Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Little Sister I Never Had

My cute friend, Carli Shockey, came to visit this weekend! Her present from "Santa" this past Christmas was a roundtrip ticket to Utah for a fun-filled weekend in Provo with yours truly. Carli is one of the main constants in my life. She is one of the people I ALWAYS see when I go home. We talk every Sunday. She fills me in on her life full of friends, dance, and sixth grade lovin. I fill her in on school, exams, roommates, and BYU life. I introduce her as the little sister I never had. It was such a treat to have her visit. We had a pretty busy schedule.
- Picked her up from the was a dramatic reunion
- Once we got to Provo, made a stop at In-n-Out for dinner
- Went to Scott's Basketball game
- Watched Katelin dance in the RB...we all performed the Mt. View fight song...
- Watched the Olympics
- Talked until we fell asleep
- Tour of BYU
- Tour of the newsroom...a possible budding journalist?
- Lunch at one of Provo's best, Zupas!
- U of U vs. BYU Gymnastics Meet
- Dinner at Tucano's with friends
- Fell asleep watching Step Up
- Carli helped us pass our Cleaning Check
- Spring Sing practice with the ward
- UNM v. BYU Basketball game...rough loss
- Dinner at Bajio...thank-you Scott Maddux
- Music, Dance, Theatre Showcase in the HFAC
- Sang our little hearts out to the High School Musical Soundtrack
- The long-awaited, most-anticipated trip to Smart Cookie in American Fork

- Slept in
- Introduced Carli to the Student Single's Ward...(a boy asked if she was our new, you perv!)

- Headed to Salt Lake
- Toured Temple Square

Then it was time for the rough goodbye. I always hate goodbyes with Carli. Good thing I will see her in a couple weeks. She is such a sweetheart, the most mature 12-year-old I know. I do think she is 12 going on 22. I was lucky to have her for myself for the weekend. Thanks for coming Carli, my air mattress is always waiting for you! I love you!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Independence & Journalism

What is opinion’s role in journalism? I found a website that gives statistics that are somewhat interesting. This stats measure the extent to which stories contained opinion from the journalists themselves in ways that they do not attribute to any source or other reporting.
For the most part, journalists on the network evening news kept themselves out of their reporting. The vast majority stories (83%) did not contain any direct opinion from journalists.

Morning news, despite its heavy emphasis on interviewing, contained even less journalistic opinion (just 11% of stories).

As we discussed in class, journalists must maintain an independence from those they cover. But how does a journalist keep an independence from those they cover? How can someone who's partial be objective? Some suggestions mentioned in the presentation were accuracy, verification, serving the larger public interest, and possessing a desire to inform. Journalistic independence is keeping one's interests and opinions out of the lives and viewpoints of those they are reporting on. It is not getting involved in different events and the lives of those you are covering. For example, the Society of Professional Journalists slammed NBC for getting involved with the David Goldman story and chartering a flight to get him and his 9-year-old son home from Brazil. In this article, NBC is criticized for helping Goldman and then reporting his story. Goldman was interviewed on the flight home. And shortly after their return he was interviewed on the Today Show and was part of a two-hour Dateline special.
Other research articles that I have found suggest that journalist independence requires that codes of ethics or codes of conduct must be drawn up by the professionals themselves.

William Peter Hamilton, one of the first men to hold the job of editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote, "Don't believe the man who tells you there are two sides to every question. There is only one side to the truth." This Wall Street Journal article explains the relation of truth and journalism further.

Also, I completely agree with the statement, "Anyone can be a journalist, but not everyone is." Anyone can really report on stories...but few choose to take an objective stance. Another quote I really liked, "Comment is free, but facts are sacred," by C.P. Scott. Again, anyone can state how they are feeling, but it takes work to find the facts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Miss McKenzie

This Girl...

Is one of the best people I know.
Name: McKenzie Leigh Porter...(soon to be Allen).
Age: 20
Birthday: May 24, 1989
Major: Nursing
Home: Mesa, AZ
Status: ENGAGED.
Date: May 8, 2010.
One of my best friends is tying the knot! And I couldn't be happier for her! She is glowing. Kenz and I became besties our 9th grade year as Stapley Sabercats. She invited me over to her house for a BBQ and we played in the monsoon weather. She LOVES monsoons. And the rest was history. We did everything together. Our class schedules were almost identical. We got each other through high school as well...go toros. We were involved in all of the same clubs, activities, and groups. (Student Council, Best Buddies, Toro Links, NHS, Lumber-Jack club, Powder name it, we did it. Together.) I feel like we never had a set "group" of friends, we jumped around from group to group. But we usually came and went as pair. She's the perfect person to experience things with.

She was a Newport frequent. Came every summer and put up with the Knoles crew.

She is the most kind, outgoing, smart, driven, understanding, and pure girl I know.

As long as Kenz was with me, my parents always let me attend the desired hangout or party. There's so much safety that comes with Kenz. She ALWAYS does the right thing. No questions asked. She is and has been such an incredible example to me. I admire her strength, her dicipline, and her motivation. She is one of the most loyal and dependable friends anyone could ask for.

I love you will always have a place in my heart. I cherish all of our memories and can't wait to see what life has in store for you. You will be such a wonderful wifey.

Cory Allen, I know you know how great she is. May you count your many blessings.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Verification & Journalism

I was extremely impressed with this presentation as well. Good work guys! I actually have never heard the quote from The Elements of Journalism that states, “The essence of journalism is a discipline of verification” (79). It makes complete sense. “Practices such as seeking multiple witnesses to an event disclosing as much as possible about sources, and asking many sides for comment are, in effect, tools in the discipline of verification. These methods may be intensely personal and idiosyncratic” (79).

When breaking news occurs it’s tempting to publish it immediately so your station or newspaper can “break the story” or cover it first. Also, it may be tempting just to publish another story because it is already out there. But, if material is published that has not been verified, it can be detrimental to the news provider. Their credibility and accuracy can easily be lost. Therefore, objectivity is a method not an aim. Reporters must get the facts, be fair with the facts, and then reveal to the audience where they got the facts. Recently, The New York Times wouldn’t correct errors in two articles that contained certain statements that question their verification methods. Here is a link to an explanation.

Journalism of verification takes time to check the facts, interview multiple people, etc. Whereas, journalism of assertion can be aggressive and careless. For example, while working the assignment desk for the BYU Daily News, I found breaking news from the KSL website regarding a bomb threat at Juab High School and Juab Middle School just before we were about to go live. I informed our news director of the findings and he asked, "Has that been verified?" I think that was my first experience with actually understanding verification. I called the Juab Sheriff's Department and they confirmed the information and told me officers were responding. That is journalism of verification. However, what if I just ran the story based on the information I found online? Even if it's from a reliable news source, if I wouldn't have called and just ran the story I would be practicing journalism of assertion. I'm glad I was able to experience this first hand in a somewhat stressful situation.

Every reporter has a bias based on their past experiences, background, and upbringing. Because it's impossible to communicate without engaging some of these biases, they must be controlled. As journalists, we must do our best to take a step back and see the whole picture, try to see both sides. Verification affects journalistic biases because it allows reporters to gather more information regarding the specific topic, which hopefully gives them a better understanding to the story.

Transparency is vital in journalism. The more you reveal, the more credible you are. We should reveal as much information as possible. With the advancements of new technologies, journalists are able to be more transparent. For example, with interactive news and blogs the public can see entire interviews as opposed to specific clips the reporter edits. Therefore, journalists must watch how they ask questions, their responses, anything that could dictate what side they would be on. Also, journalists need to practice intellectual humility. People understand that we are human and appreciate the honesty about what we know and what we don't know. We should not claim to be omniscient, it will damage our credibility. Overall, verification is essential to successful reporting.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dollar Scoop Night Delight

For my MCOM class we were instructed to buy something for a stranger, watch their reaction, and blog about the experience. So late last night, after watching a rough intramural basketball loss, we decided to try my little experiment at Baskin Robbin's Dollar Scoop Night. After ordering my regular mint chocolate-chip scoop, I gave the cashier a couple of extra dollars to buy the next customer's purchase. He was confused at first but once I explained he was in on the fun. We sat down and watched.

I was unsure as to when the cashier was going to make his move. But, after a big group of people left he approached me and asked, "Did you see it?!" Haha, I told him I didn't really catch their full reaction so he elaborated. He said they were shocked and very excited. But, it wasn't the customer's reaction I had the most fun with; it was the cashiers'. They kept asking what class this assignment was for. They even said it spiced up their night. One of them told me of a recent experience where an elderly man bought an entire family's ice cream order. And the family wasn't informed until after the man left. I bet he didn't do it for a class assignment.
I realize this was just a scoop of ice cream, but it was still a good time. It makes me somewhat sad that it took a professor's instruction for me to perform this random act of kindness. I need to look for more opportunities like this.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Profession:

I applaud Group #3 for this presentation! Everyone who was present and passionate about journalism enjoyed it. You guys did a fabulous job, good work! Personally, I didn’t want it to end. It’s been a long time since I have enjoyed a discussion during class to that extent. Thank-you for your preparation, research, and knowledge.
First, when comparing journalism to a professional priesthood I feel there are some similarities. The Priesthood in the Church is responsible for helping others.In journalism, our first priority is to the public, we give power to the powerless. Our text, The Mind of a Journalist even says we “surrender to the higher calling of serving others,” (13). I think this is a huge plus. Why would you not want a job that helps others?
I feel that a journalist is mostly concerned with getting the facts. We must make our decisions based on logic, not emotion. This can be hard, especially for me. Sometimes, I struggle with separating myself from the story. My heart just goes out to some of the people I have interviewed, and I wish to connect with them and express my sympathy. But, as discussed in class, if you want to really help, put down the notepad. I feel that with the job come many opportunities to help, but while reporting it is important to obtain the facts and get the story, that is our job. I feel that is one of our views that differ with the average person. For example, my main man, Anderson Cooper, has travelled from natural disaster to natural disaster. I was reading his background about some of his experiences and one in particular story stuck out. He spoke briefly about becoming desensitized to the death and fatalities he has seen. I can’t imagine seeing everything that he has, but is there a point where we can become too concerned with the facts and just lose our sense of humanity all together? I think so. I do agree that if we are too close to the story we lose objectivity and it can be emotionally wearing. However, if we are too far we lack understanding and never get the whole story.
Keeping sources confidential is always an interesting aspect of journalism to discuss. There are various factors and players that contribute to keeping a source confidential. As a general rule, I think we should only promise confidentiality we can actually keep that promise. In Washington D.C. it is prevalent to have confidential sources.
We also mentioned in class that the process of shedding a culture and assimilating into another one is called culture immersion and I think it's the best way to understand another culture. On my study abroad to London this past summer I experienced this first hand. It was such an eye opener to be thrown into another atmosphere for two months and learn what defines the English culture. Culture defines what is important to us as journalists and to the public we work for. I don't think we need to tell people how to think, just present the facts and then let them decide for themselves. I don't agree with what was said in class about America being optimistic and the Eastern part of the world being pessimistic regarding journalism. I am not the most knowledgeable on this topic, but it seemed to be a bit of an overgeneralization. However, like I said great presentation.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Loyalty & Journalism

Who do journalists work for? According to our text The Elements of Journalism, “The bonuses of newsroom executives today are based in large part on how much profit their companies make” (51). Reality is journalism is a business that has responsibilities for keeping budgets and attracting customers. And sometimes, that business gets in the way of seeking the truth. Journalism’s first loyalty is to the citizens. We report to and for the public. That is part of the job description. We seek the truth to inform. “It is the implied covenant with the public, which tells the audiences that the movie reviews are straight, that the restaurant reviews are not influenced by who buys an ad, that the coverage is not self-interested or slanted for friends” (52). I could not agree more with this idea.

In class, we talked about a huge wall dividing the business side and the news side at stations. Ideally, news and business should be separated like church and state. (Hahaha kind of ironic that Broadcast Journalism is my Major and Business Management my Minor)! The business side is solely dedicated to producing revenues whereas the news side should be devoted to fair journalism. However, what if the CEO of a company who pays the station for advertising gets arrested for illegal activity? Does the station run the story? If it’s newsworthy, yes. Just because the company is likely to withdraw its advertising does not mean it should be forgotten about. One person commented in class how journalism will rarely corrupt business, business would corrupt journalism. For examples click here.

So when it comes down to it are we going to abandon objectivity for monetary compensations. I would hope not. I believe fairness and truth starts one journalist, one news station at a time.

Something else to think about: will the decline of local news lead to corruption in public institutions? The media is the watch dog and without curious journalists some stories will not be found.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Truth & Journalism

Truth is the primary mission and first obligation in journalism. Turth is the essence of news. As reporters, we must seek the truth and present it to the public with utmost clarity. Viewers turn to the news to learn and think about the world beyond themselves. Therefore, it must be accurate and reliable. In my Principles of Journalism class the first group's presentation revolved around truth and journalism. They mentioned the two tests of truth are getting the facts straight and making sense of the facts. Journalistic truth is seeking the correct facts, presenting them in the most unbiased manner possible, and showing both sides to the story. For example, when covering an election a reporter must ensure that both parties receive an adequate and equal amount of air time.
The latest technological advances allow journalists to offer more transparency. For example, some journalists are even posting their entire notes on blogs.

I think this is such a great idea. Whether the public wants more information regarding a story or just wants to double check the facts, this transparency offers those means. We also spoke in class about news stations and reporters' baises. I agree with the majority of the class that it is impossible to be completely unbiased.
To learn how to detect bias:

Everyone has their own backgrounds, experiences, etc., which influences their particular views. Consequently, they sway the story ideas we research, the angles we take, and the way we present the information. I wish this wasn't the case. But in a way it does express some form of individuality, just to look on the brightside.
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