NM: The Present (4 of 4)

Being new to the world of journalism, the lesson on objectivity struck me as being very important, even the most important element of journalism. That’s why I was surprised to read the section on why objectivity is not the goal of news reporting nowadays.

But the way the book explains it makes sense. To objectively report all sides of every issue would be unfair in its equality, as many issues have sides that are more factually supported than others. The convincing examples include “attacking McCarthyism” during the Cold War, “determinedly investigating how the Watergate burglary involved high-level political crimes” during the Nixon administration, and “judging for themselves which of the NASA surveillance secrets revealed by Edward Snowden” they would publish (111). In all of these cases, the accountability of the reporters to fact-check and expose injustice outweighed the inclination to stay neutral on the subject.

For this reason, accountability is as important as objectivity in journalism nowadays. Not only must reporters refrain from personal bias, but they must also research whether the information they are reporting is accurate, harmful to lives, or complete.

Source: NM: The Present (4 of 4)


Point of View

I have seen this meme before but I have not examined it in the context of journalism bias. It is interesting to see the original meme transform from a comic about respecting and listening to someone else’s point of view to Haplo’s commentary on examining context and intent to Dr. Jerz’s commentary on trying to claim an artistic statement represents a hard interpretation. I also enjoy the cats.

This dialogue about a meme reminds me of online incidents that have happened to me. I publish comics of my favorite musicals on Facebook, and some of them go viral. This is one such comic:

I use a social media pseudonym and while I watermark my logo on my work (the RaS in the corner) I do not sign my real name anywhere. I understand that once I share something, others will save it and post it themselves, and on a silly fan comic, I do not mind the lack of attribution. At least, I thought so.

Months later, another Hamilton fan from that group posted a link of a website that happened to use my comic. Except, this website censored out some words in the first panel and misinterpreted my parody:

My comic was about a seductive character, Maria, turning out to have innocent motives like Moana. This website interpreted it as an innocent character (and a minor), Moana, behaving in a seductive manner like Maria. And because I didn’t put my name on it, I am not attributed, unlike other comics on the same post.

The question is: what do I do?

Do I sign up for an account on this blog just so I can comment and correct the post’s author? Do I ignore it, which is what I’ve been doing all these months? I have commented my intent to people on the facebook fanpage, but not on the site where this originates. And this site has published my censored comic more than once.

I don’t know. What do you think?

Source: Point of View

Portfolio 1

Hello, and welcome to my first Web Blog Portfolio of News, Arts, and Sports Writing, in which I will show you exactly what I think about homework.

Because sharks are cool and homework isn’t.

But even if I am a lazy student who would rather google shark facts than analyze readings, I have still put a lot of effort into my web blog. Here are its highlights thus far:

My post on NM: The Past (3 of 4) is my longest analytical post so far this semester, where I talk about different journalist attitudes that lead to objectivity over time. My post on The CRAFT of News Writing also goes in depth on two subjects, news categories and famous journalist Nellie Bly. A third lengthy post would be When People Laughed at the Idea of Donald Trump Actually Being Elected President, where I analyze the reactions of the different types of people in the video and the results and motives for these reactions.

My very first post of the semester, Caution: There is a Phony in this Class, was probably my riskiest, because I admitted that I had no journalism experience nor did I take much interest in the craft. It ended up being well-received, and Dr. Jerz assured me that even if I felt out of place, I could still brush up on some important writing skills in this class. My long post on NM: The Past (3 of 4) was a little bit risky because I claimed a trait exaggerated by the journalist stereotype actually contributed to the rise of objectivity in journalism. Overall, I should strive to be riskier in my analytical posts.

My post on the News Story vs. English Essay referenced several outside sources: Foster’s How to Read Literature Like a Professor, children’s movies, and romance novels. These were references to show the contrast between my background in English writing and what I will have to do in news writing. My post on The CRAFT of News Writing also referenced popular “clickbait” news sites as well as a picture book on Nellie Bly that I read in elementary school. I can probably work harder to include more intertextuality in future posts.

My post on What is Newsworthy garnered two comments from the student editors, who confirmed that my article choice was a newsworthy local story. They along with Dr. Jerz also liked the cartoon I included in this post. My post about the reactions to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign also received a comment from a classmate who appreciated my insights on the difference between reaction styles of talk show hosts and regular news broadcasters.

I struggle the most with timeliness. Many of my posts are either just barely on time or somewhat late. My first post was very timely, as I submitted it early. On the other hand, my post on NM: The Past (4 of 4) was submitted several days late. However, in both these instances I feel like I put a lot of thought into my responses, which I think can justify a little bit of lateness.

Many times, I have submitted posts just to turn them in on time without engaging very deeply in the topic. For example, my post on The News Media: What Everyone Needs to Know was very short and just gave my basic thoughts about our history of journalism textbook. On the same day, I submitted NM: The Past (1 of 4) and NM: The Past (2 of 4), which included fun cartoons along with very short paragraphs about topics from each reading. As I settle in to the workload of this semester, I will try to offer more thoughtful discussions of topics while still including cartoons.

The semester has just begun, so I have not submitted my best blog work yet. However, I am getting used to the schedule of this class and the expectations for each type of assignment, and my past experience with keeping a web blog lets me know what I am capable of in this section. I will continue to go more in depth and take risks in my analyses this semester in order to better my writing and add to my knowledge about journalism.

Source: Portfolio 1

NM: The Past (4 of 4)

Fox News is widely regarded in this area as a poor source of news due to its strong conservative bias. On the other hand, there are conservatives (whom I might live with) who regard it as an excellent source of news. Anderson et. al. state that while Fox News may be famous for spreading partisanship with its news, it is nothing new nor is it a significant threat to unbiased news. The “talk radio” reported news commentary long before Fox News aired, and before that, “the partisan press that dominated American media in the nineteenth century” gave only biased reports on events (57, 58). Today, there are a number of trustworthy news sources on TV, in print, and online, so while opinionated broadcasts like Fox News and MSNBC sway many viewers, at least they are not the only news outlets available. News commentary is just another part of journalism. It is the viewer’s responsibility to realize the difference between objectivity and opinions based on events. But that, of course, is another separate issue.

Source: NM: The Past (4 of 4)

NM: The Past (3 of 4)

Everyone has seen the caricature of journalists as the fierce, fact-hunting sharks who are suspicious of authority and swarm their interviewees in mobs. The thoughts discussed in this section suggest that the reporters’ behavior that inspired this exaggeration is also responsible with establishing objectivity as a journalistic standard.

After refuting the common myths that the invention of the telegraph and  economic gain lead to objectivity in journalism, Anderson et. al. list several important factors that had more impact. One important shift in journalism was the air of political distrust in the late 1800s. The profession, once thought of as a “temporary job” by many, became a “part of an increasingly fact-minded, science-minded, and antipolitical cultural mood” (28). Due to this widespread suspicion of authority, investigative journalists hunting for facts began the switch from opinionated stories to objective ones.

However, the authors state, objectivity was not yet considered a primary “ethical value” of journalism, and would not until the propaganda of WWI and increase of public relations turned journalists away from highly opinionated news stories (29). Journalists felt they were “deluged by outsiders” more concerned about spreading their views than true news, surrounded by people in power using the press to “plant stories…to enhance their reputation, power, or profit” (29). Like in the 1800s, reporters turned against the figures of authority trying to influence the media by becoming even more fact-based and objective.

Though exaggerated, the relentless reporter stereotype has roots in a race to dig up facts that contributed significantly to the rise of objectivity in journalism.

Source: NM: The Past (3 of 4)

Sample Personality Profile

I notice this student journalist puts some vivid and even opinionated descriptions in this article. For example, she writes that Harris’ meeting “erupted in a chorus of protests,” and that Harris “bristles” at a certain point of view, even describing that Harris and her “stunning smile shocked Sacramento insiders” when she won her election. In class, we learned to avoid using strong words like these in favor of more objective phrases. However, these phrases make this article about Harris and her controversial policy less dry and almost like a press release. If the article were about the policy itself and not Harris, it likely would not describe her in such detail, especially not such positive detail. Likewise, if the article was supposed to solely promote Harris, it would not have listed quotes of the opposing viewpoint. By interviewing Adachi, the article provides alternative opinions about Harris so that the reader can decide which viewpoint about the new policy makes the most sense to them.

From this, I conclude that a good personality profile uses more flair than an ordinary news report in order to paint the subject in a good light but still remains objective about issues raised in the article.

Source: Sample Personality Profile