Sunday, November 30, 2008 66 comments

Pillars of Journalism: Objectivity, Accuracy, Plagiarism

There are so many important factors that are essential to proper journalism. Any reputable journalist must maintain several characteristics within their reporting at all times. It was difficult to choose only three important rules for journalistic writing because all of the rules I find very important. Below is a list of journalism rules that every journalist must not avoid.

Objectivity -
Journalists must maintain an objective standpoint whenever covering a news event or writing about a particular story. When a journalist looses their objective traits, the reader is then reading solely opinion instead of hard news.
Example: "Sen. Barack Obama will soon take office and will do a wonderful job as the nation's new president."
----This example clearly shows an objective viewpoint toward this topic and does not reflect journalistic qualities. The reader does not want to know how the reporter feels about the subject but instead wants the information as it stands. That is why objectivity is one of the most important traits to a journalists.

I cannot stress enough the importance of accuracy for a journalist. A reporter that does not report accurate information looses all credibility for their stories. Being able to report accurate information is one of the most important elements to a story.
Example: "A robbery occurred on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the Bank of America, causing the bank's entire savings to be stolen."
If the Bank of America was not the bank that was robbed and if 5:30 p.m. was not the right time of the robbery, this statement will spawn all sorts of problems among society and those that may be involved with this situation. These are extremely important facts to write correctly. That is why accuracy is very important because being accurate is one of the first steps to producing a newsworthy story.

There are many rules and limits that hinder journalists each day. Plagiarism is one of these rules that journalists are forbidden to do. Plagiarism is taking other written works, someone else's information or another person's quotations and using it in a reporters own story. This is highly forbidden and could result in a loss of job.

This is one of the most important aspects to a journalist because it could result in very extreme penalties.

To learn more about journlism ethical issues read SPJ Code of Ethics
Tuesday, November 18, 2008 0 comments

Towson's Go Green Efforts: Story Breakdown

This week at Towson University, I plan on covering the newly adapted use of hybrid vehicles and expand the shuttle service for TU faculty employees and students. This is yet another initiative Towson has taken to "go green" and conserve the environment.  The school is already highly involved in the assisting of food waste and recyclables for student, they now are looking into their own carbon footprint. They have decided to drive and use hybrid faculty vehicles on campus. The extended shuttle service will also provide a more efficient means of commuter students arriving on campus. 

This should be an interesting event. I plan on interviewing a number of faculty members that are some of the decision makers and spokespersons for these projects such as Steve Showers, associate vice president of facilities management, Darcy Accardi, assistant vice president for civic engagement and others, as well as some students. 

I will research the programs that are dealing with these ideas to increase Towson's "go green" initiative and base a lot of my research on the primary interviews. 

I will most likely ask questions like:
-when did these ideas first come about?
-What is the overall goal in doing such things?
-How will this help Towson/Environment?
-What significant changes are there?
-How many cars are now hybrids on campus?
-What expansions have been made to the shuttle routes?
-What feedback has been received from students?

For a photo, I will shoot a number of car and shuttle pictures and maybe even some students walking to illustrate their use of alternative means from driving. 

For audio, I plan on getting clips of a shuttle bus speeding up or slowing down or even people loading or unloading from the bus. I may also use some of the audio interview I conduct. 

 To see Towson's Go Green initiatives click here
Sunday, November 09, 2008 0 comments

Web sites use multimedia/audio techniques to spark attention

Many Web sites take on creative multimedia strategies to increase the viewership of their content and make a much more pleasent experience while visiting the site.  

In this time in society, the avergage audience is no longer content simply reading words on a screen but are looking for anything interactive that they can hear, watch and click on. This makes them feel as if they are a part of the story or involved in the Web site. 
Many great examples of these sites float across the World Wide Web as they recieve a tremendous amount of traffic. One that I found is dedicated to a specific plane crash that occured, commonly known as Flight 401. 

It is an amzing story of tragedy and survival and the Web site has decided to preservec the story and give an accurate depiction of the event to the viewer. 

Screenshot of Web site:

The site offers a number of videos that tell the story from different perspectives, has a streaming song to play that was composed after the event took place, and even a simulation to watch with sounds to see and experience the crash first hand.

One thing that I would've certainly tried to add to the site as far as audio enhancements would be to have streaming clips of short interviews with different survivors. I would even maybe include the clips with short photo slideshows of each of them.

Other than that, this is an overall very well formed Web site.

Sunday, November 09, 2008 0 comments

"The Amazing Race: Towson"

By Towson University journalism student Daniel Gross


On Friday night, instead of staying in or having a night out around town, about 56 students chose to race around Towson’s campus in an effort to win $500, $200 or $100 to a store of their choice. Sixteen teams gathered in Paws in the University Union to begin the Campus Activities Board's Friday Night Live event, "The Amazing Race: Towson."

Among these 16 teams, two freshman and two sophomore resident students decided to form a team earlier that day to compete for a chance to win a cash prize. Some of the teammates had little knowledge of "The Amazing Race," the television show, but felt that they had a fair chance of winning.

“We have a good team and everybody has their own individual skills,” sophomore English major Jasmine Pitts said. “We have a good shot at winning.”

While waiting in Paws, the team received their first clue and began to brainstorm ideas.

“The clue says, ‘go to the residence hall that rhymes with the word hen.’ Now at first we thought the Den but we realized that’s not a residence hall, it’s an eatery,” freshman and education major Jim Grandfield said. “Then we thought Prettyman because it’s technically a residence hall but it’s “m-a-n,' not 'm-e-n.' The only one that rhymes with 'hen' is the Glen, those are the Glen Towers, the Complex."

The determined group got off to a slow start at the Glen Towers, the race’s first stop. Teams had the task of arranging ten residence halls listed in order from earliest built to newest built. The team’s first attempt at this was not a great advancement, having only one residence hall correct.

 After completing their first stop, the team continued to go to each station around campus, jogging to some, walking to others. Residence Tower, 7800 York Road, the beach volleyball court at Burdick Hall, Towsontown Garage and Towson Center were all designated locations the clues told the students to locate.

“I didn’t realize that it would be this much physical activity. I haven’t worked out in a while,” Grandfield said.

At each location, CAB staff members were present to distribute the next clue for each team.University Residence Government members were also present as the event's cosponsors.

“It’s really exciting watching how frustrated everybody is and excited and running up and down the stairs,” URG president Alex Newman said who was stationed at the Towsontown Garage activity. “Then when they finally get [the answer] they bolt off in a direction when they haven’t even read the clue yet and don’t know where they’re going.”

While racing around campus, freshman electronic media and film major Latia Blake constantly gave words of encouragement to her fellow teammates. “Brian, this is your idea, you better put a pep in that step,” she said to her teammate, sophomore Brian Wright.

The group of four was able to complete each task, find each location and make it to the finish line in Paws, but not before about six or seven of the 16 teams had already finished.

“It was definitely hard. I wasn’t expecting this much running but you know, I met some new people, new friends, had fun,” Grandfield said. “It was a good way to spend a Friday night and I’m just going to sleep in tomorrow.”

Two groups ended up tying for first place, getting $400 for each team. A group of five Student Government Association members were one of those teams.

“Overall it was a lot of fun. It really showed the meaning of teamwork and I think we can take whatever we learned today about teamwork into the real world,” SGA senator Ryan Lodge said.

The other first place team was also pleased with their success.

“We saw that there was $500 up for grabs and we were just like, ‘oh that’s ours,’ and it was,”junior and theatre production major Jeremy Garnes said. “I thought it was rough because we had to run all the way around campus but you know, we worked cooperatively as a group.”

CAB and URG staff worked hand in hand with making preparations for the event. From the feedback that staff members were given, students enjoyed certain activities like the piggy-back ride challenge at 7800 York Road.

“I’m glad that everybody came back with smiling faces,” URG director of special projects Chelsea Harris said. “Everybody was heated about who was going to win what and that just shows how passionate they were about winning the race.”

According to Ryan Grasso, the CAB programming chair, many students mentioned that they would like to see this program again next semester. “Everybody was out of breath when they came to the finish,” he said.

Monday, November 03, 2008 1 comments

Fall Season On-Campus Photos

Outside of Stephens Hall at Towson University, sunlight shines on a statue of the school's mascot, the Tiger during a fall day in November.

Blake Savadow 
Mass Communications 

Students study and walk to class outside of 
the Cook Library during a cool, fall day on 
Monday, Nov. 3. 

Ways to Improve:

There is always room for improvement. I have noticed a number of things I could to enhance the quality of my photos and photo taking ability. For one, I need to keep an eye out for an interesting shot, meaning the angle, lighting or subject matter of the photo. It is also important to use the rule of thirds so the viewer is more attracted to the photo. My main concern is understanding which settings I should have my camera set to when shooting under certain conditions. This takes repeated practice. I need to continue to take photos in different situations that call for a different combination of shutter speeds and aperture settings.

Sunday, November 02, 2008 1 comments

Amazing Race Event to be held at Towson

On Friday, Nov. 7, an event hosted by Towson's campus activities board and university residence government will be held to simulate the CBS television reality series, The Amazing Race. I plan on attending the event and covering it for a story assignment. I will publish this article on my personal website to illustrate my multimedia skills of journalistic reporting. 

This event will host TU students in groups of three to five people, all competing in a race on campus. 

To ensure accurate information and coverage, I will touch base with the event contact, Ryan Grasso to make him aware of my attendance. I will speak to him, other CAB and URG representatives and interview a number of participating students. 

I will make sure that I obtain all of the necessary facts from the event such as the start and end times, how many attended, what were the reasons for hosting the event, if this has been done in the past and what the students had to do if competing. 

Potential Questions:

-How was the event?
-How many people attended?
-What happened at the event? What was the idea?
-Who came up with the idea?
-What was the motive behind creating such an event?
-How do you feel the event was enjoyed?
-Will this become an annual? Semi-annual event?
-Were there prizes given away?


-How did you enjoy the event?
-Why did you decide to attend?
-Do you watch The Amazing Race on CBS?
-Did you find the race challenging, enjoyable, etc.?

Photo Possibilities:

Seeing that it is a night event, photos will be a challenge.  My Canon XTi Digital SLR uses a standard lens with 3.5 as its lowest F stop. Therefore, I may be forced to use flash, which will compromise some photo quality but still may produce some good shots. Things to look for:

-Students running during race
-Starting line of student teams
-Finish line with first team crossing
-Main event table with prizes, staff, snacks, with students enjoying, etc.