Sunday, September 29, 2013

Discussion Blur Chapters 8, 9

Multiple times throughout chapter 8, readers are informed that we tend to look for the most "interesting" news. We consume news by "wonder[ing] how much it matters." and by "topic and story". What factors do you think that we, as readers, take into consideration upon deciding what's important enough to earn our time and attention? 

This, then, begs another question: Is it "wrong" of news media to focus solely on what they believe is important and what they believe will capture an audience? Is this catering to the public too much? 

Later on in chapter 8, we are introduced to methodology: "your own tradecraft, to identify those who consistently do exceptional work." We are encouraged to look for telltale signs that journalists are reliable sources. However, this is yet again a time-consuming way of gathering news. Given that we live in such an efficient-focused society, what do you think is the "best" methodology? Can you relate to putting any of them into practice, yourself? Furthermore, what do you think the logistics of solely having "certified journalists" are?

***Food for thought: paradoxically, we, as a society, try and make our lives so quick and easy, yet getting accurate news seems to be anything but quick and easy. With so much liberty in news-telling and multiple mediums, have we done ourselves a disservice? 

In chapter 9, we are asked what the role of a journalist is. Over and over again, I was struck by the evolution of journalism. We "graze" rather than look at the news all at once... We are driven to consume news based off of our curiosities. As such, Kovach and Rosenstiel suggest that journalism become "a public dialogue, with the journalist informing and helping facilitate the discussion." 

Journalism is "becoming more complex." The future of journalism is focusing on becoming publicly engaging. I was fascinated by this idea! How engaging do you think it will be? How will the evolution of technology aid in the evolution of journalism? (i.e. video chats with news reporters, etc.)

*** "Knowledge page": "running account of everything a news organization knows on a subject, it would be built on rather than replaced."

Lastly, I'd like to leave you with one last question: Is it possible to stress the importance of maintaining values, yet still managing to advance journalism forward? 

GREAT QUOTE: "Dialogue rises or falls on whether the discussion is based on propaganda and deceit or on facts an verification pursued with a mind willing to learn." 

'Who's a journalist? Does that matter?' Discussion Preparation

The quintessential idea behind Gilmor's article is that in today's rapidly developing media society it is difficult to determine who constitutes the role of journalists. Following, Gilmor's advice, I'd first like to answer this question by examining the word journalism.

Consider these definitions of the word journalism:

: the activity or job of collecting, writing, and editing news stories for newspapers, magazines, television, or radio (Merriam-Webster)

: the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news or conducting any news organization as a business (

Do these definitions accurately portray what we think of as journalism? If not, why not? ...and how should the definition then be changed?

Do examples of media such as those below warrant the label "journalism"?

Gilmor discusses how he didn't like to refer to himself as a journalist because it made him "feel like [he] was pretending to a higher role than the craft, however vital and honorable it may be, merited." Do you think the word journalist takes on a different meaning or connotation than the word journalism?

Finally, what are the societal repercussions of mislabeling journalism and its corresponding journalists?

Monday, September 23, 2013

About Me - Katie Hicks

About me:
1. I grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, a suburb about 20 minutes west of Minneapolis.

2. I'm going to be honest. Since coming to college, I haven't kept up with the news as well as I did when I was at home. I used to get most of my news through TV, whether it was watching 60 Minutes during dinner or Anderson Cooper at night with my mom. Lately I've been turning on the news more frequently in my dorm room and reading more online news sources like The New York Times.

3. I have a lot of favorite TV shows, mostly because I watch more Netflix than I should. However, if I had to pick one, it would probably be 30 Rock. I love Tina Fey and quoting her is one of my favorite pastimes.

4. I'm not sure I have a favorite catchphrase but I do tend to use words like "lolz" and "fosho" more than I should while texting.

5. The phenomenons that annoys me the most are definitely memes. The pictures with phrases were funny at one time, but that time has passed.

6. I really like acoustic and indie music. Anything by Vampire Weekend or The Lumineers or Of Monsters and Men would be great.

7. One of my friends just introduced me to the Bad Lip Reading videos, which I found pretty funny!

Online Assignment #1: About Me

1. I am American, but I was born in Beijing, where my Chinese mom and American dad only spoke Mandarin to me. Next, we moved to Long Island, New York, where I learned English with a Long Island accent. After a few years, we moved to Georgia, followed by our move to Singapore. Singapore is where I grew up and where I consider my home. It is a tiny, prosperous island/country/city with virtually no crime and no natural disasters (meaning I pretty much grew up in a bubble of safety). I attended the Singapore American School, so my high school experience included varsity athletics, proms, homecomings, learning US history and taking AP courses much like other typical American high schools. I tried my best to keep up, but I am a little out of touch with American media and what living in a democracy with free speech is like.

2. I will admit that I get most of my news from scrolling through Twitter and picking out a broad range of stories to read. I try to follow a variety of news sources, including CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, The Daily Beast, Reuters and the AP. While scrolling through my feed, I like to see how different news accounts summarize their stories within the constraints of a Tweet. Outside of Twitter, I go on the New York Times website and The Daily Beast Website when I have more time. As I have mentioned, living overseas limited my access to American radio and TV because some shows were not allowed in my region, or the time-zone difference just made the live shows difficult to catch.

3. I have a serious love for documentaries on things ranging from anything historical to reincarnation to media’s role in gender equality. My favorite TV series is probably Workaholics because Adam, Blake and Ders are not only hilarious, but they seem to have fun when making the show. What makes the show even better is that Ders is a UW-Madison alumnus. Game of Thrones is also fantastic.

4. I cannot think of any one phrase that I specifically adore, but it makes me happy whenever people say words like "groovy" or "neat" because they are sort of from a different time. 

5. Twerking does not annoy me, but I just do not understand it. I guess the twerking phenomenon did not make it across the sea to Singapore. On a more serious note, I get bothered with casual references of violence and sexual violence in songs, TV shows or other mediums.

6. When I heard Modest Mouse playing before the first lecture of the semester, it caught my attention and made my Monday morning much happier. Please keep playing artists like Modest Mouse. Jimi Hendrix would be nice. And, hypothetically, if I was being honest in a judgement-free environment, I would say that "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus is definitely my current guilty pleasure song.

7. This certainly is not new, but by the end of this video my eyes always water because of how passionate she is.

Online Assignment #1

Online Assignment #1, Emily Zellers

1) I am from Stillwater, Minnesota but I’ve also lived in Cedarburg, WI and Edwardsville, IL.

2) My primary source for news is the Internet. I have a New York Times subscription on my iPad so I try to check that regularly.

3) My favorite TV show of all time is Friends.

4) My favorite catch phrase right now is what the what. I think it comes from the TV show 30 rock. My friend Claire started using it and I love it.

5) A pop culture phenomenon that has gotten really annoying to me is YOLO.

6) Right now one of my favorite songs is Royals by Lorde so it’d be cool to hear that.

7) My roommate showed me this the other day and I thought it was really cute.

Sofie's Online Assignment

1. I was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It's a small city about thirty minutes north of the University of Iowa. No I did not live on a farm.

2. My primary source of news was usually our local Cedar Rapids paper The Gazette which I would look over in the morning when I was eating breakfast, as well as national and local half hour news shows on NBC and ABC at night and in the morning. I would also watch CNN with my mom after dinner when we would catch up on the day's events.

3. My favorite TV show will always be Friends. But I am also still a fan of Grey's Anatomy. The storyline may continue to become increasingly unrealistic, yet they still get viewers like me tuned in every week.

4. I don't know if it's really a catchphrase but usually when I'm talking with my friends I will say "ermahgerd" instead of the usually "oh my god" or "OMG" playing off the viral meme of the girl saying "ermahgerd" I just find it hilarious.

5. Miley Cyrus. We get it that you're trying to break away from your Disney persona, but you are really coming off as trashy. Yet again, you have the entire country talking about you, and you've never had so much publicity, and for that, you are a genius. Again, incredibly annoying.

6. It would be great to hear some old school 70's disco to get us going in the morning. Maybe not the most popular these days, but it reminds me of my mom growing up and listening to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack on repeat and always puts me in a good mood. Or Florence + the Machine's Shake it Out. Could jump and dance around to that song for hours.

7. Props to whoever posted the Falling Grape Lady video, that's my favorite video of all time, but I will post a different video. I love watching Vine videos and this was one of my favorites.

Online Assignment One

1)      I was born and raised in the town of Dodgeville, Wis. That, for those of you who are not from around here, is like an hour from Madison. I transferred here from Marquette in Milwaukee.  

2)   So I must fess up and admit that most of my news comes from twitter and yahoo. Then, like some of my co-students have also admitted the Daily Show and Colbert. I was much better about watching news this summer!  Now there is never time but I plan on getting my act together.

3)   I rarely watch T.V. to be honest, especially while at school. But when I do it’s usually shows like Seinfeld or The Office and, as previously mentioned, John Stewart and The Colbert Report. Sometimes I’m weird and like to watch things on the History channel about medieval prophets or the black plague. I don’t know why.

4) I never feel comfortable using cultural catch phrases! I'd like to see "dig it" come back though. 

5) Nike shirts with phrases such as "Still the flyest."or "Lazy but talented." Sexist slang was never funny in the least bit. Also, since I'm at Starbucks, the Pumpkin Spice Latte shaming that has erupted in the twitter realm. They are delicious, okay? Lastly,  the "Keep Calm and..." phrase. 

6) Bob Dylan. Or some Kanye West. 

7) Because it might be relevant: 

Alex's Online Assignment 1:

1)  I was born in Champaign Urbana, Illinois but moved to St. Louis, Missouri shortly after.
2)   My primary source for news is the New York times website along with the Daily Show.
3)   My favorite TV show is definitely Breaking Bad, only two episodes left though.  When that’s over my favorite show will have to be Game of Thrones.
4)   My favorite catch phrase currently would definitely be “figure it out”, I just find that it has such diversity in its use.
5)   The most annoying pop culture phenomenon to me is the obsession with Miley Cyrus.  I could honestly care less what she does.
6)   I would love to hear Professor Wells play a little funk before class, maybe some songs by The Meters.

7)   This video honestly blew me away when I first saw it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Discusion Prep for Blur Chapters 6-7

Here are some starter discusion questions for class tomorrow on Chapters 6-7 of Blur.

1) On page 119, Kovach and Rosenstiel assert that "News should meet the tests of imparting the literal meaning of the facts and also support the connotative and annotative meanings as well." Is news capable of this today? Of these three levels of meaning which do you believe is the most important in the way that consumers understand what is written?

2) Using the example of a debate with a moderator who does not question statements, Kovach and Rosentstiel bring up the idea that facts in todays culture are devalued and all assertions become equal whether they are accurate or not. Why do you think this is occurring? Do you agree?

3) Kovach and Rosenstiel imply that it is now harder than ever for consumers to get accurate information because newsrooms who would have worked to find evidence are shrinking and the amount of journalsim of assertion is rising. Is the average citizen capable of asking themselves "show me, prove it, and why should I believe it?"

Research Report on Russ Baker

The Squeeze, written by Russ Baker, focuses on the concerns of ad agencies interfering with the content of the news mediums they appear in. The article was published by in 1997 by the Columbia Journalism Review.  

Russ Baker has been an investigative journalist for over two decades producing stories for various news sources including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Esquire Magazine, the Village Voice, the Nation and Vanity Fair. Baker attended the University of California LA where he graduated with a BA in Political Science. In 1988 Baker obtained his masters degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Early in his career Baker covered stories on the Hutu-Tutsi Massacres in Burundi, the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany and the Romanian revolutions under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu. Baker later covered stories on the attack and collapse of the World Trade Center, the military record of George W. Bush, and the war in Iraq. 

In 1989 Baker worked as a New York correspondent for the Christian Scientist Monitor where he produced a variety of investigative cover stories. In the 90’s Baker served as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Baker has been a speaker at a variety of organizations, both public and private, and has also spoken at many colleges and universities. He has been interviewed many times on various radio stations and television shows. Baker has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a panelist at the National Conference of Investigative Reporters and Editors. Baker received the 2005 Deadline Club Award for the investigative reporting he did on then president George W. Bush’s military record.

Currently Baker’s focus is on promoting and editing his site, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news site.

It seems that by writing for a variety of news sources with no apparent political lean, Baker cultivated for himself a nonpartisan image. Though his various stories, investigations, and awards Baker has certainly built up an impressive amount of credibility in his journalism career.

The only apparent motivation that Baker has had is to make journalism as purely truth seeking and unbiased as possible. The quality of journalism is something that Baker has evidently been passionate about in his career. An article about the control advertisers have over the content of the magazines or papers that their ads appear in is something that may be personal to Baker.

The Columbia Journalism Review, the publisher of Baker’s article, set’s high standards for their chosen content according to their site, The Review was founded by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1961 and claims to be the country’s prime journal of press comment and criticism.  

One online review of the article found stated that Baker’s article was well researched and did not question the author’s credibility for writing the article. With credible sources in Russ Baker and the Columbia Journalism Review, I must conclude that this article exemplifies unbiased, investigative journalism at its finest.


June 2, 2003. The Federal Communications Commission loosened its previous media ownership rules which would allow the major broadcasting networks to buy smaller stations, and increase their national audience from 35 to 45%. The major companies would also be able to own other sources of media in their respective areas, such as newspapers and Internet sites. This approval, along with the pending Senate vote, was the basis of James Fallows’ article The Age of Murdoch in The Atlantic in September 2003.
            Fallows is an American journalist, who has been involved in the news and journalism industry for over forty years. Besides being a Harvard graduate, he was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University and served as President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter for his first two years in office. His resume includes being an editor and writer for both local and national magazines, being a regular contributor to NPR, a professor, as well as being the author of ten books. His works are based primarily around economics, technology, and politics, so it was appropriate that a journalist with such extensive knowledge on these topics would cover a story that tied them all together, and in the field that he is so involved with.
            Fallows’ commentary on NPR, as well as monthly editorials featured in The Atlantic, show that although he probably holds a certain political affiliation, he is a respected journalist and able to draw all aspects of an issue to his stories. His focus on Rupert Murdoch in this article gave a face to the controversy in the journalism industry of whether or not to loosen the FCC’s rules on media ownership. He gave equal focus on Murdoch’s fans and criticizers, as well as describing his own personal experience with Murdoch.
            I believe that Fallows ultimately explained the rule changes fairly, explaining the rule changes thoroughly as well as explaining the voting process. He tended to put focus on FCC chairman Michael Powell, but then would counter his argument with the argument of rule protestors such as Mark Cooper. Fallows does seem to think favorably of Rupert Murdoch, however, which is controversial among both journalists and the public. That being said, his opinions are respected among journalists and politicians alike.
            Ultimately, senate voted to turn down the FCC’s loosening of ownership rules. And today, we still struggle with who has control over the major media providers, and what kind of news gets spread to the public. The “wall” between the business and the news continues to be broken down. Fallows continues to be the national correspondent for The Atlantic. It also seems that his opinion on Murdoch has changed. Rupert Murdoch recently resigned as News International’s director, and is under investigation by both British and US government for bribery and corruption. Fallows’ article was written eight years before the scandal, and his article flies in the face of what opponents already saw in Murdoch, and how his admirers may perceive him now. This controversy also shows the danger of having too much power in the media industry today. 


·      A Boat Against the Current. (n.d.). : Quote of the Day (James Fallow, on Rupert Murdoch’s “Embattled” Career). Retrieved from
·      FCC approves controversial media ownership rules. (n.d.). CNNMoney. Retrieved from
·      James Fallows | (n.d.). James Fallows | Retrieved from
·      The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. (n.d.). The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Retrieved from
·      Rupert Murdoch. (2013, September 22). News. Retrieved from

Maddie's Online Assignment

1. I was born in Edina, Minnesota. I moved locally twice when I was younger. But, I have spent the last 15 years living in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

2. As ashamed as I am to say it, I don't follow the news as much as I should. The news that I do follow tends to be the afternoon news specials on WCCO and the New York Times online.

3. My favorite TV show would probable have to be The Office. Although, I have never followed a show from start to finish nor have I ever made it past a forth season. The shows I do watch tend to be more dependent on what is playing on the TV.

4. My favorite catch phrase right now is "rats, cats, and swimming pools." It's really outdated and not a lot of people use it, but essentially it means "darn it" or "bummer."

5. I think the most annoying pop culture phenomenon would have to be using hashtags on Facebook or in everyday speech.

6. I like any kind of classic rock! Also, I wouldn't mind hearing Come on Eileen!

7. For some reason I recently stumbled upon this video and found it hilarious.

Getting To Know You, Getting to Know All About You - Chali's First Online Assignment

  1.  Most recently, I am from Fort Atkinson, WI, about 50 minutes away from Madison. I was born and lived for a while in Leadville, Colorado. 
  2. I listen to NPR and WPR habitually; I enjoy waking up to Morning Edition when I get the change.  I read Isthmus, Madison's weekly newspaper, for local news and music events, and Wisconsin State Journal nearly every day. For "big data" and cultural commentary, I love reading The Atlantic and The New Yorker. I also enjoy reading the Madison Police Incident Reports, which creeps people out sometimes (?). 
  3. The Thick of It, mostly because I wish I could swear like Malcolm Tucker. 
  4. "Hashtag, don't care" as said in a slow, sing-song-y voice. My roommate is on the UW sailing team, and I'm told they use it quite often. It's carried into our debates about who should do the dishes...
  5. Reality TV, like Honey Boo Boo or Duck Dynasty. Guilty pleasures are fine, but... that's all you can do when you're bored/tired? 
  6. How about some RJD2, some of The Roots, Gramatik, or a little Tribe? 
  7. I work at WSUM 91.7FM, our campus radio station, so this is shameless marketing to all you journalism majors: 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Louisa's Online Assignment #1

1. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, near the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

2. My primary source for news has always been Minnesota Public Radio and National Public Radio because my parents always had the radio on at home when I was growing up. I read the Minneapolis Star Tribune when I'm at home but I've also started reading the New York Times for more national coverage, and I've been reading both of the student newspapers since I've been on campus, as well.

3. I go through some pretty serious phases with TV shows but right now I'm really into "Revenge" on ABC, as well as the Netflix originals "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black."

4. My current favorite catchphrase... That's a tough one. I've realized that I've started saying "solid" or "good deal" instead of "okay" recently. I do tend to say "that's on point" quite a bit, as well.

5. The pop culture phenomenon that has been bothering me the most recently is without a doubt twerking. It just seems very demeaning to women and a wholly unnecessary fad that's become popular in our society.

6. I would love to hear some Trampled by Turtles or Kendrick Lamar before class sometime. I know it's an odd combination but I love them both!

7. I saw this quite a while ago but recently rediscovered it and I still think it's just as great and entertaining!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Online Assignment #1

1. I was born in Minneapolis, but lived in Middletown, Connecticut until I was seven. After that my family lived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

2. I get my news from quite a few different sources. I subscribe to the New York Times mobile, and have the mobile versions of both BBC and Heute (a German news outlet). I also receive The Economist and listen to NPR as often as I can. In addition to this, I read the Daily Cardinal, the Wisconsin State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for local news. Finally I'm exposed to 'news' from Facebook, Twitter and satirical shows (like Colbert and The Daily Show).

3. Breaking Bad/House of Cards

4. Okay, I have to be honest. I do call some things "ratchet". Even though I am fully aware of how stupid this sounds, I think it's actually a good description of certain things...see next question.

5. Miley Cyrus. Get your ratchet angst out of my face. This is a little dated, but I also have serious issues with the royal baby. Why does America care? Didn't we fight a war to get away from royalty?

6. Elvis! Or Lana Del Rey, since apparently everyone who's posted already is into alternative.

7. I don't care if it's a political advertisement, I found this so incredibly touching. Talk about trying to breach partisanship.

Online Assignment #1 Olivia Bruce

1. I was born in Rochester, MN and have lived there my entire life. However, my family is from South Africa and I have been fortunate to travel there multiple times. I'm actually a dual citizen!

2. As I mentioned in discussion earlier this week, I have gotten my news from Twitter, which then resulted in conversations with my peers and parents. Recently, though, I've been watching CNN every morning while I get ready for the day. I am also going to be taking an interest in more local news as I am going to be writing for the Badger Herald.

3. I've never really gotten addicted to TV shows, but I do have quite a few ones that I'll watch when/if I have downtime. Those shows--in no specific order--are: Say Yes to the Dress, Criminal Minds (gotta love Reid and Morgan!), Lie to Me, and Drop Dead Diva.

4. I don't really have one catch-phrase that I always "go to", but recently this is what I've been saying: "Such is life" "On Wisconsin!" "Everything happens for a reason." "Oh fantastic!" (with an emphasis on the "fan") I'm a pretty happy person by and large, so I like to think that my catch-phrases mimic that.

5. I honestly cannot understand these 3 music videos: Wrecking Ball, We Can't Stop, and Blurred Lines. I would like to enjoy my music (and their corresponding videos) without feeling as if I'm watching an X-rated movie.

6. I am quite the fan of Taylor Swift-- so any song by her would be perfectly fine by me to hear prior to lecture starting.

7. While delaying doing homework the other night, I found this video of Jack Johnson's new song, "I got you". I thought it was very refreshing from what's been recently produced by the music video industry. Plus, as an added bonus, this song is super cute! Take a listen :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Trevor Dinsmoor

1. I am from Onalaska, WI in the La Crosse area, but I went to high school in Holmen, WI.

2. For about the last year, my primary source of news is supplemented by

3. The West Wing

4. I don't really have a clue. I will say that I absolutely hate how so many individuals use the word "literally" as a verbal intensifier when that is not its definition...except that a new, informal definition was recently added because so many people were using it now these people are correct...

5. I am incredibly frustrated with how so many people dislike Miley Cyrus, yet continue to reward her ridiculous antics with the attention she aims for in acting ridiculously.

6. Timeflies Tuesday

Online Assignment #1

1. I was born in Elgin, Illinois – a suburb of Chicago, but I’ve lived in Minnetonka, Minnesota – a suburb of the Twin Cities – since I was 4 years old.

2. To be honest, up until I came to Madison, my dad was the one who would keep me up to date on the latest news. I realize now that his retellings of the news were probably extremely bias, being that he is a very political person. I would also skim the headlines of the newspaper when I would go get it from the mailbox, and occasionally I’d watch the news with my family. But honestly, I didn’t really keep up with current events. Since I’ve been in Madison, I’ve been reading the New York Times online, and I’m hoping to get an actual subscription soon.

3. My favorite TV show is definitely ‘New Girl’. I’m obsessed with Zoey Deschanel. ‘Criminal Minds’ is a close second, but sometimes that one scares me too much.

4. I don't know if I have a favorite catch phrase, but I say "fo sho" and "what up?" a lot. I guess I just really like to shorten phrases.

5. The pop culture phenomenon that annoys me most is the fact that technology is becoming our primary means of communication and that younger generations are becoming more socially awkward because they don’t know how to interact with their peers face to face.

6. My recent music obsession is Vampire Weekend, but anything by the Lumineers or Imagine Dragons would probably be my favorite.

7. I know this is old and most people have probably already seen it, but it gets me every time. If you haven't seen it, you need to - it's a classic. Her moaning... and the reaction of the news reporters at the end always makes me laugh.