All posts filed under: Newsworthy

Back to basics: Thoughts on the UVA/Rolling Stone scandal

It’s been a while. Apparently taking three classes, working as a senior reporter for the school paper, pursuing an entrepreneurial project, applying to jobs and still trying to enjoy my last semester of college is one way to neglect a blog. I haven’t posted since the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January but I’m back—with quite a lot to say. An extremely cringeworthy journalism failure has just happened and I can’t help but wonder how one of the most notable culture and music publications will recover. If you’re a journalist, a writer, a college student, a sexual assault survivor, a professor, a college administrator, a politician—basically any participating member of society—you’ve probably heard about the epic misstep made by Rolling Stone’s editorial team in the reporting of a University of Virginia campus rape (the article has since been retracted). “A Rape on Campus” was published in November 2014 and within weeks major news outlets like The Washington Post were heavily and publicly questioning the validity of Rolling Stone’s reporting. It was obvious not all characters in the story were equally represented. The presence of pseudonyms …

The price of free expression

This week I made a short visit to San Francisco. I left full (thanks to all the oysters, bread bowls and Ghirardelli chocolates), tired and with a copy of the SF Chronicle in hand. On my plane ride back to Southern California, I read Thursday’s paper cover to cover. One of the opinion pieces addressing the Charlie Hebdo attacks that took place the day before drew me in. The writer mentions that Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly newspaper, had been warned by the government prior to both the recent attack and another of similar caliber in 2011 that some of their content was grounds for widespread criticism. Still, the cartoonists and journalists kept on feverishly. Most of their satires were directed at the perils of Islam. It’s no secret that Charlie Hebdo seriously antagonized the victims of their satire. In fact, “A recent cartoon depicted an extremist fighter bemoaning the ‘still no attacks in France’ and suggesting such a New Year’s resolution would be carried out by the end of January.” — published just days before the January 7 shooting that killed 12 …

On the legacy of Ben Bradlee

The journalism world lost a revered editor last week. Ben Bradlee was executive editor of The Washington Post for 26 years. He oversaw the Pulitzer-prize winning Watergate coverage by Woodward and Bernstein. He led the controversial publishing of the Pentagon papers. He transformed a daily newspaper into one of the most vital tools of democracy in this country. There’s nothing I can be more grateful for as an aspiring journalist than to have an idol like Bradlee. He established what it means to be a journalist: he sought the truth and was determined to report it. Yesterday, my journalism class participated in a phone call with Jules Witcover, a famed ‘Boys on the Bus’ journalist who worked under Bradlee at the Post for about four years and called him a friend for many, many more. Witcover said Bradlee was “the greatest of all newspaper editors I’ve encountered in 65 years in the business.” What others said… Post columnist, Eugene Robinson: “He made you understand that journalism was not a career but a mission. He made you feel that how well you did your job was …

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 …

The ethics of tragedy: MH17 plane crash

Yet another catastrophic airplane crash has killed 298 Dutch, Malaysian, Indonesian, Australian, British, German, Belgian, Filipino, Canadian and New Zealand [kiwi] passengers onboard a Malaysia Airlines flight that came down Thursday morning on the border of Ukraine and Russia. The crash site, a mere 36 hours after the incident, is already a familiar one as reporters and news crews use it as anchor images for their developing stories. One of these images, used by The New York Times shortly after the news broke, was of a young woman’s corpse at the crash site. It has since been removed. Yesterday, The Atlantic promptly addressed the issue, stating: “…when it comes to ethics—when it comes to the question of what readers actually need to know and see about unfolding tragedies. The bomb, exploding? The corpse, mutilated? The people falling from the towers? There is a fine line, always, between journalism and sensationalism. And the higher the speed, in general, the higher the stakes.” As journalists, we have a responsibility to report for the public good. Might we make it mandatory to consider—in crises …

NY Times: In defense of reporting abroad

This video is a model of superb investigative journalism by Nicholas Kristof and his team. They’re reporting on the devastating reality of 21st-century Muslim concentration camps in Myanmar and this video compilation of what’s going on there both tugs at the heartstrings and fires up the mind. Here is a column by Kristof explaining why he continually chooses to travel to and report in exotic, developing lands like Myanmar—and why he encourages American youth to do the same. His principal reasoning: “From afar, it’s often easier to see our own privilege — and responsibilities … it’s also shortsighted to insist that we solve all of our own problems before beginning to address those abroad.”

Is tragedy becoming the new beat?

It’s difficult to accept, but we live in an era of senseless violence. Horrific events such as the Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech massacres, the Aurora movie theatre shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing and, most recently, the mass shooting that killed 6 and injured even more in Isla Vista, Calif., are begging to bring to the forefront arguments involving gun control, mental illness and a slew of other issues. Journalists have always covered wars and mass deaths, but as of late, tragedy is being redefined. Tragedies have become less about where the violence occurred and in what context and more about what we can do—as progressive people—to stop this violence from happening. Massacres are becoming far too commonplace. When is enough, enough? Unfortunately, there are many who believe that these mass killings are indirect works of the media. People like this Thought Catalog blogger believe killers strive for attention and journalists give them the stage upon which to become a star. This is a cry from sects of the American public for journalists to remember their ethical standards in a time of tragedy. Journalists should continue …

A list of good journalism

Just like sports players have their ‘fantasy league’ teams, writers deserve their own list of industry MVPs. Sure, there are Pulitzer winners each year but some of the best work by the average Joes and Janes of journalism often goes unnoticed. The other day I stumbled upon an article: “Slightly more than 100 pieces of good journalism” by The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf. In the short introduction, I learn that Friedersdorf sends out a bi-weekly email containing great journalism recommendations for readers. (Sign up here). Then, each year, he compiles the pieces he’s highlighted into a “Best of Journalism Awards” list. This list has become my manifesto for good journalism. What I like most about Friedersdorf’s list is that he doesn’t interject his opinion. He provides a publication, article title, author and a short excerpt—leaving further exploration and judgement up to readers. The cool thing: No. 1 on the 2013 list? Center of the Universe, the piece published in Orange Coast Magazine that I recently blogged about. A small reassurance that I, too, have an eye for good journalism. It’s resources like this list of worthy journalism …

The Hunter S. Thompson in all of us

Before “Fear and Loathing,” “Hell’s Angels” and pioneering “Gonzo journalism,” Hunter S. Thompson was just a strapping young journalist committed to the craft. (See: Before Gonzo: Hunter S. Thompson’s Early, Underrated Journalism Career) As he is indicted into the 2014 Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame today, let us remember his humble beginnings. Beginnings that may seem familiar to many junior journalists today. Even while his career evolved into a mere caricature of his life—exuberant, exaggerated, eccentric—he began as an eager reporter. (Sadly, his charismatic character still tends to outshine his undeniable journalistic and literary abilities.) Atlantic writer, Brian Kevin, set out to chronicle some of Thompson’s earlier work to prove he was more traditional than many tend to believe. We learn that as an apprentice he traveled the Western Hemisphere churning out travel guides, straight news stories, book reviews and essays—anything he could get his hands on. Thompson positioned himself as a jack of all beats. During his time as a freelancer he experienced, absorbed, learned and practiced. What more could you ask of an aspiring journalist? And so, Kevin yearns …

The power of the blogosphere

Like it or not, blogging is becoming a seriously viable player in the news media of the 21st century. Many businesses and corporations who don’t have blogs are taking hits in ways they never expected. Individuals blog to share thoughts and ideas with others whom they may never cross paths with. Blog (noun); a website on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities and experiences. In our arguably impersonal society, blogs offer a way of relating and humanizing. They take news reporting and business handling a step further. They allow companies to relate to people. They allow world issues to relate to people. They allow people to relate to people.  That’s not to say some blogs aren’t rubbish—but it’s also to say many present valid and respectable fact and opinion. My favorite blog, Thought Catalog, blogs on issues that span the spectrum. From social issues to political issues to personal issues, all thoughts are relevant, they say. Fairly often, a Thought Catalog piece will catch my eye. It will make me think, it will inform me, it will inspire me.* Blogging is a new form of …