Starting at the Bottom

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When you prepare to start your first journalism career, keep in mind you might not experience the excitment and rush of adrenaline you were hoping to.

A starting career in journalism is often far from glamourous and looks more like the bottom of the food chain, even when for the biggest names in journalism.

Top journalist and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper for example, had a rough start to his later very successful career. Cooper's first job was a fact-checker for Channel One, a network who provided news to schools around the country.

Cooper soon became bored with his desk job and after being unable to obtain an interview with any major news network, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

With the help of a friend, Cooper forged a fake press pass and flew to Myanmar, Vietnam. Here he covered student riots that had taken place against the Burmese government. This coverage was later picked up by Channel One and aired, thus leading to Cooper's gradual climb up the food chain.

Anchor Katie Couric also had a slow start to her career. Her first job, an assistant at ABC, allowed her to do no more than brew coffee, answer phones, and make sandwiches for the network's anchors.

Couric then left ABC to work as a field reporter for the Cable News Network but was later released because a CNN executive found her "squeaky" voice to be annoying.

These two famous journalists show that while often you have to start at the bottom, hard work and overcoming obstacles like rejection usually will pay off in a successful career that you enjoy.

Journalists must have a true passion for what they do, and a dream that they are not willing to let go of without a fight. They must prove to themselves and to others that they have the ability to be a successful journalist.

For more information on how Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric climbed to success, visit the links on their names above.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Underdog Journalism

For journalists, having a Pulitzer Prize is being at the top of the mountain. It's the highest accomplishment one can have, but most claim only the ones who are associated with nationally renowned newspapers are the only ones who receive it.

That's about to change.

Poynter's Mallory Jean Tenore is asking the Twitter community to help nominate journalists who are worthy of a prestigious award, such as the Pulitzer. Tenore came up with the hashtag #bestoverlooked for those who wish to nominate pieces of extraordinary work. It can come from any type of media - print, online, TV and radio.

Categories for Best Overlooked include: Best Series, Best Site, and Best Curation.

There have been a few nominations being thrown into the hat on Twitter in each category but I don't think a few will be enough. If you have read something in the past that you thought was a brilliant piece of work, nominate it.

After all, we are all journalists trying to get our stories shared.

Photo Credit: Parker Duofold via Creative Commons


Reporting About Numbers

One of the greatest challenges that seems to face journalists is the ability to have or obtain a small amount of knowledge about everything.

This can be especially difficult when you're asked to write about something that you have little or no interest in-- for me, that area would be economics. While I recognize the importance of understanding the economy that I live in and know that it has very far reaching effects, I can't escape the bore of financial statistics and numbers reports.

Luckily, there are sources for journalists who have to follow a story that they have no interest in. I found one here about writing about economics.

The first thing that needs to be accomplished is getting an idea of which numbers in the reports are relevant to society, and are newsworthy. Figures about employment are always relevant, and many times the changes and fluctuations are newsworthy.

When reporting about unemployment, the rate of change should be reported. The demographics of the employed and the unemployed can also be very newsworthy if they're changing, or if there is some recognizable desparity that may be indicative of a larger social issue.

Journalists can also look to stories about interest rates, since even changes within the interest rates banks get can come to effect everyday people trying to obtain loans.

The release from meetings about federal interest rates are available here, after the eight annual sessions. An important questions to ask is who voted for which increases or decreases.

The facts surrounding motivations for increases and decreases in federal interest rates are also important. Increases mean that there is no attempt to directly stimuate economic growth through loans, while a decrease in rates means the opposite.

Information related to consumption is important to readers, especially considering the crazy amount that we as citizens of the United States consume.

The Consumer Price Index and the Consumer Confidence ratings are both great places to start a story. The confidence index can also be related to information about employment in a longer feature story.

Stories about the housing market are also good economical stories. Look for answers about the prices of homes in a given area, who's moving into the homes, or for comparison rates between different housing markets.

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Influential Journalists

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We all have favorite newspapers, news stations, journalists, etc. but all of these things would not be the way they are today without these seven influential journalists.

1. John Peter Zenger is the number one influential print journalist according to Zenger published the New York Weekly Journal in the 1700s. When he wrote unflatterning things about the British government he was arrested and tried for libel. Since Zenger was found not guilty, he established the ground rule of libel.

2. Benjamin Franklin has claimed second place for the most influential journalist because he used his columns in The Pennsylvania Gazette to influence others and spread his ideas.

3. William Randolp Hearst is influential because he was one of the instigators in "yellow journalism" and started The San Francisco Examiner.

4. Joseph Pulitzer is so influential that his name is used for The Pulitzer Prize for the best journalism contributions.

5. Tom Wolfe created a new form of journalism called "new journalism" in the 1960s and 1970s. This new style used scenes rather than just straight-out facts.

6. Hunter S. Thompson, also created a new form of journalism called "Gonzo journalism." This form of journalism involves the reporter to actually be in the action of the story.

7. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, this is actually two people but they are linked together by their stories that brought former President Richard Nixon down over the Watergate scandal.

There are many others that have influenced journalism in many ways and I encourage you to stop and look at how and why we are where we are today.

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Press Freedom: Still an Issue in Developing Countries

The people of Ecuador are being asked to vote in a referendum on whether the country should have a media regulator that journalists fear will inhibit of expression.

The referendum will take place on May 7, and the population will have to ask questions on a range of issues.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York is alarmed with one of the communication law. The Government wants to establish a law to create a council to regulate media content.

CPJ's executive director Joel Simon argues that the law "would open door to government censorship." On a letter sent to Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, he adds:

"We urge you to immediately withdraw these questions and respect the guarantees on free expression that are enshrined in the Constitution and international treaties."

Ecuador is not the only country dealing with press freedom. In major developing countries this is an issue that government has to face.

Press freedom is the major key of democratic societies and therefore has to be protected. This is the first step to human rights and developing countries have to be aware of that.

Remember Thomas Jefferson's words: "Our liberty depends on the freedom of press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."

Hopefully, the Ecuador's Administration will drop the project after celebrating the press freedom day on May 3.


Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

The Pulitzer Prize winners have been announced and The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are among this year's winners.

Joseph Rago from The Wall Street Journal took home the Pulitzer for editorial writing for his piece on the new health care reform.

Carol Guzy, Nikki Kahn and Ricky Carioti of The Washington Post won in the breaking news photography category for their work in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.

Paige St. John from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune won a prize for investigative reporting for an examination of the property insurance system in Florida.

ProPublica won the national reporting award for Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein's coverage of questionable practices on Wall Street. Last year, ProPublica was the first online news service to win a Pulitzer.

Amy Ellis Nutt from The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey won the feature writing Pulitzer for her coverage of the mysterious sinking of a commercial fishing boat that killed six people.

Others that were honored include novelist Jennifer Egan for her book "A Visit from the Goon Squad," playwright Bruce Norris for "Clybourne Park" and author Siddhartha Mukherjee for her nonfiction book "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer."

This year was the first time that no award was given for breaking news coverage.

The Pulitzer Prizes are awarded every year by the Pulitzer Prize Board at New York City's Columbia University. Categories honored include journalism, drama, poetry and books.

Each winner receives $10,000.

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WikiLeaks and Journalistic Sensorship


We've all heard of it by now, even if we do not know very much about it or what it actually does.
The main premise of this organization is that it makes classified government documents available to the average person. It gets the information it leaks from anonymous sources through a submissions box, so that no one is punishable for the release of the documents.

Now the main debate with WikiLeaks is whether or not this organization is legal under United States law and the Constitution.

In theory, WikiLeaks is not punishable, for a few different reasons.

Documents released by WikiLeaks typically pertain to the United States, however not all of the documents do.

There is also the matter of whether the release of these documents threatens national security and the functionality of the government.

Another issue is who would actually be punished for the release of this information? Since the sources cannot be identified due to the anonymous submissions, the only name that can be associated with WikiLeaks is Julian Assange who is not an American citizen, but an Austrialian. That brings into the debate international laws and regulations, and whether or not the US would be able to persecute him due to the fact that he is not an American.

I personally believe that WikiLeaks is not something that should be in existence. Sure, we as American citizens deserve to know how the government functions. But there are also things that we do not need to know to allow the government and our lives to run smoothly. If there was no classified information, our government would not be able to function or keep us safe.

Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

What do you guys think? Post a comment and let me know.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Using Twitter as Career Tool

This semester we have learned how to use Twitter. Upon adding many followers, I have begun to use Twitter for professional connections.

Through Twitter I have followed photographers, graphic designers, and journalistic professionals. These connections may become useful in my future if I use them correctly.

Twitter can be a very useful not just as a social tool, but to keep connections with professionals in the future. Here are some tips on how to be successful.

1. Follow local professionals. These professionals are a better outlet for employment and face to face connections if they are in close proximity.

2. Create online connections with select people. Just following these professionals may not be enough, but starting a conversation about their line of work may open doors for the future.

3. Tweet news and tips about your desired career. If Tweets are more professional and less personal, it will make your Twitter account more reputable.

4. To stay away from overloading these professionals with personal Tweets, something to consider would be to create separate accounts. Many people have done this already, but it is a good way to keep your personal life separate.

Above all make sure to keep everything grammatically correct, free of typos, and to use a professional tone. Making connections via social networking can be beneficial in the future if it is done correctly.

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Don't Write Off Journalism

I will admit when I started taking Beginning Newswriting and Reporting I didn't give journalism a great deal of thought. I'm studying public relations why on earth do I need to know about writing news articles?

As the semester progressed I saw the value the class had on my field of study. It's really not a big shocker that some of the concepts in journalism transcend into public relations.

Twitter is a great way to share news. Why not share upcoming events with links to a website?

Blogging can be used to discuss a view on a topic or it can work well when writing a blurb about an event on a website.

Video blogging while not as prominent as a tool definitely has potential. Show clips from the process of getting the event ready or from years past.

Lesson learned is that journalism isn't just about being held up in a dimly lit room rushing to get an article together. It's really just another way of communicating and getting information out.



Journalists Strike Back

Being a journalist is a tough job. Not only do you not get paid mass amounts of money, but you also have to deal with criticism all the time. People are always complaining about all the biased news coming from mainstream media. Though this does happen and some media outlets are unethical by choice and some by accident, what a lot of people don't know is that journalists have a code of ethics.

The Society of Professional Journalists, the nation's largest journalism organization, has a Code of Ethics that is nearly a century old. The code is not law, but people do voluntarily follow it. You cannot be sued by not following it, also.

In honor of Ethics Week, Florida Atlantic University's newspaper, University Press, decided to show everyone how bad a newspaper could be without using any ethical guidelines. The transformed Unethical Press violated numerous SPJ codes, but they didn't tell anyone where they were. They wanted them to find them.

They created this type of contest to see if readers could pick out the guidelines that were broken and if they could find them all, then they were to bring it up to the University Press room and they would win a $20 Starbucks gift certificate.

This whole deal kind of reminded me of what The Simpsonian did for April Fool's day by changing it to the Pimpsonian. It was funny to me how on Facebook, some people actually believed some of the stuff that was put in there (i.e. Charlie Sheen was coming to campus).

If you think BNR has taught you enough about journalism rules, try it out and click on the Unethical Press link and try to find the errors yourself.

Photo Credit: DRB62, CreativeCommons.


WikiLeaks vs. The New York Times

A recent blog at shed some light on the current debate regarding WikiLeaks and its opposition.

The "argument" or "feud" was between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and New York Times executive editor Bill Keller. It appears that the argument first started when Keller made some odd claims about how difficult it was working with Assange and how WikiLeaks' founder seemed to be less than 100 percent in touch with reality.

Assange countered that the NYT was doing its best to keep from looking like it was collaborating with WikiLeaks in case legal issues arose with the release of information. He also said that Keller seemed to show a lot of deference to the Pentagon prior to the release, to the point where he looked willing to cover up some information than release it.

Despite some of the more childish aspects of this argument, it raises some good questions about how to treat sources and how to also work within the confines of a government that could potentially prosecute.

Keller appears to dislike Assange enough to color him in a negative light for his quirks or past behavior, and Assange wants to call Keller out for his caution. It seems that issues like this will continue to be points of contention for journalism in the future, and any upcoming journalists will need to know where their employers and sources stand.

Photo Credit: Raymond Salvatore Harmon via Creative Commons


Post Successfully

Monday, April 18, 2011

Facebook has become one of the most popular types of social media that is used daily among society.

The great part about Facebook is that it allows users to create posts based on events or issues that are happening throughout the world or in their personal lives.

The key to being successful with our posts is what many struggle with. According to Buddy Media, there is a guide that explains when and how to manage your Facebook postings.

This guide answers simple questions such as: “What time of the day is the best to post?” “How often?” “How can you engage your friends?” etc. Here is a list of specific tips that can help improve your Facebook posts.

1. Keep your posts short. 80 characters or less allows the viewer to be more engaged.

2. Do not use URL shorteners, being that engagement rates are three times higher with the full URL listed.

3. Engage your reader with a post ending with a question. It makes your viewers think more as well as relate with you.

4. Post outside of business hours. There is no point to waste a good post when not everyone can see it.

5. Post on Thursday or Friday. Many people are excited for the week to be over and engage with Facebook more during these days.

I hope that you can now master a successful Facebook post and get your friends to enjoy what you have to share.

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New in Iceland

There is a new media law in Iceland that is trying to get passed. The new law hopes to protect children from negative content and to accomplish the goal of freedom of speech.

The law will allow for a mediation between the media, the public and the government. This would be the first law that has covered both press and broadcast media.

30 people have taken favor in the vote to promote this law. 14 individuals were against the promotion of this law, because they believe it would have the opposite effect on the community.

These new boundaries could put the country at a high risk. Individuals are unsure they want to take these risks, which is why 2,000 individuals have signed a petition against the passing of this bill.

Currently, Iceland has a very high rate of freedom for the press. Passing this law would take Iceland into new unknown boundaries.


Social Networks Boost Customer Service

Many businesses are using social media to boost their customer service these days.

Often times consumers give feedback about a company or its product on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network.

For example, if I bought the new iPad I would most likely tell all my friends on Facebook about it and hashtag it on Twitter. Whether the experience was a good one or bad one. Apple Inc. could then directly respond to me about my comment.

If Apple Inc. decided to engage in a conversation with me I would become more loyal to the brand and most likely speak highly of the company.

The same can also go with celebrities and their fans, but that's a different story.

Also, if the social network pages for Apple Inc. would change statuses and tweets to get consumer feedback the customer would feel that he/she had a say in the next product being designed.

For example, the first iPad didn't have a front or rear facing camera. This was a big complaint about the product. When the iPad 2 came out the designer made sure to include both cameras.

Many people think social networks are harmful to businesses because there isn't face to face interaction. In reality it can help a business drastically with customer service because the company can reach many more individuals and receive a greater amount of feedback.

Photo Credit: George Nantwi via Creative Commons


Twitter in Trouble?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It seems that all is not well in the world of Twitter. That is, according to a recent cover story in Fortune that warns Twitter's usage appears to be flat lining.

The story says Twitter has garnered 200 million citizens from all over the world, but one hundred million of them are absent altogether, and has about 20 million fewer visitors per month than Myspace.

Twitter also seems to lack a visionary product leader while suffering from outages and not turning a profit. Finally, CNN reported on Wednesday that UberMedia is planning to build a rival micro-blogging network that could shun the the famous 140-character limit.

Now the question is does Twitter really have a problem on their hands? Should "tweeps" begin looking to another city with fewer rules?

Well, looking at the numbers Quantcast says there's been a 50% jump in usage in the past five months, Google Analytics says international traffic has risen 83% in the past year, and because so many people are tweeting on their mobile device or third party app, the numbers are incomplete.

Even without the numbers Twitter is the only service that actually immerses you in a global conversation, especially when there's a natural disaster, major sporting event, or revolution going on.

What about it's 140-character limit? This is, and will be, Twitter's greatest asset despite the little minority of people that protest against it. It's the stop-light system that keeps the traffic flowing smoothly and allows everyone to get a word in.

If something is worth saying, it's worth saying as short and brief as possible. Just ask Poets and screenwriters.

With that said, I believe the answer to "Is Twitter in trouble?" is simply, no. Twitter has accomplished something special and is far away from being outdone or repeated in any way.

Wouldn't you agree?

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Doing Things The "Write" Way

During this past semester, Brian Steffen's BNR students have engaged in the benefits of writing and reporting.

With the semester coming to an end, many students may wonder what to do next. How do we keep up on our writing skills? What is a good way to maintain what we have learned throughout this course?

One of the best tips for young writers to keep their writing career strong is by starting a journal.

A journal helps because it helps a person express his/her feelings, become more organized, and maintain focus. When writing, a person will become more aware of feelings and help clarify his/her thoughts.

Another good reason to keep up on a journal is developing personal growth in writing. Writing helps create and capture memories of a person's lifetime. If a person decides to go back and reflect on a journal, he/she can personally see improvement as entries continue.

One last reason keeping a journal is helpful is reducing stress. When a person handles problems by writing things out, it helps combine fuzzy, spinning thoughts into how a person is actually viewing his/her troubles. By writing, health can be improved because getting emotions out enables the mind to be clearer.

Journals are a great way to help writers improve writing skills at a cost-free and easy way. By having a journal, BNR students can continue to develop good writing habits and a sense of their own mind.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


How to Cover Speeches

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

As journalists there will be many times that you have to cover a speech. We have had many different experiences with that because we have covered forums as undergraduate journalism students at Simpson College. It is rather difficult to cover a speech though due to the dynamics that are involved. Here are some tips that will help you better cover a speech for future stories you may have to write.

1. Report before you go.

Like all interviews and stories get some background research done ahead of time, so that you understand the material that is being presented in the speech.

2. Write background copy ahead of time.

This is possible due to the research done before the speech, and can be immensely helpful if you are writing a tight deadline.

3. Take great notes.

This is a no brainier, and is important in every story you write.

4. Get the good quote.

Usually this is a quote that is very interesting and is said in a unique way. Look for he quotes that are closely related to the topic of the speech.

5. Forget chronology.

Usually the most interesting thing a speaker says comes at the end. Just get the important information down and organize it after you discover your lead.

6. Get the audience reaction.

It always good to get a few audience reactions after the speech, because they can add an emotional quality to your story.

7. Watch for the unexpected.

It's things like these that can make the lead of your story, and then make all the pieces of the story fall into place.

8. Get a crowd estimate.

People that read your article will want to know things like these, because that's just how they differentiate on how famous the person who gave the speech was. Make sure to get a number and be sure to see what type of people are there, for instance: age, gender and class.

With these tips presented and explained you should be able to cover any future speeches flawlessly.

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How Far is too Far?

Most people disagree with the philosophy and actions of the Westboro Baptist Church. However, the charged rhetoric that took place between Julie Banderas and Shirley Phelps-Roper was too far. While Phelps-Roper wasn't pleasant or professional in her appearance, Banderas only made herself look bad when she responded to Phelps-Roper by screaming at her and telling her that she was going to hell. Regardless of Banderas' beliefs regarding the Westboro Baptist Church and their actions, she should have remained profession during the interview.


Facebook and Journalists

Facebook has launched its new Journalists on Facebook site. The site currently has 40,824 people who have selected its like button.

Only a week after the journalist program on Facebook was launched more than 35,000 people have liked the page.

Journalists around the world have shown interest in attending the social journalism events hosted by the Facebook page.

The events will be live-streamed for the journalists that cannot make it in person. You must RSVP and register on the Facebook page ( In order to received the live stream.

The events consist of networking receptions, social journalism best practices, social journalism panel, and a Q&A.

Twitter and Quora are main sites for journalists to find their stories but Facebook wants a piece of the action. Facebook is taking a different approach and using their page as a way for journalists to connect on their own page as well as providing an outlet for stories.


Demise of the Flip

Having the ability to go mobile in the media world can give journalists an advantage when out on the field. One tool that helps them out is a camera.

In a release sent out earlier this week, Cisco announces their new restructuring system, which includes the discontinuation of the Flip video camera. Launched in 2007, the Flip camera has had hundreds of millions of customers in the U.S., and plenty more overseas.

Cameras, especially ones as convenient as the Flip version, allows journalists to shoot raw footage of whatever news is happening. Those who have these now will have to find an alternative of what seemed to be a really convenient way.

Who defeated the Flip camera?

The winner would be the smartphone. Fact is, when it comes to mobile reporting, the smartphone supercedes every ability a camera can do, tape recorder or any other tool would be. Sure, the process of uploading videos might be easier with a Flip, but the demand for them in Cisco's eyes (no thanks to the smartphone) is few and far between.

Photo Credit: Cheon Fong Liew via Creative Commons
Video Credit: Slate


You, Yes You, Need This!

Have you ever wanted to make your own video? Perhaps a music video of E.T. by Katy Perry or any All Out song ever invented. I bet you want to make a video about some pet peeves you have. Wait, wait, wait, I know what you're thinking. You want to make a video about the new dance move you just made up! I know how that feels.

You can achieve your dreams making your video by Apple's new Final Cut Pro X, the newest version of its popular video-editing software.

This is good news for you and me. Why? Because as future journalists, we need to have knowledge how to use video-editing skills. And it's also a good time making music videos with your friends.

Having video-editing skills as a journalist, helps to show that you know how to work with different technological advancements, such as Apple's newest version of their video-editing software. Plus, you can shoot, make and edit your own stories.

Final Cut Pro X will be available for download via the Mac App Store in June for $299.

Pick up your jaw from the floor. It's really not that bad of a price. People pay $500 for the iPad!

So stop spending twenty dollars every week at Starbucks, and save up for the new Final Cut Pro X. Let's get started on your video-editing skills and make some spectacular videos!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons



News. What do you think of when that word comes to mind?

Many people think of magazines, newspapers, television, radio. In all of these topics, there are different kinds of news which is shared.

There's hard news, which consist of big issues like murders, wars, politics, disasters, and other such things.

But then there is entertainment news. Brangelina. Teen Mom. Jersey Shore. Britney Spears. The list goes on.

Brought through venues like People, US Weekly, TMZ, or Oceanup. Although this is nothing like the hard news that comes from places like the New York Times, it is still news.

Because we make it news.

Without entertainment news, can you imagine how depressing our lives would be? The headlines on the magazines that you would find at the cash register would range from the government shutdown to the Libyan conflict to the earthquake in Japan.

All these issues are important. Much more important than Lady Gaga's new outfit. And there is not enough focus on these issues in our current state.

However without the lightheartedness of entertainment news, people would be in a constant state of worry and depression about the state of the world and their future.

At least with entertainment news they can feel better about themselves because they do not have to go through all of the drama that celebrities seem to go through.

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The Importance of the First Amendment

"Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a governement, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

Thomas Jefferson's words still resonate today, more than 200 years later. Newspapers and media are vital for our society and they are protected by many laws.

The most important one, also a creation of Jefferson, is the first amendment of the Constitution.

It is the third article of the Bill of Rights which proclaims the five freedoms of the citizens of the United States of America.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

In Democratic countries, those rights have to be respected and they are protected by the Constitution or the major law of the state.

Journalists take a great advantage out of this amendment. Freedom of press is, for Jefferson, the beginning of liberty.

"Our liberty depends on the freedom of press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."

The media play such a role in the political life revolutions and contemporary state blows always begin by making media headquarters. Sometimes referred as fourth power, the press is often only extension of powers already in place.


Covering Domestic Violence

Words are powerful symbols. They construct the way that we evaluate situations, and labels can drastically effect how we treat other people. They assist constructions of prejudice, and prejudice is directly linked to discrimination.

For journalists, words are the key tool on the job. When writing an article about a sensitive subject, like violence against women, words as symbols play an even more important role.

Words as symbols construct many of our relationships, and can encourage cycles of bad behavior. If issues of domestic violence are referred to frequently as "lover's quarrels," it can impact the way that readers view such issues in their own lives.

Victims reading these articles may come to understand the violence they experience as part of everyday life.

Even subtle descriptions of acts of violence can have a huge impact on the way that readers understand crime, and specifically acts of domestic violence. Unforunately, only 2 percent of the scholarship on journalism pretains to proper coverage of issues of violence.

The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers a downloadable PDF file for journalists who are covering issues of domestic violence. Though the file contains some information that is specific to Washington State, most of the tips are applicable to all journalists covering these issues.

The mission statement of the group is as follows: "Our hope is that the information in this guide will also help link journalists to domestic violence advocates in their community, who can be utilized as sources to improve coverage. By accurately covering domestic violence homicides and avoiding sources, questions and language that perpetuate myths, journalists can make a significant difference in helping the community understand how domestic violence can go
unchecked to the point of murder."

The file also offers helpful definitions of key terms, like domestic violence, victim, and abuser.

It is also careful to address key questions that infuse the conversation about domestic violence, such as why victims often stay in unhealthy relationships- the report states that "victims’ choices...are not the issue. The responsibility for domestic violence (as it is for other crimes) belongs solely to the abuser."

Unfortunately, the report points out, deaths that are the result of domestic violence are rarely covered as such. Additionally, sources for articles about domestic violence are rarely experts, as they undoubtedly should be.

The myths and misconceptions about domestic violence need to be addressed in full by our journalists. Since many people are much more likely to obtain information about domestic violence from their newspapers than from scholarly sources, journalists have a responsibility to accurately cover this problem.

If you find yourself in a position where you will be covering issues of domestic violence, please portray it accurately and as part of a larger body of issues- not an isolated occurence, or as something that many married couples experience and get over. Our journalists can make a huge impact on this social problem.

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Types of Journalism

There are different types of journalism that are specific towards what they aim to cover.Below I have listed some examples of different types of journalism.

Fashion journalism: Is when all of the articles relate to the fashion industry. The main goal of fashion journalism is to cover the latest trends or to develop lifestyle articles.

News journalism: The goal of news journalism is to report news in a straight-forward manner that covers all the required facts. You do not want to add your opinion in, because news needs to be unbiased.

Celebrity journalism: This relates to all of the news and events concerning celebrities, whether they are an actor or actress or in the music, dance, sport, art, politics, etc. field.

Sports journalism: Just like the title, it requires reporting on sports. The journalist will report the accurate facts and statistics of the games. This also includes interviews with the players, coaches or fans.

Environmental journalism: This type of journalism focuses on issues concerning the environment and its protection and conversation.

There are many more different types of journalism and if you would like to know more check out the link.

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Journalist Arriving on Facebook

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On April 5th, Facebook announced a new Facebook page called "Journalist on Facebook" that is designed and dedicated to helping journalist use Facebook as a reporting tool.

Last fall Facebook announced a similar page called Facebook and Media. So, you think "Well, it's the same thing right?" Not exactly. Just as the title says the page Facebook for Media is geared towards just media.

On the other hand, Journalist on Facebook is all for and about the individual journalist. It's main existence is to help journalist use the power of Facebook for journalism.

It does this with Facebook-provided best practices and peer collaboration from a big community of journalism professionals.

It seems that Facebook took the time to make this page a worthwhile experience. They have polling and discussion options that will grow in activity, video interviews with top journalist, and even a registration tab to be notified of journalist meetups in local areas. They even give you a nice "Get Started" guide to help new journalist.

Now, it may be easy to assume journalist know how to use social media and if they're using Twitter they probably do, but this new way of using Facebook goes beyond Twitter and offers more opportunities for journalist in general.

This is just a great chance to learn from other journalist giving more innovation and great content to use. Journalist can promote their content, become even more independent, and accumulate their fan base.

In my opinion, this is just a win-win situation for everyone and especially for journalist. Some people believe that this is just Facebook finding a way to compete more with Twitter, but is that really a bad thing if they are?

What do you think? Is Facebook just doing this for competition? Can Facebook be a good resource for Journalist?

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Evolution of Journalism

It is no question that journalism has constantly been evolving ever since its beginning, mostly due to the creation of the internet.

Paul Bradshaw of the UK Press Gazette created a list of ten ways journalism has changed in just the past ten years alone. Here are a few of his findings:

1. Journalism evolved from a lecture to a conversation.
One change in journalism has been the increased involvement of the audience. Through the internet, audience members and viewers can now voice their opinion or comment on the works of journalists in a fast and easy way.

Before the internet, written letters were the only form of communication between the journalist and the reader. This form was very slow paced and often not affective.

2. Journalism led to the rise of the amateur.
Everyone became a newsreporter with the release of camcorders, mobile phone picture and video capabilities, blogs, and social networks. Often is the case where everyday, ordinary citizens capture live news rather than actual news reporters.

3. Really Simple Sindication
Before RSS, journalists had to constantly hunt through dozens of websites for updates. RSS now allows journalists to subscribe to dozens of news feeds that can be contained all in one central reader.

RSS also creates niche audiences, allowing readers to subscribe to specific newspaper sections or writers.

To check out the rest of Bradshaw's list, visit this link.

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Fox Reporter Argues With Religious Nut

In a recent news broadcast by Fox News, an interview got heated when a female news reporter got into an argument with a guest associated with the Westboro Baptist Church.

During the interview, the news reporter posed difficult questions to the Westboro representative. The questions were far from objective, and shed a bad light on the Westboro Baptist Church from the beginning.

Unlike most news reporters this journalist did not hide her opinions on the subject. This resulted in a heated debate between the two that presented strong opinions and bad language from the Westboro representative.

Watching this as someone that is strongly disgusted by what the Westboro Baptist Church does, I was all for what the interviewer was saying.

However, from a journalistic prospective, this was a very dangerous move on the reporter's part. Entering into a strongly worded argument and inserting personal opinion in a news broadcast is risky.

Although I applaud her for what she did, I hope she didn't lose her job over the incident.

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The Right Cue

Creating a video blog can become challenging for many people based on how unnatural it feels. Fortunately, there is a new program that was recently created called CuePrompter.

The CuePrompter program is an online teleprompter that allows you to copy and paste your script into your computer. Once doing so, the Cueprompter takes over and allows you to feel like the television reporter you have always wanted to be.

The great thing about Cueprompter is that it gives more assistance to the user by letting you set your script and talking points. Doing so allows things to run smoother since it is on a teleprompter, rather than in essay format in a Word document.

Another beneficial aspect of the Cueprompter is that it allows you to control the speed of how fast the text scrolls across your screen. This can improve people’s speaking skills because it can help us slow down our pace if we speak too fast or speed up our pace if we speak too slow.

CuePrompter also allows you to pick the font, color and size. This will come in hand for those of you who have trouble seeing because it allows you to adjust it to your specific personal needs.

This program can also come into play for interviews, conference calls and any other situation that you need help speaking in front of people.

The best part about this is that it is free!

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Earn From Your Blog

Out of the tens of thousands of blogs out there, as a beginner, yours probably doesn't stand out among the most known ones. To make yours stand out there are a few things every blogger should know.

Online, there are thousands upon thousands of blogs with the same content. If you're wanting your blog to stand out, do not write about the same topics; it will probably just get lost in the flood of them. Here are some helpful tips to point you in the direction of succesful, money-earning blogging.

1. Quality and Focused Content is the biggest factor in which your blog is evaluated. Do not borrow commonly used articles/content and refer to other blogs or sites. Do borrow methods in which they use. This means styles or templates.

2. You must know what your end-used is searching for. They come to your blog for a reason, and what is it exactly? Most of the time, the best blogs are the personal ones rather than commercial. Personal ones can be more touching, like diaries or personal experiences.

3. Confidence is key. Your blog must provide confidence and hope to visitors so that you can turn them into loyal readers or subscribers in a short span of time.

4. Proof. Writing your blog like a commercial one without proof may upset your readers. Try to write your personal experience including some main aspects in the ways you adopted, the mistakes you committed, the sources you referred to, etc... This can increase your readers and even your page rank.

Unlike other blogs, personal blogs make readers believe that the blog is completely true and it is solely for them. Creating this feeling in the readers mind is not a simple task. But if you follow the tips above then you are already on your way to success.

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Keeping them Honest

Monday, April 11, 2011

An article recently posted at Suite101 posed an interesting question: How can media and news outlets report the truth when they depend on sponsors that keep them in business being happy?

The point is that any news organization's decision regarding what stories to run or who to investigate will take into account how those investigations or stories might affect the groups giving them millions of dollars.

This is especially true in a modern setting when print media needs every bit of revenue anyone will throw at it. Organizations can no longer just decide to drop a sponsor for the sake of reporting the truth.

Because of all this financial pressure companies are able to do more than just keep the media from covering something: it can actually dictate what the media covers. This whole situation is even more complicated because of the wide outreach many conglomerates have, one large company really controlling dozens of others that have a wide range of interests and ventures.

The question is how can journalists still maintain a commitment to the truth with all of these outside influences "pressuring" them to say one thing or another? Without a significant change in the nature of journalism, the best anyone can hope for now is that no one is corrupt and that a PR-damaging story doesn't surface about someone barely related to a sponsor.

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Taking Care Of Business

With the sun shining and the busy time of finals approaching, many college students are feeling a lack of time to complete everything.

However, if a student wants to receive
good grades for the end of the term, he/she must decide to prioritize what is most important to get accomplishments completed. With teachers piling on the papers, tests, stories, and quizzes, many students feel overwhelmed and unable to accomplish these goals.

Journalist students are not allowed many opportunities to get off track. To be involved in journalism, a person is constantly
reporting, advertising, and researching for the next story he/she will deliver. How can a person maintain his/her focus consistent.

One good tip for students is to take advantage of writing lists. Lists benefit journalist students especially because writing a list of daily plans, homework, and meetings is a great way helping to manage his/her time. Seeing a schedule planned out for when there is free time to study or relax helps students know when to fit homework and other events in.

Another good tip is to not cram everything in at once. Whether it's allowing time to go for a run to clear the mind or watching a television show,
taking small breaks in between tasks allows a person to tackle assignments with fresh eyes and a clear head.

One last tip is to remember to get enough sleep at night. Although it's the end of the year and people want to spend time with classmates, getting the right amount of sleep at night allows students to feel alert and more energetic throughout long days rather than simply going through the motions.

While receiving a lot of pressure from teachers, coaches, parents, and peers, students must remember that staying calm and balancing time evenly is the best solution to helping stay focused.

Although a person may feel frustrated, panic can take over a person's life and put him/her under additional unneeded stress.

Finishing the school year off with good grades and completed tasks can allow a person to feel great. Living a healthy lifestyle of rest and maintaining focus can allow a person to prevent stress.

So whenever you're feeling down in the dumps and like it's impossible to finish, always remember to take a deep breath and smile.

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Five Myths about the Future of Journalism

Online news consumption is becoming more popular through technological advances. There has been major talk amongst individuals about the future of journalism.

A major issue we face is what information is true and what is false. Below, are five myths that have been discussed amongst the journalism world.

1.Traditional views of media are losing audience

- This is not true because individuals are consuming the same traditional newspaper providers. The only change is that they are consuming the information online instead of through the source of a newspaper.

2.Online news will be okay as soon as advertising catches up

- Online advertising received the most profit last year. The problem with this is that the money doesn't go to the news industry or journalists, it pays the search engines.

3.Content will always be the winner

- It has been common in the past for a newspaper who has given the public the most current information is naturally the most popular. Since technology is on the rise the demographics of individuals are becoming more popular.

By the use of demographics, technology can determine what consumers are interested in through the way they access the web. Certain products can be determined based on the websites that consumers visit.

4.Newspapers around the world are declining

- Increased literacy rates are increasing newspaper consumption. Countries such as Egypt and Lebanon are facing higher newspaper consumption due to more literate people.

5.The solution is to focus on local news

- Local advertising companies are not putting their information online which means that newspapers can't generate revenue from this source. Another influence is the significantly low amount of dollars local newspapers generate.

Online media is becoming more popular, but this does not mean that journalism is going to becoming insignificant. The news industry still needs journalists to go out there and supply the public with a good story, whether it is online or through a hand copy of the newspaper.


Manage Your Social Media

Social Media plays a vital role in our lives today along with e-commerce businesses. Managing one social media account can be a full-time job let alone managing multiple social media pages.

However, there are services that can help you manage all of your social media on one site.

HootSuite is a site that lets you update Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and WordPress. It allows you to schedule posts, and it keeps track of your visitors. HootSuite is perfect for larger companies.

TweetDeck is an app that allows you to update Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and Foursquare. It makes all of your contacts available from each social network. Scheduling posts is another benefit of TweetDeck.

One great site for small businesses with social networks is It's a site that can run 30 social networks including: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and Foursquare. You are able to schedule posts and update your social media accounts.

Scheduling posts is one thing that is common among these three sites. People seem to enjoy that benefit of these sites. With how busy people are these days it comes in handy to be able to schedule your updates.

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Stop The Nonsense!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Think about the headlines you've seen recently. What were they about?

The goverment almost shutting down or an update on the troops? How about any celebrities-tattoos,weddings,babies and arrests?

What I've seen is a celebrity getting a new tattoo and I don't care. In the end that nonsense doesn't matter.

I have a sorority sister who is married to someone in the navy. She was worried about what would happen if her husband didn't get paid.

That is something newsworthy. It seems there is a large group of journalists out there who report on nonsense.

How many of us can say we know what was in the agreement late Friday night?

Yet we know about the lives of people on the Real Housewives franchise, Jersey Shore or the Teen Mom series.

Does that really matter? No. Journalists have the unique position to impact people's lives and instead of doing so positively the do this stupidly.

For any journalists and aspiring journalists out there please think about what you are going to report on, you can shape what people see, make it relevant.

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How to Interview

Interviews are one of the most important parts to journalism. Without interviews journalists stories become less reliable, and that is something that people look for when they read news articles. Some journalists come by this journalism task naturally, while others will never get used to the task of giving an interview.

Many journalists struggle with their first time interviews for many reasons. They may struggle with asking personal questions, or might have a hard time with speaking with strangers. For whatever the reason there is good news for the journalists who struggle with this journalism trait. There is good news though, there are basic techniques that you can practice in order to become more comfortable with giving an interview while becoming better at the task as well.

These are the following keys to a successful interview:

1. Come prepared
Bring the necessary tools such as notepad and a recorder to take notes. Make sure you do research on the the idea of your story, so that you understand the basic terms. Brainstorm the questions that you want to ask the interview before the actual interview.

2. Maintain control
It's important to get great quotes, but if the person you're interviewing starts talking off subject don't be afraid to steer them back in the right direction.

3. Stay natural
Stay loose so that you are easy to talk to. One of the most important things is to make sure that you you make eye contact, because nothing makes a source more nervous then a reporter staring down at their notebook the entire interview.

4. Have a good introduction and a great end to the interview
In the beginning don't jump into asking questions immediately, because if you talk a little before hand it will allow the source to feel like they can open up to you. If those sources feel comfortable like that you will be able to get some quality quotes. When ending an interview make sure that your source has nothing else to say about the subject. Before you part make sure that any questions you have about the interview are answered so when you are writing the story you don't have questions about your notes.

With these tips on how to do the best interview you are sure to do a great interview, and most importantly have no worries of doing any less then a great interview.

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