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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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