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

Journalism 101: Interview DOs & DONTs

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Raney Update

The Journalism 101 video with Josh about interviews will be up when the editing is finished.

This blog will be updated more frequently once the school year starts up again & more journalism exposure and opportunities become available. This summer was a way to try and break into the world of blogging, because I over work myself when it comes to journalism which is bad for my health. Neglecting sleep, meals, etc just so I can edit, fact check, interview, etc. I am one of those journalists that is completely devoted.

So, this summer I have focused more on blogging. Blogging is less work, and is more relaxing - but it is only a quick fix. When I am back at school and I am given the okay from authorities that I am in better health & that they believe I will be able to balance my journalism with the rest of my life I will be posting articles, interviews, etc. The first posts on the blog during my Web Reporting course were very on cue.

So, thanks for sticking around for the ride.
Zennie62.com has been a great way for me to practice my blogging, and I will continue to do the blogs. Blogging is a good skill for journalists to learn. And for so long I was just a journalist & refused to do anything but journalism. It's good to finally break out and try something new.

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Upcoming video: Interview DOs & DON'Ts by Nikky Raney

The next Journalism 101 video will discuss and act out the dos and don'ts of interviews. The interviews are specifically for print or web - not the type of interviews a broadcast journalist would conduct for a television show or any other sort of broadcast.

The video will help show how to conduct interviews with a few small but important tricks to getting the best experience & best information out of every interview.

A preview of a few of the dos and don'ts include:

  • Don't interrupt your source.
  • Don't ask misleading questions.
  • Ask questions that only that person can answer.
  • Don't rely on digital recorders - make sure to take notes.
  • Prepare questions beforehand, but don't feel like you need to stick to those questions.
More to come. Josh Grattan will assist in acting out and showing how the dos and don'ts apply.

"An investigation may take six months. A quick interview, profile, a day." -- Diane Sawyer

Just a quick preview/catch up video:

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Degrassi Season 10 Premiere: Review by Nikky Raney

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Degrassi: The Boiling Point by: Nikky Raney 001

Degrassi: The Boiling Point by: Nikky Raney 001

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The Future of Commentary: print vs web by:Nikky Raney

When newspapers and magazines were more popular than web pages the way that the readers were able to comment and give feedback was through "letters to the editor." The editors of each were able to choose and edit which comments made its way into the paper.

With news being delivered online commentary is received instantaneously. Bangor Daily News' Jeff Tuttle is in charge of the newspaper's web site, and he came to my class and spoke about various topics involving moving the news from print to web; he also spoke about the commenting feature.

He told the students in the "Intro to News Reporting" class that Bangordailynews.com makes it so that commenting is only allowed through signing up on the site. Even when signing up for the site anyone is able to make a quick account and e-mail address and post things. The example that Tuttle gave was a comment that would say something along the lines of "so and so is sleeping with so and so's wife."

Of course magazines and newspapers still have their "letters to the editors," but by adding the commenting feature to the web sites commenters that know the negative comments given would never appear in the print edition are able to rant and rave as they please. The unfortunate part is when spam accounts are made, or the self-promoters use the commenting feature to get recognition.

There are certain sites where the comments may not even relate to the entry that the comment is about. Some commenters just comment about random things that have no relevance to the posts whatsoever.

With the online commentary enabling users to interact and give feedback the good and the bad are able to be shown, but sometimes the hateful and disrespectful comments are also present.

Sometimes articles that are known to be overly controversial will have commenting disabled, and in those rare scenarios the "censorship" of the readers is enacted. Commenting and giving feedback is good when the comments and feedback is constructive; whether negative or not there is a way to leave a comment of disagreement without being disrespectful and rude. The downside is that some commenters will use the opportunity to spread negativity and add absolutely nothing constructive to the "conversation."

The print edition will always have the most thought-provoking comments that stick out, but for all other commentary the web site will be able to include the comments that were unable to fit to print- as well as the comments that the print edition would never think to publish.

"Be careful. Journalism is more addictive than crack cocaine. Your life can get out of balance. " - Dan Rather

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Social Network: the Facebook movie by Nikky Raney

The movie "Social Network" directed by David Finch has just come out with its trailer. Nikky Raney's input on the movie which comes out October 1, 2010.

note: I have always called him David Finch ever since Seven came out, because it was a joking nickname. I probably should have mentioned that. His name is David Fincher, for anyone who was confused.

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Zennie62 at Comic Con!

Zennie62 will be at Comic Con, for videos subscribe to http://www.youtube.com/zennie62 to see videos from Comic Con. Comic Con is the premier event bringing entertainment and comics and art together in one place: San Diego. Zennie62 will be at various press events, featuring Stan Lee, The Onion, Sylvester Stallone, The Cast of Resident Evil: Afterlite, and other stars.

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Nikky Raney's Business Card

I thought I should create a business card so that I don't always have to type my information out with every post:

Maybe I should get physical business cards as well. I think it'd be worth the money.
I'll be making some great updates soon. :)

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Nikky Raney: Updates on more ARTICLES less BLOGS.

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Lindsay Lohan is not dead: Rumor started from Wikipedia post By: Nikky Raney

Lindsay Lohan has been the victim of the most recent celebrity death rumor. While there have been two recent deaths within these past few days: Lindsay Lohan is not one of them.

There have been so many blog posts, tweets, videos and e-mails sent "confirming" that Lindsay Lohan is dead and urging all bloggers to post about it. The numerous e-mails from readers asking to post about Lindsay Lohan's death was astounding, because why would readers advocate covering a story that had no evidence.

(Screenshot of Wikipedia post taken from Earsucker.com)

So why cover it if it isn't true? There are enough blogs that have actually "exclusively" reported that Lindsay Lohan is in fact dead, that maybe a couple posts stating that this is a rumor will slip in there. Rechecking from minute to minute it seems like some blogs are DELETING the "exclusive" posts about her UNTRUE death. There are over twelve questions on Yahoo answers asking if Lindsay Lohan is really dead.

Now, without any interviews directly with Lindsay Lohan there is no direct proof that these are false rumors. How do these rumors begin? Well, sources are citing WIKIPEDIA for the finding out Lindsay Lohan's death.

(Screenshot from July 14 at 10:00 am. Google search: "Lindsay Lohan dead.")

Wikipedia also claimed the Rush Limbaugh was dead a while back. Wikipedia should not be used as a source to find complete accurate information. Wikipedia is not considered a credible or reliable source, and to be honest I see more magazines using Twitter as a credible source. There are quotes in Newsweek taken from tweets, and tweets are proving to be more reliable than Wikipedia.

What's even worse? People are using tweets from a FAKE Kim Kardashian Twitter account to justify this - the account doesn't even spell "Kardashian" correctly. Fact-checking and researching before clicking that "PUBLISH POST" button is important.

Never will Wikipedia be cited within a blog post from me - except in circumstances like this where Wikipedia is being exposed for its unreliability. So many readers use Wikipedia as a source for information, and so many believe that Wikipedia is truly reliable. Although there may be studies that claim Wikipedia is just as accurate as other web encyclopedias - the celebrity death rumors and inaccuracies that Wikipedia posts are more frequently discussed and misinforming.

Looks like The Future of Journalism is going to be expecting a post about CREDIBLE SOURCES and how to do research and find credible sources. This is crucial to journalism AND blogging, because bloggers become "citizen journalists," and people actually use blogs (and even Wikipedia or Twitter) as their [only] way to obtain news on a daily basis.

Maybe this post took over an hour to write, but that's due to the fact checking, looking for other sources to confirm, and making sure to get everything straight. It doesn't matter if this isn't the FIRST post confirming Wikipedia was wrong - it matters that this post is accurate and provides the reader with the information needed from reliable sources.

Nikky Raney
E-mail with suggests, comments, and feedback.
Watch Journalism 101 on Youtube.com/NikkyRaney
Keep up with tweets at Twitter.com/NikkyRaney
Keep up with Zennie62 blog posts at Zennie62.com

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Journalism 101 : RECAP of Blogger vs Journalist

The previous post included the video for Journalism 101: Blogger vs. Journalist.

In case the video didn't make the points clear enough here is what was learned:

  • Journalists can also double as bloggers, but a blogger isn't automatically a journalist.
  • Journalists go out and get their own interviews for articles, but when a journalist is blogging interviews are not required
  • Journalists must be objective when covering features or hard news stories. When a journalist is blogging it may be treated like an editorial: no interviews, opinion backed up by lots of secondary research and a strong argument.
  • Bloggers can include opinions within blog posts, journalists can include opinions when blogging as a blogger.
  • Objectivity is required for articles, but blog posts do not require complete objectivity.
  • Bloggers use articles as a basis for their blog posts, and are able to use articles from news sources in order to back up their arguments.
  • Articles are objective and get both parts of an argument.
My next BLOG post will go more in depth to the differences of blogging and being a journalist. I had thought the differences were quite apparent, but some people are going off on me and calling me a bad JOURNALIST for showing opinions in my BLOGS. Just because I'm a JOURNALIST doesn't mean I can't be a BLOGGER.

There's a good article to read specifically about this from Nieman Reports called "When Journalists Blog: How it changes what they do."

I would like to share a special note of encouragement that I received from my friend Kristen. Check out her blog 365 Brand New Days:

"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally. " -- David Frost

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Journalism 101 with Zennie62's Nikky Raney & Josh Grattan

Journalism 101: The difference between BLOGGING and being a JOURNALIST.

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Lindsay Lohan: stay close to Kim Kardashian -- Nikky Raney

The recent news regarding Lindsay Lohan makes it even more important that she sticks by a close friend, and Kim Kardashian is a great friend to Lohan to have during this tough time.

X-Posted at Zennie62.com

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Journalism 101: Photo Credit & Watermarking : THE VIDEO -- Nikky Raney

Episode 1: Take your own photos & do not watermark a photo that you did not take yourself. Watermarking is for photographers that do not want someone else to take credit for their images, and websites may also have watermarking for the same purpose. Always credit where you got your photo & who took it. If you cannot take the photo yourself then maybe make an infographic, graphic, or a chart of some sort to go alongside the story.

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Journalism 101 - The Image -- Nikky Raney

Just a sneak peak of the graphic I have made to accompany my new youtube series:

This is going to be a lot of fun. :)

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Lindsay Lohan's manicure gets its own blog entry from CNN. --Nikky Raney

Lindsay Lohan's manicure was
given its own blog entry on CNN's Marquee Blog.

(Photo taken from CNN's blog post)

There's something about blogging that some people may not realize. Blogging for the sake of blogging is not worthwhile. CNN out of all news sources should have saved this blog entry for one of the gossip blogs (The Superficial perhaps, one of my favorites).

Yes, Lohan's manicure said "F*** U" on the middle finger, but does it require an entire blog post?

This blog post is a reminder to all that before you post a blog entry make sure that the topic has relevance. Writing a blog post for the sake of writing a blog post doesn't show the readers that there's a thought process behind the blogging.

If I was to blog every idea that popped into my head I would have more blog posts than any other blog out there. So, CNN let's make sure the next celebrity blog post has more depth to it.

I write a blog post about Lindsay Lohan's 90 day jail sentence, and CNN write a blog post about the manicure Lohan wore to court.

P.S. TMZ also reported about Lohan's manicure, because that's what TMZ does.

" Life is full of risks anyway, why not take them?" -- Lindsay Lohan

Why not take them? Because you'll end up in jail.

My next blog post will be about watermarking images & giving credit for photos.
I will also post the JOURNALISM 101 video.

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City Brights: Zennie Abraham : Tila Tequila and Miss Tila OMG out of line with Nikky Raney

City Brights: Zennie Abraham : Tila Tequila and Miss Tila OMG out of line with Nikky Raney

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The Last Airbender: Subliminal Racial Stereotyping by Nikky Raney

The Last Airbender in 3D was hard to appreciate once the plot and characters became far too familiar to America's racial stereotypes.

Without ever knowing the story or television show behind The Last Airbender, it was easy to grasp that it dealt with the elements of earth, water, wind and fire. The "Avatar" had the ability to control all the elements. The plot showed that those associated with the element of fire were bad, and the water element people were good.

The evil fire element characters all had one thing in common. They all looked Middle Eastern. The one that was "the most evil" had a long scruffy beard to accompany his look. The fire element characters were known to burn people's houses down, kill the water element people, and wanted to ruin the world.

Now, the good people were the water element people. Those of the water element were all white. The princess of the group had blonde hair and blue eyes. The people of water were tortured, attacked, killed, burned, etc. by the Fire people. The Fire people also wanted to be the most powerful in the world and take over and take down everyone else.

The way that the fire element was burning down the houses of the other elements was comparable to that of 9/11.

Maybe it seems like over-analyzing, but by the end of the movie it just became too obvious.

Now, this is the part that gets me. The "Avatar" himself is looks as though he is of Asian decent. The Avatar is the one that brings all the elements together and saves the day. M. Night Shyamalan is of Asian decent. This is not to say Shyamalan is racist, but the movie itself seemed a bit too familiar. Shyamalan thinks that those who find the film to be racist are racist themselves. Someone doesn't have to be racist to think that making Middle Eastern characters bad and Caucasian characters good.

Shyamalan tells India Movies Online:

‘Well, you caught me. I'm the face of racism. I'm always surprised at the level of misunderstanding, the sensitivities that exist. As an Asian-American, it bothers me when people take all of their passion and rightful indignation about the subject and then misplace it. Here's the reality: first of all, the Uncle Iroh character is the Yoda character in the movie, and it would be like saying that Yoda was a villain. So he's Persian."

This movie was adapted from a cartoon, and there were many children in the theater. Children are impressionable, but probably didn't catch on to the racial undertones.

Shyamalan not thinking that the film could be misconstrued as racist doesn't seem honest. When filming a scene where Middle Easterns are burning down the Caucasian village it's hard to believe that 9/11 or the war in Iraq didn't cross his mind.

This may be considered my first movie review, but I am not reviewing the movie as much as the thought process with the casting. The children probably appreciated it - it was a great movie as far as the plot goes. But when this movie is put in cinemas across the world; other countries may not find the stereotyping as subliminal.

(Images courtesy of Photobucket)

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Inverted Pyramid -- Nikky Raney

The "Inverted Pyramid" will always be important to journalism.

The inverted pyramid isn't just for the journalism world - the inverted pyramid can be applied to any piece of writing.

Where citizen journalists and bloggers get stuck - journalists get through just fine. Anyone can go to an event and write about it. Anyone can just sit in front of a computer screen and type away at the keyboard, add some hyperlinks, and click post - but it takes a lot more than just typing to produce something that is worth reading. A lot of what is posted on the web and marked as "news" is not WORTH reading, but it will be read anyway. Usually those posts get more criticism and aren't taken seriously, but the posts/blogs/articles/etc. that are worth reading use the inverted pyramid structure as a technique to keep the reader engaged.

The inverted pyramid was taught to me when I was 15-years-old.It may seem "old-fashioned," but the posts that I enjoy reading are the posts that follow this structure:

Okay Nikky, we get that it's important - but what IS it?

The inverted pyramid is a metaphor that journalists use to illustrate the placing of the most important information first within a text.

Anytime I write an article my first paragraph is usually ONE sentence. ONE sentence that includes "who, what, where, when, how."

When I was 15-years-old learning this made me confused, because I thought all paragraphs had to have at least three sentences. I thought introductions always needed to be long, but I realized that by keeping the introduction contained into ONE sentence that includes WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW, it makes the person reading the piece more informed and more likely to continue to read on. If the person does not read on - at least the most important information was obtained.

"The inverted pyramid puts the most newsworthy information at the top, and then the remaining information follows in order of importance, with the least important at the bottom...readers can leave the story at any point and understand it, even if they don't have all the details."

So the first paragraph should be a sentence that sums up the entire piece of writing. That may seem hard if you haven't written it yet; some people wait to write their beginning paragraph (it's also called a LEAD) until the end. I always write my lead first, because even when I don't know what the whole article will look like the lead will keep me on track.

The next paragraph will usually back up the first.

The next ones usually include quotes, and other secondary research.

Then the final paragraph is usually short & sweet - it can also sum up the entire post again, but more often than not it gives a follow-up. When someone reads an entire piece of writing to the end - you wan't them to keep reading. When you end with a follow-up ending, the person is more likely to come back / check back to see the next post!

I have read through an article and wondered, "Okay what's the point?" If the point is in the beginning then there is less confusion.

Okay, so why does this matter?

People have short attention spans, and want to spend as little time as possible reading an article/story/etc. I mean, there are times when it doesn't matter how long it takes to read something, but generally the quicker the read the better (even Twitter understands with the 140-word limit).

"Many readers are impatient and want stories to get to the point immediately. In fast-breaking news situations, when events and circumstances may change rapidly, the pyramid allows the news writer to rewrite the top of the story continually, keeping it up-to-date." -- Chip Scanlan

Now, there are journalists/people who will argue that the inverted pyramid is not all that great. Those who argue against the inverted pyramid are usually the ones struggling to use it. It may sound easy, but for some it is not.

The inverted pyramid is most popularly used for newspaper articles, and it makes sense that I follow it - since I am a print/web journalist who has primarily written for newspapers. I am trying to better incorporate them into blog posts, because I have just recently been able to put my personality into my blog posts -- hell, saying "I" in posts is new to me.


I know that recently my posts are not what most expect from me, and I apologize for getting carried away. I was letting things get to my head, and that is why I retired from that topic with an objective post. I am a journalist who blogs, and I am also a blogger who reports. I hope that my Journalism 101 vlogs will be able to inspire others. Keep reading my posts at Zennie62.com - I can assure you the more experience I obtain from writing at Zennie62.com, the better prepared I will be for the world of journalism as a whole. I have had to re-evaluate the way I have been writing, and I have to remember to stay grounded. It's easy to get carried away and start to get personal with an objective piece. I am 20, and I still have time to learn, and thankfully I nip that power trip in the bud. I've moved on to bigger and better things, and The Future of Journalism is in good hands. I put my pride in-check, and I'm ready to acquaint myself with humility.

"Humility and knowledge in poor clothes excel pride and ignorance in costly attire." -- William Penn

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Journalism 101 with Nikky Raney

Journalism 101 was a Youtube series I was going to start a few years ago, but I didn't have a very good camera or editing program. Having a Macbook Pro has really changed things for me, and I think I can resurrect that old series. I am sure it will start off slow, but I am really going to keep at this thing. I plan to do a couple vlogs a week. I have been doing a lot more promotion & part of what I am doing with Zennie involves Youtube. I am hoping to become a Youtube partner (like Zennie62's Youtube)! If I can get a partnership and if I can get some more money I will be able to blog more often. I have a lot of things I have to do in my REAL life, and I wish I was updating THIS blog more frequently, but since I will need to be updating Youtube more frequently I want this blog to benefit from it. So, Journalism 101 will be little journalism tips from me.

Wish me luck on becoming a Youtube Partner. My application is currently being processed.

Trust me, I have high hopes for The Future Of Journalism.
I just have to get the rest of my life in check & work on other things in order to make sure this blog gets all the attention it deserves. I have many blog entries I want to sit down and write, but when I blog on here I really put a lot of time into each blog post (at least 5 hours...), and I take it seriously. So, I hope that my Journalism 101 vlogs can keep everyone entertained while I work on other projects before I can finally sit back (unstressed) and blog freely on NikkyRaney.com :)

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Citizen Journalism BRIEF + HST

I was talking on the phone with Zennie last night & he thinks positively of the rise of citizen journalists. The only reason I disagree with that is the same reason I don't think that a blogger is a journalist. I would prefer the term to be "citizen blogger" if anything.

Poynter Online has an interesting read.

Go read that.

I'll elaborate on this at a later time. I apologize for not spending as much time with The Future of Journalism. I assure you I have bigger and better things in store. I am going to put to rest the "WORD OF THE WEEK," and resurrect "JOURNALISM 101."

You'll see what I mean in a few minutes.

I'm currently reading Hey Rube by Hunter S. Thompson. I have already read this book, but I like reading it multiple times.
I would like to share with you the list of Hunter S. Thompson books I own.
The first HST book I ever read was Fear and Loathing in America, which was given to me from my Journalism advisor, Dan Singer, my senior year of high school. He told me that he picked that book for me for a specific reason. He put a bookmark in a specific place and said that the particular passage/letter where the bookmark was represented part of why that book was perfect for me. He took a lot of time to think of books for The Tide's executive staff (I was Managing Editor). I can say that today I do understand why he chose that book specifically for me. I reference and read through Fear and Loathing in America on a daily basis - I always have that book close (along with my AP STYLE GUIDEBOOK).
Anyway, the list of all HST books I own:

Hey Rube
Better Than Sex
Fear and Loathing in America
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Generation of Swine
Hell's Angels
Rum Diary
The Great Shark Hunt
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72.
Songs of the Doomed
The Proud Highway

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