Thursday, November 08, 2012

Comment Assignment if You Lack an Idea for Your Own Blog

Comment on one of  these ethical dilemmas

You are interviewing
·       *  The longest surviving heart transplant patient in the U.S. When talking about the disability pay he receives, he mentions he does a little bookkeeping on the side the income from which he does not report.
·        * A beloved radio weatherman who is about to retire and who mentions in passing he has a
Down’s Syndrome child and immediately says, “Don’t print that.”
·        * The family of a teenager who has just died after a long battle cancer whose mother says sorrowfully, “Noah died a virgin, and it made him so sad.”
·      *   A sex researcher who has done an extremely popular book on various sexual matters who says – when you jokingly ask her who should appear in the movie version – that it should be you.
·       *  A  family living at a restaurant/motel in the middle of the Nevada desert, the eight-year-old daughter of which tells you when her parents aren’t around that on weekends dad likes to get drunk and blow up the wrecked cars out in back of  their isolated business.
·       *  An interracial couple – she is Filipino and he is African-American – who are having a June wedding. At the wedding reception, his father tells you he is disappointed his son is marrying “outside the race.”
·       *  A rather famous movie star who has just written a rather New Ageish book in which she writes that whatever happens to people is their own fault. You consider asking her about the six million Jews lost in the Holocaust.
·        * A nun as part of a story about a neighborhood that is undergoing a rash of burglaries. One of the buildings in the neighborhood is a convent for nuns who work in the community as teachers and social workers. After talking about precautions any sensible homeowner should take, she pauses and then explains that she was raped some years ago and makes some suggestions about how women might avoid situations in which that might occur.
·      *   Construction workers on a downtown highrise who explain in some detail how they like to “party hearty,” with considerable detail about how much alcohol this requires many nights after work.
What do you do?

Monday, November 05, 2012


Re-writing my journalism assignment on a talk given by Dr. Joy Ladin, I found myself very intrigued by the intersection of gender, sexuality and religion. For my final paper I am going to be taking a very different approach to looking at the same intersection. Rather than transgender identity and Judaism I will be looking at youth college student identity and Catholic school, USF.

It is so cool how all of my classes seem to be overlapping this semester and I am really looking forward to the body of work that it is going to produce for me as a reflection on my last semester as a college student.

Here is the assignment I have written and submitted about Dr. Joy Ladin:

She’s the Man
 “My kids call me daddy”, Dr. Joy Ladin said, talking about her young children since she made the transition from man to woman in 2007. After feeling trapped in the wrong body for decades, Ladin changed everything. “I was a good man”, she said. Though, to her, that meant being a bad person. On October Second, Ladin, English Professor at Yeshiva University and author of seven books, spoke to USF students about her relationship with herself, her God, and the world, reading excerpts from her autobiography and creating a dialogue with the audience, as well.
Growing up as a Reformed Jew, Ladin said she was drawn to Orthodox Judaism and felt a special relationship with her version of God and the Jewish scriptures of the Torah. She is the first openly transgender person to be employed by an Orthodox Jewish institution. To many, her transgendered-ness and Judaism are mutually exclusive, yet Ladin read and continues to read the Torah, her way. While the Talmud, Torah and Judaism itself, alienated her, it also comforted her a great deal. She said that a lot of trans children feel a closeness to God because God has no physical body, so the sense of being created in the image of God really resonated with her. Also, she believes that since God made her, she is therefore accepted for who she is and especially who she is not.
            Ladin said: “after being a persona, I wanted to become a person”. She understands her transition in terms of learning and becoming fluent in a new language. That language is gender, the way people understand who they are in relationship to themselves and the world. She quoted the Talmud, saying: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?” This helped her realize that she could never actually be in a state of being until she was for herself and truly became the woman she always knew herself to be.
The transition that she eventually made after marrying and fathering two children, was far from resolving the “problem” of finding a self-identity. “I had to remake myself in the eyes of others”, she said, explaining how difficult this can be. Gender is indeed, a performance with many parts. For instance, becoming the woman she always knew herself to be, meant changing the clothing that she wore everyday, shaving her facial hair and speaking with a different tone of voice.
When a student asked her if she had changed her genitals to fully become a woman. Ladin responded: “It’s important for me to not answer”. She acknowledged that it was a good question and a typical one, but not natural or fair. She explained that when she made her transition, she felt as though it was a trade for her right to having a private self.
            It has not exactly been easy for her family, either. Ladin’s nine year-old does not want ‘daddy’ to come to her school because she does not want to have to explain why daddy identifies and dresses like a woman, to her friends. Ladin does not regret or wish that she were born a woman in the first place. “If it had been any other way, they wouldn’t exist”, she said of her children.
Her autobiography, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders, explains that if identity is a combination of being and becoming. While others spend a lot of time being and very little, becoming, she said she is “always going to be a process of becoming with a little bit of being mixed in”.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

How cool and interesting! UNICEF is helping to start and support a Children's News Service that will help children understand the basics of journalism while also providing the news information., Unicef launching children journalism
Thu, Sep 6th, 2012 7:30 pm BdST
Dhaka, Sep 6 (— and Unicef have joined forces to launch a Children's News Service to promote causes affecting 45 percent of Bangladesh's population.

The two organisations agreed a partnership at the newspaper's Mohakhali office on Thursday for the service that will be launched later on. will be making huge investments apart from editorial oversight in this venture with Unicef to introduce children journalism, Bangladesh's first Internet newspaper said in a media statement.

Children from all echelons of society will be able to practice and learn journalism at the online newspaper's children website,, it added.

"This will give us a unique opportunity to take the children's stories from across Bangladesh to a huge number of audience," Toufique Imrose Khalidi, Editor-in-Chief of Bangladesh's first Internet newspaper, said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Being part of our already-popular, the Children's News Service will get some natural advantage," he believed.

"We will train them, teach them the basics of journalism, create a manual for them to follow, hoping that many of them will become professional journalists in future."

Khalidi said such training would be organised in at least 20 districts initially and that correspondents would be sensitised to the children's issues through workshops so that they could work as effective coordinators in their respective districts.

He added that will continue the programme even after Unicef's partnership ends.

Unicef is considering the initiative as an opportunity for children to contribute in making a child-friendly news industry and for strengthening their rights.

"Around 45 percent of the population in Bangladesh are under 18. Unicef in partnership with is keen to create a 'space' for children where they will be able to raise their concerns, share their aspirations for the future and contribute to decisions that affect their lives by suggesting solutions while playing an active role in mainstream media," said Unicef's Acting Representative for Bangladesh Michel Saint-Lot.

"We are hopeful that through this unique initiative, we will be able to hear the unheard voices of this nation, enable children to make a contribution to the news agenda and accelerate the process of upholding child rights for children in Bangladesh," Saint-Lot added.

The children will be responsible for the gathering of information, editing and publishing news under the supervision of journalists.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Beat Reporter's Digital Day

Taken from the great Romenesko


An unsigned, paper version-only memo (how ironic!) titled “Portrait of a Digital Day — Beat Reporter” is being given to Oregonian staffers as they meet with managers to discuss boosting the Newhouse newspaper’s digital efforts. The tipster who faxed it to me writes:“It’s so wonderfully glib in describing a brave new world that some journalists would consider disturbing. It’s hard to imagine that the author ever put in much time as a reporter. And at the end, it says of enterprise work: It’s possible. It’s desired.”
Most media-watchers expect the Oregonian to eventually reduce its print publishing schedule and focus on digital.
Here is the memo:
The goal is to build audience on by being the No. 1 place the market goes for news and information.
The keys for you are time management, attitude and agility. Your work flow will be your own.
Reorient your thinking to what you can deliver for the web today. Cover your beats, push information, don’t worry about where or whether a story will play in print. Editors will worry about that for you.
Consider social media/engagement, posting of real-time information, visual storytelling.
Start with social media/engagement:
Set the table for the day with your readers/followers. Tweet early, let folks know you’re up and at ‘em. (Joe Rose’s tip: Twitter is always on via TweetDeck and iPhone notifications.) Don’t just use Twitter as an RSS feed; that’s no good for you or your readers — you need to engage. As you post during the day, Tweet. Watch for story ideas from your followers. Respond to questions. Retweet other stories of interest. /CONTINUES
From Joe Rose, who spends maybe 10 or 15 minutes a day on Twitter, with a goal of 10 Tweets/day:
“This is where people increasingly gather to talk and share stories that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. When it comes to picking up story tips and crowd-sourcing, there’s nothing like Twitter.
“I use it to talk to readers, answer quick questions, develop sources and aggregate commuting-related stories that I think will get retweeted. Ultimately, that leads to more followers and readers.
“I see myself as a curator of a Twitter account. My hope is that followers will eventually find enough value that they will pull my account out of their catch-all home feed and give it its own column in TweetDeck.”
During the day:
Aim to post multiple times a day. How much might vary by beat, but consider a range of three to 10. Some days this will be far less, some days, more. This is not a quota, but a target to get you started as you build a new rhythm and workflow that’s digitally focused.
Start the day with an aggregation, perhaps. City Hall Watch is a great example for enterprise beat reporters. A short news item with some meat, followed by 4-6 links, some on our site, some outside. Kick off the news day with things that your readers might be interested in.
Work your beat per usual. Talk to folks. Do your thing. But instead of working through the day and saving information for a story you begin writing late in the afternoon, publish that information as you go. Make it short and punchy, and Tweet it.
If a good story pops up, write a quick version for and post it as quickly (and accurately) as possible. If that’s all it needs, be done. Move on. If it has potential as a cover story for print, update the online version as you gather new info. (If it’s enough that the hed changes, or the information is that much better, do a new post with a new headline. In the old post, link to the new post. Tell readers where they can find updated information.)
New is best — always — but here are some other kinds of posts for beat writers, to establish expertise and make you a desired read:
* If you’re working on a story and have an interesting interview, do a quick post summarizing that and teasing to a story that’s to come.
* Tell readers something about what you saw behind the scenes of interest, maybe that’s not going to fit the story A scenic detail; a personal anecdote; some tangential information that’s not on point with your reporting but is interesting nonetheless.
* Have a story that you’ve published but have extra information from an interview or your reporting that didn’t make it? Turn that into a post and link back to the full story.
* Do a profile of someone? Maybe the next day take that story and aggregate it, plus profiles in other publications of that person. Or do a post on the reaction.
* Set up interviews to come. “I’ll be talking to Gov. Kitzhaber about the CRC this afternoon. If you were me, what question should I be sure to ask?” Give a little background, link to stuff you’ve already written. And you set yourself up for another post after:
* Here are two reader questions I put to the governor yesterday and his answers… Look for my full story on this online now/later today/in the next couple of days/etc.
* Do a poll. Easy to set up, fun engagement opportunity for users. Can unscientifically measure feelings on an issue. Sports does this very effectively.
* Set up an evening meeting: The school board will be voting tonight on a bond measure. Here’s the background. Link to previous stories we’ve done on the subject.
* Often beat reporter get all kinds of information that readers might find interesting but that we don’t. Maybe it’s reports, studies, events, speakers, etc. Post it. “This study crossed my desk today, and I’m not planning a full story, but I share it with you in case you’re interested. I’ve written about this topic before, and here are links to that and a link to this study.”
* Not attending something that might be of interest to readers? Ask them to tell you what happened. Ryan White has done this, and it’s a great idea. “I couldn’t go to such and such concert, but tell me about it. Here are links to reviews of previous shows here or in other cities.” Then do a new post writing those comments through. “I’ll be at the school board meeting tonight and can’t make XX speech by XX. Write in and tell me about it, and I’ll share with readers.”
* Do quick rewriters of lesser news items off your beat that won’t compete for print.
Engage with readers, not only in the posts but also check comments. Just take a spin through every couple of hours. If you’re drowning, tell an editor or online, and we can help.
Think multimedia/have your equipment:
Whenever you go out on a story, make sure you have the equipment to gather, photograph and post a story you might stumble across. For some, that might be an entire kit with a MacBook, video camera, audio recorder and MiFi — for others, it might be just an iPhone.
If you’re talking to a person, take their photo. We should have a mug at least with our posts. If they’re particularly colorful, shooting a quick clip video would enhance a reader’s understanding of that personality.
Never let a phone interview on a big story end without asking if the person would mind a videographer coming to talk to them. Leave open the possibility of other platforms, even if we don’t end up going that route. It’s a good habit to develop.
*Important note: Everyone in the newsroom should remember that they are deputized breaking news reporters. So often, reporter or editors will call the breaking news team to say, “I just passed a gnarly traffic crash.” But when asked if they stopped to talk to witnesses or take a photo, the answer is invariably no.
It’s possible. It’s desired. Nothing digitally is designed to minimize our appetite for scoops and investigative work. But plan for it and think about it in new ways. Work with your editor so s/he knows the days you might be light online. Pick your shots and make sure they’re worthwhile. Don’t find ways to get out of doing digital work, because it’s a priority, too. Instead, find ways to use the digital platform to inform that enterprise reporting. Be bold. Engage the online and visuals team early to brainstorm ideas for digital.
Consider also:
* Documents. In the reporting process, there always are things we could post as we go, with a story or afterward that readers might dive into and offer questions about.
* Reader questions about a story, project, series. Turn those questions and your answers into a post. Other readers might share the question and appreciate the additional information.
* Minor updates. Often things happen with the subject of a story or an issue that aren’t quite enough for a full print story but make a perfect post.

Here's a Nice-and-Easy Blogging Assignment

In the comment section, add a question or two you'd like next week's journalism panel to answer.