EJ Chapt. 9: Make the News Comprehensive and Proportional
I really liked the map analogy. It puts into perspective both geography and proportion. Often when I’m writing a story, I think of my audience and what they care about. I write the story for their viewing and for their understanding. However, it’s also important to give readers perspective. You can’t ignore one side of the world on a map just because you live in the other hemisphere. Just like you can’t ignore a problem going on in one part of the country just because you live somewhere else. Readers can’t always tell you what they want, but they can show you through readership and participating with a story. A reader most likely won’t say “I want to learn about prominent problems going on three states away,” but they will show you they care when they read a story about a social issue in a different states.
That’s why I think market research is really difficult for journalists. I don’t think numbers and statistics necessarily show a journalist what his/her readers want. An example is the statistic that you need 15% of your readers to read your publication front to back. Getting one person to read one story can be just as effective. I think it’s important for journalists to sit down and list their goals. What do they want to accomplish? Are they wanting more readers or a more consistent following? Are they wanting more stories that get read from beginning to in or hits on a webpage? By answering these questions a journalist can better decide what’s the best method to accomplish their goals. I don’t think any method is good for everyone.
I don’t think the CSO magazine if the future of arts journalism. I don’t think the publication can categorize itself as journalistic work. The word journalism implies independence, in and of itself. What this magazine is doing is more like public relations or self promotion. I understand why it exists and I don’t think it is entirely bad. I do think that it must be up front about the type of publication that it is so that readers aren’t deceived. Deceiving readers harms a publication’s credibility and reputation. Honesty is better than faking it.
Case Study 10-B
- Dilemmas- a criminal investigation is now underway regarding a sports legend. Sports journalists have the opportunity to conduct interviews, ask tough questions and get to the bottom of the crime. However, these reporters are often untrained in investigative work or the law.
- Alternatives-The sports journalist could’ve stayed out of the allegations and the trial. They could’ve decided that it wasn’t their place to get involved in the story. They also could’ve shown the full interview rather than editing it.
- Rationale- I think it’s okay for sports journalists to get involved in a story involving a sports legend. However, I do think there’s a line they shouldn’t cross. They shouldn’t get involved in the trial per say or the decision. They should only focus on the story and the person, not the guilt. That is for a jury to decide. By editing out that part of the interview, the journalist kept the interview focused on the interviewee and not the outcome of the trial.
Case Study 10-G
- Dilemmas-It’s problematic that Lehrer’s wrongdoings were not found until he got to a bigger paper. You could argue that he should’ve been caught much sooner. Lehrer had been getting away with fabrication for too long and defended the reuse of his work because he had written it before.
- Alternatives-The New Yorker could’ve forbid him from using old work or they could’ve questioned where he got the original material. Lehrer could’ve made a fresh start at the New Yorker and not tried to use old fabricated material under the defense that it was his original work.
- Rationale-I understand why the New Yorker let him use his work and didn’t catch the mistake. When people get to this level of journalism, it isn’t expected that a journalist would engage in fabrication. However, a smaller publication has more at stake for finding this scandal.
There are many possible ethical issues regarding the tension between sports entertainment and sports journalism. Entertainers have a purpose to entertain. They tell people what they want to hear and what makes them happy. Journalists have a purpose to inform. They tell people what they should hear and often what is upsetting. The partnership between Frontline and ESPN could become a conflict of interest. Frontline my be more interested in the investigation and wrongdoing of coaches, players and doctors. ESPN may be more focused on making those within sports sound responsible and dedicated. These alternative goals can create different types of interviews, content and readership. If I were a part of this partnership, I’d establish up front what they are trying to learn. I would make a commitment to my team to share what is found, even if it is bad. I would prioritize my loyalties and make them visible to my co-workers and readers.
DQ: What are some technical methods of tracking readership and how might the results be used to improve the publication?
Ethical Issue of the week:
Journalist fired over political ambitions
A Business Report senior journalist was fired for violating the company’s editorial code of conduct and code of ethics. Journalist Donwald Pressly applied to be on the DA’s list of parliamentary candidates for the upcoming election. Although Pressly had been open about his party affiliation, he hadn’t told his editor about his pursuits. The Independent Newspapers group executive editor did say Pressly has the right to appeal the decision. However, the executive said the newspaper hold the trust of its readers very dearly and doesn’t want to jeopardize that. I agree that this act should cause the journalist to get fired. Not only did he go against company policy, but he got involved in something which was a conflict of interest.