Network Unraveled

Recently I watched the film Network in my ethics class and I have to say I’m a big fan of it. Even though I’ve seen it about 15 times, it never gets old.

One of my favorite scenes comes from the tail end of the film when Arthur Jensen rips Howard a new one for telling the world about the company buyout. In the speech, Jensen says, “the world is a business…..it has been since man crawled out of the slime.” It’s almost eerie how correct Jensen’s statement was at that time and especially during the present day.

There doesn’t really feel like there is any human interaction left in the world, it’s all about who can make me money and how much. I think this really applies to the TV industry because ratings are all that companies care about. If their ratings are high, their income is high, fairly simple process. You could produce the best show on TV, but as soon as those ratings start to drop, it’s your ass.

Now, I will step back and say that it all depends on the size of show you produce. Coming from my professional experience, we produced a show that had about 55 to 65,000 people tune in each week. There was a couple weeks that we dropped down to roughly 35,000 and our boss wasn’t happy, but luckily he didn’t get mad at us. Instead, we held a meeting to brainstorm on ideas for new shows or segments in the show that might bring more viewers. We came up with a new segment idea, and the second week it aired, our ratings went through the roof! Over 125,000 people tuned into the show that week and in return our company sales increased about 10% in a very short period of time.

You may not think everything is a business, but look at it this way. Even your college classes are technically a business. You pay money to the school, the school pays the professor, the professor teaches you, and then you go out and use your knowledge to make money. Unfortunately, just about everything is this world nowadays revolves around money and business, and I don’t think it will change any time soon.

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Each Day Brings a New Challenge

Yearning is Learning

Well, the past couple of weeks have been a lot of fun and I have learned a great deal more than when the semester started. We’ve faced some problems during the production of the news but we’ve all stuck together and got through everything as a team. One major thing that I have learned over the past couple weeks is that if you want to succeed and get better you have to come in and push yourself. You have to make yourself learn things and not wait on them to come to you.

Package This

My first package went live on LUTV News last week, and I have to say I was pretty satisfied for my first one. The package was about Lindenwood’s first home football game and I had a lot of fun shooting it. The way everything was lit up in the stadium at night made the footage really pop. The writing part of it was a little bit easier this time around, it only took me about 45 minutes to write the whole script. I’m picky about the quality of my video, but even more about my audio. Audio makes video, so basically if your audio is bad, your video follows suit. I try to make sure all of my audio throughout the entire package is relatively at the same level. Take a look(and listen) for yourself.

Sports Here! Get Your Sports Here! 

Monday I jumped into the sports anchor role for the first time, and let’s just say, I might be the next Steve Savard. Being the sports anchor requires a little more work because you have to write two non-sports stories plus all of your sports stories for the day. Well, lucky for me, I didn’t have to write two other stories because I had a VOSOT to do, and when I finished, all the stories were already written. I recently realized that my sportscast was quite depressing. Most of the stories were about teams losing, and in a tough way. LU football losing on the road, the Rams losing a 21 point lead to the Cowboys, and the Cardinals getting banged up by the Reds. All in all it was a fun experience and I could see myself getting into the sports broadcast world.

Now We Up in the Big Leagues!

It took a few weeks for the rotation to get to me, but Wednesday it finally did. It was my turn to sit at the big desk. It was my time to be an anchorman. Sorry, had to make that somewhat dramatic out of respect for my main man Ron Burgandy. Anyways, I anchored the news, and it went well.

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Brianna Miller and myself sat side-by-side and went into battle delivering the news to Lindenwood University. I never really got nervous, although my sweaty palms said different, and thoroughly enjoyed being an anchor. You may not think so, but I actually learned more about writing from this experience. When you read damn near every story that’s on the rundown, you figure out what sounds good and what doesn’t. There are a few things that will be in the back of my mind next week, like the number 2. Please, for all it’s worth, don’t write this as to, that just confuses your brain and then you sound like an idiot who can’t read.

We also had Dennise Ramirez do a wrap around from the news room with a double box on the screen.

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This is really cool because it takes our broadcast to that next professional level. Plus, it spices things up a bit so the stories aren’t so boring.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the semester and learning more and more each week. Not only from my professors, but everyone around me in the super semester.

Here Goes Nothing

Jumping in Head First

This past week was the first week that the Super Semester students took full control of producing LUTV News. All-in-all, as we wrap up the week, I would say it was a success.

Monday, I dove in head first by being the first student to produce a newscast. Personally, I love every aspect of the news, but producing is by far my favorite. I like being in charge and having the final say on what goes in the newscast. My professional experiences have helped me greatly in producing. After being in charge of producing two seasons of two different TV series, producing a 20 minute newscast isn’t so bad.

Now even though I didn’t have many issues with producing, there are a couple things I want to improve on.

One of those is stacking the show in iNews. This took forever for me to complete it seems like, I guess because I’m such a stickler on having everything perfectly organized. Don’t get me wrong, some newscast will be easier to stack than others (at least I hope) but it helps when you have stories that somewhat relate to each other.

The Full Package

I’ve shot two news packages so far since super semester has started, one of them a practice, and the other on Nelly, yes that’s right, Nelly.

Now the shooting aspect for packages is like second nature to me, but writing the script is a bit more difficult at this time. This is another thing I hope to improve on as the semester continues and eventually master.

Weatherman

Wednesday I got my first taste of being on air talent as I did the weather. The funny thing is that I actually wanted to be a meteorologist when I first started college, but Lindenwood didn’t offer the program.

I’m super nerdy about severe weather in the midwest, so when I found out there was a pretty good chance of it the day I was doing weather, I was pumped! This was something that was actually pretty easy for me to write because of my “amatuer” knowledge of severe weather.

Here’s a photo of me in front of the green screen for the first time. Unfortunately, the photographer (not to be named), got me with my eyes closed.

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“Open Your Eyes”

The best part about doing the weather on Wednesday was having the opportunity to do a wrap around about the severe weather that was coming into the area. The wrap around gave me a little more experience in front of the camera before I did the full weather forecast, which I think boosted my confidence.

That’s a Wrap 

This is only the first real week of super semester, so I suspect the next time I blog it will be a bit more interesting. I look forward to many more challenges and learning experiences throughout the semester.Plus, becoming colleagues and more importantly friends with everyone involved.

You’ve Got Some Issues My Friend

Verifying Online Video

I recently read a short article on the Online Journalism Blog called Verifying Video and Other Information-Crowdsourcing  site Bellingcat now open.

The article talks about how a site called Bellingcat, once accesible only to those who donated to the site, is now open to the entire world wide web. The website is ran by conflict blogger Eliot Higgins and has several articles and videos on how to verify information that journalist may find online.

Take for example, a journalist finds a video of bombs being dropped out of the back of a helicopter and wants to find out where the video is from. Higgins has articles on how to Geolocate video by using what you can see, such as aerial shots of a town or landscape.

This is important to future journalists because of the amount of information that is on the internet during this technological age of media. Journalist can use Higgins’ methods to verify where video was shot and also items that might be in the video. Below is a video posted on youtube that shows how he uses his methods to verify information on these internet videos.

Instead of reading through all of his methods, this video shows a crash course on how he has verified information using them in the past. It’s very interesting to see the master of verifying video in action himself.

So, if you have some video you found online that you want to verify for a news story, check out Bellingcat for ways to do so.

 

Hackers Gonna Hack

Another article I read was from PBS Newshour called The roots of “Anonymous,” the infamous online hacking community.

I found this article to be rather interesting because of a couple of hacks that have gained national attention in the past few weeks. One being the crisis in Ferguson, where Anonymous hacked the police department and released the name of an officer saying he was who shot Michael Brown, when in fact he was not the man at all. The other was the recent leak of photos of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence (most of which the actress was nude in).

I feel like hacking is very important to future journalists because if Anonymous or any hackers for that matter can attack city governments and celebrities, they can easily get their hands on information that journalists have or information on journalists themselves.

Let’s say you’re working on a story that is very controversial, and you say something that offends a lot of people, and a few of which are hackers. What’s stopping them from leaking information about you like your address, phone number, spouse or kids names?

Take the Ferguson story for example, KSDK Channel 5 showed the officer’s house who shot Michael Brown on live TV shortly after his name was released. This caused outrage throughout the city of St. Louis and some people wanted the KSDK executives personal info released. Now as far as i know, that never happened, but you could see how it could potentially get out.

Class This Week

I’ve got a lot of experience when it comes to shooting and editing, but when it comes to writing stories for newscast, I’m still a bit wet behind the ears.

Shooting and editing our practice packages was a breeze for me, but I struggled a little bit writing the script for the story. Going into next week I hope to improve on script writing and just writing for news in general. That’s a big part of a newscast and if you write a crappy script or tease, your newscast will most likely follow suit.

One thing I learned about that was interesting and exciting for me was stand ups in a package. I love working behind the scenes, but have always had a natural ability to be in front of the camera and look like I know what I’m doing.

My Moral Compass

What is a moral compass?

To me it’s the steps throughout your entire life that have shaped the way your morals are at this exact moment. Whether it’s the actions of your peers that have affected you, or the lessons from your parents. My moral compass was mostly shaped by not only my parents, but most of my extended family.

I was brought up to tell the truth even if there might be negative repercussions . Part of this comes from the way of life in the bootheel of Missouri where I grew up. If you break something, tell somebody what happened, don’t lie to them about what happened because then if they do find out the truth, they’ll never trust you again. This really applies in my morals today as I want to be a trustworthy member of society and don’t want to keep information to myself that might be harmful to others.

Think about it this way. One of your friends is driving another friends car and wrecks it, then tells the friend someone hit them. Then the friend who wrecked the car tells you they were drunk and ran into a tree in their driveway. Wouldn’t you be compelled to tell the owner of the car the truth? I know I would in a heartbeat because that information could affect our friendship. I know, your saying “yeah but if you snitch, that’s going to affect your friendship with the friend at fault!” Let’s be honest, if that friend would lie to one person, they would damn sure lie to me. I don’t need them around.

There is one thing that came recently in my life that has changed my moral compass though, my wife. We had a few moral disagreements when we started dating, and after 3 1/2 years together we’ve each opened our moral ways to except some of the others ideas.

I believe that your moral compass is constantly changing throughout different periods of your life. I’m sure mine will change a bit again once I have kids, since I’m still kind of a kid myself now. So no matter where your compass leads you, just know that direction could change at anytime. 

Citizen Journalist

Recently in our seminar class, we spoke about the standards between citizen journalists and professionals. Do they both set themselves to the same standards? I think not. Most citizen journalists, in my opinion, are in it for the social media publicity and not to actually make a difference in the world, but we did talk about one citizen journalist who I think wants to make legitimate difference. 

Josh Fox shot a documentary in 2010 called “GASLAND” after he was offered money for the natural gas drilling rights on his property. Josh goes around the country talking to property owners who did give up the rights to their land and the repercussions that came with it. All in all the process for natural gas drilling called “hydraulic fracturing,” seems to be more harmful to the environment than most oil companies will admit. One man was able to light his tap water on fire due to the amount of natural gas in the ground water! Sure seems like a bad idea to me.

I think what Josh did was a great example of citizen journalism that actually made a difference and impacted the public. If more citizen journalists held themselves to his standards then maybe someday they would get a shot at being considered somewhat credible.