Monday, December 1, 2008

Journalistic issues

It is always difficult to choose just a few ethical and legal issues to discuss as being the "most important." In my mind, they are equally as important and as severe when compared to each other. However, there are three issues listed in "All the News" that have always stuck out to me.

1. Plagiarism and Fabricaton: To me, there is nothing worse than making stuff up. The fact of the matter is, if someone commits either of them they shouldn't be allowed to really call themselves journalists. Fabrication is writing something that isn't true, such as coming up with fake quotes. Fabrication is writing fiction. If you prefer to fabricate information, you should be writing fiction novels and not articles for a news source. Plagarizing is taking someone else's quotes or writing and using them as your own, which is essentially stealing. Both of these are ethically despicable for journalists to try and pull and it disturbs me that writers at major newspapers try to pull it off today.

2. Libel: Libel is always a touchy subject. People who become the subject of bad or negative news will sometimes call out "libel!" to try to defend themselves. However, the definition of libel itself is difficult to really spell out sometimes. When something is negative it's not usually libel. Real libel is essentially lying in order to deface someone in a newspaper. To me, when libel really happens, it appears to be the result of some kind of personal grudge the writer or the newspaper has against the person who is being defamation. Real libel just shouldn't even be happening in the first place, but if it doesthe people responsible need to admit what happened.

3. Conflicts of interest: Journalists are human. Humans have relationships with other humans. But when these relationships get in the way of journalistic integrity, they can cause conflicts of interest. For example, if a woman is the head of the school board, and that woman's husband is a journalist at a local paper, he probably shouldn't be covering school board meetings. If he did, it would not only look bad on his part - because he likely wouldn't be able to objectively cover anything the board did - but it would make the paper look bad as well for letting him do so.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Energy activism

I've chosen to do more of a feature story for Multimedia Story #2. The Towson Energy Activists (TEA) will be my subject - one of my friends at The Towerlight is a member and she'll be my source for the other sources (if that makes sense). I'll be talking to various people involved with the group in order to spotlight TEA.
As far as questions, I'll be talking to the TEA members about their positions and stances, what they think the Universty is doing well and what they could improve on to really go green, if they have any upcoming events, etc.
Photo opportunities would probably be shots of them at their meeting or at an event (if they have one soon). Audio opportunities would include mostly interviews, hopefully with some of the higher-ups in the organization.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Go Go Power Rangercast

My associate, Tyler Waldman, runs a podcast called "Rangercast" which revolves around discussion and analysis of Tokusatsu and Sentai (more commonly known in the United States as Power Rangers).

His website is a blog of podcasts and YouTube videos. Practically the entire website is audio files, but it's pulled off well. Listeners can download episodes or listen to them straight from the website after reading a quick text summary of what each episode is about. I'd like to see more blog posts and text instead of just audio, however.

(PS: I know I posted it late - totally slipped my mind.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Prowling for Tigers

What I tried to do with the shot of the Tiger statue was to make it look as alive as I possibly could. By getting down in the reeds, I was able to get an angle to make it look - at least I hope the readers get this impression - as if it is roaring while out on the hunt.

Blake's mugshot is the result of my trying to get a very casual, candid shot of him. I'm pleased with the result; he looks very focused on the photo he's taking.

Cutline: Leaves on the trees turn a golden color to match the Tiger footprints seen around Towson University. Students have recently been seen sporting heavier clothing, such as sweaters and hoodies, to adapt to the cooler weather.

How to improve:
There is always room for improvement. I need to try to use some of the rules of photography, such as the rule of thirds, as well as trying to fill more of the frame with a single focus. I also wish I had a steadier hand so that my photos would be a little crisper - I turned off the flash so that I could use the natural light (and so the subjects wouldnt look like they were on the surface of the sun) but as a result, they came out a little bit fuzzy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

At least I won't have to sing...

I've chosen to cover the "Karaoke for a Cause" event, being held in Paws on Nov. 6. From what I can gather from the posting in the Daily Digest, it should be your standard karaoke party. The organizers for the event added a twist - you can be kicked off the stage if people in the audience don't think you're doing the song justice. It costs money to both sing and get someone to stop singing, so all of the proceeds are going to the Arc of Baltimore.
An e-mail was listed at the end of the post, so I will likely be contacting her as my main source of information. As far as other sources, I may contact Arc of Baltimore or see if there's a representative there at the event. I'll also be chatting with some of the participants at the event to see what they think about it.
Questions will include why the event was held, why the proceeds are going to Arc of Baltimore, why they chose to do a karaoke event as opposed to something else, etc.
Photos will probably be crowd reactions to the people singing as well as the people singing themselves.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Public Service Announcement

Note: My camera died at the end, which cut out the video.

Dear the rest of my 257 class:
Do not use HP laptops.
You will end up with a lot of problems.
Case in point:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Inverting in The Sun

Documents suggest police spying earlier than stated

This story is definitely an example of the inverted pyramid structure. It begins with the most important information, adds more details and then ends with other information (human interest, etc.) that adds to the story but isn't necessary to get the core of the story across.
The lead of the article contains all of the most important facts - the who, the what, the when and the where are all there, as well as a big hook. The main body of the story goes into how people and businesses have been investigating into the police force as to whether or not they have been spied on or under surviellance. As the story goes on the audience gets to read some of the more specific details such as what the actual e-mail exchanges were like. The story ends with more specifics about what's going on with the case that help follow up on the main point of the article.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Planning out event coverage

For my first in-class story coverage, I will be attending the "One Maryland, One Book" speaker on Thursday, September 25. The speaker is Cedric Jennings, the subject of nationally best-selling book "A Hope in the Unseen."
The advance information about the event is really just who is speaking and where the event is going to be. Not a whole lot to go on, but I plan on researching the book to better prepare myself.
My main sources will be the people at Cook Library who are helping to sponsor the event. I'll be in touch with them in the next couple of days. I'll also try to talk to Jennings himself briefly after the event.
I haven't quite narrowed down what questions I'm going to ask - I rarely ever write out exactly what I'm going to ask an interview subject simply because not every interview plays out how I want it to. I'll simply try to touch on some subjects, such as what it's like to have a book written about you, what it's like to go and speak to a college audience or how Jennings' Towson experience has been. I also plan on talking to people attending the event and get their views on how the book is and how they thought the speaker was.
As far as additional details, I need to pay attention to the event itself and anything out of the ordinary that may happen.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The proper way to Tweet

I picked three different Twitters at random - Blake's, Cory's, and Steven's. Blake is the only one who actually had all three 1-2-3 filing assignments done, so I'll start with one of his I liked.
His headline, "Towson goes green this semester," is somewhat misleading to the story. It doesn't mention the recycling plan, which is the main focus of the story. It also can be read as Towson University implimenting a green plan starting this semester, where in fact the school has had its "Go Green" iniative going for quite some time.
Blake's Twitter.

Steven's headline, "Higher education receives budget cut; Towson affected," is an excellent example. It shows the main focus of the story - how the University System of Maryland is dealing with a budget crisis - while immediately relating it to the people reading it (Towson University students).
Steven's Twitter.

Cory also had a good headline for the same story, which was "Budget cuts lead to hiring freeze at Towson University." It's a standard news lead and jumps straight to the point, which is that Towson is a part of the system-wide hiring freeze.
These, and other student Twitter headlines, are a good way to get attention to a story that may need it.
Cory's Twitter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Press releases vs. original reporting

Original reporting:,0,7555378.story
Target gives city $300,000

This is a prime example of original reporting. Though the original announcement may have been sent as a press release, the story was definately generated by the name on the article - Justin Fenton. He appears to have been at the scene of the public announcement as evident by the quotes present in the piece and the details he included on the event. A press release would not have gone into that kind of detail.

Press release:

MASN to launch HD channel,0,6590399.story

Okay, I guess I'm honking my own horn here with the MASN story, but can you really blame me? It still applies to a press release-generated article.
The piece is short and to the point with only one quote. The quote is from the spokesperson, and was probably pulled from the release itself (it's very official-sounding and public-relations sounding, too). It doesn't include any information on why the station decided to expand (though I guess I could find that out myself when I go into work on Thursday), how they plan to expand ot any of that other information you'd see in an original report. The whole thing is "Hey, we're expanding!" and little else.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Examples of leads and short reports from the NY Times.


"In one of the most extraordinary days in Wall Street’s history, Merrill Lynch is near an 11th-hour deal with Bank of America to avert a deepening financial crisis while another storied securities firm, Lehman Brothers, hurtled toward liquidation, according to people briefed on the deal."
This is a summary lead because it contains most of the five W's/H. It also is written to grab the reader's attention without really telling the entire story - though it tells most of it - Lynch is closing in on a deal with Bank of America while other companies are nearing the end of their line. It makes for a good story, and a good lead.


"MOSCOW – An Aeroflot flight crashed in a central Russian city on Sunday shortly before landing, killing all 88 passengers and crew on board, officials said."

This is a short report because it's essentially something you'd see on a crawler on CNN or MSNBC. It gives you the time, the date, what happened and where it happened in one concise sentance, which is characteristic of short reports. It also works well as a short newspaper brief, which is really what it's being used for.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I can't use the writing tips discussed in class, considering we didn't discuss writing tips in class, but I'll do my best to make this a coherent blog post.

PS: I don't know how to make these links work. I'll work on it.

Fire destroys city playground:

The impact of this piece is pretty strong - a playground that was built though money that was raised by a long fundraising period is pretty tragic to begin with, but the fact that it was on the site of old Memorial Stadium (a place many, many Orioles' fans have a strong attachment to) only adds to that. What could happen as a result of this impact would be another strong effort to raise funds to either repair or replace the playground.
The conflict is pretty obvious, considering there was a fire resulting in the destruction of the playground.
It's a timely story because the fire took place just earlier today. Pretty good turn-around for a story.
This story has pretty good proximity, too - it happened in the city, where the paper is located and where a lot of its readers live. If the same thing had happened around D.C., it wouldn't have been reported in the Sun.
This is also a pretty big human interest story, due to the fact that it can evoke a lot of emotion and sympathy for the neighborhood and the people who are effected by the fire.

Loewen takes stride at being a hitter:

The impact of this story is mostly on fans of Loewen and of the Orioles. Obviously, people who aren't terribly interested in sports or baseball aren't really going to be drawn to this.
The prominence of it is pretty good, considering it's covering a major league baseball player. The attention Loewen is drawing is well-deserved and I don't consider it overblown.
This story also has a bit of unusualness to it. It's not every day you hear about a fallen pitcher deciding to come back and learn to bat - much less an American League pitcher. The fact that Loewen has chosen to fight it out and stick around and learn to become a better hitter is almost unheard of. Most guys would just take the rest of the money from their contract and wave goodbye to Major League Baseball.
It also has a bit of currency, but that's mostly because the Orioles are consistently in the news and this story is a bit of a follow-up on Loewen's previous injury.

Md. faces revenue shortfall of $432 million:

This story has pretty much everything needed to be considered news-worthy. Its impact is pretty huge and can be felt by the reader by just the headline - but it continues and gets even bigger as the person reads on to nothing but more bad news for the state of Maryland.
The conflict is how budget cuts are about to happen across the entire state, so that's pretty easy to see as well.
The story is timely because this is a current event - it's happening right now and will continue to happen for the forseeable future.
Obviously, the proximity is because this is happening in Maryland. Any other state and it wouldn't show up in the Baltimore newspaper.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blog post #2

So, that mobile journalism kit that guy Jared has - pretty neat. I can't say I have one of my own yet, but I'm working on it. Here's what I have so far:

The Wii and Teddy Roosevelt doll and the bank are to be ignored. I've got my laptop, my camera (well, the case to it, anyway), my notebook, and my trusty old minicasette recorder. I know I should upgrade to a digital recorder but I'm terribly attached to the one I have now. It was first used when I interviewed Chad Cordero! And I love Chad Cordero.

As far as the Elements of Style book goes (which I don't think we ever looked at in my high school journalism class, but that period was a joke anyway. Three years of awesome naptime. And I got screwed out of an editorial position my senior year. Still bitter about that. Look at how long this tangent has gone on inside these parentheses! It's not right)...

To me, it means he's on top of what he's doing at all times. I'd probably carry one around with me if I had a copy, but I don't. If I did, I'd be able to check my writing for any style mistakes and be able to reference the book if I had a question about something. It's better to do that than to send in a work to the editor and then get yelled at about your 29 different style mistakes in a 600-word piece.

Now, for those portfolios we looked at in class:

I chose John D. Sutter's page (because I closed my eyes and scrolled really fast and he's the one I clicked on). He works at the Oaklahoman and his website is
His resume lists a lot of writing and print-related journalism, so I didn't really peg him for a photo guy. Then I looked at his multimedia page and found all of his photos. So here's a neat little bulleted list of what I think would be in his own reporting kit:
-Laptop (for typing up articles, of course)
-Sound recorder (For interviews. Probably something of higher quality.)
-Notebook (for note-y type things)
-Pens, pencils, etc.
-AP style guide (everybody needs one)
-Camera (likely a high-quality digital or film camera... more likely digital)
-Possibly a video recorder, though a lot of digital cameras have video capabilities built in, so that's possible too.

I'm terribly uncreative and I can't think of anything else. Sorry.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Obligitory (and required) first.

I think this is the fourth or fifth blog I've had on this website over the course of about a year and a half. I tried to get into my old account (I had needed to make one for my Using Info Effectively class I had last semester and for some reason it's not there) and failed.
Oh well.

My name's Carrie Wood. You may recognize it from The Towerlight's staff list. I'm the arts editor there, but I also cover the Towson University baseball team.
Covering baseball is what I really want to do as a career. I don't really care where I end up geographically as long as I get to do that.
I've had pretty extensive exposure to the media so far in my young adult life - my father's been a sportscaster for over 30 years (he's old) and he's also a columnist for the Examiner in Washington... and he's a fill-in analyst on MASN's Nats Xtra pre- and post-game shows. So journalism and broadcasting have kind of been around me my entire life. It's been difficult to avoid.

I wrote for my high school paper for two years and have been at The Towerlight since last year. I also have an internship at MASN with the Nationals broadcasting team through the end of the season, which is awesome because they pay me real well and I get to watch baseball.

I'm taking this class mostly because I have to for my chosen track, but I hope to be able to learn more about online publishing. My only real experience is with print journalism - I've never really published online too often and I know that's where the business is heading.

Also, I'm a really huge nerd. The title for the blog comes from a scene in the old anime series Mobile Suit Gundam.