Month: September 2014

Exploring gender and the media: why we need equality

*This post is an assignment for my “Journalism in a free society” course to discuss gender and the media in 2014. Keep in mind this is a surface exploration of news media’s current practices regarding gender roles and representation in the media. There’s so much to analyze here, but I have time to address only a few topical issues… Our class discussion of gender representation in the media and in newsrooms comes at a prime time. Women are fighting vigorously on behalf of women’s rights on social, economic and political fronts. And in some cases, media coverage is the only leverage they have. The #HeForShe campaign, pioneered by Emma Watson, U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, is this month’s heartiest example of a push for gender equality. Watson’s speech, given earlier this week to a group of U.N. members, introduced the new campaign using a hashtag and urging supporters to take action online. The campaign, which asks males to commit to gender equality, was launched through viral media attention. The video of Watson’s speech has over 4.4 million views on YouTube. News media from The Washington …

A new era of new journalism

*This post is an assignment for my “Journalism in a free society” course to describe what my definition of journalism is today. “This is the most exciting time ever to be a journalist — if you are not in search of the past.” –Hodding Carter III As a fourth year journalism student, I’m fond of the phrase “going digital.” In the last 10 years, news companies and independent publications have made the great leap to online platforms, in some cases canceling out their print editions entirely (i.e. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer) to focus on a new frontier. A frontier that often favors short video clips, gasp-worthy headlines and loads—and loads—of quick, accessible content. When the non-partisan American press was birthed at the turn of the 20th century, journalists fought for a voice that would educate and inform the public in an objective, timely and democratic manner. Each time society has unveiled a new news medium (the telegraph in the mid 1800s, radio in the 1920s, TV in the 1950s) it became a distraction, throwing consumers off course, challenging what they knew to be true of …

This is why we fact check

“If your mother says she loves you…check it out.” A cardinal rule in journalism. But, the importance of this rule is increasingly lost among local, national and even international media. In the last few years, newsrooms have lost funding and cut jobs–and fact checkers are typically the first to go. If history is any indication, sustaining a reputable, ethically responsible publication requires fact checking at the most basic level. Famous incidents where fact checking was thrown by the wayside (i.e. Stephen Glass and Janet Cooke) have disrupted lives and disgusted readers. I spent the majority of my summer working as a fact checker for Orange Coast Magazine. As I called and emailed sources, scoured the Internet and researched records to check everything from dates to names to the cross streets of a statue, I realized I was helping to maintain the journalistic integrity of Orange Coast Magazine. And that’s important. The Society of Professional Journalists has made it clear that the duty of journalists is to provide information in “an accurate, comprehensive, timely, and understandable manner.” The group states one …

Is native advertising responsible journalism?

Branded content. Native advertising. Call it what you will but no matter what you call it, big time news publications are giving it a go in the digital world, and they don’t seem to be stopping any time soon. I was asked to watch the comic clip below for my journalism class last week from ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ and was surprised even by my own reaction. Two summers ago, I worked for a website design and marketing company that specialized in branded content and online marketing strategies. While at the company, I was generally in awe of the creative genius that they, and other advertising and marketing companies, had set forth creating branded content and marketing campaigns for clients.  Now, as a journalism student who reads the news for homework, I’m increasingly skeptical of native advertising. As a student and consumer who’s after genuine, truthful journalism, native ads feel like trickery to me. I understand that advertisers are exercising their creative aptitude, but what good is it doing to impose on a company’s editorial content and journalistic integrity …