Lester Holt shares feelings over ethics

The new NBC nightly news anchor, Lester Holt appeared at the Columbia Journalism School for an event of ethics. Perhaps one of the most interesting things about that was his predecessor is the infamous Brian Williams known for his ethical transgression.Brian Williams 2012 Shankbone.JPG

One professor  asked how the  NBC team moved on from the Williams debacle earlier in the year. Holt responded by saying that it was a family matter and it was difficult for all of them to get over.  I think this is so interesting that during the entire ethical debate this is the only time Brian Williams name was mentioned and when it was Holt answered it with very little detail.

As the talk continued there was still little of ethics actually mentioned and Holt focused on treating situations with compassion. With his promotion he was the first full-time solo black anchor of a nightly news network. He remembers his mother telling him a story about when he was 5 years old and Holt asked, “Why are there no colored people on TV?” He is proud that people are able to turn on the TV and see that now. I find this important because he went there to talk about ethics and ended up inspiring students in an entirely different way.

I am so happy that Lester Holt has been given this opportunity. I never disliked Brian Williams until his whole ethical situation unfolded. When I listen to the nightly news I want to make sure what I am hearing is accurate, like most all other people. This was not the case we Brian Williams we found out. Even though he had a major slip up he still left some big shoes to fill. Lester Holt has done just that and I am so happy to see him succeed, he absolutely deserves this anchor position.

Oldschool Online Publication Finds Success

Some veteran reporters have found themselves leaving the newspaper business to work for a non profit. In Michigan there is an online publication known as Bridge. They have offices in Lansing and Detroit but sometimes meet at someone’s home in Ann Arbor. The publication was first launched in September of 2011. Since then they have received more recognition, readership and digital audience.

So what sets this group of reporters aside from all others? Well their stories take much longer to write. They all take the time to think and reflect on a topic or story. Many of them will conduct interviews, continue researching, build spreadsheets and keep crunching numbers for a month or more at times. This work ethic is extremely important because it sets them apart. Today most mainstream newspapers or even online publications are so involved in being the first one to get the story out and then quick send it to the public and move on. Without the strict deadlines there is never ending possibilities of what one could uncover.

Growing up in a world that revolves around a faced paced media and learning as a journalist to have a strong social media skills I find this very interesting, Their reporters are not forced to keep their social media sites up to date, or even have them in the first place. They don’t focus on getting the story out in time but on the solutions. This is so important to have these types of stories because sometimes we never hear the outcome or just that it was bad not how it can get fixed.

Also in class we have been learning about navigating through websites and what makes them easier as a viewer. One thing I noticed on most sites where I have issues is with the advertisements. Bridge has no ads! Their $50,000 comes through grants and personal donations. This just proves how many people still support this old school style of journalism.

This is a huge reminder of how important this style of journalism is. I understand why it is so important to get the story out on time and why there are strict deadlines. But at the end of the day we still need reporters like the ones at Bridge. They show us how to come up with solutions and take the time to show us why something is the way that it is based on hard data. I am glad to hear that this publication is doing so well and I hope that they continue to grow in the future.

The Sun-Times Struggles

The Chicago Sun-Times has never has never been the picture perfect website. However once they made the switch to a revenue-producing national network everything got much worse. The Sun-Times adopted the new template in January and by the summer had already lost their partnership with Yahoo. Even more recently they suffered the loss of the CEO of the parent company and their top political reporter.

Many newspapers are struggling because of the internet, but the world wide web has also been helpful in readership for other newspapers. The Chicago Sun-Times has not figured out how to use their website successfully. The originality from the workers at the Sun-Times wanted to update the website with new sections and a new contemporary feel. But without listening to them they made the switch to the national network and now has to follow their rules. This network has struggled so much that they have drawn national attention. This is a great example of how important it is to have a strong online presence and create trust with the readers.

This story could not have come at a better time since we are discussing websites in class. I find it interesting that all of the topics we discussed in class about good website design come into play here. I had a chance to visit the site and was curious as to how bad it could truly be. Well, it was bad. When the home page first popped up there was a large, full screen ad that I had to exit out of before continuing. The same thing happened every time I clicked on a section or a story. This was extremely frustrating. The template was a plain white background with a grid design. However, the stories and ads had the same box size and were confusing as to which was which. Even knowing what I was getting into, I still did not last very long on the site. 

I am so upset with this newspaper for ignoring the writers and other newsroom workers and becoming the anchor of this national network. There is no saying that the other idea would have been more successful but it certainly could have not gotten much worse. Hearing about this really confirms my thoughts of how important it is to have a functional website. I hope that the Sun-Times can get the website in better shape to properly display all of the great journalistic talents in their newspaper.

Here is the link if anyone wants to check it out!



The Police Embed is Back

In the recent years there has been many instances with police violence in the U.S. If there is footage of these occurrences most of them come from the public posting on social media. Body cameras are becoming increasingly popular for police. But one option is coming back into play, the police embed. Sometimes this is referred to as a ‘ride-along’ and consist of a photo journalist sitting in the back of a police car and going through the entire 12 hour work day with them.

This is so important for journalists to think about this option so they are literally placed in their shoes to uncover a story. The option to do this is not always possible. It takes a lot of time and money to place a journalist in a police car and on the streets all day. There is also a safety issue by placing journalists in this position. But I feel this is the best way to understand what our officers do for us every single day. With all of the bad publicity police receive it needs to be balanced out and show both sides of the story. This method is the best one to chose to get those results.

I find this so interesting because I would love to experience something like this. The concept is something we think of before social media took off. But what is so interesting is bringing back this older idea and being able to have the public see their side of things. There are many times that police just walk on the streets and talk to residents, business owners and anybody else that would like to chat. We would not know about this if it weren’t fort the embed.

In case it wasn’t obvious yet, I love this idea. I have major respect for all men and women police officers.  It is so crucial to capture some moments, good and bad, that they deal with.  In no way am I saying that police brutality is acceptable at all but unfortunately this the only time they receive any media attention. Journalists could discover so much more this way and I am positive they would be able to write about some awesome things they saw that day.

Updates to my blog

I have made a couple minor changes to my blog. Some are obvious and you cannot miss them, while others might take some exploration.

One change I really wanted to make was the color scheme. I really wanted to make the colors more vibrant and fun to look at. So I took away the picture I originally had on the left hand side background and changed it to pink and orange to brighten it up. I also like the idea of a simple background and the plain colors do just that. These colors will definitely draw the eye of the reader to visit many of my stories.

Something else that I added was the calendar. This can be seen at the bottom of the home page. Not only is it kind of nice to see when something was updated and how it relates to that week in time. But also the calendar shows that I keep up on  my blog every week! Now that I have established some of my viewers I want to keep them coming back and that is just one way to show why my blog is a good choice.

The last page that I added was a photo gallery. In my about me section I mentioned how much I loved to travel. I wanted to back this up by proving some evidence. I don’t just go to Walmart to explore but I have been all over our country and a few other countries as well. I hope to keep this updated in order to have readers see where else I have traveled.

Many of the articles I read about for this week really gave me some great tips but I found that many of them had already applied to my blog. Some were on purpose but many were applied completely by chance. I hope to keep discovering more ways to draw in and keep the reader.