.' The reader notices not the writing, but the world" (Clark and Scanlan 299).

If I read a well written news article, I tend to become more engrossed with the story than I do the writing. As an English major, I sometimes do get consumed with the way someone writes instead of what they are writing about, especially if I think the writing is poor. However, if I find myself engaged in the story, then I know the person, whether it's a reporter or an author of a book, is a good writer. They kind of make reading their writing effortless.

When it comes to reading news stories, I usually find myself paying more attention to the writing than I really do the story. For daily headlines, I usually find myself just reading list of cold hard facts, and I pay more attention to the style of the writer than the story because the story seems to be lacking everything except the bare bones it needs to stant on its own. Sometimes this type of writing I find a little relieving, like when I just feel like glancing over the news and all I want is just the facts as quickly as possible (which I guess is what most readers want). However, sometimes I feel that there lacks interest in the story because of how boiled down everything is.

I found the example on page 297 of Anne Hull's story to be interesting for many reasons. First of all, the style was definately more catchy than an average news style. Second, was this an actual news story? It seems more like storytelling form than journalist form (although should there really be a differnece?). If it is a real article, I think a news story written like this every now and then would be sort of refreshing, although the facts may not appear as fast as what is necessary.


Reflecting More Than Just The One Who Passed Away

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In a way, sometimes I think obituaries not only reflect the person who the article is talking about, but also the family and friends surrounding those people. For example, sometimes when I see a very short obituary of someone who was in their nineties, it sometimes makes me assume that the person was the last of their immediate family as well as friends and maybe had no close family to create a more personal obituary for them. When I see a longer obituary, it doesn't make me feel as if the person must have done more with their life and affected more people than others with short ones, but that the person had someone who really cared about them and wanted to make sure others knew how great the one who passed away was. Obituaries have always made me think probably more about the one who wrote it rather than the one who its about.

I also wonder how many obituaries you read were self written before the person passed away. Sometimes I think that its weird when this happens, but then again I guess it is a way for some people to include a kind of thank you and farewell to family and friends.

Enough of this depressing topic  

The news and I met on fields, courts, and tracks. At first we were just acquaintances, occasionally just passing by. However, in a small town, the news will make friends with any athlete it can find.  It was a year or two before we actually became friends. I thought News was cool because not only did News get along with me, but it seemed to get along with my other teammates and friends as well. News talked to us nicely after games and even liked to tell other people what we had to say. News usually brought a friend along with a camera who liked to take our pictures. We called him Roger Roids because his arms were as big as a body builder’s to hold up the incredible weight of the little camera he towed around. After several season, my friends and I got used to the news and Roger coming to cheer for us at the games.

                Then, one day our friendship with News and Roger came to a dramatic end. We had lost a championship, the first in all the time we had known the News and Roger. The next day, we awoke to see News not talking about the other team’s victory or Roger’s picture of them receiving their trophy. No, instead News and Roger plastered our picture on the front page. There we were, crying, trying to pick each other up off the field after our last game ever with the winning team celebrating in the distance. News and Roger had thought it was a better idea to base their story on our defeat, rather than the other team’s victory. After all, we had been News and Roger’s best friends for years, why ignore us now?

                From then on, all of my friends and I were not longer allowed to be friends with the news or Roger. Not only did we personally want the relationship to end, but our parents helped out by cancelling their news subscriptions to the paper that had Roger’s picture of us in it. Most of us moved on without ever talking to news or Roger again.

                A few weeks before leaving for college, News happened to surprise me with a small article saying where I was going and who I was playing for. Everything News said was positive. Although it still didn’t heal the damage that had been done before, it was as if News was saying it was sorry and good bye after all the years we had spent as friends. Looking back, although I realize the news was just trying to show the good and bad of our team, the picture and article had done some damage by going too personal and sharing moments that are only to be shared by teammates. News and Roger made my friends and I suspicious of any reporter or photographer that came our way afterwards, even if they mean us no harm. I have never talked to News since, and hope I won’t have to anytime soon.

What's your story?

What About the Person Getting Profiled?

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Although the profile was really informational, I was surprised that there weren't really any quotes from the person the article was supposed to be profiling. Are you not supposed to interview the person you are profiling and only interview those who come into contact with them? I'm not sure, just wondering. Let me know what you think!

Anyways, I was kind of surprised this was an award winning article. Although it did provide a lot of information about the Delancey Street center and those who live there, it seemed like an article that anyone with the idea and enough time on their hands could accomplish. It probably is an easier-said-than-done scenario, but I still was a little surprised that the writer received an award for it. However, as I mentioned before, it did have several important facts and some quotes that were informational. I think another good point was the author allowed the quotes from the residents of the Delancey Street center describe the center rather than listing a bunch of facts herself to describe it.


Bringing Personality to Writing (But Not Your Own)

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Although feature pieces may not be news that is important to the now because they are works that reporters actually have time to research and work on, I still think they are important to the newswriting audience. Even if someone doesn't have the time or interest to read a piece on the writer behind the Dr. Seuss disguise, there are other feature stories that cover topics instead of just people, such as pieces on companies, disease, etc. I think in the big picture these pieces are important because they offer more research based information that could affect the reader's opinions or choices in some way. It may not provide a reader with the much needed and desired daily weather report or details of the house fire from last night, but it does provide information that affects readers' lives in some way. For example, if a newspaper does a feature piece on some sort of health issue, I'm sure the readers of the article will look at their health and the choices they make that affect it in a different way.

When looking at the style of the feature piece on Theodor Geisel, the reporter did do an excellent job of keeping herself out of the article until the very end. I also liked how she did combine several different elements of her research to create a more complete picture of Geisel. Just an interview with him would have left readers without a better understanding of how he became the successful writer he is today. I enjoyed seeing how her research pieced together because she used it in very resourceful ways.

Although this article may not having been "breaking news" or a hot headline, I think the style and tone used by Gorney would have attracted and kept more readers who may not even have a strong interest in children's books or Dr. Seuss. I myself thought I would lose interest quickly in the dry biography I was expecting to read. However, I became very interested in the story as Gorney seemed to reflect Geisel's personality in her writing style. Matching her writing to his personality really made the article more interesting and I as a reader felt I got to "know" the real Dr. Seuss a little more personally.


I Like the Difference

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The comparison between newswriting and academic writing really helped to show me the differences between the styles and structures. I personally like the difference since I hate trying to stuff academic papers with enough fluff that it sounds like I'm trying to say something important. Also, I think when comparing the two together, for newswriting you pretty much know what and how to write it. What is required for academic writing changes depending on who you professor or teacher is. A paper could be considered good academic writing by one professor while considered less than satisfactory by another. In a way this affects newswriting as well because one reader could think an article is well written while another think it is poor. However, as was mentioned in the column comparison, news articles are written for the audience that is interested. If someone isn't interested in an article, it doesn't really matter.

As we continue to learn more about newswriting, I'm becoming more interested in how careful you have to be as a reporter with your word choice. The column comparison gave another example of how a single word can give many meanings to a reader, and sometimes the wrong one: "Since Fred Smith was elected mayor six months ago, the city saw the local unemployment rate drop to 4%" (English Essay vs. News Story). As the column explained, the since can completely through the sentence as well as the artcle off because of the different meanings a reader can derive from it. I originally knew reporters had to be careful, such as having to use certain wording when someone was arrested, but I didn't realize to the extent in how simple words can affect the meanings and messages being sent to the audience.


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