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“Print journalism is dying, so I don’t know why you think you have a future there. You don’t.”

Rather than getting discouraged, my stubborn personality only became more motivated to become the best print journalist this world has seen.

I firmly believe that although the medium of journalism via print may die out, our society will constantly be in need of information, news, and opinions. Words will never die; therefore, writing will never die. Sure, we’re transitioning rapidly into a world of brightly-lit screens and tweets, but there will always be a need for people like me.

People who have an obsession with writing. People who crave it like water on a hot day. People who don’t want to write, but people that need to write. I am one of those people. Writing isn’t a hobby, past-time, or interest. Writing is my life. Writing is me.

Writing is my number one solution – my ultimate “go-to”. It is my medicine, my relief, and my addiction. If the tears start welling up, give me a pen. If I’m grinning ear-to-ear, hand me a notebook.

Although writing is a great love, I’m not perfect at it. Sometimes, I use ‘are’ instead of ‘is’, I forget to write in my journal, and I don’t post on my blog for months. But I think there is something to be said for the fact that I keep coming back. It’s as if writing owns a part of my soul it knows I can’t live without. I don’t think the idea of writing, or even writing itself is meant to be perfect. Writing is flawed, like me. You know, maybe that’s why I love it so much. Because writing and I are just so much alike. I am writing.

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And So, We Wrote. Part II.

At the beginning of this semester, I wrote about my opinions on who passed as a journalist. Over the course of the semester, however, my ideas were shaped and formed into a new opinion. I claimed that everyone was a journalist; that anyone who produced words could be considered a journalist. I do not necessarily agree with this anymore. Although I do believe that more than just those with press passes are journalists, I do believe there is a line that must be drawn. Finding that line is the hard part, but whether it is tangible or not, the line must exist.

In this article, it points out that journalists abide by a certain set of rules and regulations that help guide and sometimes restrict the things that are produced by professional journalists. Although there are many who do not have a degree or a professional position as a journalist, there are some that produce material that is sometimes equal if not above par than that of an official journalist. Yet, they follow their own rules and have no obligation to meet any deadlines nor guidelines. I think that principle defines the largest and most significant difference between journalists and those who write; it is the line between those things that determines who really is a journalist.

This article from the Times argues this point saying that we need a broader definition of “journalist”. They emphasize the statement that “some of the best journalists haven’t had any academic training in the field.” They use the First Amendment to support this idea saying that it is not just for journalists but for everyone in America. While I do agree with them in some areas, I still hold my ground by saying that there is a fine line that separates journalists from American people writing on blogs.

After this verdict created great controversy, they decided that they must decide who a journalist is. I believe it is important to already have that definition and description set in concrete so we can be prepared in situations such as the Crystal Cox controversy. That line must exist. That line is what helps us decide who is a journalist.

It’s Significant, So Make It That Way.

As journalist’s, it is sometimes hard to be interesting. Especially when what the material you have to work with is about as interesting as dirt. But, we have an obligation and responsibility to make the significant interesting and relevant. So, how the heck do we do that? How do we find a way to make news seem relevant to the majority of our audience? I think this is a difficult task, and Group 12 seems to agree with me. It seems difficult to be both engaging AND relevant because of bias, laziness, or haste. To be a good journalist, it is important to not be lazy and learn how to use good technique in a quick amount of time. Those who work hard and put forth the effort will definitely succeed with engaging and relevant material.

Just because you’re trying to make something interesting, however, doesn’t mean you need to jump off a cliff and sail the seven seas with the story though. The story is the story, the facts don’t change. The material is what you have to work with, and it remains. The style you use and the words which you choose to present the story with, however, can make your story one million times more interesting. It’s just important to remember that, “technique should never alter the facts.”

They say that “journalism is storytelling with a purpose,” and we must find a way for that purpose to carry across our audience. We must make the story and purpose appear to be so important that we couldn’t afford to leave it out of the news. This article challenges the above statement, and they discuss why journalism is moving away from storytelling in our day today. The Nieman Reports had an interesting bit on making the significant interesting. They talked about how storytelling and information do not contradict each other. They talk about the two biggest struggles of making things interesting and they are: first, finding the information that people need in their lives. And second, making that information engaging and relevant. This blog also illustrates very nicely how important it is to make your stories have a purpose, and that is one of the keys to becoming and staying a good journalist.

What They Want or What They Need.

I thought Group 11 brought an interesting idea to the table with their question, “As journalists, are we supposed to give people what they want, or what they need?” As we texted in our answers, I found it really surprising to read the responses people were sending in. A lot of people said both, which was the answer in my brain, but I still thought it was interesting. What if we had to choose one or the other? What if both wasn’t an option? What if we had to write based on what the people wanted OR based on what people needed to hear? The problem with that is that people have very definition of needs and wants. What our class ended up deciding and discussing is that Journalism is the ability to find the happy medium and be able to write for both needs and wants. I feel that both are essential in balancing out journalism and keeping a consistent audience.

A Community Media Workshop tested out the difference between need and want by trying to write an article that combined both terms to find the perfect balance for readers. They called it the “New News”. They brought up the sixth sense we must have as journalists, which is the ability to ask so what? This was cool because it brought my attention to the fact that so what, need, and want were all kind of related. The so what? applies to anyone and everyone watching, listening to, or reading the news. It is the big idea, why it matters, and why we should care. Those are also why we pay attention to things that we both need and want, so we can fulfill our curiosity and find satisfaction in the big idea.

In this future of the media blog, they give a biased opinion that we should give the people what they need. They state that the most important priority should be giving people what they need to hear; things that are relevant in their lives. They had strong points, but I still believe it is important to have a mixture of both. When you don’t present both needs and wants, someone will always be frustrated. Giv the people important information that is going on, but also give them things that will keep them loyal viewers. This doesn’t mean that journalism has to become entertainment, it just means that usually, most people can’t handle straight need. This point is illustrated well on this social media blog where the author talks about how celebrities are turning news journalism into entertainment journalism.

Overall, it is important to remember to give the people a little of their needs, and a little of their wants.

Diversity and Public Forum.

Group 9’s presentation immediately caught my attention. The topic seemed a little different from what we seemingly have covered every week and I was interested in what we would be learning about and how we would be able to apply it to our journalistic abilities.

There is a quote that I heard a long time ago when I was writing for my high school newspaper. It said something like, “American journalism must embrace diversity…”. I attended high school in American Fork, Utah. 90% of the kids were caucasian and 94% of the kids were LDS. A large majority of the student body planned on attending Brigham Young University after high school.  With all of this knowledge, you can understand why I rolled my eyes when I was told to write diversely. Everyone was the same! But that is a lesson that I have learned over the years; they’re not. I absolutely loved this article and it’s take on something similar to my personal experience. No matter how similar your audience may seem, there are always differences among them. As there were different cliques, sports teams, groups, and activities at my school, there are those different areas in the real world. This article listed tips and suggestions that I found to be very helpful upon my research of writing for a diverse audience.

I think that as our world continues to evolve, change, develop, and grow, that the culture will continue to mix and combine and we will become more heterogenous than we are now. It is important to remember that during those times of diverse audiences, we are trying to include everyone and not just targeting a specific group. This student really gets this big picture and some of the views shared are dead on. It is sometimes difficult to find the need or importance in being diverse, especially at BYU when everyone seems to look, act, and speak the same. But diversity is essential and will continue to support and uphold journalism.

A Combination to Die For.

Think about all of the things in this world that appear to be paired perfectly together. Peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper. Ketchup and mustard. Peas and pods. Out of all the examples that came to your mind, I’m willing to bet that journalism and religion wasn’t one of them. Mixing journalism and religion can get pretty tricky; they are both very emotional topics to people. Religion one the one hand is very personal and individual. On the other hand, it is inquired about and pushed everyday, making it seem more impersonal. Anyone and everyone you ask will have an opinion about journalism. Because journalism is based on evidence, truth, and facts, and religion is based on feelings, beliefs, and emotions, it makes it rough to try and combine the two. But, as we have seen in our lifetimes, the mix must happen. There will be a day when we are required to combine journalism and religion, and when that day comes, we want to be ready to handle it in the best, most unbiased way possible.I feel like this article does a great job of demonstrating how to combine journalism and religion.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I experience my own personal beliefs and views that are in conjunction with the Church. I am more than happy to talk to you about my faith and express my beliefs as a member. As a journalist, however, I am required to “unplug” myself from that faith and become an unbiased reporter. I find that a little difficult. In fact Group 10 mentioned a quote that helps support my thoughts: “It’s false that a reporter can unplug his ideology and somehow become neutral,” Mattingly said. While I don’t think it is impossible, I do believe it is difficult. Take Fox News for example. Most of their anchors and producers are LDS and I would say that you can definitely tell. This site here describes how the dominant religion in the area starts to show through as a media bias.

Religion, undoubtedly, is involved in every aspect in our lives, in everything we do. Which makes it easy to say that all news is religious news. (Poynter Institute). This Mormon copy editor believes that journalism and religion (specifically mormonism) should join the list of perfect pairs. Her article is interesting in the sense that she points out that the characteristics that Mormon’s have are the characteristics needed in the journalistic world.

Overall, mixing journalism and religion is tough, but it must be done.

 

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Group 8…I have to applaud you. Your presentation was so awesome! I found it really entertaining and I learned a lot.  So, the whole theme of dogs had me really curious. I didn’t really know what Watchdog Journalism was.  But, boy, did I learn. Watchdog journalism is making the affairs of the powerful intuitions more transparent to the public. What? In English, please. Think of what a watchdog does. It’s usually that mean looking bulldog in front of a house watching over the family. So, in journalism terms, a watchdog is just that. It watches over it’s journalistic family. According to this site, it is basically holding public figures and institutions accountable for their content. It’s like the checks and balances system for journalism.

Why do we care though? Why is this important? Well, things would obviously get a little crazy if there was no one to oversee what is being seen and published through mass and social media. In Murrey Marder’s article 1998: This is Watchdog Journalism, he explains his view on the correlation between the public and watchdog journalism.  It was very interesting because it was a super opinionated article. He feels that watchdog journalism is more of a mindset than just hard-hitting investigation.

One thing Group 8 touched on was the fact that nine out of ten journalists believe the press keeps political leaders from doing things they shouldn’t do. I absolutely agree with this statement. Political leaders know the power of the press and know what their pattern of coverage is. To save their reputation, often times, political leaders will save themselves from being the next front page headline. We have seen many times, however, where this is not the case and the consequences are visible.

Overall, watchdog journalism is important and I believe an essential part of the press and the process of journalism.

Spiral of Silence.

Group 7 introduced a theory in their discussion that I had never heard of before. The idea has really intrigued me ever since and I have decided to talk about the theory of the Spiral of Silence today.

This theory supports the idea that the media can’t tell the public what to think, but is effective in telling them what to think about. That seems crazy! It’s as if as journalists, we have figured out how to control the minds of those we are targeting. Upon more research on the theory, I found that the Spiral of Silence is used in both political science and mass communication. It was developed by the German political scientist Elisabeth Neumann. This source states that the theory “asserts that a person is less likely to voice an opinion on a topic of morality if one feels that one is in the minority for fear of reprisal or isolation from the majority. This was a little confusing to me because what the source defined the theory as compared to what the group shared seemed to be different. So, I did more research to see what I could figure out. 

The basic feeling that is at the base of the theory seems to be fear of isolation. As journalists, we play a large role in the mass media, which usually represents the dominant opinion. If someone has a different opinion, they may be too afraid to voice their thoughts in fear of isolation from the majority; they do not want to become the minority. This is explained really well on this page where it is clearly broken down.

I found this article, and it does a great job at illustrating how the social media is trying to break the theory and allow everyone to voice their opinions. I believe that we should break the feeling that people have that they cannot share their thoughts and ideas. We should live in such an un-biased world where there is no worry of the majority vs. minority.

What Lead To Your Life.

First of all, I have to say that Group 6 did such an excellent job! Their presentation was engaging and very effective. I really enjoyed it! They talked about the journalist as an ideologue. When I first read the headline of what they would be discussing with us, I have to admit that I wasn’t completely certain of what an ideologue was. I learned, however, that it is the beliefs and values that lead a person’s life. This article was great in talking about ideologues in the press. One of the most interesting things from this presentation, or something that really stuck out to me was that most Americans consider themselves moderates in thought. So, the news covers extremist thinking because it is different than what we are used to.

I was kind of surprised by this. You would think that the news would produce content that was similar to how we think. However, because extremist thinking is so different than what most are used to, they use it as a technique to grab and hold our attention. It relates to how we talked about small town pastoralism and the fact that even though most live in or around cities, they still love to hear of small town events and stories. That was funny to me! I guess it shows what the audience really is seeking.

Group 6 talked about some of the things that “make the news”. One of them was altruistic democracy. This idea basically states that Americans believe that the leaders of this nation are to be liaisons for the people. If they pose a threat to this idea, it becomes news. Unfortunately, more often than not, we see these politicians on our news for doing that exact thing: posing a threat. They also talked about leadership in the sense that it is a basic value in American culture. So both the worst leaders and the greatest leaders will be featured more prominently in the news.

I really enjoyed this presentation and the new terms I learned and became familiar with.

The Mind in Independence.

In Group 5’s presentation, there was a quote that surprised me. It read, “being impartial or neutral is not a core principle of journalism.” This really took me aback because it seemed to go against everything that I had been taught in the field of journalism.I have always been taught that as a journalist, it is one of my main responsibilities to be neutral. Meaning that I am to be impartial, uninvolved, and indifferent from either side. I thought that decisions were to be based on an objective criteria, not hurting nor helping a certain side. Neutrality is important, as this article here states, however, this presentation and this quote had me really thinking during the week.

We learned that are three ways to be independent from faction. Those three categories are mind, externalities, and in practice. One of the criteria that especially caught my attention was the In Practice section. The part that was discussed about dependence versus opinion was interesting to me. Dependence —-> “facts” and facts —-> opinion. Linda Greenhouse was also mentioned in the discussion and I thought she was a great example to use.

One of the main things I got out of Group 5’s presentation was to, as a journalist, present ideas in an unoffensive and sensitive way. The goal is to not be overbearing with your opinion. I liked this thought a lot because many times in journalism, we see instances where the writer’s thoughts, opinions, or ideas are forced upon us as the reader. I think that we will maintain a good relationship with our audience if we are sensitive and not overbearing. It is important that we keep in mind everyone who might be consuming our material and be sensitive to them and their backgrounds. Like they said, race, gender, and religion are descriptive, but not limiting. This article has great things to say about race, gender and religion in journalism.

While being impartial and neutral is important, Group 5 taught me that it is not a core principal of journalism. And that is something that I will always remember.