Sunday, November 06, 2005

COMMENTS: Mid-term exam answers; grading complete


I have reviewed and graded your mid-term exam efforts, and written brief
comments, and will hand them out on Tuesday. Here are some observations:

-- In general, I thought some of the responses were shallow, and I would
like your feedback, as a group in class, on whether the questions were too
broad, or our preparation inaequately for you to write thorough essays.

-- A couple of you raised in different contexts the question of how one
judges the quality of news. This is a topic which I would like to set for
a class discussion. I would like your help figuring out useful resources
to guide the discussion.

-- Both of you who addressed the question of the nuclear-reactor facility
visit distinguished between the ethical obligation of the journalist when
talking one-on-one with a person, from a site visit available to the
public of the sort the question involves. I think this raises an important
point, and that is the journalist's moral or ethical obligation to his or
her source -- how strong is it, when does it attach and what are its
characteristics. This is also a subject we'll discuss in class; I am going
to see if I can find a reading on it.

-- Regarding Project Censored. A portion of the question was how PC might
create more impact about what it is doing. I was struct that both
respondents said they were shocked and dismayed that they didn't know
about the stories which PC details. How do we make sure EVERYONE knows
about these uncovered stories? Let's discuss.

-- What does Bob McChesney want? When one of you took question No. 9, you
didn't answer. Based on our readings, how about this? He wants more
effective government regulation which curbs the power of big media, levels
market playing fields and creates a pool of money to support public media.


-- Two of you took question No. 3 about blogs and what makes a journalist.
And your answers were insightful.

Jose wrote:

"I say that a journalist is someone that has a great knowledge in their
field, reports news without bias, carries years of training, and provides
the public with a better understanding of the present world. A blogger is
just not a journalist. I have seen blogs that can report the news just
like any newspaper can. But what bloggers seem to care for is not the
recognition but the title. Wanting this should not be a priority. First,
blogs need to be an established news source for us to even consider their
producers journalist. The creation of a web site should not entitle
someone to a privilege. Blogs should be given more time to become more
reliable. The way the media are covering and reporting the news now,
becoming a reliable news source shouldn't take too long."

Steve wrote:

"If a journalist is anyone with an opinion that writes it down, then all
bloggers would be journalists. My definition ofa journalist is someone
that reports on events in order to provide public knowledge. With this
definition, I would be forced to inclde all bloggers as real journalists.
I feel hesitant to include bloggers in the same category as someone who
writes for a newspaper or reports on television. there needs to be some
separation between bloggers and other journalists. I guess this is because
bloggers seem to be a little less professional than other forms of media.
it's really up to the people to decide which of their news is credible and
which is not. I definitely feel that "citizen journalists" at OhMyNews are
real journalists.


-- Sara commented in answering one question said that Wikipedia "is manned
by multiple people, [so] readers can rest assured they are not getting one
organization's agenda thrown at them." But she failed to note that we
don't know who writes WikiPedia articles, and so there is little ability
to judge the accuracy of what they are writing, except to assume that if
it were wrong, someone else would edit the Wiki page and fix it.

-- Steve commented it would be great if there were a system to decided
which journalist [or bloggers] are more credible than others, "but until
then I suppose that decision will be put on the shoulders of the viewers."

Bill Densmore, Visiting Lecturer
Berkshire Towers Room A71-L /
Tue/Thu 9:20-9:50 a.m. / and by appt.
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
North Adams MA 01247
413-663-5483 / CELL: 413-458-8001

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