Friday, November 19, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Brandon Wheeler


Engagement and relevance


Kovach and Rosenstiel begin their eight chapter by talking about the difficulties of sick children.  Journalists no doubt find these stories as important, but also find them nearly impossible to approach.  Kovach and Rosenstiel go on to talk about how hard it is to do a story on a family’s struggle to save a child that is terminally ill.  At that same time, journalist know how touching and moving those stories can be to others when told.  ESPN is one of the best, if not the best, at doing these types of stories.  Every year ESPN does a series on terminally ill children and their families.  The series is called “My Wish.”  It is part of the Make A Wish Foundation for terminally sick children.  Personally it is one of my favorite things they do.  I look forward to seeing them and watch them with a heavy heart.  Anyone who watches one is likely to have tears in your eyes by the time it is over. 

            What the “My Wish” series does is take a terminally ill child that loves a sport.  More in particular a certain athlete of that sport.  Then they come and surprise that kid and take him to wherever that athlete is, usually the stadium.  The athlete will then just hang out with the kid for the day.  Playing catch, video games, meeting the other players and getting signed memorabilia and just forgetting for one day that they are sick.  They have done athletes such as Drew Brees, Tony Hawk, David Ortiz, Shaq, Dwayne Wade, and the Dallas Cowboys football team.  This series touches me every time that I watch it and inspires me to do something with sick children one day.  That to me is great journalism.  It is not always about breaking news, but is also about telling peoples stories and inspiring others to help and become better people.  That was good journalism is.  Of course we still need watchdog journalism too,  It is vital to the running of democracy.  But, there should always be room for these stories of incredible people facing dire circumstances.  The most powerful thing a journalist can do is trigger the emotion of the people watching or reading that journalists story.

            Kovach and Rosentstiel then go on to talk about entertainment news or “infotainment.”  I don’t care for it much, but sometimes it is intriguing no doubt.  However, I don’t think it has news value unless it is something along the lines of Tiger Woods car accident/wife going crazy cause he cheated or Michael Jackson dying.  The rest should remain on E. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Solution is in the Internet

As seen over the last couple of years the journalism industry has been in a state of chaos. From the depletion of staffs, declining numbers of subscribers, newspapers going bankrupt and a decline in ad revenue, which acts as the number one source of income.

Over the past 2 years the ad revenue in the media is down 23 percent. Another concerning fact is of all of the journalists working in 2001, 20 percent of them are no longer working in the business. (

The question is how is the media going to overcome this tragic downfall. The answer lies in the World Wide Web. The amount of Americans going online for their news is up 19 percent over the past two years. ( This is positive news for the industry but leaves the door wide open. It is clear that for the media industry to survive they must come up with and adopt a plan of successfully making a profit online. With more and more readers going online to obtain their news this needs to be the focus.

I think that there will always be newspaper and broadcast news whether it is local or cable. There is no doubt in my mind that these industries will survive. But I think for both of them it is important to establish profitable online content. If a method can be constructed to turn a profit off of online content, it will be the difference maker in the industry.

With the online battle waging, the news media is taking on a new beast. They are taking on a more educated younger class that is relying on the Internet for news. From news sites to social networks, the younger working generation that is the future audience for media companies is whom they are trying to attract. As a member of this generation, I can say I do rely heavily on the Internet for my news. I would have to say that if I had to pay to read the news on the sites that I currently get my news from, I probably would. If a person has a preference about their news and it is important they will pay.

The future of journalism relies on a solution to the Internet crisis. Until a resolution is drafted and adopted, the issues and struggles of media outlets will continue into the near future. Although I am not a subscriber I grew up with the paper at the breakfast table every morning and still have the experience when I am home at my parents house. There is nothing like have the paper in your hands at the breakfast table. Never will a computer be able to imitate this feeling and enjoyment in the morning.

Long live the paper and good investigative journalism, both in print and broadcast!

What the Public Needs

It’s something we’ve been talking about since day one of this class. As technology continues to change, journalists must adapt to the changing structure of journalism. In their article, Marvin and Meyer say these technological changes “[undermine] support for mass media that speak to the public as a whole. This development threatens to undermine journalism’s moral foundation as well” (Marvin and Meyer, p. 400). They point out additional material threats to journalism. “They include technology, the most powerful expression of human pride, and commerce, which distracts mortal minds from higher things. Since technology and commerce were also the material foundations of the American nation, the battle for the American soul has been unending” (Marvin and Meyer, p. 401). 

That’s why the authors attempt to address what kind of journalism the public needs. This isn’t always synonymous with what the public wants. We know this is true because of how much the public enjoys sensational news or celebrity coverage, instead of the hard-hitting reporting that once characterized journalism. 

The authors mention trustworthiness and transparency as important characteristics of journalism for the public, and these concepts are not new ideas. These things should always be a part of our journalistic endeavors, but the fact of the matter is that’s not the way it’s been working out recently. They also point out that journalism should be “sophisticated and generous enough to relinquish the patronizing notion of a passive citizenry” (p. 407). They also point out the importance of improved news gathering. 

For our final class paper, I wrote about the watchdog principle of journalism and how it has developed over time. This article reminded me of the way watchdogism has transformed over time. The principles of watchdog journalism are not new. It’s something journalists have strived for for many years. But good watchdog journalism doesn’t have the same exemplars as it did in the 1970s, which was the last time period of really great watchdog journalism. 

To me, this is the same principle of doing journalism that the public needs. None of these ideas should be new to anyone. Things like transparency and trustworthiness are journalistic principles that have been around for quite some time. But the fact of the matter is journalists do not always adhere to these standards. Think of Jayson Blair’s work at The New York Times. He obviously did not follow traditional journalistic standards, and ultimately hurt the credibility of the publication. 

It’s really important for journalists to revive these high standards of journalism. When journalists ignore these ideas, they credibility of journalism as we know it is destroyed. And thus the public does not get the good journalism they need or deserve.

As a group of journalists who are getting ready to enter the real world, we need be aware of this situation. We can’t become complacent that the journalists of the past few years. There are obviously exceptions, but as this issues are pointed out to us, we need to be the next generations that makes a difference. 


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blogs and Citizen News

Citizen-based media is an increasingly popular mode of communication and information sharing. The reliability and value of “journalism” or “news” blogs in particular has been a hot topic for class discussion throughout the semester. In fact, citizen media has become such a prominent aspect of the media that the State of the News Media 2009 conducted an analysis of more than 350 journalism sites (145 were citizen sites) to see how legacy and citizen-based sites compare. The study, which looked at citizen blogs, citizen news sites and legacy media, found that blogs have some distinguishing features when it comes to reporting and content (Citizen based media, State of the News Media 2009.)

Many people assume citizen news sites are more interactive and user driven than their legacy media counterparts. However, the study found that blogs are actually less open to interaction than even legacy media. Blogs had the least polls and surveys of all three categories studied and were also the lowest scoring category in audience uploading/sharing capabilities (photos, video, letters to the editor, etc.) The idea that blogs are more user friendly and interactive has been proven to be a misconception

 Some findings pertaining to blogs were consistent with class discussion, however. For example, blogs generally provide less sourcing and don’t maintain the same professional standards as legacy media (such as providing legal and basic contact information.) Sixty-four percent of blog posts contained no sources (of legacy news sites, 46 percent of content had at least two sources.) (Citizen based media, State of the News Media 2009.) For readers looking for sourcing, blogs are not the place to find thorough interviews or balanced reporting. However, most people understand this when going to a blog for news. Also, for those who are sticklers for professionalism, most blogs just do not hold themselves to the same standards placed on legacy media. This is one of the main criticisms discussed in class. Since blogs do not typically do the same kind of reporting and sourcing as legacy news, it is sometimes difficult to determine what kind of bias might be present in blogger content. Even when it comes to basics such as contact information, blogs were much less likely to provide anything other than an email address. Twenty percent didn’t even provide an email, compared to only two percent of the legacy media studied (Citizen based media, State of the News Media 2009.)

It’s important to note that blogs are not the same as citizen news sites, which came closer to legacy news media in most categories. This medium takes some aspects of the citizen blog and the legacy news site and combines them into what might be a strong emerging trend for online journalism. The study later concluded that people do not necessarily want to be their own journalists but rather their own editors (Citizen based media, State of the News Media 2009.) Many citizen news sites give people the freedom to do just that. One such example is the, which is combining the professionalism of legacy media with crowdsourcing, or using the audience to generate ideas and sometimes coverage (New Ventures, State of the News Media 2009.) This, of all the emerging trends in journalism, might be one to latch onto as it could be the one to bring together the best of both the legacy media and blogging worlds.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Week 15: Unit 4: Professionalism, Uncertainty and the Future of Journalism

Journalism is an institution that continues to evolve with time but still has its roots in proving “newsworthy content” to its audience. Kovach and Rosenstiel list two key components that should keep journalism grounded while benefiting the consumer, “Journalists must make the significant interesting and relevant” (p. 208) and “Journalists should keep the news comprehensive and in proportion.” (p. 187) However with the growth of technology, journalism and the news media have come to a pivotal point where critical decisions will have to be made.
The Internet has created a portal where now the consumer can become the creator, where instead of being a one-way-street in terms of the media producing content and the audience accepting the content, the street has become two-way now. The audience now has the opportunity to create or even change already published material. The consumer can now create news that they specifically want instead of only being able to consume what is given to them, this has given the consumer the freedom of choice. This all may sound great for the audience/consumer but what about the journalist and the news media?
Journalists are embracing this new wave by using consumer generated content and even asking for more by sending the public out to report but they do have some reservations about the change. According to the “Fundamental Values” section of the “Online Journalist Survey” section from the “,” “a solid majority (57%) say the Internet is ‘changing the fundamental values of journalism’ rather than ‘transferring those values online.’ And the change was deemed more negative than positive.” Journalists and the news media have reasonable fears about all this consumer-generated content. With this sudden wealth of consumer-generated content the chance of errors, plagiarism, fiction, etc. has also risen.
All in all, this new stage of journalism and the news media with technology and specifically consumer-generated content whether it be writing, video, audio, pictures etc. like all things, it has its pluses and negatives. Consumers and journalists alike are benefiting but in the end they both can also reap the negatives when it comes to errors. The news media needs to get ahead of the curve and figure out how to not necessarily control the flow of content but restrain it better. Whether it be paying for content or leaving everything, the news media needs to make a move and quickly before they lose all control and power to the everyday audience. What good would a degree in journalism do then?