Tuesday, October 23, 2012

More Journalism Reflections

Another new journalist for Mount Angel Seminary, Peter Lawongkerd from the Diocese of Oakland, offers some of his thoughts on his work thus far from his recent reflection paper:

The very interesting point I found [in chapter one of The Elements of Journalism] is that the bottom line of journalism is to provide people information they need to know so that they can be self-governing and so everybody is on the same page.  The journalist's job is to keep people up-to-date on daily news and to make it easy for people to be informed.

Peter Lawongkerd - photo by Sister Hilda Kleiman

As I have enrolled in the journalism class, I can call myself "little journalist."  So my job is to provide information and write small articles about the events that go on at the seminary.  Since the seminary is a big community, it is very important to keep all the seminarians up-to-date.  Also, it is important to inform people that live off the hilltop because the seminary is a tourist place where many people from different areas come to visit.

In chapter four, we discussed the journalism of verification.  Kovach and Rosenstiel said, "Journalism alone is focused on getting what happened down right" (80).  They [journalists] have to have evidence to prove their case, just like people need evidence to prove something right or wrong; this is how a journalist would do his job.

How can I apply this to my daily life in the seminary?  If I am going to write an article about some events that are happening on the hilltop, I need to find the truth and provide the reader with correct information.  I need to get the facts right and straight forward in a way that is crystal clear for the reader.  For instance, if I am going to write about the college beach weekend, I need to answer the "WH" questions - who, what, when, why, how - and other information that the reader needs to know.  [Editor's note: Peter's story on the college beach weekend is forthcoming on this blog].

In addition, the information that I provide to the reader needs to be true and not rely on my own opinion.  I have to be able to present the facts about what I say.  If I say the college beach weekend was not good because the weather was bad and it was cold, one way in which I can support this by presenting testimonies of other people.  That would be great to have as a journalist so that the reader sees the message from another person's view and just from the journalist's.

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