Blog Portfolio 4

Welcome to the blog portfolio I don’t know if I’m supposed to do. Today at 5 a.m. I suddenly realized that in middle school my friend Bradyn told me a certain word meant “pussycat” in Spanish and because I loved cats and thought I was good at Spanish I said it all the time but then today at 5 a.m. I googled it and it actually means ******* cat and I was like DANGIT BRADYN.

Listen, I’ve been up all night writing a 10 page essay on angels in the Renaissance. I’ll be lucky if I remember what a journalism is before the end of this portfolio.

Depth:

All of my posts went pretty in-depth this time, so I am pleased with this section. It wasn’t listed as a blog assignment, but I posted my Term Project Layout Reflection and go in depth about my thoughts during the layout process. I include some graphic design insights and also plans for what to do next. My post on Principles of American Journalism Ch6 goes in depth on the dangers of stereotyping (and worrying about stereotyping) in both journalism and creative writing. And my post on Chapter 8 talks about Edward Snowden and explores why he chose journalists over the broad internet to tell his secrets.

Riskiness:
My post on Nellie Bly was risky in that I talked about personal experiences more than Nellie’s history. My post on Chapter 8 was risky in that it betrays the classified information that my brother and I hate essays. My post on chapter 7 was risky in that it raised several questions about free speech vs. panic that I did not know how to answer.

Intertextuality:
My post on chapter 7 is intertextual because it ties in to an article I saw online. My post on Principles of American Journalism Ch6 is intertextual by referencing a book I wrote. It is me. I am the intertext. And I made a post of the Indesign cheat sheet I made with Rachel even though it wasn’t an assignment. It combines two disciplines, journalism and graphic design, which is kind of like referencing two texts.

Discussion:
My post on Nellie Bly garnered discussion because people liked the steampunk Nellie Bly I drew. My Indesign cheat sheet was a source of discussion in class because I was able to help Rachel and then send it to everyone else in case they wanted to see it. Because we did not have as many posts this time, there was not as much online discussion, but we did have in-class discussion for our thoughts on the Term Project Layout Reflection.

Timeliness:
This was a record for timeliness because 25% of my required posts were early this time. That is because there were only 4 required posts, and the one I submitted before the due date was Chapter 8. I also submitted the Nellie Bly post on time but not before the due date (right day, few hours late) because I needed to finish and take a photo of my drawing. And even though the other two posts weren’t on time, they weren’t terribly late either. What an improvement.

The remaining two posts were not asked for and therefore they are extra early.

Coverage:
For my Chapter 8, I wasn’t very inspired so I started with a personal anecdote and then it became something more academic-related. Same thing with chapter 7 and Principles of American Journalism Ch6. They were all examples of what I thought would be basic coverage but became decent posts.

Conclusion:
In conclusion, what if purgatory is full of all the chaotic neutral souls because God is like, what the heck am I supposed to do with these.

Regarding this class, I believe I’ve learned important things about a career I do not desire at all. But now I’m happy to be familiar with AP style and formatting, because even if I will probably not write a serious journalism article ever again, I will likely have to do P.R. related work in the future, and will know what to do. This will also help me write one of the comic stories for my Honors Capstone, as it will take place almost entirely through TV news stories. My favorite part of this class was getting to know the other students better. In such a small class, the students and professor were able to have a nice, close bond. So maybe I would have been better off taking history of graphic design if I wanted to stick to what I know, but I suppose it was more important in the long run for me to take news writing.

InDesign Cheat Sheet

Important tips and convenient tricks when using InDesign for formatting books, magazines, pamphlets, and the like.

IN ADDITION TO THE TIPS IN THE IMAGE, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THESE PANELS OPEN:

  • Character
  • Paragraph
  • Paragraph Styles

They are found by clicking on “Type” up top on the drop-down menu, then selecting them. They can be docked on the side of the screen for convenience.

And remember, if there are any errors such as overset text or missing links, this will show at the bottom of the page. Double-clicking on the error number will bring up the Preflight panel, which will show you what pages have errors so you can fix them.

Term Project Layout Reflection

From this activity, I learned that formatting a news magazine is slightly different from formatting a literary magazine or a paperback novel, the two formats I am most used to in InDesign.

I appreciated Haley’s presentation showing the necessities for news editing because even though I am experienced with InDesign, I am not as experienced with printing as I should be. It was nice of her to let me give my input as a graphic design major. I tried to just give advice that would be simple and convenient to journalists new to Adobe programs and not snobby sounding.

I was grateful that the paragraph styles were built-in to the document, so I did not have to make my own, although I may change them some more for my final, since I’m not sure I like Perpetua for body text. I thought some text boxes were too close to the margins, so I changed their size and moved them. I also struggled fitting a headline font that had weird spacing between words until I finally gave up and resorted to using Impact. It surprised me how little a 500–600 word article took up on a page.

I also noticed that picture and caption boxes had that text-flow setting on them, which I prefer not to use but did not feel like messing with, so I left them as they were. If I do change that setting, I will give more margin around the pictures and captions, because it is all too squished at the moment.

The table of contents either got too squished or too spread out when I used my full article titles, so I checked an old issue of the Setonian for comparison. I noticed they used shortened headlines for the Table of Contents, sometimes entirely different from the actual headlines, so that’s what I did.

Because I am not yet finished with my main article, I used dummy text (a.k.a. “The Speed Test” from Thoroughly Modern Millie) that was roughly 900 words so I would know approximately how much space the story will take up. If it is longer or shorter, I can adjust the picture sizes to accommodate it.

Finally, I filled up the last page with journalism-related cartoons that I posted to Facebook during the course of this semester. There was no way I was going to let a news magazine with my name on it not have a comics page.

All and all, this was probably my favorite project for this class, because I got to use my graphic design skills to make my articles look as much like a real news magazine as I could.

Principles of American Journalism Ch8

Last year, my brother had to do a research project on Edward Snowden, and he hates writing essays even more than I do. He asked me to read over his paper once he was finished. His prompt was to choose whether Snowden was a hero or a traitor for exposing those secret documents, and he chose hero. I was shocked. All I had ever heard about Snowden had led me to believe he was a traitor. My brother, who likely googled “Edward Snowden” and then paraphrased from whatever the top result was, must have read otherwise.

It’s a great example supporting this chapter’s statement that most people either think Snowden “brought information of grave public concern to light at considerable personal risk” or “endangered national security” (208). But what I didn’t know about this incident was that Snowden leaked the documents to journalists and not directly to the public. This changes my perspective on the whole event.

Snowden purposefully sent the secret information through the “verification process,” in order to “enhance the credibility and therefore the power of the information” (209). By doing this, he also cut down on some of the risk of exposing real national security with the other stuff, since the journalists had to verify with the organizations whether or not the info was safe to print. If this man’s only goal was to expose the US government, he could have simply published the information online. By trusting the information with journalists, he at least had some public service in mind.

(Going back to the story of my brother and his essay last year: after I read through the paper, I asked him, “Who is Edward Snowden anyway,” and he said “I don’t know.”)

 

Source: Principles of American Journalism Ch8

Principles of American Journalism Ch7

Scrolling through Facebook, I saw an upsetting headline about panic in a theater showing the Yiddish version of “Fiddler on the Roof” after somebody yelled “Heil Hitler.” This headline troubled me enough even before I saw my friend’s comment thread below it.

Somebody had commented that the disruptor should be charged for this. Someone else questioned why. My friend explained, equating the incident with shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, the go-to example for when an individual’s outburst crosses the line.

And then came the upsetting part: some guy responded, “It’s called free speech.” As though she had the audacity to deny a man his right to incite panic in a public place.

Too many people wholly believe “freedom of speech” means being allowed to say whatever they want, no matter who gets hurt. In this chapter, the message that “free speech requires us to tolerate speech we find repulsive, shocking, offensive, or just plain wrong,” and cites the Westboro Baptist Church’s controversial and offensive protest signs as an example (196). However, court rulings since have ruled “dangerous and false speech” as not protected by the first amendment.

These examples are not particularly related to a journalist’s free speech, but the fact that this happened in a recent news article struck me. Where do we draw the line from “repulsive, shocking, offensive” to “dangerous?”

Source: Principles of American Journalism Ch7

Principles of American Journalism Ch6 Codes of Ethics

We all have that one politically correct friend.

I’ll describe a work of fiction I plan on writing and illustrating, and she’ll point out, “Aren’t you afraid that this part will seem racist toward this particular minority?” And it’s always something I overlooked and did not intend to be insensitive. It is annoying to always worry whether or not every little detail in a creative work will come across as offensive, but it’s also important to be able to spot cases of unintentional racial discrimination before the work is published. I recognized this in the Code of Ethics for the National Press Photographers Association, where one of the guidelines is to “Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups” when photographing people (246).

I think it’s fascinating that visual journalists have to adhere to slightly different guidelines, in ways that can be seen more as “creative thinking.” Because photographs and videos can “reveal great truths,” “inspire hope,” and “connect people” but also can “cause great harm if they are callously intrusive or are manipulated,” visual journalists have to take artistic aspects such as composition, symbolism, and the elements of design into account before snapping a shot (245). Not only must a photo be clear, properly-lit, and visually-striking, but it must also refrain from misleading the viewer, portraying its subjects incorrectly, and making “statements” the photographer was not trying to state.

Would photographing a black family in a run-down house contribute to the stereotype that black people are poor? What if the building is run-down because of a storm you are covering? Should you seek out a white family whose house was damaged just to seem non-racist? Would it be more racist to not take a picture of a black family?

You know, I really hate worrying about political correctness all the time. But I also would hate to hurt someone unintentionally because an artwork I produced contains strains of discrimination I missed. And this is one of the reasons why I connected the most with the code of ethics for visual journalists.

Source: Principles of American Journalism Ch6 Codes of Ethics

Nellie Bly

As requested, here is steampunk Nellie Bly.

All of her life and deeds are fascinating, but what struck me during the video was one of her quotes:

When I want things done, which is always at the last moment, and I am met with such an answer: “It’s too late. I hardly think it can be done;” I simply say:

“Nonsense! If you want to do it, you can do it. The question is, do you want to do it?”

~ Nellie Bly

Rarely do I find a quote that so aptly fits my life at the moment I hear it. Just this past Monday, in my incredibly passive-aggressive Blog Portfolio #3, I wrote about how I struggle to turn things in on time, always because I either wait until the last moment or have no time to work until the last moment. The Blog Portfolio itself was three days late.

Nellie Bly’s words resonated with me, because I realize I am perfectly capable of pulling all-nighters or getting up very early to finish assignments to submit on time. I have done it before and will do it again. For Article 3, I was late with the pitch and the progress, and did not come up with an idea until two days before the deadline. But because I wanted to turn it in on time, I was proactive about finding three sources and turned in a complete article, though a short one, on the day it was due. So why not that Blog Portfolio?

Because, as Bly says, I did not want to do it. I hardly understood chapters 4 and 5 and was not interested in them at all. I did not want to finish writing two posts and look through my past boring posts to choose and select which ones were vaguely intertextual and which ones were slightly less late than others.

The quote struck me because it reminded me that when I lose my drive to work, I need to want the A more than the fun of avoiding the assignment. It’s easier to go to sleep than it is to stay up late and read a chapter, but if I want to be punctual, then I need to drive myself to do it. Thank you Nellie Bly, for this bit of inspiration.

 

Source: Nellie Bly

Blog Portfolio 3

It’s that time of year when all I can think about is that I could have taken History of Graphic Design instead of this class, a required class for my major, unlike this one which I will have to substitute in for a slot that could have been occupied by a number of different English courses. The reason I didn’t was because the Honors biology course I needed was only available Monday and Wednesday mornings right before this class, HOWEVER, before last school year ended, the biology course was rescheduled to AFTERNOONS at the same time as another art class I needed, and so rather than cut News Writing and reschedule two new classes, I chose to keep it and just reschedule one. Just one of many scheduling mishaps over my time at Seton Hill that are leading to what looks like is gonna be an extra semester before I graduate.

Wow. What a petty way to start an overdue blog portfolio.

I will admit, the realization of my scheduling gaffs has really put a damper on my productivity during this third quarter of the course. I tell myself that it shouldn’t matter and that I should work my hardest to turn things on time regardless, but I still slack off and fall short anyway. My new tactic is telling myself that everyone gets B’s and that one B won’t affect my Honors Scholarship.

So let’s get on with this late blog portfolio.

Depth:
My post on NM The Future (4 of 4) is pretty long and detailed, because then I was young and unafraid. It talks about the growing importance of STEAM in journalism and lists examples that are only brushed over in that chapter. My post on Chapter 1 of Principles of American Journalism gives a detailed look at the articles I wrote so far this semester and how they stack up against the book’s guidelines of how journalism is fundamental to democracy. My Post-Election story is pretty in-depth, because I looked at two new sources as a follow-up to the pre-election story, though I only wrote about one new source. But even though I only mention one of the new sources in the post, it examines ideas brought up in the older post and explains how the election results are relevant to today’s political climate. And my post on Principles of American Journalism Chapter 4 explores a passing chart from that chapter more carefully, adding important details from later in the chapter.

These are the posts that stand out to me in length and content, but I have noticed that I am no longer submitting short, empty, one-paragraph blog posts, so I would say this is a success for depth.

Riskiness:
My post on NM The Future (3 of 4) takes a risk by naming playbill.com as an example of a successful news source with a specific audience, because I was not fully sure that this was correct when I posted it. Fortunately, the risk paid off and I received a comment that it was a good example after all. Another risky post was on Principles of American Journalism Chapter 3, where the risk is that I admit I am struggling to make my second article newsworthy and then explore this chapter’s definitions of newsworthiness in order to apply them in my article. And my post on Principles of American Journalism Chapter 5 is risky not only because it blatantly shows how little I cared about completing that blog post but because it poses a question about whether hyperlocal journalism is any different from the highly specific community newsletters that News Media: The Past stated were different from the definition of journalism as we know it today.

Intertextuality:
Though rather obnoxious in tone, my post on Principles of American Journalism Chapter 5 is also a good example of intertextuality, because it hearkens back to that earlier post from the first journalism textbook we looked at. Both my Pre-Election and Post-Election stories look at multiple sources, from the news articles on candidates with science backgrounds to analysis of these sources on the news bias chart. And each of my posts for Chapters one, two, and three of Principles of American Journalism are intertextual because they compare ideas from those chapters to the work I have been doing in this class.

Discussion:
As previously stated, a classmate left a comment praising my decision to include playbill.com as an example of a news source in my post for NM The Future (3 of 4). I also received a comment on my post for NM The Future (4 of 4) from a student editor about how journalists today need so much more than just objective writing skills. And even though they do not have any comments online, my Pre-Election and Post-Election posts sparked interesting in-class discussions about the importance of science in politics today, the credibility of specified news sources like Nature, and how interesting it was to have an unusual amount of candidates with science backgrounds in the midterm election.

Timeliness:
As usual, this was the part I struggled with the most. I have pretty much decided I’d rather write deeper posts with higher-quality content than dumb posts that are at least on time. But even though many of my posts were late this time, I managed to complete some on the days they were actually due. Both my Pre-Election and Post-Election posts were completed in time to discuss the stories in class at the proper time. Both NM The Future (3 of 4) and NM The Future (4 of 4) were submitted on Oct. 10 like they were supposed to be. And Principles of American Journalism Chapter 3 was also completed on the day it was supposed to be submitted.

Coverage:
As stated in the previous section, I have been sacrificing timely coverage for deeper analysis. The main downside to this is not having people see my late posts, rendering any deeper thought irrelevant. (But at least I know it’s there.) My post on Principles of American Journalism Chapter 3 was pretty much on time, and while it isn’t a bad post, I did write it up pretty hastily, so I guess that can count as coverage. And for my post on Principles of American Journalism Chapter 2, I had trouble coming up with ideas of how to relate the chapter to my own experiences with journalism, so I wrote a vague, hasty post about an embarrassing personal experience with forgetting to fact-check sources.

Conclusion:
In conclusion, I need to check my attitude and get my act together. It is ridiculous to turn in a blog portfolio so many days late when I could have turned it in on time if I only put in more work sooner. Though I am happy with my consistency with Riskiness and Intertextuality and my increase in Depth, my struggle with Timeliness worries me, because this is a problem that carries over to other classes. There is no point to doing good work if nobody gets to see it, and in the real world, lateness to submit has costly consequences. Last year I missed out on a job opportunity because I was late to reply back, putting my J-term coursework before updating my resume. I need to learn to prioritize work even if it doesn’t interest me, for the sake of turning it in on time. The only other option would be faking my death and avoiding work under some other identity.

Principles of American Journalism Ch5

I understood very little in this chapter.

From what I gather, some people start their own nonprofit journalism companies, most fail, and nobody knows how to get paid for this.

“Hyperlocal” news sounds way more exciting than it ended up actually being. It is the fault of the prefix. I was expecting something fancy and sci-fi like, but it is just news that is highly specific to a “defined geographic niche,” basically a newsletter (130). Sure, in a big city/district like Washington, DC, where tons of people live and news of national and international importance happens all the time, several hyperlocal news sources can survive covering specific neighborhoods. But what about small towns that the residents themselves hardly care about? In a place like that, hyperlocal news won’t have a chance. Or maybe it will? Maybe all 75.5 residents of Jimbobstown would pay money to read about cow updates in their town. Maybe extremely local news would interest members of smaller cities and neighborhoods more than national news they are less likely to understand. But if a news source is only catering to its specific audience, then what separates it from a regular newsletter, which was described as separate from journalism in the first chapter of the other news writing textbook? (See NM: The Past 1 of 4).

∏؈¨Áˇ‰´„ŒÅÍÎÏ˝ÓÔÒÔÔÒÚÚ˜ıı◊Dz¸¸⁄€‹›fifl‡°·‚—±æ…¬˚∆˙©ƒ∂ßåœ∑´®†¥¨ˆøπ“‘–ºª•¶§∞¢£™¡Ω≈ç√∫˜µ≤≥÷«

Source: Principles of American Journalism Ch5

Principles of American Journalism Ch4

The table about the differences between the Market Model used by US media and the Public Sphere Model used by British media seems pretty one-sided, making the Market Model out to be the selfish “bad-guy” while the Public Sphere Model is the helpful, dutiful “good-guy” (94–95). How accurate is the bias in this chart?

The chart states that the Market Model, in which mainly private parties control the media, the goal is to “generate profits for owners and stockholders,” “whatever is popular” is what becomes news, success is measured in “profits,” and that “innovation can be a threat to profitable, standardized formulas” (94–95). What the chart doesn’t give is the reasoning behind this apparently profit-based model. Because the press is funded by private parties, “the government can’t control the information people get,” which has been a concern of the US ever since it declared independence from Britain (96). So although the Market Model has many self-serving drawbacks and, if used exactly how it is portrayed in the chart, seems the evil of the two models, that is not the whole picture.

The reasoning behind a private-controlled government is to prevent any dictatorship from controlling what the public can and can’t know, and as long as journalists and news organizations keep their duty to inform and serve the public in mind, the US press will not be the “all-for-the-money” establishment described in this chart.

Source: Principles of American Journalism Ch4