Saturday, November 22, 2008

So, this is just a post that I did for my copy editing blog, that is very mediocre:

Will the media ever be perfect? Of course not. There is nothing perfect in this world, but someone always has something to complain about. With this in mind, I wanted to know exactly what type of negative effects the media might have on its audience. While searching around this topic, I came across a book called “Selling Anxiety: How The News Media Scare Women,” By Caryl Rivers. So, do the media really scare women? According to Rivers, a Boston University journalism professor and journalist, the answer is yes. Her claim is that women, specifically working women, are portrayed negatively in the news media. Her list of “trend stories” about women is surprising. Some of the stories she lists include:

  • Women who get too much education can’t get a man
  • Women who get too much education and become infertile
  • Women who love their jobs so much they spend most of their time there, neglecting their children
  • (White) women who get murdered
  • Scary women who get power
  • Women (all of them) whose brains suit them only for emotion

Those are just a few of the ones she lists. This is an extreme feminist view on the news media. To be honest, I’ve never read a news article that’s come close to portraying women like that. I’m sure some do exist. Since I couldn’t read this entire book, I can’t comment too much about it, but it made me think about women and media. And, there are some sites specifically geared toward women in the media including, Women in Media and News.

More recently, there were questions about Sarah Palin’s media coverage and whether it was more negative or positive. According a study by, 38.8% of Sarah Palin’s coverage was negative. But was that the media’s fault or Palin’s fault? A lot of people, republican and democrat, can admit Palin was misinformed about a lot of things. Honestly, more negative versus positive coverage might just mean that there was more negative things to say.

And We’ve all heard the classic debate about media setting a stereotype of the typical woman. Though I do believe a lot of the media do this (namely, magazines and advertisments) there are media organizations trying to change this view, and I’m talking all aspects of media, especially advertising. One example is Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign. A Dove press release that introduced the campaign said that “women strongly agree that ‘the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can’t ever achieve.’” My problem with this is that some of the women in these ads are truly overweight, and being overweight is unhealthy. While, being extremely thin is not healthy either, saying that women who are overweight are “real” is still giving women the wrong idea. Are these ads trying to say that women who are healthy and naturally skinny shouldn’t be in ads because of women’s own insecurities?

So, will this debate ever end?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Citizen Journalism: The Future of Journalism?

Journalism has had its share of ups and downs, all revolving around the idea that journalism, especially print journalism, has an uncertain future. Media convergence has become an increasingly important topic surrounding the future of journalism, and more media outlets have been asking their reporters to do more then just report. Most are now required to report, edit and take their own photos. One trend journalists have begun to use more often to deal with this added responsibility is “Citizen,” or “Community” Journalism.

When did citizen journalism become popular? According to one CNN report, The Sept. 11 attacks were an excellent example of citizen journalism. People took videos and pictures on their cell phones while the buildings were under attack and sent their coverage to national news networks. Hurricane Katrina was also widely covered by citizen journalists. Now CNN has its own site for citizen journalists, iReport. MSNBC also has a “virtual assignment desk,” so the public can help cover certain issues.

Other citizen Journalism sites include: iBrattleboro, Your Hub, Backfence and locally, Bluffton Today, in Bluffton, S.C.

Citizen Journalism’s intent as defined by Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis in their report We Media: How Audiences are shaping the Future of news and Information, is to “provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires."

But, is citizen journalism reliable? If journalism is supposed follow an unbiased principle, or as close as it can get to that, could citizen journalism, coverage by people who might not have had any formal training in journalism, be thorough, reliable and unbiased?

While browsing other blogs I came across a question that Mitch Joel asks, and that I also ask myself. Is witnessing the same as being a journalist?

Maybe citizen journalism is popular because it isn’t about being unbiased, but that everyday people are providing raw, critical information that some reporters might not have been able to get. I don’t think there is a correct answer to this question, but is definitely something to think about while citizen journalism becomes more popular. Is this the future of journalism?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bridging the Race Gap

Being naive, I thought that this election wasn't about race for those not voting Obama. But sadly, I found out that was untrue. I have have been appalled at some of the things that people have said about Obama. It's sad that because he is part African American, that for the first time in probably more than a decade, people have to fear that he could become assassinated, because of racist people with no regard for humanity and really, for the entire human race. It shouldn't be race. It shouldn't be gender. It should be for America. Have they forgotten that this country is not all Caucasian people? That in our lifetime, the "minority" is going to become the majority. From the beginning this country was founded, it has been a mixture of races. It's been (cliche i know), called "a melting pot" or now more commonly used, "a kaleidoscope" of people. That's the way it is. That is the way it should be. How boring would it be if it wasn't?

While reading W.E.B. Du Bois', The Souls of Black Folk, I realized that one paragraph is the perfect response to the feelings of some people, who judge our new president-elect by the color of his skin;

"The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife,—this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face."

More plainly, let's live together in harmony. Let's not erase the years of progress this country as made toward bridging the race gap. It's only going to hurt America in the end.