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

Nikky Raney: Journalist & Blogger

"There is no substitute for face-to-face reporting and research." -- Thomas Friedman

I recently received an e-mail from a Professor of Communications from a University in Oregon. I do not feel that it is important to name him or to name the university he represents. Anyway, he found my blog and thought it would be good to interview me for a book he is writing about "Social Media and Journalism."

I was very happy to receive this e-mail with the interview questions, but I think that interviews should never be done through e-mails. E-mails should be a last resort to the way to interview a source. I will do a blog entry about interviewing next, because I think that the future of journalism needs to not rely on technology for everything. Face-to-face interviews or phone interviews are the best way to get credible and accurate information, because you can hear the tone of voice, and you are able to ask follow-up questions. When you interview via e-mail you are limited. You cannot hear the tone of voice, and you cannot pick up on any other non-verbal communication, which is critical to interpersonal communication.

Anyway, I was deeply offended by one of the questions I was asked. It was not even a question, really.

"You have many pictures of yourself on your page and was wondering if you could comment about how your public persona may or may not be perceived as someone interested in so-called "serious" journalism.
I could be missing this here but this could be part of the "celebrity" journalism you are also writing about."

I think that I need to make this clear and concise to those who read my blog entries for both web sites. So, here is the answer I gave him:

"Okay, I am into serious journalism and my track record can prove that to you. I was apart of the Hillary Clinton campaign, and I am extremely interested with political and governmental affairs. Newsweek is my favorite magazine. My public persona may not seem that way, but my experience speaks for itself. As for the "celebrity" blogging. That is blogging, not reporting. That is not journalism, that is blogging. I was given an offer from Zennie Abraham, and I would never turn down an offer to write for a blog that was recognized and on TMZ's blogroll. It was a great opportunity to put my name out there and to slowly build my way up. It's baby steps. I am slowly trying to incorporate journalism into those blog posts. If you go to my website Nikkyraney.com, The Future of Journalism, you will see that the blog entries I write on that site will archive back and show that I truly am apart of "serious" journalism. I like to use photos of myself, because I like to be original. I don't want to just steal photos from google images and post them as my own. I did modeling for a while, and I quit modeling for journalism. This is also why I am interested in PRINT journalism. I do not to be judged by my looks. My public persona on Zennie62.com is mostly being critical of those who claim to be journalists (such as Perez & Tila) I was given this opportunity from Zennie, and I am thankful and glad. But it is a blogging opportunity. I would hope that I wouldn't be judged by that, but if I am then anyone can link back to my own website and see the truth. That question actually offended me a bit, because I would like to break the mold and be able to write about everything. I am a 19-year-old (soon to be 20), and I think that it is okay for me to do the celebrity blogging, because it is not easy to get those hard hitting investigative stories without a degree to show. I was a paid freelance columnist my senior year of high school for Foster's Daily Democrat. I would hope that people would not judge me based on my "celebrity blog entries," but on my actual articles that I have done, and for all the hard work and dedication I obviously have put into my career. If you read my blog entries for my own website you will see how highly critical I am of the media and sensationalism."

The reason I posted this was because: if he has that opinion of me - then he must not be the only one. When I started doing the celebrity blog entries, I knew that I would get some flack for it. If you actually read those posts though, the one entry in which I completely let loose and show the side of a true blogger is the recent blog entry that dealt with Tila Tequila calling herself a journalist. That outraged me.

I am extremely grateful and love being able to blog for Zennie62.com, but I don't want the role of "celebrity blogger" overtake my public persona. I am going to take that information, and I will try to show a more serious side to my blog posts. It is difficult to blog about the serious hot topics, because I want to go in and get my own interviews. I want to be at the scene. I want to go out and get my own photos. I want to be out there doing everything that a journalist does, because journalism is my passion.

I hope that this will clear the air. I want to be able to have recognition for being able to blog about the "entertainment" side of things, but also that I can report & write about the other matters. I would like to be able to serve all audiences.

The blog entries I have done on "Facebook Privacy" are definitely directed at a different audience than the blog entry I wrote about "Tila Going To Rehab." Just as the sources I cite for each are different. I make sure that I cite and use credibly sources within my blog entries.

I will keep this in mind during my future blog posts.

My next blog post for this blog will be about INTERVIEWS.
The way to conduct interviews, who to interview, etc.
I think that a big part of the future of journalism is being able to conduct the proper interviews with the reliable and credible sources, and the way to get in touch with these sources.

I do feel honored that I was chosen to be interviewed for this book - don't get me wrong. I also attribute that to the traffic and exposure I have received due to writing for Zennie62.com. I am not ashamed of any of my blog entries. I put all my blog entries into a document before I post it onto the web. I think that a better way to conduct the interview would have been to ask if it would be possible to call me, and to better explain why I am being chosen. I give him credit for the way he phrased the "question." So, if you would like to give me a follow-up interview I am willing to talk to you on the phone and discuss any further questions you may have.

I respect anonymity, and I did not think it would have been respectful or necessary to post who wrote the e-mail, because I could be wrong on his intentions. I may have gotten it all wrong, but the phrasing and way I perceived it made me feel offended. That is another part of why e-mail is not a good way to get interviews. I mean, what if my e-mail was hacked? Then the hacker would have e-mailed him back all sorts of random crap.

This is part of the reason why I admire Hunter S. Thompson. He could report and write whatever he pleased, and he was still known as a serious journalist. I can read Fear and Loathing in America over and over again, it is my all time favorite book. I love seeing the faxes and letters sent back and forth. I love how you can see his personality and the behind the scenes of what he was thinking as he wrote. I strive to reach that level, but I would like to be able to instill a bit more objectivity into reporting.

P.S. "Celebrity" news (Entertainment) is not any less news than sports, health, political, international, etc. It is a different beat, but that does not mean it is not important. The way the articles/blog entries are written are crucial to the understanding of what is being written about. Don't judge an article by its headline or topic. Actually read through and see what sort of interviews and information is being presented, and if there has been a credible source. I am sick of seeing the "an insider says" or "a friend close to the family." I want there to be a name. Find someone who will go on record and give a reliable quote.

That's all for now.

"In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story." --Walter Cronkite

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