Freedom to photograph

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

That's my kind of freedom

No one denies that it is important to discuss whether or not a college degree is worth all the money thrown in to it. In today's economy, times are hard, and people appreciate seeing some serious coverage over the issue to help them decide.

People don't seem to enjoy it when college students dress like, well, college students. The Kalamazoo Gazette learned this the hard way after running a front page photo of a woman speaking with a college employee. She was dressed normally, in a t-shirt and jeans, and the shoulder bag crossing her body partially covered up the words 'Kiss My Ass' on the front of her shirt. Partially, but people still noticed.

One reader wrote in to say that the photo "distracts from the integrity of the article". Joyce Pines, Kalamazoo Gazette public editor, noted to Jim Romenesko at that "this vulgarity is so commonly used in speech, online and in print nowadays that it pales in comparison to some of the more notable swear words....Perhaps the best that can be said for the whole situation is that all of us should stop and think about the images we’re projecting".

Are the readers right to be protesting? After all, it is the public newspaper. The phrase is not the most professional thing that should be said to consumers, and after it came out, it was made abundantly clear that readers did not appreciate this kind of language. However, what about the young woman? Doesn't she have the right to wear what she wants in public?

When protesters gather to demand change of the status quo, the majority of Americans will say that they have the right to their free speech, whether or not it is cluttered up with unseemly vocabulary. The Kalamazoo Gazette printed that photograph not because of what the shirt said, but because of what the photo contributed to their news story. It is unfortunate that the shirt slogan took away attention from the real issue at hand.


Google's Job in Improving Media

The journalism industry is shifting from old media to digital, which has been influenced by real-time social media tools like blogs and Twitter.

These websites allow anyone to be a publisher, leading to some news being unreliable. Legendary TV newsman Ted Koppel suggested at a recent Goggle event that it is Google's duty to fix this problem.

Koppel said that too much of what passes for news is trivial and sensationalistic. Media outlets spend too much time on what news people want instead of what news they need.

The idea is that Google will filter its news feed to focus on the most important news. Google has made steps to secure that their posts are from professional websites by using stories from longtime standing old media sources such as The New York Times.

Google News is the first source of news for many people every day. Since it is such a widely used website, they should feel some sense of responsibility to inform their audience of what is most important to their lives.

Stories about the Casey Anthony trial and Nancy Grace's nip slip are interesting but have no real impact on people's lives.

People need to be more informed of issues that will affect their present and future, such as the presidential race and foreign aid policies.

Photo Credit: Aaron Morrison


Coffee Cafe...and a Newsroom?

That's right, two newspapers are attempting to keep afloat in this volatile economy by "wooing" customers with coffee. We know that the journalism industry is in trouble. With a slew of obstacles contributing to the decline in newspaper circulation and revenue, a few have taken it upon themselves to try something a little different. The American Journalism Review documented these new alternatives.

The Winnipeg Free Press in Canada was the first to initiate a newsroom that also doubled as a chic, coffee hot spot. By moving into the artsy district of downtown Winnipeg and opening up the newsroom for hopeful journalist and people who love their caffeinated start to the day, the paper was able to implement a winning strategy: get people more involved with the news by bringing the news to them in an unconventional way. On any given day these "news cafes" can be found full of journalist, staffers and the regulars who frequent the new home of these newspapers.

Canada, however, is not the only country with a news cafe. America totes Torrington, Connecticut as home to the Register Citizen which boasts a newsroom cafe as its office as well. An article about this newspaper documented their change, and stated that in December of last year the company moved its remaining newsroom and staff into another factory and fashioned it into their main headquarters. The Register Citizen is now completely operating solely out of these two locations.

On top of adding more appeal and local involvement into the news, these papers have begun to offer education. Classes will be starting on HTML programming, blogging, video editing and media law-this one most importantly to learn how to "not lose your home by defaming someone."

Newsroom cafes were not implemented to initiate the extinction of the journalist, but rather to build a stronger relationship with the community and add depth and perspective to reporting. Although these "cafes" are in their early stages compared to the traditional papers, they appear to already be making quit an impact. I think if The Des Moines Register opened up a prototype of these newsroom cafes I would put down the red bull, pick up a coffee and have a great new spot to learn about the inner workings of journalism and reporting.


False News on the Internet

With the internet offering such an easy way to view and spread the latest news, it also allows inaccurate rumors to be spread.

There is an example of this in an American Journalism Review article (AJR) in which it discusses the Piers Morgan rumor that was started by a false tweet.

That tweet follows, "Exclusive: @PiersMorgan suspended from his CNN show while investigations continue following new revelations on alleged phone hacking claims".

The rumor spread from there and it is just one example of how journalists can easily be led astray from the truth.

According to the AJR article titled, "Steering Clear of Misinformation" it says, "Dan Silverman, author of "Regret the Error" and founder of the website and Mandy Jenkins, social news editor for The Huffington Post, taught several ways to help journalists avoid the pitfalls of online falsity."

The two gave a presentation titled "B.S. Detection for Journalists" during the Online News Association Convention in Boston on Sept. 3rd. This presentation went over ways that journalists can figure out if a story is true or if it is B.S.

With the ease of rumor spreading via internet today, journalists need to be on top of their game when it comes to spotting or researching a fake story.

Photo from Creative Commons


Apple's iPhone 4S Offers Great Features

Technology is changing our world faster and faster everyday. People and companies have a hard time keeping up with it. However, buying the iPhone 4S will only help you increase your updated society information and the latest news.

The iPhone 4S features functions as a world phone that works with major networks. The phones advancements make it available for you to use the iPhone 4S anywhere in the world and still provide strong reception.

Apple boasted that the iPhone 4S supports download speeds up to 14.4 Mbps with high speed download packet access. The iPhone 4S is very fast which motivates our soceity to buy the phone because most people are about faster moving inventions everyday

The option of buying 64GB is also available which makes the phone more advanced and the most high tech phone available. When people are using email, iTunes, Facebook, and Twitter each and everyday consumers need many mega bites to uphold those duties.

Along with mega bites and the super speed of the phone, the iPhone 4S is the first phone to intelligently swith between two antennas to send and receive. The invention is extremely smart and was worked on by more than one company to make this phone what it is today.

This iPhone 4S is not only available for Verizon users but also Sprint and AT&T. Cell phone companies all worked together to create this mass invention and are all getting credit from journalists. Nothing but postitive comments are coming from news sources such as "Invention of the century," said Matt Hamblen.

Go out and buy your new iPhone 4S Oct. 14 because this is the invention of the century and the most advanced phone yet in history.


What the F**k!

picture by Tony the Misfit @ Creative Commons

Story may be offensive to some readers.

"Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits." These are George Carlin's infamous Seven Dirty Words.

These words are regulated by the FCC from the airways and television during specific times of the day, but how are they used in print media?

The AP Stylebook has an entire section describing how reporters should use obscenities, profanities, and vulgarities. The stylebook says, "Try to find a way to give the reader a sense of what was said without using the specific word or phrase. If a profanity, obscenity or vulgarity must be used, flag the story at the top."

To determine whether or not the obscenity in question is necessary for the reader to understand the full content of a story, editors and reporters must look at several factors.

First, they need to determine the newsworthiness of a story. If the individual possessing the potty-mouth is a high-standing public official, readers may want to know exactly what has been stated. For example, when former Vice-President Dick Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy Tuesday on the Senate Floor to, "Fuck yourself." Yet, if the person being quoted is your average Joe, readers probably couldn't give a s--t about the colorful vernacular this person exhibits.

Secondly, editors and reporters need to consider the community standards their paper must adhere to. A big city paper, such as the Los Angeles Times might be a little more lenient about using a four-letter word than a small town paper such as the Marion Times. If the readers will be more accepting to offensive language, as big city residents are, then the newspaper will be more likely to print an offensive word.

Finally, papers need to consider whether the comment in question is simply profane, or if it crosses into the realm of obscene language. To do this papers can use The Miller Test set up by Supreme Court in the 1978 Miller v. California case. This test rules something as obscene if:

1. The material appeals to prurient interest
2. It is specifically defined by State Law
3. It lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value

Even by considering these three guidelines, reporters and editors should use profane words with care, and only print them if they unquestionably contribute to the understanding of the full story. The overuse, or even a one-time use, of an offensive word can ultimately damage the reputation and integrity of any newspaper.


Joining Forces: The Four Need to Knows.

Even with new technology, the world demands its news. And with the Internet population shifting their focus onto blog sights such as: blogger, tumblr, etc. News sites are finding themselves going towards that direction.

Before News sites do make this change, there are four key elements they should take into consideration before pursuing it's Local blog.

The first element the News site should ask is: What does their Local Blog need?
Like any good relationship, whether it be personal or business, it is important for both sides to portray what they need from each other, as well as short term and long term goals. The site should ask directly, and this would be a good way to find out if you can supply the needs before committing into the blog.

The second element is be prepared. Whether it is to form a rough draft with what you plan on writing in the blog or just a future plan, always be ready for questions that may form. Another good thing is to invite your partner blog into conversation. Team work will make this run more smooth.

The third element is to understand how the Web operates. Not only just how to function on search engines, but how the blog operates as a whole. You need to take in account how many views are on a page or what drives attention to the blog site. To sum it up, know everything about your site/blog.

The final element is to get your advertising and marketing departments to support you. This is where the entrepreneur comes into the whole aspect of this business. Always ask for team work and support. It is very essential to have everybody feel the same excitement you do about this particular project. If you get them to support the effort, it will run smoothly and quickly into something fabulous.

I believe these four elements are very interesting, since I too blog on my own personal site.( I'll put it down on the bottom if anybody cares to look at it on their free time.--I have to warn you though, its kinda messy right now because I haven't had time to really work on it lately) I never knew that News sites actually did join up with their local blogs, and it makes me kind of want to sleuth around and see if KCCI joins up with a local Des Moines blog.

Works Cited:
Picture Cited:

Cait's blog:


Media Affect in Knox Case

Yesterday, Oct. 3, Amanda Knox was cleared for the murder of her roommate in Italy. The Knox case has had a lot of presence in the media the past few years. Has the way the media covered this trial had any impact?

In a story for CNN, Matthew Chance says that the media has fallen into two groups over the years of this case. On group that supports Amanda Knox and another group that finds her guilty.

Prosecutors state that the media helped rally support for those whole felt that Amanda Knox was innocent.

The defense attorneys believed that the media completely "crucified" Knox. They believe that Amanda was portrayed unfairly by the media.

Another problem related to this case and the media is the fact that people have forgotten or ignored Meredith Kercher the victim in the Knox case. Many journalists believe this is due to the media and public relations efforts to free Amanda Knox.

Does this case show that the media can have affect in the courtroom?

Photo: Creative Commons


News for All...or not?

A recent article I read claims that investigative journalism is on life support. They say that real news is being replaced with fluff because of it.

"Every day, hundreds of reports and stories that Americans should be reading go unreported," said Michael Copps, one of five Federal Communications Commission members.

To the public, innovations to the internet seem fantastic. We love being able to consume our media in a more vibrant way, including hundreds of colored pictures, videos with easy explanations, links to website with summarizing headlines for those of us with limited time.

However, for anyone working in the journalism industry, it's not all good news. All of these new innovations have cost the loss of 143,000 jobs in traditional journalism.

Another problem the article mentions is that not everyone is equipped with broadband or a smart phone, so they are still not receiving that news that is exclusive to online editions.

The article states, "Turner-Lee said the FCC needs to do make universal broadband access a priority in order to enhance diversity in terms of access to information, news coverage and media ownership."

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski claimed that they are working to make it more widespread and affordable to all.

I think this would be a great feat, but a very hard one to tackle. However it is a necessary transition if all our media availability is shifting so quickly. We must keep up with it or our country's democracy will be at stake. It wouldn't be fair for some people to have availability to public knowledge and not others.


Journalism Students Take Part in Widely Published Investigation

A Food Safety Investigation conducted by journalism students working as part of the News21 program is being published this week by The Washington Post and

News 21 program headquarters are at the Arizona State University School of Mass Media and Journalism. It is sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with a purpose of improving investigative journalism at journalism schools across the country.

Students involved take part in a 10-week reporting fellowship during the summer. This summer students from Arizona State University, University of Maryland, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska and Harvard University worked together on a Food Safety Investigation, examining food safety issues across our country.

One article shared a great quote about the program from Eric Newton, senior advisor to the Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibarguen.
"News21 proves that top journalism schools and top teachers can produce journalism as good as any in America today," said Newton. "News leaders and major news organizations agree — because they use News21's journalism."

I think this is a great program, and not only because these students are getting an experience of a lifetime. It's great because they are proving the great skills that the staff at their journalism skills are teaching them and proving the changing landscape of investigative journalism.

I also think it's great that they are doing a public service, as their studies proved many shocking facts about the American food industry. One of the most shocking I read about was that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only inspects 2% of the 24 million products that enter the country each year.

I also read on the project's website that News21 will be expanding next year to include students from other schools across the country. This is great because I think many schools, especially smaller ones, have students just as qualified that may not be getting noticed.


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