Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't Break the Rules

In chapter 14 and 15 of Thom Lieb's text discuss the legal and ethical issues of being a journalist.

 The material covered in the two chapters are vital for journalist to understand and follow, but there are three important topics that I believe should be followed. 

The first important rule that journalist should not break is accuracy.

 It is essential for journalist to make sure that the information they gather and report on is correct and factual.

This will build a journalist's credibility and  reputation because readers can trust that they are being informed on the right data.

Stressful deadlines and pressures from the editor can cause smart journalists to make dumb decisions such as plagiarizing and fabricating stories. 

This ethical issue has been violated by many journalists. For instance, former staff writer of the New York Times, Jayson Blair plagiarize a story and he was discharged by the prominent paper.  

It is crucial for journalist not to use another person material without getting permission or to the cite sources if they borrow material. It is also important not to fabricate stories just to meet a deadlines because one could loose their creditability among readers.

Finally, it not ethical for journalist to use deception to gather information. Deceiving sources is not morally right. 

It is the responsibility of the journalist to get the truth and to do it by just means. 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Capturing the Moment

To the left: Towson University Sophomore Kierra Suggs stands outside the Van Bokkelen Hall building during a Journalism and New Media I class assignment.

To the right: The Delta Faternity at Towson University raises funds for Testicular Cancer in 48 hrs. Eddie Koury, 20 who is majoring in Finance helps to raise funds by staying on the see saw for several hours. He has participated in the fund raiser last year.

So I tried to upload my photo of the Towson Tiger Statue it for some reason it wouldn't allow me to do so.

But here are the pictures that were taken during class on Wednesday, the 29th of October. Taking pictures can be fun, but there are a few tips that can easily improve one's photos. For instance, when taking a portrait of someone do not back them up against a blank wall.

It's boring and not as natural as taking a portrait with a background or setting that the person is in. Another tip that works to improve pictures is using different angles.

It is a simple adjustment that can make a photo better. Another suggestion is to always fill the frame. If you do not fill the frame you may cause confusion on what the subject or focus of the picture is.

Lastly, it is always good to be prepared for a picture shot. When taking stop action photos like many sports photographers do, you should always be in position and ready to take a priceless shot.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Haunted Tour Of D.C. vs. Multicultural Book Festival

This is the Octagon House Muesum in Washington D.C. which will be
the last stop on the haunted house tour. This image is courtesy of google.

I conducted a search on local activities that will occur between now and before Nov. 5 in my neighborhood, but I ended up with nothing, zero, zilch.

I decided to check out The Washington Post to see if I could find something fun as well as interesting to cover. After scouring a bit, I came across two events that I am contemplating over.

The first is event is a "Washington Walks Haunted Tours" that will be held tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and on Halloween (Friday) at 7:30 p.m. for $10 fee. The tour will site the haunted houses and the stories behind them.

The tour will start from 17th and I street in Washington, D.C. and end at the Octagon Museum.

The second event that strikes my interest is the Children's Multicultural Book Festival that will be held on Nov. 1 from noon to 6 p.m. at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

I am a bookworm. Even though the festival is a for children's books, the event it will feature readings from author Nikki Giovanni.

Nikki Giovanni is a African-American author who wrote several books on poetry for adults and children.

I thought is would be great if I could interview her for my story, plus the event is free.

One sources for my story (which every one I choose) will be the coordinators or organization that is hosting the event.

Another source will be the tour guide or the people are chaperoning or aiding in the festival. The last source will be from people attending the event. I would like to talk to at least three people.

Furthermore, there are standard questions that I will ask based on the person I am interviewing. If I am interviewing the coordinator of the event, I will ask questions like How long did it take to preparate the event? Is this event held every year? Are there knew aspects, features etc. that are included this time in the event?

Moreover, if I am interviewing a person who is a attending then I will ask questions such as What did you like or dislike about the event and why? or Why did you attend the event?

Overall, I am looking forward to the next story and I hope to execute it better than I did the first one.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lawsuit Over Buttons

NYC Teachers file a lawsuit against the city at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan for violation of freedom of speech on Friday. 

The USA Today article, NYC teachers sue to wear political buttons in school, explain that teachers were not permitted by city policy to wear political buttons at school. 

New York City school system is not the only one pushing for faculty to remain politically neutral at school, state universities are also encouraging staff to be impartial like the University of Illinois, University of Oklahoma, Iowa Western Community College and Fresno Pacific University.

With the history making election approaching, many voters want to exercise their right to express support for their candidate. 

Students and other youth are more engaged by this coming election.

So is it wrong for a faculty member to wear a political button? How detrimental is it? Everyone is granted the right to the first amendment. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Perfect Square

On September 27th, a wine and music festival titled Uncorked will be held in the Rockville Town Square between the hours of 12 to 6. 

 There will be a variety of musicians playing at the festival and cooking demonstrations. In addition, there will be wine tasting  from local wineries according to the website.  I do not have any main sources at this present time to cover the festival.

I am still gathering up a list of questions to ask, but in the meantime I will be researching about the local wineries, wines and looking up information about the musicians who will perform. 

One of my main objectives is to be able to talk with some of the musicians as well as the people of the local wineries.

(The image above is courtesy of Google)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Best Tweets

First and foremost, I am not a fan of judging other people or their work. I looked at several tweets and I must say that it was hard for me to choose the best three.

Before I list the tweets that best represent good newswriting, I want to say that I think everyone did a good job considering this is a practice.

The first tweet that I like and that I feel demonstrates an understanding of summary leads and short reports is Ed A'damo's.

His leads fufill the following requirements of using an active voice and being clear as well as concise.

In addition, his short reports are two sentences long and it gives a fair elaboration of the story as he explains the how and why questions.

The second tweet that is executed well is Kierra Suggs. She like Ed uses an active voice and provides the most important information of the article into her tweets.

Furthermore, her tweets follow the sentence guidelines, which make her tweets informative and a easy read.

Last but certainly not least, is the third tweet by Carlos Valenzuela. I like the fact that he uses a three word quote as his summary lead for the football article.

I also believe his summary leads not only fit the character requirements, but it is also engaging.

It made me want to read the short reports and find out more. I think the ability to engage a reader is a crucial element to be an excellent writer.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Taking the Lead

Have you read a summary lead or seen a short report? You probably have and did not realize it.

So what is a summary lead and a short report anyway?

A summary lead is a one sentenced synoposis, written in the past tense that conveys a time frame and it can answer questions like who, what, when, where, why and how.

After filtering through countless articles on the New York Times website, I found an article titled, At Least 18 Killed as Trains Collide in Los Angeles that exemplifies a summary lead.

The first sentence in past tense describes who: a commuter train, what: collided, when: during rush-hour on Friday, where: Los Angeles and why as well as how is further explained in the rest of the article.

In all, the jest of a summary lead is to introduce what the article is about.

So what is a short report?

A short report is news that is written within two to three sentences and they come in four different structures such as online or broadcast bulletins, e-mail alerts, crawlers and newsbriefs.

The best example I could find of a short report is displayed in the Baltimore Sun article, Security may put an end to single-scientists labs.

The article actually contains four sentences, but it could still be considered a newsbrief that describes new safety precautions to ban scientist from working alone with hazardous pathogens.

Overall, a report does not have to be long and lengthy to be informative, certain news can simply be explained in a few sentences.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What Makes a Story Newsworthy?

Not every story is news. There are several factors that deciphers whether a story is newsworthy. Our very own Towson professor, Thom Lieb explains in his text All the News that audience, medium, competition and editoral judgements which consist of impact, prominence, unusualness, currency,conflict, timeliness, proximity, affinity and human interest determine what stories are newsworthy.

The Baltimore Sun follows these guidelines when searching, uncovering, and reporting a story. One feature article on the website titled, Fire destroys city playground informs readers of a fire at a local playground.

It discuss fire fighters battle with the blaze and explains that the cause of the fire is unknown. It further explains the creation of the playground, the devastation of the incident, and the plan to rebuild which is confirmed by the mayor's spokesman.

The article is newsworthy because it is geared to the local audience. The playground fire concerns local residence and the children who play there. It displays impact because the children no longer have a place to play. In addition, the fire could have spread and cause harm to others.

The story includes proximity considering that it occurred in Baltimore. In addition, the story contains conflict because the police officers do not know the specific cause of the fire and they do not have any suspects.

The Sun also features the article U.S. budget deficit nears $407 billion under latest estimates. This article captures an audience on a national level. The increase of U.S. debt ultimately affects millions of Americans. It is a debt that citizens will have to pay. The Sun's competitor the Washington Post's website features a article covering the same topic.

The story proves to be newsworthy because it exhibits impact. Americans are already feeling the affects of our dwindling economy through the cost of living rising, food prices increasing as well as gas prices teetering up and down.

The article presents conflict because the increase of debt means that it will take longer for the U.S. to pay it off. Timeliness is demonstrated because reporter Andrew Taylor posted the article based on the Congressional Budget office releasing the debt figures earlier Tuesday (today).

Lastly, Lynn Spears writes about daughters in book is an article feature under the Celebrity News section of the website. Prominence is the sole reason for this story to be considered newsworthy.

Lynn Spears is mother of pop singer Britney Spears and actress Jamie Lyn Spears. The two girls are celebrities who have caused controversies in the past and have been victims of numerous tabloids.

Furthermore, the article has timeliness because Lynn's book is scheduled to be published on Sept. 16. This article can inform fans of Britney and Jamie Lynn to expect the book.

(the articles examined in this blog are courtesy of The Baltimore Sun)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Homework Assignment 9/3

A backpack journalists are reporters that carry technological devices such as laptops, audio recorder, and digital cameras to uncover stories from any location. With these electronics readily available, journalist are able to gather information, write, and submit their stories in a rapid and efficient pace. In particular, Jared Silfies always totes his laptop, notpad, writing utensils, USB drives, cell-phone, digital camera, and an Elements of Style book in his bag, so he is always prepared to uncover and report stories in a timely manner. The fact that Jared carries the Elements of Style book with him reveals that he takes his job seriously. I personally have not read the Elements of Style, but it is now an item on my purchase list.
Furthermore, there are numerous of outstanding portfolios that were discussed in class last Wednesday. One portfolio that I liked in particular was Meranda's. She is a education reporter, so I am sure that has to carry her laptop, digital camera, digital audio recorder, USB drive, as well as a pen and pad to be prepared when pursuing a story.

Friday, September 5, 2008



My name is Rozalyn and I transferred to Towson University last Spring. I am majoring in Journalism and minoring in English. I'm confused about what field I really want to go in because I'm also interested in advertising, psychology, sociology and law. At the age of twenty, I'm still unsure about what I want to do with the rest of my life, but hopefully whatever choice I make will be the right one.