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


4 thoughts on “Blog Essay Week 11

  1. Good – NYT film?
    Week 10 is last week I will put down a number as an evaluative metric. Just making notes in comments from now on.

  2. I don’t think it is unethical to do this, unless it is in fact being hidden from the public. I think the public has a right to know that this is going on. Additionally, even if the public does know I think it is a bad idea altogether. I don’t see the need for this type of behavior because officials should be ready to answer whatever questions they receive if they are leaders of the country. They should be prepared for anything.

    I’m interested in what other topics you think are focused on in local news all the time. I completely understand the crime topic because I believe all agree that is too overplayed, but I can’t seem to think of anything else that is repetitively discussed.

    -Danielle Lawrence

  3. I agree that local news stories are often recycled and become redundant. However, it is the job of a city reporter, education reporter, local government reporter to find new angles on routine stories and make them interesting to readers. The county budget needs to be reported on, so find a new angle to make it interesting. For example, to show how severe budget cuts are in an area, take a behind-the-scenes look at a department that lacks funds and must bring in supplies from home to get through the work day. Or show the impact cutting a past program due to budget cuts has had on a community. There are tons of ways to make routine stories seem less redundant.

  4. While I don’t think a journalist should have to give their questions beforehand to the White House representatives, I don’t think there’s any other way you’re going to get an interview. It’s unfortunate. A lot of the time I have serendipitous questions that come up while I’m talking to a source, usually about something they said I didn’t know about or wanted to know more about. By giving questions ahead of time and strictly following that, follow up questions aren’t possible. I agree with Danielle that the public should know this kind of questions exchange has happened and the politicians had time to prepare.

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