Images, videos in news tell stories


Severe weather. Violent crimes. Jaw-dropping plays. Sure, reading descriptions about these things are great, but think about how much pictures and videos take these to the next level. We’re able to witness the news with our own eyes, without having to rely solely on the words of a journalist, and that’s an incredible thing. 150407-walter-scott-shooting-mn-1915_49a17602bafad4aeb9048146c298c361

Take the recent occurrence in South Carolina, for example. A man was fatally shot by a police officer, creating an uproar within the community and across the country.

With the power of video, people around the world were able to see this disturbing event in plain view. This will help the public learn the facts rather than be fed rumors, because video doesn’t lie.

Images are an extremely powerful tool in journalism. They tell a story and capture moments that we would have otherwise missed. They let us learn the truth without risk of false information. They’re candid, real and often shocking.

Without them, journalism would run the risk of being bland or uninteresting. As can be seen in the photo to the right, images are a vital tool in journalism that not only back a journalist’s words, but also significantly add to them and enhance the experience for the reader.

Social media steal the news show


While many people still watch the news each night, or as often as they can, others are far too busy to sit down in front of a television for more than a few minutes. Thanks to social media and technology, we no longer have to do this.

FullSizeRender (1)Most news sources have apps for our smartphones, and many offer the helpful “push notifications.” This allows people to receive breaking news updates directly on the home screen of their phone and thus saves people tons of time.

Personally, I love receiving these notifications almost every day. It makes it so I don’t even have to check the app itself, which, in my case, is CNN, to learn that day’s news. When I’m far too busy to read through the app, these one-to-two-sentence notifications are extremely helpful.

These notifications are also useful for learning something new. I’ll often receive a notification on a news story that I didn’t know anything about or that I didn’t know existed.

They keep me informed throughout the day, without even having to push a button. We clearly have it easy these days, but with that comes a new level of knowledge. Thanks to these advances in social media, we’re able to learn so much more about the world and about current events than we’ve ever been able to before.

Interactivity elevates news coverage


I was catching up on the day’s news recently when I came across an ingenious post at the top of an article.
FullSizeRenderSomething like this may seem basic these days, but it so rarely shows up on news articles.

Journalists have these tools that are waiting to be utilized, so why wouldn’t they take advantage of them? Social media are such a powerful platform for journalists, and incorporating social media into stories takes journalism to another level.

Editor’s notes such as this one are a great way to get readers involved and further their intake of information. Hashtags are so easily used and accessed that it makes sense that journalists include them in their work. This particular author took it a step further, deciding to bring readers’ questions to aviation experts to get the most informative, accurate answers. They’re essentially acting as the middle-man, helping readers learn even more about the subject than they would have if this editor’s note had not been included.

I think every journalist should use these powerful tools that we’re so lucky to have in today’s world to their advantage. Interactivity through social media lifts the bar that much higher in an already innovative industry — one that should be looking to improve every day.

Timeliness required in sports reporting


It’s one of my favorite times of the year in the sports world: March Madness. From the days filled with exciting games, one after another, to the upsets that shock the nation, there’s nothing better. But with this “madness” comes the need for fast-paced reporting.

Especially as the tournament kicks off and so many games are played in a row, quick, efficient reporting is essential. Much of the public wants to know the score, what happened, and who did what, all almost immediately. There’s no time to wait. In today’s world of social media, word spreads fast, and that’s what we’re used to. That need for immediate knowledge is what makes timeliness so essential today.

These days, it’s easy to find hundreds of articles about a game right as it ends. The public relies on and expects this, so journalists must deliver. The time crunch on journalists is surely stressful, but it’s necessary in such a fast-paced world, and especially during such a fast-paced event as March Madness.

So, while accuracy is obviously the most important component in reporting, timeliness follows soon after in importance, especially during this crazy month of college basketball.

Courtroom coverage is vital today


After a major crime or event occurs, speculation by the public becomes almost immediate. What happened? Why did it happen? The list of questions goes on and on. Eventually, the conspiracy theorists emerge. What if this was all planned? What if nothing actually happened?

And so on.

Then, it becomes time for the trial. The conspiracy theorists are out in full force, still trying to convince the public that they’re correct. This is where the importance of courtroom reporting comes in. Inside the courtroom, those who testify are sworn to the truth. Therefore, this is where the real facts are learned and this information divulged in the courtroom is what the public needs to know. It’s the job of journalists to report this information to the public so that everyone can hear the facts.

Granted, some trials are stricter than others, and obviously there’s some things the public just can’t know. But when there’s information to be relayed to the public, journalists should be there. This kind of coverage is vital because, as I first mentioned, speculation is inevitable following a major crime or event. The facts inside the courtroom can help put this speculation to rest. As an example, watch or read coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in federal court in Boston this week and next week.

Therefore, we need journalists to cover trials in order to inform the public on facts that would otherwise solely be speculation. These journalists are extremely important, and without them, we would be left with endless unanswered questions and theories about what did or didn’t happen.

Without research, there is no story


As I sit here working on an article for a sports website I write for, I’m realizing just how important it is in journalism to conduct thorough research. I often read articles that have only one source and/or very little information. What good does that do?

Research is vital.

The article I’m currently working on profiles an athlete and, if I wrote it only using my knowledge, I wouldn’t have much of an article at all. I’d have a few sentences at best. While gathering all of the information needed to write something like an athlete profile can be a long and tedious process, it’s imperative. So, I read information about the player on several Web sites and I conducted interviews with people who are very knowledgeable on the topic. By the time I was done with my research, I was ready to write. I finally had more than enough information to begin the actual writing process, which brings me to this current moment.

This process has made me wonder how a journalist could possibly write an article without first gathering relevant facts. And not just the basic facts that scratch the surface; I’m talking about the in-depth facts that have to be dug up from the depths of several resources. Every article needs some meat to it. Without it, the article is most likely going to be bland and ineffective in delivering the necessary information.

Therefore, an article isn’t actually an article until proper research is conducted. Journalism relies on research and without it, the industry would be practically useless.

Award shows need reporters, too


As many people probably know, the Oscars are this weekend.

This means plenty of gold statues, film talk and fancy red carpet looks. But what about the people on the other side of the red carpet? Reporters will flock to the ceremony, looking to land interviews with the year’s biggest stars.

While the focus will be on the actors and actresses gracing our screen that night,  film industry and entertainment reporters play an important role, despite what some may believe. It may not be “serious journalism,” but what these reporters do is still important. Millions of people tune in to these award shows every year, so there’s clearly interest in what these stars do and say. Who is going to deliver this information to those watching at home? These reporters.

The content of their reporting may not be all that critical, but that doesn’t make it completely useless. There’s an audience for this type of reporting, so while it may be less important than the serious news of the day, it’s useful nonetheless. These reporters are doing what reporters do: they’re delivering information about a certain subject to the public. Again, while many may consider the subject to be questionable, it’s necessary based on the high viewership of these award shows.

So, when you’re watching the Oscars Sunday evening and rolling your eyes at the reporters bombarding the stars with questions, remember that they’re your source of information for the night. They may seem unimportant and trivial, but you wouldn’t learn anything new without them.

Media need to stop talking about Kanye


Sure, journalists have to keep the public informed. But when does it become too much coverage? The media so often spend days covering the same topic, but it can quickly become uninteresting, at least in my opinion. My attention span is only so long. I don’t want to hear the same story, even with some variation, for weeks on end.

Cue the disaster that is Kanye West. Luckily, up until this past weekend when the Grammys took place, talk of Mr. West had been minimal. Then, he, of course, had to ruin this peaceful period of time by causing a scene at one of the biggest nights in music. And now, the media can’t stop talking about him.

It’s only been a few days since the awards show aired and I’m already sick of hearing about him. This just shows how fast the media need to move. When journalists linger on a topic for too long, interest diminishes. Sure, this mess of a human was interesting to read about at first, but now it’s time to move onto different news.

The media seem to be picking at anything they can to keep Kanye in the news. “Kanye West will simulcast the introduction of his new sneakers in movie theaters across the country;” “Kanye West blames Grammys stunt on ‘voices in my head’;” “See Kanye West perform for free this week” — the headlines go on and on. It makes sense — journalists are taking advantage of the Kanye hype. But there’s a point where it all becomes too much and that point is now.

Journalists need to keep the media moving; in my mind, there isn’t much that’s worse than a slow news day. And thanks to Kanye and the journalists that are seemingly infatuated with him, this week has been full of slow media days.

Privacy: Where do we draw line?


By now, most people have probably heard the sad recent news regarding Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown. While she’s still fighting for her life, her situation brings to light a highly debated issue in journalism: Where do journalists draw the line between doing their job and respecting one’s privacy?

Brown’s family has been told by doctors that there isn’t much that can be done to help her. They’re obviously grieving and attempting to cope with the grim news, but they can only do so much when the whole world watches in wonder. This is where journalists come in. From the articles I’ve read thus far, they’ve gotten quotes from family members and the police, but I have a hard time deciding if even that is too much for a grieving family.

The last thing someone in that situation would want is the public poking their noses into their difficult situation. For this reason, I believe that journalists should give privacy when necessary and/or requested. If someone wants to speak to the media, all the power to them. But I believe that until it gets to that point, if it ever does, journalists should keep their distance and respect their privacy. After all, I’m sure that’s what they would want if the roles were reversed.

Entertainment coverage is worth effort


I get notified of CNN updates on my phone, and these days, every one of them seems to be about another shooting, fire or train derailment. There’s so much violence and so many serious issues in the news, and obviously this is essential in order to keep the public informed.

But why not also report on the more lighthearted news of the day? Why not give the public a fun read in addition to the serious news being reported?

Take, for example, the recent Miss Universe Pageant. Sure, it may seem unimportant considering all other news, but is there really no point in reporting on such an event? I personally do not think so.

Entertainment reporting is so often viewed as a waste of time and energy, but in the grand scheme of things, entertainment is a huge aspect of most people’s day-to-day lives. So, just as we report on money or health, for example, why not report on this component of our lives?

After a hard day at work, someone may want to come home and read about the latest celebrity gossip to relax. Entertainment news tends to have that effect; it helps people unwind and focus on something that may not be pressing or important, but is no doubt entertaining. Entertainment news is essentially a break for many.

The entertainment industry itself is integral in our lives; it’s all around us. So, while some people may think that reporting on such topics as the latest pageant or celebrity breakup is unnecessary, I believe that it certainly has a place in the world of journalism.