49th ALDERMANIC ELECTION
Where Broadcast Issues 403 keeps watch.
This week, the Columbia Journalism Review reported that the Iraqi government is now censoring the press. It was reported that last week in the Guardian that, "police in Baghdad fired warning shots into the air to force a group of Iraqi journalists to leave the scene of a car bombing that killed seven people." This struck me as ironic, seeing that Iraq is trying to become democratic, yet, they are destroying a fundamental component of democracy--free press. In fact, the Iraqi government issued a decree stating that journalists are no longer allowed to access sites of car bombings or other violent attacks. According to Iraqslogger, the Iraq Interior Ministry Operations Director Brigadier General Abdul Kareem Khalaf gave the following reasons for censoring the press:
I've seen everybody reflecting on their Medill Reports, and I can understand. My issues have been slightly different though. It's not about the access, its about what happens once you get the access.
A couple of weeks ago I came across a quick blurb on Media Bistro about a news magazine show that NPR is launching in September, called--tentatively--"The Bryant Park Project." The program is self-described as targeting 25 to 44 year olds and will be a daily, 2-hour news show.
A friend of mine has a relative who produces a morning news show in Detroit. Recently that friend got to accompany his relative and the news show staff to a Detroit Red Wings playoff game and sit in their suite. As a big hockey fan, I was naturally very jealous (not to mention the free food and drink). Then he told me the suite was provided by the team's owner.
The new age of media is all about interactivity. We see that trend unfold via blogs, Web forums, user reviews, etc. all over the Internet. But how about interactivity with your television screen? No, not the type you’re thinking of (hint: It doesn’t involve cousin Joe screaming at the TV when his home team doesn’t score.)
Getting a good story is all about access-- and it's extremely frustrating that as more people are skeptical of reporters, getting people to talk on camera becomes a power struggle.
News To Me, the first cable news program comprised of user-generated video, debuted on Headline News on today, May 19, at 12:30 p.m. The program is hosted by Eric Lanford and showcases the most compelling videos, pictures and stories traversing the Internet. The program will air on Headline News each Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
I just read this article (http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=103&aid=123269) about an article posted on a California newspaper's web site and the comments it elicited. The article was about a 40-year-old woman who had a full-term baby 2 days after finding out she was pregnant. The woman's sister had called the newspaper about this "miracle" - the woman had been trying for years to get pregnant before unknowingly conceiving and then delivering the healthy baby. The article featured a picture of the woman, who happens to be overweight, and the newborn. What was supposed to be a feel-good story turned awful after people started posting rude and disgusting comments about the woman and even her baby. They said the woman ate donuts and fast food all day, couldn't clean her house because she was too fat, was immobilized by her weight and most appallingly, that the newborn was alternately going to be taken away from the mother or would grow up to be a fat, drain-on-society. The editor and reporter were horrified for subjecting the woman to the comments. This was supposed to be a feel-good story after all. Interactiveness and participation are the future of news, but how do we deal with idiots who post horrible inaccuracies as amendments to stories? Will sources and subjects be in jeopardy in the future for fear of stinging posted comments? How can readers' comments be controlled without exercising censorship?
Working on Medill Reports has allowed me to experiment with different techniques as a reporter. Usually, when I am daily reporting, I go into a story already with a pretty good idea of what I’m expecting people to say. Sometimes, when my last interview is pretty late, I will begin scripting before I have even finished the last interview. I go into that last interview with an idea of the exact bytes I need, and as soon as I get them, I pretty much close up shop.
I sometimes feel bad after these interviews—sometimes I’m more worried about deadline and getting good sound bytes than taking the time to get to know someone and hear their story.
However, with Medill Reports, I have the luxury of a little extra time. Last night, I decided to try something new. I am focusing on postpartum depression for my story, and I was interviewing a woman who went through severe postpartum depression and also her husband. I decided I would take as much time as I wanted and let her answers really guide my questions. And I’m really glad I did that!
I left her house feeling so satisfied—knowing that I really let this woman talk and tell her side, and now I can go into the edit bay and sort through what she said and let her story guide the direction of my story. It won’t be me plugging her sound bytes into a pre-written script.
However, now I’m faced with a second dilemma. This is a four minute piece. I spent a good two and a half hours at someone’s house and now I’ll probably use a minute at most from that. I know I have to get over it—but it makes me feel bad!
Originally, I was going to cover postpartum depression for a daily reporting piece—but after making some phone calls—I knew I could not do the topic justice in a minute and thirty seconds. That is why I chose it for Medill Reports. Now—my challenge is piecing together all these stories and perspectives into four minutes. I still don’t think that’s enough time!
This week I've had to ask myself a lot of tough questions. I'm reporting on incarcerated mothers for Medill Reports. I've had trouble convincing incarcerated moms to let my videotape them interacting with young children. Nearly all of the seven women I've tried to recruit as my "face" have had reservations about including their kids in the story.
We've been talking a lot on this blog and in class about apperance, and how important it is for those of us who want to be in front of the camera. We've talked and written about female sportscasters, redheads, last names and every sort of other thing that we think might be held against us when we go out into the job world. But watching a whole bunch of TV this quarter (and over, say, the past 20 years) I've realized more and more all that stuff doesn't really matter that much.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Alexandra Wallace, executive producer for 'NBC Nightly News,' "plans to beef up the program’s environmental coverage, a process that has already begun with the appointment of Anne Thompson to be the network’s chief environmental affairs correspondent." It was interesting to see because the headline of the article was "New Producer at ‘Nightly News’ Seeks to Regain NBC Dominance." I sincerely hope the implied interest in environmental news is accurate, but I also think it's arguably the toughest beat to cover.
At the risk of sounding glamour-greedy, I have been aspiring toward international/foreign network correspondence since I can remember. Christiane Amanpour's work inspired me to pursue a career in journalism, partly because I admired her creative ability to report stories and maintain poise and porfessionalism in any environment. Like Amanpour, I wanted to be based in London, preferably CNN or BBC, and travel all over the world finding the breaking news and delving into the worldy meaning and significance behind them. While my dream to become a foreign correspondent has subsided a bit, I was a bit unnerved when I read on Poynter.org that foreign correspondence is essentially disappearing. Where are they going? According to Fons Tuinstra, who wrote a blog titled, "Foreign Correspondents Abandon Ship," the foreign correspondence job title is becoming obsolete. Tuinstra wrote that citizen journalists have displaced, and continue to displace, foreign correspondent positions - partly because viewers are demanding more local news and news that is relevant to their lives. This means to me that my career aspiration is gradually, or not so gradually, signing off the journalistic scene.
Don’t Read, Personal! Now that to me is a pretty clear message. It was written by Anna Nicole Smith on the inside of her diary. Excerpts are being released to the Associated Press, and they are running with it.
If you've played the card game "BS", you know that calling someone's bluff can cost you when you're wrong.