Broadcast Journalism You Say?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I love being in front of a camera. Aside from the fact that it adds the illusion of ten pounds to your already lovely figure...I still love it. I came to a realization that someday I do want to do something in broadcasting journalism.

So, I have some tips for me and for others on how to start a career in the best field ever: broadcast journalism.

Broadcast journalists may work for television news stations or radio stations. Most broadcast journalists will need to have a four year college degree in journalism or a related field.

First things first. Make a demo tape. In addition to your college degree and an awesome resume, a demo tape will help you secure that first job.

Secondly, all the contacts/networking you made throughout your college experience or internships. Broadcast journalism is a competitive field, so the more networking you have, the better.

Next we have research! When you start reporting, it's a great idea to research your topic beforehand so you understand what you're reporting. Researching also helps you develop the right questions to ask in an interview and you end up with a better story.

Story ideas is next on the list. You should become familiar with the community you are involved in and the concerning issues lying within the community. Pitching story ideas will make you a great asset to the news team.

And we all know how much we love pitching stories to Brian..

Develop good interview skills. As a broadcast journalist, you will interview many different types of people, in many different types of situations. You will need good listening skills as well.

Be open to relocation
. Broadcast journalists should be willing to move to different cities to further their career aspirations.

There are many more other tips and tid bits, but these are the main focus points. So far, all you future broadcast journalist aspiring to be an Anderson Cooper, here is your goal plan. See you out there in the real world!

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Five Tips for Great News Feature Stories

Back in the 1960's there was a reporter named Tom Wolfe got fed up with "the pale beige tone" of regular news writing. Thus he began writing feature stories to brighten up news writing and add a great new way to tell news stories.

Feature stories became and are still successful among news writers today, but not everyone can write a great feature story. So, here's five tips for producing great news feature stories.

1. Find Real People

News features talk about important topics, but they are still people stories. You'll need to have real people that will help bring your feature story to life.

If you're going to write about teachers then interview plenty and focus on one in particular. Then, let them tell you their stories to help tell yours.

2. Don't Overdo The Story

Feature stories are suppose to be a more colorful story and have a more interesting voice. That doesn't mean put the whole rainbow in your story though if you know what I mean.

It's like trying to play the piano, sing a song, and juggle 3 saws at the same time, that's just too much color. Keep it nice and interesting to read, but make sure it doesn't overwhelm your audience.

3. Use Your Senses

Incorporating nice details into your feature story will help make it interesting to read. A great way to do that is by using the five senses to put in those details.

Describe how things look, feel, touch, sound, and taste to make the reader feel like they are not only reading the story, he or she will believe they are actually part of the story being told.

4. Keeping It Real

Although feature stories require more creative writing in the structure, it is still important to keep the facts right. Sometimes a feature story can turn into a bit of a fiction story, but we need to remember as journalist that our writing is suppose to be nonfiction.

So, keeping it real in your story is critical or else it isn't really a feature story and you might as well start writing a fictional book.

5. Find your voice
Creative journalist can have a harder time with this writing their news stories. Whether it be editors for the newspaper or a college professor grading your news story, they can have rules an opinions to how writing should be done.

Being a successful writer will depend on your ability to satisfy what the boss wants in the paper, pleasing your audience reading the story, and staying true to your personal voice. That can be a hard thing to do, but it's one of your main goals as a journalist.

Photo Credit: via Creative Commons


The Components of Storytelling

We all have our own opinions and ideas as to how to develop a good story. Some of these ideas may be beneficial, whereas some may be useless and get you nowhere. Therefore, I am going to share with you through the words of Ken Speake, a journalist and storyteller, what the components of storytelling are.

1. Have a great opening. Create an attractive beginning that will appeal to the viewers. You can start with something emotional, unexpected or unusual. It is important that this part grabs their attention immediately, making them want more. Do not be afraid to try something out of the ordinary, be curious and creative.
2. Dive below the surface and stay there. Asking questions allows you to become a better reporter. Therefore, do not be afraid to be too curious and go over and beyond with questions. When you ask questions, make sure you listen to what is actually being said. Listening well allows you to become more intrigued and have good follow-up questions.
3. Be a good team player. Always be thankful for advice or corrections made by others. Although you may think it is incorrect or do not want to take anyone’s advice, at least take their thoughts into consideration. Doing so allows you to become more open and improve the quality of your work.
4. Construct a story arc, and don’t ruin it with a week ending. Make sure that your ending is not repetitive and sharing the same information that was in your opening. Instead, make it new and settling, allowing the reader to absorb all of the information they just read while still in awe. Photo Credit:


Types of Online Journalism Websites

As internet journalism becomes more popular print journalism becomes less popular every year. Does that mean that print journalism is an endangered species that will one day become extinct? If so what does that mean for today's journalists?

Journalist's are just going to have to adapt to the new medium, and in order to do so journalists need to become familiar with the different types of journalism websites. It is true that web journalism is able to cover a vast variety of things, but what are the different kinds of sites that are available online? These are the five major types of online journalism that journalists need to be familiar with:

1. Newspaper Websites
These are just extensions of papers themselves such as New York Times, and are able to cover a vast majority of subjects.

2. Independent News Websites
These sites, cover hard-news coverage of municipal government, city agencies, law enforcement and schools. They also tend to be found in larger cities, and are a non profit organizations that get their money from donations. They are known for their hardcore investigation, which is done by full time reporters.

3. Hyper-Local News Sites
These focus on small communities. They tend to be independent sites or ran by their local newspapers.

4. Citizen Journalism Sites
These are usually very diverse and is a place where people usually post things such as pictures and videos, and some can be targeted to a specific geographic area. Some of these are edited, why others are not.

5. Blogs
These are places where people deliver opinion and commentary on certain subjects. Bloggers may or may not have the necessary journalism degrees.

In order to be versatile for a journalism job in the future you need to be able to write online journalism. Therefore to be a future journalist you need to know what these different online journalism sites are.

Photo credit: Flickr


Media Evolution

This week I saw a video discussing the future of journalism. One comment made in this video by a professor at Columbia University was that no new media has ever truly replaced its predacessor.

I absolutely agree.

A common discussion topic these days is if print news will cease to exist due to the advances of Internet news. Some say yes and some are skeptical.

First there was the newspaper, followed by the radio, followed by television and finally the Internet came to be. Everytime a new media was introduced the fear was the older media would vanish.

We know this isn't necessarily the case. Television didn't make radio obsolete, not widely as used but definately not obsolete.

Instead I think media evolves from others instead of knocking them out. Check a car there is a radio in there and it gets used.

As for newspapers daily editions may not occur forever but I'd say no matter what the Sunday newspaper will always be there for enjoyment.

Photo Credit:Creative Commons


Photo Editing Ethics in News

With the increase if photo editing readers are constantly faced with the decision to decide between what is real and what is altered.

The National Press Photographers Association has a code of ethics that states that the principle job of a photo journalist is to provide accurate information that can be used for history later on.

When people turn on the news, read a newspaper or news magazine, they expect the truth and accurate images.

In my opinion photos in journalism and news sources can be edited, but only simply. For a general rule of thumb, photos should only be edited in ways that do not change the content.

In some cases, editing photos may actually make the image more realistic. If an image's exposure is lightened if the picture was darker than real life, or if red-eye removal is used, there is actually a more realistic photo being presented in the end.

Photos should not be changed in an effort of censorship. If a photo is too graphic in some way, then it should not be published in the first place.

Photos should not be edited in journalism because the general audience has a hard time distinguishing between what is real and what is edited. So, it is up to the journalist to keep things accurate.

Photo credit: Feras Hares on via Creative Commons


How Journalists are Essential to Politics

Last night, President Obama addressed the nation in a speech about the state of affairs in Libya, including the nature and duration of American involvement. Important publications and individuals everywhere reported-- and many interpreted--the event.

Because of the increasing expanse of media available, it is likely that many more people than just those who listened and watched President Obama's address will encounter accounts of the speech somewhere.

Blogs are an increasingly reputable source of information about all sorts of topics. They can offer opinions, facts, and helpful summaries of occurrences in politics that citizens must be aware of in order for the U.S. to maintain a functional democracy.

Additionally, journalists help to disseminate messages of political and national importance throughout all levels of society. Journalism often makes information accessible to readers with very low reading levels. It can also make information accessible to people who may not have the capacity to follow all political discourse.

Journalists like Aaron Blake and Chris Cillizza, writing for the Washington Post blog "The Fix," draw out themes for their readers who missed the speech, and also those who may want to go back to get a better understanding of what was said. The two also give context to the President's speech, giving the reader background on the conflict in Libya and the U.S.'s involvement.

Informative journalism like this often includes data from other sources that has been put into sentences that are easy to read and comprehend; in this instance, it's data about public perception of the conflict in Libya from the PEW research center.

Other news sources preemptively provide information for viewers before the event occurs. These are generally just-the-facts bulletins.

For these reasons and more, journalism is an essential part of cultural understanding of political events and discourse. Read up on events that you've missed, or events where you're left wondering about some important element or theme in the dialogue.

Photo courtesy of Hoshie via


Keep On Tweeting

As the year winds down, many BNR students at Simpson College are close to successfully completing their first semester of using Twitter.

Having become a huge fan of this website, I have found myself constantly tweeting and making connections outside of the requirements we are assigned to do for class.

As this school year ends, many of us may think about discontinuing our use of Twitter because we feel there is no longer a need for it. We won't be earning a grade for our participation on the website, so why bother?

Twitter can be very beneficial for writers that are receiving news and making connections with people of common interests. It has the ability to drive substantial amounts of business and help promote publicity, deals, and information about companies.

As many of us want to be involved in writing, marketing, advertisement, or public relations someday, being updated on the power Twitter has on our economy is something we should all be aware of.

Being an engaged and active member of Twitter will help you monitor breaking news and current events occurring across the nation. Being culturally literate is a helpful trait to have in the journalism world today.

Twitter can also be helpful when conducting a story because you can find sources, receive excellent feedback from dozens of people, and view opinions of a subject from others around the world.

Many journalists have taken advantage of the pros we can gain out of using Twitter. Whether it's getting advice, gaining fans for your writing, or using Twitter websites made for journalists such as MuckRack, continuing to use Twitter will help enhance a writing career in the future.

Photo Credit: Smashing Magazine via Creative Commons


Closet Scandal or Over-Blown Story?

As a journalist or reporter, sometimes your job requires you to reveal truths about skeletons in people's closets. Well what if that skeleton is literally you.

At the beginning of this week, journalist Scott Powers of The Orlando Sentinel was selected as the pool reporter for a private fundraiser for Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. Little did he know he would miss out on most of it.

Vice President Joe Biden was headlining for the fundraiser. His team decided that they did not want Powers mingling with guests before the Veep arrived. So according to various news sources on the internet, "they cosigned him to a storage closet - and stood outside the door to make sure he didn't walk out without permission; Scott Powers was locked in the closet for about 90 minutes and was only allowed to hear Nelson and Biden deliver their remarks."

This, however, is not completely accurate. I thought that this was a juicy story at first, but I rememberd what Brian told us about always checking facts, so I looked up this guy and actually found a story told from his perspective...

On his page at, I found out a little more of his side of the story and how it seems that this story has been blown out of proportion by the media. He quotes, "I was kidnapped. That's news to me... In fact, a lot of details circulating through the blogosphere --- and some mainstream media -- about my coverage of Biden's fundraiser visit last Wednesday were news to me."

"Take a couple details of information, toss them into the Internet and it can become like a child's game of telephone -- with each rendition adding spin and detail. Only in this politcally- charged environment, those spins and details can crystallize toward a scandal," says Powers.

I feel like that quote is extremely true. It's easy to take the first thing you see, or even the first few things you read and take them for truth, but if you actually dig deep you may find evidence on the contrary. This is another example where you always need to check your facts or you'll end up looking dumb in return when you're fooled by over-blown media stories.

Photo Credit: CreativeCommons, World Economic Forum.


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