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Jean-Paul Marat

Posted by: | October 23, 2012 | No Comment |

Writer Jean-Paul Marat wrote the eight page periodical L’Ami du peuple which comprised over 700 issues. Marat frequently ran into trouble with authorities. Publishing from England, Marat played a key role during the French Revolution. Marat was a critique of all authorities, particularly the monarchy in both France and England. Similar to Thomas Paine during the American Revolution, Marat had a similar impact on the French Revolution.

A copy of L’Ami du peuple

Marat was a frequent attendant at various English and French coffeehouses. As such, Marat began his love affair with politics when he began L’Ami du peuple. Marat attacked the French monarchy through his underground paper. Marat’s paper became very influential to the French people as he reported on the monarchy. 

Painted days after his murder, painter Jacques-Louis David painting “The Death of Marat” it is widely considered David’s best painting.

Writing in 1790 Marat attacked the most conservative officials of France, “Five or six hundred heads would have guaranteed your freedom and happiness but a false humanity has restrained your arms and stopped your blows. If you don’t strike now, millions of your brothers will die, your enemies will triumph and your blood will flood the streets. They’ll slit your throats without mercy and disembowel your wives. And their bloody hands will rip out your children’s entrails to erase your love of liberty forever. ”

Marat wielded his pen and made many enemies. Being murdered by French authorities after the Revolution, Marat still remains one of France’s most influential writers.

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DANGER! War Reporting

Posted by: | October 22, 2012 | No Comment |

Another journalist was killed just two months ago covering war in the Middle East.

Mika Yamamoto, a Japanese journalist, was killed when caught in the middle of a firefight in Aleppo, Syria on August 20. She is one of the latest journalists to be killed while covering the civil war in Syria. It is well known that risks are taken when covering such events around the world. According to The Committee to Protect Journalists, however, says that the Middle Eastern state is the most dangerous place in the world for journalists.

In order to get the big story a journalist may want — or even feel the need to — venture into a war zone to cover the events. This has been common practice for decades now. Since 1992 there have been 944 journalists from different nations killed in war zones — most of which have resulted from the War in Iraq.

Yamamoto was merely doing her part in portraying the Syrian atrocities. “She wanted to show the suffering of innocent women and children caught in war,” said her friend Miyuki Hokugou, of the newspaper Asahi Shimbun. “She felt it would affect Japan sooner or later. That it’s all connected.”

under: Comm 455, Uncategorized
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In Mitchelle Stephens’ book “A History of News,” use of the term correspondents referred to those individuals that kept up a letter correspondence with editors of newspapers abroad. These so-called correspondents could be called upon to “forward reports of newsworthy occurrences in their bailiwick directly to the newspaper -a considerable more efficient system than waiting for the haphazard arrival of private letters.”

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this use of correspondents was first used in 1711 to refer to “one who contributes letters to a newspaper; specifically one employed by a journal to contribute news and other material to its columns from some particular place. ”

Correspondents aren’t much different from the late 1600’s than they are today. Correspondents are individuals that are on the ground in different parts of the world reporting back to their news outlet. While they used to contribute to journals through letters, correspondents report from all over the world through various forms of technologies. Correspondents are living in a specific area. Institutions such as the New York Times have correspondents for East Africa, Europe, London, etc. These correspondents are experts in the area that they are living or embedded in. They have built relationships with individuals on the ground and are able to report first hand accounts of what is happening in case of an emergency.

Correspondents are important. Mark Doyle of the BBC was embedded in Rwanda leading up to the eventual 1994 genocide in the country. For awhile Doyle was one of the only foreign journalists in the region having been there from the beginning. In the book “The Media and the Rwandan Genocide” , Doyle recounts how he had already built relationships with UN officials prior to the genocide. In his essay, Doyle describes how some journalists only came to the region when United States citizens were being evacuated and then they quickly left, not interested in what was otherwise occurring in the region.

Correspondents such as Doyle become experts in their area. Foreign correspondents aren’t the only ones who are experts in their fields. White House correspondents are also valuable assets to a news organization. White House Correspondents are able to tell the story of what is occurring in the highest office in the United States. While sometimes becoming a megaphone for the office, longstanding White House correspondents such as Helen Thomas are able to report more than just what they are being told.

There are also war correspondents are are embedded with troops during a conflict. Famous NBC “Night News Host” was a war correspondent during the Vietnam War which marked the first time in history that  war was broadcast to viewers in their own homes.

Tom Brokaw discusses his work with NBC on reporting the Vietnam War in 1968.

In short, correspondents are individuals that are experts in their given topic. They are called up on for expert advice in regions or areas because of their knowledge in a given topic or area.


under: Comm 455, Uncategorized
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One of the tenets that has formed America into a unique nation is the creation and the support of a free press. Under the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment protects the right to religious freedoms, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and petition and the freedom of the press.

Though the freedom of the press was revolutionary in its creation, the free press we have today is hardly the same as the original American press. Originally, freedom of press was interpreted simply as the freedom to publish, without regard to partisanship or objectivity. Early American newspapers were riddled with religious sermons and blatant political biases, something that is frowned on in today’s media.

Though freedom of the press is protected under the First Amendment, there are some restrictions. Laws on defamation and copyright prohibit journalists from taking too much control or power in the media. To balance those laws, the government is not allowed to interfere or compel newspapers to print content that the printer disagrees with.

The dedication to a free press has been upheld throughout America’s history. In 1938, the judge in  Lovell v. City of Griffin ruled that the press is “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.” More than 70 years later, with the advent and explosion of the internet, the laws and intricacies of the press are ever evolving. At the time of the ruling, there was no such things as blogs or news websites, which entirely changes the impact of the ruling. 

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The ultimate form of censorship

Posted by: | October 16, 2012 | No Comment |

As we have learned this semester, different countries have come up with different ways to control the press. The United States has libel, Great Britain has licensing, and France has censorship. All of these methods are enforced through the legal system. Freedom of the press has its limitations.

Other countries, however, have more extreme methods of carrying out their censorship. Malala Yousufzai, a 14 year old girl from Pakistan, was shot by Taliban members for publicly advocating the right to education for women. The brutal attack against her has sparked outrage and spawned numerous protests in her defense. When tragedies like this occur, we are reminded of how fortunate we are to have rights to education, free speech, and the press.


Photo courtesy: MSNBC

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photo credit: tanialfreitas.wordpress.com

By: Jessica Farley


Twitter. Love it or hate it, there is just no escaping it anymore. And while some use Twitter simply to see what Kim Kardashian ate for lunch, or what the latest #firstworldproblem may be, it is also undeniable that Twitter has become an increasingly useful and popular medium for breaking news stories.

While some “Gutenburg-minded” thinkers refuse to believe it, Twitter has become for many the first source in a breaking news story. In May of 2011 when Osama Bin Laden was announced captured and dead, Twitter was one of the first viewed and most visited sources of information for the news. In an article posted on Outsidethebeltway.com about the growing popularity of Twitter as a news source, it was said that “Unconfirmed reports — that turned out to be true — of Osama bin Laden’s demise circulated widely on social media for about 20 minutes before the anchors of the major broadcast and cable networks reported news of the raid at 10:45 p.m., about an hour before Mr. Obama’s address from the White House.” This is a drastic and revolutionary difference from just one decade prior, when the internet was barely trusted for email purposes.

And Bin Laden’s death is just one of many major news events that have first broken in the “twittersphere.” Others include Michael Jackson and Patrick Swayze’s deaths, the 2009 Hudson River plane crash, and the 2008 discovery of ice on Mars, just to name a few.

So what does this all mean for the future of news? No one can know for sure just yet. But when we do, you can bet that it will be #trending on Twitter before anywhere else.

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Digging Deeper

Posted by: | October 16, 2012 | No Comment |

When the big story just isn’t enough, journalists must dig deeper.

Stories that have been unearthed, so to speak, may constitute muckraking or investigative journalism. These types of stories do, however, sometimes reveal themselves as big stories. Therefore, muckraking and big story reporting often times go hand-in-hand.

The Watergate Scandal was broken by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post. Through enterprise journalism this groundbreaking story was revealed to the entire world. It was, without a doubt, one of the biggest stories to ever be reported on in the history of journalism.

Sometimes a journalist has to dig deeper to find the ‘scoop’ on whatever he or she feels may be actually occurring. When a reporter does this, the story is most likely going to be big. It is these kinds of stories that make their way to the headlines. Former president of ABC News, David Westin, argues that news is a commodity but reporting is not. What he means by this is that news is readily available everywhere but reporting and journalism takes hard work.

Investigate and find the real story behind the cover. That’s where the big story lies.

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In history, crime and war reporting were, and still are, the most popular topics to report on. News consumers eat up these types of stories. They are filled with scandal, action and tragedy.

The first instance of war reporting can be attributed to the Greeks, which can also be attributed to the making of popular films like Troy and 300. Something I am sure we have all seen either for our appreciation of Greek history, or Spartan men with amazing abs.

Photo from the film 300

In 1200 B.C., an account of a Greek battle with Troy was documented in the Homeric epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, making it the first report on war in journalistic history. This was followed by other war reports using different methods of journalism.

Word of mouth was often used early on by the Greeks as a means to spread word of victory or defeat. In 490 B.C., an Athenian messenger named Pheidippides runs from Marathon to Athens with word of victory in the turning back of a Persian invasion. He then died of exhaustion, but was able to successfully relay the news.

Another instance of word of mouth in Greek history is when the Greek philosopher Socrates returned from one of the initial battles of the Peloponnesian War and delivers news in a gymnasium in Athens. The orator Demosthenes later notes the extent to which Athenians are preoccupied with word of mouth stating “Thus we all go about framing our several tales”.

Alexander the Great
In 334 B.C., Alexander the Great spreads news as well. He sends 300 captured Persian shields to Athens to spread news of his victory over the Persians.

The Greeks contributions to the history of journalism played a pivotal role in the start of war reporting as well as word of mouth. In today’s world war reporting is an especially popular topic with wars in the Middle East constantly occupying news stories. Without these journalistic records we would not have all the facts today or such entertaining “historically accurate” films.

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After a two-year grand jury investigation, the case of Jerry Sandusky has been laid to rest.  On October 9th, 2011, Sandusky was found guilty of 52 counts of sexual abuse and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.   Judge John Cleland who issued the sentence acknowledged that the length of his term within that time period would be pretty irrelevant.

According to USAToday, Cleland said that he “could impose a sentence of “centuries,” referring to the maximum punishment of 442 years. But given Sandusky’s age, 68, the lesser term still ensured that he would spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Sandusky, served as the assistant football coach at Penn State for 30 years before going under investigation in 1998 after a mother reported that her son was molested by Sandu

sky in the shower.

After the investigation began, allegations of Sandusky’s sexual abuse accumulated as more boys came forward.  Sandusky’s past caught up with him yesterday and he finally heard the amount of pain he put his victims through as they confronted him face to face.

“A few victims broke down during their statements, speaking about how they have been riddled with torment due to Sandusky’s actions, with a number of victims claiming they suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression,” according to US News.

In such serious, nationally known cases, accurate courtroom reporting becomes pertinent seeing as how people’s reputations – and lives – are at stake.  Despite trying to fairly cover the Sandusky case from the beginning, courtroom journalists couldn’t help but report the important moments of the trial, sparking public disgust of Mr. Sandusky and his behavior before his sentencing.

Seeing Senators spit on each other might be easier for Jane Grey Swisshelm to stomach while trying to write one of her articles than courtroom reporting today.

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Pursued by the paparazzi

Posted by: | October 9, 2012 | No Comment |

It seems that celebrities are always complaining about pesky photos snapping shots of them around Hollywood. From red carpet galas to the Whole Foods grocery store, they can’t get a break without a creepy guy in an SUV pointing a Canon in their faces.

“I’ve been… chased by paparazzi, and they run lights, and they chase you and harass you the whole time. It happens all over the world, and it has certainly gotten worse. You don’t know what it’s like being chased by them,”
-says Tom Cruise

While they may be a nuisance in the day-to-day lives of silver screen stars, let’s face it; sneaky photos are a major asset to the business of celebrity reporting.

While the word paparazzi originated from a news photographer character named “Paparazzo” in the 1960 film “La Dolce Vita,” the word has roots in the Italian word for a mosquito, papatacci. Said Federico Fellini (director of “Lad Dolce Vita”) in 1960: “Paparazzo… suggests to me a buzzing insect, hovering, darting, stinging.”

Buzzing insect or not, the candid photos of our favorite celebs keep the tabloids in business. We’re a culture who craves news, and what better to accompany with a glossy page of Angelina Jolie wrangling her kids down Sunset Boulevard?

Image courtesy of toutelecine.com



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What’s Worth the Big Story?

Posted by: | October 7, 2012 | No Comment |

What’s the latest scoop?!

Big story reporting is what the media has always aimed for. Aside from sensationalized stories about anything and everything people would be interested in, the biggest stories always get the front page and the most attention. Presidential elections — like the one we are presently witnessing — are a huge deal for the United States and will absolutely always be given a spot on the front pages of newspapers the most time on television broadcasts.

In fact, we care so much about the principles of democracy that we publicize other nations’ elections. Venezuela recently voted for a new leader this Sunday, making the top story on The Washington Post‘s world news webpage.

Reporting on big stories like this do get most of the attention, but what about the dangerous stories? Reporting on wars like the War in Afghanistan and, more timely, the violent protests in Libya can lead to some dangers for reporters. Taking their lives into their own hands at times, war reporters are able to report on violent events up close. It’s stories like these that capture the world’s attention.

What is Newsworthy:

  • Impact
  • Emotional Appeal
  • Conflict
  • Timeliness
  • Proximity
  • Prominence
  • The unusual
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Freedom of speech, religion and assembly of the people is protected under the First Amendment — but what about freedom of healthcare requirements?

A voice in the uproar against the pro-abortion HHS mandate belongs to Frank O’Brien and O’Brien Industries.  O’Brian runs his small business in Missouri in accordance with the Catholic religion and believes that the mandate’s requirements impede on his freedom of religion.  Since Catholicism does not support contraceptives, O’brian recently argued that he should not be required to indulge in any required healthcare plan for his employees that would contribute to any related funding of it.

Unfortunately for O’Brian, Judge Judge Carol E. Jackson dismissed the case in it’s entirety late last Friday.

“The challenged regulations do not demand that plaintiffs alter their behavior in a manner that will directly and inevitably prevent plaintiffs from acting in accordance with their religious beliefs. Frank O’Brien is not prevented from keeping the Sabbath, from providing a religious upbringing for his children, or from participating in a religious ritual such as communion. Instead, plaintiffs remain free to exercise their religion, by not using contraceptives and by discouraging employees from using contraceptives” said Judge Jackson, according to LifeNews.com.

Judge Jackson then went on to argue that the only way the mandate could offend O’Brian was if family members or employees independently sought the healthcare benefits and that either of the parties’ mentioned could use their own salary on benefits that might conflict with the personal preferences of the owner, so it was a moot point.

For now, it seems that the ethical boundaries of religious freedoms will plague federal district courts and they will have to take the lawsuits on one at a time.

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