End of the semester answer to “What is Journalism?”

I almost laughed as I looked back at my first blog entry.  Yes it was all correct but I would say journalism is much more than that.  Some of the main aspects that are important when it comes to being a good journalist are the titles of the group presentations. Starting with Truth, Loyalty, Professionalism, Independence from Faction, Journalists as an Ideologue, Ethics, Watchdog Journalism, Journalism as a Public Forum, Journalism and Faith, Comprehensive and Proportional, Significant Interesting and Relevance.  All of these things make up the most important aspects of journalism.  Without one of them, the writing is not journalism because each of these things is very important.

Truth for example, is absolutely necessary because without it, who would ever read an article if they knew it to be false like the Star magazine my group talked about.  Then Watchdog Journalism and how it provides a way for news to remain news. If there was no watchdog in journalism, the news would turn into tabloids and reporters would cover stories that are not necessarily important.  The last aspect I wanted to talk about is Significant Interesting and Relevant.  If a news story is lacking any of those why would anyone read or listen to it.  The story needs to be important to the reader and if stories are written because the journalist thinks it is kind of cool, he or she will not be able to succeed. The audience needs to feel like the news is catered to them so that is important for them to feel like that.

I found a link about the hourglass theory and I think this is a very successful way about writing in a way that the reader can get everything they want out of their story.  It provides a way to deliver the content easily and efficiently so all of the most important and relevant information is available right at the start. Click HERE to look into that. Another cool site I found that really helps make the writing more interesting can be found HERE.  It provides ways to spice up news writing so it does not sound dull and uneventful.  The last link that I find really helpful can be found HERE and it is great because it has some great tools in order to better know your audience. Each audience is very different and you need to write to their liking so that they can enjoy it.

As I have learned from the presentations and material we have covered this semester, journalism is made up of many aspects that all go together. They are all needed to provide good journalism and without one, it makes the journalism really bad.



Group 11 Make the News Comprehensive and Proportional

Who wants to listen to someone spit out a bunch of random facts? Not me! Writing the News in a storytelling format is essential if you want to keep the viewers/readers interested.  This can change news from boring facts, into interesting stories readers are telling their friends and they remember them.  Sometimes journalists get confused and their stories turn more into dramatic drama rants.  This is when a story leaves true journalism and turns into infotainment in my opinion.  If you click HERE you can see what some think infotainment really is.

Something else I really liked about this groups presentation, is how they talked about appealing to emotion. I think this is something very important in journalism but it is often forgotten.  This goes along with what I mentioned earlier because if a reader or listener cannot connect to the journalist, they will not want to read or listen to what they have to say. Also tone is very important because if a journalist is writing a story about a child that was murdered and their tone is sarcastic or funny, people will not respect them as a journalist. Click HERE to see how tone changes journalism from being a reliable site or just a news type blog.  This last link is great because it talks about “the sound of journalism,” and how setting a tone can change the experience for your readers or viewers.  Click HERE to read those and see how important it is to set a tone that the readers can connect with.

Making your writing something that will make a reader interested is the big ticket in journalism.  Why write something that just pleases you if you are writing to please a big audience of people who are expecting to get news from you? It is an obligation in a way and one that needs to be taken seriously so that people can trust the news and go to sites to get stories that interest them.


Group 12 Journalists Making the Significant, Interesting and Relevant

I loved the first sentence of this group’s handout which says, “Journalism is storytelling with a purpose.” My news director always gets mad if we write to factually without any story form.  A news story sounds terrible if it is like a book report like: Bob woke up. Then he walked down the street. Then someone robbed his house. Instead if you make it like a story, it is much more appealing to the ear.  Yes, the point is obviously getting a message across but if it is told in a boring way, no one will listen.  I found an interesting site that talked about journalism as storytelling and click HERE for the link.

I thought another really important aspect of what this group talked about was the hourglass style.  I think this is really a good style to use because it makes sense.  I never read an entire story unless it is on a subject I LOVE.  If the most important facts and information are at the beginning, the reader can get the most important things from just reading the beginning of the story.  Poynter has a lot of great resources for journalists and on their website I found a great article concerning the hourglass style and why it is so important in pleasing the readers. Click HERE to read that.

The last topic I wanted to address from their presentation/handout is about making sure to know who your audience is, and writing news to please them.  I think one of the most important areas of knowing your audience is knowing what interests the people reading/watching your stories.  I gave the example in class about if you are writing for a Provo news station, people here are going to have a bigger interest in what is going on with the Mormon Church than people would back in my hometown of San Diego, CA. You need to know what type of people you are writing to and write in a style that appeals to your audience so your viewers keep watching/reading.  This site HERE has some great resources to learn more about audiences  and writing specifically towards a particular one.   It gives a great idea as to how someone can learn an audience.

Group 10 Journalism and Faith

I think the topic of Journalism and Religion is so difficult in every way.  People are so different so there will never be a common belief for the role religion should or should not have.  I personally have such a hard time keeping religion out of my journalism because my religion is how I have formed my life. Everything I do is based around my religion and trying to take my opinion and beliefs out of the equation is nearly impossible.  There is a site HERE that explains the importance of covering religious stories because truly everyone is involved in religion in some way or another.  I liked what the group said about Atheists being religious because they believe there is no God, which is still a belief.  This website HERE talks about how even Atheists are religious.  This being said, religion is important to everyone so even though it is a touchy subject, avoiding it completely will benefit no one.

I think journalists get in a mindset that they need to be a clean slate with no opinions and no thoughts of their own.  I would go as far as to say this is totally not right. We can be great journalists because of the experiences we have had and the opinions we have.  Obviously it would not be okay to go on air and say you hate the president, and if you write in a way that makes people feel like you hate the president, that too is not okay.  But if you believe in God and write a touching story about a girl who died and came back to life, you can write it in a way that will touch many people because what you are writing will seem real to them and they can relate to you.  By clicking HERE you can read about how to make your writing more conversational so that you can connect better with your readers/viewers.

Group 9 Journalism as a Public Forum

I really liked this topic because it is something that I have thought about before.  The thing that interests me most is whether or not Wikipedia is a good place to go for information. I would be lying if I said I never go on Wiki and find things that I believe to be true.  I think for the most part it is pretty accurate but I am sure there are many things on there that are not true. I found an interesting site that talks about why wikipedia is not a legit source and if you click HERE you can read that.  On wiki I search whether or not Wiki is reliable and I thought the answer was so funny. Click HERE to read that.  I do think it is a good way to get quick info but when it comes to reporting facts, I would never use wiki as my source because anyone can post anything they want on there!

Something that goes along with this are blogs.  I think some blogs provide great information but I would also never use a blog as a source for information I received.  There is a blog HERE that has a disclaimer explaining that that blog does not represent the news station it is associated with because they want the viewers to know that they are not getting their information from this blog. As journalists, we need to make sure that we are only getting information from accurate sources because if we rely on blogs, and wikipedia to get information, there is a good chance it will not be accurate.  People will not be able to trust us which will cause us our jobs. Aka, don’t get info from these sites because although they might have a rep for having accurate data, they are not real sources for news.  It is tempting to just get information from Wiki but it is not right and I could lose my job if I started basing my facts off of what I found out from Wiki.

Group 8 Watchdog Journalism

First off can I say I loved the shirts. I thought that was so cute and clever. Something I loved about this groups presentation is that they brought up a lot of points that really made me think about things I had never thought of before.  For example, when they brought up the whole Kim Kardashian wedding, I did not even think about the fact that some celebrity’s wedding made into a newscast.  Should there be rules that do not allow gossip like that to be broadcast to people trying to watch the news? Like you guys mentioned, ABC is a huge station and I read THIS article and thought it was ridiculous that they covered it since they are a news station!!!

I wanted to find out more about watchdogs in the news and I came across THIS website.  They provide a way for people to see what they are watching and know what is true and what is not being included because of the governments position in what is said.  The actual definition for a watchdog from dictionary.com can be found HERE.  The verb definition says: “to watch carefully, especially so as to detect illegal orunethical conduct.” This relates directly to the news because there are people who do this.  I do not know if the world will ever come to an agreement on whether or not it is ethical and right to be able to say what can and cannot go on the air.

Some will think it is our constitutional right to say whatever we want on the news and others will say that it is not humane or right to air certain things.  For me, I think it definitely depends on the circumstances.  I do not always think people should be able to air whatever they want on air because certain things are not fair or correct.  We need to be sensitive but also acknowledge the freedom that we do have and take advantage of our opportunities.

Group 7 Ethics in Journalism

When this group started the class off with us putting our heads down and voting, I did not know where they were headed with that object lesson but I thought they tied it in really well.  The whole point about being scared to speak up for what we think is right was brought in really well. I was thinking about if I do this in normal situations and I feel like I do for the most part.  I like to stand up for the right things, even if it is uncomfortable or awkward.

I found a site that is dealing with standing up for the truth about 911. People have posted things that are true even if it is hard to talk about and to stand up for.  Click HERE to read that.  Some people think it is easier to hide behind the shadows and get told what to do instead of standing up for themselves.  This is sad to me because we have all been given the opportunity to share our opinion and voice what we have to say and we can stand up for the truth.  Click HERE to read about how you can stand up for yourself and for what is right.

This all is very important in the field of journalism for obvious reasons. If you are told something from someone, should you write a story about it based on those facts? NO. You need to research for yourself so that you know for sure the information you are reporting on is accurate.  I read a really interesting story that you can read by clicking HERE.  It is about the importance of sticking to the facts and finding out your own info.  I think this is one of the biggest aspects in Journalism!