Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Resource Corner

Yes, it feels good to be back. But it's been hard getting out of "breaking news mode" and back into the habit of pitching more in-depth story ideas.

Thank goodness for helpful, seasoned colleagues. While pitching an education interview, Tracy put me onto the National Conference of State Legislators, and its Issue Areas page is now listed under My Favorites.

The page is essentially a portal to all sorts of public policy issues under debate in state legislatures. And while skimming to find something to supplement the pitch I made earlier today, I also came across a number of other issues that will likely serve as springboards for future pitches.

So have a looksie. And make sure you say "thank you" to Tracy.

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Posted by Veronica Marché at 10:02 AM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Question of Judgment

News judgment. It's one of those elusive concepts that we young journalists seem to spend a hefty amount of time trying to grasp. What is it really? In Fundamentals of Journalism, we learned that a newsworthy story had at least a few of six specific elements, but those elements become difficult to recall when trying to find stories to pitch, or when figuring out what this hour's newscast should lead with.

Hell, those elements are hard to remember while crafting blog posts.

As I ponder this, I wonder if news judgment is a matter of perspective. And whether young journalists have a harder time deciding what makes news because we're so used to our older editors and colleagues making the editorial decisions.

Is it that, because of different life experiences and frames of reference, our idea of "news" differs from those whom we work under? Is there really any "correct" news judgment, or would the nightly news, the world report and the latest headlines look different if younger journalists, minority journalists, women journalists were calling the shots?

When it really comes down to it, is judgment not just a matter of perspective? If so, then who's to decide right from wrong?

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Posted by Veronica Marché at 1:58 AM | link | Tell us what you think [1]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Here we go yo, it's Vandy on your radio

What? Your radio isn't perpetually tuned to NPR?

Well, just in case you missed Thursday's edition of News & Notes, our very own Vandy was a panelist on the sports roundtable. The crew talked about all things sports, including Tiger, the Olympics and even O.J. Mayo. Here's the link to Vandy's segment.

Scroll to minute 2:56.

or minute 6:17

or, shoot.... Just listen to the whole thing. It's only 12 minutes.

Good job, Vandy! We see you polishing your radio game!

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Posted by T Dot at 5:01 PM | link | Tell us what you think [3]

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Pulitzer prizes announced

Here's the list of deserving over-achievers!

Check them out, here.

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Posted by Aaron Morrison at 1:50 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Monday, April 07, 2008

Passive aggresive editors, newsrooms: not good bedfellows


I think I've just experienced the first breakdown in communication between me and an assistant editor. This person (we'll call it Shaqwueetah) clearly has bottled up a lot thus far in the semester and has just unleashed it on me, via email.

Passive aggressiveness. Never really been a big fan of it. So when I received the email, which included a laundry list of things that Shaqwueetah felt I was doing wrong, I laughed.

Why? Because many of Shaqweetah's listed items were petty and offered no productive suggestions as to how I might make good on the sins that I've committed this semester.

As the head multimedia editor, I've assumed that most of my assistant editorial staff had figured out that in journalism, being an editor means taking charge with often very little direction.

Oh, but not Shaqwueetah.

Here's a snippet. (If you know me, then you know I had to respond to each listed item.)

6) I have no guidelines to edit multimedias. Producers have no guidelines for producing them either, despite promises you made at the beginning of the semester to hand out something you and Josh put together regarding this.

You have your experience. That is your guideline. That's the beauty of having three and four heads editing multimedia work. Each of us is going to take a different approach at editing, which means we're going to have varied styles of work on the site. That's what distinguishes our work from other college publications that do the same thing over and over. That's why we win awards for our site. It's because WE all bring something unique to the table. Just a note: in each producer's folder there is a document called "Producing Multimedia Stories." That's the document Josh and I put together, that you claim is not available to producers. A "MANUALS" folder also includes a Soundtrack Pro tutorial, an [X]press style guide and a Movable Type manual. So, no I'm not really sympathetic to producers who haven't figured certain things out thus far in the semester. Do more research before you send me another email like this.

So anyway, I've just resolved that some people will be difficult to work with no matter how hard you personally think you are working to prevent breakdowns like this. I'm by no means perfect, and I gladly accept constructive criticism. But not like this.

And over email...geez. I'm glad I didn't pick up the phone and respond. Had Shaqwueetah said something crazy, I may have had to get ignorant.

(Not productive, I know.)

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Posted by Aaron Morrison at 12:02 AM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Friday, April 04, 2008

Tale of Two Stories

I'm feeling some kinda way even though I know its just me being bratty.

So, I busted my hump last week (before I went on vacay) to bang out a story on the 40th Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I know you're probably thinking: MLK? In Rhode Island? Err?

Well, I'd pitched the story -- a look at how MLK has impacted the current generation and how his legacy is holding up -- a while back. Somehow, it got lost in the shuffle and they assigned another great reporter to do the story. Turns out MLK visited RI 3 times and, of course, he went to school in Boston. So it's not that far fetched.

Anyway, I hear about the reassignment, my boss lobbies for me, and the reporter (who had no clue I'd pitched the story first) and I work out a plan. We decide to do two parallel stories -- I'll focus on the young people and he'll focus on the civil righters who are still alive.


So I report, write and gather audio. The whole time, wires are crossed downstairs (codeword for "main newsroom"). Chaos ensues. (Okay, maybe not chaos, but some serious miscommunication.)

No one knows when the story will run - Sunday or today. No photographer shows up for my assignment at a local elementary school. My boss tells me to write like it's running Sunday. I'm amped because I know that with this much copy, they have to give us good play. Downstairs is concerned because there is no audio to go with the stories. I cull through my digital recorder files and hand over usable bits to them. They are grateful. I ask about getting a photog over to the elementary school to take some pics of the kids. I hear nothing back. In checking with the school to get the ages of some kids, I learn that a photog indeed, is at the school and is taking pictures.

Great! I think.

I leave to go on vacation and check the Web site online.

There is no audio. There are no pictures of multicultural children. From the placement on the Web site, I can tell the story did not get great play.


When I get into the office, before I log onto my computer, before I check my messages, I go an dget a copy of the Sunday paper. I look on the front for my blyine. I look inside. Nothing. I turn to the local front. There, above a story about a Curves for tattooed women, is my story about MLK's legacy.

I take solace in the fact that I did a story about MLK in Rhode Island and did it at least fairly well. I hear through my editor that the other reporter's story is going to run on the anniversary. The Web producers tell me they'll launch all of the audio on Friday. I smile and nod.

Today, when I picked up the paper, I felt like I'd gotten slapped in the face.

The anniversary was the A1 centerpiece.

The story, admittedly, was great. I enjoyed it. But I couldn't help but feel a pang of envy that this story got such great play (and the benefit of my audio in the package) while mine was relegated to the local front.

I'm not saying my story was as good as his, or as relevant. I'm just saying. I felt some kinda way because of the way the two stories were treated. I may not have any basis for this, but I know it's messed me up today something serious.

It's just kinda like, man.

That sucks.

*Kicks an errant can in the office*

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Posted by T Dot at 5:36 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Damn, if he didn't just take the words right out of my mouth!

For you journalism students out there:

If I ever meet this kid, I'm buying him a beer and a shot of Jameson. He's said everything I've ever wanted to say about j-school. You'll just have to read it...

But here's a snippet of what Sean Blanda wrote...something that I've come to realize, as I get ready to graduate from j-school:

Any change must come from the students. Change costs money and insulating yourself from it doesn’t. And considering the industry doesn’t know which way is up, does it make financial sense to invest in something you don’t know will be there tomorrow? I am not defending this mindset, as I think it’s the plague of any entrenched institution. But I can understand why a college would be the slowest body to change. Any innovation is going to come from the bottom up, and not the top down.

Many professors know that they have to adjust the curriculum to help the students, but they are several years (sometimes decades) removed from the newsroom and job search. I had a teacher say “You guys should learn this new stuff, I won’t have to, of course, because I’m on my way out.” (Then he may or may not of cackled and ran off).

I would venture that the majority of professors are introduced to new technologies by the students, not the other way around.

Preach on, my "brotha!"

Read the full blog post here.

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Posted by Aaron Morrison at 5:35 PM | link | Tell us what you think [1]

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Rainbow of Talking Heads

If the New York Times is reporting it, then it isn't just my imagination -- networks have been pulling in a noticeably more diverse crop of commentators this past year.

The Times suggests the Techicolor shift could be attributed to the presidential race, what with its black and female candidates and their courting of the Latino vote.

Whatever the reason is, here's one newswatcher that's thrilled about it. For the first time, I've been able to look at the television and listen to people who are saying exactly what's in my head. It's a welcome change from becoming frustrated at so-called "experts" who, really, in most cases, have no idea what they're talking about -- especially when it comes to issues of gender and race.

(I remember last year when several networks had all-white, all-middle-aged panels talking about Don Imus' comments and the implications of hip hop. Maddening.)

My personal favorite in all this: Roland Martin. Hits the nail on the head every time. And leaves everyone else without a leg to stand on in the process.

Some say the diversity isn't enough, that TV needs more, and you know, that is true. As Aaron mentioned a few posts ago, there's still a noticeable dearth of color in terms of actual reporters and journalists on the ground. But I am glad at where this is all starting. Let's just hope it continues well past the November election.

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Posted by Veronica Marché at 8:19 AM | link | Tell us what you think [1]

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Nuh uh, You can't tell me nothing

I'm going to take this time to apologize in advance, because I'm about to get ignorant.

So, I walk into the office this afternoon to find out that apparently, I'm doing a good job. Two of my stories were selected as finalists for the Rhode Island Press Association Awards!

Big deal? To me it is.

I have yet to win any journalism awards since all the hoopla happened at Hampton a few years back. (Not hip to the situation? Google me.) So ever since I got to Providence in October 2005, my goal was to get an award, just so that I wouldn't feel like the highlight of my journalism career came while I was in college. Depressing thought to think it all goes downhill from there, right? Right.

I remember talking to my girl, Jessie, last year when she won some press awards in Florida. Awards aren't everything, she said. Yeah, I replied, but they're still nice.

Now I get some of my own. So I'm amped.

The thing is, I don't know if I actually won-won, or if I'm honorable mention. The way the Press Awards here works, they give you the names of the finalists and then they announce your ranking at the ceremony, which will be on May 2. Either way, I'm taking it as a win and hopefully, there will be plaques involved.

Please believe I'm going to update my resume on May 3.

Anyway, just in case you missed the stories (which oddly enough, I blogged about right here on Ten95) the two stories up for awards are:

InDepth Feature --- A Job With Heart and Sole, Feb. 2007 blog

and Spot News ---- Mother Guilty of Killing Child, Oct. 2007 blog

Alright. Got that out.

Guess it wasn't as ignorant as I thought it would be, huh?

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Posted by T Dot at 6:50 PM | link | Tell us what you think [3]

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