Blog Essay week 10


My group looked at the front page of the Guardian vs. the people-powered front page of the Guardian. Personally, I think the people-powered one is much more appealing. I would prefer to read about health concerns because I think that affects all of our lives versus an international news event that many people feel doesn’t affect them. The right-hand column is the BBC3 cancellation, which again affects the individual’s life far more than a political crisis. I think that if journalism adapted to this regime, people would be more willing to read news.

EJ  Chapt. 7: Journalism as a Public Forum

I’m confused as to how journalism is “paternal” because of technology. I don’t truly understand what the text meant by that description. The chapter goes on to discuss how journalism has been positively influenced by technology but spends far more time mentioning the negatives (dissemination of false information, etc.) than it did describing the positives.

I thought the discussion about wikipedia was remarkable. My high school teachers hated that we used Wikipedia, but I think it’s such a brilliant source of information that you can use as a first reference for anything you need to know. We are able to educate people about topics better and faster because of Wikipedia, and I think it’s an excellent example of citizen journalism. Yes, people update it with falsity at times, but you should not use it as your only source.

Another point from the chapter I thought was interesting was the concept of choosing sources from the extreme sides of an issue. I don’t think this brings any clarity to an issue because issues are never that black and white. You should find compromise sources as options, too.

ME Chapt. 8: Picture This: The Ethics of Photo and Video Journalism

The chapter says that pictures are an interpretation of reality and not reality itself. I think that’s complete falsity. I think that words are far more of an interpretation of reality than pictures are because, as writers, we string the words together and give them meaning versus pictures show reality. Yes, sometimes they can be an interpretation, but I do not think you can say they are always an interpretation of reality.

Perspective is absolutely important when it comes to photography. We do take information from a picture depending on how we see it. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and we can take a thousand different words from it depending on who we are.

Case Study 8-A

Identify Dilemmas: Are photos and videos of suicide newsworthy? Do the photos past the Wheaties test?

Weigh Alternatives: You could choose to not publish the photos and video at all, regardless of whether its a newsworthy event. Or you could, if you must, publish the least offensive photographs inside the paper or hidden online.

Cite A Persuasive Rationale: I would not have published the footage or photographs, even if it was somewhere else online. As a publication, you hold yourself to standards and integrity, and publishing that footage would be unethical, in my opinion. Also, it doesn’t pass the Wheaties test because that’s not what you want to see at breakfast.

Case Study 8-B

Identify Dilemmas: As a journalist, do you become part of the story or remain objective?

Weigh Alternatives: You channel your human side and help first, then once the situation is under control, you become a reporter. (RE: Miami Herald photographer’s actions with the unresponsive baby on the Causeway). Or you ignore a human situation and remain a reporter and only photograph/report on the situation.

Cite A Persuasive Rationale: You help first, and so Herbert did the right thing. You can’t forget your humanity to capture a story – period. There’s no ethical dilemma around that.

Case Study 8-C

Identify Dilemmas: Do you print the photo of a miscarriage?

Weigh Alternatives: No, you don’t print the photo or yes, you do.

Cite A Persuasive Rationale: This shouldn’t even be a dilemma. You don’t publish photographs of a miscarriage. Be a human, for God’s sake. These type of decisions are why people distrust the media so greatly.

Case Study 8-E

Identify Dilemmas: Print pictures of child abuse or no? If so, where?

Weigh Alternatives: Print the photos small in an inside page or not at all.

Cite A Persuasive Rationale: Again, unless you have an incredibly strong reason to print it, such as wanting to change public opinion, you should not publish an image like this.

Case Study 8-G

Identify Dilemmas: Run the photo? If so, where?

Weigh Alternatives: Print it on front page, print it on internal page, print it in a special edition or don’t print it at all.

Cite A Persuasive Rationale: I like what the Chicago Tribune did by printing it in a special edition. That way, if people really wanted to see photos of a tragedy, they could, but it didn’t take over and wasn’t sensationalizing the tragedy.

Ethical Issue

Since this relates so well to one of our case studies, I decided to write about the Miami Herald reporter who helped save the baby. Also, this relates to the request for a video or photography issue. Herald photographer Al Diaz was a passenger on the highway in Miami when he found himself in a perplexing ethical dilemma. A child wasn’t breathing, and the aunt was trying to get help and administer CPR. Diaz ran for help and got police, and once the situation was under control, he stepped back and took photos of the newsworthy incident for the Miami Herald. I think he handled the case exceptionally well. First and foremost, he was a human being and got help for an incredibly young life that deserved to be saved. When he did everything he could, he then took pictures. He got flack for taking photos, but he was doing his job, and he luckily did it secondary:

DQ: Do you believe that Al Diaz did the right thing?


Post Toasties test or Wheaties test: Can you eat breakfast while reading or looking at that material in the media? It’s a sensitivity test.

the public sphere: individuals have the freedom to discuss ideas or topics in public.

Argument Culture: debate that takes place on TV shows and in media is a huge part of our American entertainment/news culture.

Mina Radman


3 thoughts on “Blog Essay week 10

  1. I disagree with your comment that words are far more of an interpretation of reality than pictures. A picture by itself lacks context and leaves the reader to form his or her own assumptions. Whereas when writing, journalists can tell the reader everything he or she needs to know to understand exactly what happened.

  2. I think that Al Diaz did the right thing. As I have commented in our other group member’s posts about this issue, I don’t think that someone’s job should stop them from being a human being. I believe that most people would stop and help someone in that situation, therefore what Diaz did was normal and commendable. I also think that we should consider if it would have been appropriate to take pictures if the baby had not survived. I would say no.

    I find what you said about the people powered page of the Guardian very interesting. In my blog post, I also noted that the reason why the diet story may have been more popular is because it affects us on a day to day basis. We make decisions about our diets every single day, and I don’t think we even think about international news every day. However are newspapers trying to tell us that we should be thinking about international news every day? I think the answer to that depends on what’s happening in the world at a current point in time.

    -Danielle Lawrece

  3. I feel the same way about what Al Diaz did as I do about the case study involving the photographer helping a woman trapped in a car fire. They acted appropriately and in the moment saved a life rather than just take photographs and after the incident happened, took aftermath appropriate photos.

    I would agree with Emily to a certain degree about words having more of an interpretation of reality, however I think you’re both right to some extent. Images cannot usually stand on their own and sometimes need more than one photo to tell a story or show reality, and each image can never be published without a good caption and even a story provides more substance. I don’t agree with a blanket statement by the book saying that photos aren’t reality though.

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