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

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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