Discussion #5

1.) Is non-profit journalism any different than traditional journalism? Why or why not?

2.) What are the ethical considerations or disclosures about funding that non-profit outlets should be aware of and share with their readers? Are considerations different for an outlet based, in say, Marathon, Texas vs. Houston?

3.) What are some ethical considerations or disclosures about editorial content these kinds of outlets should be aware of and share with readers? How does an outlet maintain credibility and transparency?

4.) What income or revenue models do you think can be implemented for local news outlets to sustain their operations?

  1. Non-profit journalism operates without concern to make a profit because their operations are funded through donations or foundation grants. This is different from traditional journalism because, if they wanted to, non-profit news organizations would not have to sell ads to make ends-meet. For traditional outlets, they often have no choice.

2. Like with many non-profit organizations, non-profit journalism should be as transparent as possible — the rules of journalism shouldn’t change just because the budget is given instead of made. These outlets should disclose all contributions, big or small. I believe the considerations should be the same whether you’re in Podunk or Houston because the tenants of objectivity in journalism don’t depend on the size of news organization.

3. If a foundation makes a grant toward the University Press in exchange for good press (essentially the same as an ad), then it is the University Press’ responsibility to let their readers know why they are writing the things that they are. Now, if a foundation offer to give the UP a grant in exchange for the paper not covering a scandal or covering it in an unsatisfactory way, well, then there’s a problem.

It is my belief that no organization’s journalistic duty should be bought out by anyone. People deserve to know what is happening in the world around them. Money doesn’t make those issues go away.

4. As stated in Discussion #4, I think it would be useful for local news outlets to foster content partnerships. Not only does it create a more stable work environment, but journalists can also focus more on actual journalism than worrying about whether or not they’ll have a job next week.

Discussion #4

1.) Ad sales are being driven down because digital advertising is less expensive.How can local media outlets compete economically to sustain their operations?

  • Will citizens pay for news? Would you pay for news? How much would you pay? Per week? Per month?

 2.) Why are new deserts problematic? There is the internet after all. Why is or isn’t the internet a good replacement to address the demise of local reporting? Doesn’t a national outlet have more resources than a local newspaper? Explain pros 

3.) How can journalists create better relationships to the communities they represent?

1. This is a tough question to answer.

In an article from the Columbia Journalism Review (https://www.cjr.org/tow_center/8-strategies-saving-local-newsrooms.php), they recommend that local newspapers in fear of being shutdown in their communities should consider content partnerships. This not only creates a more stable environment for newspapers to publish, but it also allows news organizations to utilize different types of technology to further their chances of gaining new readers.

  • I do think citizens will pay for news. Many already do. According to the American Press Institute (https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/paying-for-news/), many people begin to subscribe to a news source because of specific content they are creating — quality journalism deserves its fair share of the money.
  • I do subscribe to The Washington Post — when I joined, I believe the first three months of my subscription was only $1.99 each month. I can’t recall exactly how much the price is now but I don’t mind paying it. I will say that $15 and below per month is probably the safest bet in trying to persuade people to subscribe. I prefer paying yearly rates, but those are not always available. I plan on buying a subscription to the Houston Chronicle soon.

2. Internet reporting is a Catch-22. On the one hand, information is constantly being published and people can stay in the loop every second of every day. On the other hand, internet reporting is largely the cause for this so-called “fake news” era. People confuse gossip with actual journalism and therefore misinformation is spread to all corners of the globe.

National news outlets have way more resources than local publications, but you can’t expect The New York Times to report on the daily on-goings of Saugerties (the smallest city in New York). There just isn’t enough room to cover every local election, bill, crime, etc. in one publication. Plus, how could someone who has never heard of Saugerties care about its people.

Local media cannot be replaced. People may not realize how important it is to their everyday lives, but without it, people would never know what is going on in their communities.

3. Journalists should foster relationships with the communities they report in. For example, let’s say I’m not from Beaumont, but I move here to work for the Enterprise. I would begin to network with the other staff members first, but then I would branch out — attend community events, go to the city’s most popular restaurants and just talk to people. I would make sure they see my face because then they trust me and will hopefully talk if I need them to. There’s no sense in building a career in a place without connecting to its foundations.

Discussion #3

Political polarization in the US is reported on frequently in the news media. There are many voices that say the media is to blame and therefore, it’s credibility has faltered in the faith many citizens have in its accuracy and bias

The following questions ask you to discuss some aspects of the ongoing issues.

 

  1. Does the media spend too much effort covering “bad” news? What do you consider “good news?” Give examples. How could/should news be “balanced?” Or what could/should journalists do to address perceived bias by their readers?

  2. A recent study concluded that young adults “know less and care less about news and public affairs than any other generation of Americans in the past 50 years?”  Do you believe that conclusion is an accurate one? Why?

  3. User generated content is becoming increasingly important, not only in social media but also in professional news media. Point out what benefits and what challenges this raises in the credibility of news media.

 

  1. a. There’s an old adage, “If it bleeds, it leads.” People always say that they want to see more “happy” news but that’s just not the reality. The media covers events that it knows its audience will read and care about. If a shooting happens at a local school, there’s no way that a story of someone volunteering to build houses for the homeless is going to top that. It may be included in the news, sure, but the school shooting will take the top slot every time.

In my opinion, that’s the way it should be. Yes, the world is depressing sometimes and we’d all like to see more positive things, but we have to think about what is most important. That school shooting in the short-term (and maybe even the long-term) is going to have much more of an impact on that community than the building of houses. That story of the houses is touching and does mean a lot, but I think most people would tune into the story about the shooting because it affects them more — whether they’d like to admit it or not.

So, in short, no, I do not think the media covers “too much” bad news. Bad things happen and people need to know about them.

Now, a lot of local news stations always have a fun, quirky segment that’s usually lighthearted and fun. My local station, KFDM Channel 6, does a “pet of the day” segment where viewers submit pictures of their pets. It’s a short segment, but I always enjoy seeing pictures of other people’s animals — it lifts my spirits.

b. I don’t think journalists have to prove that they’re not biased to anyone — if they’re doing their jobs correctly, then they shouldn’t be biased. Someone is always going to dislike what someone writes about, no matter how factual and unbiased the story is because that’s just how people are.

2. I believe that younger people care about different things.

What I really want to know is, what young person is consumed with news and public affairs in any generation. Everyone always says that this generation cares about so and so less than the previous generations, but when is that comparison being made? Is it being made between and 18 year-old and a 70 year-old, because they’re going to care about different things.

Or, is the comparison between an 18 year-old today and the 70 year-old when they were 18? I’m sure people said the same thing about Baby Boomers when they were teenagers. People tend to care about the pressing issues in their life — people don’t typically take an interest in things that they know nothing about. I think it’s always been that way and will continue to be.

I know plenty of people who will readily admit that they don’t keep up with politics or ever read the news — but to contradict that, I’m 19 and I read the news everyday. Yes, it’s my job and I have an interest in it, but it’s also because I’m different from Mary Jo next door and she’s different from John Smith across the street and he’s different from Charlie in England and so on and so on. Everyone is different.

I don’t think people of younger generations care less about current affairs — in some cases I think they care more, especially when it comes to social issues.

3. The benefits of user-generated content are that one, that there is a constant stream of information being fed to the public — this is great when the person generating the content actually knows what they’re doing.

The challenge arises when you have random Joe Blows putting whatever out into the world without regards to accuracy, and then that gets confused with actual journalism. It does affect the credibility of news media only because a lot of people don’t know the difference between gossip and journalism.

 

 

Discussion #2

1.) Has news writing become too liberal? Why or why not? What do the words “liberal” or “conservative” mean to you personally in regard to journalism? Describe an example of each to clarify your point of view.

First thing’s first — what does “liberal” and “conservative” mean in regards to journalism?

a) Liberal.

  • Oxford Dictionary defines the term “liberal” as “Open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values.

b) Conservative.

  • Oxford Dictionary defines the term “conservative” as “Holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.”

 

In an editorial written by Investor’s Business Daily (https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/media-bias-left-study/), they claim that most of today’s journalism is liberal. Here’s their mistake — in their headline, they say that journalism itself is left leaning, yet when they start to show their evidence, it shows that the journalists are liberal.

There’s a difference between journalism and journalists. Journalism is the activity or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or preparing news to be broadcast. A Journalist is someone who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information to the public.

A journalist can be liberal without producing liberal journalism.

Here’s how: a person is separate from their job. For instance, I am currently in a political science course, but my professor has never divulged her own personal political beliefs. She is able to show all sides of any given topic without showing favor or bias to one side over the other. Yet, I’d be willing to bet $1 million that she has opinions that are either liberal or conservative, yet she doesn’t disclose them during our class because that’s not her job.

Journalists follow the same rule. We are a third party to the story and those who read it. I can have liberal or conservative views without showcasing that in my writing because it is not my job to give my opinions.

Like every teacher who says that they’ll never tell you their political leanings (but do anyway), yes, there are journalists who are biased. However, this is an exception to the rule.

A journalist’s main responsibility is report the facts in an accurate, credible and objective way. Those are the tenants by which we work. And the journalists I’ve known take that very seriously.

When I’m writing, I want to get all sides of the story, whether or not I agree with what’s being said by one source or another.

So, has news writing become too liberal? I don’t think so. If accuracy, credibility and objectivity is considered “liberal,” then there are bigger problems at-hand. Just because you don’t like the facts that are being presented, does not mean that the story is fake.

It is easy to identify what’s real and fake. First of all, don’t get your news from social media or tabloids — more often than not, it’s unreliable. Check actual news outlets. I like the Washington Post and CBS because they do a good job of explaining the topic they’re presenting and they present all sides. But, there are a million other outlets you could read.

Fox News and CNN have been labeled as “biased,” so if you want to avoid that, then don’t read it.

Facts are not a liberal idea and it’s actually harmful to conservatives to believe that. Facts  are facts, not opinions.

Discussion #1

1.) “Should Facebook and Twitter Be Regulated Under The First Amendment” was published on Wired magazine’s Oct. 11, 2017 by Lincoln Caplan, a Yale legal scholar and author. Then as now, the discussion about foreign interference in the 2016 elections, the proliferation of “fake news,” targeted misinformation against specific demographic groups continue. Answer the following questions and be prepared to discuss in class.
A.) Does social media really influence people’s opinions? How so? Or not.
B.) Does the current media environment just reinforce a person’s point-of-view? How so? Or not?
C.) Is it possible to control what is said online? How would you regulate it? Or how would you improve the current environment?

Part A 

Social media absolutely influences people’s opinions. In today’s social media landscape, people often confuse opinion with fact. Just because someone puts something on Twitter, does not mean that it’s fact. People don’t do research on what they see, so they don’t even know if what they’re retweeting is true or false.

Part B

People want to find what they consider “facts” to support what they already believe — they’re not looking for something that refutes what they already perceive to be true. People tend to make friends with people who have the same views as them because no one wants to argue all the time. People do the same thing when following others on social media — they find people who will agree with them.

Part C

You can control what is said online in certain spaces, like forums. But there’s no way to control EVERYTHING that’s said — no without treading dangerous waters in regards to the First Amendment. I think people should take improving the social environment into their own hands. People need to get all of the facts before they spread information that they’re not 100 percent sure about. Knowledge is the only thing that will help improve the media landscape in the “fake news” era.