Week 15 presentation evaluations

This got saved as a draft! I’m so sorry it’s being posted late. Ah! Bad way to turn it last assignment. — Mina

Group 4: Their presentation focused on undocumented citizens. I liked the videos and how they focused on all sides of the issues in regard to the words “illegal immigrant” and how we refer to undocumented citizens in America. I also like how we were able to have a long and civilized discussions about the complexity of words and phrases.

Group 3: like the handouts and the presentation’s diagram of why citizen journalism is important. Very good point about how the typical news model is broken. I also really like the citizen journalism video because it was inventive and hilarious. Also like all the different examples of citizen journalism that was very beneficial throughout the years, such as Rodney King in 1991, Columbia Disaster in 2003 and 9/11 in 2001.

Group 10: Undercover reporting. I think it was interesting. Really enjoyed their video about undercover reporting and prostitution. I do think it’s an ethical issue when deciding whether a subject is worth going undercover for in terms of public value.

Group 7: I like the candy, and their topic of duty v. obedience. I think the conversation post the NY Post picture was great, but I wish they had used more recent, digital media related examples. All of their examples were either a few decades old or in print media.


Week 14 Presentation Evaluations

This week, we heard from groups 1, 2, 5, 6 and 8. I thought everyone overall had great presentations, but I didn’t particularly find anyone’s handout interesting.

Group 6’s case study focused on the suicide of a woman who was the centerpiece of a story about persistent sexual arousal syndrome. This case study was interesting because the journalist had no idea that her article would lead to this woman’s suicide, and I think the group really covered all the sides of the issue. I thought their idea to have journalists undergo psychological training was very smart and could help save lives and figure out whether stories should be published.

Group 8 talked about media coverage of courtrooms and how that hurts or helps how we think about defendants. I really like how they asked us to write down what we thought about Aaron Hernandez and Casey Anthony at the beginning. That led to a very good and thorough discussion.

Group 5 spoke about the legality of mugshots and publishing them. I completely agree that mugshots in newspapers is a very tricky area because its an invasion of privacy and doesn’t share the whole story. However, it’s not illegal. I think if we were to stop mugshots from being published then we should also stop people from being able to find anyone’s legal record on the Internet.

I believe that anonymous sources should only be used in a case where the source’s personal safety would be harmed, and that the editor should know who the person is to vet that they are real. Group 2 discussed the gimmicks of anonymous sources, and I think they did a thorough job balancing the issue.

Group 1 discussed citizen journalism and whether we can consider that journalism. I don’t think citizen journalism will ever replace journalism, but I think without citizen journalism, it would be hard for journalists to accomplish their jobs as they do now. I really liked their presentation and the display of it, as well as the unique design of their handout.

Blog Essay Week 14

EJ Chapter

This chapter discussed citizen journalism. I think it’s important for citizens to feel as though they have a voice in the media, but I worry about the media becoming too inundated with citizen journalists who do not fully understand accuracy and objectivity. Although citizen journalists provide an incredible amount of first-hand information that we could not get – for example, video of the bomb going off at the Boston Marathon exactly one year ago today – they also should not be providing all of the media coverage. Citizens are still the consumers of media, and if they feel as though there’s no reason to consume the media because they’re the ones producing it, how can a business model for media exist? I think citizens should be more consumers than contributors.

Ethical Issue


The Chicago Sun-Times disabled comments on its online stories so that it can find a system that will “foster a productive discussion rather than an embarrassing mishmash of fringe ranting and ill-informed, shrill bomb-throwing,” according to managing editor Craig Newman. This is an ethical issue because, in a way, the Sun-Times is limiting free speech. Technically, people can say what they want about stories, regardless if they want to write kind words or hate. Unfortunately, the Internet allows them to hide behind their words. By disabling its comments section, the Sun-Times appears to be halting free speech in order to make their website pretty. I don’t know if I agree that a newspaper website should have this type of limitation.

DQ: Do you think it’s okay for the Sun-Times to disable its comments section?

Class Summary

To be completely honest, I do not feel as though I took much from this class, but I may think differently after the semester ends. Although I appreciate learning and understand the ethical thought process behind decisions, and I will use what I learned in class to make decisions about how I consume media and discuss media with others in my future career, I do not feel as though much I learned in the class I did not intuitively know before. To me, the ethical topics we discussed in class reminded me why I don’t want to be a journalist anymore more so than why I do.

Mina Radman


Blog Essay Week 13

EJ Chapter 10

This chapter questions whether journalists should exercise their personal conscience when making decisions about stories. To me, this seems like common sense. Yes, journalists want to appease their editors and bosses and keep their jobs, but if their conscience is telling them to not write a story, then they should not. After all, they’re the ones who have their byline attached to the story, not the editors.

Advocacy Journalism

Before I go into each article, I want to give my overall opinion. If you’re writing about a topic with a bias view, that’s opinion journalism. If you’re writing about a topic with an end-goal in mind in terms of the change you want to create in the world, that’s public interest communications, not journalism. I don’t believe in the term advocacy journalism. I think public interest communications is the best way to define what “advocacy journalism” wants to define, but seems contradictory because journalism should not advocate anything, just provide facts and objective reporting.

Journalism for Action

I think having a call to action in articles would be amazing. So often, we hear of an awful event or situation, become emotionally involved in it, but are never given the answer of what we can do to help. I think that’s why so many people are disheartened by journalism: journalists share stories of misery and hardship but don’t tell us what we can do to help. I think the call to action isn’t a bias take on reporting – I think it’s answering a very important question of “what can we do now?”

In praise of the almost-journalist

This article reminds me of the public interest communications field. Increasingly, advocacy organizations are hiring journalists to write and report for their cause. And why not? The journalist has amazing training in writing, reporting, accuracy and fact-finding and can be a huge asset in furthering a cause. However, I think that once a journalist takes on this hat, he or she can no longer cause him or herself a journalist. At this point, he or she becomes a communications professional and a former journalist because he or she has taken on a bias view of writing and communicating information.

Ethical Issue

Let’s talk about how NBC News drives me bonkers because they always seem to stretch and bend the rules of ethics. In the latest, “Oh Jeez, NBC” moment, the network allowed president George W. Bush to be interviewed by his daughter, Jenna. I do not believe this is appropriate at all. Even if the topic of the interview was lighthearted, the network still allowed a conflict of interest to arise, and it just becomes silly entertainment fodder rather than a journalistic piece of work. I think actions like these hurt NBC News’s credibility as a network and objective news source.


DQ: Do you think famous people can be interviewed by their children if their children work for a news organization?

Blog Essay Week 12

EJ Chapter 9

I think it’s interesting that this chapter said that journalists should trust their own news judgement, not their audience’s. I feel as though journalists have forgone this principle because they want ratings, but I do think it’s an important principle to hold. This does not mean, however, that by providing the audience what they want, they’re going to lose credibility. Orlando Sentinel spent hours upon hours covering the Casey Anthony trial because people wanted the news, which could have hurt their credibility, but people still seem to trust their reporting when it comes to issues like Syria and the crisis in Ukraine.

Is CSO online magazine the future of arts journalism?

No, this is not the future of arts journalism. Journalism is unbiased. This is great communications work for a company, but this is not journalism. Journalists may be hired to write biased articles for CSO, but that does not mean what they are doing is journalism. They’re acting as content writers in this respect.

Case Study 10-B

Issues: Should a network edit an interview and remove information that could be important?

Alternatives: Either show the whole interview or not the interview at all.

Rationale: By editing the interview to the network’s desire, a reporter is not showing the truth, but rather a distorted version of it. This seriously hurts the credibility of the network. NBC News has done this several times with interviews, cutting them because of “time.”

Case Study 10-G

Issues: Can you plagiarize yourself by passing old work off as new work?

Alternatives: You delete the blog posts and tell the writer to write something new, or you accept it and deal with the consequences.

Rationale: You absolutely can self-plagiarize and I think it’s wrong that the New Yorker let the blogs stay on the website. If you are repurposing your own material, you are hurting your own credibility as a writer and reporter and the credibility of your news outlet. Write fresh material or don’t write at all.

Case Study Sports v. Journalism

I think sports journalism vs. sports entertainment is a very interesting fine line that can be seen best with ESPN. ESPN provides sports entertainment by showing games and having multi-million dollar contracts with the likes of NCAA, NFL and NASCAR. Yet, on the journalism side, they still try to report about these games objectively, but they often cross the line and seem very biased. I think the power given to sources in sports journalism is dangerous because people risk losing sources if they name them, but unfortunately, the sources have the power in these situations, and I don’t think reporters will try to argue it anytime soon.

Ethical Issue of the Week: SELF Magazine

I do not like women’s magazines for issues like this. SELF Magazine has a section called the “BS Meter,” where they basically degrade a “trend” in women’s fashion. They decided to focus this month’s issue on the trend of wearing tutus in marathons, and they called Monika Allen, creator of GlamRunner, an organization in San Francisco that creates tutus for marathons to raise money for non-profits, for permission to use her photo in the magazine without stating exactly what for. She thought they were going to highlight her organization – instead, they used it as the picture for the “B.S. meter.” Mind you, a photo tells a thousand words, and they didn’t know that, in that photo, Monika was running a marathon while undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer. This has sparked a huge ethical issue of when women’s magazines go too far, and SELF has attempted to backpedal and apologize, but I think it’s failing.


DQ: Should magazine editors reveal the true intention of use of a photo when asking for permission to run it?

Mina Radman


Blog Essay Week 11

EJ Chapt. 8: Engagement and Relevance

The big question in this chapter is whether journalists should provide readers with the news they want to read or should read. I think this is a very interesting question. Readership drives advertising, “clicks” and ratings, which provide the money needed to continue producing the news. In that logic, journalists should provide people with the news they want to read. However, that’s not the point of journalism. Journalists need to report events and the truth, even if it may not be what people want to read (i.e. war and crime). I think there’s a common ground that can be reached, and I think, after reading this chapter, that Buzzfeed is one organization that has figured out the equilibrium. Buzzfeed provides readers what they want to read through the listicles, quizzes, etc, but then also produces very hard-hitting news and investigative features. They use the former to help do the latter, and I think it’s a smart format that will work for them in the long-run.

The chapter mentioned that local news has been avoided. I think that’s because the local news shares the same stories over and over again, and to be honest, I’m tired of watching local news and only hearing who died in a car accident or was murdered overnight. I think that type of crime-heavy local news has made people weary of watching it.

ME Chapt. 9: New Media: Continuing Questions and New Roles

This chapter discussed the Internet’s effect on journalism. 

Social media

Is social media a fair tool to use for sources? I think so. You have access to a much larger pool of people on social media than you would in regular out-of-technology setting.

New roles in the industry

Yes, news is changing, and organizations have to create roles to change with it. As we saw in the movie, the New York Times created media writer positions because the evolution of the industry required a dedicated reporter on the topic. This will continue to occur as the industry continues to develop.


Who’s a journalist? I still believe that a journalist is someone who has been through training and understands facts, accuracy and objectivity. I do not trust any citizen journalist the way I would trust a trained journalist with a media organization. However, I do think media organizations are confused about this. For example, in the movie, journalists were confused about whether to call Julian Assange a partner or a source regarding the WikiLeaks stories. I say he is a source, not a partner. He is not a trained journalist.

Case Study 9-A

Ethical Issue: Was the 2012 Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act really a breaking news situation?

Alternatives: CNN and FOX wanted to get the news out fast, didn’t take the time to actually read the decision and reported an inaccurate fact. They could have taken the time to read the decision, decipher it, and report it with accuracy and clarity.

Persuasive Rationale: Immediacy should not be the primary goal in journalism, especially with a topic as complicated as a Supreme Court decision. It was not “breaking news” in terms of a dangerous situation or weather event, and it could have waited until they truly understood the decision, then reported it.

Case Study 9-B

Ethical Issue: Do we aggregate news? Is that ok to do?

Alternatives: Share the information and attribute it to the original source, or do your own reporting and ensure its accuracy by your own standards.

Persuasive Rationale: I think aggregating information is fine so long as you properly attribute the information to the original source. Due to budget cuts, it’s hard to do your own reporting on everything.

Ethical Issue of the Week

Does the White House provide reporters with questions in advance? An Arizona-based reporter said “yes,” then retracted her answer. To be honest, I’m not shocked at all if this is true. Why wouldn’t it be? It gives the press secretary the time to get an accurate answer rather than on-the-spot. As someone who has worked in PR and Journalism, I’ve heard of it happening in other situations – but you don’t talk about it or admit it, especially on social media. I hope she’s aware that she won’t get access into the White House again, more than likely.



Do you think it’s unethical for the White House to receive questions from reporters in advance of a press briefing?


spin alley: a designated space used by news media after a political event to perform interviews.

fair use: Limited and accepted use of copyrighted material.

echo chamber:  media outlets amplify or reinforce information by transmitting them from “different” outlets, making the reader think they’re receiving the information from different sources.

Mina Radman


Take Home Final Exam Case Study: Proposal

One of the biggest media stories at the moment is the trial of Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorious in South Africa. The Olympic/Paralympic is accused of shooting his girlfriend to death because he thought she was a robber.

All media has clamored over this story, but especially digital media because it’s a “get the news first” type of case. NBC News scored an exclusive interview with the girlfriend’s mother that no one else was able to get, and it was revealed yesterday that NBC News paid for the interview. In this classic case of checkbook journalism, NBC News paid $100,000 for the interview. Checkbook journalism has always been an ethical issue because, by paying for a source, it blurs the accuracy of what they say.

In digital media, checkbook journalism threatens to become prominent because people who run digital sites and news will do anything to get the news first. TMZ does it often. Last year, Gawker paid $200,000 for footage of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking cocaine. Yes, it was news, but was it right for Gawker, a news website, to pay for it?

Through my research of “checkbook journalism,” focusing on the NBC News case, I will examine:

  • Is checkbook journalism appropriate? Could NBC have run the story without that interview from the girlfriend’s mother?
  • Is this the way exclusives will be conducted in the future? Can the public trust journalism if it’s paid for?
  • Is it important to consider what other sources were available?
  • Is there ever a case where it’s okay to use checkbook journalism?

Mina Radman