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

Reviews: It's easy to criticize.

Due to personal reasons I have been unable to update and post onto this blog as frequently as I had previously. I am jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, so click here to follow.

I have never written a review for publication. I was working on my first movie review, but circumstances came up that has put that article on hold for the time being.

I frequently have heard journalism instructors say, "Stop doing reviews! Everyone is just doing reviews."

Reviews seem "easy" to do. You don't have to interview anyone, you don't need to do as much research, you get to put your own opinion, you don't need to do as much fact-checking, and it is based off something you did, read, saw, ate, etc. And bias is not a problem.

Now, I mentioned previously that I have never written a movie review. I am into the investigative things and hard news/features. I love going out there and getting interviews, doing research, fact-checking, (I love copy-editing also), and spending nights without sleep working to meet the deadline.

I decided to write a review, because it was something that I haven't done. In this, I spoke with Katy England, and realized the truth about reviews of any sort. It may be "easy" to write a review, but it is more challenging to write a GOOD review. I know that there are few reviews I have read that really stuck out in my mind as great journalism; I sometimes feel as though someone had nothing else to write about, saw a movie that weekend, and last minute wrote something quick to meet the deadline.

The reason that instructors, editors, etc. are sick of consistent movie reviews is that not every reporter will take the time to write a review and treat it the same way as any other article. There is research to be done in order to help the reader better understand. There are specific techniques to express your opinion without being blunt. The New York Times generally has very good movie reviews, and some of the ones on IMDB.com serve their purposes.

Consistently doing reviews the "easy" way does not advance a journalist. Journalists need to be able to write all forms of copy. From editorials to hard news, features, columns, reviews, etc. Of all the forms reviews may be the easiest to get done, but for it to be done well it will take a longer time. It may not take as long as a feature or as hard news, but when it comes to actually writing the copy it shouldn't be a quick write up.

Most journalism students I have been around have done numerous columns, and I have always avoided columns because I felt they were "too easy." I didn't see how difficult it was. I would rather do an article involving hours or research, numerous interviews, etc. than go to see a movie, restaurant, concert, and write how much I liked it. To me, that seemed like something someone would do on a personal blog, or on a Facebook note.

So, I have a new respect for reviews, and I am excited for when I finish writing my first review. At that point I will be able to say I have written the main types of copy.

So, writing about the movie you saw last night may be a way to save yourself from missing a deadline, but the quality of the article will reflect on how much effort was actually put into it.

That's all for now.
Cheers [:

Next entry will focus on a similar topic: Blogs.

"Today’s journalism is obsessed with the kinds of things that tend to preoccupy thirteen-year-old boys: sports, sex, crime, and narcissism." -- STEVEN STARK, Atlantic Monthly, Sep. 1994

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