Reflecting on all the topics discussed this semester, what ideas or concepts stood out to me? How will these ideas help me become a better professional working in the STR industry?
Although we discussed many topics throughout the semester, two ideas stood out to me the most. These ideas are public forum and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. The idea of public forum will help me become a better professional in the STR industry because it reminds me that there must be a place for the public to interact with the information—a place where they can discuss with others. Channels for public forum are increasing and are becoming more accessible because of new technology. This is a good thing and a bad thing. It is a good thing because it allows the public more ways to become actively involved in their reception of information. It is a bad thing because the increase in public forum also allows for the increase of distortion of information. As a STR professional, I need to provide a place for the public to discuss the information, but I also need to monitor the discussions to make prevent the distortion of information. I need to encourage my audience to engage in discussion and sharing of information, but I also need to remind them that their discussion needs to be based on truthfulness, facts, and verification. Citizens have rights and responsibilities. They have a right to have certain expectations of the news that is delivered to them. As a STR professional I need to respect these rights. In doing so my readers and audience will be more likely to consider me a reliable source of information. As a result, they will be more willing to listen to and share my message.
What ideas or concepts stood out from The Elements of Journalism?
While there are many important ideas discussed in The Elements of Journalism, two ideas stood out from this text. Those three are the idea of objectivity and the idea of gatekeeping. These ideas stood out to me because they are being tested by the new media environment. The idea of objectivity is being tested because, due to a fragmented audience, it is harder to capture and keep the audience’s attention. Therefore, journalists need to spice up their stories to get the audience’s attention. This is a threat to objectivity because it may encourage a journalist to say or write something in a way that is not fair or balanced just to gain the audience’s attention. Additionally, with increased consumer participation there is more media clutter. Therefore, it is hard to tell the difference between objective truth and people’s opinions. The idea of gatekeeping is also being tested due to increased consumer participation. With the Internet, consumers are able to see much more information than ever before and feel empowered to pick and choose what they want to consider news. Therefore, consumers feel they do not need a journalist to pick and choose what is news and what isn’t.
How will these ideas or concepts help me become a more critical consumer of journalism?
This will help me become a more critical consumer of journalism because I understand the purpose of journalism and the problems journalism is having in the new media environment. As a result, I understand that in order to get objective news I will have to read more critically to make sure there is a minimum bias. I also understand that since the role of gatekeeper is transitioning from the journalist to the consumer, I will have to filter good journalism from bad journalism.
Imagine you are an aspiring PR professional trying to specialize in the area of social media and strategic communication. How would you define/describe social media? What are some uses of social media in advertising and in public relations?
Social media is an example of one of the ways of how media is transforming. Instead of the one-way communication of traditional media, social media uses two-way communication between the information senders and the information receivers. Rather than advertisers and public relations professionals just feeding the public information, the public is now able to respond. People, companies, organizations, and others use this opportunity to create discussion and share information. Public relations professionals can use the fact that social media is a two-way communication system to interact more personally with their publics. Not only can PR professionals use social media as a means to build relationships, but they can also use it as a means to promote. Similar to public relations professionals, advertisers use social media to promote their product or service to the public. Social media is useful to advertisers because it is cheap and it can reach a variety of people.
In what ways could the benefits of social media help small businesses vs. large corporations differently?
As mentioned before, social media can be used to build relationships and to promote a product. Both small businesses and large corporations can use social media, but they tend to use them differently. Since people corporations are so large, the public does not have a personal relationship with them. By using social media, large corporations are able to connect more with the public and therefore, are able to build better, more personal relationships with the public. Since small businesses do not have the funding for traditional advertising, social media is an excellent way to promote their product or service with little to no money.
In chapter 8 of the K&R text, the authors discussed something called infotainment. What do they mean by infotainment? Give a brief description of the term and then think of a real life example that constitutes infotainment.
The authors of The Elements of Journalism believe that infotainment is the practice of turning news material into entertainment. For example, Barbara Walters had an interview with Monica Lewinsky about her involvement with President Clinton. For a majority of the interview, they talked about the sexual details of the situation like whether President Clinton was a good kisser or not. It was not until after the scandalous questions were asked did Barbara Walters actually start questioning Lewinsky about whether she lied under oath to protect the president and whether he had arranged a job for her in return (192).
Is infotainment good practice? A necessary evil? Or a complete disgrace to the news industry? Why or why not? If the authors argue that news must engage with the audience and make things interesting/relevant, what if infotainment is precisely what the audience want?
While the authors of The Elements of Journalism tend to have a negative view on the use of infotainment, it can actually be a good practice if it is done right. Journalists can use infotainment to draw an audience in and then once they have the audience’s attention they can start reporting the “information they need to understand the world” (189). Infotainment is not a disgrace to the news industry unless the news focused on shallow, entertaining scandals and stories take precedence over the news focused on information that people need to live their lives. Journalists are storytellers with the intention of providing information people need to understand the world. As professional storytellers, journalists must first find the information people need to live their lives and then find a way to make that information “meaningful, relevant, and engaging” (189). A way in which journalists can make the information more enticing is by using the practice of infotainment. For example, a journalist can use Miley Cyrus’ twerking as an introduction to a news story about how the entertainment industry is setting a bad example for children. However, when the news story is solely about Miley Cyrus’ twerking obsession that’s where the problem lies. Journalists must realize that infotainment should only be used to enhance the substance of the story—infotainment should not be the substance of the story.
In chapter 6 of the K&R text, the authors argued that, “journalists must maintain an independence from those they cover” (p. 118). What do they mean by independence? Identify the different forms of independence outlined by the authors and give a brief description for each.
“Journalists must maintain an independence from those that they cover” (118). Since journalists must appeal to the general public they must be free of thoughts and beliefs that pertain to specific groups or organizations. In doing so, journalists can deliver information to the general public. In The Elements of Journalism, the authors refer to an independence from class or economic status. This means that journalists must deliver the information in a way that avoids creating a division among socioeconomic classes. The authors also refer to an independence from race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. This means that journalists must report in a way that denies the influence of personal experience in regard to race, ethnicity, religion, and gender.
Is there media bias in the US? Is media bias a bad thing? Or, under what circumstances could it be a positive?
There is a media bias in the US. The US has many different factions that journalists try to accommodate. In doing so, journalists exclude certain groups of people. This media bias creates the idea that journalists are no longer working for the general public, but are working for a specific group of people within the general public.
After reviewing the reading and lecture on press releases, examine the two press releases and then reflect on the following:
- Which one is the good release? What makes it good? Highlight/refer to specific examples in the release to support your claim.
- Which one is the bad release? What makes it bad? Again, highlight/refer to specific examples in the release to support your claim.
The bad press release is the one about the St. Jude give thanks. Walk. It is unprofessional and does not provide all the information a journalist would need. The paragraphs in a press release are either indented and double-spaced or block style and single-spaced. This press release is indented but it is single-spaced. In addition, the press release has no letterhead. Therefore, the journalist cannot tell what organization the press release is from. The journalist also does not know when the press release can be released, because the PR professional did not indicate a specific date or write “for immediate release.” The PR professional did not even include a date in the dateline. There is no boiler plate or “###” mark to indicate the end of the press release. Furthermore, if a journalist wanted to ask the PR professional more questions about press release, he or she could not because the PR professional did not provide adequate contact information.
The good press release is the one from the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. It is written professionally and provides all the information a journalist and readers need to know. It has a letterhead indicating that the press release is from the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. It also has “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” printed on the top of the page to let journalists know when it can be released. The headline is bolded and concise. The dateline provides the city and date. The lead and body of the press release answer the questions: who, what, when, and where. The press release even includes a quote, which helps strengthen the credibility of the information. Sine it goes onto a second page, the press release includes a slug and a page number. At the end of the press release there is a boiler plate about the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. The PR professional used the symbol, “###” to indicate the end of the press release. Lastly, the PR professional printed her name, phone number, and e-mail address so journalists know how to contact her.
Imagine you are a PR consultant hired by Microsoft to help them understand whether/how their corporate culture may have an impact on their productivity. To help you with this project you’ve decided to gather information from the following: institutional sources, scholarly sources, and informal sources. In your blog post, discuss these two questions for all three sources: What might this particular source look like in this scenario? How can this particular information help you?
Institutional sources include publications that are used inside and outside of a company for recording keeping, informing the public, and communicating its purpose. In this case, an institutional source may have statistics about Microsoft’s current productivity rates. This information can be useful because it may provide me, the PR consultant, background about Microsoft’s productivity, which will help me better understand the impact Microsoft’s corporate culture has on its productivity. Institutional sources can also be used to look at competitors’ statistics. Since Microsoft and its competitors are publicly owned businesses, their information is public. Therefore, I can compare Microsoft’s productivity statistics with its competitors’ productivity statistics and make note of Microsoft’s strengths and weaknesses in comparison to its competitors.
Scholarly sources are public sources that are susceptible to critical review and are accessible to members of the scholarly community. Professors, researchers, and universities usually produce this type of source. In Microsoft’s case, scholarly sources may be journal articles and books about teamwork in business. I could use journal articles and books that explain how good teamwork affect a business’ productivity rates to show Microsoft how a good corporate culture benefits productivity rates. These sources could help determine whether Microsoft’s corporate culture is beneficial to its productivity levels. Scholarly sources could also provide information on how to improve teamwork, which I could use to explain how to improve Microsoft’s corporate culture.
Informal sources consist of the information that one knows from one’s own experiences, background, expertise, and knowledge. As a PR consultant for Microsoft, I can use my opinions and personal experience with the company to help the company understand how its corporate culture and productivity affect consumers. I could give an outsider’s opinion about how I, as a consumer, perceive Microsoft’s corporate culture. I could also provide a personal experience I had with Microsoft and whether it was good or bad. The company can use my opinions and personal experience to address areas of strength and weakness.