Blog Essay Week 10

EJ  Chapt. 7: Journalism as a Public Forum

This chapter really hit home for me. The concept of an Argument Culture explains so much. I hear it all the time that people don’t want to watch the news. They don’t want to hear people arguing and they don’t want to hear the crazies. This form of journalism has never really bothered me because I know what it is I’m watching. I know the difference between commentary and a report or fact versus opinion. The public, however, isn’t training in distinguishing one from another.

I think the Argument Culture can be beneficial if it’s properly addressed. Shows need to be more explicit with their reporting and state the obvious, whether it’s news or not. Producers can’t assume that a viewer is familiar with its approach. People tuning in hald way through can mistake opinion for fact. I believe this show description is necessary and the responsible thing to do.

I really liked the analogy that public discourse will dissolve into noise if we rely on citizens to report the news. If the news is based on something other than fact and context, the real news will get lost in the noise of everything else. The majority of the public already “tune out” news as it is. Why should networks feed viewers the kind of shows which turn them away? Why should reporters engage a viewers heart in a problem rather than his/her mind?

I believe there must be a clear separation of these types of news agencies and a clear viewer perception of what each one does. Those which are based on fact and context must maintain that standard through their choice or stories and work in reporting.
ME Chapt. 8: Picture This: The Ethics of Photo and Video Journalism

This chapter introduced a topic that I’m not very familiar with. I’m not a photojournalist and I haven’t worked much with pictures. However, the conversation surrounding the ethics of photos is very similar to the one surrounding other types of material. Where this conversation differs is in the severity and deceptiveness of editing photos. A double standard was discussed that made me wonder why it was okay to reorder words in print but not subjects in a photo. The conclusion I came to was this: words on a page are still words on a page no matter how you rearrange them, but a photo captures a tenth of a second that is permanent forever. Nothing moves in a photo or changes like in video. A close shot of someone playing an instrument in video can pan out to show that person playing a cello rather than a a guitar. A close shot of someone playing an instrument is simply that and nothing more. A viewer can’t see what is beyond that photo or zoom to see the bigger picture.

I believe that photojournalism must follow strict editing guidelines. I don’t think staging a photo is ever okay. Photos that capture a moment which may offend a viewer insult should not be used. I don’t believe in cropping out a body or removing a person from a photo. Instead I wouldn’t run the picture and I’d take another. However, there is a fine line between running a photo that insults and running a photo that educates. The mushroom cloud photo from the atomic bomb educates people about an important point in history. Although people feel different emotions when seeing the photo, they are deceived or wasting their emotion.


Do you believe it is the responsibility of the network or the viewer to determine which news is facts and which news is opinion?

Case Study 8-A

  1. Dilemmas-Problems in this case are whether or not the event is newsworthy, if it was okay for people to document, and what to do with the material which captured the event. It may not be appropriate to publish the photos in a daily newspaper or the video on the nightly newscast. Some would argue this isn’t news because people commit suicide everyday and being a celebrity doesn’t change much. Others would say he is a person of interest and committed suicide in public.
  2. Alternatives-Editors can chose to run the material at certain times of the day, they may run only certain photos or they may not run anything at all. The argument could be made that this is a private matter and published the photos is an invasion of this privacy.
  3. Rationale-I believe certain photos and video should run and certain times. A distant photo of him jumping is more appropriate than a photo of his lifeless body floating in the water. A picture of him mid fall may be more appropriate than a video of the act. Finally, he is a person of interest and he did do this in a public place.

Case Study 8-B

  1. Dilemmas-Photographing these women after an accident can be seen as an invasion of privacy. Even if they are on a public road, doesn’t mean they want photos of them taken right after a traumatic accident. The photographer can be seen as insensitive and the photo could be hard to look at.
  2. Alternatives-The photographer could’ve helped with the accident and not have taken any photos. He could’ve photographed the entire scene of the crime rather than the end, or the people helping fight the fire rather than the victim.
  3. Rationale-I believe the photographer made good decisions. He was helping fight the fire as a human being, not a journalist. He wasn’t assigned this accident for coverage but he did take a photo. Rather than photographing the car in flames of the women when they were inside the car, he tastefully photographed one women being cared for after she was safe.

Case Study 8-C

  1. Dilemmas-There are many dilemmas in this story. Should the photographer have taken the picture? Should the Alligator have included the picture in the report? Was the photo too larger? Was the opinion column written by the editor necessary?
  2. AlternativesThe photo could’ve not run at all due to its offensiveness and grotesque nature. The Alligator could’ve written the story without the photo. The photo could’ve been much smaller in the paper and not as large.
  3. RationaleI would not have run this photo. I think just as much could’ve been done through effective journalism. The photo is unnecessary and does more harm than good. It was too large in the paper and offended many readers.

Case Study 8-E

  1. Dilemmas-This newspaper published the photo of a child’s body coming out of a crime scene. The editors decided to make an exception by running the photo because it was powerful and it captured an emotional moment. They chose to put the photo in the paper which people read in the mornings with their family at breakfast.
  2. Alternatives-They could’ve decided that the photo was offense to readers and insensitive to the family. They could’ve put the photo online instead of in the morning paper. They could’ve taken a photo of the scene rather than the victim.
  3. Rationale-I would not have run this photo. I don’t see what good comes out of it. Photographing children is different and something I don’t support. I think it was insensitive to publish this photo and it wasn’t something readers wanted to see.

Case Study 8-G

  1. Dilemmas-The dilemma here is should these newspapers run the photo of a dead body. If so, when, where and how? Does the photo capture a moment that is worth sharing? Is it too soon to publish? Should it be published on the front page or tucked away in the paper and published along with other photos.
  2. Alternatives-This photo could’ve been published in the Sept. 2 edition on the 5th day since Katrina. It could’ve been published later in the month when then stories had a different angle. It could be singled out or amongst a few photos relating to the storm.
  3. Rationale-I think the photo should appear later in the month. It’s too soon to publish and it lends itself better to a story about people moving on. I don’t think the 5th day since the storm is a time to start talking about people moving on with their lives. I also don’t think the photo should run on the front page or stand alone.

Example of an ethical issue with a video or visual image – along with a three-part analysis of that issue. 

This photo ran on the cover of a local magazine. It shows two women in wedding gowns that are touching foreheads with one woman’s hand on the other’s waist. After a customer complained that the photo depicts a same-sex couple, the store covered the magazine with a blackboard. The manager said it was the store’s policy to censor any magazine if even one customer complains. After several customers complained that it was being covered, the manager removed the blackboard.


  1. Issue-People may find that the cover is offensive. Although same-sex marriage is legal in some states, it isn’t legal in others. This magazine may have been published in a state which does not recognize same-sex couples. Should the manager have covered the photo because it offended the customer? Was he right for removing the cover after people complained again?
  2. Alternatives-The manager could’ve waited for more people to complain before covering the photo. He could also have decided not to sell the magazine if it thought it would offend enough people in the store. The magazine could’ve decided to use the photo inside the issue rather than use it for the cover.
  3. Rationale-I think the magazine has every right to publish this photo as the cover. Magazines are unique in that they are published once a month and are geared toward certain audiences. I don’t think the editor would’ve published the photo if he/she thought it would offend readers. The manager should follow company polices, but could’ve waited for more people to complain before covering the issue.

USA Today Analysis

In the example of people powered journalism with USA Today, several front-page stories were replaced with other stories readers more frequently shared. At the top of the issue, a headline about Dancing With the Stars is replaced with a headline about Obama and the budget. The main article about Putin and stocks is replaced with an article about a teen who sued her parents over college funds and was denied. Everything else pretty much stayed the same on this cover. I wouldn’t say this change is negative because readers are choosing domestic stories over foreign and political stories over entertainment. Journos can adapt to this new regimen by creating a system for identifying the types of stories readers most frequently share, then using that list to select story placement.  I think this is important for maintaining readership and sparking interest in others with front-page stories.


Post Toasties test or Wheaties test- a way for newspapers and morning news shows to determine the photos or video that accompanies early morning news stories. It’s a sensitivity test for media that might be at the breakfast table. The question asks, “Does this need to be shown at breakfast?”

The public sphere: the concept for the place created by the media where the public can learn about current societal issues and events. They can also engage in public criticism and commentary. The internet is a common example.

Argument Culture: A term used to describe the way the media covers events. They focus more on polarized arguments than facts and content, which leaves no room for compromise.


Blog Essay Week 8

EJ  Chapt. 6: Monitor Power and Offer Voice to the Voiceless

Investigative journalism is extremely important but also dangerous. As watchdogs, investigative reporting is part of our role. It’s a practice journalists have been using for centuries, but it is becoming more distinct among other types of stories. I think this type of journalism requires great carefulness and responsibility. If I were reporting on scandal or exposing corruption, I’d want to verify my information over and over. My fear would be making a big deal out of nothing like “the boy who cried wolf.” I think journalists have to balance this act with extra work and consideration. They should continue to produce these stories, but should do so with caution.

Although this chapter talked about the threats to the watchdog role, I like the idea expressed by the blogger. An active community and engaged public can make this role easier for a journalist. I believe this cooperation is really important, especially with the popularity of social media. Rather than having this new technology and access to communication hurt our profession, we should learn to use it to our advantage and work with it rather than against it.

ME Chapt. 7: Media Economics: The Deadline Meets the Bottom Line

Since this blog is an exploration of the text and my struggling with it, I am going to take this opportunity to go on a rant. The challenges journalists face due to the economic struggle are very real and very scary. Every day journalists are constrained due to their editors, resources, time and money. People who are in this industry have gravitated towards it for their individual reasons, but we all know money can’t be the sole reason. With the way society is changing and the way media is progressing, there isn’t money in journalism. Of course it’s frustrating to be in an industry where we want to tell the truth and take the time to verify facts, but don’t have the time to do so. Of course it’s difficult to fairly report with biases and  influence from company ownership. Of course journalists are overworked and underpaid.

However, we must remember that being a journalist is a job and not a hobby. We don’t go into the media for fun or solely for our personal interests. We need a paycheck and a source of income. Although we may not like the pressures of the business, we have to understand that it’s a necessary evil. I might get frustrated by the demands of a company I’m working for, but at the end of the day I know it is that way because it is a business. If I’m in an industry I love, and I’m happy with my work, I’m willing to make that sacrifice. I think more journalists need to reach this conclusion and find ways to solve this problem rather than wishing it wasn’t there or complaining that it is.

Case Study 7-E

1. Dilemmas-There are several dilemmas within this case. One is the hiring of managers at a media company who don’t understand journalism outside of the economics. Another dilemma is whether or not to keep journalists informed of what is going on on the business side of the companies they work for. Finally, there is a dilemma using connections and networks for reporting when there is a conflict of interest.

2. Alternatives-Managers could be hired based on their knowledge of different parts of the company. A manager who was once a journalist would better understand the issues which can arise at a station. The news department could be completely separated from the business department, or they could be aware of things each was working on. Also, there could be more of a separation from reporting and business in that stories are never chosen based on affiliation or deals.

3. Rationale- I think managers should be hired who understand the news side of things. It’s not enough to just know the business side when it greatly affects the newsroom and the journalists. I believe journalists should know what is going on in the business department because it indirectly affects their work and the company they work for. A company newsletter would be a great way to keep everyone informed. I don’t believe stories should be based on deals or connections unless the relationship is clearly stated. Otherwise it’s deceptive and a conflict of interest.

Case Study 7-F

1. Dilemmas-Some would argue that business is business and Jeff had to be let go. Others would say he shouldn’t have gone to the community for support of his discontent. The newspaper could’ve done something other than let people go and cut staff.

2. Alternatives-Jeff could’ve stayed at the paper and fought the parent company before leaving. He could’ve expressed his frustrations another way than going to the public and getting supporters. The newspaper could’ve made cuts a different way than by cutting staff.

3. Rationale- I think Jeff should’ve put up a fight before leaving. I think newspapers benefit from the collaboration of ideas and differences of opinion. The newspaper could’ve gone in a new direction and become more successful with both people on board. I think that paper shouldn’t have cut employees. I think it should’ve made room in the budget by cutting costs from another department.

 Podcast: The People’s News: Media, Politics, and the Demands of Capitalism

In this podcast, Joseph Uscinski talks about how stories are selected and affirmation journalism. Although much thought and opinion goes into story selection, economic pressure and concerns often influence the process more than they should. Rather than always selecting stories which benefit the public, many times stories are selected which benefit the news organization instead.

However, hits and popularity of a story can often translate into economic benefit. Even when a story doesn’t tell the public what it should know, it can be fiscally productive if it tells the public what it wants to know. This is way news organizations are focusing less on the watchdog role and more on their role of serving in the public’s interest.

DQ: What are some ways a journalist can use business to their advantage when reporting, rather than fighting against it?

Ethical Issue of the week

This article is about a specific incident which leads to a greater ethical issue in journalism. When police arrive on the scene of a deadly car crash, they saw a drone flying ahead over the scene. The drone was being operated by a an on-call employee at a Connecticut TV station. Although the man wasn’t working that day and the station doesn’t own the drone, there is an ethical issue about journalists using this technology. If permission for commercial drones are granted, journalists will need to consider the negative effects of their use. The drones may bother people who become targets of the media, or provide a safety hazard. I think journalists should use technological advances to their advantage, but should always weigh the costs. Regarding drones, I think journalist could use them ethical for certain types of reporting. Covering a natural disaster is a good type of story they could be used for because putting a drone on the scene is safer than putting a physical human.


The Enlightenment-The theory of the free press was created during this time.It said there would be an indpendent voice that could monitor the influence of powerful institutions in society.

Watchdog role-the position of a journalist to keep an eye out on government, and other powerful institutions,  and see that it is doing its job. It’s a form of public service that involves monitoring.

Social responsibility of press-This was developed in the 1940s by a panel of scholars called the Hutchins Commission. The theory envisioned a day when an active recipient of news and information was satisfied by a socially responsible pres. It does not deal with the realities of concentrated economic power. Hutchins Commission report 1940.

Conglomeration- Coming together as one and losing independence. Today the media are predominantly corporate owned and publicly traded, with media conglomerates among the largest of the world’s corporations.

Consolidation-Media consolidation allows for a diversification of income. By weaning away from advertising, media companies have hedged against the vagaries of recession.

Native advertising- a form of paid media tailored to meet each individual’s needs. Content is provided in the context of each reader’s individual experience.

Kristen Morrell,

Blog Essay Week 7

EJ  Chapt. 5: Independence from Faction

This chapter completely relates to a dilemma I am having regarding my own career. I am majoring in both journalism and political science. In my journalism classes, I am taught to be objective and fair. In my political science classes, I am taught to be analytical and decisive. I am taught two very different ideologies in my majors and yet the two fields often overlap. Journalists cover politics and politicians communicate with the media. It’s important to understand the role of each player and their loyalties. The concept of practicing journalism versus being a journalist really makes sense. When I am in my political science classes, interning at the student legal center, or communicating with my political colleagues, I find myself thinking like a journalist. I am loyal to facts and I am fair to both sides. I’m always wanting to hear other perspectives and report the truth. I practice journalism even when I’m not a journalist. Likewise when I’m working as a journalist, I find myself practicing political science. I think about policy alternatives, I contemplate people’s personal agendas and I think about legality.

I think journalists can have an opinion while still practicing journalism. This chapter helped me to realize that. I always thought if I wanted to work in the media and in politics, I had to start in the media first. I couldn’t label myself as a partisan person or express loyalty to any one party. Yet I also saw great benefit in learning from the “inside out” like Safire. I have worked in a congressional office and a legal office. When I’m covering politics or law related stories, I know how to communicate certain ideas. I think this benefits me as a journalist and equips me with a unique skill and that is perspective. My perspective is unlike other journalists and that is okay. The important thing is that I tell the truth and maintain the right loyalty.

ME Chapt. 6: Mass Media in a Democratic Society: Keeping a Promise

I think the interrelationship between politics and media is inevitable yet dangerous. Some, like John C. Merrill, see this relationship as restrictive and separate. Other, like Alex de Tocqueville, see this relationship as essential and useful. I find myself agreeing more with those like Tocqueville. While I understand Merrill’s point, I think Tocqueville’s point is stronger and more inevitable. Journalists have thoughts and opinions just like everyone else. A journalist is bound to be politically active after reporting on so many important policies and legislation.

I think the two words which distinguish journalists from politicians and those who are unethical are perspective and practice. Journalists have a perspective on stories that politicians don’t. They practice verification and discovery of the truth. Politicians on the other hand, have a partisan perspective. They are on the inside working with legislation and making decisions. It’s importance that each holds their own perspective and practices their own work.

This chapter really helped me to see power more in the hands of a journalist than in the hands of a politician. I always saw the decision maker as the powerful one, and the journalist as the reporter. It’s something that has frustrated me with the industry. I get discouraged when I see a journalists as a mere observer and the politician as the influencer. Now I more clearly see that journalists are very influential in politics and in making change. The stories a journalist choses to cover, the sources a journalist decides to use and the coverage a journalist gives to an issue are all game-changers.

Case Study 6-A

1.  Dilemmas-Some could argue that is not journalism. It isn’t discovering new facts or reporting on events. Instead, it is reporting on the truthfulness of facts themselves. Some could also argue that this type of reporting is a waste of time. Facts should be verified by the journalist who is reporting on the event or speech that he/she is attending.

2. Alternatives-I believe that is journalism and isn’t a waste of time. The alternative would be having reporters verify each and every statement that is made during an event.

3. Rationale- has it’s own unique agenda which is visible to the public. People know that this news source verifies facts and tests their truthfulness. I believe this type of journalism is important and productive. I don’t think reporters have the time to always check what they are reporting. Obviously reporters need to have their own “ truth-o-meter” that is engaged when they are reporting, but they don’t always have the time or research to research facts to the depth that has.

Case Study 6-B

1.  Dilemmas-It’s hard to decide if what Assange did was ethical and if he is considered a journalist. He would illegally acquire information that was meant to be clandestine. Some of his information was leaked by top officials who violated their own work policies.  Assange informed people of corruption and events which were going on that they otherwise wouldn’t have known.

2. Alternatives-Assange could’ve only published material he acquired legally. He could’ve been more open to the public with his intent and goals. He could’ve regarded the information he was given as important to be kept secret and a threat to people’s privacy.

3. Rationale-I believe that Assange isn’t considered a journalist. Yes, he was reporting and uncovering the truth, but he did so illegally. I think journalist need to respect the law in order to maintain the system and create certain boundaries. Some information that is kept from the public is done so for security reasons. I don’t think every journalist has the knowledge or experience to detect which information is worth protecting and which is worth publishing.

Case Study 6-F

1.   Dilemmas-The journalists went against their own guidelines for using deception. They deceived the Mayor to get information and to create a set-up. They used practices which jeopardize their integrity as an institution and they violated the trust they shared with the public.

2. Alternatives-They didn’t have to solicit a forensic expert and they could’ve just reported to claims to the police. They could’ve let law enforcement break the story and uncover the truth rather than themselves.

3.  Rationale-Ultimately I do believe they did the right think, primarily because they weighed alternatives. They were hesitant to act, but they knew it was in the public interest. They were looking out for the community and the safety of other children. They had an expert getting the information and they allowed the Mayor to come forward and tell the truth.

DQ: Which is a greater conflict of interest, a journalist who goes into politics or a politician who goes into journalism? Why can’t both be independent and loyal to the job they currently maintain?

Current event

This story is about the truthfulness of a claim made by a woman who is accused of murder. The woman told a reporter that she has killed many other people before. The reporter brought the claim to his work, the Daily Item newspaper. Since the claim was made, many news sources have reported it to the public. We now know a murder suspect told a reporter she has killed many people. The public is now linking her claim to her trial and already seeing it as a confession. The problem is, investigators don’t think her claim was true. Police, lawyers, and authorities are now verifying her “confession.” Problem is, it has already been reported to the public. This is an example of journalism affecting the outcome of a free and fair trial. I don’t think reporters were wrong to publish stories about her claim, but they should also publish reports that her claim isn’t true if that’s what investigators discover.


Disinterested-the idea of being objective and interested in facts

Partisan journalism-journalism which has an implicit or explicit loyalty to one group. This type of journalism maintains the loyalty regardless of truth or differences of opinion. Also known as opinion journalism

Journalism of affirmation-This type of journalism simply compiled facts and reports what the journalist himself/herself believes to be true. It’s a kind of reporting which confirms pre held beliefs or notions.

Civic journalism- This type of journalism can be practiced by people who aren’t journalists. It’s a way or reporting facts and getting the truth outside or a media organization.

Mass media-The mass media includes all forms of communication, both professional and social. It echos the ideas and beliefs on a community.

Audience fragmentation-when consumers of a publication are in different places and divided into groups based on the wide array of media outlets.

Social responsibility theory of the press- there is a promise that the mass media will provide citizens with what they need to know to get along in political society.

Pluralism-when groups within society maintain their individual identities.

Verisimilitude- One of the criteria used to evaluate a message. This is whether the source of a message takes responsibility for the truth claims whether implied or explicit.


Kristen Morrell,

Blog Essay Week 6

EJ Chapt. 4: Journalism of Verification

As I read this chapter, I began to get a little confused. I understand objectivity to mean writing without an agenda, without bais and with facts alone. This section made me feel like working to be objective can sometimes lead to being subjective. The example of reporting on global warming was perfect. Now that the majority of scientists believe it to be true, it can be misleading to provide the contrary argument that it’s not happening. Making that observation, however, isn’t always easy, especially when we don’t have all the facts.

I think it’s hard to identify those verification techniques and know when you are actually using them. It’s easy enough to say “never deceive the audience” or “exercise humility,” but making sure you follow these guidelines seems difficult.  When a journalist edits his/her work or a producer rearranges a clip, and does so for legitimate reasons, I think it’s difficult to know when you are being deceptive. Most of the time we think of people being intentionally deceptive. Understanding your story and the topics you are covering can be helpful, but it’s difficult to know when you aren’t expressing enough humility. I don’t think people intentionally act like they know what they are doing unless they do. In a field were being curious and asking questions is essential, those who aren’t humble probably don’t realize it.

Skeptical Editing:

I think we assume journalists know what they are writing about. If we think they don’t who what they are writing about, we assume they will know when to ask a question. If we think they will know when to ask a question, we assume they will know what to ask. Sometimes journalists don’t know what they are writing about, don’t know when to ask and don’t know what to ask.  I think more journalistic training should focus on this critical thinking approach and less on speed of publication.

An editor who challenges the writer is far more useful than an editor who agrees with the writer. Personally I prefer an editor who challenges me. I feel confident in my work when I can answer an editors questions and my story can hold its own. When I’m asked nothing and my editor simply agrees, I worry my work hasn’t been reviewed.

I believe the devil’s advocate idea is great. I play this role often with friends and family. i challenge those I care about because I want them to do what’s right. If I always agreed with them and never challenged their opinions or decisions, I’d be doing them a disservice.

ME Chapt. 5. Privacy: Looking for Solitude in the Global Village

The distinction between privacy, secrecy and discretion is one I’ve always struggled to make. They are so similar and the actions one would take for one are different than the actions one would take for another.For example, information that is considered military intelligence would be kept secret by those who understand its importance. Another person, however, may see the same piece of information as government information that should be private. Information considered secret is more well respected, but information considered private may be released.

Discretion is really the difficult kind of information. A well-trained journalist will know what is secret and what is private, especially one who is familiar with media law. Discretion, however, is something everyone has and everyone exercises differently. I believe I have more discretion than most people when it comes to being a journalist but less discretion than most people when it comes to my own personal life. I think this is because I see other people’s lives as more private than my own.

John Rawls’ veil of ignorance is an ideal way to perceive the world. I just don’t know how people become ignorant in the way that they can perceive the world completely unbiased. To me, ignorance means being unaware and naive. I think it’s difficult to make yourself naive or make yourself suddenly unaware of something you are very familiar with. I think a better

Read about an ethical issue involving Coach Lute Olson: From Lute!: The Seasons of My Li, by Lute Olson, David Fisher, pp. 119-120:

On the surface, this is a perfect example of a journalist not verifying the facts. The story that was published was completely wrong and the facts were twisted. Towards the end of the passage, however, we learn that the sports editor wrote the story instead of the reporter. In this case, I don’t think it was a matter of verification, I think it was a matter of laziness on behalf of the editor. I don’t know what kind of editor writes a story with information collected by his/her reporter. The entire idea seems strange. The reporter is working for the editor and the reporter is the one who collected the information. Shouldn’t the reporter report and the editor edit?

I like his reaction to the story and the way he fought back. Journalists are watchdogs on government but they have their own kind of checks. People who know the truth can protest likes the ones in this story and the subject of a false story can tell the public it was wrong.

View Short Video:  ▶ PoynterVision: Ellen Shearer on what journalists need to know to cover drones – YouTube

The importance of understanding drones and becoming familiar with them is extremely important. The drone industry is expanding and is very costly. The word drone carries with it a particular feeling of understanding. After watching this video, however, I realized that there is more to drones than I thought. There are many different types of drones, each with different purposes an capabilities. This is important when identifying a drone so that you label it correctly and understand how it is used.

Check out privacy on your own computer: MAXA Tools – Privacy Test

This test revealed a lot of information that I didn’t know was so easily accessible. It reminds me of just how important cookies are and how they affect your web results. I’m not necessarily worried about this information being available, but it is good to know that it is. In general I think people aren’t so much worried about the information they know people can see, they are more worried about the information people can see that they don’t know.

Case Study 5-B

Micro Issues

  1. I do believe journalists should use information gathered on Facebook as part of the reporting process. The information is public and is visible by the rest of the community. I think the guidelines should revolve of how far someone has to dig to get the information they are using
  2. Although I’d rather strategic communication professionals not use information from Facebook, I understand how useful it can be. If acquired legally, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be able to use it.
  3. I think the rules for professionals and strategic communications professionals should be the same for average Facebook users. What is visible to the public, can be used by the public. What is only visible to friends, should only be used by friends

Midrange Issues

  1. I believe information posted should be the property of the person posting it. While Facebook owns the website, it merely owns the platform of communication, not what is said.
  2. An employer requiring a drug test and an employer using Facebook to get information are two different things. One is testing the employee to see if he/she has broken the federal law. The other is bugging into his/her personal life
  3. I believe it should be possible to delete yourself from a social networking site. If you were the person to post your information, you should be able to remove it.
  4. I don’t think Facebook should be allowed to sell information to third parties. They should make their profit from advertising. They shouldn’t solicit information just to go and sell it to someone else.

Macro Issues.

  1. I believe the op-in basis is best for everyone. It allows the person to understand the terms and conditions that apply to him/her, it allows the company like Facebook to establish its polices, and it clears and gray area between the two.
  2. Stalking, bullying and identity theft should be prevented by Facebook. It should secure its communication platform. However I believe law enforcement should be the one to monitor the site.
  3. I don’t believe government should archive information from social media sites. It’s not the job of government nor is is official. I consider this an invasion of privacy.

Case Study 5-C

Micro Issues

  1. I don’t believe these finances should be treated the same way. A contribution is an outward reflection of someone’s opinion and a salary is an outward reflection of someone’s worth. Opinions should be protected.
  2. Ethically, however, it makes sense that the public should know where money is coming from for a candidate. Money makes a big difference in these government elections and the public ought to know the source
  3. I think a candidate should be able to contribute however much money as he/she wants to the campaign. If it’s his/her money, they can do with it what they want. Who are we to say that they can’t help themselves.

Midrange Issues

  1. Covering campaign finances has its own rules and regulations which should be closely followed.
  2. I believe this can lead to guilt of association but not always. It depends on how the connection is made. Not everyone supports a candidate because they agree with him. However, sometimes that is the case.
  3. Yes they made the right decision. The information was private

Macro Issues 

  1. No i don’t believe they should have to. News corporations are private and do not need to report these findings. The only case I’d say this should be required is if the federal government requires every station.
  2. Political views are an opinions or belief relating to government. Although money is an outward reflection of this, I don’t believe it has the same protection.


What kind of guidelines should a journalist employ when using discretion?

Current Event

This article is about an invasion of privacy. The CEO of AOL was talking to the media about health care and his reasons for reducing 401(k) benefits for some employees. He referenced two “distressed babies” that cost a million dollars each. The mother of one of those babies said her family’s privacy was violated because they were singled out. She didn’t believe he needed to identify which families were more expensive and she felt he wasn’t sensitive enough to the topic. I agree with the mother. I don’t think the CEO had to identify these families in order to make his point. It’s an invasion of privacy because the cost of healthcare for the child is something the parents would rather keep between family. I get that Obamacare has changed the situation and healthcare is now part of government. However, I still think sensitivity should be used when discussing these topics.


Harm Principle-People have a desire to maintain trust, which is a central positive goal for protecting privacy.

false light-Not every state recognizes this.

discretion (as it relates to journalists)-the intuitive ability to discern what is and is not intrusive and injurious. A journalists’ gatekeeper between that information a source reveals and a public that might need the information or merely want it.

objectivity (as it relates to journalism)- The call for journalists to adopt objectivity was an appeal for them to develop a consistent method of testing information-a transparent approach to evidence- precisely so that personal and cultural biases would not undermine the accuracy of their word.

false equivalency

 Kristen Morrell,

Blog Essay Week 5

EJ Chapt. 3: Who Journalists Work For

This chapter really hit the nail on the head. The question of who journalists work for is one I find puzzling. It’s what makes this industry so different from others. As a journalist myself, I do see readers and consumers as my customers. They are the ones using what I produce. However, it’s my boss and the news organization that I have to please. My allegiance is to my customers, and my paycheck comes from my boss. Making the two happy at the same time is quite challenging. I think their happiness can go hand in hand when you view the relationship with your readers as beneficial to the relationship with business. The book says “rather than selling customers content, news people are building a relationship with their audience based on their values, judgment, authority, courage, professionalism, and commitment to the community. Providing this service creates a bond with the public, which the news organization then rents to advertisers.” (pg. 64)

Not only does the journalist have to answer this question, but so does the employer. They have to decide who they want their journalists remaining loyal to. I saw this first hand when I interned at a local TV station. There was definitely a segregation between the news people and the business people. The business people have to understand that the journalists work for the community in order for good business to occur. This mutual understanding is imperative for a cohesive news organization and good journalism.

ME Chapt. 4: Loyalty: Choosing Between Competing Allegiances

The social contract discussed in this chapter is one I have encountered many times in my political theory classes. Like the author points out, social contracts are ever-changing, exist between different groups, and create a loyalty between people.

The debate about journalism as a profession somewhat confused me. I don’t quite see the difference between saying “I am a journalist” and “I work for the Gazette.” I think this is because it’s difficult for me to separate my values from my work. If a journalist values truth, and as an employer I value my paycheck, won’t I aim to tell the truth and receive my paycheck? I understand that journalists have more responsibilities than most professionals, but I think there are other careers out there which demand the same. For example, the military demands that its men and women put country before themselves. Journalists are supposed to put truth before money. I believe journalism is a profession and its one which requires people who are good at balancing their values with the values of their profession.

Use Bok / Potter in discussion about loyalty in your decision-making with these three cases:
Case Study 4-A

I do believe Barrett violated the Freedom Communications’ social media policy. However, I don’t quite agree with the policy itself. I think prohibiting someone from posting something that could indirectly hurt the corporation is very broad. Instead I think it should say “directly” hurt. Barrett’s personal Facebook page should be his own property. It’s one thing for Freedom Communications to monitor an employee’s social media and ensure that the employer acts reasonably. It’s another to have a say in what the employee posts on his/her wall. I think journalists have a life outside of their jobs. They should have the freedom to do and say certain things on their own time. I think what makes this scenario especially different is that Barrett simply posted a link to an article. He did not state his opinion on the matter at all. If he had, I think the news organization could’ve had more reason to punish him as an employee.

Case Study 4-C

I think it’s important for journalists to understand that their jobs and personal lives sometimes overlap. What a journalists says on his/her personal website or social media account can sometimes be viewed as news coming from a news source rather than information from a journalist who works in news. These are two very different things. I think a journalist can distinguish which platforms are for work and which platforms are personal. On a work platform, they can have a professional picture and byline saying who they work for. They can create settings which require approval and review of comments in order to ensure professionalism. On personal websites, a journalist can say “This is the personal page for…..” If Schlesinger had been a freelancer, this wouldn’t have been an issue. I understand why his editor felt he was scooping the organization. Now that journalists have a way to communicate to the public once they leave work, it’s possible that they can been their own news organization to the punch. I think Twitter is an appropriate place to promote a story and be a journalist. But there does need to be guidelines set and a discussion of these polices within the news organization. I believe in preventing the problem before it occurs. A news organization with strict social media policies should inform the potential employee before he/she is hired. In accepting the job, the journalist agrees to these principles.

Case Study 4-D


I believe Luce had a responsibility to tell her editors about her relationship with Schenck when one of two things happened: things became serious, or it was becoming a conflict of interest. When things become serious, it’s obvious to you, your partner and everyone else. It’s best to just come out and say what is going on so there is no confusion. When it starts to become a conflict of interest she should also tell her editor so that together they can decide how best to handle the situation. I think the more specific a code of ethics can be, the better. It leaves less room for interpretation and helps people to know what is and what isn’t okay. In this situation it’s good that the journalist felt a moral obligation to tell her editor, despite that fact that relationships hadn’t been discussed in the code of ethics. I think public perception of an ethical problem is relevant because it creates additional problems. The sooner you inform the public and give them the facts, the less likely it is that they will assume something other than the truth. In this small community, certain ethical polices are ineffective. In communities like D.C., for example, a code of ethics is necessary for the effective functioning of the people.


What other jobs can you think of that have the same loyalty, professional struggles that journalists have? How do people in these careers combat the issue?

Ethical Issue

This ethical issue is about female journalists being attacked for writing about controversial topics or having strong opinions. The video says there are more woman journalists than male journalists who get attached. Social media has made people easy targets. When a reader or consumer doesn’t like what a journalists has to say, they can very easily let them know. This is not okay. A journalist should be left alone in his/her personal life.

Vocabulary: Social Contract / loyalty (as it relates to journalism) The social contract is a theory established by Thomas Hobbes. This Theorist believed that loyalty was an act and the agreement allowed people to form a “social contact.” This contract is the basis of political society. Journalists have a social contact with the community, but their loyalty is often divided. Some of their loyalty is given to the news corporation they are working for.


Kristen Morrell,

Research Essay Proposal

Cara Chiaramonte, Amber Dawson, Kristen Morrell, Jonathan Czupryn

Our group has chosen to conduct our research essay proposal on the same issue we discussed in the previous essay proposal blog post. We will look into a journalist’s role in ensuring a free and fair trial while remaining loyal to his/her primary role as a communicator of news/information. We have discovered several court cases that relate to our ethical issue which we can thoroughly analyze. Along with the Aaron Hernandez case and the case of Casey Anthony, we can look into the Jodi Arias trial and the George Zimmerman trial. The cases of Richard Jewell and Alex Rodriguez will also be helpful in researching this ethical issue.

        An article from Business Insider discusses Jodi Arias’ interview after her guilty verdict was read, which included her saying she wanted the death penalty. News organizations were more interested in the opportunity to interview a convicted killer than in justice for the victim and a fair trial for the defendant. Our ethical question is “is the interview worth harming a case?” Regardless of one’s opinion on the death penalty,  potential jurors have access to this information. If they had seen the article, it could’ve caused an issue during the penalty phase retrial that is set to begin in a couple of months.

        One of the most publicized cases of the past year, the case of Trayvon Martin’s death, is a great example of how journalists can sometimes face the issue of storytelling versus ensuring a fair trial. NBCUniversal was even sued by Zimmerman’s camp for editing a 911 call which painted him negatively to the public. Pressure from publishers to meet deadlines and compete with other media outlets may have been to blame for this and other similar incidences.

        Examples like this article on tie our ethical issue to the issue of citizen journalism. Bloggers with no official news affiliation have access to the internet and can share their own opinions regarding popular matters. Occasionally, a blogger can be very persuasive and lead readers to believe everything that’s said is true. This can lead to difficulty finding an impartial jury. Even with a jury sequestered, it is never guaranteed that the jury won’t see and be influenced by opinionated blog posts. We do not see a great alternative to the issue of bloggers, since bloggers are not always real journalists. Perhaps, if the government issued stricter guidelines for bloggers and held them accountable for more of what they post online, the issue of deceptive bloggers could be mediated.

        A good example of fair journalism in this case is one that addresses both sides of the issue and focuses on getting all the facts. This piece from the Tampa Bay Times includes contradicting witness accounts as well as character descriptions of both parties involved. Since there is objective information that covers both sides of the trial, readers can make their own final decisions about whether or not they think George Zimmerman is guilty, rather than having the media make the decision.

        A case study of Richard Jewell and the 1996 Olympics could be interesting. Jewell was the man suspected of planting a bomb during the 1996 Olympics when he in fact he had only discovered it. The media portrayed him as the suspect despite not having any evidence. He sued several publications, but his image was forever marred by the media. This video has many clips from 1996 which can be used to discover how or if there have been any changes in the field of journalism regarding our ethical issue. One thing reporters at the time could have done to combat this ethical issue and meet the deadline is publish more about how there are no true suspects while still having reporters do a background check into Jewell. Reporters can act like police investigators in a sense by ruling out suspects and sometimes finding new ones.

        Through the analysis of these specific cases and by exploring various alternatives to the way media covered them, our group can tackle the ethical issue of the media not allowing suspects of crime the benefit of the doubt and a fair trial by posting one-sided articles. Below are some of the cases we have looked into so far. We will include additional case studies for the next project. 


Richard Jewell Case Study:

The power of the media is often illustrated through its blunders. In the summer of 1996, the aggressive and unrelenting force of the news-starving journalists dragged an innocent man in the mud and set him up for consequences he did not deserve.

        Richard Jewell, who worked as a security guard during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, discovered a pipe bomb in Centennial Olympic Square. Jewell helped disperse the crowd near the bomb in order to minimize its effect. Although two people died and several more were injured, Jewell’s proactive actions prevented many more from the explosion.

        However, after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution revealed that he was actually considered a person of interest by the FBI, Jewell was no longer viewed as a hero. Now he was seen as a culprit. The media speculated that because Jewell was a “lone wolf” and a failed police officer, he must have planted the bomb.  Jewell was never placed on trial, but he did face a media trial of his own. The controversy led him to dole out several lawsuits to publications that implicated him in the bombing without any evidence.

        The journalists who ran with the story of Jewell being the bomber wanted a great story, not necessarily the truth. Having a failed cop and single man try to create a hero situation for himself by planting the bomb is such a bizarre scenario that it generates a huge following. Because the situation occurred at the Olympics, which implies a worldwide following, the news outlets should have been less focused on trying to uncover a story that wasn’t there and more focused on the facts. The media failed to realize that simply linking an innocent man with a terrorist attack can scar his reputation for life.

        If I were covering the bombing, I would try to go outside the box. While the other publications and outlets are hounding Jewell for interviews and hounding the FBI for more information on him, I would have done more coverage on actual suspects of the case. Rather than continuing to beat a dead horse, I would’ve explored who else would have motive and try to connect the Centennial Olympic Square bombing with the others across Atlanta.

        After Jewell was officially acquitted, publications started to realize the implications of their actions. Jewell was suing for defamation and financially hurt many publications. There is no doubt that each organization which took part in the witch-hunt of Jewell changed its policy on covering crime. Because no one wanted to get sued again, each organization stuck more to reporting the actual events rather than getting caught up speculating and forcing someone to be a suspect.

        The following links summarize and analyze what exactly the role of the media had on Jewell and what could have been changed to avoid the situation.


Alex Rodriguez Case Study:

        The steroid era of baseball left a scar on the sport and the players who have been accused or suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs. Once on top of the world, players like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire have fallen from stardom and a possible shot at entering the Hall of Fame to forever being known as cheaters. But the case of Alex Rodriguez is much more messy than any PED case the country has ever seen. And with the sensationalized sports media in today’s society, organizations like ESPN and the New York Post have polluted Rodriguez’s trial with large amounts of biased coverage.

        Every publication or TV organization is concerned with its audience. They want every reader or viewer, and they will do most anything for a higher rating. By pounding the notion that Rodriguez is a no-good cheater for 40 minutes of a 60-minute program, ESPN ensures skyrocketing ratings. But what about Rodriguez’s trial? It’s not a criminal trial, but does the pervasive coverage of Rodriguez and the overwhelming opinion that he’s guilty affect the result of the case?

        The media was already introduced to the steroids conflict before Rodriguez, so we believe it should have done a better job handling the process. Journalists covering the issue reported accurately that he was named in drug reports and by trainers. But many did not dig enough to find the entire truth. Once they heard the rumors, most reporters ran with the idea that Rodriguez was guilty, despite the lack of hard evidence. Rodriguez is now the most villainous man in sports because of his accused actions and how the media handled it. The media could have prevented the frenzy by limiting its coverage and preventing speculation.

        If we were covering the case,  we would be concentrating on finding hard evidence. Rather than continuing to interrogate the trainers who claimed that Rodriguez took PEDs, we would try to follow the paperwork until there was no trail left. By reporting the trail went somewhere or even nowhere, we would have added to the story with legitimate facts rather than giving our opinion of him.

        There was already proof Rodriguez took drugs before he joined the Yankees, but he is now vehemently denying that he took any in New York. There are no positive test results proving he did the drugs. The following links give more insight into the case and reveal the hectic coverage behind the case.,0,1431346.story#axzz2riR2OhPW


Aaron Hernandez Case Study:

        Similar to the Rodriguez case, Aaron Hernandez is being affected directly by the media coverage to his murder trial. However, unlike Rodriguez, Hernandez is awaiting a criminal trial that includes a jury, which Hernandez’s defense said may now be poisoned by the amount of media coverage.

        Hernandez, a former Florida Gator and tight end for the New England Patriots, is charged with murder and is awaiting trial. Although he has not been officially convicted, his lawyers are saying that the amount of coverage that not only sports media but also news stations have devoted to Hernandez will directly affect the outcome of the case. Those under trial in America are innocent until proven guilty, but the media has portrayed him as the guilty party already. In fact, the University of Florida was very quick to remove Hernandez’s plaque commemorating his time with the Gators as soon as the story began making its way across the nation.

        ESPN and its programs are still inexperienced in handling crime stories like the Hernandez case. Instead of covering Hernandez like it did with Tim Tebow, ESPN could have dialed back its coverage on air. On SportsCenter, anchors would encourage any and all “analysts” to give their opinions on Hernandez despite no knowledge of the situation or Hernandez as a person. Over covering someone like Tebow is bad for the world of sports media, but at least it does not endanger a criminal trial. ESPN could have handled the case with more class and experience instead of worrying just about ratings.

        If I were covering the Hernandez trial, I would have prevented any non-essential reporters from throwing in their opinions about the case. When covering an event or game, you want to interview experts in the field so the public can get a better understanding of the behind-the-scenes information. Asking random guests on a national television show about a highly sensitive topic only promotes ignorant debate that poisons potential juries.

Kristen Morrell,





Blog Essay Week 4

EJ  Chapt. 2: Truth: The First and Most Confusing Principle

I really liked this chapter. It helped me to better understand the philosophical debates going on in this book. When reading previous chapters, I’ve struggled to see why so many people can’t come to one conclusion. I’ve also struggled to see why it’s so important we have one conclusion as opposed to different opinions. In the chapter “What is journalism for?” I felt that one purpose was unnecessary to define. Just like everyone has different reasons for studying what they do, everyone has different reasons for being a journalist and different ideas as to his/her purpose.

The Robert McNamara and Pentagon Papers example helped me to understand the difference between truth and facts. Although the press accurately reported what McNamera said, it didn’t report the truth about what he knew. The Hutchins Commission explained this perfectly by saying, “It is no longer enough to report the facts truthfully. It is now necessary to report the truth about the fact.”

Now that I understand this difference, I’m torn in my convictions. On one hand, I still believe a journalist can’t be responsible for fact-checking everything he/she reports or for investigating the story top to bottom. There isn’t enough time or resources. On the other hand, a journalist should be reporting the truth and has the duty to decide what that truth actually is. I think a balance can be found between these two ideologies. Verification and synthesis seem to define that balance. Like the book says, “for truth to prevail, journalists must make clear to whom they owe their first loyalty.”

ME Chapt. 3: The Quintessential Struggle pp. 61-62

This section focused on the main concern I expressed in last week’s blog. I talked about the relationship between journalists and PR practitioners and their different perceptions of news. I understand why the two careers have differences in opinion, but it bothers me sometimes. I wish journalists could see more events as newsworthy than just those that are breaking news. I wish PR practitioners could be more neutral and accepting of negative publicity. As a journalist, I find myself wanting to cover stories that are considered newsworthy by both types of people. I see the importance of covering breaking news and I think it’s necessary. When something happens that is shocking, controversial, timely or impact full, a journalist should inform the public. Likewise they should cover news that is isn’t necessarily breaking or urgent. Positive news is just as important as negative news.

I think striking this balance is extremely difficult. It takes someone who can understand both sides to have the motivation to report both types of news. I find myself in the middle, but not all journalists do. I often feel silly for wanting to report “feel good” stories or stories that aren’t critical. I’m concerned that when I get work as a journalist, this struggle will become very real. Not all editors have the same news judgement as the reporters beneath them. I hope to have the courage to pitch stories of all types in the work world.

Case Study: None this week.

DQ: What clues should a journalist look for to determine if the facts are the truth or not? With deadlines and events occurring every day, how can we be careful to report the truth and not the facts about the truth?

Ethical Issue of the Week:

This ethical issue is about a Cincinnati man who was charged with fatally shooting his daughter. The article discusses the case, some facts and the current status. I think it’s interesting that the father, and suspect, was denied a temporary release to attend the girl’s funeral. At first I thought it was okay for him to be denied because he is a person of interest. After reading more of the article, I learned that the family actually requested his presence. Funerals are a very private thing, and I understand why his denial was news. However, how much should a journalist pry into this family’s life? It seems like the family has had several legal battles before. Although journalists want to report on the crime, I feel that they are digging a little too deep. It’s important for journalists to determine what facts the public needs to know or should know versus too much information.


“Bread and circuses”-a superficial means of appeasement. An offering that is meant to pacify discontent or divert attention.

Edward Bernays-known as “the father of public relations.” He orchestrated the commercialization of a culture. For example, to promote ivory soap he set up a national  small-sculpture panel that for a few years oversaw soap-carving competitions.

Truth-This is a concept that is seemingly too complicated  to pursue. There are different levels of truth. Journalistic truth is a sorting-out process that takes place between the initial story and the interaction among the public, newsmakers, and journalists. It is a continuing journey towards understanding. Functional truth helps us all operate on a day-to-day basis.Overall, truth is a goal to make what we know less false.

Objectivity- Our contemporary understanding of this is mostly confusion. “Presenting the reader with enough information to make up his or her own mind.”

“The world outside and the pictures in our heads”-This is a comparison created by Walter Lippmann to define public opinion. The “world outside” is real enough and yet it is so vast and complicated that humans can’t see it as it is. The “pictures in our heads” are real enough to help us make sense of the world and comfort us.

Construction of reality-there is no single ‘reality,’ rather a range of definitions of ‘reality.’ Reality presented from by the media is not a picture or reflection of ‘reality,’ it is a constructed interpretation of reality.

Synoptic-Presenting or talking the same or common view. This can also mean a summary of the principal parts

Synoptic Gospels-The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke in the new testament are referred to as these. They include many of the same stories, often in a similar sequence and in similar wording.

Rashomon Effect-Contradictory interpretations of the same events by different people. This is a problem that arises in the process of uncovering the truth. This term comes from the movie Rashomon because four witness’s had different accounts of a raper and murder.

Kristen Morrell,