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.

Photo credit: via Creative Commons


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.

Photo Credit Via Creative Commons


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