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March 29, 2007

Healthcare do we report the right issues???

When have you heard about health care on the news? When someone operates on the wrong leg or gives someone the wrong heart. Of course these sentenial events are all newsworthy events, but do we ever talk about the root of the problem. The corruption of between the payers and the providers that creates barriers for the best quality healthcare can provide? This is called moral hazzard and basically means that the way our system is set up creates a way for people over and underuse the healthcare system. If you have health insurance and you dont see the cost of the service.. who cares if you need it or not you will overuse the service. The doctor gets paid on a service based schedule so he also doen't care if you need it or not. Now the opposite also happens. If you don't have insurance you and you need the service you will not be able to get it because the doctor will not be getting paid unless you have money to pay for it. The other issue of moral hazzard is how much we lie to each other in healthcare. Instead of hearing about how hospitlas are not as high quality as they could be we need to talk about these underlying issues. How can you get paitents and doctors to be completly honest with each other??? we all know that we all lie sometime to our provider and they probably lie to since they do get paid for services that they provide. These are the issues that we need to talk about

article link

Is objectivity worth talking about?

Bill Kovach and Tom Rosentiel say in “The Elements of Journalism? that the first principle of journalism should be a “disinterested pursuit of truth? (p. 42). But in a discussion of terms like objectivity, bias, fairness and conflict of interest, journalism students at the University of Minnesota Duluth raised questions as to whether such qualities are achievable or even desirable in journalists.

In a Columbia Journalism Review article, author Brent Cunningham argues that one of the problems with the media’s coverage of the buildup to the Iraq War was the journalists’ devotion to the idea of objectivity (

UMD students were asked to step away from this philosophical discussion and offer some specific tangible ways this that these ideas should or should not influence how they do their work. What happens when journalists find themselves covering issues they have strong feelings about? Should they abandon these ideas of objectivity and write based on how they feel? Or, should they still strive for some kind of removed observer role as they do their jobs. Here’s what they had to say…

Midwest and News

Article link:

From the Columbia Journalism review, Michael Massing wrote “Missing Middle?. It was an article about how the Midwest is being bypassed when it comes to national coverage. He gives an example of a car show being covered in Detroit, while the big picture is the retrenchment of the auto industry. Another topic he covers is when election time comes; the region is a hot spot.

Mitch Weiss, who spent nearly twenty years in the Midwest working for the AP and the Toledo Blade says, “People at national news organizations think the sun rises and sets in New York and so, for the most part, ignore what’s going on in the heartland.? Should we have a national news organization based in the Midwest or move some of the Midwest into those organizations? Is this a problem at all?

It seems to me it’s a big problem. Who’s to say only national news occurs in the east and west? We are trying to make newsrooms more racially and ethnically diverse…why not regionally diverse as well? Different areas such as religion and education would be covered more. Both of these topics are national issues. When it comes to education, it isn’t about Ivy League schools, it’s about 2 and 4-year colleges and tuition costs. As for the Midwest being a hot spot during election time, a reporter isn’t going to know fully what’s going on in a two day stay. We need to have the big picture.

What can be learned in this specific article is we need regional diverse newsroom in national news organizations. And if that doesn’t happen, there needs to be more of an effort to cover NATIONALLY…not just the east and west coasts. What a journalist can learn and use from this one example is think from all angles and areas nationally. Aren’t we as journalists shooting for objectivity? Elections on there way again and there will be a “rediscovery? of the Midwest.

reality show; Are they newsworthy?

The article “Reality Show: News or Not,? was discussed on Romenesko at It was being debated whether or not reality shows like “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? and “American Idol? should be portrayed in the news based on the fact of them being newsworthy and whether or not one station should promote another station by reporting on its shows.
The article states that almost every news affiliate has done a story on “Extreme Makeover: Home addition.? Everyone except one, that is. WNYT ch.13, an NBC affiliate has never covered the stories. The station chooses not to air anything about the show because it is on a competing television network, ABC.
“I’m giving an honest answer: If it were an NBC show, we would certainly cover it. I’m not naive enough to say ‘no,’? NBC news director, Paul Lewis, said.
Lewis also refused to do a story about two local people making it to the preliminary round of “American Idol,? a FOX affiliate, because he did not want to promote the competing station.
I think that if local people where involved in the show, it should be covered by the local stations as being a newsworthy story. After all, it would be dealing with members of the community and, what could be, a life changing event for them.
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? is especially newsworthy because it leaves such an impact on that family and the community. Also, these shows are a pretty big deal. They are very well known and, if aired as a news story, will probably gain a lot of attention and viewers.
I understand not telling a story that does not deal with anyone in the community if it will give unneeded publicity to a competing station. After all, who wants to help out their competitors? What do you think?

March 27, 2007

Dateline vs. Frontline

Oh man! Frontline is the freakin’ intelligentest television journalism anywhere. By a mile. While the people over at Dateline are pulling the old bait-and-switch on child molesters, the people at Frontline are telling at least some of the most important stories of the day in a way that also shows viewers why they’re important.

Some of you may not know what I’m talking about. Dateline does these shows where they catch sexual predators. It’s called To Catch a Predator. No problem there. Then, as far as I can tell from the show, actors go online posed as minors, a weirdo shows up at a house rigged with cameras full of journalists and actors, answers a couple questions or runs away, only to be swiftly subdued and arrested by police.

On the predator website,, the decoy and the journalist discuss an incident in which a dude shows up to the house naked because the journalist and the decoy told him to come naked in exchange for considering some sex act. They couldn’t have revealed themselves as journalists and gotten a guy to show up naked–or at all, probably. The naked guy will get even better ratings than the pervert with clothes will draw, and I’m afraid ratings trumped ethics here.

This is debatable. There may have been no other way to get a story like this, which would justify some of tactics used, but I’ve never gotten the impression that they even tried any other way to get the story. The journalists obviously feel justified.

A cop on the website explains why it isn’t entrapment (because the cops aren’t actually involved in the investigation,) and why it wouldn’t be even if they did (because he says the predators initiate the misconduct.) Well, if it’s not entrapment why don’t cops just do the same thing? It seems to work. I have a hunch the same tactics, if used by police, wouldn’t hold up so well in court. Then again I’m not a lawyer.

Also on the website, a Perverted Justice member talks about how much his/her working conditions have improved since Dateline joined up. He talks about all the great equipment he’s got now. (Perverted Justice is, I gather, a group that hunts sexual predators.) I just hope the money didn’t come from NBC’s news budget. Maybe it’s just me that thinks there should be more coverage of things wars and genocides and immigration issues and political campaigns, and maybe they could spend some money on that.

I knew there was a reason I was talking about Frontline. The other night I saw an episode of their series News Wars. It showed how all those big mergers between Time and Warner Bros. or whatever–the purchase of news gathering organizations by large corporations–has shifted the priorities of management away from the informing the public and toward pleasing shareholders by increasing profits. Increasing profits is simple: raise prices or cut costs. Newspapers and other media outlets are decreasing cost by eliminating things like jobs for reporters. (Even though newspaper publishing is a pretty profitable game.) Now there are only three newspapers in the country that keep a reporter covering the war full time. You should watch the episode (part III) at

To Catch a Predator seems to be business as usual.

(Frontline. Nightline. Dateline. Confusing, huh? The best way to tell the difference is to take note of the way your head feels as you watch. Does your head feel like it has been so jam-packed with useful information that it will crack open and release a bunch of colorful thought-butterflies up to the heavens? That’s Frontline. Does it feel like Joe Pesci has your head in a vice while he punches you in the face with brass knuckles? That’s Dateline. I have no idea how Nightline makes your head feel.)

March 26, 2007

Blogging: Omit, Filter, or Leave Alone

Today, I would like to introduce an issue that will be long standing because of the ever-so-changing world of journalism. It’s called blogging. Has it gone too far? In a recent post from Romenesko on, there is a discussion on whether to leave, filter, or stop comments all together on blogging websites. The article gives a number of examples where comments sometimes turned “ugly, racist and violent.?

There have been some attempts to kick those offensives out, but, according to the article, Executive Editor Jim Brady says “he does not have the resources to screen the roughly 2,000 daily comments in advance.? On the other hand, he does delete them afterward and ban future comments on that issue. What should be done? Should blogs be banned all together? Should they be left alone or filtered?

I am always one to say if there is a will there’s a way. I personally think, the blogs linked to news mediums, should be filtered. That person who wants to get their strong opinion out to the public can do that by making his or her own website for people to read. Also, that person with an opinion can find way to get he or she’s point across without be so offensive. More people are willing to listen to you if you are willing to listen to them so it’s best to find some common ground.

What can be learned in this specific article is if you are going to blog, think through it first…if you want you opinion to really matter. What a journalist can learn and use from this one example is to think before publishing also. Not because of opinion, but to avoid just that. A journalist needs to try to be objective, and by not being objective he or she can be accused of being biased. More from me on Thursday….


Article link:

minority journalists

Recently there was an article from Romenesko on Poynter online about the amount of minority journalists in the field. The percentage is down from the past few years from the 2007 census. Minorities in journalism has gone down a 1/4 of a percent evry year since the past four years according to the U.S. Census beareu. Minorities consist of 13% of journalists in the field while 33% percent of people in the U.S. are minorities. What should we do to get more minorities in journalism and do you think we need more minorities? I think there needs to be more because as this country continues to be more racially diverse we need people who come from those kinds of backgrounds.

“The pressure on the industry is too great,? said ASNE President David A. Zeeck, executive editor of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash.

Still, the downward trend in minority hiring continues to trouble leaders of minority journalist organizations, who said in a news release before Monday's board meeting that they were expecting dismal results.

“Common sense dictates that unless there has been a seismic change in the last year of which we were somehow unaware, newspaper newsrooms will have reached barely 43 percent parity with the nation's Asian American, black, Hispanic and Native American population,? Karen Lincoln Michel, president of UNITY, an association of minority journalist organizations, said in a statement.

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March 22, 2007

Ethics... Check it

Our mission:
Journalists must act as a conduit of information, of unbiased nature, to citizens.

With this, there must be a code of ethics that is followed….

• They must also act independently of any institutions, whether that is the government, corporations, other journalists or any other source.
• They must work to avoid undue harm to both the citizens and the people they are reporting on.
• A fair and balanced approach must be used.
• Journalists must refrain from implementing their opinion on the story they cover.
• Journalists must be accountable for their work.
• Journalists must hold themselves to a high standard.

Aw ya, mission statement yo


Journalists should establish community by conveying information to the public.


-Be fair
-Be truthful and honest
-Be accurate
-Stay objective by not taking gifts or swaying the story in the wrong direction.
-Let the people tell the story
-Keep the news comprehensive
-Respect your sources
-obey the law

A mission to strive for as a journalist

Mission Statement: Journalists should provide/deliver information to the community that contains pertinent news values rather than shock value. The information should be compiled in the most objective, balanced, and non-biased manner possible.

List of Rules:

• Information must be gathered from credible sources
• Written in the most non-biased and objective format possible
• Everything written must be fact-checked prior to print
• Unnecessary information should not be printed (ie: Rape Victim)
• Should be written in a perspective/angle that best suits your subject audience
• Must properly attribute all sources whether print or human (personal)
• Be relevant or serve some purpose to the audience
• Avoid conflict of interest

Ethical Guidelines

Journalists should provide the public with the most important news to the best of their ability while remaining unbiased in reporting and the layout of each and every story.

~As a reporter and editor it is their duty to be aware of any personal conflicts within a story or the newsroom.
~All facts should be double checked and must be supported by more than one quality source.
~Any conflicts of interest should be acknowledged and handled in a professional manner.
~Always act professional while reporting and editing

How to be a SuperBadAss Reporter

Mission Statement: Journalists should strive to report clearly and comprehensively important information in an unbiased manner.


-Journalists should be independent monitors of power.

-Verify sources and their facts. Basic reliability.

-Their loyalty should be to the public.

-Journalists should identify themselves as journalists to potential sources.

-Journalists should emphasis the importance of the story appropriately.

-Be compassionate.

-Be inclusive of entire community.

By Kristine and Chris



Sarah H. & Kathy G.

Mission Statement: Journalists should set aside their own opinions for the community’s
rightful access to truth.

- Don’t lie. Be honest to yourself and others about your intentions in writing the story.
Try to forget your own opinions and biases while working on the story.
- Don’t abuse your power.
- Be creative but stay within limits.
- Balance timeliness and accuracy -- double check your facts, don’t be hasty, don’t
publish mistakes knowingly.
- Keep ears open to the community. What are the people in check-out line talking about?

Every good journalist should read this post

Luke Kavajecz
Mark Marette

Back up statements with facts

Try to write without bias

Double check sources, facts

Know basic media law

Respect your sources (privacy)

Provide the public with helpful useful information

Present yourself in a professional manner

Don’t deceive your sources or readers

Mission Statement:

Journalists should always provide readers, listeners or viewers with truthful and helpful information while trying to remain as unbiased as possible. A good journalist should present herself or himself in a professional manner and treat sources with respect. Journalists should not deceive sources and know important elements of basic media law.

Do's and Do Not's

Brian and Jackie’s Mission Statement:

The mission of journalists today should be to inform the general public as best they can and not try to persuade in their stories.

List of Rules:

In order to follow this mission, a journalist should:

*Provide as many angles as possible in stories allowing the reader/viewer to think for themselves.
*Write for the public and no one else.
*Pay attention to the publics feelings. Don’t pay attention to yours.
*Know your rights as a journalist.

Easy Guidelines for Journalists

Journalists should report to the public objectively.

1. Bribes should not be accepted.
2. No twists should be put on facts.
3. No false identities
4. Do not allow personal viewpoints to direct your reporting.
5. Always check facts
6. Use multiple sources to show credibility
7. Be consistent
8. Be careful with what you publish
9. Never plagiarize
10. Identify sources
11. Support open exchange of views
12. Question the motives of sources
13. Avoid conflicts of interest

Publishing the truth; ethics in journalism

Mission Statement

Journalists should be truthful, always, but also remember to be ethical. Journalists should always have their readers and public in mind. Although some scandalous material can be juicy and interesting, it might not always be ethical. A journalist should also remember that they are representing their institution that they write for and also their own reputation. Is it really worth ruining your credibility as a journalist for 10-seconds of fame? A journalist’s most prized possession is their credibility and reputation and they should always try to avoid ethical issues they feel will damage that. Journalists need to remember that every issue has a different ethical element and you can’t please everyone. Tell the truth, as unbiased as you can, and be content with that.

List of Rules

(1) Imagine yourself in that situation. How would you like it to be covered?
(2) If you feel wrong about publishing/reporting, you shouldn’t do it.
(3) Always have someone read it over/ look at it/ check it. Cover your bases.
(4) When you know it is questionable/controversial material, make sure to fact-check and cover all aspects of the story. Tread carefully.
(5) The golden rule; treat others as you wish to be treated.
(6) Don’t be afraid to publish the truth, even if you think it will cause controversy or debate.
(7) Be honest. Always, be honest.
(8) Remember rules and guidelines concerning different issues (i.e. publishing pictures of a younger child without parent’s consent)
(9) Just because someone else says it is unethical doesn’t mean it is.
(10) Make sure you are reporting on something that you aren’t involved in, it can deter your ethics and morals.
(11) Be careful where you get/find your information. Not all sources are reliable and ethical.

Ethical rules for journalism

Students at the University of Minnesota Duluth were asked to come up with their own mission statements and rules for ethical behavior of journalists. Here is what they came up with.