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Elements of Journalism – Chapters 9 and 10

Chapter 9 of Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel covers the ways in which journalists must make the news comprehensive and proportional for their readers. It also describes the benefits and drawbacks of journalism being centralized online in every aspect. This is now even more true due to the pandemic, because most journalists have begun to work almost entirely virtually. It’s interesting that this book seems to foreshadow was has completely taken place this year.

Chapter 10 covers the fact that journalists must use their conscience when reporting. This something that I was confused about at first, because I know that journalists are supposed to keep themselves out of reporting. However, after I finished the chapter, it made complete sense. Journalists need to use their best judgement when writing stories, but they must keep their bias out of it. This is something that seems difficult, but I will work toward achieving it in this class.

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“Spot the Troll” response

I just took the quiz from The Clemson University Media Forensics Hub called “Can you Spot the Troll?” and I am shocked at how real some of the trolls can appear. I thought that I would be able to answer most of the questions correctly, but I ended up only answering half correctly. Some of the accounts that I thought were legit were very similar accounts that I had seen on online before, and I am now realizing that they were trolls. I definitely feel that I am able to detect trolls much better now as a result of this quiz. I would encourage everyone to take it, because the account that just upset you on social media is more likely to be a troll than you think.

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The Importance of College Newspapers

An article from The Washington Post titled “College newspaper reporters are the journalism heroes for the pandemic era” taught me about the importance of college newspapers during the present moment, namely the global pandemic. This is especially true for larger universities that have had cases skyrocket since reopening. The best way to get insight about what is going on at a university is to read the publication from the university’s own students, who have no problem exposing what they think the school is doing right and wrong. The example of the college newspaper in Florida was surprising to me because it is hard to fathom a college newspaper becoming larger than the community newspaper. In our area, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review have such strong coverage, and are widely recognized throughout the area. Thus, our college newspapers do not need to take up the additional duty of covering the community, like the Alligator at the University of Florida. However, it is still true that our college newspapers give the best insight to how our colleges are handling the pandemic, and it is certainly noble of the other college newspapers to step up and offer the service to their communities that their local newspapers fail to do.

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Elements of Journalism – Chapters 7 & 8

Chapter 7 demonstrated what can go wrong when a journalist does not fact-check every detail of a story before mentioning it. The example at the beginning of the chapter is a great segue into what the chapter discusses, which is the way in which journalism must be used as a public forum. When I read this title, I immediately thought of social media serving as a public forum. However, as Kovach and Rosenstiel point out, journalism was the first form of what is known as modern social media today. As I thought about it more, I realized that social media platforms are basically news outlets for everyday life, where people can publish things that are not newsworthy. Of course, social media is used for newsworthy posts as well, but the addition of posts that are not newsworthy is what sets it apart from news outlets. This is a concept that I had not considered before reading this chapter, but it is definitely something to keep in mind when scrolling through social media. Overall, this chapter served as a reminder to fact-check absolutely everything. Failure to do so can potentially ruin innocent people’s lives, as demonstrated in the example.

Chapter 8 explores different methods of engagement that journalists use to make their stories about the ordinary more interesting to read. Some of the methods that are mentioned remind me of what we will be doing in class on Wednesday, which is using a graphic designer’s template for our magazines. The section of this chapter titled “Who Is the Audience and What Do They Need to Know?” presents some simple questions that journalists ask themselves when deciding how to properly engage their readers. After going through the questions, the journalist can the answers and turn them into presentation of the news that will engage their audience. The methods that are described in this chapter are interesting. I think that multimedia would be the most time-consuming, but the end result would be engaging.

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Elements of Journalism Chapter 6

Chapter 6 of The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosensteel dove into another job that journalists take care of: Monitor Power and Offer Voice to the Voiceless. The first portion of the chapter described the history of journalism being a monitor to power. This was interesting to me because I love history, and I had learned about many of these things before. However, I had never realized how big of a role journalism played in these events, and I now view them from a different perspective. Many of them may not have even been known to the world if journalism did not exist, which is something that I think many people fail to appreciate, including myself prior to reading this chapter. The second portion of the chapter dissected investigative reporting, and the ways in which its role has evolved over time. Before reading this chapter, I thought that this type of reporting had always served the same purpose, but this chapter proved that notion to be incorrect. The role has shifted from “watchdog” to “prosecutor,” which are interesting ways of describing investigative reporting. After reading the chapter though, it makes perfect sense. Overall, I enjoyed learning about the past and present of investigative reporting, as it continues to evolve.

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Hard News Story response

This post was a helpful reminder that the most important part of the news story needs to be the first part of the article. As I write news stories, I need to keep the fact that the average reader wants the facts first, which is why this should be written before anyone’s quoted opinion in the story. I always read news stories the whole way through, so I definitely need the occasional reminder that most people do not. The article also gives great examples of how to do what it is asking, so I will definitely be referring to it in the future.

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Verify or Duck

This article was a reminder of how detail-oriented the profession of journalism is. The smallest of newsworthy details can make a huge difference in the story. The example of the school newspaper revealing their principal’s fake degrees was shocking to me, and demonstrates what a little extra research into the details can do. It was also interesting to learn how journalists piece together different eyewitness accounts to form the story. I have always wondered how it all comes together, and I am eager to continue to learn about these practices. Now that I have read this article, I will be more alert to the details as I write future stories in this class.

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EoJ 4 and 5

Chapter 4 was interesting to me because it laid out all of the ideas that journalists need to keep in mind to ensure their credibility holds strong. The portion about the struggles of the digital age stuck out to me the most because I had originally thought that journalism would be easier in the digital age because of the ease of accessibility, but I can see why it is more difficult after reading this chapter. The internet is unfortunately a place where many false sites pose as news sites, and some people believe them, making it harder for true journalists to maintain their credibility. Chapter 5 was a thought-provoking read. I had never considered that journalists must make every effort to remain independent from those who they cover, but this now makes perfect sense because it goes hand-in-hand with bias.

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Current Events: PoV

I chose the article “Rising Tensions Between Turkey and Greece Divide E.U. Leaders” by Steven Erlanger of The New York Times. This article counts as a news story because it uses neutral language throughout. The writer’s view on the topic is unclear; he does not imply support for Turkey or Greece. Erlanger demonstrates a strong ability to fairly present diverse news. He interviews a foreign minister from both Greece and Turkey, as well as two outside perspectives. Both sides are given due time in the article. One outside perspective supports Greece, while the other supports Turkey, making for a level playing field.