Broadcast writing demands a special set of skills and knowledge from the journalist. Broadcast copy is written to be read out loud by a news reader rather than to be read silently by a news consumer. The words and sentences must be constructed so they are accurate and clear. They must also complement the pictures, video and audio that accompany a story.
The number of political cartoonists, by one estimate, has dwindled to about 85 fulltime people. Newspapers, as usual, seem bent on cutting costs rather than delivering quality, so the local cartoonist is let go, encouraged to leave or not replaced when he or she does leave. Instead of encouraging this kind of journalism by growing their own local cartoonists, newspapers have generally viewed it as just another expense that can be eliminated. It is yet another example of newspaper short-sightedness.
ulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jim Borgman is giving us a fascinating peek inside the mind of the editorial cartoonist with his new weblog, BorgBlog. Borgman is posting not just some of his cartoons but some of his sketches and his thoughts about how particular cartoons develop. The site currently has three versions of the cartoon he drew about the West Virginia coal mining tragedy, showing how he decided on where to place the miner’s wife. In addition, Borgman includes a variety of sketches, some of which turn into cartoons and some of which remain as half-formed ideas. This is a wonderful site for those of us who envy the skill and the power of the editorial cartoonist.
Religion and religious topics are not particularly welcomed in a newsroom. That is why years such as 2004, when religion is a big part of some of the year’s biggest stories (gay marriage, the presidential election, Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of Christ,” etc.) are tough for journalists. Why then are editors and news directors eliminating their religion beats or assigning untrained reporters to them?
Abraham Lincoln began the Gettysburg Address with the words, “About a century ago, the dudes that started it all . . .” Well, ok. Those weren’t exactly the words, but they are “essentially accurate.” That’s the standard that Detroit Free Press sportswriter Mitch Albom imposed upon himself in handling direct quotations for his column. Apparently, some of the editors at the newspaper were willing to live with that standard, too. But that is not the standard that those of us who teach journalism want to pass on to our students. What we want is for our students to be meticulous in their pursuit of accuracy.
That is the basic finding of a new study conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The basic finding is probably not surprising, but what is impressive and important is how widespread and consistent is the tendency of journalists to use men rather than women as sources of information.
One of the great pleasures of putting together the book Seeing Suffrage: The 1913 Washington Suffrage Parade, Its Photographs, and Its Effect on the American Political Landscape was taking a close look at the photographs that were available for the book. They were interesting and beautiful. But there was one that stands out as my favorite.
The story here is that J. Edgar Hoover and Ronald Reagan betrayed the nation. They weren’t agents of a foreign power. Instead, they became what they said they were fighting — subversives. They (and many others with them) actively undermined the laws and values of America to advance their own political agendas and to gain and maintain their political power.
Getting prepared for the upcoming semester, I took a shot at codifying the procedures for creating an audio slideshow. If any journalism instructors out there want to use this, they’re welcome to it (credit JPROF.com). Seven steps to the audio slideshow JEM 200 and 230 students (and beyond) An audio slideshow is a journalistic form • Read More »
Lecture assignment, March 25, 2010 Students in the JEM 200 course at the University of Tennessee were assigned to do a photo story of the lecture itself last week. Here’s a short video of how the class went. Below are some of the instructions students received about the assignment. Students, You will be asked to • Read More »
In the video below, George Rable, University of Alabama history professor, discusses the sources of information that newspaper editors during the Civil War used for their reports about battles and the war in general. One important source was letters from soldiers — a form of what we could call today crowdsourcing. This means using the • Read More »
The YouTube video above shows the eight minutes of controversy surrounding Bud Ford, the news reporters, and Lane Kiffen’s lack of cooperation with reporters in dispensing information about his resignation as Tennessee’s football coach last week. The video has been racing around the web (more than 175,000 views as of this morning), and lots of • Read More »