Tag: journalism

Protesters rally against Dutton’s policy on refugees

Protesters rally against Dutton’s policy on refugees

I made a video on this news story for Dscribe. It’s available here: http://www.dscribe.net.au/2018/04/03/protesters-rally-against-duttons-policy-on-refugees/

I wrote a review of ‘Love, Simon’!

I wrote a review of ‘Love, Simon’!

I uploaded the review to Deakin University’s news website Dscribe. I’ll have multiple stories on that site and each time one gets uploaded I’ll put a link to this blog.


(Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

Feature Story Mini-Review: ‘Men Behaving Badly’ by Lisa Mitchell


An interesting, politically challenging (as I am a woman) piece about how men cope with divorce, with a good human-interest angle that makes the hook work to draw the reader in. Multiple informative sources are used from experts to regular men affected by the issue, finding a perfect balance of human-interest and factual components. The quotes themselves are engaging, showing a clear sign of excellent interview questions. The statistic about women initiating divorce 64 percent of the time is from a reputable source in the form of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, adding credibility to the story. The story uses mostly simple language, making it a breeze to read. The repetition of the words “handshake” and “hug” gives the reader a sense of satisfaction by the end of the piece, working like bookends to contrast how men have changed after getting the support they need.

Feature Story Mini-Review: ‘What a Fraternity Hazing Death Revealed About the Painful Search for an Asian-American Identity’ by Jay Caspian Kang

I’ve decided to post short reviews of feature stories I’ve read for my Feature Writing Class. Some of these I wrote for that class but in the future, I plan on uploading reviews of my own accord.

A fascinating story that had me hooked from the attention-grabbing title to the sobering and poetic ending. I kept on reading because the hook succeeded in making me want to find out more. The structure was so satisfying that it made me continue reading even after my biggest question (How did the death happen?) was answered. The story uses relevant sources such as the people responsible for the death at a fraternity hazing as well as the mother of the deceased man. Most of the interviewee quotes revealed interesting information and even the silence of the people who refused to be interviewed spoke volumes about the intersections between race and attitudes towards crime. This is further highlighted by the brief insights into the journalist’s own life, such as when he mentions how he told someone that “if [he] had been charged with murder, [he] would have faked [his] death so [his] parents wouldn’t know.” However, these insights illuminate the story rather than distract from it. The story has a good mixture of facts and human-interest components.

How much should journalists care about the impact of their news?

How much should journalists care about the impact of their news?

[Logos from WSJ and Youtube]

You may have heard about the YouTube monetisation fiasco. If not, here are some examples of YouTubers talking about it.

In short, certain YouTube videos have been demonetised or blacklisted because advertisers are boycotting YouTube. Why are these advertisers doing this? Because of an article in the Wall Street Journal about an ad appearing on a video with hate speech in it.

Now, because of the paywall, I’ve been unable to read the full article, but that’s not really what I want to talk about. I want to use this issue as a stepping stone to discuss whether a news organisation should consider the impact of their article before posting it.

On the one hand, of course the news is supposed to impact the real world. Many politicians have had their careers ruined by scandals reported by newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal. The whole point of journalism is for reporters to keep important figures from continuing to screw people over. So is it fair to hate the Wall Street Journal because they posted something they thought was newsworthy and could have a negative effect on businesses?

This is not a simple question, as there isn’t a detailed code of ethics that every single journalist has agreed on. Some organisations, for instance, ban their journalists from using anonymous sources and even refuse to hide the identities of social media users, though others defend the use of these sources because it can not only give journalists more information but can also protect whistleblowers and victims of abuse. It’s easy to agree that victims of crime should be allowed to remain anonymous given the online hatred some may experience if their identities are revealed, but can this code of ethics be transferred to protecting YouTubers from having their livelihood taken away over the negative actions of a few political extremists?

This exaggeration of issues is a problem that can be seen in all news. A story about a terrorist killing dozens of people is juicier than a common illness killing more. Journalists have a sensationalist bias that can potentially make newsreaders believe that a problem is bigger than it actually is. However, just because this is common does not make it right.

The only conclusion I can draw from all of this controversy is that journalists should consider not whether their story could negatively impact on the people they write about but whether this risk is worth the reward of informing and bettering the public. I can’t tell the Wall Street Journal that they definitely got this balance right or wrong (again, there’s a paywall) but I do think that a story should be written if the people it negatively impacts deserve it, which is why watchdog journalism is used against corrupt politicians rather than abuse victims. Journalists need to consider who they’re writing about before they start writing.

Are smartphones the new typewriters/computers/etc. for journalists?

Are smartphones the new typewriters/computers/etc. for journalists?

[Image by geralt]

ABC News has an Instagram with 132 thousand followers. Some of their posts go into the thousands of views.

So clearly news organisations can use mobile phones to mobilise potential readers. But have they replaced old technology when it comes to writing, shooting and editing news stories?

Perhaps not yet. Even with technological advances in video making, television news organisations such as the BBC still use big cameras to film their shows.

However, the use of mobile phones to prepare news stories is growing and it’s easy to see why. They are a thousand-in-one deal, with apps and websites being used to not only gather data such as interviews and video but also to conduct research and store what journalists have written. It can even lead to journalists finding new stories by looking at a politician’s Twitter, which has kickstarted many a story.

Computers have already made typewriters, with their slowness and inflexibility for error, obsolete. In today’s media landscape smartphones are beginning to replace comparatively bigger, bulkier computers. This is especially important in an age where news is instant and journalists are expected to write stories soon after a newsworthy event occurs. A reporter may struggle to haul a computer or even a laptop to the scene of a crime and have the story ready to upload online before another media company picks up the scoop first. Imagine holding a laptop as you stand and recording an interview with it! Smartphones are so much lighter.

Mobile phones are becoming crucial for journalists to create and distribute stories quickly and, because of millions of resources at a journalist’s fingertips, accurately.

Are the fundamentals of good news storytelling necessary in the age of different types of stories?

Are the fundamentals of good news storytelling necessary in the age of different types of stories?

[Photo by picjumbo_com]

The Nieman Foundation posted this last month and it has me thinking.

With new innovative storytelling methods such as those used in this New York Times article, have the writing fundamentals of the past become obsolete?

The short answer is no.

Despite my issues with the current state of journalism, even I can see that the basics of effective storytelling are still relevant today. While it is easier to skip writing strong, newsworthy stories based on truth, the internet has also made it easier to find out what those storytelling basics are, judging by the number of YouTube videos on the subject.

The New York Times article mentioned earlier still starts with a hook to capture readers’ attention and contains content from interviews including written quotes and video recordings. There is also important data explained in an easy-to-digest way.

News organisations still expect their journalists to know how to find interesting stories and how to structure them. Even the embarrassingly unprofessional use of clickbait by many news sites shows that journalists know to write something that has readers interested from the beginning, in that case through headlines. Writing interesting stories that people actually want to read rather than skim over is more important than ever in this oversaturated market.

As for the heart of strong journalism (objective accuracy), that is still desired from news organisations such as the Associated Press. Media Moguls and newsreaders still want engaging, factual stories.

High-quality video, audio, GIFs and graphics are just new tools to tell strong stories. Knowing how to construct such stories is incredibly important in the saturated digital market.