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November 2005 Archives

November 3, 2005

Gone until Saturday...hopefully!

Well I am leaving tonight for the second round of the playoffs with the Seton Hill Women's Soccer Team. We head out at 8:30pm and set out on a 4-5 hour trip to New York state depending on stoppage and traffic. Tomorrow we play Tiffin and then if we win that game we go on to play Houghton on Saturday for the Region IX Championship.


We enter the game against Tiffin with a record of 17-2-0. I am so excited! I have never felt so dedicated to a group of people in my whole life...like I do with this team (these girls). They are truly my family and I thank them for every moment they have blessed me with over the past two years. And on a final note Roamer and the family are outta here to kick some ass.

November 5, 2005

Penguin Fun...

adopt your own virtual pet!

Tough loss....all around

We may have lost the game on Friday in double penalty kicks, but at least I know that when it was over we left everything on that field. There was not a dry seat in the stands and certainly not an ounce of energy left in our bodies. This ends our 2005 season with a final record of 17-3-0. We came, we saw, and we conquered as well. I can say it has been an honor and a privelage competing with these 5 seniors and they will be missed so much. Next year I can only hope that we are blessed with a similar or better season.


It Ain't Necessarily So...Ch 8-9...

Chapter 8 dealt largely with the idea of indirect information being the basis for reports that are used to write news stories. I think it is important to note that just because there are more reports surfacing on a specific topic of interest such as child abuse, it does not mean that conditions are worsening. I agreed with the book when it said that instead of child abuse becoming more prevalent amongst Americans, the standards by which we label 'child abuse' have become more strict. These ways of judging child abuse vary from one person to another and no consenses can truly be drawn on opinion alone. One family might think that telling a child to kneel in a corner is child abuse because it often hurts there knees. While another family might beat their child with a belt and think its normal and non-abusive. You can be the judge.

The book referenced a study stating: "between 1986 and 1993, the number of children who were physically abused nearly doubled." Though changes in reports can be mistaken for changes in reality. Maybe child abuse is actually becoming more common. There is still the possible discrepancy between reports and reality. It can also be gathered that the study on child abuse reflects heightened awareness to the issue rather than an actual increase in abuse. These same cases may have been going on before the study was done, but they were never reported or noticed/observed. A minor detail like the fact that some reports include "endangered children" (those in danger or being abused)along with those that are actually abused may change report results.

The text describes this child abuse study as the classic bait and switch. In this case the increase does not stem from more cases of physical abuse but from heightened awareness and sensitivity among child welfare professionals that report more things as abuse than they did in the past.

November 6, 2005

It Ain't Necessarily So...Ch 10-Conclusion...

The Danger of Hedgehog reporting...ok so I opened up this chapter (10) and didn't know what to think by the title. After reading the chapter and looking at the blog of Katie Lambert, the ideas presented in this section were much more clear.

I think that I would like to take the rest of this entry to reflect not on the chapters 10-conclusion but rather my feelings on the book as a whole. Although it has been mentioned a million times on other people's blogs, I will say it again (no pun intended)...THIS BOOKS IS SOOOO REPETITIVE!! I also think that it was at times boring and somewhat overwhelming the way the authors would just throw these statistics at you and then move on to another topic in the same chapter very rapidly. In defense of the repetition...I think that it does demonstrate evidence that we can't necessarily trust everything we read if all these different occurences are yielding the same misleading information. Point well taken.

November 7, 2005

AP Guide to News Writing Ch 9-10...

Ch9:Color: Dip Your Brush in Small Details
This section of the AP Guide to News Writing deals with the use of color in writing news articles. Color is the ability to fit words together gracefully by using particular details in a story. By using color, the reporter writes in a way which readers see the story and are shown something. It all goes back to the literary saying 'show rather than tell' and is written in such a way that the reader supplies his/her own adjectives. The use of color, as mentioned before, relies on the implementation of small details. I noted that in this chapter the distinct differences between literary and news writing are made very visible. Mainly color in writing is contrasted with the standard detailed literary story.

This chapter also remarked on the use of figures of speech in order to add flare to an article. Apparently this is something that if done correctly can be great, but if done poorly can end in the creation of an often embarassing and mundane story. A smart choice of small details can add vitality to a story which is evident in the book's mention of Saul Rett's article about Robert McNamare. Rett wanted to desribe McNamare as 'having a mind like a computer' and instead of just stating that he had a mind like a computer he used colorful word choice to illustrate the concept. The interview/article took place during a dinner, Rett noted McNamare's response in order to refer back to his idea about McNamare's computer-like mind. Ex: "judiciously weighing...evaluating all the features."

In reference to writing with color it is best to use verbs of description rather than adjectives or adverbs. Also, use specifics. Pseudo color won't produce the same effect for the reader and this rules out using grand generalizations. You want to present rich imags in minial word usage. The final note in chapter 9 is that good writers/journalists have the discipline to bring good observations and details to their stories.

Chapter 10: Pseudo-Color: Cliches and Other Tresspasses
The first thing in this chapter that I think really stuck in my mind was the saying that 'shoddy tools yield shoddy results.' I think this applies to so many aspects to news writing. It can be about shoddy facts, sources, writing devices...etc. Though mainly it is refering to the use of cliches in stories, which apparently are defined as good or bad by each individual editor. I found it funny that some of these cliches that they book was describing as bad, I often use in everyday speak. The ones that were particularly common were "selling like hotcakes, breath of fresh air, last but not least, leave no stone unturned." Though at least I found out that not all cliches are bad. They can often be used to end or tie together a story in a few words rather than using a long verbose group of sentences.

1. Its ok to use cliches occasionally, but not more than one in an article.
2. Cliches are acceptable when they serve a meaning precisely.
3. You shouldn't try and change up or add to pre-established cliches.
4. Overborrowin is what kills classic cliches.

The most interesting thing that I read in this chapter was in regard to the use of cliches in sports writing. One game of baseball is much like any other. There is not a lot of flexibility or variation in such things. Therefore when we goto write about them our stories follow a pattern that becomes standard. I can relate to this issue personally since the articles that I write for the Setonian are all about sports. When I write a preview on both the mens and womens golf teams for example it is hard not to repeat myself in the second article. The lingo and terminology associated with the sport doesn't change, and the fact that it was early in the season the coaches had similar quotes regarding team goals for the year. When it comes to writing about freshemen recruits on teams (any teams) 95% of the coaches I interview say the same thing: "They will be a great asset to us in the future." I can see how easy it is to fall into a writing pattern for these types of articles and have them seem oddly similar.

Sports cliches are often applied to politics and I found that to be a very interesting application and cross. The use of sports cliches is something that is done until they become threadbare. Because so many sports writers borrow coined terms from one another the life-span of the terms is shortened. It is suggested that sports writers 'cool down' stories and write more straight forward and simpler articles.

The final section of this chapter dealt with strained figures of speech and double headers. The strained figures of speech often become dismal and ludicrous. Trying to create your own figures of speech can end poorly often because of context confusion. The use of mixed metaphors are another common error. I thought the books section on personification was good. "Luck smiles and fate frowns." The last advice that the chapter (10) gave was to beware doubleheaders and redundancies. Ex:null and void, aid and abet. One word might say it all.

November 11, 2005

Cover Entry 3....

News Writing Blog Portfolio 3
This is the third installment of my Blog Portfolio for 2005 Fall Semester: EL277 News Writing. For those of you that did not follow my Blog the prior to now I will give you a brief exposition about me. My name is Leslie Rodriguez and welcome to my weblog sponsored by Movable Type. I am a sophomore at Seton Hill University and as part of my EL 227 class and the New Media Journalism program I write and respond with blog entries on various topics.

These entries are then posted for public view on my blog. This entry acts as an introduction to my blog portfolio which includes selected entries that reflect on our in class discussions, published news articles and various texts that Dr.Jerz has assigned. The following topics will be examined and discussed in my blog portfolio:

The Collection
My best blog entries that demonstrate intellectual growth.
Entries are categorized accordingly.

Class Required Blog Topics (including the texts):
Coverage 1 & Depth 3: This entry demonstrates my ability to cover topics of the assigned readings. In this entry I wrote about It Ain't Necessarily So...Ch 6-7. These chapters regarded surveys and polls. I found that there is a lot of information presented after doing surveys that is inaccurate because the questions asked were biased.

Coverage 2 & Depth 2: This entry will function as both my second Coverage and second Depth entry. I wrote a very detailed response in regard to the assigned readings in the AP Guide to News Writing Ch 9-10. These chapters involved using color and cliches when trying to spice up a story. I reflected on my personal experience as a sports writer for the Setonian.

Coverage 3: In this entry I reflected on not only the assigned chapter (10-conclusion) but on the book as a whole. This is just a general opinion entry that used the text as a reference as well.

Depth 1: In this entry I blogged about It Ain't Necessarily So...Ch 8-9. In these chapters the idea of using indirect information as the basis for writing reports used to write news stories was presented as bad. In regard to a study mentioned in the book; I agreed with the book when it said that instead of child abuse becoming more prevalent amongst Americans, the standards by which we label 'child abuse' have become more strict.

Interaction 1
: In this entry I wrote about what happens when reporters attempt to write lengthy news stories based on little or no real research. The ideas came from It Ain't Nescessarily So...Ch 2-3. The entry sparked a conversation with Dr.Jerz on the topic and he elaborated on the idea that reporters need to ask good questions in order to recieve good answers.

Interaction 2
: In this entry I reflected on It Ain't Nescessarily So...Ch 4-5 as well as Lou's and Michael's in class presentations on proxies and statistics. Lou, Dr.Jerz and Dena Marie all had comments to make about this entry and I believe it demonstrates a sufficient amount of interaction between my peers and I.

Comment Grande/Informative: I wrote a very in depth and informative comment on Elyse's blog regarding my own experiences as a sports reporter for the Setonian. I talked about the terminology used in such articles and how it is very standard.

Comment Primo: I wrote the first comment on Jay's entry regarding Dan Rather. I made a comment about how I felt he was not a real journalist and was later corrected by Nancy Gregg who informed me he started out in the low ranks just like everyone else. Since writing this comment my opinion has changed regarding Dan Rather's credibility.

Link Gracious 1: In this entry I discussed Chapter 11 in the AP Guide to News Writing and borrowed some of Jay Pugh's ideas. I mentioned his blog about the same topic and linked to it towards the bottom of my entry. We both agreed that a feature story is still a news story and needs to be approached like one.

Link Gracious 2: In this entry I discussed It Ain't Nescessarily So: Intro-Chapter 1 and used a quote from Dr.Jerz and from Chris Ulicne's blog entry on the same topic. My response to the book was very similar to Chris's in the regard that we felt it to be repetitive and unhellful at times.

Other Entries:
Wilcard: A Jerz Jest as usual falls into this category. In this entry I discuss the similarities between Dr. Jerz, and Millet, a character from the Seton Hill production of Fuddy Meers. The picture I posted poses and odd resemblance. This idea was given to me by my good pal Chris Ulicne.

Crime Article Lab
: In this entry I reflected on the in class article that we had to write on a fictional crime. Dr. Jerz placed facts on the board for a specific time limit and then asked us to write a crime report/crime article about the event. Generally I found it to be very difficult and I blogged about my negative experience.

AP Stylebook-Media Law
: In this entry I wrote about the large section of the AP Stylebook devoted to Media Law. I took a look at the idea of Slander vs Libel and compared and contrasted the two offenses. I also wrote about the importance of reporting accurate and correct facts in order to avoid this kind of legal persecution.

November 14, 2005

We the Media: Introduction

The introduction to Dan Gillmor's book We the Media, really got me excited about reading this book. I think I am going to like it a lot better then It Ain't Necessarily So. Gillmor first made the point that news and history often transcend time through memories as well as documentation. He made reference to the events of September 11th, 2001 (9-11) and this struck a particular cord with me. I can vivdly remember where I was at that point in history. I was a sophomore in high-school and we learned about the tragedy 15 minutes into my Introductory Computer Science class. I was in utter shock and disbelief. Gillmor continues to talk about 9-11 saying that for the first time the first draft of history was being re-written in part by it's former audience because so many of the people that wittnessed 9-11 reported on it.

Gillmor goes on again to mention 9-11 and it's imapct more in Chapter 1. The next big point Gillmor makes in this chapter is about Joe Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest and a story that broke about him. While Gillmor was covering a press conference held by Nacchio there was a tip via e-mail given to him online about Nacchio cashing in $200 million worth of stocks. He then quickly blogged about it during the conference and the news spread like wild-fire to the other people in attendance that were online as well. The event became Nacchio standing in front of a firing squad and an uproar was caused. This was considered an evolutionary change in news flow because of the use of online means of communication.

Things like Gillmor's experience with Nacchio are very intriguing to me. Though using blogs and e-mail are common place to most of us, (I don't mean to make a generalization, but if you are reading this entry then you are computer savy enough to know what I am talking about)this revolution did not happen all that long ago. I also liked the point Gillmor made that the old means of reporting simply became unsuitable after the 20th century and now the audience has become more active in news writing. Journalism in general has taken an evolutionary turn from lecture to conversation and the groups of journalists, newsmakers and the former audience have all meshed together.

Apparently the biggest enemy for journalism in general is the idea of CORPORATE JOURNALISM which dominates the field today. The lines have become blurred betweenreporting and money making these days. Big Media, which includes TV and print journalism has also been bad for the field as a whole because it often promotes the idea of cutting the quality of journalism. Because papers make only small revenue from circulation they must rely on advertisments for 95% of their income. Though it is not likely, Gillmor jokes that if we keep up at this rate NEWS ANARCHY could ensue.

November 15, 2005

We the Media: Chapter 1-2

Chapter 1: From Tom Paine to Blogs and Beyond reflects on the evolution that has occured from early forms of news/journalism up until now. The new media revolution/evolution is examined and accompanied with a brief historical analysis. For most of history newspapers have dominated as a means of conveying news and thought to the masses. I enjoyed reading the section on personal journalism which began with the muckrakers and set the stage for the Progressive Era. Though the Corporate Era was of most interest to me because it is the one we are currently living in. Lets face it, everything has become corporate now, so why not the corporatization of journalism. Through out history the economics of printing have reflected finances. Printing and news making generally favored big business and local monoplies because they could afford to do it.

This chapter also focused on Radio and Television. PS: I have always wanted to do a little work at a radio station and may persue it in the future. BUT: Historically, radio and television have lured the masses away from newspapers. Towards the end of the chapter Gillmor menitons a San Fransisco earthquake in the mid 1990s that resulted in people calling into a local radio station and doing on the spot reporting. I thought that was a pretty cool use of the open forum. Network news hit its peak in the 1960-1970s and was a jewel of the industry even though these big stations lost money because of expensive production. Local stations were a little bit better off because they had lower expenses. My favorite part of this chapter was when it got to the section on the internet, computers, and blogs. (I know I am an UBBER GEEK for saying that just now)

I could not believe that when BBS' (electronic bulletin boards) came out in the 1980s, they were the used often by radicals promoting propaganda and such things according to police. Gillmor proceeded to focus on the idea of open sourcing the news through the implementation of open source software. This movement was begun by Richard Stallman. One of the benefits of this type of software would be easy access to fix bugs and make corrections. This was an editorial function developed later by bloggers.

The only place left that Big Media contains an advantage is in investigative reporting even though the open source journalism philosophy may yield better journalism as a whole. Wikis and open forums such as Wikipedia are transparent sources. In regard to Gillmor's mention of blogs and 9-11 I have posted several links from Writing for the Internet (EL236).

*9-11 Entry: Roamer Zone
*9-11 Online Coverage Archive

Chapter 2: The Read-Write Web
Tim Berners, the creator of the web wanted it to be a read-write device. In the mid 1990s, Dave Wimer, the founder of UserLand Software showed Dan Gillmor an early version of a blog. Wimer was considered an early blog pioneer. Prior to this the web had been stricly geared towards reading information rather than posting and writing it. Origninally the web was simply read only. When I read about the "Edit This Page" button which Gillmor was shown, I was reminded immediately of Wikipedia. From this chapter we learn that the Internet is the best way to stay better informed because technology gives us so many choices.

I was interested in reading about when Gillmor was abroad teaching and wanted to know about the presidential elections, an event that was not largely covered in foreign country where he was at. Gillmor used the best source that he could in order to obtain up to date information about the events taking place in the US. He used the Internet, which he would later realize was a better source for an overall report than any TV news coverage he could have been watching at home (USA). For me Gillmor's story just adds to my defense of online journalism. News online is reliable, current, and provides the best ability to stay up to date with the click of a button.

The tools of grassroots journalists...to name a few.
1. E-mail Lists
2. Weblogs (Blogs)
3. Web Content Publishing Systems
4. Syndication Tools
5. Camera Equipped Mobile Phones 3366_large.jpg <-----My Phone

I wanted to personally elaborate on #5, which was camera equipped mobile phones. They are one of the best inventions ever. I have an LG camera phone through Verizon and I use it almost everyday. This summer it became particularly useful for me when I was writing about things on my blog that I just couldn't explain without a visual. In fact, 90% of the pictures on my blog came from my phone and 99% of the pictures that I take in general are with my phone. I even used it at the Morgan Spurlock lecture. When I go out and see something worth writing about, it is such a help when I know I need a picture. And the quality of those pictures is quite good as well. I just wanted to say my piece as a camera phone advocate.

November 16, 2005

We the Media: Chapter 3

Chapter 3: The Gates Come Down
In this chapter Gillmor discusses the first real impact of weblogs on the news. I was interested in the section that talked about the rascist incident with Trent Lott and how online journalists really publicized the scandal opposed to main-stream media that seemed unintersted with the story and quickly swept it under the rug. It was in fact online chatter and expressed outrage that caused Big Media as well as the president to take notice and address the issue. Blogger Joshua Marshall was one of the early people to sound off about Lott's statement online.

A very important point that Gillmor makes is in regard to the fact that we are now living in an industrial age which means that we are often dealing with manufactured news. Newsmakers must face 3 very new and different rules of public life.

Rules of Public Life:
1. Comunication enabled grassroots journalists are a truth squad.
2. Insiders are now part of the conversation. Leaks of information have been replaced with gushes
3. The information that comes forward can take on a life of its own. And that is the case whether it is true or not.

I feel like the most signifigant point made by Gillmor in this chapter was that if you know something in one place (location), and they post about it online, other people with an interest that care about the topic will know what you know soon enough no matter their location. Information online spreads like wild fire and is unstoppable. The example that I liked that was used in the book involved a Pepsi iTunes contest and how a consumer revealed the way to be a winner everytime when they posted: How to never lose Pepsi's iTunes giveaway? People caught on to the site and sure enough Pepsi ultimately lost money because of the flaw. I would have liked to have known about this one. This just goes to show you that the Internet cannot be ignored as a valued medium with infinite power and ability.

Again in this chapter we see the mention of camera equipped cell phones and other mobile recording devices, though this time they are used when refering to ways people can prevent crimes as well as document historical happenings. They can facilitate the documentation of any event that is taking place. The statement is made that "we are a society of voyeurs and exhibitionists" and I completely agree with this sentence. My AR: 185 class (The Art of Film) discussed a similar topic several weeks ago. The reason movies are in fact so popular is the fact that people like to watch other people. It's as simple as that. The same explaination can be applied to reality television and online journals (LiveJournal, Xanga, and MySpace).

Note: Government officials and organizations are very similar to corporations in the sense that they are strictly against the release of their private information to the public and expecially the press.

There were two more things in this chapter that I wanted to touch on before drawing this long entry to a close. Gillmor talked about how he used the internet to learn how to upgrade his DishPlayer recorder just as I learned how to do html coding off the Internet. Prior to taking EL: 236 (Writing for the Internet) I had not attempted anything html. When I got my blog and Jerz suggested it was a simple way to add customization to online text I jumped on it. I googled html color codes and played around with my CSS Stylesheet until I got it right. Overall I say that the net is a teaching tool.

But then again there are those people that abuse the net and take advantage of the 'bad sites' out there that promote hacking through the use of the open source network. In response to this chapters section on hacking I even looked up password hacking for AOL Instant Messager. There are actually programs that you can download onto your hard drive that are based on data input. If you put in a line of unknown characters they can be decrytped and the password is revealed. It is amazing, and free, but also in many cases highly illegal.

Links from the chapter:
McSpotlight Website...I wonder if Morgan Spurlock has seen this one?

November 17, 2005

Presentation Reflection: Jenna O'Brocto...Chapter 4

I really enjoyed Jenna's presentation today in News Writing class on We the Media: CH 4. It sparked a very lively discussion that I feel could have gone on for another hour at least. In regard to the idea of print journalism being more reliable than online journalism I think you need to be very careful when defining online journalism. Is it, blogging, actual online articles, or even some news tid-bit leaked onto a message board? I am personally a large advocate for online journalism. I agreed with Evan Reynolds on most of the points he made today.

I went on Jenna's blog and looked up the celebrity blogs once I had a chance tonight and particulary found interest in reading the Anna Kournikova blog (which Dr. Jerz expressed a personal interest in as well). The funny thing is that I would bet money on the fact that she doesn't write any of her own entries on there. She likely pays a PR person to put a lot of BS together and call it her own words. Reading the most recent entry felt almost insulting. It was terse, rehearsed and primarily a self-promotion. Many companies, act in the same way with their blogs as Jenna pointed out. Joe Schmoe can get on a blog and use a pseudonym in order to promote his own product, for example the Ford Mustang.

In my final thoughts I would like to adress a comment that Jenna made in class that I found very interesting though it does not relate too closely to the presentation or the text. I liked how she used the word ADULTS when refering to the people that maintained the Admissions blog before she took over the task this year. She said something to the effect of (forgive me I'm paraphrasing) "The people the maintained the blog were adults, not students like us." Well this brought some very intriguing ideas to mind. Aren't we all technically adults by the law at the age of 18? What really constitutes an adult though? I began to think about it, and even though most of the people in our class are 18-and up we still might not think of ourselves as adults. Just something to pontificate...

November 18, 2005

We the Media: Chapter 5

Chapter 5: The Consent Of The Governed
This chapter of We the Media has a lot to do with political blogs, the influence of blogs on politics and the government in relation to journalism. In 2004, Ben Chandler won an election because of blogs. He advertised and fundraised on 10 top political blogs and reached a much wider audience that even spanned outside of his district of possible jurisdiction. One blog that was particularly instrumental in this win for Chandler was The Daily Kos which is run by Markos Moulistas Zuniga. Chandler advertised on blogs through a private ad company called BlogAds for $2,000. He generated $80,000 in donations from this and if that doesn't act as an advocte for the use of blogs in politics I don't know what does.

Just as emergent tools of journalism are giving business' new ways to organize and market, they are also transforming political life into a feedback loop among the leaders and the people. In regard to civic activity; technology makes politics available to not only the elite rich people of the world, but everyone. I generally hate writing about anything political because that is one area that I tend to keep my mouth shut. I hate that no matter what I say, someone is going to disagree with it and tell me I'm wrong. I'd honestly rather pretend to be apathetic and when someone says something really ignorant I might chime in. Back from the ranting sidebar; the 2004 election was greatly effected by blogs.

Howard Dean was by far the most influenced by blogging during the 04' election. Pro-Dean bloggers were so vocal that Dean soon setup his own political campaign blog as well as his own website. The blog and site were both used to fund-raise and urged people to contribute small amounts $20 and up. This is something that I can see a lot of politicians doing in the future because it reaches such a massive audience and after a while all those $20 bills add up!

Links from the chapter:
Generation Text - Explains the term Generation Text.
MoveOn.Org - One of the most powerful political blogs on the net.
Earth 911 - Making everday earthday..enough said.
Joi Ito - A pretty cool blogger.

November 19, 2005

We the Media...Chapter 6: Presentation

Introduction: This chapter of 'WTM' deals specifically with the concept of journalists joining the online conversations that are flourishing in the news realm. Gillmor also discusses both the advantages and drawbacks/disadvantages of owning a blog and being a journalist. There is also an emphasis placed on not being afraid to ask the former audience for help with reporting.

1. Oh Yeon Ho - launched OhmyNews.com, a small online Korean newspaper that viewed reader interaction as a crucial part of it.

An important quote from Oh Yeon Ho was that, "Every citizen's a reporter."

Key Concept: The general public needs to get involved with making news because they know more than the journalists. The Internet is one medium that the audience does own.

2. Tradition Media's Opportunity
Because blogging is seen as a form of open source journalism it is importabt that Big Media take advantage of blogs and try to engage the audience in thoughtful intellectual conversation.

Gillmor cited a case that occurred with The New York Times. The 'NYT' forums often contain valuable insights, but those ideas rarely reach the newsroom due to lack of attention from news staff.

If the staff is not part of these conversations then its simply the audienve interacting with one another.
In contrast...
The New York Times does sponsor a very productive discussion group called "Kristof Responds" in which Nicholas Krostof conducts talk back sessions online via message board with the readers.

Why are editors of Big Media publications are weary of blogs?
-They (editors) feel that this genre of news writing threatens to undermine what they consider core values of news writing; mainly editorial control.

Journalists that have blogs:
James Taranto - The Wall Street Journal
Sheila Lennon - The Providence Journal
Sheila's updated blog
Jim Romenesko - Poynter Institute
Tom Mangan - San Jose Mercurcy News

Many journalists that can't get blogs sponsored through their news organizations often have their own freelance blogs. An important blog lesson learned in this chapter as a journalist is to blog at your own risk. The things you post are subject to ridicule and evaluation by not only the public but by your editors who may not agree with your interpretation of the paper's ethics code.

Authority From Linking, Listening:
-Think of linking as a tool to enhance credibility of journalists as well as any individual trying to make a valid point with justified arguments. It's like having a works cited list at the click of the mouse(or just a bunch of people that agree with you).

-"Patterico", pg 120. Blogger that tipped The LA Times off to a story. Though he tipped off the LA Times about a story, that doesn't mean that they were too incompetent to see it themselves. He was doing the job the the public is supposed to do now. Becoming involved with the media and working together. His frustration and bitterness for the paper is unwarranted according to Gillmor.

Asking The Former Audience For Help:
-Reader input = Nothing New: Letters to the Editor have always been a means for response and comment from the readers.
-Ameaturs can create good news and sometimes are the only source for on the spot breaking news such as natural disasters (Hurricanes, Earthquakes). ie: 911 as well.

Final Thoughts:
Blogging is a very powerful tool that can be used to benefit Big Media as well as individual journalists. Even though a newpaper may offer a blog to a journalist, they are taking a risk in some cases. Editors are constantly threatened by the inability to control blogs and open source forums they may provide/sponsor. One of the most important parts of journalism is the need for interaction and input from the former audience. They have now become newsmakers and reporters. I wanted to end with the quote that summed up the chapter.

"Journalists aren't some exotic species, they're everyone who seeks to take new developements, put them into writing and share them with others." -Oh Yeon Ho (pg 110, Gillmor)

November 20, 2005

We the Media: Chapter 7

The Former Audience Joins the Party
The presentation done by Chera Pupi for this chapter really helped to illustrate many of Gillmor's arguments regarding the role of citizen journalists in news making. In 2003 protests of insurgent bombing in Iraq were expressed on the "Healing Iraq" site of a bloggger named Zeyad. Through Zeyad's blog we learn that blogs can also be used as a confirmation device for what we read in the regular news papers. They are a great way for people to express first hand accounts of a situation that may otherwise be represented incorrectly. Another goos story about citizen journalism deals with Rex Hammock, a blogger that reported his feelings on a "closed to the press" presidential event. Excluding media from event coverage really doesn't mean anything because of these citizen journalists that just seem to pop up.

Anyone in the world can be a citizen journalist and honestly this is not a new and revolutionary concept. 90% of stories are broken by everyday people that want to get the word out about something important. One large issue regarding the internet in general is freedom of speech (The First Amendment) and the idea of something being 'off the record.' I enjoyed Chera's example of knowing the biggest secret about Seton Hill and then saying she was going to whisper it to us, but it was off the record information. Word of mouth would make it travel whether it was true or not and somewhere the truth would come out on the record. Dealing with on and off the record statements is something journalists do daily and so do bloggers.

In response to some people calling blogs nothing but 'self absorded tripe' I disagree completely and retort with the argument that blogging can be an act of civil engagement. One notable legal blog is that of Pamela Jones entitled "Groklaw." On a final note, I want be be a journalist, but I would sure like to make a career out of personal journalism as well. Quoting Chera's blog: The “tip-jar” approach is the most popular. Another model is “nano-publishing” in which publications are devoted to one particular area. (end quote)

Links for the chapter:
1. Chris Allbritton - A blogger that was once a profesional writer. He raises money through his blog to go to Iraq and report.

November 21, 2005

We the Media: Chapters 8 & 9

Chapter 8: Next Steps
Proposed laws and codes of cyberspace and the technological world were presented in this chapter, though I am not sure "laws" is the correct term for them. Most of them are generalizations based upon opinion and analysis of the natural progression of technology. Gillmor first discusses Moore's law, named after Gordon Moore who is a cofounder of the Intel company. The law basically states that because people want things to be better and faster there will be a greater/more frequent production of new versions of technology. Specifically, Moore proposed that the density of transistors on a piece of silicon would double every 18-24 months and he was correct.

The second law discussed was Metcalfe's Law, named for Ethernet founder George Metcalfe. This law is centered on the value of networking. The third law is Reed's Law, named for David Reed. It states that on the web people communicate through many to many or few to few rather than from one to many like in print. We also begin to see that as the Net gets bigger so does its power base and value.

Note: Creating the News...Publishing on the Net
Adam Curry a former MTV VJ now is very involved with online media such as blogs and other forms of streaming media broadcasting. Curry even has his own blog. He even continues his DJ/VJ role on a radio-type blog that he maintains from his home.

News kinds of Big Media are taking over the web now...ie: Microsoft, Google and Yahoo!. Google's news feature is often used as a research tool for other journalists. Gillmor gives a tutorial of all the Google features and specifically devotes attention to Google Alerts. RSS feeds and blog syndication are the last thing I want to talk about for this chapter. I find it interesting how quickly one entry one a person's blog can become a popular link and be trackbacked.

Last year people commented and linked to my blog that I did not even know and it's kind of an honor to recieve feedback from an audience outside of the Seton Hill University community. In one comment section, a student (most likely in high school) wanted me to help her analyze one of Shakespeare's sonnets. (something I was just learning myself as a student) I always enjoy looking at trackbacks and googling my own name and blog. Over the summer the academic article I wrote was linked to several times.

Chapter 9: Trolls, Spin and the Boundaries of Trust
Misinformation is a growing problem because of the internet. Because people are cutting and pasting so much, the information that is actually sent in e-mails can change when taken out of context. The original author then becomes a victim of scrutiny by his or her peers. A famous instance of this happened with the graduation speech attributed to Kurt Vonnegut (SlaughterHouse-Five) but was actually written by columnist Mary Schmich.

Gillmor had his own similar experience with Microsoft when he joked in a column about a potential information leak from an un-named source of the company. E-mails flew around the office about who it might be at Microsoft. This just exemplifies the point that it is very easy and simple to manipulate public opinion. But is that the fault of the media? Or are we simply conditioned to do that? Another thing that goes along with faking stories and taking credit for ideas is doctored photgraphs & doctored videos.

Image altering is something that I do in a joking way for things such as my Jerz Jests, but other than that I would never think of altering a photo of a prominent political figure in order to get across my own agenda. This is not the case with some people on the internet. (John Kerry & Jane Fonda) I do digital editing and make images for my blog headings, but thats about it. All I know is that you can get in some serious trouble for things like that but in many cases you can also get away with it because of anonymity on the web. Being anonymous in general is a double-edged sword. Though you want the source to feel safe and comfortable, credibility is the issue.

Links for the chapter:
Special Report - How the media is spinning gun control?

November 22, 2005

We the Media: Chapter 10

Chapter 10: Here Come the Judges
Gillmor really gets in depth with issues concering media law in this chapter (10) and that is a subject that was very new to me. I know a little bit about libel and slander in regard to news writing and print journalism, but I was unclear on those laws in the world of websites and blogs known as the Internet. Gillmor discussed the case of Brock Meeks, an avid blogger that recognized the Internet as a journalism tool. He was also the first internet journalist sued for libel.

Copyright, linking, jurisdiction and liability for what you or other people say on your website/blog are all important media law issues. Matt Drudge, a blogger/writer was sued for defemation of character, but his case made a great advancement in online journalism. Drudge apologized for the mis-representation and a was still prosecuted. Personally I don't think he should have been sued after he apologized. He made a mistake and all I can say is that just means he is human (everyone makes mistakes in life). Drudge wasn't defaming someone purposefully.

November 29, 2005

Rent...please go out and see this movie?

Rent: A Review
I am writing this pleading blog entry tonight in order to spread the word to the Seton Hill University community about the new movie Rent that came out over Thanksgiving break. I saw it the Saturday of break. So basically, I am a huge fan of musicals, but its not like I have never seen a movie adaptation of a musical that I didn't like. I am objective. There are some real crappy ones our there, trust me. But, Rent is by far one of my favorite plays ever converted from stage to screen. I mean don't get me wrong I love the classics like "Chicago," "Oklahoma," and "Singin' In The Rain," but "Rent" is now my favorite for life.
Its times like these I wish I was still doing theatre in my community(Salisbury Community Players)or even the Greensburg. I would love to get back into the musical theatre scene. I believe I am a fair singer. But, back to "Rent" for a moment, beccause not only is the musical score delivered so wonderfully by an incredible cast of singers and musicians, but the story is told in a very unique way. In the play the story's time span does not take place over one year, but rather a much shorter period (most likely a few weeks). Best song in the entire movie has to be "Take Me or Leave Me". It is presented in such a great way and the scenes are so well choreographed. All I can say is that it was worth the $9.00 and 2.5 hours of my life to be inspired by R.E.N.T. And not to mention the fact that Idina Menzel from Wicked does a kick ass job as Maureen in Rent. I can't stop raving about it, just ask me.

About November 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in November 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2005 is the previous archive.

December 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.