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

2019
10.16

Links for Workshop

One of the links I found to be most relevant and helpful is the newswriting checklist.

For an independent study through SEL 160 newswriting with Dr. Jerz at Seton Hill University, I am in the process of planning out a manual of operations and procedures for the student publication on campus, The Setonian.

After reading through this checklist, I found it is important even for myself who is editor in chief to reflect back on the process of news articles. Nobody in journalism is going to be perfect and I think this newswriting checklist is a perfect reminder to get a well-polished article.

Similar to how this checklist goes through a news article to ensure simplicity throughout, a strong lead, paragraph structure and more, my manual will be aligned with the operations of how a publication runs on a college campus.

The newswriting checklist breaks it down into simple questions to ask yourself, and I think this could be a great reference for my project. My plan is to break the manual down under each category to ensure the staff has a “go to” to prevent any unanswered questions in the future.

Below is a screenshot of the beginning of my outline for my manual.

Source: Links for Workshop

2019
10.16

EoJ Ch7

In EoJ Ch7 I noticed this passage by Noah Webster, “‘Newspapers are not only the vehicles of what is called news; they are the common instruments of social intercourse, by which the Citizens of this vast Republic constantly discourse and debate with each other on subjects of public concern.'” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 201).

Thinking of the first newspaper to be the first social media is an interesting point the authors bring up in chapter seven. The paper got people talking and debating with one another just as public forums such as Facebook and Twitter do today.

I think it is also important to note that maybe the print editions of newspapers are not totally becoming analog. Right now, anyone can send an online article or e-zine/featurette through email or social media. Chapter seven made me reflect on what I know about analog vs digital.

There are many key values that a print newspaper holds compared to online magazines/newspapers. It is very easy to scroll through an online paper to skim for the basics of the article. A physical copy in someone’s hand makes them want to read and get every little detail.

Suppose you had an English college class read a book online and then read the same book in physical form. It is more likely that the students will get more from the physical copy. Although, some people might prefer digital but physical copies are more intimate.

The way physical copies play a part in journalism is one key factor; objectivity. As an editor of the Setonian at Seton Hill University, it is much easier for the staff to catch mistakes on a physical proof rather than online through a google document. Online it very easy to skim right past grammar or spelling errors. Therefore, I think there are benefits for publications to still use prints, and its funny to think that the newspaper was similar to the first form of social media.

Source: EoJ Ch7

2019
10.16

Active and Passive Verbs

I have taken the newswriting course several times, three to be exact. I have taken the class as a staff writer, online editor and editor in chief. Each year, this is lecture that has been most useful in my journalism career.

In journalism, verbs are everywhere, in the story, in quotes and especially in headlines. The use of verbs including active and passive is something I have learned in other writing courses. From my own experiences, it is crucial to know when and when not to use active and passive verbs.

Source: Active and Passive Verbs

2019
10.16

EoJ Ch6

In Eoj Ch6 I noticed this passage, “It may involve similar tactics to police work, such as basic shoe-leather reporting, public records searches, use of informants, and even, in special circumstances, undercover work or surreptitious monitoring of activities”. (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 176)

Chapter six of the textbook goes into detail about how early journalists did investigative reporting. The authors, Kovach and Rosenstiel, state that investigative reporting is information “unknown” to the public. Journalists can report on newsworthy events that happened but tying them into a bigger story through investigative journalism is possible too.

When I was online editor, from 2018-19, of the Setonian in my junior year at Seton Hill University I wrote a story on Mac Miller. It was national news that the rapper from Pittsburgh had passed due to drug use. I tied this into the fact, over doses are a serious issue and related back to the what was happening in Westmoreland County. I had to do investigative reporting to write an article that tied these two things together. I looked at public records through the Westmoreland County Courthouse site and was able to look at overdoses for the year so far to make the article newsworthy.

Source: EoJ Ch6

2019
10.16

Verify or Duck

I have taken the course, Newswriting, three times now. Once as staff writer, once as online editor and my final time as Editor in Chief. Each fall semester, the course changes but one lecture that has always stayed is the verify or duck lecture by Dr. Jerz.

When in journalism, is it very difficult to be objective when you do not verify or fact check something a source said.  If reporters relied solely on one person for all of the details in a news story, there wouldn’t be anything to report on. This is why, in journalism, that reporters must check multiple sources. The reporter could come to learn that something a one source said isn’t true so that is when they duck. They leave out the detail because it is not credible.

For example, if a source said, “The red care was really trashed and banged up when it was vandalized.”

The reporter might then go to the police and verify these quote and then the reporter can use the public information from a filed report.

Source: Verify or Duck

2019
10.16

EoJ Ch5

In EoJ Ch5 I noticed this passage, “But to be loyal to a political party, a person or faction means that you do not see your primary goal as commitment to speaking the truth to people who are your audience. There’s a fundamental conflict of loyalty there.” (Kovach & RosenSteil, 146).

In chapter five, the idea of keeping independence from stories they cover, is relevant in today’s journalism. By taking what Gallagher said in the text, if your loyalty comes before your obligation to report on the truth, then there is a huge conflict of interest. This goes with any topic, if I decide to write about the Pittsburgh Penguins and lets say I have so much passion for the team that I am ignorant to the bad games they play, then there is a conflict of interest.

Journalists keeping their independence from stories they cover is similar to a lecture Jerz brought in the SEL 160 Newswriting course at Seton Hill. The lecture was on the invisible observer. Reporters have to keep their opinions and interests to the side and out of the story. If all journalists did not conform to this style of truth speaking, then we wouldn’t have news. There are places in journalism for opinions and interests and that is in editorials where reporters/writers are allowed to express opinion.

Source: EoJ Ch5

2019
10.16

EoJ Ch4

In Eoj Ch4 I noticed this passage, “CNN and Fox mistakenly reported that the Supreme Court had struck down health care reform because their reporters were so eager to get out on the air a moment before their rivals that they did not read further into the court’s decision.” (Kovach & Rosenstiel, 107)

With Chapter four being on verification and objectivity in journalism. This chapter of the book has related most to my time as editor of the Setonian at Seton Hill University.

The Setonian published an issue every month and is also student run. The student publication has a professor as an advisor but to grow on our skills we decide each issue to edit and make our own changes. With that being said, each issue, there is always one or two things we might miss, such as a word left by itself (referred to as an orphan) or a misplaced comma. Other times, names of people on campus might be spelled wrong. Mistakes happen in journalism but it solely on the student publication to make the corrections and edit the articles for the online editions.

Now, not every journalist is going to be perfect. Check out this New York Times article with a mistake.

Above is a screen shot of the correction made. Even the professionals of journalism make mistakes and this one in the New York Times, is a major mistake.

It is important to take in from both sides. People want fair and truthful news reported to them. While the idea of journalism is to inform and to be objective, there will always be mistakes, the world is not a perfect place. While minor mistakes such as grammar and layout should be noted, journalist should take the time to double check. On the other side, people don’t realize reporters have deadlines to meet so its two-way street but this doesn’t mean the role of objectivity should be ignored.

 

Source: EoJ Ch4