"To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible;
to be credible we must be truthful." - Edward R Murrow

"What's everybody's business is nobody's business - except journalists." --Joseph Pulitzer

Who doesn't remember the tragic and disturbing story Josef Fritzl keeping his daughter in his basement dungeon for over 20 years? As journalism evolves reporters are digging deeper and deeper into personal lives. We are investigating and hoping to find out as much as possible. We want to show and educate the world on what we know, but sometimes journalists forget the emotions that come with a story like that.

As a journalist I am to be objective, but does that mean that I should lack compassion? It seems as though some journalists will do anything in order to get a story. And there are some stories that will wreck lives and relationships.

Thing of Tiger Woods. Journalists just kept digging deeper and deeper to find out what happened. His personal life has been exposed, and is that fair? Would we do this to someone we knew personally? Would we have shown this of the normal guy off the street? Would we do that if Tiger Woods had been a family member, or a close friend? What if we were that person?

I am guilty of being stoic and determined at times. I'm not saying that getting an interview and story causes me to overlook the feelings of others, but when there's a hot topic story that I have good interviews for, or a strong stance on, I may neglect the feelings of the audience while reading the story. Knowing that certain audience members may feel uncomfortable at times, but as long as I am being objective and accurate I feel like I am doing fine.

I can never be emotion-less with someone I am interviewing. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always have a smile. My voice and happy nature is so bubbly that in order to be taken seriously I am sticking with print. But reading it in print is not always going to convey the message in the way one would hope.

Are journalists becoming less caring of others? Are we giving into sensationalism? Was it necessary for everyone to know about Tiger Woods or David Letterman? Just because they are public figures does that mean that we deserve to know every lie they tell? Does their fame automatically give a journalist the right to publish stories on their personal life? Would we do this with any average person?

The reason I even started on this topic is an article I just saw on Fark.com.

"Single mum had sex 191 times with boy, 12"

The article seems like it required investigation and a lot of legal work. Does this woman, who is now seen as a criminal and a pedophile deserve to have her photo there? And did anyone think of the reprecussions that this may have on that boy? Even if the boy isn't mentioned; it won't be hard to find out who the boy was.

I was reading an article in the local newspaper about 5 teenage girls that got into a car crash. It said that the driver was driving her father's truck, and then downward in the article it said the name of the person whom the car was registered to. That completely destroyed the anonymity of the girl. If that isn't the name of her father (which, if it's her father's truck I am sure it is), then it's someone who is close to her, and that will make it easier to identify the girl as well as the other teenagers in the crash.

I'm not saying I wouldn't cover these stories, and I am not saying they shouldn't be covered. But I think the format, media, and way that the stories are presented, as well as who the reporter decides to interview and how much time he or she decides to take in order to make the article accurate vs. being the first one to get the story out.


"Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine." -- Walter Cronkite

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Follow up: Radio Journalism

First of all let me say that I was pleased to see a comment from a user other than one of my classmates left on my previous post. It makes me smile knowing that I am reaching others, and it makes me want to work even harder.

As I was doing the homework for my Radio Writing & Reporting class I did a lot of thinking. I flipped through the Broadcast Stylebook and wrote my copy in broadcast format. The class is required for Journalism students at NESCom, and the radio station here is very well established. The radio station here is also an alternative one, and I love that type of music.

I found the website Newscript.com. The website is focused on news writing for radio. I thought that the ideas expressed on the site were interesting:

" Radio journalism has been especially hard hit, with diminished teaching resources given over to television instruction because TV is the more attractive broadcast medium....In this sink-or-swim environment, far too many radio journalists have figured out only how to float. They haven't been introduced to the wide range of possibilities in preparing radio news and are often frustrated either by not being able to move up to a larger market or by not having the satisfaction of becoming respected journalists within their communities. --http://www.newscript.com/"

Isn't it hard to distinguish who is a journalist on the radio? I have a friend who I shall not name who is in my Radio Writing & Reporting Class. I know that he has no interest in journalism whatsoever; he just wants to be a radio personality. I look at him as an example, he wants to be a dj and put music on the radio, he wants to be able to interview musicians, and he knows that he will be required to report news throughout the day between music blocks. Does this mean that he is a journalist?

Is every dj that interviews a celebrity or musician considered a Journalist? Or is the journalistic training and technique apart of their job as a whole. I am not talking about NPR or any news-only radio stations. I am talking about the radio stations that have music, weather and traffic reports, and news. The stations are featured on the FM tuner and that we tune into during morning drive to hear our favorite morning radio shows.

And when reporting over radio objectivity may be harder to convey. Within print there are words, there is no tone of voice and no body language to represent how the person who wrote the words felt about it. But on the radio when someone is reporting on something their tone of voice may be a dead give away to that person's point of view. And then there's the radio personalities like Don Imus that let their opinions flow freely from their mouths. Is he considered a journalist? He covers the news and does interviews, and I am sure he writes his scripts in a broadcast format.. so does that make him a Journalist?

Is a radio DJ, radio personality the same as a radio journalist?

Without exerting my opinion in this too far let me say that I appreciate the Radio journalism course that I am taking; I enjoy gaining this knowledge and knowing if I am ever in a radio studio I will be able to successfully give the news, or I will be able to write a script for the radio anchor to read over the air.

I believe that NPR journalists and radio journalists that work for news only stations will always be able to advance in the future of journalism. I think radio is great for Sport's Journalists as well.

A blog is the place that opinions from a journalist are acceptable, and I am not required to keep my objectivity. And my findings have lead to me believe, in a respectful way, that true radio journalism is done within NPR, and other radio news hours, or stations that specifically target a news audience... but when it comes to the radio station that plays music as well as gives the hourly news tidbit to the audience; I think that the journalism aspect has just become part of the job of a radio personality/DJ.

So, apart from radio sport's journalism or strictly news radio stations (talk radio), I think that having journalistic skills to be a radio personality/dj doesn't make you a journalist-- but it is needed in order to get the job done.

To further solidify my opinion Deb Neuman, debneuman.com, radio personality host of Back To Business, came by my Web Reporting class to talk about her radio program and the columns she writes weekly for "The Maine Edge."

Talk Radio = Radio Journalism.

P.S. Notice I avoided the name Rush Limbaugh


"A reporter is always concerned with tomorrow. There's nothing tangible of yesterday. All I can say I've done is agitate the air ten or fifteen minutes and then boom - it's gone. " - Edward R. Murrow

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I am taking a Radio Writing & Reporting Class.
My school, NESCom, has an amazing radio station, 89.3 WHSN.
It's an alternative station, and I love alternative music.

But, where does radio stand in terms of news?
NPR (National Public Radio) is still going strong, but what is to come in the future?

Edward R. Murrow was an amazing journalist, and he made being a broadcast journalist for radio and television a complete hit. A lot has changed since Murrow, and is radio still a place for credible news?

I will leave that question in your head and expect a follow up blog entry on this subject.

"Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar. " -Edward R. Murrow

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Editorial Cartoons

When discussing the future of journalism I have neglected to mention the impact of editorial Cartoons. I strongly believe that editorial cartoons will be around no matter how the future of journalism twists and turns. Editorial Cartoons are usually political, and the cartoon is able to say just as much as an article (when done correctly). Sometimes editorial cartoons are able to invoke as much emotion and start as much of an impact as an article.

Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoons are editorial cartoons that are able to live up to the cliche "a picture is worth a thousand words."

The future of journalism will always include editorial cartoons, because being involved with the media requires taking time out of the day to laugh at something.

If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism. - Hunter S. Thompon

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Learn some pointers from Poynter.. HAA

That was corny, I realize.
I want more people, future journalists in particular, to go on Poynter Online more often.
That is one of my favorite websites when it comes to journalism and regarding the future of journalism.


The website includes news, and follows all forms of journalism from broadcast to print to web. This website can really help future journalists, and I just wanted to put that out there.


"I think journalism is a great way to do public service, to have an impact on your community. " - Bob Schieffer

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Looking on the bright side ..

This is a quick blog entry to give a quick exerpt from my brain.
I was thinking a lot about newspapers (while reading a New York Times), and I understand that I love the physical newspaper as do many other people. I began to worry about newspapers only being available online, and that was upsetting to me. I know that many people, like myself, can only stare at a screen for so long without getting a head ache.

I like to highlight things, I like to circle, I like to cut out and paste things places, I like to put things on my wall. I love newspapers, magazines, books, etc.

And then I decided to think of other people.
I realized that the future of Journalism via web can still reach out to others through print, but I realized that online magazines (such as Slate.com) are saving the environment.

I recycle bottles, but I am a hoarder when it comes to the newspaper. I never throw my papers out, or my magazines, or anything else. But I realize that there are people out there who read a newspaper, and then go and throw it in the trash.

It just makes me look on the bright side that thanks to online news sources and the use of the internet maybe in the future it will help out the environment even if only marginally so. And maybe the newspapers, magazines that are currently being printed could revert to being printed on recycled paper.

Just a brief thought on the bright side.

p.s. I read an article previously that goes along with this topic. The article is called "The Only Thing Newspapers Are Good For is Killing Trees." Although I disagree with that statement, and according to AP Style headlines are only supposed to capitalize the first letter of the statement and then any proper nouns/names in the title, I decided to post the link for you to read anyway. It's not a great article, but it put some thoughts into my head. And even when you don't agree with a piece you read, it is worth reading if it really makes you think:

"Real journalism is done out of passion..."


"I think almost every newspaper in the United States has lost circulation due to the Internet. I also think the Internet will lead to a lot of plagiarism in journalism." -- Will McDonough

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The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it's stronger with a shield

Shield laws are on my mind. The future of the shield law is definitely going to contribute in a large way to the future of journalism.

For anyone reading this blog that may not understand "shield laws" I can explain. A shield law is legislation that is designed to provide news reporters/journalists the right to keep a source secret. The right to stand up in a court of law and refuse to testify the source in which the information/quotes were gathered from.

Many journalists have actually gone to jail due to the decision to NOT reveal the sources.

Without going back in history and recalling every case, I want to think to the future.
I know that each state has its own specific shield law or form of this law, but when it gets to the federal level how will it all be decided?

A fairly recent news article I found addressing this topic is from September 30, 2009 (scroll down to the bottom to my links to read more. I have included a more recent one that links to an article from late December 2009). An online article via nytimes.com says:

"The Obama administration has told lawmakers that it opposes legislation that could protect reporters from being imprisoned if they refuse to disclose confidential sources who leak material about national security, according to several people involved with the negotiations.
The administration this week sent to Congress sweeping revisions to a 'media shield' bill that would significantly weaken its protections against forcing reporters to testify. -Charlie Savage"


Further reading explains that the rights may only extend to journalists that are hired for specific companies. That means that this right would not extend to freelance journalists, bloggers, college students working for college papers.. in other words anyone that isn't employed to a specific news organization.

I can see from the administration's point of view, but I think that it is my right as a journalist to be able to obtain this information -- and by interviewing other sources that will go on record and argue for / against the information provided , be able to expose this information. Anonymous sources can cause the credibility of the story to decrease, but in investigative cases it is necessary. I don't think it should happen quite often, and I think most of the time it happens once in a while when a BIG story is being leaked. Journalists know not to randomly allow confidentiality to a source unless it would truly damage the source's reputation, job, safety, etc. We need to keep our sources safe.

Journalists aren't working against the government (at least not me), and we are not working FOR the government. We are working alongside them, and everyone else, in order to accomplish our goal, to educate the public on things that truly matter. To provide information that the public deserves to have.

This could all be subjective, and I know most of it is, but I wonder what deep dark secret the government could be hiding if it is that important that cases of national security are not kept confidential.

I apologize if I don't make sense. I am rather sick and have been bedridden for over 24 hours. Shield laws have been one of the most prominent things within my mind, and I thought I would share this with you all.

Other articles regarding the shield laws:


"Anonymous sources are a practice of American journalism in the 20th and 21st century, a relatively recent practice. The literary tradition of anonymity goes back to the Bible. " - Joe Klein

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Follow up to State of the Union Address

I apologize for not getting to this sooner.

I have attached the video from youtube.com. I personally watched it via CNN, but it really doesn't make a difference.

Obama's State of the Union Address, in my opinion, was very well done. I try as a journalist not to exert my personal opinion, but since this is my blog I figure I can get away with it once in a while. I appreciated what he had to say about college students and that getting an education should not lead to poverty.

I acquired the transcript via abcnews.com so that I could quote him accurately. The part that stood out the most to me was:

"...When we renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we will work with Congress to expand these reforms to all fifty states. Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families. To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer-subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service. Because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. And it's time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs – because they too have a responsibility to help solve this problem..."

(which I acquired directly from : http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/State_of_the_Union/state-of-the-union-2010-president-obama-speech-transcript/story?id=9678572&page=2)

Now, as for the analysis from other news sources:
I watched CNN right afterwards and they had their team of "senior political analyzers" go over every line that Obama spoke and show how the Democrats, Independents, and Republicans were "impacted" by each word/line spoken.

Newspapers did some news analysis through their print versions, but I notice that most of the analysis was done online. I think that this is because news outlets are able to deliver their information right after the President gave his speech, and the news outlets were also able to include the video footage from the State of the Union.

I would like to say that in the future journalism will go back to treating accuracy and objectivity as the two biggest deals when publishing an article, but that may be too idealistic. In my opinion, the analysis of the President's speech was particularly bias, and I feel like each reporter/anchor/writer inserted his/her own personal opinion when "reporting" about the speech.

I do not want to attack particular news sources, but in a lot of my findings the articles about the President's address were put under "news" "news analysis" to show that it would be hard news and objective, but the result was personal opinions inserted, as well as first person references.

I truly hope that the future of journalism will return to objectivity, because people that decide to read about the speech online without watching it themselves may blindly follow the opinion and "facts" given about the speech on the news website without actually getting their own opinions since none of the sites are able to objectively analyze his speech.

"A long life in journalism convinced me many presidents ago that there should be a large air space between a journalist and the head of a state. " - Walter Lippmann

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