Media Blog

May 8, 2015

Long lines of cars and miles of traffic impacted the Hudson Valley on May 7, 2015. Rumors of various reasons including a carjacking, an inmate escaping, and a cop shooting circled the air and the media. Hudson Valley Magazine reported that Newburgh-Beacon bridge closed due to an inmate escapee, but then later revised the article saying this was a mistake. The Poughkeepsie Journal posted a video and article on May 8 stating that these facts were false. According to officials a man carjacked a vehicle in Beacon and ran from police holding a large knife. He was shot and killed by police after running through the woods and across the four-lane highway.

This is a good example of rushed reporting- every media outlet was trying to get the story out the fastest, compromising their credibility and reporting false facts. It’s difficult for the audience to know who to listen to when different versions of a story are being put out, so it is extremely important to have the facts straight before they are published. As someone who enjoys Hudson Valley Magazine, it made me question why they had details of an inmate escaping. Errors like this can be detrimental to an organization since it does compromise credibility and the readers’ trust.

I was also surprised by the Poughkeepsie Journal’s article- it seemed rushed, disorganized, and had a poor video component. Usually their videos are of much higher quality. Perhaps they were just trying to get something published quickly, but it takes away from the otherwise good reporting. Small videos were also included from witnesses who were stuck in their cars waiting for traffic.

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/southern-dutchess/2015/05/07/police-activity-closes-near-newburgh-beacon-bridge/70959998/

http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/Newburgh-Beacon-Bridge-Closed-Inmates-Possibly-On-the-Loose/

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April 29, 2015

The Baltimore protests are an extremely controversial topic of conversation right now- people are touchy and everyone seems to have their own opinion. CNN posted an article in regards to the protests that are happening right now, centering on a mother who disciplined her son for participating. A single mother of six, Toya Graham repeatedly smacked and dragged her 16 year old son away from a protest in Baltimore. The video of this has gone viral and spread widely on social media, gaining a lot of praise. Graham’s reasoning is that she didn’t want her son to be the next Freddie Gray.

The reporter chose to present this in a very simple, straightforward fashion and opened with the video showing the argument. They also explored Graham’s background and family which I thought was effective in showing her character. A lot of great quotes were used which helped move the story along even though there wasn’t much new information.

It seems as though most people are supporting Graham and think her actions were justified. I have a hard time agreeing with this. Although I think it was the right thing to drag her son away from an awful situation, the manner in which she did it was unacceptable to me. I don’t think being violent towards another (especially your child) is ever justifiable. Also in this particular case there is the issue of the incident being caught on film and spread over the internet. I think by public figures supporting this it sends a bad message to viewers and make this behavior seem fine. I don’t necessarily agree with the protests but I don’t think things should be handled this way. Now the media is telling people this is acceptable and we have no idea where this will lead.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/28/us/baltimore-riot-mom-smacks-son/

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April 21, 2015

There has been a terrifying trend I’ve noticed in the past few days regarding vanity. Kylie Jenner is no stranger to the media and is mostly known for her plump lips. There are many tutorials on YouTube of how to achieve her look through makeup, but copiers have gone to the extreme of actually harming themselves. Rather than having plastic surgery, young men and women have sucked on shot glasses to achieve the “plump lip” look. This has been plastered all over Facebook and social media- even obtaining the hashtag #kyliejennerchallenge.

USA Today posted an article pulling pictures of people who have tried the challenge. Doctors are also saying that not only do the results look terrible, but it can harm someone physically. The beauty trends that are taking over are frightening and eye opening- people strive to look like others that they will go to such drastic measures, disregarding their health. Among this, these people are posting on social media which is becoming an even bigger trend and gaining attention from the media.

What made USA Today’s article affective was the fact that they used tweets and pictures from people participating in this challenge. I saw some other news articles that simply talked about the trend, but this really showed it and made an impact.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2015/04/21/kylie-jenner-challenge-teens-bruised-plumped-lips/26114555/

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April 17, 2015

CBS News published an article and video covering the death of a college student during fraternity hazing and the aftermath for his family. Often we hear of negative things happening through sororities and fraternities, but as often deaths. The video especially made the article affective because it showed the parents’ point of view. It’s hard to portray their emotions through words even if they are direct quotes. The video makes it much more personal and evokes sympathy in the audience.

It’s really positive that articles of this matter are being published more frequently. It seems as though in the past issues like this were concealed perhaps because the media didn’t know how to deal with it, or the college fought publicity. Some things that frats and sororities are doing are awful and the more these issues are brought to light, maybe they will be more regulated and stopped.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/clemson-university-student-tucker-hipps-parents-allege-cover-up-lawsuit/

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April 10, 2015

Hilary Clinton has been under watch recently with her private email scandal and rumors of running for presidency. The Guardian recently posted an article exploring whether Clinton will run for president or not and that it will be announced on April 10 2015.

A short video was used to accompany this article and was very well done. It poked fun at those who make fun of Clinton for her appearance and other factors that have nothing to do with her competency. Just because of her gender and superficial aspects, she is put down by the public. I don’t necessarily agree with her recent scandals and believe she didn’t deal with these properly, but that is a very different reason for not supporting her. People need to take a step back and evaluate why they are critical of her.

Mainly because of the video, this piece was effective. It looked at both sides whether you support Clinton or not and threw a different spin than an average news story. Although she has many supporters, I think she is going to have a difficult time this term. With all her controversies lately she is going to have to fight extra hard during her campaign since people will try to knock her down (and they have more ammunition to do so).

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/10/exclusive-hillary-clinton-to-launch-presidential-campaign-sunday-en-route-to-iowa-source

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April 3, 2015

Giuliana Rancic has been receiving a lot of backlash in the media lately due to her derogatory comment towards a young celebrity, Zendaya. Although the first comment had been said months ago, I’ve been noticing this issue dragging on in the media.

CNN posted an article addressing the comment that was made during the show “Fashion Police.” Zendaya attended the Academy Awards with faux dreadlocks in her hair, to which Rancic commented, “I feel like she smells like patchouli oil… or maybe weed.”  A video is used and shows the clip from the moment she made the stereotypical comment. Rancic made a public apology in the video but Zendaya did not acknowledge this- just saying that the comment was offensive. Another member of “Fashion Police,” Kelly Osborne commented that what Rancic said was wrong and she does not support her. Osborne also went on to say she isn’t sure if she wants to be on the same show as Rancic anymore and is taking this very seriously. Following the video, tweets were pulled that favored Zendaya and called Rancic out on her actions.

This piece was effective because it had a lot of direct quotes from different sources, had a video component and tied in social media. With the Hilary Clinton email scandal and Brian Williams’s mishap among other famous figures, there has been a trend in the media lately. In a previous blog post I explored the ideas behind redeeming oneself after “betraying” the public. Although this is not as serious of a matter, Rancic still has lost her credibility and personally I believe the “E Network” is setting a bad example by keeping her on the show.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/24/entertainment/feat-zendaya-coleman-giuliana-rancic/index.html

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March 27, 2015

Lately, there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration. Clinton was caught using a private email rather than the government’s and is receiving a lot of backlash. News like this is always negative for a politician, but with the 2016 presidential elections coming up, this timing was especially crucial.

If the private emails weren’t enough of a scandal, Clinton’s response certainly didn’t help her case. She appeared to laugh and shrug it off and then didn’t even address it right away.

This subject is difficult to cover since it is so convoluted and there are so many layers. However, an article published by WND stood out to me negatively. With a topic like this, you need to have extreme clarity and plenty of interviews.

The WND article linked to a Gawker and ProPublica story, which they grabbed a lot of information from. They seemed to not have done their own research and rather borrowed from other news sources which is not great journalism. Among this, the article wasn’t clear and I found it difficult to follow unlike others regarding the same controversy. Other articles have many different sources interviewed, and this one was lacking.

I’ve always had respect for Hillary Clinton despite her views because she is a very strong, influential female. This scandal is going to make her possibility of running very difficult as well as gaining back the public’s trust.

http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/hacked-hillary-emails-punch-holes-in-benghazi-story/

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March 11, 2015

Fox 8 posted a short news article and video about a Navy veteran who took a photograph of a baby cradled in an American flag, which soon after being posted on social media became a controversy. Vanessa Hicks began being attacked and accused of desecrating the American flag which she claims was not her intent. In her eyes, the photograph stands for pride and honor and she will not take the photograph down.

This article was very well done and represented the story accurately without bias. I find that articles like this often have a biased slant in favor of the author, but this one simply stated the opinion of Hicks as well as the people disagreeing with her on social media. Also, the video component was well done and can easily stand-alone without a longer article.

Before reading the story, I wanted to see my own opinion of the photo without any background knowledge. Upon first look, I personally saw no desecration of the flag; I saw a beautiful, patriotic photo. When I learned more about the photographer- Hicks and that she is a war veteran I definitely knew she wasn’t intentionally depicting the flag in a negative light. I think it is quite sad that someone sharing their art can be so easily attacked on social media. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion but Hicks did not deserve the manner in which people expressed their disagreement. Despite the criticism she has been receiving, I thought this article did a particularly good job at expressing her view.

http://myfox8.com/2015/03/11/controversy-surrounds-photo-of-baby-wrapped-in-american-flag/

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March 7, 2015

About a year ago, a huge trend in media was the hype around the disappearance of the MH370 flight. It seemed as though every news network was trying to cover a story that had little to no details at the time. Right at the disappearance no causes were known and now, a year later, not much has changed. Competitiveness between networks caused them to grasp at straws and present any information even if it wasn’t substantial. Normally I think highly of CNN and the way in which they report stories but they were one network that came up with anything they could surrounding the flight including black whole and Bermuda Triangle theories.

So now a year later NBC posted an article with videos to look back and recap what is known about the flight. The videos worked quite well with this particular article. Lately I have noticed a trend of videos being repetitive rather than supplemental; this article pleasantly surprised me by using video well. Another thing the authors, Holt and Smith did well was look at every angle of the story without bias. For example, there are different possibilities (although seem far-fetched) that the pilots had a plan for the disappearance. The authors chose to include this and different opinions in the article without having a slant.

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-jet/lester-777-simulator-n317791 

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February 28, 2015

This particular story caught my attention via social media before I did some research on it. Pictures of a dress with captions flooded Facebook debating whether the color of a dress was black and blue or white and gold. This phenomenon has gone viral and I noticed many news stations covering this.

CNN posted an article accompanied by a video exploring the science behind the reason people see colors differently, and how this single picture seems to capture that. There are biological reasons why people disagree on the color. The article itself is short and the video in my opinion is unnecessary. Rather than supplementing the article, it states everything that is already written. Also, the video is a little silly and cheesy especially towards the end when they relate the dress to other current viral topics.

I think the written piece itself definitely could have worked well as a stand-alone article (especially if pictures were added) without the video. The author explained the science behind it well to those who may have a difficult time grasping the context. It also did a good job with stating the fact that there is no right or wrong, just a matter of lighting and perspective. Something I’ve noticed with the comments on articles and social media is that people are completely missing the point of the photograph. It is to show us that everyone has a unique perspective of life and not everything is so objective. Comments were filled with statements of people bashing others and telling them they’re crazy, or seeing the wrong colors. This controversy says a lot about our society as a whole and how closed-minded some people can be.

This article was one of the top trending on CNN’s homepage which I find interesting. Although this is an intriguing phenomenon, is it really worthy of being a top story among Jeb Bush, Netanyahu or ISIS? This was one of the first thoughts to cross my mind- this story standing between other very real, important issues going on and impacting the world. This article, the comments and its rank on news sites can tell us a lot about our culture today.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/27/health/science-of-gold-blue-dress/index.html

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February 21, 2015

A few months ago Rolling Stone published an article about an alleged gang rape at UVA written by freelance journalist- Sabrina Ruben Erdely. An 18 year- old girl named Jackie told her story of being raped at a fraternity house party by seven men and the unfair reactions she received.

Since this story was published, Rolling Stone has received a lot of negative attention and backlash. Other news sources such as the Washington Post found discrepancies with Erdely’s story. First of all, on the date Jackie claimed she was raped there wasn’t an event going on at the frat house. Also her date who she claimed took part in the act didn’t belong to that fraternity. Jackie also told other sources a different story so a lot of facts did not line up.

Rolling Stone’s biggest mistake during all of this was that they didn’t check Erdely’s facts and assumed they were correct. In my opinion they should have handled this differently rather than relying on one source and publishing the story. Perhaps they shouldn’t have published the story at all; this may have been better than releasing it to the public with possible errors.

Despite all of these issues, the story itself had many flaws in the way it was written in my opinion. A lot of the different stories were repetitive- not only in context but how they were written. Being such a long feature story, the author should have kept it fresh with different angles as much as possible. Although Jackie’s story is confusing in itself, the author didn’t help in this department. She jumped all over a timeline which became confusing rather than an artistic style. The entire article is posted here along with the editor’s letter regarding the controversy:

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-rape-on-campus-20141119

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February 14, 2015

CBS had the challenging job of covering the story of their own Brian Williams’s 6 month suspension. Williams is a news anchor as well as managing editor for CBS who was caught fabricating stories about his experience covering the War in Iraq.

CBS decided to suspend Williams for 6 months and David Carr from The New York Times agrees with this decision which was the focal point of this article. Basically, Carr says that people are rooting for Williams despite his mistakes.

In this particular story the reporter focused on Carr’s interview and also used video to supplement the written article. They relied mostly on quotes pulled from the video. I think the author could have written about more that was not seen in the video; I felt it simply summarized the video component and was unnecessary.

It was interesting to see Carr’s take on the issue and the interview with him was well done. I think besides the video, the author could have interviewed other people and included that in the article. As for the subject matter itself, I don’t agree with CBS’s decision- I think they were too lenient on him. As a journalist, your job is to report facts to the public without your own personal opinions reflecting in your work. By Williams fabricating his experiences, he loses credibility completely and I don’t think there is any turning back from this. Despite being a great news anchor, after his suspension is up viewers will probably have a difficult time trusting him. In the end, he didn’t do his job properly and should have to face the consequences of ruining his credibility.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/media-critic-david-carr-on-nightly-news-anchor-brian-williams-suspension/

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February 7, 2015

The weather is always a big trend across media platforms and especially larger scale storms. Lately the northeast has been pummeled with heavy snow, ice and low temperatures. On Monday, Feb. 2 many schools and businesses closed due to the weather. The Poughkeepsie Journal published a story on the businesses that remained open and the employees who still had to commute to work.

One story that stood out was about Caroline Miller who walked to work during the blizzard because she could not get her car out of her driveway. They included a great picture that illustrated the intensity of the storm and her being forced to trudge through with an umbrella.

Other people interviewed included those who work in the food business- waiters and deliverymen.

Another interesting aspect of this article was the Poughkeepsie Journal’s social media- particularly Facebook. They posted a status explaining the nature of the story and asked for anyone who had to go to work Monday to give them some information. I’ve noticed this method used a few times and think it’s interesting how a newspaper uses social media to find sources for new stories.

I think this is beneficial to the reporters looking for sources because they can find people quickly to interview, which is especially useful with a story like this.

Overall, this article was effective in telling the story of workers having to commute despite weather conditions. For me, this article made me sympathetic to those who don’t get snow days.

 

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/local/2015/02/02/snow-day-option/22778067/

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