Tag 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.

 

 

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 Production: Script Writing

Before my final semester at Georgia State, I had never filmed or produced anything in my life other than quick clips of videos on Instagram.

But after being heavily involved in my digital journalism class, I can most certainly say that is no longer the case, and I have become more advanced in knowing and understanding how film and video factor into journalism and news broadcasting.

My partner, Lindsay, and I made four different films for our class, each running about two minutes long. With each film, we also turned in a script, which was meant to help organize our film process and ease the struggle of placing b-roll and voice clips together. Much like writing an outline before a research paper, your script is meant to highlight each important portion of you film to ensure no information is missing or left out. As the backbone of your piece, it can also help identify problems before they arise.

With our first few projects, Lindsay and I got caught up in filming interviews, b-roll and and our audio clips, that we would end up writing our script after we filmed. This was definitely counter productive and provided little to no help on each project.

But with our last film project, we wrote the script a week early, highlighting all the questions we wanted to ask, places we wanted to film, and appropriate b-roll to capture. It certainly made the process much smoother and fluid.

In an article by The Balance, we used these tips often for our scripts:

  1. Write for the ear
  2. Avoid passive voice
  3. Use present tense where appropriate
  4. Write stories about people
  5. Actions verbs add verve
  6. Be careful with numbers
  7. Skip cliches and journalese
  8. Write to video
  9. Sell the story
  10. Move the story forward

With these helpful hints, our final project had a great script and an even better final video!

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.