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.

Photo Credit: Via Creative Commons


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.

Photo credit: ladynamic via Creative Commons


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


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