Category Archives: news

Thoughts on Journalism: What I’ve Learned About Digital Journalism

As a journalism major with a background in classical education, I have always taken pride in my writing and ability to reason. And by writing, I mean that in its purest form: pen and paper.

But in the digital age, writing rarely applies to pen and paper, but rather typing the words you wish to share with the world. E-readers, such as Kindles, are replacing books, blogs are replacing hand written notes, and newspapers are shifting to online publications.

I was really against this move to the digital format, especially for journalism. Something about it felt it wrong, like we were loosing a genuine quality of our history and culture. But I’m sure my grandparents said the same things when the television was invented, and radio programming transitioned to television.

And while I still feel a special appreciation for print journalism, after studying the intricacies of digital journalism, I am learning how my writing can be even more powerful in this day and age than ever before. Throughout my journalism career at Georgia State University, I’ve studied for countless hours and the main thing I’ve taken away is that I have the ability to be heard and the audience is limitless.

Journalist have more of a voice, and a responsibility to tell the truth, now more than they ever have. In a digital era full of misinformation and fake news, it is our duty to forge a path for good and responsible journalism.

We also have the ability to learn and apply our knowledge in any area. Communication and a curious mind are the foundation for any investigative reporter, author, or researcher. We now have the ability to hold our leaders accountable and the platform to share our stories and reports with those that will listen.

This doesn’t mean just anyone can be a true “journalist” and report the truth. It takes determination and an inquisitive mind to tackle the skill set that a journalist must have. Knowledge of news, production, the Internet, editing, and distribution are key to a successful career. But with passion for the truth and determination to learn, anyone can succeed in this digital era, if they only work hard.

 

 

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Thoughts on News: How Fake News is Influencing Journalist

As the Internet continues to expand, it is also continuing to evolve the major news world. And as print journalism sales are trending downward, it makes me wonder how our news is changing, for better and for worse.

On the positive side, news can now reach anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Language barriers no longer prevent people from reading news, as online translators are at everyone’s fingertips. Articles can be shared instantly and the truth can be revealed, as the power rests more in the hands of the people rather than big news organizations.

But with that power, comes responsibility. With all this instant “news”, it is becoming increasingly difficult to filter truth from the “fakes news”.  According to PolitiFact, “The popular website BuzzFeed analyzed the interest in these fake stories and found that they got more shares, reactions and comments during the final three months of the campaign than real stories from the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN, for example.”

While there are fact-checking sites available those who want to ensure that what they’re reading is true, it seems nearly impossible and incredibly inconvenient to filter through the hundreds of thousands of articles shared on a daily basis. True researchers and journalist are working hard to have their writing published, but sometimes these great pieces are slipping through the cracks.

Social media platforms, like Facebook, are working diligently to come up with a better filtering system for the news articles that are shared on the site. But until then, it is the responsibility of the reader to do their own research and be aware of the digital world that is around them.

 

Thoughts on the News: Are We Trading Ethics for Ratings?

“If it bleeds, it leads…”

As long as there has been news to report, there has been conflict of individual privacy versus the people’s right to know. Often times, people have lost their right to privacy due to a heinous crime they’ve committed or if they are a risk to their communities, such as sex offenders, rapists, those with assault charges, etc.

But there are times in the media where I see journalism outlets sharing information that could (and often times should) be left out of story, but satisfies their audiences need to know. Plenty of families have lost loved once in tragic accidents, where there is no law broken or malicious intent and would not do a disservice to the community if it was not reported on. But in the recent news, local and even national news outlets have been sharing, what I feel, is too much information about families who deserve their privacy and respect.

A great example of this is the child that was attacked by an alligator and was later found dead in a lake at Walt Disney World. The reports were horrific and the world certainly needed to be made aware of what happened. But as soon as photos of the little boy surfaced, that family’s privacy was shattered.

Another similar example was the death of the 5 year old boy at the Sundial in Downtown Atlanta. While reporting the truth of the case is the duty of a responsible journalist, sharing the photos a minor seem insensitive and a complete invasion of a grieving family’s privacy.

Journalist have a duty to report the truth, but also have an ethical duty to protect the citizens of their communities. And all too often I see a failure to protect those who are the most vulnerable.

Thoughts on News Broadcasting

After working in restaurants for nearly 10 years now, it is almost impossible for me to dine out without watching everything happening around me: the way to servers communicate to the kitchen, hostesses answering phones, managers talking to upset guests. It is difficult to relax and enjoy my experience because I know each detail of service so well that I find myself watching every aspect.

After spending time learning and researching about digital journalism in the form of news packages and live news broadcasting, I find myself unable to watch the news the way I used to.  Rather than mindlessly retaining the information presented to me, I now watch for specific camera angels, listen for the appropriate amount of natural sound, and pay close attention to whether the scene changes are fluid or not.

Before knowing what a “jump cut” was, I was never bothered by them, or never even noticed them for that matter. But taking the time to learn the steps in pre and post production, I have a much greater appreciation for really great broadcast journalism. Especially those journalist who are the camera man, editor and producer of their own segments.

Even in film production, the same ideas and rules apply like the placement of the camera, microphones, lights, and actors. A director is given the opportunity to decide the style of his project dependent upon the rules he/she chooses to follow or break, creating a piece of art that can be unique in its own way.