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Watchdog journalism

Journalism 4990
When we talk about how journalism can serve the public and better democracy, investigative reporting's one of the first things that comes to mind. I think Kovach and Rosenstiel brought up a lot of great points about it in this chapter. (Most memorable point: I never understood the IRE/ire connection until I read this, and I used to volunteer there. Oops.) By now, you all have probably figured out that one of my main media concerns is how it's going to continue to be sustainable financially, so I especially appreciated the discussion about reporting resources and how many legacy media outlets simply don't have the time, money or extra reporters to invest in this kind of important work. When they do, though, the results are great: Judy Thomas' investigative pieces for The Kansas…
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Journalistic independence

Journalism 4990
Man, I wish I had read this chapter on Friday or Saturday morning. I spent about 15 minutes after a journalism school tour this weekend trying to explain this very principle — journalists must maintain an independence from those they cover — to a parent. She was concerned that her child might be put in a situation in which he would feel uncomfortable because of his views on the topic; the example she used was that he would have to cover Planned Parenthood "in a positive light." I explained fault lines, opinion sections vs. news sections and other concepts mentioned in this chapter to her, but my explanation wasn't as nicely put as what Kovach and Rosenstiel wrote. On another note, I enjoyed the conversation about diversity in newsrooms and what that looks like,…
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The most important yet the most difficult part of journalism

Journalism 4990
Maybe this is because I've spent most of my journalistic career so far verifying facts, but I think that verification is both the most important and most difficult part of journalism. It's the most important because having facts correct is, obviously, crucial to telling a story, and it's where much of a media outlet's credibility comes from. We all saw what happened on CNN during the Sandy Hook coverage, when Susan Candiotti failed to confirm the name of the suspect with state police. If she had waited a bit longer or gotten confirmation, then CNN might have gotten the story right, and people might have a better view of CNN. Same with the incorrect Supreme Court health care reform decision that CNN and Fox News reported. It's the most difficult because not everyone seems to…
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The business of journalism

Journalism 4990
I think the relationship between the business and editorial sides of journalism is a weird one, as it should be to put citizens first. I like how the authors put it: "It is a triangle, with the news provider forming one line, the public another, and those trying to reach the public to sell them goods and services the third. In this triangle, the public is dominant — they form the longer line of the triangle — even though the revenue they provide is usually less than that provided by advertisers." If the public thinks logically about the news business — or any type of business, really — they must know that media companies have to make a profit. Many people also don't want to pay for this type of information…
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The Truth About the Truth

Journalism 4990
"Truth" is a pretty loaded word, in my opinion. Yes, there are certain facts one can confirm, as I have many times on the copy desk: how much someone gets paid, when a public forum will be held or a title of a source. But, as this chapter of "The Elements of Journalism" notes, journalists have specific ideas about how to approach stories, ideas that are often based on personal experiences or even biases. How those stories turn out depend on who they think might be good sources, and how hard they work to seek out information. Because of this, I found Clay Shirky's argument to be particularly interesting: "Truth is a judgment about what persuades us to believe a particular assertion." I thought a lot about what truth (and journalistic…
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