There is a reason why journalists must study journalism before any serious news outlet even considers hiring them. That is because journalism involves more than simply observing and reporting in your own words. However, there are bloggers abound who operate news blogs, or write news blog posts, that never studied journalism and it shows. It may seem harmless, but humans have a nasty habit of believing anything they read at face value. This includes news blogs. These same readers then regurgitate what they’ve read on their own blogs, and the snowball effect gets under way. These bloggers would benefit from learning the following things that every journalist already knows:
This is of prime importance. To avoid perpetuating false information, you must make sure that you have the facts 100% accurate or at the very least mention that your information was of the “to the best of my knowledge” type. In the newspaper industry, multiple people check and re-check all the factual information in a reporter’s story before printing it. Of course, many bloggers don’t have the luxury of an office staff, but a good substitute would be to check at least 2 independent sources.
News is News, Opinion is Opinion
If you are writing a news piece, you should remain as objective as possible throughout. The intended purpose of news is to offer the reader the facts, so they can then decide for themselves how they feel about it. Stick to the facts, don’t embellish, or sensationalize anything; that is the hallmark of a good news writer and blogger.
Strive for Balance
Even if you just report the facts, be sure to get facts from both sides of the issue whenever possible. Without intending to do so, you could influence the reader’s opinion by omitting the facts from the other side of the equation. For instance, has there ever been a time where you were bombarded with news about a particular issue and formed a strong opinion just from what you’ve read, but then later on heard new information that made you go “Wait a minute! I didn’t know that, this changes the whole issue”? So, just by reporting one side (even though all of it was factual) of the issue, the writer persuaded you by just omitting facts from the opposing view. Good news writers and bloggers don’t do that.
These 3 core concepts are the foundation of every good news writer and blogger. Just because you didn’t study journalism, if you write any kind of news then you are essentially a journalist. Hold yourself to the same standards, and you will be noticed for it.
How do you reach out to the world when you’re a Japanese journalist who has been captured in Afghanistan? If you can steal away your captors phone you simple send some Tweets letting your followers know you are still alive and well.
According to PC World the reporter, Kosuke Tsuneoka, was held for five months without contact to the outside world, however when a soldier wanted to show off his Nokia N70 Smartphone Tsuenoka took advantage of the situation, showing the soldier how to use the internet on the device via Twitter.
How dumb was the soldier? He actually allowed Tsuneoka to call tech support to activate the phones internet, then allowed him to use Twitter to show him and his fellow soldiers how to reach out to other journalists. read more
When I was a Media Studies undergrad in the late 90s, I vividly remember assembling clip packets. These were photocopied bundles of my best written work that were shipped off to print media. The goal was to get paid assignments or a full-time job.
Years later, as I made the transition from print media to digital media, physical clip packets evolved into e-mails and links. Not only was it a time saver, but I saved money on envelopes and postage too.
Through the years I picked up more blogging gigs and the world was grand. Who needed newspapers and magazines anyway. The writing seemed to be on the wall: Print was a dying relic, the future of the Web bright. That still might be the case. But suddenly I have the urge to take a step “backwards” and concentrate on scoring more print gigs. Hmmm. read more
The Philippine blogosphere mourns the loss of Alecks Pabico, who was considered as a pioneering journalist and blogger in the country. Alecks passed away last Wednesday, October 7, 2009, due to complications from a serious illness.
To many, he was the kind and gentle–and sometimes singular–journalist who always had an eye out for truth. I say singular, because you can usually notice him from afar. He always wore ethnic-inspired clothing, and had Bob Marley-esque hairdo, which sets him apart from the crowd. In fact, that was how I discovered he had passed away. I saw his picture framed by his wake at the Parish mortuary just recently after I attended mass. I was surprised to learn that a fellow blogger (and a prominent one in our sphere, at that) had passed on. read more
Remember when blogs were going to be fiercely independent firebrands who, purified of old media insidery stench, would pull no punches against traditional power structures? So much for that. Today’s laptop media is shaping up to be nothing but lapdogs.
The New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell shares some tidbits about his upcoming essay for the magazine, which is all about the craft of news reporting. He should know, I guess, but it is always fun to pull stuff out of context. Like the Gawker piece nabbed from E&P Pub, which features this lovely little quote:
You can’t start blogging at 23 and call yourself a journalist.
Agreed! You’re a blogger, which you can call yourself right away then. Anyone can do it (which isn’t to say that anyone can do it well, but that’s often forgotten). read more
This story, while tragic in itself, also warms my heart. I’ve been watching it from the sideline, from the first tweet, and now this: Five editors from Sweden’s largest newspapers are taking a break from their usual roles of competition, in an effort to inform the world of the situation for Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak, who is imprisoned in Eritrea with no trial nor charge.
On September 23, 2001 he was arrested and imprisoned in connection with the Eritrean government shutting down the country’s independent newspapers.
The regime in Eritrea has never formulated any allegations against Isaak, let alone a prosecution, a trial or a sentence. In total silence, he has for nearly eight years been locked up in Eritrea’s capital Asmara.
The idea is to put more light on this topic with cross-media coverage, as well as get the readers to sign a nationwide petition. read more
There’s no doubt that the publishing industry is in very interesting times at present. It’s getting particularly tough for journalist students to land their first job, with a prominent magazine editor suggesting that they should expect to work for two years on an internship before getting a paid position.
The editor of Psychologies magazine, Maureen Rice, said that she preferred internships over work experience because they were “worth the investment” and were “very much the right way to get a first job”. read more
It’s not news that many journalists working in traditional print media are feeling the pinch, but a new survey published in Nature journal suggests that science journalism is really under pressure.
Surveying nearly 500 science journalists from Europe and North America, it found that jobs are being lost because the science sections of newspapers aren’t making money.
Conversely, it found that science blogs and web sites run by researchers are growing in number and readership, and are often looked to by traditional journalists for story ideas.
Of course there are plenty of issues to contend with when it comes to science blogging — authenticity and trustworthiness, for a start, as well as how to monetise, particularly when sponsorship and advertising could come from drug companies, threatening readers’ perception of a site’s impartiality.
Are science blogs a good substitute for the in-depth research and analysis found in the papers?
Called a Citizens’ “Press” Conference on Twitter, from 1300 – 1500 EST on December 30, David Saranga, Israel Consul of Media and Public Affairs in New York, answered questions regarding the situation in the Middle East regarding Israel and Gaza and all parties involved. Questions were submitted to their Twitter account, @IsraelConsulate and attempts were made to respond to the questions through the 140 character limit, with those requiring lengthy answers would be posted on the Israel Politik blog.
There were no rules, other than the typical “play nice” and all questions were welcome from any and all angles. While Mr. Saranga was the host of the Twitter event, I’m sure he had a lot of help from his staff at the Consulate to respond to the flood of questions.
Within a very short time, the “edited” version of the Twitter conference was posted in sections on the Israel Politik blog. They explained what they meant by “edited” as: read more