"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's Back at School 8-31-10 update

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Media coverage of suicides By Nikky Raney

Media coverage of suicides

 By Nikky Raney

Suicide is a very sensitive and serious issue, and the last thing any family or friend wants to do is talk to the media after a loved one has committed suicide.

Generally news sources have specific ethics, and for the most part suicides are not covered except in circumstances where the suicide is a part of a bigger situation entirely.

When I blogged about the "Craigslist Killer" dying in jail I made sure not to include the word "suicide" within the title - in order to not feed into the sensationalism of some news sources. I think the family is upset enough over the fact that Philip Markoff is known as the "Craigslist Killer."

The reason why that suicide was covered is that it shines a light on the way inmates are treated and watched over in jails. After being placed under watch for potentially being suicidal it doesn't seem right that he was still able to successfully end his own life.

Life behind bars can certainly effect someone's mental health. The lack of communication with the outside world as well as the lack of freedom really takes a toll. The bigger picture behind the suicide being covered was the conditions that led to the suicide.

NPR covered this subject in November 2009 with a segment called "Media Should Tread Carefully in Covering Suicide." The transcript along with audio focuses on when an adolescent commits suicide and the media reports on it - this has happened quite a few times, and it all comes down to ethics. It's how a journalist chooses to go about covering the story - what angle to take. Sometimes the journalist is not given the option to not cover a suicide, because the editor may assign the story and all the reporter can do is figure out a way to cover the story by the deadline.

The NPR piece includes an interview with psychiatric epidemiologist Madelyn Gould at Columbia University in New York City where she says:

"We know from studies that have looked at the impact of the media that there is something called the 'dose-response association.' So the size of the increase in suicides following a suicide story is proportional to the amount, and the duration, and the prominence of the coverage."

The piece continues:

"There are ways that the media can cover a suicide that can actually help mitigate the risk of additional suicides, says psychiatrist Paula Clayton, medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, who regularly advises the media on how to report on a suicide. For example, they should report on the many complex factors that may have led up to the suicide and emphasize that 90 percent of people who kill themselves have mental health problems."

Journalism Ethics' Stephen J. A. Ward did a piece on whether journalists exploit tragedies such as suicides. 

Ward does an amazing job at explaining what attracts journalists to covering these types of stories, and why journalists feel like it is a responsibility to cover these events. He writes:
"Take the case of suicides. To be blunt, suicides are frequently newsworthy – a public official in trouble commits suicide, a distraught military hero takes his life. But these cases are frequently more than newsworthy. They challenge journalists to explore the economic and social factors that may help to induce suicidal behavior. When we witness a string of suicides at a school or in an aboriginal community, suicide is no longer personal but social. It is the responsibility of journalists to explore the reasons for these disturbing patterns in the fabric of society. "

That really does sum it up quite nicely.  The problem arises when journalists forget about the sensitivity and emotion surrounding the matter and decide to take the sensational route that becomes more of an exploitation.

Some may wonder what counts as exploitation, Ward tells:

"What counts as exploitation? To exploit is to unfairly use people in a less powerful position to achieve your own ends — without a thought to their needs and interests. As Kant famously said, the basic principle of all ethics is: Do not treat other people only as a means to your ends….In journalism, Kant's principle works like this: In reporting on a person's tragedy I am, on one level, treating this event as a means to my end of getting the story. But on another level, I am not exploiting the situation if I treat the persons in question with respect and attempt to minimize harm. "

He continues:

"Ethical journalists still "get the story" but they do so in responsible ways that avoid callous harassment and crude exploitation."

The piece Ward writes is exactly what I believe, and it is good to know that there are journalists out there who share my belief on the ethics of journalism 

Yes, there are many ways to cover a suicide and have the most read or watched coverage - but what is more important is to cover the suicide with respect and sensitivity and get the story without causing more pain to those affected.

"Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do." - Potter Stewart

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Daniel Estulin's book on Bilderberg Group intrigues Fidel Castro - By Nikky Raney

Originally posted for Zennie62.com

Fidel Castro has recently become intrigued with a book about the Bilderberg Group that deals with conspiracy theories like that of a "new world order"

Daniel Estulin, investigative journalist,  wrote The Secrets of the Bilderberg Club in 2006. The book argues that the Bilderberg Group runs the world as a sort of global government, one world corporation. He writes:

"In fact, relations between the Bush Administration and the ‘terrorist’ and leader of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, were never better."

Castro included excerpts from Estulin's book in an article published Wednesday, August 18, in the Communist Party newspaper Granma. The book describes how the Bilderberg lobbyists want "to install a world government that knows no borders and is not accountable to anyone but its own self."

Castro expresses his suspicions as to whether the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center were actually planned by the United States government.

The Bilderberg Group web site says that Bilderberg is not a "secret conspiracy," but an "extremely influential lobbying group. That's not to say though that the organisers [sic] don't have a hidden agenda, they do, namely acumulation [sic] of wealth and power in their own hands."

Judging by the spelling and grammatical errors the web site is probably not run by one of the group members.

It isn't often that a public figure in politics would address a conspiracy theory in such a way as to call the book "honest and well-informed." For Castro to publicly admit that he finds the book honest and well-informed is shocking.

It is reported that Castro has invited Estulin to a private meeting.

Now that Castro has brought this book to light and given it a considerable amount of attention - it's only a matter of time until more world leaders speak up on their own views - especially since this theory directly attacks the intentions and actions of the U.S. government.

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WE.G.I brings positivity back to rap By Nikky Raney

WE.G.I brings positivity back to rap

Article by: Nikky Raney

WE.G.I is a New York rap group determined to bring positivity and motivation back to rap.

WE.G.I stands for "we go in." When brothers Rico Brown and Black Magic sat down with their sister Storm they figured the name fit well since they "go in and go hard."

The rap trio has been inspired by their family to continue working hard to get their music heard.

"Music has always been in my family, and my parent's didn't get their chance to shine," Black Magic says.

The members of WE.G.I want to bring rap and hip-hop back to the way it was during LL Cool J and Tupac's time.

"If you listen to the industry you will see it. You can tell it's really poisoned and negative right now. When you turn on the radio and hear the songs there's too much promotion of negativity. You got females that want to be other females and it isn't even about music anymore," Brown explains.

The rap group is currently unsigned, but they hope to get a deal with Shady records; if that does not work out they will try to start their own record label with the rest of their family. The group would also love to have their own reality TV show.

nikkyraney.com.jpg"My Business" is their latest single and the group members are trying to get a ring tone deal so that the song can be appreciated nationally. They really want their music to be heard all over.

"We want to bring it back to talent and motivation - not about money and fame. It's dark in the industry - we are trying to give it some fresh air," Brown continues. "We perform at many open mic shows. I was in a group with my cousins and we opened in Atlanta for T.I, but I left because I didn't have the drive and dedication I do now."

Storm is currently in the Dominican Republic promoting WE.G.I. She sees a bright future ahead for the group.

"[The] goal is to be known worldwide for our unique sound; make WE.G.I a brand," she says. "We have ideas for reality TV shows, a clothing line, cartoons etc. We are all versatile and different, but when fused together we're unstoppable."

WE.G.I has been compared to the Black Eyed Peas, according to the members.

The group has performed for Source Magazine, Thisis50.com, and has an upcoming performance on August 29, 2010 for underground artists that are unsigned.

WE.G.I. has been nominated "Respect Da Grind" award at the Indie Elite Artist Awards 2010 in Brooklyn NY, August 29, 2010.

An album for WE.G.I will be coming out in the near future; right now they are waiting for their single to be up on iTunes.

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Craigslist Killer Philip Markoff found dead by Nikky Raney

Originally posted for Zennie62.com

Philip Markoff, 24, was a former medical student at Boston University accused of being the "Craigslist Killer." He killed himself in his jail cell at Nashua Street Jail according to authorities.

Photo taken from Telegraph

Suffolk County Sheriff's office spokesman Steven Tompkins told The Boston Globe that Markoff was pronounced dead at 10:17 am on Sunday, August 15, 2010.

He was awaiting trial for the shooting of Julissa Brisman, 25, on April 14, 2009. Brisman was a masseuse from New York who traveled to Boston after advertising her services on Craigslist. Markoff is said to have shot her three times with a handgun and one of the bullets pierced her heart.

Markoff was also charged with attacking two other women that he met through Craigslist.

Markoff had been placed on suicide watch and place din a special cell with camera surveillance due to marks found on his neck that were thought to have been done by his shoelaces in an attempt to hang himself.
Image courtesy of CBS
All the evidence gathered so far indicates that Markoff took his own life, but there is still much investigation according to Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and county District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

"The family of Julissa Brisman is shocked and dismayed by the news of Phillip Markoff's suicide," according to a statement released by Djuna Perkins, the family's Boston-based lawyer.

In most cases suicides are not publicly discussed or written about - this situation proves to be very controversial and must be touched on delicately. Deepest sympathies go out to his family as well as the family of Brisman.

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Andrea's Blog + Personal Updates

Yesterday I set Andrea up with a blog.

When she is proficient and comfortable with blogging I hope to set her up to blog for Zennie62.com.
She is new at blogging, but she has a lot to say.
I will be uploading our videos soon.

I will be returning to school soon so more articles and less blog posts.
And also more blog posts about The Future of Journalism.

I recently did an interview with the upcoming rap group WE.G.I.
The article will be posted as soon as I finish a final interview with the female member of the group.

Lots of good things coming up.
I have been busy with personal dilemmas and issues, and I have rarely been at the computer. I haven't been posting many blog posts, and I definitely have not been tweeting as much. The world outside of the internet has been quite eventful - and I hope that it dies down and I can happily blog, write articles, and do what I do. When I go back to school I will dedicate specific time so that I will be blogging every day of the week multiple times, and working on articles. I am figuring out mobile blogging. So, good things to come.

She doesn't really blog about anything specific.
Our next vlogs deal with Chatroulette, FixItPro(Billy Mays product that we used and it works! photo taken from AsSeenOnTV ), Jessi Slaughter, Shane Dawson, Hotforwords, Cazwell video, and other things.

I also have a blog post planned about Newsweek. Since there is a new editor and it has been bought. I follow Steve Tuttle of Newsweek on Twitter, and he follows me back so I will see if he can provide me with any additional information aside from what he has already told me (Steve you're great, I appreciate that you take the time to message me back & that you are following me).

So, that's all for now.

P.S. For those who aren't familiar with the difference between blogging and journalism. Blog posts are allowed to have opinions and be from first person stand points. Journalism and articles (the ones that I write) are all done objectively and show both sides of the story. If you read my beginning blog posts I was scared to assert my opinion into the posts, but I was helped by my professor that blogs are allowing for opinion. I love articles and being objective more than I like blogging - so trust me, there will be many more articles to come and you can see the true journalist that I am.

I have a secret crush on Anderson Cooper. So I'll leave you with this quote:

"I think it's a good thing that there are bloggers out there watching very closely and holding people accountable. Everyone in the news should be able to hold up to that kind of scrutiny. I'm for as much transparency in the newsgathering process as possible." -- Anderson Cooper.

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Fox News' popularity explained by:Nikky Raney

After writing a 26 page long research paper about Fox News' conservative bias for my college English Composition class it's simple to explain why Fox News is known as the "most popular" or "most watched" news station.

Doing the research paper involved actually watching programs such as The O'Reilly Factor and viewing segments on the show. Along with comparing the headlines and online content of Fox News as opposed to CNN's online content.

Instead of posting the 26 page long paper - this post will just be a simply explanation as to why Fox News gets the most views.

Fox News is the only news source of its kind. Fox News is where all the conservatives go to watch their news primarily. Fox News viewership is primarily white older males on the conservative sides.

On the opposite side of the spectrum there are news stations such as CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, etc. All the aforementioned stations are not conservative. Some may argue that the stations are not unbiased and objective - and most will say that most those stations lean to the left.

So, there is ONE station that leans to the right, but many stations that seem to lean toward the left.

The people who enjoy the news that leans to the left are all going to go to each of those stations. So all of those "left leaning" stations are competing for the views of those who watch those stations.

Fox News has no competition when it comes to news that leans far to the right and is sensationalistic. Now, conservatives and liberals alike will skim and view a variety of news stations and liberals will sometimes watch Fox and conservatives will watch CNN - but the majority of conservatives stick to Fox News. There are not a bunch of conservative news stations fighting for viewership of the conservatives.

The other news stations ARE competing for those viewers.

So. Let's say there are 50 conservatives and 50 liberals. All 50 conservatives are going to watch Fox News, but 20 liberals might watch CNN, another 20 might watch MSNBC, and 10 of them might watch CBS.

In that case the reason that Fox News is getting the most viewers is because it is the only station of its kind.

Now, there is much more that can be said about Fox News. Lots of time and research has gone into explaining and proving the conservative bias of Fox News, but for now that is all that needs to be explained.

Image taken from Gawker.com

"I firmly believe that respect is a lot more important, and a lot greater, than popularity."-- Julius Erving

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Jersey Shore: Guilty Pleasure by: Nikky Raney 001

Posted this for Zennie62
Jersey Shore: Guilty Pleasure by: Nikky Raney 001

I'll be going back to NESCom in the fall! I will have lots more Future of Journalism blog posts in the near future.

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Money Hungry: Give VH1 $10K, lose weight & win back your money by: Nikky Raney 001

Money Hungry: Give VH1 $10K, lose weight & win back your money by: Nikky Raney 001

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Interview DOs and DON'Ts explained by Nikky Raney

After viewing the video of Journalism 101: Interview DOs and DON'Ts there may be some who are looking for further explanation. This is the blog post where the dos and don'ts are better explained. Please understand these are all relating to interviews for a print or web story. Interviews for broadcast are similar, but there are more restrictions.

1) Do not ask yes or no questions.

Don't ask questions that will only result in one word answers. Granted there are some instances where there needs to be background information obtained that may only require a one word answer, but it is always preferable that the questions asked require a longer answer. The purpose of an interview is to obtain quotes for the article. In addition to quotes any facts or statements included within the article can be attributed to the source in instances where the source has given information.

2) Don't ask misleading questions.

Misleading questions are when the question is looking for a specific answer that could possibly make the source say something negative or something that could come off as negative. An example would be when interviewing someone who is pro-abortion and asking, "What is the joy of an abortion like for one who has one?" The person is coming off saying that an abortion is a joyous experience, or asking a presidential candidate, "What about his plan is most unnecessary?" The quotes given can be misconstrued and the person can come off looking bad.

3) Don't rely on a voice recorder.

Yes, it's good to have a voice recorder to play back and make sure the quotes were correct. It also saves time on fact checking so instead of needing to call up the person and go over the quotes - the voice recorder is proof. Taking notes is necessary to write down the key points and quickly jot down quotes. The recording can be fast forwarded to the specific part so that the quote can be accurate. Without taking notes one would need to sit and listen to the entire recording again and write things down - where as taking notes saves from that hassle. It also shows the person that they are actually being listened to and that specific details are being noted.

4) Don't ask irrelevant questions.

This may seem obvious, but many reporters do this. Interviewing a source for an article is just that - interviewing for the article. Taking the time out of the day to make time for an interview with a reporter is something that should be appreciated. Do not waste the person's time rambling or asking things that aren't of any relation to the article. Getting some background information on the person is one thing, but asking personal questions that have no relation to the article is just a waste of time.

5) Don't interrupt.

So sometimes there are questions that need to be asked and limited time to ask them, but even when the source goes off on a tangent talking about things that have no relevance to the article and could not be used as quotes for the article do not interrupt. Interrupting is rude and when someone is taking time out of the day to squeeze in an interview respect is necessary. Especially when a time comes in the future when the source will need to be contacted again. Of course keep some questions prepared, but make sure to have follow up questions in your mind while the person is speaking. Never interrupt, because the irrelevant rambling could sometimes lead to a better quote than could be acquired from any question asked. A subject that was not thought of before could be touched upon, and there's also a lot of information that could be obtained.

6) Ending the interview by asking for additional information.

Make sure the source is given the opportunity to add any additional information that he or she finds important. There may be some things that he or she wanted to discuss, but the questions asked were never directed toward the topic. Asking at the end of the interview shows caring and gives the source a chance to open up freely and talk about things that may not have been covered during the interview. This is where the best quotes will come from.

7) Ask questions that only that person can answer.

Broad questions that could be answered by anyone aren't worth it. Ask questions that are personal and specific to the source. Ask questions that could not be answered by anyone other than that source.

That's all for now - there are more things to touch on, but the most important are there. More explanation will be posted within future blog posts.

"When I interview people, and they give me an immediate answer, they're often not thinking. So I'm silent. I wait. Because they think they have to keep answering. And it's the second train of thought that's the better answer." -- Robin Leach

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