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Category Archives: Best practices

Journalists seek police body-cam videos

A year ago Adam Marshall submitted the first-ever records request for body camera video to Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department. It was in the wake of violence in Ferguson, Missouri, but before the shooting death by police of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, and months before Freddie Gray died of spinal injuries in Baltimore police custody.

“I’m still waiting on the results of that request,” said Marshall, an attorney for Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, speaking at the Ohio Law and Media Conference in Columbus last month.

Accessing footage of body-worn cameras — the latest technological bandage applied to the complex issue of hemorrhaging race relations in America — poses particular headaches for journalists.

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Research spies on social media, citizen journalism practices

Say what you will about the journalism and mass communication profession, there is never a shortage of research, surveys and focus groups to provide for sufficient navel-gazing.

As a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, I am never at a loss for new material on my desk. The quarterly journals just keep stacking up. Scholars thrive on these research reports. Journalists, not so much.

The recent American Society of Newspaper Editors’ report garnered a lot more attention in the media world than a study on the adoption and use of citizen journalism content by online newspapers.

The gist of the ASNE 2015 newsroom census: Newsroom staffs are down another 12.7 percent from the previous year. In short, 32,900 journalists have jobs compared to 56,000 in 2000.

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Digital, not personal. It’s a bot time.

Recent news that the Associated Press will begin using computers to generate stories on sporting events was received in the journalism community like a high-and-tight fastball.

This wasn’t just a courtesy brush back. It was meant to send a clear message — we are replacing you.

Count me among those unsuspecting (former) sportswriters who was knocked to the dirt only to get back up ready to defend my honor. Where’s the integrity in the news game?

AP has made it clear it doesn’t need humans for these basic jobs anymore. It’s hired Automated Insights, a company it invests in, that has given the wire service a sophisticated algorithm using the English language and statistics to fashion text. The company’s defense is that it can keep tabs on thousands of college and high school games without the burden of staffing.

AP also has let bots, using Wordsmith, write basic business stories, such as those announcing quarterly earnings. Meanwhile, Narrative Science writes business copy for a number of business publications and the Los Angeles Times.

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How to best leverage summer interns

OSU student

 

It’s intern season, when a slew of newbie journalists hit newsrooms in force. Some are go-getters, asking too many questions but offering unexpected insights. Others hide behind their computers and never speak. The best absorb lessons but also teach their old editors a few new tricks. We asked a few Kip Fellows their tips for maximizing the talents of interns. Here are their suggestions:

• Send interns out with seasoned reporters in their first weeks on the job.

“For a public affairs reporting intern, it can be a little overwhelming at first,” says Kip Fellow Michelle Everhart, who supervises Scripps Statehouse News Bureau fellows at the Columbus Dispatch. Having them tag-team with a pro “makes them feel more confident, they get the lay of the land, and have a little background info to get them going.”

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News literacy 101: Journalists should love news

studyingThe questions I presented to my journalism class this week were intended to elicit expected responses – 20-somethings aren’t reading newspapers, or for that matter, reading news in general.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

I’ve been in the classroom, either as an adjunct or a grown-up professor since 1993 and over that time, the responses haven’t differed greatly. Career aspirations aside, young people aren’t generally interested in what’s happening around them, especially if it’s off campus. Or, maybe it’s just those who lack interest always find their way into my classes.

This semester’s class at Ohio State didn’t swing the pendulum much. Here’s what a small sample survey (26) can tell me about college students and news literacy. Keep in mind these are journalism students. Your results may differ depending on size sample and the students’ majors.

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