Tuesday, September 30, 2008 1 comments

Best stories are built with "Inverted Pyramid"

Photo illustration by Daniel Gross

This article was found from The Baltimore Sun's Web Site. (www.baltimoresun.com)

Man shot, wounded by city police during drug stop
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 1 comments

Planning for a Story - Event Coverage

Photos courtesy of www.towson.edu

For my news event coverage, I plan on attending the next SGA meeting at Towson University to listen to what issues are currently happening throughout the school. I think this will be a great, newsworthy event to cover, especially seeing the many different things that have happened on and off campus recently. I predict that the SGA and their student guests may have quite a few things to say in regards to a recent fight that had broken out in the union, the new school budget for the next fiscal year and the appointment of new freshman senators into the SGA. After attending the meeting, I will obviously have to hone my story topics down, to understand what is truly newsworthy and what specific aspect should be covered.

What advance information is available about this speech or event?
The advanced information that I have is what I know are major topics in the student community right now. I am aware that the SGA covers new and appropriate topics at their meetings. There is also advanced information from any of the members on the executive board that I will speak to prior to the meeting so that they will be able to prepare me of what I might look for.

Who will be your main sources?

My main sources will certainly be any of the members on the executive board of the SGA, most likely SGA president Kristen Guy or vice president James Torrence. The newly appointed, freshman senators will also be points of contact because they will have prevalence at the meeting. David Satterlle, director of new student programs, will also be a good source for this story, since he will be tackling the issue concerning the fight that broke out.

What questions will you ask?

When the meeting is over, I might ask the exec. board what they thought of the meeting, ask them what they thought of certain student reactions and how they plan on helping in hte situation. For the freshman senators, I may ask them what they think of the SGA, why did they want to join and what they hope to accomplish this year.

What additional details will you look for?

In addition, I will also look for certain reactions for others in the audience or in the SGA. I will look for other issues to develop or come out of the freshman senators being elected or other issues concerning the major fight on campus.
Sunday, September 21, 2008 1 comments

Twittering Gives Practice for Journalism

Photo taken from www.twitter.com
After reviewing a number of Twitter profiles and reading sample headlines of recent stories published in The Towerlight (www.thetowerlight.com), I was able to see many good examples of headlines and story briefs. Below are a few examples I found when perusing a few Twitter profiles.

"By Decemer, about 2,800 new recylcing containers will be placed throughout Towson campus in order to promote the RecycAll program," Towson student Katelyn Mattingly wrote in reference to a recent article in The Towerlight.
  • For one, this tweet interested me because I wrote this story for this issue and I found the RecycAll topic interesting when doing the research for the story.
  • Two, I thought that this post gave a great insight to the story by covering most of the 5W's to prepare the reader for what they are about to dive into.
  • The wording is also using an active voice, which makes for an exciting appeal to the story
  • Also, as a future tip, I would say that it would've been best to start with something other than the "When" W, as the when side of the story is not as important as the what.
  • I also think it gets a bit wordy when using words like "in order to." This would be great wording for maybe further down the story but for a lead into type sentance, I would have been a little more to-the-point.
  • Very good post though, i enjoyed this piece.
Click here to view Katelyn Mattingly's Twitter page

"Sean Schaefer throws four interceptions to help Richmond come back after last year's dramatic last-minute loss to the Tigers," Towson student Carrie Wood wrote in reference to a recent story published in The Towerlight.
  • I thought this was a great exampl of an active, concise headline. It is written i a way that draws the readers attention. It is organized in a way that puts out the most important information first. It is very clear at what the story will be about when reading.
  • In this headline, she includes all of the major W's for this story without rambling on or making the headline too extensive.
  • I especailly enjoyed how she tied in this event to previous occurances with the same teams. That certainly makes for a more interesting story.
Click here to view Carrie Wood's Twitter page.

"Quaterback Sean Schafer struggled, with four interceptions and one touchdown, to lead the Tigers to a loss," Towson student Amber Kowens wrote in reference to a recent story found in The Towerlight.

  • I thought this was another great exapmle of a story headline. It is very cler and to the point, addressing the main thoughts of the story.
  • It does not neccessarily cover all of teh 5 W's like the "when," but overall it is a headline that will pull the reader in to the story.
  • I mostly like the simplicity of the headline because I think it would generally attract more readers. It is much easier to understand than some others.
Click here to view Amber's Twitter page.

Photo taken from www.twitter.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 1 comments

Original Journalism at its Finest

By Nick Madigan and Arin Gencer

Baltimore Sun Photo taken by Patrick Smith

Article Brief:

In what officials say is the largest environmental penalty ever levied by the state, ExxonMobil Corp. has agreed to pay $4 million to the Maryland Department of the Environment for a 26,000-gallon gasoline spill at a Baltimore County service station almost three years ago.

Under the agreement announced yesterday, the oil giant could face an additional annual penalty of $1 million if it does not stick to a cleanup schedule that could last several more years in Jacksonville.

The settlement stemmed from a $12 million lawsuit filed against ExxonMobil by Maryland's attorney general, Douglas F. Gansler. He said in a statement yesterday that the agreement was a significant victory for the environment and residents of the area "who have had to live with this contamination for too long."

The settlement was more than twice as large as a $1.9 million civil penalty levied against the Potomac Electric Power Company for a leak in April 2000 that sent about 111,000 gallons of oil into the Patuxent River from an underground pipeline at the Chalk Point Generating Station, the state's largest power plant.

Article Summary:

This article is a great example of an original reporting story that shows many signs that this is a fully functioning journalistic story.  There are definate clues that usually tell the reader if the story is something that an actual journalist researched, interviewed and wrote from scratch.  Below is a list of clues that helped me come to my conclusion:

  • Article shows a byline, emphasising the fact that it was written by the person and that they should take full credit of their work.
  • The article has a good length to show that it was not taken from a short press release or police report.  This story is almost a full two webpages in length.
  • There are many quotes throughout the story to illustrate that the reporter was able to seek others out and capture a number of voices to boost their story.  This makes their story more credible as well.
  • There are multiple chunks of facts about Exxon and the surrounding area the story is dealing with, to show prior research when writing the story.  
These are all ways in which one can see that there is no press release here; this is full blown journalistic writing at its finest.  
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 0 comments

Press Release Offers Alternative to In-Depth Story

2 teens sought in armed robbery of Towson High's Store
By a baltimoresun.com reporter

Baltimore County police have obtained warrants for the arrest of two teens sought in the robbery of a High's store in the 8400 block of Oakleigh Road in Towson on Aug. 26.

The youths are identified as Mark Anthony Demory Jr., 18, of the 1700 block of Weston Ave., and Jamal Dewon Harper, 16, of the 1700 block of Willow Oak Ave.

Mark Demory Jr. is described as a black male, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing approximately 155 pounds. Harper is described as a black male, 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing approximately 140 pounds. Both have been frequenting the Towson and Parkvilleareas of Baltimore County.

Detectives say that on Aug. 26 at 9:25 p.m., two suspects entered the store and forced the clerk to open the cash register. One of the two suspects was armed with a handgun. The suspects grabbed an undisclosed amount of cash from the register and ran out of the store.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Baltimore County police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCKUP (1-866-756-2587). Those calling Metro Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

_   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   _   


By: Daniel Gross

From what I can see, this article shows good signs that the story came almost straight from a police report, or press release.

For one, no one is being quoted in this story.  This shows that interviews were not conducted to get different viewpoints, facts or ideas.

The story also simply states the basic information of what occured on this day.  It chooses not to dig deeper to uncover any linkages or other things to make the story more appealing and newsworthy. 

One last sign that shows this was mainly all from a press release or police report is that for a byline, it states, "a Baltimore Sun reporter."  The story writer chooses not to include a personal byline because the story is merely a recreation of a police report.

Sunday, September 14, 2008 0 comments

Leads and Short Reports from Recent Baltimore Sun Articles

Photo Taken from Google Images
Article Title (9/14/08): Code Red Heat Alert Issued for Today

Short Report:
With high humidity and temperatures forecast in the mid-90s today, the city has issued a Code Red heat alert and plans to open emergency cooling centers. Six centers, operated by the city Housing Department, will open at 10:30 a.m. They include: Northern Community Action Center, 5225 York Road; Southern Community Action Center, 606 Cherry Hill Road (inside the shopping center on the second floor); Northwest Community Action Center, 3314 Ayrdale Ave.; Western Community Action Center, 1133 Pennsylvania Ave.; Southeastern Community Action Center, 3411 Bank St.; and Eastern Community Action Center, 1400 E. Federal St. Residents can also go to Recreation and Parks centers throughout the city for relief from the heat, officials said. The Baltimore City Health Department recommends that residents check on older, sick, or frail people in the community who may need help.
Story taken from The Baltimore Sun (baltimoresun.com)

Story Lead:
BEIJING - China's health minister blamed a dairy yesterday for the delay in warning the public about tainted milk powder linked to kidney stones in infants and at least one death, as authorities increased the number of known sick babies to 432.

What is a Lead??? What is a short report???

Illustration and explanation by: Daniel Gross

  • A lead or lede in journalism is generally the beginning sentences to a news story. This is where the journalist attempts to write the most newsworthy portion of the story, usually including a number of the five W's (who, what, where, where and why.) The lead to a story is found at the very top of the story and is read before anything else.
Now, what you'll find is that in many stories, the writer does not always fit each of the five W's into the lead but saves some of them for later down the story. This is where the most prevalent information and story relevant sentences are found.

In my example, The Associated Press explains a situation in China where the health minister has blamed a dairy for not making proper warning to the public about certain milk causing kidney stones. The lead gives the reader a general idea of what the story will entail and what it is concerning. This lead chooses to cover the who, what, where and when of the story but does not explain the why until later. Still, it gives enough information to segway into further details.

  • A short report can mean a number of specific things relating to a news story. Much of this is depending upon the source of media you are reading the news story from as well as the level of interest the story has. The short report is usually only a few sentences. It usually gives some interesting lines that will draw the reader in to let them know the basis of what has happened. It doesn't necessarily give a full outline of the story but it gives out something interesting to make the story appealing.
These shorts can also be used to get small pieces of information out before having the actual full story completed. This could be the case for some breaking news or news alert where there is something happening but the story is still being developed. The shorts can also be used for stories that don't necessarily deem full coverage. In the example, The Sun posted a weather alert to explain the heat advisory. There was no interviewing or investigating involved with this story. It was simply posted to alert the public and provide useful general information.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 0 comments

The Baltimore Sun - Top Headlines

Photo Taken from Baltimore Sun.com

6 shot, 1 dies in attack in city
Article By: Richard Irwin and Brent Jones

To see the full article for this story click here.

This story was seen on the front page of the BaltimoreSun.com.  The main reason that this story was brought to the front and why it is seen as a very newsworthy story is due to the numerous amount of "news values" the story covers.  First and foremost, the story has a high level of impact.  For readers to see, "6 shot, 1 dies in attack in city," that instantly gives the story a high impact because readers are curious and at times fearing what the story contains.  Readers are effected because they are left wondering if there city is safe, if someone they know was involved and other questions similar to these.  

Second, the story also has timeliness.  This occurrence happened just last night and it has already been posted with a photo on the web.  Therefore, the story is very current and up-to-date for the reader to view, making it very newsworthy.  

The story also has proximity to the paper's circulation.  This happened in Baltimore City and since the readership is in Baltimore, the proximity of the story plays a major role as to why it is newsworthy.  

Story By: Edward Gunts

To see the full article click here.

In this story, the article is explaining a complete makeover of a popular and heavily used road in Baltimore City.  

This story also has a high impact because many citizens are impacted by it.  Many readers will want to know about the new shops then will be passing by on the way to work in the near future.  This in turn, gives the story credit and it becomes newsworthy.  

The story also has timeliness because as it said in the story, the mayor of the city will unveil the final plans of the project some time today.  

Story by: Richard Irwin

To see the full article click here

This story also makes the headlines for a number of reasons.  It contains many of the news values one might look for in a story.

For one, it has a sense of unusualness.  It is very out of the ordinary that you would find someone dying from a gunshot that happened 13 years ago.  Many people would find that interesting and unusual.  

The story also has a great sense of conflict due to the fact that officials have ruled this case as a homicide.  Many people would find this issue controversial and would want to know why it was ruled in this way.  

And as in most cases, this story has timeliness and although he was shot 13 years ago, police just revealed yesterday that the case was ruled as a homicide.

All of these news values contribute to stories to give them meaningful purposes and credibility for being cover stories.  

News Values:

-How the story impacts the reader.
- Stories that are containing high interest names.
-Anything occurring in a story that is out of the ordinary
-A story that is tied with past stories that have been written regarding similar instances.
-Anything that is dealing with crime or punishment or sickness that raises a level of fear or excitement.
-A story that is prevalent in time and current.
-An occurrence that happened or is happening within the area of the readership.

-Daniel Gross
Wednesday, September 10, 2008 1 comments

Critical Reading for Today's Journalist

A look at a convergent media-based textbook with discussion question responses

By: Daniel Gross

All the News: Writing and Reporting for Convergent Media by Thom Lieb, is a book that no journalist in today's world, should go without reading.  I found this evident after reading the first two chapters of this book.  Lieb does a phenomenal job at explaining how the industry has taken a major shift in its presentation of news in media.  

Chapter one in this book explains a number of introductory factors in the field of journalism including steps to find the news, conduct research, write advanced news stories, and incorporate diverse voices in the news.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Where do you turn for news? Do you use different sources for different types of information? Why do you use the sources you do? Do you use multiple outlets of the same type (Web Sites, Magazines, TV networks)?
  • If I am looking for some news information and am seeking to be educated about domestic or world events, I turn to both Fox News Live and CNN first on TV.  I also make sure to go to MSNBC before finishing my time toward TV.  I then go online and depending on the event, whether it be national, local or international, I look through Yahoo News, Fox News.com, The New York Times online (nytimes.com) and CNN.com because I enjoy the layout of their Web Site.  
  • I mostly use these same news sources for all news events whether it be crime, health, life or business.  However, I mostly turn to Fox News Live for political news.
  • I use the sources I do because I think for the most part they are fair and equally representing of many issues.  I choose the most credible and trusted sources so I can have accurate information and I look for the highest rated news networks or sources because those are usually the ones that keep a level of interest during their broadcasts or stories.
2. When an important story occurs, how often do you check for updates on it? Does this depend on the media that are available to you?

  • When an important story occurs such as a terrorist attack, a major storm comes through a major city, etc. I generally keep my eyes on some sort of news source every ten minutes.  I will check and hope for updates about every ten minutes on a particular high interest story.  
  • If I am watching TV, the updates will come fairly quick, sometimes small updates at a time, and when on the Internet, stories also appear relatively quick and usually will say something like "news alert," so the audience knows they are updating a story.  
  • This does depend on the media that is available to me.  Sometimes I may be in a vehicle and hear about a story from a friend or relative.  In that case, all I can do is listen to the radio. 
3. Do you use blogs? If so, for entertainment, news or opinion? Have you ever created or contributed to a blog?

  • I do and have used blogs a number of times for a number of different things.  At this point, I mainly only use blogs for opinion articles or to learn about someone else if they have similar interests.  I generally do not go to blogs for news because I feel it is not as credible as the trained and paid professionals that do news reporting day in and day out.  
  • I have created and also very frequently contribute to blogs as well.  I find it is a great networking tool and means of establishing or recognizing yourself in your career field.  My blog in which I created (danielgross.blogspot.com), mainly deals with my thoughts, my work, or news stories that I have had published in a credible news source.  At this point, my blog still doesn't really have a main focus on a particular topic.  
4. How does your interest in a story relate to the number and type of sources you use to learn about it? The time you spend learning about it?

  • My level of interest on a story greatly relates to the time and commitment I will spend on that story to research, watch, read etc. If I do not have a strong interest, I may read one article online and then move on to something else, instead of going through each form of media for that story.
  • Also, if it does not interest me very much, and I am confused about some of the content it says, I will many times not bother with finding out what I do not understand.
5. When you're reading or watching news, how long does it take you to reach your limit with a given story? Is there such thing as "too much news" in a report?

  • Well many times in broadcast news, the networks will have something called a "24-hour news hole."  This can many times result in a repetition of facts or footage and that is where I see it as getting too much news.  
  • It usually takes me to midway through the point where a network has begun repeating the facts they stated earlier.  Now if they continue to give out new detail and other facts about the story, I generally keep watching or reading, because I think you can never know too much about a certain story or topic.
Chapter two have a main focus on journalists being able to determine what is actually newsworthy with given stories.  In every story that have to decide what is news and what is not.  According to the author, it is a very complex process that is in the hands of the journalist to accurate provide information to the public.  

Discussion Questions:

1. Newspaper executives increasingly note a loss of college-age readers.  Are newspapers and other traditional news media relevant to 18- to 24-year-olds? If not, what would it take to make them relevant?

  • The recording of a loss of college-age readers is merely to do with college students or people or that age, being so attached to convenience and technology that they are instead logging onto their computers for news and information.  Newspapers are certainly relevant to those in that age group because the same information found in newspapers are found online.  The difference is that it is faster, easier and free to find news on the Internet, therefore explaining the loss of readership.  
  • I am honestly not sure what it would take for newspapers to gain readership in that particular age group.  The only thing I feel that would might work would be to somehow have exclusive news only found in print media and have the print media to be sure to include many graphics and photos to meet the advanced and technology feeling standard. 
2. With the public having so many choices of print, broadcast, and online news sources, what are the implications for determining what's news.  

  • In today's industry it is hard to determine what is actually news, because every company in every type of media has done something to make sure there is a 24-hour around the clock fill of news stories so that the public always has something new to read about.  The trouble is that not all of these stories are breaking or even very newsworthy.  
  • Actual news that is newsworthy, however can be determined by looking at the top headlines of front page of the news source.  Media companies will generally keep the actual news to the front headlines of the media source while filing all of the other holes and gap with fluff or human interest stories.  
3. More and more Americans are picking their news outlets to reflect their viewpoints.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing? What's gained and what's lost when we no longer have a shared national network?

  • I certainly think that it is a good thing that people are able to choose which viewpoints and opinions that would prefer to listen to but to answer this question I have to go back to the root problem of having varying networks and sources in the first place.  Because the different netowrks are so varyied, I would expect people to turn to specific outlets as opposed to switching one out for the other.  If we had un-biased, completely objective, news networks without their own opinions then I would not expect nor want people to turn to one network over the other because the news would be the same.  
  • There is great deal of loss when we no longer have a shared national netowrk because many times facts are now skewed and we end up hearing more opinions than we ever needed to hear come out of the mouths of the reporters.  
  • The only small gain from something like this is the fact that people that have different views can go to their safe haven of a netowrk.  People have different viewpoints.  So now, they have the option when looking at news to go with the netowrk that shares the same viewpoint as they do.  
Friday, September 05, 2008 3 comments

Exceptional Journalists and Portfolios

Photo by: Daniel Gross

Brett Roegiers
Graduate from the University of Florida- Multimedia Journalist

Click here to see his webpage:

Roegiers is a recently graduated student from the University of Florida that has experienced a number of different forms of multimedia along the way.  He has worked The Independant Florida Alligator and has interned for the Gainsville Sun as well.  

This journalist works mostly with web deisgn and Flash media but has also dealt with a number of journalistic story assignments.  

I am not certain, but I would say that this person's backpack is always containing his laptop computer (most likely a Mac Book), an iPod, a voice recorder, USB drives, a digital photo camera, writing utensils and a notebook.

After viewing Roegiers' Web Site and communicating with him, he had been freelancing with the Miami Herald and is now a multimedia journalist with CNN.com.

Jared Silfies 
Journalist Student

View his blog on wordpress.com at:

In my opinion, afer reading over Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., talks a great deal about the importance of keeping a professional verbage and English language when writing.  Writing should not be taken lightly, especially in a time when multimedia is becoming more prevelant in today's journalism.  

The book is trying to tell journalists like Jared Silfies to not forget the importance of writing and reporting correctly and to the English standard.  I don't think this book is saying that there is a problem with how the industry has evolved and is continuing to evolve, only that there should still be a strong emphaisis on the words and sentence phrasing of stories and other writings.

Friday, September 05, 2008 0 comments

MCOM Final Newscast

WTOW- Sports News Broadcast

In this project, I produced, directed, edited and acted on screen to create a final presentation for MCOM 101 -Introduction to Mass Communications with Dr. Sandy Nichols.  

Congratulations and thank you to everyone that helped and contributed to this project. Each member in the cast brought their own unique style to the broadcast news industry.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008 1 comments

Introducing the Author

My name is Daniel J. Gross and I am currently a sophomore at Towson university, majoring in Journalism and New Media. My passion lies in writing and reporting the news, as well as so many other aspects in journalism and electronic media and film.

I currently am the co-owner of Change Of Scene Productions, a medi production company in Southern Maryland (http://www.changeofscene.net/). In this company, my business partner and I manage a company website, shoot video documentaries, shoot wedding videos, create photo slideshows, are outsourced to for logo design or animation, and do so much more in the field of media production.

When not attending classes during the academic school year, I also work full time for Southern Maryland's number one online news source, TheBAYNET.com (http://www.thebaynet.com/). Here, I write stories, report the news, conduct interviews, take photos, upload stories, edit copy, manage sections of the site's backend and serve as a sales associate, selling online banner advertisement.

While at Towson University, I spend most of my time working and writing for The Towerlight, the number one college newspaper in Baltimore (http://www.thetowerlight.com/). I am currently on staff as a staff writer, writing at least one story per issue. I also serve as the Student Government Association beat writer. 

I also am on a University Residence Government building council as the building secretary, where I promote events, document different things, and do advertising. I take many courses to better my knowledge in the journalism field and hope to soon be interning for a major newspaper or news network.

I am very eager to continue my professional career into a more mainstream assocaition to gain a greater recognition. I am looking forward to continuing my education at Towson to better my skills.

Feel free to contact me for any information.
Daniel J. Gross