2019
12.09

As the semester comes down to just a few days left, I have approached my fourth and final blog portfolio for SEL 160: news writing. My last portfolio is a bit out of the ordinary in comparison to my most previous blog posts. For the final portfolio, I have reflected upon my experiences during my first semester at Seton Hill University as editor in chief of the Setonian Student Magazine.

My journey as editor in chief started in June of 2019. Since then, I have published four issues following the June issue. The issues themselves started off a little “rocky” but as I have taken the advice of superiors and Dr. Jerz, I feel each issue continues to build upon the last in quality.
During this time, journalistic ethics have played a major role in the way I handle the Setonian and my staff. Throughout the fall semester there has been a frequent theme I continue to revisit: quality and accuracy and the role it plays in the relationship between the public and journalists.

Reflecting back on my semester, I have come to the face the challenge of the public’s view on the student newspaper. For the first issue of the semester [September 2019 issue], I had published a few errors that were largely noticeable. Mistakes such as misspellings of a name, duplicate paragraphs, and misspellings of organizations.

For this came about myself to think more about accuracy. As any student run publication would want, my hopes are that the Seton Hill community cares about the work the Setonian does. If a publication can’t get a name right, then verification is questioned by the public’s eye. This is similar to a quote by William Tecumseh Sherman.

“I think I know what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers.”

From the public perspective I can see how crucial accuracy can be. An organization may have a serious event that is covered and the name of the club or persons involved could be spelled wrong and that may seem as if it takes away from what the actual news is about. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that mistakes are going to happen.

Regardless of being a student journalist or working as a professional for the New York Times. Pros and rookies alike make mistakes. Owning up to those mistakes and working to provide a higher quality newspaper is the where the journalistic ethics come into play. Corrections may need to be made but I think that is where the relationship between the public and journalists lies.

Journalist work to inform the public. The public can do one of two things with the information. They can either take it as it is or stick to their own beliefs. Journalist will not always produce what the public wants to hear. One thing for certain is that high quality journalism is about verifying your facts and sticking true to your sources, it is then up to the public to take in the information. Misspellings are only a small part of the news report, therefore journalists owe it to the public to keep as much accuracy as possible and the public owes it to journalists to take the news how it is presented.

2019
11.12

This marks the third portfolio of the semester. For the third portfolio, there is not very many blog post to put into categories. Therefore, the following portfolio reflects how well I have done meeting all of the required categories with far less post than usual. One area I feel that has stood out for this third portfolio would be the area of riskiness. I feel the post I have selected really meet the criteria of what it means to take a risk within my own blog posts.

Depth:

One post where I feel went into the most depth and detail is my blog post on my experience with the Greensburg Tribune Review. For this post I went into detail about my experience working at the tribune review for election night on November 5, 2019. I went into detail about what I saw and reflected on my experience.

Another post where I feel I went into depth was my blog post on Eoj Ch9. For this blog post I talked about how in chapter nine the authors talk about the use of engaging with the public and finding the most engaging articles on their websites. I went into detail about how I used the metrics of the Setonian’s website to generate more traffic when I was online editor.

Riskiness:

One post where I feel I took a risk was the post on yes, Virginia. This post was related to an old “letter to the editor” and the response the editor gave. Instead of focusing on the content of what the editor replied with. I instead focused on the lesson that could be learned in journalism by the actions of the editor in regard to the letter he had received. I feel this was risky because I could have easily focused on the content of what the editor replied with.

Another post where I feel I took a risk is my blog post on Eoj chapter 10. For this post, I briefly stated how the authors talk about what kind of responsibility the citizens have with journalism. I took a risk and related this content to the Setonian. I talked about how if the SHU community would want a website of higher quality they have to understand that the editors just can’t make it happen. This is a process I don’t know very much about but I decided I know enough to take a risk and talk about it.

Intertextuality:

None of my blog post really connect to an outside source except for the canvas post about the UVA incident. The article talks about an incident of a rape on campus. The article was then discredited. I feel this was the closest to connecting to an outside source. By talking with classmates about a real article that was published I feel we got a sense of what could happen on the wrong side of journalism.

Also I would say my game would count for this category. My game is to teach students about the ethics in journalism and the practice of verification. I feel it connected students with a source outside of the class material to learn more about journalism. Since the game is my own creation, I am putting it in this category.

Discussion:

One post that sparked discussion is my canvas post regarding the article about a rape on the UVA campus. For this post, I talked about the article which was later discredited and how I saw flaws in the alleged news story. I pointed out that there were little to no other sources quoted in the article and there was a heavy flow of attention around the victim of the article. This then sparked discussion with my class mates.

The next one is not a post I made but another instance where something I made sparked discussion, is my game on the ethics of journalism. In SEL 160: News Writing, the students got to try out my game I created for an independent study at Seton Hill in 2018. The game was designed to teach students the ethics of journalism and verification. The game then prompted students to discuss what they had learned.

Timeliness:

A post where I feel was not late or early was my own post on my experience at the Tribune Review. For this post I simply talked and reflected on my experience working at a professional publication for election night. This post was timely because I have posted within a week of when I had this opportunity on November 5, 2019.

Another post that best fits this category is my post on yes,virginia. This post fits into timeliness because it was very early unlike the other post for this portfolio. This blog post talks about the lesson of engaging with your readers based on a response from Francis Church, an editor, in regards to a letter to the editor he received from a little girl.

Coverage:

For this category, the posts that fit this best would be my post on EOJ chapters Nine, Ten, and Eleven. These post definitely fit into other categories but I feel I did my best to cover what was talked about in the book chapters and relate it back to my own experiences as a student journalist and reporter at Seton Hill University.

Conclusion: 

Overall, for the third portfolio, I feel this is definitely not as strong as my second portfolio. Due to the less amount of blog post, I must admit it was difficult to meet every category. Also, I feel with far less blog post than usual that I was able to get at least two post per category which is pretty good considering there were only four blog post this time around. I tried to incorporate my own projects and class discussions to have a more detailed portfolio. It would have been easy for me to put all five of the blog post in every category but then I would not be showing my true strengths. Therefore, that is why there is only two post per category.

 

2019
11.12

Yes, Virginia

In a response to the letter by the eight-year-old, the editor, Francis Church, engaged with the reader in a way that should shed light on journalism. Church responded to a little girl, that asked whether or not Santa Claus was real in a letter to the editor. Church then responded to her publicly stating that she should believe in Santa Claus. It isn’t what Church said exactly that should shed light on journalism but rather the importance of him responding to her. It could have been very easy for the editor to ignore the child’s letter and think it was cute and move on to the next news piece. Instead, Church publicly responded in way that should show people, journalists care about what their readers think. This should be a lesson for both parties; the press and the people. A lesson that reporters and citizens need to understand each other. Reporters should listen to the citizens and the citizens should not be too quick to judge the journalists.

Source: Yes, Virginia

2019
11.12

EoJ Ch11

In Eoj Chapter 11 I noticed this passage, “We should expect to see evidence that the material has been prepared for our use above all. This means stories should answer our needs as citizens and not.. interests of players and political or economic system. It also means that there is a demonstrated effort by journalists to understand the whole community.” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 293).

The quote referenced above is taken from the section on, the citizen’s bill of rights and responsibilities, in the course textbook. From my experience reporting at a college campus for a the university’s student publication is as follows. I understand it is my duty as a student journalist to be as objective and accurate as possible so that the news I report on can be in the hands of the Seton Hill community. From there it is up to the citizens of Seton Hill to decide whether or not what side of the news story to follow. Not all new stories have two sides, right or wrong but some most definitely do. Therefore, as editor in chief, I try to publish articles that would resonate with all members of the community. Instead of just focusing on the most groundbreaking events that happen, I try to publish stories that would interest a larger number of people on campus.

Source: EoJ Ch11

2019
11.12

EoJ Ch10

In Eoj Chapter 10 I noticed this passage, “The final component in the equation is how the members of the community, the citizens, become part of the process. What responsibilities they have?.” (Kovach & RosenStiel, 285).

With journalism and the public, I feel there is a battle that is constantly going on. Not all content everyone reads or the news provides will reflect any or all persons’ ideas or beliefs. I feel there is a slight disconnect between quality control and the consumers of news. Consumers of news as the authors put it, “Always want the best quality content.” This is true but to some extent, the public must realize the role costs within a publication.

Take the Setonian for example. If students would want a higher-quality website, the editors just can’t make it happen. It all comes down to budget and costs. Dr. Jerz ,the advisor just recently enabled google ads for the website which would generate a few more cents here and there and allows us to gain more for our budget. Upgrading websites to produce higher quality content comes at a cost. It is at this cost, I feel the public has a disconnect with journalists because they might not understand this part in the process. That is why I feel, it is important whenever I get the chance to teach another student about the functions of journalism because this connection should be stronger and more understood.

Source: EoJ Ch10

2019
11.12

Nov. 5, 2019 I had the opportunity to work at the Tribune Review in Greensburg, Pa. for election night. Through this opportunity I worked as the election-data intern. In this position my job was to look over the election results from Armstrong, Butler, and Fayette County. The polls closed at approximately 8 p.m. so there was a little bit of waiting around that time. Once the election results came in, I would go on the websites of each of the three counties and get the results. The results for specific candidates would then go into a Word Access program. Overall, the experience well worth it.

During my time there I learned that a professional news publication uses the same tools that the Setonian Student magazine uses. As editor-in-chief of the Setonian, I was delighted to talk with a long-term editor of the Trip about Word Press and Indesign. The Setonian uses Word Press for online and InDesign for the print layout which the Trib. also uses both of these programs for.

Also, during my time at the Tribune Review I got to experience a professional newsroom. It was exactly as I had imagined. Desks pulled together with people loudly typing to meet deadlines with various shouts back and forth about sports, elections, and other miscellaneous tasks. I was even taken on a tour to see the old mail room and saw the old printing press. This is where the papers would be printed and then distributed into stacks for delivery across Westmoreland County where this Tribune Review is located.

All in all, I got to experience professional journalism. Even though my time with the Trib. was short I got a glimpse into the real world of journalism and what it is like compared to working on a collegiate publication.

2019
11.05

EoJ Ch9

In Eoj Ch9 I noticed this passage, “There are two major problems with metrics that hinder publishers from using these data to accurately assess their work.” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 251).

Chapter nine dealt a lot about how news organizations keep their legacies by sometimes thriving on the petty news on celebrities. Another section fed off of this to go on to state online publications are successful because they can judge their content based off of metrics.

From June 2017-May 2018, I was online editor of the Setonian student magazine. As part of this process, on WordPress the engine we run to produce our print news to a web edition, I was able to track the number of views and page visits per day, week and month.

I must say after doing this for about a year on a collegiate publication, the most beneficial factor to this was that I was able to narrow down the time, the website would generate the most traffic and the Setonian would reach a bigger audience.

Looking at it from a professional stand point, I see this information to be useless mainly because if a web page that has the naked celebrity getting the most visits, then the news publication won’t get a sense of what “real” news is generating more traffic.

Source: EoJ Ch9

2019
10.17

This marks the second portfolio for the newswriting course as editor in chief. This time around the portfolio goes more in depth with most of the posts that were assigned. The second portfolio is a demonstration of my ability to connect to other sources outside of the assigned web blogs. Sections such as intertextuality have improved since the last blog post while all most go into depth I tried to switch my posts up and talk about issues I experienced as an editor of the Setonian at Seton Hill University.

Depth: The post I went into the most detail with is my post on Eoj Ch7. In chapter seven I briefly stated how the authors talk about the newspaper being the first form of social media. I then made the connection that even though today we have several social media platforms, analog vs digital is very crucial. I went into detail about the benefits of printing a physical copy. I gave an example of a college class and that students were more likely to grasp concepts from a physical book rather then the online version. I also stated some people prefer digital but it is easier to skim.

Another post I feel fits into the depth category is my post on Eoj Ch3. For this post, I talked about how in chapter three, the authors state who journalists really work for. I went into detail about the importance of working for citizens and also who I work for being editor of the Setonian and that is the Seton Hill community.

My post on Eoj Ch4 fits into depth as well. In chapter four I stated how they talk about CNN and Fox making reporting mistakes. I went into detail about a linked article I embedded within the blog post. I talked about how journalists both at the professional and rookie levels will make mistakes. I also went into detail about the importance of making those corrections public. I also stated that is it solely up to the publication to own up to those mistakes and to not make the major ones such as the New York Times article I linked.

 

Riskiness: The post where I felt I put the most risk was my post on Eoj Ch6. I talked about how in chapter six, early journalists did investigative journalism. I then linked an article I wrote in 2018 about the death of Mac Miller which shows proof that even with a newsworthy topic that has been national news that I was still able to do my own investigating to tie into a more narrow topic which is overdoses in Westmoreland County. For this post was a stretch trying to make the connection to my own work.

Another post where I took a risk was my post on Eoj Ch7. For this post, I talked about how in chapter seven they compared the first newspaper to the first social media. I then took a risk by making a connection to analog vs digital. I made a stretch and went into detail about the pros and cons of print vs online news articles. I then stated how for being editor in chief of the Setonian, a physical proof is easier to mark up then a google doc sheet because you have it in your hands. I tied this all together because newspaper in print form can still get people talking today on social media, so therefore it all comes full circle.

Another post I took a risk on was the links for workshop post. I chose the newswriting checklist and made a connection the final project I am doing for my independent study in SEL 160 Newswriting course. For me this was risky because I did not just talk about why I chose the newswriting checklist link. Instead I stated how I could use the checklist as a reference for my project, which is a manual for procedures and operations of the Setonian.

Intertextuality:  One of my post that relates to an outside source is my post on Eoj Ch8. For this post, I talked about how journalists should either stick to important news or the fun news. I simply stated that journalists can do both but publications offer a variety of topics to please readers along with a screenshot of a poll from the Tribune Review to show how publications engage with readers/viewers to make the connection more strong and fun. I also linked an article from another web blog to show how emotions can make news exciting.

Another post where I connected the readings and my experiences to an outside source is my post on Eoj Ch6. In this blog post, I talked about how early journalists did investigative journalism. I also made a stretch to connect it with an article I wrote for the Setonian. I wrote about the death of Mac Miller and tied it to overdoses in the United States and Westmoreland County. For this I had to do my own investigative journalism by looking up public records which are shown in the linked article.

My post on Eoj Ch5 suits this category well. Chapter five talked a lot about journalists keeping independence from the stories they cover. I linked and made a connection to Dr. Jerz Web Blog on the Invisible Observer. I simply stated that journalist aren’t doing their job if they don’t keep themselves out of the story which is exactly what his web blog talks about.

Another post that fits this category well is my post on Eoj Ch4. Chapter four briefly talked about publications such as CNN and Fox making mistakes while reporting. I linked to an article from the New York Times that made a huge mistake about ethnicity. I then went into detail to make the connection from the New York Times and the readings to state that journalists both at the professional level and college level will make mistakes but the bigger mistakes should be caught before it is published.

Discussion: My post on Eoj Ch6 did not spark any discussion but I feel it is worth talking about. Chapter six talks about investigative journalism. My post made a connection to an article I wrote and shows how I did my own investigative journalism and tied to a topic that was already national news. I feel this is worth discussing because I feel for that article I wrote, I was able to investigate deeper into a an article that was published by major news publications.

Another post I feel is worth discussion is my post on Eoj Ch3. Chapter three talks about who journalists actually work for. I feel as editor in the SEL 160 newswriting course that this would be a great topic to discuss with the entire class. For example, I would ask who do they work for. The students in newswriting act as staff writers and I am their editor.

Another post I could see fitting in this category is my post on links for workshops. I chose to focus on the newswriting checklist link on the original blog post assignment. I made a connection in my post and stated how this is similar to my final project, a manual for the Setonian, for my independent study in SEL 160 Newswriting. I think this post would be a great place to reference when I ask my staff, the Setonian, to beta test. They can see how the newswriting checklist was set up and then go through my manual, I think this will spark conversation that will later benefit the Setonian.

Timeliness: For this category, all of my posts were past the deadline except for one post. The only post that was published in a timely manner was my post on Eoj ch8. This post was about how journalists can make news fun or stick to the important topics. I stated that it can be both but publications offer a variety of topics and I also linked a poll that shows the Tribune Review and how they engage with viewers/readers. This post was published on the exact date it was due.

Coverage: Most of my blog posts, I feel I made a good effort to make connections to the assigned readings/articles. For my post on active and passive verbs, this was a post where I got it done just get it out of the way. I feel I could have gone into detail but I have seen active and passive verbs quite frequently throughout my academic career, but I could have made a connection to how I use them in journalism for the Setonian.

Another post that I published, was my post on an example of student journalism. I made an effort for this post but it doesn’t really fit into any other category. For this post I talked about how a student took advantage of a routine event that turned into breaking news. I gave examples from the articles to state how this student practiced ethical journalism.

My post on verify or duck is a post I feel I did put thought into but I did not make any outside connections or go into great depth. Therefor it fits into this category of coverage best. I talked about the importance of fact checking and I also gave an example of when to verify and fact check.

 

Conclusion

For this second portfolio I feel I have finally grown in the area of intertextuality. I feel this category is most crucial because it shows how I can make connections to outside sources to better learn from the material. Also, coverage this time around had more blog posts than usual. I would not say this was a weakness or strength but because these posts show effort but they did not fit into any other category. My weakness for this portfolio seems to be timeliness, even though I put thought and effort into each post, only one was published on the exact date it was due. For next time, I think planning out my post according with the due dates will be crucial will show my strength as a blogger.

2019
10.16

EoJ Ch8

In Eoj Ch8 I noticed this passage, “Should we emphasize news that is fun and fascinating, and plays on our sensations? Or should we stick to the news that is the most important?.” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 213)

Today we live in age where publications have the power to interact with people on a daily basis. Publications often hold polls on their websites asking for their readers insights and opinions.

 

Pictured above is screenshot from the Tribune Review website.

 

I feel this is a great strategy because you not only reach the readers through the articles but also they get to share their opinions back wit the publication.

Also, journalist cover various topics that can be “fun and fascinating”. Most publications have a variety of topics such as comics, sports, politics, etc. It comes down to what the reader finds fun.

A journalist’s job is to report on breaking news and topics that are newsworthy. The journalist can also make these types of articles engaging by showing emotion through quotes of sources such as the student journalist article on an author who came to campus.

In a way, journalist do stick to news that is important and also cover the fun stuff as well. By setting up polls online, publications are breaking that fourth wall to engage more with their audiences to keep them coming back because their opinions matter too and some of those opinions might end up in news features.

 

Source: EoJ Ch8

2019
10.16

In the example of student journalism, one thing the student’s article did very well was coverage. After reading through the article, it seems the student was covering a guest a speaker who came to campus to talk about their book. I respect the student because something bigger happened and the student journalist took advantage of breaking news. In a brief summary, a few students did not like the ideas in the book and burned it on campus.

Something else this article does that is tricky to condone in any news article, is getting the emotion from eye-witnesses.

Below is a quote from the article.

“It makes me feel like we are being represented really badly. It makes me feel like these people make us look as a school and even as a freshman class really ignorant and racist,” Blalock said. “Just seeing it happen, I know they didn’t read the book or they didn’t care. It’s so disrespectful to even think about doing anything to that book because that’s her life story. I wish I could have been there to do something about it.”

This quote here for example is a great way to show the perspective of students who go to school but weren’t connected to the event. The live coverage of the book burning shows one side while her quotes demonstrate her willingness to report the truth and get both sides.

 

Source: Great Example of Student Journalism