Blog Post #10

Coming into this course, I was not sure exactly what I would be learning in this course. I had heard before-hand that we would be focusing on the more technical side of journalism, but I did not know what the specifics entailed. Having gone through the majority of the course this semester, I can truly say that I have gained skills that I did not possess before. I now have valuable experience in areas like photojournalism , video journalism and audio journalism. Regarding which of these areas I feel that I am the strongest, I would have to say that I feel strongest in photojournalism. I feel I was really able to grasp the idea of creating a story through still images. I enjoyed taking the photos and editing them and making captions that tied all of them together. Photojournalism is without a doubt the area where I feel the strongest.
The area where I feel my strengths could be improved upon is audio journalism. This could be due to the fact this is the area that we worked on most recently, so I an still working on grasping it. I did have some trouble operating the zoom recorder, but once I got it up and running it seemed simple enough. I think mastering the zoom recorder and other aspects of audio journalism will be something that I focus on for the final project. I feel that working in my group will help me reach my goal of mastering all three areas we have focused on this semester. I know that my partners feel comfortable with all the areas we have covered, so I am sure that when we work as a team, we will all gain valuable knowledge and skills. I feel that this final project will really go a long way in my mastering the technical side of journalism.

Blog Post #9

For my week nine blog post, I chose to comment on an interview with Al Gore. The story is called “In The Age Of Fake News And Alternative Facts, Al Gore Remains Optimistic.” Here is a link to his interview.

This interview is mostly surrounded about how Gore feels about how political and societal life can still advance in this advanced age of technology, specifically focusing on how the internet affects society. One very interesting comment Gore made was how he felt we as a society have witnessed “an erosion of the line between news and entertainment.” I think Gore hit the nail right on the head with this statement. I believe that people in society, as well as in the media, find a sort of entertaining value when they see a catastrophe on their screen. And maybe not even a catastrophe, maybe just regular news, but they see it less as a tool to inform, and more as a way to be entertained, the way someone watches a reality tv show simply to be entertained.
Despite this somewhat bleak and pessimistic outlook on our society today, Gore remains optimistic that that internet, as well as the free press, will do more to help our society as opposed to harm it. Gore said that people are complaining about the internet and social media the same way people complained about the printing press revolution. Gore clearly believes that the internet and social media are not eroding our society, but are allowing people to become more informed, and are being to become more informed almost instantaneously.
Regarding nats and ambient sounds, there doesn’t seem to be much of either. It seems to be simply a straight-forward interview, with no special audio tricks or added effects. I personally believe that if a few effects and ambient sounds had been added, this interview would gain so much more depth.

Blog Post #7

For this week’s blog post, I decided to focus on a Nov. 17, 2015 question and answer interview between Bill Simmons and President Barack Obama. The interview starts with a pretty basic and cliché question “if you could go back to 2008, what would you tell yourself?” and is greeting by an equally cliché answer “you’re going to be busy.” Then the questions become a little more complex. Simmons asks Obama if at any point during his first three years did he feel overwhelmed by the gravity of the job he was tasked to accomplish by being President of the United States. Obama reassures the reader, and undoubtedly Simmons, by saying that he had a firm grasp of the job at hand and said he was able to keep an even temperament even when he was at his busiest. Simmons does a great job at asking questions that evoke answers from Obama that humanize him, that let the reader gain a sense of what the man is like when he is not practicing his duties as president. He asks Obama about his relationship to his wife and kids, as well as his well-documented love for sports. The interview really gives us a sense as to what Obama is like as a man. This is newsworthy because we gain an insight as to how the White House reacted to certain events such as Ferguson and Charleston. We, as readers, are able to gain a glimpse into what goes through the mind of a president as he prepares to issue a statement on divisive issues such as racial violence and police brutality. One question I would have liked Simmons to ask Obama would be “Does all the harsh criticism that is flung at you ever get inside your head and affect you in any way?” I feel that would have evoked an interesting response.

Blog Post Six

TV News Segment Critique

For my blog post this week, I decided to watch was an MSNBC special detailing the life of man who is in solitary confinement.

The quality of the special was very evident from the moment I switched on to program. The prisoner gave answers that made the watcher want to know more about his life, about how he got into this position in his life, and what it is like to live in solitary confinement. The interviewer was clearly asking intelligent and informed questions. So clearly the reporter had done their homework before conducting this report. The B-roll for this segment was especially good. Even though the segment was on a man who was in solitary confinement, the producers were able to fill the spot will lively video and video that kept viewer interested. It was plainly evident that whoever edited this special knew which quotes and pieces of video would affect the audience. One such instance was when they showed the prisoner when he was playing basketball. The prisoner said that this time was especially important to him because he only gets thirty minutes a day outside of his cell. He said he didn’t even mind that he could play by himself, because it meant so much to him to be able to be outside of his tiny cell. One image and quote that really stuck in mind was when the prisoner said that everyday, the most freedom he was able to look forward to was looking outside a 1-inch crack between two walls that showed the outside world. He said that the train outside reminded him of how he used to commute home. This special was very moving and very effective. The journalistic method and the quality of the production made this a very good piece of news video.

Blog Post 4

This article, which uses the headline “Flint water crisis: Report says ‘systemic racism’ played role”, is about how systemic racism affected the town of Flint, Michigan, regarding the extremely high amounts of lead in their water supply. The main source this article uses is a 129-page government-appointed report, which says that “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias played a role in the problems, which still linger in the city’s drinking water almost three years later.”

Other sources in this article include first hand accounts that were included in the 129-page report, ranging from local residents to local public officials of Flint. Other sources used in this article are a state senator for Michigan and a spokesperson for the governor of Michigan.

All the sources provided in this article create a compelling story by creating a 360 degree view of the story. We, as readers, are able to see how institutional racism may have actually played a part in the Flint water crisis. We can see that areas where there was a larger caucasian population may have been treated differently by the government. We can see that this is certainly the opinion of the residents of Flint, which happens to be 57 percent African-American, according to a U.S. census.

I do in fact think that the sources provided in this article are reliable. In order to have a holistic view of this story, one must have the viewpoints of the people being affected by it, being the residents of Flint, Michigan. One example is of a resident quoted as saying “If this was in a white area, in a rich area, there would have been something done. I mean, let’s get real here. We know the truth.” One must also hear the voices of the people who are attempting to fix this issue, those being the ones in government trying to clean the water supply. An example of this is where a spokesperson for the governor of Michigan is quoted as saying “We have been and continue working to build strong relationships between state government and every community we serve, and adding accountability measures to ensure a crisis of this magnitude never happens again in Michigan.”

Hearing the combination of these of these sources makes the reader sympathetic for the people in Michigan, and almost angry that race could possibly play a role in whether American citizens receive help in a time of crisis. The author of this article creates a very compelling story, and the emotions that are swirled up are a product of this compelling quality.

It appears to me that the quotes and data provided in this article are public knowledge, so I imagine that is how these sources were acquired.

5 Photo Assignment

COLUMBIA — Local Food Bank Provides Opportunity for the Needy

Pantry manager of The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri Sean Ross says that working at the food bank brings him a lot of joy. This was evident by the smile he had on his face when he was helping the people who came into the food bank. After meeting all the people he worked with, I could understand why. Everyone I met at the food bank was very warm and welcoming. Even though the people shopping here were in a situation where they needed help in they lives, everyone seemed to be helping each other. You could immediately feel the sense of community when you stood in the food bank.

Everyone I met was open to the idea of me taking their photographs. They did not see me as an intruder in their world. Rather, they saw me as someone trying to learn more about their lives. It was a privilege to be able to meet the people I did, and I hope I am able to go there again.

dsc_4187Pantry manager of The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri Sean Ross organizes a shelf as two volunteers work on their own assignment. Ross had been working with the Salvation Army 12 years ago, but was looking for a change. In his new job he gets to help everyone he meets. (AP/Danny Rozen)

dsc_4181 31 year-old Curtis works to reorganize a shelf at The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. His caretaker, Omar, reads a book behind him. Curtis and Omar have been working together for years now. Curtis even refers to Omar as Dad. (AP/Danny Rozen)

curtis Curtis pushes a cart full of food good to be put on a shelf. Curtis, who has special needs, volunteers at the The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri in order to gain more responsibility and independence. He has made lasting relationships with the rest of the people he works with at the food bank. (AP/Danny Rozen)

curtisworkingCurtis continues to put food on shelves at The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. Curtis, who has been working at the food bank with Omar for years, will eventually gain more and more independence. One day he will no longer need the care of Omar. (AP/Danny Rozen)

crate Employee for The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri moves crates of food in the back warehouse. Every employee at the food bank looked very cheery and motivated. When inside the building, it felt less like a food bank and more like a community.(AP/Danny Rozen)

Blog Post #3

Four Sources regarding the Nov. 9, 2015 confrontation between MU journalist Tim Tai and MU protesters:

Source 1:

Source 2:

Source 3:

Source 4:

When analyzing the unfortunate 2015 confrontation between Tim Tai and MU protesters from an ethical point of view, and using the NPPA Code of Ethics as a guide, it is clear to me that Tai was attempting to visually report on a significant event occurring here at MU. It is clear to me that Tai was attempting to uphold the journalistic duties in the NPPA Code of Ethics which states, among other things, that the “primary role is to report visually on the significant events and varied viewpoints in our common world. [The] primary goal is the faithful and comprehensive depiction of the subject at hand.”

Tai especially exhibited great understanding for the fifth point in the code of ethics which states that “while photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.” An excerpt from a Nov. 10, 2015 article stated that when Tai was reporting on the protesters, he was met with chants of “hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go.” The article goes on to say that Tai responded to these chants by saying “I have a job to do,” to which to protesters said “we don’t care about your job.” It is clear to me that Tai was not only expressing his first amendment right for freedom of the press, but doing it in an ethical and unbiased manner.

The most troubling part of this story occurs when former MU professor Melissa Click inserts herself into the fray, attempting to impede Tai from doing his job. This is upsetting because as a professor in the school of communications, and a courtesy member of the school of Journalism, Click should have known that Tai had every right to occupy the same space as the protesters as well as document the protest.

In conclusion, Tai acted professionally and ethically in this unfortunate circumstance. When Tai was met with hostility on the part of Click and the protesters, he responded with civility and grace. When Click requested “muscle” to keep Tai away, he did not reciprocate the physicality. Tai’s actions are perfect example of how a journalist should behave in a situation such as this.