Sunday, March 4, 2012
The question is about more than semantics. In December, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that a blogger in Portland was not a journalist, in a case that (coupled with others) could have major consequences. The Oregon blogger faces a $2.5 million defamation lawsuit filed by a company she has been investigating . She was seeking protection under Oregon's shield law, a law that protects journalists from having to divulge the identity of their sources in court. Her state's supreme court said she didn't have the credentials to qualify as a real "journalist." Read more about her story here and check out her blog here.
Also take a look at this story out of New Jersey, in which we learn about another case in which bloggers tried (and failed) to get the same legal protection afforded to traditional journalists. For reactions to the New Jersey case, click here and here.
So here is my question to you: What must one do to be considered a "journalist?" Or, perhaps more appropriately, what should one have to do to be considered a journalist? Talk in some depth about these questions, and consider the examples from New Jersey, Oregon and other places.
We will discuss your thoughts in class Thursday - you MUST participate in the group discussion to receive the full extra credit.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I recommend also watching the video after reading it!
Monday, February 20, 2012
I liked how it told the story of how the media took what was a ‘feel good’ story and over-hyped it, and how that turned into a racial debate. I know I talk about the media all the time and how they like to stretch stories until they can’t get anything outof them anymore and the danger with that. This story explained my theory in a way that everyone could understand.
I thought the story had a lot of detail andfully explained what was wrong with the story but it still was short enough tokeep a reader’s attention.
Here is the link: http://www.
(Clay posted this for Brett C., who was having technical difficulties).
Sunday, February 19, 2012
The article uses Lin and Jobs to introduce the topic, but goes on to examine the sofa further. It talks about the functions, meaning, and different styles of sofas. I know the one thing I miss while I'm at school is the comfortable couch in the family room at my house. This article proved an interesting read and brought up a few good questions.
I'm a sucker for headlines, and this one caught my eye. The article is relatively short and I enjoyed the conversational tone. Whether or not it is newsworthy is a whole other issue. Do you think this article is newsworthy? If it is newsworthy, what makes it newsworthy? Do you think this article is focused on a certain audience? What could the author have done to improve the story?
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Two major U.S. magazines, GQ and Esquire, revisited that mayhem in this month's issues. The stories don't really break a whole lot of new ground. But they do paint fascinating pictures of the escape and its aftermath using what is commonly referred to as a "tick-tock" story format - an hour-by-hour (or in some cases minute-by-minute) narrative account that includes incredible detail and context (almost in the form of play-by-play) from the important actors.
Reading the two stories back to back is an interesting exercise. We have two talented reporters writing for major media outlets, both of whom enjoy large budgets and virtually unlimited space. The final products are similar in many respects, but different in others.
Compare and, more importantly, contrast the two stories. What made them different, and how did those differences affect your enjoyment of the articles? Give some specific examples of what you liked (and perhaps what you didn't like). I'll share my opinions Thursday, but here's a preview: I find one of these stories above average. I find the other breathtakingly good.
Here are the links to the stories:
Case-in-point: Brady Dennis, former night cops reporter for the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times.
Later in the same interview, he discussed how the series – specifically the rigid word limit – made him a better journalist (read on after the jump):
Sunday, February 5, 2012
After reading this article about McDonald's, I was mortified. The picture at the beginning was enough to make me cringe. If you are brave, watch the video of celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver. It will give you a whole new perpective on fast food meat.
According to this article, McDonald's has stated that the restaurant will stop using ammonium hydroxide in its hamburger meat. Ammonium hydroxide is a chemical that is used to clean households and is also used as fertliziers. The article also states that if certain acids are added to ammonium hydroxide, it will turn into ammonium nitrate, which is used to make homeade bombs. I'm glad I'm eating that whenever I go to McDonald's...
I found this story newsworthy, because fast food is pretty much a staple in most people's lives. People eat fast food daily and if there are certain chemicals going into the food that they eat, it's a good idea to know about it.
I think this story did a good job following the inverted pyramid style, and the paragraph lengths were decent. There were also some pretty good quotes. What did you think of the story? If you were the writer, was there anything you would change or add? Do you still want to eat at McDonald's? Perhaps this article will make you think twice about ordering a hamburger there.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Twitter went crazy on Saturday because of this, with people from all over the world using the social network against itself. Twitter seems to be a safe haven for free speech (or so we thought), igniting the Arab Spring and collecting people to "occupy" many cities around the world.
I guess this falls back into the SOPA and PIPA argument but what is interesting here is that the company is actually deciding to do this. What is the difference between a state making companies censor their content and a company taking independent action to censor their content? If more companies were to do this would SOPA and PIPA lose their impact anyway? Will you still use Twitter even though this censorship is happening?
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Lucas Kavner, writer for The Huffington Post, explains in this article how Facebook now allows people to rent the latest movies right off their site. Users can live blog, comment, and reblog straight from the film as they're watching it.The gap between the experiences people have and the records posted about them has been slowly closing with the introduction of Facebook and Twitter, but the "social cinema" that's beginning takes everything to a new level.
" Indeed, since film companies now have millions of fans at their fingertips as a result of their films' Facebook pages, this is a chance for studios to interact with them directly -- find out what they're liking, talking about and willing to buy as a result of their films' product placements."
Companies are doing everything they can to promote themselves in the newest method available. As mentioned in the article even plays as classic as Shakespeare are connecting to social media through live postings during the play and Twitter accounts for characters.
How do you think the performances for both the movies and plays are affected by this new link to social networking?
Do you think projects like this are the cause or the result of the public being so fast paced and "ADD" like we discussed in class? What exactly does this story say about our society?
Where do you think the news media is headed with the way social networking seems to be headed as described in the article?
Here's the link for the article:
I found the subject of Singer’s piece to be intriguing, the rising popularity and usage of UAVs will drastically change the way future wars will be fought. Singer is wise to consider the effects that will hold, but I don’t feel his argument is sound.
First off, the word “drone” is incorrect. A drone is an unmanned aircraft that flies a preprogrammed, unchangeable flight path but the UAVs (which Singer seems to be referring to) are unmanned aircrafts flown by pilots following a mission, but not a preprogrammed path. Singer is very loose with his terminology; associating the term "robot" with UAVs insinuates that the aircraft has a mind of its own (much like Arnold in The Terminator).
Just the opposite is true, there is much more human element in the UAV process than any other weapon. My father flies a UAV for the Air Force and will soon be deploying to Afghanistan to operate the take-off and landing of the aircraft. He often addresses the video feed in his cockpit, saying that the feed is often watched and supervised by dozens of other people. He often says, “ We fly this thing like the White House Situation Room is watching, because they just might be.”
Even though Singer may have been off base on some of his conclusions, he did bring to light some interesting facts that will affect the way America addresses political conflict. There is not one major, manned combat aircraft in development today. The idea of Maverick carrying out his gutsy fly by is fading; many say the last Air Force pilot has already been born. Politicians prefer UAVs because there will never be a cargo planeload of body bags arriving at Dover AFB, Delaware that they will have to explain away to their constituency.
The advantages of UAVs are simply two-fold: a pilot or aircrew are not at risk, and the mission can be carried out in a much more inexpensive manner than one operated by a manned aircraft.
Singer said himself congress has not officially declared war since the 1940s and it’s not like covert military missions are a new occurrence. Does Singer present a relevant argument, or does he come close to abusing a news peg? Singer does a good job at being a watchdog-- his mind is with the citizens. Why?
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Chris Burden’s has struck again at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; but this time, with a new sense of art style.
In the 1970’s Burden’s began with a more drastic style of art. In the article, they mention that he was shot in the arm for an art piece. Now, he has been drawn to a more objective form of art. After four years, Burden is now opening up his new art piece: Metropolis II
The writer, Alex Schmidt, explains the sculpture:
The piece is a 10-foot-tall model of a city. Basically, it fills up a room. There are colored buildings here and there, and dozens of aluminum tracks sloping over, under and around them at different levels. An operator steps under some tracks, into the middle of the sculpture, and flips a few switches.
It’s not your ordinary piece of artwork. Artists have been known in the past decade to stretch the boundaries of what exactly art is. Truthfully, in my opinion, it looks like an adult version of a hot wheels racetrack.
In addition to the article is a short documentary on his new artwork.
The article is well written and gives you a good image of who the artist is. The quotes that are used bring the story to life. The explanation of the sound that the cars and the machine makes, make you feel as if you are there listening to them. I also enjoyed the quote about how all the cars are not attached to tracks and so an actual car wreck is possible.
In the end, my main question was, is newsworthy? If it is newsworthy, what makes it worthy?
Also, do you feel that this is focused on a specific audience? If you weren’t interested in art, would you click on this article and read it?
Even though the documentary is nearly six minutes, did you feel it was worth watching? Was this beneficial to the rest of the article?
Here is a link the to article:
For January 19 Discussion: Captain of stricken ship blasted for leaving ship; cruising close to coast; divers find bodies
Monday, January 9, 2012
The New York Times shared this story last week about the dramatic rescue of Iranian fishermen who were held captive by pirates. Reporter C.J. Chivers was actually on the ship that came to their rescue
The article includes this nice paragraph, which puts the piece in context:
The rescue, 210 miles off the coast of Iran, occurred against a tense political backdrop. On Tuesday the Iranian defense minister and a brigadier general threatened the Stennis with attack if it sought to return to the Persian Gulf, which it had left roughly a week before. The warning set up fears of a confrontation over the vital oil shipping lanes of the Strait of Hormuz.Consider these questions: We discussed the news value of conflict last week - does conflict play a role in the newsworthiness of this story? What other elements of newsworthiness does this story have? Why is this important? What did you think about the descriptions, and the way the story was told?
Magazines? Same deal.
Television news? It operates on a old model that no one cares about anymore.
At least, that's what Harvey Levin told the National Press Club late last year.
As creator, executive producer and guy who gets to write on the big glass wall at TMZ.com, Levin has made a lot of money and generated a huge following by creating "news" about the details of famous people's lives. During the press club speech, he told a room full of Washington news correspondents that young people didn't care about the mainstream media anymore, and that by sticking to old formulas and methods of delivery, newspapers and magazines are killing themselves. Likewise, TV news is stuck in an old, increasingly morbid formula that doesn't connect with readers, he said (Levin is a former television news reporter).
Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi writes:
It takes a pinch of chutzpah for Levin to go all media visionary on the Washington press corps, especially considering that Levin’s brainchild, TMZ, became an Internet star based on a brew of Kardashian videos, naughty bits (one of its Monday headlines: “Dancing with the Stars’ — Genital Exposed on Live TV”), and the latest Britney and LiLo legal news.Levin argues the future of the news business is on the Internet, which will eventually merge with TV. When that happens, he said, journalism will become faster and more engaging. Farhi relates this argument from Levin:
On the other hand, brashness has been golden for Levin, who is one of the most successful news entrepreneurs of the Internet generation. Levin, 61, seems to know a thing or two about what the celebrity-obsessed public wants. Since its launch in 2005, TMZ.com has become the foremost entertainment-news Web site in the world, with some 20 million unique visitors a month.
Traditional journalists should throw off their tired old media, embrace the Web, and not worry so much that the speed and round-the-clock demands of the Internet will compromise traditional values, like accuracy.Here is the Washington Post's coverage of Levin's speech. You can watch his speech in its entirety on C-SPAN's website. If you watch the video, you'll hear Levin discuss his ideas on how to address young people. "Young people aren't interested in traditional media for the most part anymore. It doesn't speak to them," he said. The clip is an hour long, but it is worth your time (especially the first half).
Newspapers don't have to die, he says, but they do have to reinvent themselves online. But the way newspapers are trying to do that now aren't working because they are still entrenched in old ways of thinking. In five years, he suggests, media will be radically different - a "revolution" that will be guided by young people in the industry.
At age 61, Levin acknowledges he is "way over" his target demographic. He's interested in people your age. So what do you think? Is he right? How do you feel about what he has to say, given the fact that we're all interested in careers in mass communication? And how did you feel about the Post's coverage of his speech - did they give him a fair shake?
I don't want to give away a lot of the details in this post, because the writer of the piece (Susan Baer) uses a lot of foreshadowing and suspense to move the story along. Rather than telling you what it is about, I will share with you how I came to find it, and how I responded as I read it. This description is intentionally vague ... I don't want to spoil the story for those of you who read it.
I came to read this story after seeing it several times on Twitter. As a former journalist who has a wife and children, I could relate to Robert Melton. I read the first 10 paragraphs and was interested in what, at the moment, seemed like a contradiction - Page's departure from the house seemed to be at odds with her dedication to her husband.
I kept reading, becoming more emotionally invested. Then, on the last page, the questions I had were answered. The answer was not the one I expected, and it troubled me (especially given the fact that I had continued to identify myself with Robert). At a point, I was so troubled that I kind of wanted to stop reading. However, the end of the story was near and I was, to use a poker player's term, "pot committed."
So read the story, and consider these questions. How did the reporter want us to feel at the end? What do you see in the story that makes you feel that way? Was everyone in this story treated fairly? If not, who was unfairly treated, and what might have been done to address it? Why is this story newsworthy? What else strikes you?
Also, if you are interested, the Post conducted a live web chat with Page Melton and Susan Baer. You can read the transcript here.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
We were told that shooter Jared Lee Loughner was motivated by caustic campaign rhetoric, that he was told (in his own mind at least) that Giffords should be a literal target for violence.
After Loughner's rampage, we said we wanted more civility in political discourse. But reporter Mckinnon tells us that civility is still quite elusive:
In the days after the shooting, the words from the memorial still fresh, lawmakers pledged to foster a new civility in tribute to Giffords and the others who were injured or killed. Yet one year later, Americans and their elected leaders still struggle to show each other respect when opinions differ. Partisan brinksmanship plays out in Washington. Back home, voters treat lawmakers with scorn and berate one another for differing opinions. Surveys suggest that Americans recognize the lack of civility and want their leaders to behave better, but experts say that until people exercise civility themselves and demand it from their representatives, little will change.My questions about this story are twofold. First, tell me what you think about the writing itself. This piece is a little longer than standard USA Today fare (relatively few of its stories exceed 20 paragraphs). Was it interesting from beginning to end, or did you start to lose interest at some point? If your answer is the former, what kept you engaged in the story? If it was the latter (and this is, by the way, an entirely acceptable answer) at what point did you start to lose interest? Can you pinpoint the aspects of the story that bored you? How could it have been made better?
Also, if you want, feel free to talk about the media's role in fostering civility in public discourse. Should the media be interested in pursuing this? How could that be done? One could argue that visceral
Its reporters and editors come from, among other places, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. They are serious people doing serious work. And they do it very well. Last year, ProPublica won a Pulitzer for an investigation into euthanasia at a hospital in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. It won another this year for a series about the ways the "Wall Street money machine" worsened the economic crisis.
This fall, ProPublica's reporters started an investigation into redistricting the process by which the government decides where voting district lines are drawn. There are a lot of problems with this process. Partisan politics heavily influence the way voting district lines are drawn, and the resulting gerrymandered districts do more to help politicians and special interests than to serve the people who actually live in them.
To start to shed light on this, ProPublica gives us an enterprise story explaining the ways special interests can benefit from influencing the redistricting process. They offer up another piece that explains the jargon of redistricting.
Then, there's this. An original music video. Made by journalists. About government redistricting. Watch it after the jump.
Photo: Fred Marra, left, listens as Bob Zarba describes the camera operation of the Hexagon KH-9 secret spy satellite in Danbury, Conn. They have been meeting here for 18 years, whiling away a few hours nattering about golf and politics, ailments and grandchildren. But, until recently, they were forbidden to speak about the greatest achievement of their professional lives. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
You've seen groups like them a hundred times: old guys huddled around the table at Burger King, nursing coffee and talking to each other in hushed tones. Maybe they quieted down when you sat down in the next booth.
Were they yakking about politics, or about how badly the local high school football team played last night? Maybe. Or maybe they're remembering all those secret spy satellites they built back in the '70s?
Associated Press reporter Helen O'Neill found a group of men who did the latter. After more than three decades, they told her about their formerly-classified work. O'Neill writes:
It was dubbed "Big Bird" and it was considered the most successful space spy satellite program of the Cold War era. From 1971 to 1986 a total of 20 satellites were launched, each containing 60 miles of film and sophisticated cameras that orbited the earth snapping vast, panoramic photographs of the Soviet Union, China and other potential foes. The film was shot back through the earth's atmosphere in buckets that parachuted over the Pacific Ocean, where C-130 Air Force planes snagged them with grappling hooks.
The scale, ambition and sheer ingenuity of Hexagon KH-9 was breathtaking. The fact that 19 out of 20 launches were successful (the final mission blew up because the booster rockets failed) is astonishing.
So too is the human tale of the 45-year-old secret that many took to their graves.The writing in this piece is strong, although there are some spots where it could have been better (I'll share my opinions in class; you can do so as well, or post them here). I'd also like you to consider these questions: What makes this story newsworthy? If you were looking for a story like this, where would you go? O'Neill includes some detailed descriptions - what do they add to the story? Which ones did you like the most, and why?
For that to happen, the class must populate it with good stories. I want those stories to come from a variety of sources, and I hope that in the process of seeking them out we all discover high quality news sources that we didn’t know about prior to this class.
In this post, I will share some of the outlets that I turn to for good journalism. I will also set up some ground rules for blog posts that should keep all of us on the same page as we look for stories to post.