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

Trashy Tabloid Analysis: Star Sources

Star Magazine is the "trashy tabloid" that was first analyzed. Life & Style and in Touch Weekly were purchased at the same time (by a very brave man named Dennis Rose) in order to assist in the Trashy Tabloid Analysis that was previously explained.

It is very hard to get through a single tabloid from cover to cover due to the amount of analysis that needs to be done. There are many things than can be focused on, but from pages 1-39 (out of the 84 pages) the biggest thing noticed within this specific tabloid (this may be true of the others, but the analysis is going to be of each single tabloid and then at the end there can be comparisons)is that there are no sources to the stories.

The pages that have been analyzed thoroughly and read are pages 1-39, so this analysis is only for Star Magazine December 27, 2010 issue pages 1-39 with a focus on credibility of sources.

The magazine claims to have so many "Exclusive Interviews," but the only interview that falls under that category is the interview with Kristen StephensonPino. She tells the magazine all about how Johnny Depp is into her and all sorts of things. Of course, the only other sources credited within that article (titled "Johnny Hits On Teen Model") are anonymous sources. Unfortunately, the magazine mentions that she is a "full natural C-cup" before informing readers that Kristen is 19-years-old. So, the fact that she is a full natural C-cup is clearly more important than how old this "teen model" is. Maybe pages 39-84 will be more impressive.

The other articles all had quotes from "insiders" or "pals." How about going out and finding someone who will go on record so that the article can be credible. That's not journalism - that's laziness. Why should anyone trust what is being said by someone who won't even reveal the name publicly. For all we know the "inside source" is some random person on the street that the "reporter" found.

Then there's the cover story about Ashton Kutcher being involved in a "MURDER SCANDAL."
All right - his ex-girlfriend from many years ago had been murdered, and he will apparently be making statements in court regarding what he knew about her and the alleged killer. Also, the magazine calls the alleged killer a "cold-blooded serial killer" without ever saying "allegedly" or anything that could save face.

The entire article has not even a single interview with Ashton Kutcher. So, it's an article about Ashton Kutcher "being involved in a murder scandal," but the only interviews are a Detective and a "friend."

At least attempt to get an interview from someone credible and then put "*CREDIBLE PERSON* was unable to be reached for comment" or "*CREDIBLE PERSON* refused to comment." Something that shows that the reporter isn't just a lazy person who sits around listening to gossip and interviewing random people on the street. Seriously, I feel bad that Dennis had to pay money for this publication. I am glad that the analysis will be thorough, but honestly. This isn't journalism.

The quote from the friend is: "Ashton's worried sick about taking the witness stand."
That is according to "a friend."
Really? Why don't you go ask Ashton himself.
Why doesn't the friend have a name?

This drove me crazy throughout the entire analysis process - which is why I stopped on page 39. I haven't even gotten to the big Tom Cruise - Katie Holmes cover story yet. Fingers are crossed that there is an actual interview done with Tom or Katie and included within the article. Seriously.

If the only "sources" that your publication has are "friends," "pals," "insiders" and "guests" then either your reporters are lazy or no one wants to go on record - if no one wants to go on record and have their name associated with a quote then GO FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL. Go find someone who is willing to have their name printed in the magazine in attribution to the quote. It's understandable to have maybe one anonymous source every so often, but if the ONLY source in your article is an ANONYMOUS source - then you don't have an article. The blogs on the internet have more research and credible sources than that publication which has a paid staff and has a nice readership.

It would be nice to see demographics and statistics of the readership of Star. There is also an article within the first 39 pages regarding one of the stars of MTV's Teen Mom - something to do with her being pregnant again and not knowing who the father is - that didn't have any sources either...

Nikky Raney reading Star Magazine
That's all for pages 1-39.
This magazine was the most expensive of the three. This one was $3.99 and the other two were $2.99, but don't worry there's no sales tax in New Hampshire.

Is this publication trying to be a respected news source or is it content with being filled with gossip and unreliable information? It's sad that magazines like Newsweek are faced with tough times in publication - but magazines like Star are selling no problem. There's something wrong with this picture -- and the Future of Journalism needs to fix it.

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Happy Holidays

Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.

- Walter Cronkite

I feel that way when it comes to journalism and blogging.
So, take away "opinion column" and put in "blogging" and there you go.

Hope everyone had happy holidays.
"A Trashy Tabloid Analysis" should be posted tonight.

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Preview of "Trashy Tabloid Analysis"

This is going to be broken up into parts.

Sure, people talk badly about the gossip magazines and say how unreliable the magazines are, but some of them have never read the magazine. Someone has to read it to be able to analyze if it is truly good or bad - so "Trashy Tabloid Analysis" will be the theme of the next few Future of Journalism & Zennie62 Media blog posts. (First posted on NikkyRaney.com & then Zennie62.com).

This may become a series in some way.
There will be a short (3 minute max) video to go along with the post where examples of good/bad journalism will be pointed out within the magazine - so that there are examples of either so that there is an example to base the opinion off of. Someone who thinks the magazines are awesome might like it without ever reading it either - just say, "Oh, I love reading that magazine." So, it's not good to judge something or form an opinion unless you fully understand it and have analyzed it (like when I did my 20+ page research paper on Fox News' Conservative Bias where I spent over a month watching Fox News and analyzing the web page and then comparing Fox to other news sources. So, I can truly say that I have a reason behind why I judge Fox - not just saying it or believing it based on hearsay or influence of those around me).

The only question is whether or not to include which magazine - because could there be a consequence in a legal aspect if I take photos of the magazine? I'm probably over thinking it.

This can be done without being bias.
This is going to be a journalistic analysis (with a bit of blog mixed in) of "trashy tabloids." Sure a lot of people call them "trashy tabloids" because of hearing what the publications report about, but most of those have never even touched the magazine. Like the way someone says they dislike something without ever actually understanding it.

An objective analysis of a magazine considered "trashy tabloid." The ones that are usually all about celebrities & scandals. (OK!, Life & Style, STAR, etc.)

So, that will start up tomorrow. The video aspect will show certain spots that have been circled with pen, etc & be able to show that I really do have a physical copy of the magazine and have done all the research first hand based on that magazine alone in regards to journalistic standards and principles (as well as which version of AP Stylebook is used; if there even is one used.)

Then the blog post accompanying will explain WHY that the publication did was GOOD or BAD. It's like a movie review, but a magazine review - without personal bias. Like pointing out a trend that the magazine may have like ALLOWING ALL INTERVIEWEES TO BE CONFIDENTIAL AND REFERRED TO AS "SOURCE" or "AN INSIDER." And then writing in a paragraph to explain WHY it's not okay for a magazine's only interviews in an article to be with an "anonymous source." These trashy tabloids need to stop only using anonymous sources within their publications - and that's something I will go into more detail about.

Hopefully if anyone that works on the staff at one of these magazines or is in affiliation with one of these magazines sees my posts the person won't take it as negative criticism or whatnot, but could possibly take my posts into consideration: I would love to interview the Editor-in-Chief at any one of the "trashy tabloids" just to find out what the manual & guidebook entails and what the Managing Editor deals with and why/how they consider themselves to be credible sources worth obtaining knowledge & news from when the sources that they are using to obtain this knowledge and news may not be credible.. and if the only source you can get for a story is an anonymous source -- then go out and try to get another interview or interview someone that WILL go on the record. "anonymous" sources are okay under certain circumstances in VERY SPECIFIC situations where there is a good need for confidentiality, but an article should NEVER only include the anonymous source. There needs to be some sort of PROOF not just a bunch of evidence (it's an analogy).

So, that will start tomorrow.
Now, it's time to go read a "trashy tabloid" while holding a pen so that I can pretend that it's the end of the print cycle and I am giving the publication a quick look-through to see if there's anything that should be fixed before it goes to print -- or if there's something very notable that should be complimented upon.

How sad, I am officially on winter break (no more school for a month), and I am basically doing all this research and work. Wow, I love journalism ; I'm a workaholic.

“To sit in judgment of those things which you perceive to be wrong or imperfect is to be one more person who is part of judgment, evil or imperfection.” -- Wayne Dyer


-- Nikky Raney 12/20/2010 1:11 AM (EST)

also posted on Zennie62 Media

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John Boehner Cries - So What?

Honestly, what is the big deal ABC News? The headline reads "John Boehner Cries. Again. A lot." This is one of the top posts on Google News, really?

In theory with the list of what makes a story newsworthy this would qualify, but really - big deal. He cried. Maybe if the article was more about our incoming Speaker of the House not being afraid to show emotion - then maybe the article would seem more necessary.

But really? An article created just for the sole purpose of him crying. And now, a blog post has been created to criticize the choices made by other news outlets to make Boehner crying into a story worthy of being on the top of Google News.

Well enough time wasted on that. Back to studying for finals and working on articles.

It's far more important WHAT he was talking about and what made him cry etc. rather than the fact he was crying. Sure, include that tidbit within the article - comment about it and then post the video, but to base an article around the fact that a grown man cried; it's just sensationalism that would be expected of Fox News. Looks like everyone is jealous that Fox gets all the views so news sources are trying to copy Fox.

--Cynical College Student

Originally posted here

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Nikky Raney Interviews Seth Majka of 'The Casting'

Seth Majka's solo project 'The Casting' has its album 'I Am The Dirt' available on iTunes. This interview gives the audience a little sneak peek of the album as well as getting to know how much effort and time went into this two year project. Seth is extremely talented and he truly does deserve recognition for what he has accomplished.

Please send me "fan mail" messages of questions you'd like me to ask Seth during our next interview. You may remember Seth from previous videos as Majkatvboi - and there will be more of those fun videos in the near future.

Originally posted at Zennie62.com

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WikiLeaks New Strategy

Voice of America News online reports that WikiLeaks is following a new strategy in document release.

WikiLeaks has journalists that do journalism and they have won awards in journalism, but VOANews claims that WikiLeaks is "portraying itself as a news organization." It may not be a news organization, but it is definitely a source for news and information.

There is a lot of controversy saying that only a few of the reported documents are being published.

VOANews points out that Julian Assange, creator, thinks that WikiLeaks is a "journalistic institution" :

In a posting this week on the website CommonDreams, Assange said that WikiLeaks has invented a new type of reporting that he calls "scientific journalism" in which people can read a news story, then click online to see its veracity.

The strategy seems to be the gradual release of documents rather than releasing the documents all at once - which makes sense. There should not be complaints about this - people should want to know what the government is covering up.

VOA News continues:

Former CIA deputy director John McLaughlin says officials do not like surprises, and they are getting new ones every day.

"The fact that this is dribbling out, if you're in government now you have to wonder, 'What's next, and what am I going to have to cope with?' And it's likely to come at a bad time when you already have your hands full," said McLaughlin. "So it's another volatile factor in a world that's already too volatile."

The arrangement between WikiLeaks and the news organizations publishing the material - Le Monde in France, El Pais in Spain, the Guardian in Britain, and Der Spiegel in Germany - is unusual. It links media organizations to a group that is under what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder calls "active, ongoing, serious investigation."

Well it is easier to click through and see a document accompanied with an article rather than have to post it all in a physical newspaper - so maybe this is where web journalism can really be kicking into gear - just thinking about the future of journalism.

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Journalism 101: Nikky Raney's Actual Notes

This video shows my actual notes. These are the notes from interviews I have done so that viewers can get a look and see a sneak peek of how I take notes and all that good stuff. After this, I will be transferring all those notes from interviews from that notebook to word documents. This will be lots of fun - Luckily I type 120 words per minute. The only problem could be deciphering certain chicken scratches and deciding whether or not each note is essential to be typed up and included - it may end up being perfect in the end result. Enjoy.

"Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits -- a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage." Hunter S Thompson

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WikiLeaks is Journalism (Part 1)

"Could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act." - Time Magazine

The title of this post may come as a shock and seem bold and outrageous at first, but after reading more and more about WikiLeaks directly from the web site itself - the site truly is dedicated to journalism.

The editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, is currently facing a lot of scrutiny involving his personal life - but the personal life of the editor-in-chief of the site should not have any relevance to the site as a whole.

There are so many articles written about the site, but how many actually go to the site? There are all these reports about how terrible it is, but without actually visiting the site the assessment of the site is not really valid.

Of course the government is going to dislike the entire concept of WikiLeaks in general, because the secrets and what is being hidden is being revealed. WikiLeaks in their Mission and Objectives goes into details about their entire reasoning behind what they do.

No one gives the site recognition for winning awards in journalism. Before giving any more opinions based on the reports and allegations of other news sources read the site's very own mission and objectives.

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WikiLeaks and Journalist's Response

In the 1970s Daniel Ellsberg became known as "the most dangerous man in America." Ellsberg is known for publishing the Pentagon Papers. Some people believe that he is a revolutionist and are grateful for what he exposed, others believe that he is a traitor to America. For those who aren't aware of Ellsberg trial read up on it here.

Currently the most talked about topic (especially amongst New England School of Communications [NESCOM] students and professors) has been WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks has become the "leak resource."

During Ed Rice's Writing & Reporting at NESCom he discussed and compared how the WikiLeaks and Pentagon Papers are related. How should journalists respond to this? Should the journalists that are given these classified documents feel obligated to publish them? 

During Ellsberg's trial the two questions that were posed in order to decide whether or not what he did was illegal were: could the American people understand the documents as they were (meaning without having to look up terms or have the documents explained) and is this a threat to our national security? The answer to both of those questions was no.

Today, journalists are put on the spot as to whether or not it's okay to be posting these documents. Rice believes that if the two aforementioned questions are answered with a no, then the American people should be informed and these documents should be shared. 

Have there been documents posted that answer yes to either of those questions, and should Americans be worrying about documents that could potentially harm the security of other nations?

In Thursday, December 2, 2010's class with Rice students will be bringing in examples that they believe should not have been published (if there are any). This post is a prelude to the post that will be made on Thursday and more in-depth information will be shared. 

How will this impact the future of journalism? Wait and see.

Also posted at Zennie62.com

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