Archive | January, 2012

Case Study 1

25 Jan

After reading the Eagle Snatches Dog article I had a lot of questions. Looking at this article as an editor I could tell immediately that many things in this story did not seem to make sense. I noticed that the facts were vague and that the story only had one source. The tone also made me doubt the integrity of the article.

Even with all of this evidence however, I never guessed that the story could have been made up. This article is the quintessential example of a story being so fun that the editor forgets the facts. Even though this story is lighthearted it still needs to be treated like any other piece of journalism that is published. Editors and journalists need to check the facts of every story and take a close look at any information they receive. Editors must be skeptical of incoming information. One way to keep sources honest is to simply ask more questions. If sources can back up their information with other sources or more details then the information is more likely to be true. The troublesome part is remembering the need for skepticism when you want something to be true that likely is not true.

If I had been the editor on this story, I would have looked into the plausibility of eagles actually picking up small dogs. I would want to know if this was happening in other places and if this was a growing issue. An ideal source would be someone knowledgeable of the local animal population. A wildlife expert could probably tell the reporter whether eagles are even capable of picking up small dogs. However, if an expert source cannot be found, reaching out to the public might work. The social networking site Quora allows journalist to reach out to people and find answers to troubling questions. I created a Quora and asked how much weight an eagle can carry. I asked this question under the assumption that any small dog would have to weigh about two pounds or more.

The question I posed on Quora was answered, but the answer was that he did not know. So I did some more searching and found that in the eagles category someone else had asked a similar question which was answered by Ricardo Dueño, a researcher.

He wrote:

“It depends on the size of the dog but if it is sufficiently small an eagle could pick up a small dog. The eagle would regard the dog as prey just like any other animal of the same size. A mature Golden Eagle, which can weigh fifteen pounds, can pick up half it’s weight a full grown mature Chihuahua weighs up to six pounds. Also puppies of most breeds weigh less than six pounds.”

So perhaps the story is possible, but is it plausible? This requires more research. Journalists must strive to not let an interesting story distract them from getting the facts. It is important to remain skeptical and to put every story through a rigorus fact-checking process.

Meta Blog

25 Jan

Blogging has evolved overtime to become much more complex and diverse than a simple weblog. It has become the new way to comment on any subject and to get as local or as global as a writer wants. An article on Nieman Journalism Lab on NPR’s Agro blogging project showed the journalism industry how much influence and success skilled blogging can have.  The Agro project was an experiment and an investment in the world of blogging that paid off. However, it is still in debate just what a blog is exactly.  Blogs span a wide range of interests and tones. Everything from a diary to a health and wellness site can be considered a blog. The classification of blog is more about the frequency of posting and order of posts than anything related to the content, but even those characteristics vary.  Blogs have a general format in which the newest information is posted on the top with the older posts below, as noted by multiple sources in an article on the blog Technorati. The content has a wide range of formats, topics, and styles and as the news cycle develops to include blogging, the format is bound to continue developing.

So, journalists and bloggers alike must learn what blogging format works the best for getting news out to the public in the most clear and concise way. As and article on 10,000 Words points out, the new news cycle of social media blended with traditional print journalism can become convoluted. Some bloggers are looking into alternative formats. Change such as using live-updates or scraping the sidebar are just some of the ways bloggers are reinventing the original weblog idea. Writers must innovate new ways to help people locate the information on their blogs. One of the best ways to do this is through intelligent tagging. Another article on 10,000 Words discusses the importance of tagging. Bloggers who learn how to intelligently tag can attract more readers and target stories at more precise groups.

An article in the West Central Tribune on blogging also points out that along with keeping your layout updated, it is important when blogging to not get caught up in any formula. Bloggers need to write about certain topics but stay open to tones and blog styles outside of a normal print format. Blogging gives writers a unique opportunity to find a tone that fits the topic as well as the writer. When a blogger is lets the enthusiasm shine through the writing, the readers notice and readership increases.

Even though blogs have become so diverse that they are nearly impossible to define, they are still a vital and growing source of news. Journalists need to take note of the growth of blogs. News organizations that wish to utilize blogging more effectively need to work on improving the style of their blogs. Also it is important for news organizations to make blogs that are better integrated with established print journalism. The freedom that the blog format provides to writers and the interactive nature of blogging makes it an interesting and ever evolving format.

New New Journalism

17 Jan

As newsgathering evolves, journalist must keep up with modern developments but try to maintain a strong code of ethics. Journalists must avoid falling behind the times while keeping the trust of readers.  Publications must maintain this balance as they navigate through the new trend of aggregating stories or the new focus placed on curation journalism.

News aggregation is the process where a journalist takes information from various news outlets and combines the information into one cohesive work.  This approach does a great job of synthesizing important information. Many publications are praising aggregation as a new alternative reporting style. However, aggregation has its critics as well.

In an article by The Independent, Rupert Murdoch said that aggregators would have to pay the price for the content they are using from his news outlets. Conversely, an article on GigaOM.com points out that the critics of aggregation are missing the true nature of aggregation. The article even claims that no one can define over-aggregation. It also claims that as long as a story provides links to the original source, aggregation should be legal.

An article on PBS’s MediaShift, acknowledges that journalist have a hard time determining if aggregation is journalism. Nonetheless, the article encourages readers and journalists alike to take advantage of new aggregation sites such as Storify to keep up with this growing trend. Salon.com hosted a written debate on the subject of plagiarism and aggregation and concluded that it is still a developing idea. The article states that the publication that can most transparently aggregate news, will have the most success.

Another new development in journalism is a focus on curation journalism. According to an article on mindymcadams.com, this form of organizing a publication goes beyond traditional editing. It considers the readers point-of-view. Curation attempts to provide the best selection of information displayed in the best possible manner. An article Nieman Journalism Lab emphasizes the growing importance of curation in the restructuring of the world of journalism. Not only do journalists need to curate information found through social media and reporting, they need to use multiple platforms to get the message of the story out to as many readers as possible.

As with all changes to an established institution, it will take time before journalists can reach a consensus and establish new rules on how aggregation and curation will work. In the meantime, publications will continue to produce content in any way that will grab readers and keep their publications in business. That may means using aggregation and offending other publications. It might mean  hiring new editors that focus on curation. Whatever the case may be journalism will adapt.

Hello world!

13 Jan

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.