Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blogging and Bureaus

When working as part of team, one of the best things to establish early on is delegation. Delegating power to individuals is a reassuring step towards getting the job done. Before delegation, though, must come at least a basic understanding of the individuals on your team. Not only does an understanding of your teammates help delegate responsibility effectively, but it also helps to meet deadlines. If Amy is more relational and flourishes around people, will she be able to stay in an office, collecting quotes and organizing them by a deadline? She may be able to, but if the more informational part of reporting stresses Amy out, there’s a chance that she might not meet her deadline or produce a well-developed article.

When working as a Bureau reporter, it was hard for me to work under a short deadline without a basic understanding of my team. We were only able to produce an outline of our article and we wasted valuable time trying to figure out who was doing what job.

However, I do realize that in the future there may be many instances where I am thrown into a group of individuals whom I am unfamiliar with, similar to this experience. For that I would stress the characteristics of adaptability, creativity, and the ability to work under pressure. This assignment reminded me that journalism is a field where you have to be especially quick on your feet. You are communicating what you believe to be useful information to the public under strict deadlines, and a lot of that work depends on other people.

When interviewing students that commute to Biola University, two other reporters and myself happened to interview two individuals that are employed by Biola University to make commuter students feel in community with a) students who live on campus and b) other commuter students. These interviews weren’t planned beforehand. There is a possibility that we could’ve walked into the Collegium at a wrong time, during a commuter event or even when commuters were rushing to class, with no time for an interview. If we were given an unfavorable circumstance, could we have as a team pulled together to get a little more creative?

Our team was seeking to peek into the commuter life, and this required that we asked a few questions about finances. While some people may find this uncomfortable, it largely depends on how you approach the interview. I have heard many students in class talk about their experiences with people who just didn’t want to talk about certain topics. I would venture to ask the students how they are approached the individuals that they interviewed. A reporter can present an initially uncomfortable question in and inviting way that gently urges an individual to respond comfortably and honestly.

As far as blogging and Bureau reporting goes, I feel that the blogosphere allows individuals more leniency with deadlines, seeing as though most blogs aren’t like newspapers, with a structure of deadlines that the public is aware of.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New York Times Print, Online, and USA Today

When comparing the New York Times print version to the web edition, most of the same stories are published, but the layout is entirely different. When my eyes met the New York Times online, right away my mind was struck by one word: Busy, busy, busy! The home page of the New York Times is decorated in countless stories, covering every possible surface of the computer screen. In contrast to the print editions front page, the home page of the New York Times online doesn’t highlight a few central stories. Instead they present to you every possible option of news, resembling the layout of a contemporary drive thru menu with maybe one to two specials that are in a slightly bigger font. This approach can be overwhelming to new readers and makes the print version look much easier to read.

The print version has less to offer as far as amount of information. The online version is being constantly updated. Readers are able to see how often the website has been updated on a feature called the Time’s wire. The Time’s wire indicates how many times the website has been updated in the past 30 minutes. Being able to publish the newest information received within minutes is just one benefit of online publishing. They can also use video journalism to better illustrate stories. The power of being able to see and hear individual insight takes stories to a different level.

On Top of that, the process of locating an archive of past and present stories becomes possible because the online version publishes everything the print version does and more.
Now NYT even has a feature that that allows the reader to customize a list of his/her specific interest sections and receive those regularly. What advantages!

When it comes to website layout, USA Today’s home page has much less content, making it easier to approach, however their stories are less detail oriented. When reading USA Today’s report of Fort Hood on November 10th, I wasn’t able to get a good grasp on the story. NYT offered a detailed report that was much more satisfying.
There is also something to be said about the difference in the way that USA and NYT began their reports on the Fort Hood memorial service.

President Obama and his generals told a crowd of 3,000 soldiers Tuesday that the Fort Hood massacre stands as an incomprehensible military tragedy — one that happened "in the comfort of home."

President Obama took on the role of national eulogist on Tuesday for the first time since assuming office as he led the country in mourning 13 active and retired soldiers gunned down not on a foreign battlefield but here on their home post by one of their own.

NYT begins with a story, depicting Obama as a eulogist leading a nation. USA begins with unseasoned narrative. I’m sure you can see how a simple description added or left out can alter the way a person perceives a story.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Christian Century: Evangelical Friendly?

Christian Century is a weekly magazine with a progressive reputation.
As far as being evangelical, the magazine covers stories outside of the Protestant Church, with more of an evangelical perspective. This is evident by the writers on staff with Christian Century. Two examples would be Keith D. Herron, a senior pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri and Maria Teresa Palmer, the founding pastor of Iglesia Unida de Cristo, a United Church of Christ mission in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

For more details, visit

News currently covered by Christian Century:

Calls to boycott census split Protestant Latinos

A tough decision for undocumented immigrants

Smithsonian will open evolution hall and engage in dialogue with religion

An effort to bridge the gap

Papal invite unlikely to lure many U.S. defectors

Celibate priesthood is one obstacle

Vatican opens doors to dissident Anglicans

Far-reaching ecumenical implications

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chris Brown and the absence of soul in his eyes?

USA Today covered the story of Chris Brown physically abusing Rihanna, his girlfriend. USA plays the story from Rihanna's emotional experience with Brown, highlighting dramatic quotes and surrounding them with equally dramatic facts, creating more interest behind the boring topic of Chris Brown no longer having soul in his eyes.

For more soulful details, indulge below. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Contraception in Christian Marriage

Why is there a division in the church concerning the issue of contraceptives in Christian Marriage?

Sam and Bethany Torrode argue that the church needs to rethink the purpose of sex in their article Make Love and Babies

Shaun Willcock provides scripture on the topic of contraception and Christian couples.

Routledge explores the following three points concerning contraception: (1) whether there is evidence of the intent to prevent pregnancy and how it was viewed by religion and law; (2) what kinds of contraceptive knowledge were available; and (3) whether contraception was the concern of women only or also of men.

Catholic News Agency quotes early church fathers on the topic of contraception

Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler explore marital morality and contraception in their book The Sexual Person.

Explaining a brief Church history of contraception and supporting the use of contraception in Christian marriage.

Janet E. Smith discusses Contraception and America's culture

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney ( D NY) discusses political and cultural views on contraception

Monday, November 2, 2009

College Students Losing Their Faith?

Students are finding their faith stretched, or in certain circumstances, destroyed by intellectual challenges faced in secular and Christian Universities. In what ways are college students being challenged specifically?