Kennedy and changing TV journalism


With the JFK assassination 50th anniversary upon us today, many people are looking back on how this event has shaped history. One thing it did change was the way Americans watched TV for news.

It is said that through the coverage that CBS broadcast about McCarthyism in the 1950s, this was the rise of broadcast journalism. But the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 also made a large impact and marked the point when Americans began to get most of their news and information from television.

From the time there were reports of the first shot fired on that fateful day to days later when the funeral was broadcast live, Americans were focused on their television sets. Until this event, on-going live coverage of a major news event had not happened.

Broadcast journalism has evolved in the sense that now it follows the subject from the beginning to the end. Reports are a narrative now. It became the most accessible medium of news. (Until the Internet came to play, however.)

Kennedy had won the hearts of many Americans by using the television. Since TV was becoming more of a commodity for everyone to have in their homes, people were more in tune with Kennedy and his family and they were more aware of the Kennedys because of the images the TV provided. During the Kennedy/Nixon debates, for example, in the 1960 campaign for president, more than 70 million viewers were tuned in and this is around the time when people in the U.S. were purchasing their first television sets.

When people look back on the assassination, what is mostly remembered are the images that TV had provided at the time, which includes the youngest Kennedy child, John Jr., saluting his dead father during the funeral procession.

The arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald and his assassination by Jack Ruby was also televised that weekend. It was the first time a murder had been televised live to the nation and world. Something that was new to the world at the time.

News has always been about immediacy and accuracy but, after all this happened, it soon became more investigative and thoughtful about the events that were occurring.

These series of events would also shape coverage of the Vietnam War later in the decade as well. The advancement of technology continued to grow and the maturity of broadcast journalism did as well. It became more known that televised news was a more profitable news medium and this was the start of the decline of print journalism.

Broadcast journalism is what helped bring the American people together during that time of despair and has continued to through history and the present.

China cracks down on foreign reporters


Reporting news in China has always been a sticky situation but even more recently, there has been in influx of rejected visas for foreign journalists who report within the country.

Even journalists who have worked in the field for years in China are now receiving rejections towards renewed visas. This is forcing people who have been living there for their journalism profession to leave and find new jobs elsewhere.

This issue is also forcing many journalists who have not had their visa renewals rejected to reconsider how they report news. Most have decided that they need to take part in self-censorship, but is that really reporting the news? There have also been reports of death threats towards foreign journalists who are reporting things that are not necessarily agreed with by citizens of China. This can also affect how journalists report news with accuracy.

Local citizen journalists have always been restricted in what they report. Freedom of the press in China is very limited and it has been known that foreign news coverage has always had more freedom to report than Chinese journalists. But nowadays it is becoming more evident that both foreign and local reporters are becoming one in the same.

During the past 10 years, many Western media companies have increased their coverage of China. Companies like The New York Times and the BBC have created blogs strictly dedicated to the country. This investment reflects China’s growing significance as an important country in international affairs. China requires attention from the media. But as a result, this has given China more leverage over the foreign media than it once had.

One of the main reasons for this type of crackdown on foreign coverage is that China does not want the world to know about the relationship its big business and politics have with each other. In the end, it’s all about money. But it is argued that in doing so, China is harming its ties in foreign affairs. If China is kicking out journalists from other countries for unfriendly reporting, it causes those countries to question China’s relations with them.

As China gains more wealth, it is becoming more and more apparent that other things, like foreign news coverage, do not matter because the Chinese leaders know they have leverage over other countries. This is bad news for journalists who have ties in China when it comes to reporting.

War zones dangerous for journalists


The bodies of two French journalists were returned to France on Tuesday. They had been kidnapped right after conducting an interview on Saturday in Mali.

Both reporters worked for Radio France International and they had been interviewing a Tuareg rebel near the town of Kidal.

Because of France’s decision to intervene in Mali, the French military secured the area around Kidal, which is why it was thought to be safe for the French journalists.

Both were shoved into a car by four men and were found dead soon after.

An Italian journalist was returned home safely recently after being abducted as well.

He is La Stampa’s war correspondent and entered Syria in April. He had been kidnapped for months before finally being released.

It has been reported that Syria is the most dangerous place in the world for journalists. The government has expressed their opposition towards professional journalists, citizen and international alike.

According the Committee to Protect Journalists, 32 journalists have been killed and at least 12 abducted in Syria in the past 12 months.

These kinds of things happen all the time with journalists. War zones are an extremely dangerous place in general, but journalists are at times targets. This can be traced back throughout history and it only seems to get worse.

With this being said, why do journalists continue to go overseas to these overly dangerous areas?

It is simply this: the world deserves to know what is going on in these war zones and it is a journalist’s job to do so.

Personally, I don’t know how these reporters do it though. I don’t think I could ever have the courage to do so.

Being that I would like to become a photographer after college, I have been asked if I would be interested in doing war photography. The answer is no because of these tragedies that occur in these countries with internal conflict.

Journalists have to be strong people in order to report about things of this nature, but actually having to go to the place and live there for long amounts of time in order to get the story takes a large amount of bravery.

I look up to the photographers who go over to these zones of conflict and take pictures of what’s going on and I have nothing but respect for the ones who have lost their lives.

Press regulation in UK could spread


There is an argument going on right now about whether or not press regulation in the United Kingdom is going to destroy journalism or actually prevent journalists from abusing their jobs.

Supporters of the charter say that the press in the UK has failed in self-regulation and that this new charter will be the answer in keeping journalists in check.  The charter includes a number of penalties for when journalists do something they’re not supposed to.

I have read that some people think this charter is a blessing in disguise because it is the best way to keep the government fully off the press’ back. It is a shield that is preventing a full regulation that could for sure affect how journalists do their job.

But many journalists in the UK are angry. There is a battle between the journalists who are for and against the charter. There are some who see it as a compromise with the government, but the others are very angry because they were the ones who were involved in implementing it, instead of stopping it.

I think this is in a way a violation to freedom of the press. Journalists have always had the right to regulate themselves. I understand, however, why they are implementing a charter to regulate and watch over the journalists. In 2012, the UK had incident in where multiple high profile cell phones were hacked by journalists and that is completely wrong.

After reading about this, I was also reminded of Princess Diana’s death and how the paparazzi were a big part of it. I’m sure the UK is just fed up with interference from journalists.

What needs to be watched is that the charter does not abuse their power and take things too far by implementing laws that really do violate journalists’ freedoms. So far it’s borderline, but it can easily be taken to another level.

I also have to wonder if other countries will take a similar route. What if it becomes a domino effect? The U.S. could be next. There could be a charter here as well regulating the press.  The UK has always been known to set a standard. Perhaps this is just the beginning. This could possibly be the future for ALL of journalism around the globe.

Twitter hires first head of news


Twitter just made a big move by hiring Vivian Schiller, NBC News’ chief digital officer, as its first head of news and journalism partnerships. She also has had prior experience at CNN, The New York Times, and National Public Radio.

Schiller will be the person who connects Twitter to prominent news organizations. Twitter executives have been saying for months that they want to help media companies distribute news and now they have the right person for the job.

It is also said that she was hired due to the fact that there have been complaints about Twitter’s Board of Directors being mostly made up of white men. Her hiring adds diversity to the company.

Twitter has been hiring a number of prominent people to be heads of other departments like music and sports.

I get the feeling that this is just another step towards social media taking over journalism. A head of news and journalism partnerships at a social media company is already very different from how social media have been operating in the past, not to mention the fact that high profile people, like Schiller, are leaving their high profile jobs, like at NBC, to work there.

I also feel that this is a strategy for Twitter to be on top of all other social media sites. If Twitter is hiring people to make stronger relations with other companies, then that means it will have the support from multiple diverse organizations.

Journalism is a important part of society, and if Twitter is taking that leap to make it a prominent part of their site, then it will be more widely used by people.

eBay founder starts digital news site


Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay and billionaire, announced that he is prepared to fund a new news organization that will promote what he calls “serious journalism.”

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar wants to fund a news organization designed strictly for "serious journalism" (Photo by Joi Ito, Flickr ).

eBay founder Pierre Omidyar wants to fund a news organization designed strictly for “serious journalism” (Photo by Joi Ito, Flickr ).

Omidyar says that he wants to create a place where journalists are able to “elevate” and are allowed to “pursue the truth.”

The goal is to make a new organization like CNN and The Washington Post, but to be founded on different principles. Investigative journalism is his main concern for this all-new, strictly digital site and he says he is ready to commit $250 million.

A journalist who is ready to jump on board is Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald is leaving Britain’s Guardian newspaper, where he became an important figure, so he can join this new online site.

Jay Rosen, professor at NYU, who has spoken to Omidyar about the project, seems supportive. He announced the news of the online site to his students and they were excited because most of them do plan on eventually getting jobs in journalism. This new site could provide many jobs for journalists looking for work and whom are interested strictly in serious journalism.

I think that this whole thing is a great idea. I’d love to see a new news organization rise, especially one that is strictly digital and that is steered towards investigative journalism, which I believe is some of the trickiest journalism.

I’d also like to see more jobs for students who are just getting their start in the journalism world. Mostly because I am a student myself and finding jobs nowadays is a nightmare.

But, I’m slightly skeptical on how well this new site will actually do. Since journalism has taken such a hit these past few years, I’m doubtful that it will become the next CNN or MSNBC. These big organizations have been around for so long and it’ll take time before this new one can catch the eye of the general public. Hopefully more important figures hop on to the production of this project and everything runs smoothly.

Here is a link to Jay Rosen’s blog with more information on the matter:

White House makes reporting harder


It has come to the attention of many that the Obama Administration has been much more strict when it comes the information that is released to reporters. Information about the government is under a strong lock and key.

It is even said that the Obama Administration has been more secretive than the Bush Administration.

Many people have been suspected of leaking classified information to journalists. The Insider Threat Program was implemented to watch for people like this. They have been subject to lie detecting tests, surveillance while at work, the retrieval of emails and other harsh forms of investigations.

It is argued that this is an invasion of privacy and that Obama Administration is taking it too far.

Public officials have been much more resistant to speaking to reporters. People in the journalism field have been complaining profusely and The Committee to Protect Journalists conducted an examination of the U.S. press freedoms. They decided to do this because of the rising number of prosecutions and seizures of journalists’ records.

I believe that there is a fine line that both journalists and the government shouldn’t cross on both ends of the spectrum.

Of course, national security is a serious topic that needs to be respected, especially after events like 9/11. But the government also cannot withhold too much information about the U.S. Citizens have a right to know what is going on in their country.

I think it is wrong that the Justice Department is secretly seizing phone calls from the Associated Press and then wrongly prosecuting many people, which includes many journalists.

It is a journalist’s job to report this information. They are only trying to do their job. Journalists need to continue to fight for their rights to know as much information as possible. I suppose the next step would be for journalists to push a revision of the investigation techniques that have been used to stop leaks.

Meter model is newspaper’s best bet


The Dallas Morning News recently had to take down its paywall for online digital subscribers because it turned out that it wasn’t doing as well as managers thought it would.

At first, publisher Jim Moroney stated that the paywall would only hinder the paper.

That was in 2009.

After putting the paywall into effect in 2011, Moroney then stated in 2012 that the paywall was “very satisfying” and that it drew many subscribers in the first year. In May of this year, Moroney decided to input a meter model, like the one that The New York Times has previously adopted. This is where a certain number of articles are available for free but then after the monthly limit is reached, readers must pay a subscription to see additional articles.

As it turns out, the copy-cat attempt flopped.

In my opinion, it’s interesting to see how newspapers are having to adjust to the digital age. Since print newspapers are not doing as well as before in creating revenue, newspaper companies have to find new ways of gaining income.

What this paper did wrong was that it input a hard paywall that barely allowed articles to be seen for free and THEN put a model meter after.

Other papers are struggling with this same dilemma. Paywalls seem unreasonable,  especially when there are ways of getting news for free, but when it comes to these small papers, they have to make sure some type of money is coming in for their online news services. I agree that paywalls are completely necessary for the journalism world these days. Unfortunately, these smaller papers are not The New York Times and have to be more efficient to maintain their profits.

Other papers need to just follow what The New York Times did. It’s a much more larger and more popular newspaper. They set the standard for every other paper, in a sense.  Constantly changing the strategy of your online newspaper’s website is not a good marketing idea.

Original article found here:

The rapid decline of the photojournalist


As time goes on, it is becoming evident that there is a decline in professional photojournalism. Even more recently, there has been a shift in the videographer field as well.

Because of technology and the rapid pace at which it is created, there are many more commonly named “citizen journalists.” These are people who capture newsworthy photos and/or videos on the street and send them to news organizations.

Another problem for photojournalists/videographers is that the people who are submitting images and videos don’t necessarily have the initiative to get paid. For any news company, this is a gold mine because, in contrast, a photojournalist would be paid for his or her services. So the potential of free services of these citizen journalists is highly desirable.

News organizations are not doing as well as they once did. Staffs are much smaller now and saving money is key for managers. Why hire a photojournalist when they can just get one of the reporters to take their own pictures or when they can get submissions from these citizen journalists?

This is a huge blow for someone like me because I am currently studying photojournalism. Recently, I discovered that my major has been taken out of my school and has been merged with the journalism major. This is so that writers and reporters will learn the craft as well. This drastic change is a reflection of how the business is changing and that the need for photojournalists is declining.

One of only things that can keep some of these citizen journalists from being too popular in the news industry is validity. How can a newspaper or news channel be completely certain that the submissions they are receiving are real? This is one of the reasons why I argue that there is still a need for photojournalists. I also argue that great feature photography is something that amateurs will never be able to recreate. A photojournalist is taught to have a certain eye for capturing images. It is a learned skill whereas citizen journalists may have just been at the right place at the right time.

Getting a job in the future is definitely going to be a challenge for people like me. The jobs in photojournalism may be dwindling but I feel that photojournalism will always be extremely important.

Crossing the line when posting


The National Rifle Association is attempting to get a journalism professor dismissed for tweeting that the navy yard shooting was their fault.

David Guth, a professor at the University of Kansas, tweeted “#NavyYardShooting The blood is on the hands of the NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you.”

David Guth's tweets after the Navy Yard Shooting.

David Guth’s tweets after the Navy Yard shooting (Screen capture by Shai Fox Savariau).

Kansas State Rifle Association’s President Patricia Stoneking said that Guth should not be allowed to teach.

Stoneking said “The KSRA will do everything possible to see to the removal of this man. He should be fired immediately. His statements are outrageous,”

“Any person with such a vile and contemptuous attitude who has influence over our children as a professor does should be immediately fired.”

Officials at the University said that Guth’s tweets do not reflect the views of the university.

In later blog posts, Guth wrote that he did not regret writing these things and that he is prepared to be criticized by others.

I don’t fully agree with how Guth expressed his feelings via Twitter. I am a strong advocate of freedom of speech, but speaking out about how the NRA’s sons and daughters should be hurt next time there is a mass shooting is not the way to get your point across.

As a journalism professor, I believe Guth does have a duty of showing that he can express his opinion in a way that’s not attacking another group of people. Speaking out and inciting violence on the Internet, which is not a private place, is not the civil way of expressing yourself.

I think that as journalists, we have to carry ourselves in a certain way. A big thing for a journalist is to report news without including bias. Yes, Guth’s tweets and other blog posts were just him expressing himself about the navy yard shooting. But, he could have written his distaste for the NRA in a way that wasn’t so gruesome, in my opinion. Even outside of work, Guth has that duty to carry himself with poise towards any breaking news situation. Even on the Internet.

Guth is also a professor at a university. Being that I am a college student myself in a journalism program, I can relate to this situation. I would not appreciate knowing that a professor of mine was writing such harsh things on the Internet.

Teachers of any kind need to be very careful of what they post on any type of social media. It can be seen by anyone and since teachers are responsible for the shaping of younger minds, it is important that they don’t encourage these types of violent responses from their students, especially journalism students.

Guth’s students will be on a job hunt very soon and if they are exhibiting the type of behavior that he showed on Twitter, then it may be a challenge for them to find a position.

Social media can be a very powerful tool but it must be used in a way that won’t offend others.

Original article can be found here: