Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let's Talk About Ethics and Legal Issues

Its not uncommon that journalist encounter ethical and legal issues that can get them into hot water sometimes, in time, you learn the do's and don't's of the business and how to avoid them, but in my opinion there are three issues that standout above all the rest.

The first is Ethical Issue #1: Using Anonymous Sources. I believe that protecting one's source is paramount due to the wishes of the individual. The anonymous individual may choose not to reveal themselves for numerous reasons such as fear of endangerment of their lives or loved ones. The person could have felt that revealing such vital information was for the greater good, but wanted to avoid the attention by not risking being identified. I feel in instances where the source is linked as an accomplice to a crime then the identity of that person should be shown or notify authorities about the person in question. Generally, you don't want to betray the trust of your source, you may need them for a future story or follow up information, but if you don't adhere to their wishes then you may compromise the relationship between journalist and source.

The second is Ethical Issue #5: Deception in Gathering Information. I feel that a journalist should not risk their reputation and credibility for a story. Journalism should be based on truth and honesty when retrieving accurate facts to present to the public. You don't want to lose the trust of your colleagues or the public. One's integrity should always be exhibited in every act they do and never come to the point of questioning. For example, going undercover and posing as something your not such as a gun seller could jeopardize your story and would not be an ethical decision to make. I firmly believe that if a story involves sinking to a new low for yourself then it shouldn't be done unless there' a positve approach.

The third is Ethical Issue # 2: Plagiarism and Fabrication. This is definitely a big issue in the field of journalism. A journalist nor anyone for that matter should consider or practice plagiarism for accomplishing a story. Plagiarism is an act of stealing information that is not an original work based on your own talent. Attributing information is extremely necessary showing appreciation and giving proper credit to the individual or company. I believe there is no excuse for doing such an act, it shows the laziness of the individual, discredits them and generates a lost of trust. I believe once you commit a false act, it follows you. An individual should never feel that just because they've never been caught that it won't happen. This is why it is crucial to be a professonal of standand and decent contributor to accurate reporting.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Students for Environmental Awareness

For my second multimedia story, I plan to attend a meeting conducted by the Students for Environmental Awareness. This program is affiliated with the SGA, whose misson is to spread the word about awareness on campus and throughout the community here at Towson. The group conducts clean-ups, schedule events, show informative movies and invite speakers to spread the message of "Going Green." While attending the event, I plan to interview President Schyler Nunziata, Vice President Anne Wilcox and Secretary Rebbeca Zeroth and record commentary of the interview and get incite into what the organization is all about. Meetings take place every Monday in the University Union Room 308.

Potential Questions include:
1). What is the objective of the organization?
2). Who created the organization?
3). How important is the "going green" initiative? What does it mean to you?
4). Do you feel your efforts have been successful?
5.) How big is the threat of global warming?
6.) Do you have any events coming up?

Photo Possibilities include:
1). A shot of the meeting in session
2). Guest speakers that may be present and action on the floor.
3). A shot of the audience is another possibility.
4). Any plant life, logo, picture or diagram is another possibility.
5). Students or committee leaders engrossed in conversation.
6). A photo of the actual interviews taking place.

Audio possibilities include:
1). A great quote from the interviewee or dialogue from the meeting.
2). A sample audio clip featuring a response to one of my questions.
3). Sound of emotion or uproar during the meeting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Audio we can believe in.

The story that I feel makes a good use of audio is located on the New York Times webpage. The name of this slideshow is entitled, "Singing for Freedom." In this presentation by journalist Kevin Sack, he brings to life the history of the civil rights movement and compares it to the african american vote for now President-Elect Barack Obama. What was already declared as an historic election, Sack's usage of pictures, song selection and voiceovers give vivid imagery to what this election truly means for "change" in America. After listening to the slideshow, I thought that Kevin did an outstanding job in creating this project and portrayed the struggle of african americans throughout american history. There was a lot of emotion that filled the slideshow and with every aspect performing together, it made each transition smooth. You can see "Singing for Freedom" on the New York Times website at:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Journalism student Charnay Anderson is ready for her close up in front of Stevens Hall at Towson University.
Ferocious Towson Tiger on the prowl in front of 7800 York Road building at Towson University

An excited Towson U. sophomore, Amber Owens celebrates fall as the leaves dance around her in front of Stevens Annex at Towson University.

In class this morning, journalism and new media students were instructed to take pictures illustrating the proper photo techniques to make future pictures a photo finish. In order to take better pictures you want to think outside the box and look at your subject from a variety of angles. Action shots bring the picture to life and show more creativity and appeal. Take a quick surveillance of your surroundings and determine what you want and dont want in the shot. Consult the rule of thirds, in your mind divide the frame into nine equal segments, then focus on the main center where the interest is taking place.

When capturing a shot, ensure that there isn't anything taking away from the main focus such as a tree, plant or branch sticking out of an individuals head. A major concern is lighting either artificial or natural light from the sun. You want to avoid too much light to the point where it shadows your subject or not enough light where the image may look darker. So the next time you pick up a camera take these photo techniques into account and your shots too will be picture perfect.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One in Four: Men Against Rape

For my multimedia story, I plan to cover a seminar called, "One in Four." One in Four is an event sponsored by MEN AGAINST RAPE to educate and inform the men of Towson University on what they can do to prevent sexual assult. One and Four originates from the statistic that "One in four college women have survived rape or attempted rape."

I learned of this event through the Towerlight and thought that not only would it be just an event to cover for class, but an informative awareness meeting about a serious topic prevalent nearby or on college campuses worldwide.

The ad reads the following:
How to Help a Sexual Assult Survivor: What Men Can Do
Thursday, October 30 7:30 p.m.
Chesapeake Rooms
A program for men only

For potential interview sources, I want to talk to the program coordinator, students in attendence and persons of interest that attend the seminar who could provide additional perspectives.

Coordinator Questions:
1.) Who is behind the idea of the program?
2.) What inspired or made you want to do this program for students?
3.) What do you hope students will learn from this seminar?
4.) Is there another seminar coming up or contact information for students?
5.) What do you feel is the main cause behind rape and why does it occur?

Student Questions:
1.) Why did you decide to attend the seminar tonight?
2.) Did you find the presentation informative or helpful?
3.) (tentative) Do you know anyone who has been sexually assulted?
4.) What do you feel is your responsibility as a man against those who look to harm women?

Photo Possibilities:
1.) Shot of the audience in attendance
2.) Shot of coordinator lecturing
3.) Shot of logos, diagrams, phamplets, handouts.
4.) The overall room with everyone.
5.) Looks of the crowd listening and focused.

Monday, October 13, 2008

TU student's attacker caught

Police make an arrest in the rape and kidnapping case of a 21-year-old Towson University student attacked on Oct. 6, officials say. Ian Alexander Murphy (24) of the 1000 block of Cedarcroft Road was charged with the attack. According to police, the victim was unloading groceries outside of a building around 1 a.m. in the 7900 block of Knollwood Road when Murphy forced the woman to the 7600 block of Knollwood, where he assulted her behind some bushes. Following the attack, the woman called police and was treated for her injuries at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

When it came down to locating her attacker, this proves that people in the community can make a difference. According to the Baltimore Sun article "Man, 24, charged in rape of Towson U. student," the victim could not properly identify her attacker, however, Cpl. Michael Hill, spokesperson for county police department said the department received information and tips about Murphy from "concerned citizens" and obtained a warrant for his arrest.

From my perspective of not only being a college student but a Towson student, I feel that there are too many instances where college students are being assulted or approached by strangers looking to inflict harm. Every week, it appears that there is a new crime alert through e-mail warning students and faculty of an incident such as this one. I heard about this story in the news over the weekend and I heard from police that it was an african american male responsible for the attack. Lately, I've noticed in descriptions of suspects in the recent crime alerts that african american men have been responsible for the crime and it makes me feel upset because I don't want people to think that african american males can't be trusted or respectable men in society.

I honestly believe campus police should work more closely with county police on and off campus to show a hightened presence for the protection and safety of students. I feel its sad when students can't feel safe in their own community anymore. I understand that you can't stop every incident from happening, but at least show improvement in enforcement and patrol to help keep the number of cases down to a minimum.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Medevac Crash/The Inverted Pyramid

According to the text, "All the News," the inverted pyramid is defined as the dominant format for text stories, offers a good starting place for creating text stories that will attract readers. There are three components to the pyramid:
1. Convey important information
2. Add interesting colorful details
3. End with remaining facts
The story I've selected illustrates a fatal medevac crash that killed 4 people on saturday. This story was written using the inverted pyramid technique because it has a summary lead introducing the vital information first before getting in depth. This gives the reader the general idea of the article with just enough information that doesn't lose the reader's attention. As the article continues to develop, it reveals more information that brings the story together providing intricate details to questions such as the 5w's and how. In this article, it describes the type of weather, the victims on board and the cause believed to be the reason the medevac went down with vivid detail. Finally, the remaining facts of the story include additional bits of information such as the traveling speed, altitude and the exact time radar was lost before impact.
For more information about this story and more you can find it here:,0,190768.story

Monday, September 22, 2008

Baltimore's Best Kept Secret(What your elected officials don't want you to know)

For my first news story, I plan to cover a neighborhood meeting at Edmondson-Westside High School concerning the addition of the REDLINE system. This new mode of transportation is a convient commodity for day to day commuters, but an inconvience to homeowners who live in the Edmondson community. The construction of the new system aims to remove hundreds of residents from their homes and force them to relocate by order of the city. The concept of the REDLINE has been proposed years in advance, but as time for construction draws near the community is taking action. The meeting is organized by: The Coalition Against Redline

I have obtained a flyer for the event and plan to attend.

Redline Meeting
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
Place: Edmondson-Westside High School
Time: 6pm-8pm

In covering the story, my main sources will be the leader of the Coalition Against Redline, a resident who is affected by the Redline and a representive from the city. I believe these individuals can shead some light on the issue and bring perspective in generating the story. I plan to ask a series of separate questions to each individual.

Leader of Coalition Against Redline:
1.) Who is responsible for the Redline system?
2.) What are your concerns for the community at large?
3.) Where and when did you obtain your information and when is construction set to take place?
4.) Why did you decide to organize this movement?

1.) How long have you been a resident of the Edmondson community?
2.) How do you feel about the Redline proposal? Are you in favor or not?
3.) What concerns you the most as a resident?
4.) Have you thought about where you would relocate should you have to move?

City representative:
1.) Who made this decision to build the Redline system?
2.) What are the plans for this system to bring to the community?
3.) When was the plan to be put into effect?
4.) Why is the Redline needed for the city?
5.) How do you personally feel about the Redline and the inconvience it poses on the residents of Edmondson?

As far as additional details, I will see if there are any upcoming meetings or events, a website for detailed analysis or more officials who can provide further insight. I will make sure to retrieve contacts for further questions and information before I leave the event.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Twitter Chatter"

I have been introduced to the world of, an online channel of communication used by people like you and I to follow friends and checkout updates to their daily lives. Journalists too, have gone "twitter crazy" and use the site as a tool to uncovering news as it develops. My classmates and I were given the assignment of "twittering" three stories from the Towerlight and summerizing the story in a few short words. I have selected three of my classmates to use as examples to show how Twitter can be used as a news medium.

First, I chose Blake Savadow's twitter headline,"Towson is using single stream recycling to allow students to recycle any recyclable in any container." This headline is written in active voice by speaking in present tense and applying the "subject-verb-object method." The headline is concise and explains the story in a few words and characters that the reader can understand to the fullest. Blake answers the 5w's and how to the point where the reader has a general idea to the information being presented. You can checkout Blake's headlines and more at

The next headline comes from Amber Owens. Amber's headline reads,"The hiring freeze is due to budget cuts. At Towson, hiring freezes applies to all faculty and staff positions." In Amber's headline, she includes active voice in getting her story across with attention to the subject-verb-object model as well. Amber explains the story by incoporating the 5w's and how thoroughly without skipping a beat in a few short words. To learn more about Amber and see more headlines go to

Our third and final headline comes from Leah Martin. Leah's headline says, "Sean Schaefer's multiple turnovers played a huge roll in the Tigers loss 45-14." Leah uses active voice by delivering the main message off to the audience and giving the facts accordingly. Leah's headline fully covers every base of the story; displaying the main idea with the 5w's and how intact. Feel free to checkout Leah's headlines at

Monday, September 15, 2008

News releases and Original reporting

Jennifer Hudson is engaged to reality TV boyfriend

For an example of a press release, I went straight to entertainment news and found a primary example. In the world of celebrity news, information can break in an instant and create shockwaves to the general public. Located in the celebrity news section of the, news has surfaced that actress and singer, Jennifer Hudson is engaged! Hudson's boyfriend, David Otunga, known as "Punk" on the VH1 reality show, "I Love New York," surprised the American Idol alum during her birthday celebration Friday in Los Angeles. The clue that made me assume this came from a press release was the short article the story was presented in as if it were breaking news. Hudson's publicist, Jessica Kolstad, stated the vital facts that occured involving the exciting news such as the who, what, where when and how, but no quote from Hudson herself. The article is told from the perspective of the PR person and she's telling the story without revealing too much about her client's latest announcement. The original press release was probably a more detailed article, but reporters condensed the article to format the online newspaper. According to the article, it was edited today at 12:59p.m. and shows the quickness as which the news was receieved. As news becomes available as to wedding plans and comments from Hudson herself, this will stand solely as an engagement announcement.

In California Train Crash, Riders Had Destinations and Death in Common

In the example of original reporting, I selected a story based on the aftermath of a California Train Crash. I found this article to be a work of original reporting by the angle taken on the story. Instead of emphasizing the horrific accident that took place; the author investigates into the personal lives of the people killed tragically. The article solely comes from the appeals and testimonies of the victims loved ones as opposed to statements from state or department officials. The incident was publicized throughout the United States, but turning an existing story and finding a story within a story makes the article one of original quality. The article takes to an emotional appeal to readers as they learned more about a few of the 25 people killed. Originality takes on a role of thinking outside the box and this story does just that. Other publications may cover the crash itself, but it takes a clever reporter to read between the lines and see what lies beneath. Walter Fuller, Maria Villalobos and Yi Chao were a few of the victims unknown to each other, but their identity is now known to the nation at large because one reporter chose to dig a little deeper.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Summary Lead and Short Report

Summary Lead: "A New Pratt Street"

"New shops and restaurants would rise along more than a dozen blocks of Baltimore's most heavily traveled downtown boulevard, Pratt Street, and the corridor itself would get a $100 million makeover in one of the city's most ambitious urban renewal initiatives since the redevelopment of Charles Center and the Inner Harbor." (The Baltimore Sun)

Checkout this story:,0,572909.story

Short Story

"North Korean Leader Had Surgery After Stroke, South Koreans Say"(The New York Times)

Checkout this story:

Typically, a lead is a quick overview of news and can be identified as the opener for an online or print media story. For example: The story I've selected, "A new Pratt Street"(above) is the general idea to the full story on the front page. Already, the title is attention grabbing and draws readers in. This gives the reader sufficient information as to what the story is about and a tease to learning more. If your a fan of shopping downtown, especially Pratt Street, then news of new shops and restaurants is an exciting endeavor.

On the otherhand, a short report could be no more than one or two sentences. It puts the news out there; saying so much in a few words. In my example: "North Korean Leader Had Surgery After Stroke, South Koreans Say,"you receive the basic information about the subject in the story. Potentially, it could be all the source knows at the time and they give the audience what is available and more is forthcoming Other reasons for short reports may be that there is not enough space or time to fit the story, but presents the essential facts needed. Later on, readers can find out questions to answers such as where the surgery took place and how North Korea's Leader is recovering? Overall, news reports are delivered through many techniques, whether its a summary lead, short report, crawls, news bulletins etc. I hope these examples provide further insight to helping you see the bigger picture of news media.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fire in Edmondson Village, The effect of Hurricane Ike overseas and Infant abuse

For my first news story, I have selected a fire in the Edmondson Village shopping center. This story hits home for me, especially because I live in the proximity of the lower Edmondson Village area and attended Edmondson-Westside High School directly across the street from the incident. The impact is not only devastating for me, but for the community of Edmondson atlarge. Frequently, local shoppers have come to Edmondson Village to accomodate their consumer needs and have looked to this establishment as a resourse. Chief Kevin Cartwright, spokesman for the fire department provides the prominence to this story as an official with insight. Fires typically happen everyday, but it means so much more when it takes place in your community, so residents and consumers would see this as unusual and unfortunate. The story is current and timely, it was reported at 9 a.m. this morning accordingly to the This story is definitely newsworthy, due to the way it has rippled through the community and even change the life of one business owner who watched her business go up in smoke.

For my second news story, I've chosen Hurricane Ike. Over the weekend, Maryland experience the rain and high winds of Tropical Storm Hanna, but as Hanna makes her way up the east coast of the country, Ike closes in on the Gulf Coast. The impact is tremendously great to the residents living along the Gulf coast, who vividly remember the wrath exhibited by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Before making landfall in the United States, people across the world have already seen the power Ike contains. On Sept. 7, the Island of Providencies, in the Turks and Caicos Islands have been heavily affected and have open shelters and emergency facilities to accomodate residents. The timeliness and currency is present with this story taking place within a 24 hour span. The conflict is the people within these islands battling against nature in a hope to survive and keep their homes secure. Sadly, adding human interest, 47 people were killed in Haiti, raising the death count by the storm to 500 deaths according to the United Nations in the past week. Currently, the proximity of the storm is nearing the Gulf of Mexico and the fear remains of Hurricane Katrina to those who call the coast home. It's not unusual that hurricanes and tropical storms threathen the lives of millions every year, but what makes it news is the effects the storms will have on humanity. Since the encounters of such hurricanes as Katrina and Rita, the country has learned from firsthand experience not to take natural disasters lightly, but be prepared in case of impact.

For my third story, I have selected the case of a man charged for the abuse of his infant daughter. David Scott Bauer, the man responsible for fracturing his infant daughter's skull plead gulity in a Howard County Circuit Court today. The impact of this case not only disturbs the community of Howard County, but has national disapproval. The mere thought of an infant being harmed automatically appeals to human interest. The court hearing occured today, but the crime took place last August. The proximity of where the crime took place was in Howard County, so the news of this crime echos throughout Maryland. I rate this story as very unusual, I can't imagine a parent harming his/her own child for any reason and this is definitely out of the ordinary. I feel there's a strong conflict between David Bauer and parents everywhere. News of this magnitude is unheard of to a parent who brings new life into the world. The prominence is evident by Judge Lenore Gelfman, who sentenced Bauer to 5 years with all but 18 months suspended and for child abuse and 138 days for reckless endangerment. This story is newsworthy because cases like this don't happen everyday, but it shows that not even children are safe in the care of their parents.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Drew Tewksbury Portfolio Assignment/Jared Silfies's backpack

Blog #2 9/3/08

In this blog assignment, I selected Drew Tewksbury, a Multimedia Journalist from Los Angeles, California. I surveyed his portfolio and flipped through his photographs to uncover the work he has conducted. The pictures contained images of wrestlers, circus performers, artists and entertainers. I primarily want to focus on the eighth picture as an example. The photo illustrates a wrestler or entertainer on a stage performing in front of an audience. This image as well as the others puzzled me, but I read on in the "About Drew" tab and read his opening line which says, "I am waging a full-frontal, no holds barred war against the boring" and his portfolio was far from boring. I believe the equipment he carries in his backpack include: a digital camera, cellphone, laptop, journal or tablet, palm pilot, Elements of Style book, camcorder, voice recorder and an array of writing utencils. I selected these items based on the images throughout his webpage and figured the various tasks could not be achieved without atleast a few of these items on hand. In order to venture through Drew's intriguing realm of discovery, you can see for yourself at:

In Jared Silfies's backpack, The Elements of Style Writing Manuel is probably the most important tool that a journalist can carry. Among the gadgets needed to develop a story this book not only carries a great deal of knowledge, but a great deal of respect within each page. If an editor were to see that Jared carries this book in his arsenal then he can be taken seriously as a credible journalist. Jared is proving that he wants to become a serious reporter by applying the structure techniques as a part of his daily news writing and with this book equipped in his backpack he has already laid the foundation for his success.

Who I am?

Hi Professor Atwater, 9/2/08

My name is Brian Wright and I am a sophomore here at Towson. During my junior and senior year of high school, I was an anchor and reporter for ABC2's Teen Perspective 2News. During my two seasons, I learned how the media industry works and received the opportunity to work side by side along with professonal journalists in the field. I learned to how construct packages, vo's, vo-sots and the proper ethics for television performance and reporting news. In this class, I would like to sharpen my writing skills and learn from you firsthand the means to become a future journalist. I vividly remember you from FOX 45 growing up and look forward to working with you.