The world of photojournalism

To continue with this blog’s theme of journalism and the effect technology has had on this industry, it’s only appropriate to talk about photojournalism. In today’s field, you aren’t just a writer, you’re a photographer too.

JPROF, a blog about teaching journalism, has this helpful post featuring rules for the student photojournalist.

Rule No. 1: Take lots of pictures.

Rule No. 2: A pen and notebook are as important as a camera.

Rule No. 3: Plan what you will shoot.

Rule No. 4: Get close to the action.

Rule No. 5: Shoot in the best light possible.

Rule No. 6: Equipment doesn’t matter – use what you have to the best of your ability.

Rule No. 7: Be creative!

Photojojo has a helpful post on nine tips for breaking into photojournalism. Their tips and suggestions are from Jason Geil, who is a successful photo editor for He worked as a staff photojournalist at The Cincinnati Post and his work has appeared in national publications.

PhotoRadar has this article about 14 inspiring and useful photojournalism tips. This post is helpful because it focuses on the approach photojournalists should take. For example, one should shoot from the heart, but must stay neutral at the same time.

Photoshop is a given when talking about photojournalism. Get to know it. Get comfortable with it. Here is a site with a complete list of Photoshop tips. There are of course plenty of YouTube tutorials also at your disposal.

Violence is often a part of photojournalism. The events in Egypt and Libya are a relevant example of this. talks about this reality.

Poynter chimes in with why photojournalism matters.

Kenneth Irby states, “Poynter’s Eyes on the News studies confirmed that people were emotionally affected by pictures and that they are a dominant entry point during the digestion of printed information.”

There is a reason for the popular quote, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” A picture can often accomplish what words cannot. While journalism writing often takes away creativity, photojournalism is an outlet with countless opportunities.

Tips for recording and transcribing interviews

Recording and transcribing interviews can be a hassle, especially if you aren’t paying someone to do the job for you. Thankfully there are programs and resources out there to help make this process hurt a little less.

Programs such as Skype, Audacity and Express Scribe are just a few of these programs.

The benefit with Skype is that it is easy and very inexpensive. Purchasing a Skype Out number for $2.95 a month allows people to call you from a land or cell line and lets you call regular land and cell lines.

The calls in the US and Canada are free. Skype lets you pay as you go for international calls at reasonable rates. The call quality is great and the program is efficient. Google Voice is an alternative to this product.

Audacity is a free, open-source sound editor. Audacity allows you to edit out the parts of the interview you don’t want to keep. You can then change the tempo and slow down the interview. Slowing down the interview will make it easier to transcribe without having to push the pause button. gives this review of Audacity. This YouTube video tutorial is a great tool to learn the basics of Audacity.

Express Scribe is also a free program for Mac users. This program lets you set universal hot keys, slow down or speed up tempo on the fly and add in time stamps to your interview. For example, speed up the interview and then slow it down for quotes.

A foot pedal is a helpful addition to transcribing. This way you can start and stop quicker and easier.

A headset can also make a big difference and will free up your hands if you’re doing a phone interview or transcribing one.

If you are interested in paying for your interview to be transcribed, check out this article.

Go here to read up on your state’s recording policies if you haven’t already. Each state has different rules and regulations regarding consent, possession and publication and citations.

Perhaps one day we will have technology to do this all for us!

Issues in journalism: jealousy?

Unfortunately, even in the professional industry of journalism, jealousy and cattiness can be an issue. Sure, there is always room for healthy competition, but sometimes things get ugly and distract from our true goal of reporting the real news.

On March 10, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote a piece targeting The Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington. The article, entitled “All the Aggregation That’s Fit to Aggregate,” essentially called Huffington out.

Keller said the following: “The queen of aggregation is, of course, Arianna Huffington, who has discovered that if you take celebrity gossip, adorable kitten videos, posts from unpaid bloggers and news reports from other publications, array them on your Web site and add a left-wing soundtrack, millions of people will come. How great is Huffington’s instinctive genius for aggregation?”

Keller began his article by noting that Forbes magazine lists him as the 50th most powerful person in the world. After reading this I had to question if this was a publicity stunt or if this 62-year-old man was really using his celebrity to whine.

Huffington promptly posted a rebuttal the evening Keller posted his article. Her post, entitled “Bill Keller Accuses Me of “Aggregating” an Idea He Had Actually “Aggregated” From Me,” had me envisioning two children chasing each other around a playground, while sticking their tongues out.

Last month, AOL bought The Huffington Post for $315 million. Did this event play a major role in ruffling Keller’s feathers? Is either party right in their argument? Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post believes Huffington won this battle.

Frankly, I feel this entire thing is trivial. However, is aggregating news such a bad thing?

Their articles go against the very thing that Keller is discriminating upon. Keller brings attention to Huffington making a living off of the drama of sharing outrageous links, which draw people to the site. However, Keller is making a spectacle of the very thing he is criticizing.

What I do know is spitting matches like this one are not worth the time and effort it takes to post and detracts from the real issues the world should be focusing on.

Sure, I believe in professional journalism. I believe in each company working hard for their stories and creating original work. However, in this digital age, where technology and speed rules all, the public wants to obtain their news quickly. They also want to be entertained while doing so.

I agree that blogs like The Huffington Post may compromise the integrity of journalism, but things have changed. Kudos to Huffington for maintaining a site that gets people wanting to read the news in the first place!

New York Magazine adds to the mix with this article.

MOJO: mobile journalism

In the field of journalism, timing is everything. In order to be successful in this career, one must have certain objects with them at all times. As technology changes, so do these items. There are a myriad of resources dedicated to updating the list of items, but there are a few basics.

Some of the essential items include:

  • A backpack large enough to carry everything without making movement cumbersome.
  • A notebook with multiple writing utensils to take notes. Yes, this is still essential. Technology is not always reliable.
  • A laptop, or smartphone, with a working Internet connection. Stories will break at any moment and may need to be sent to editors or posted on blogs immediately.
  • A digital recorder with backup batteries in order to obtain audio clips or notes for a story on the go.
  • A camera and/or video camera to capture footage and allow files to be uploaded to computer.

Websites like Mobile Journalism Tools and the Reynolds Journalism Institute are helpful because they provide in-depth coverage of the above listed items. For example, one can find useful information on camera lenses or tripods.

These sites feature what mobile applications are most useful to journalists. This includes audio editing, file transmission, geolocation, live streaming, microblogging, note-taking, photo editing and video editing applications.

Media Bistro has an article about iPhone applications that revolutionize mobile journalism. One of them is SpotCrime, which allows the user to see what crimes have occurred in certain locations. It also shows the type of crime committed.

The Kindle application can also come in handy. Whether one uses the Kindle, Nook, or iBooks, these apps makes hundreds of thousands of books available for on the go reading and research.

The next featured app is Howcast. This app offers how-to videos on a range of subjects. For example, if there is a social media platform that a journalist is unfamiliar with, they can use this program to learn it.

Next, is the iheart radio app which allows the user to listen to music and live radio broadcasts.

Lastly, the article suggests the HearPlanet app. This app provides information on thousands of landmarks around the world. If a journalist is unaware of a location’s history or purpose, this app remedies just that.

This article provides the Facebook pages every journalist should follow.

Mashable has their own page for what tools they think are essential for the mobile journalist. The article provides information on how Google Voice can substitute for a digital voice recorder. In fact, many of Google’s products can help journalist’s condense their list of items.

Ustream broadcaster allows journalists to upload audio and video in real-time. This can be helpful for breaking news stories.

Reeldirector is a video editing suite that can trim and join clips, add titles and embed sound. This can be helpful for creating montages of interview and key sound bites.

This video speaks to the journalists who use mobile phones to take their notes. It recommends ways to become faster at texting and how it is more efficient than traditional handwriting.

Although, mobile journalism is changing the way journalists report in positive ways, this article speaks of the challenges it creates.

Avoiding sloppy journalism

On Monday’s episode of “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg ripped into the New York Times for leaving her out of an article that focused on the lack of black nominees at this year’s Oscars. Goldberg spoke out to media outlets and referred to this blunder as ‘sloppy journalism.’ Goldberg’s co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, went as far as canceling her subscription to the newspaper in protest. Social media allows such gaffes to reach the public in record time. How do journalists avoid making such mistakes?

A spokesperson for the New York Times released a statement Tuesday. The statement, which should have been released the same day as Goldberg’s rebuttal, essentially blamed the reader for misinterpreting the point of the article.

Journalists should always make their purpose clear. After finishing a piece, journalists should walk away and return later to re-read their work. This ensures writers have a fresh perspective on the topic at hand.

Fact checking is crucial. Journalists must be wary of their sources and should triple check their facts. Be as fair and accurate as possible. Ted Diadiun, reader representative for, shares advice for avoiding bias.

This event falls under the category of entertainment news, but imagine the problems these mistakes create in politics. Ronda Hauben, of Global Times China, talks of the danger of making fraudulent claims. This is how falsehoods are spread and misconceptions turn into believed facts.

Greta Van Susteren spoke recently about fair journalism. She feels there is a ‘big difference between facts and imagination’ and speaks of reporting with an agenda. When reporting, journalists should never insert their own opinions.

Sure, everyone makes mistakes, but all of these things can be avoided. For those wondering, Goldberg apologized to the New York Times during today’s broadcast.

FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, which challenges media bias and censorship, provides the following tips for reporting:

  • Who are the sources? Count the number of corporate and government sources versus the number of progressive, public interest, female and minority voices. Demand mass media expand their rolodexes; better yet, give them lists of progressive and public interest experts in the community.
  • Is there a lack of diversity? Demand that the media you consume reflect the diversity of the public they serve.
  • From whose point of view is the news reported? Demand that those affected by the issue have a voice in coverage.
  • Do stereotypes skew coverage? Expose the double standard by coming up with a parallel example or citing similar stories that were covered differently.
  • Is the language loaded? Educate journalists about misconceptions involved in stereotypes, and about how stereotypes characterize individuals unfairly.
  • Is there a lack of context? Demonstrate how the language chosen gives people an inaccurate impression of the issue, program or community.
  • Do the headlines and stories match? Call or write the newspaper and point out the contradiction.

Twitter: a trend worth following

The web address of this blog is “fingermeetpulse” because, as journalists, it is our job to always keep our finger on the pulse of what is going on in the world. Our goal is to report news as it happens, while keeping communication lines open and engaging with the public. Twitter meets these goals and has changed journalism as we know it.

This microblogging phenomenon has made the world smaller. The 140 character limit format requires clean and to the point reporting. The site is easily accessible and allows the public to report along with the journalist. When a celebrity dies, a bill is passed or denied, a tornado has touched ground, or when a country revolts against its leader, Twitter is first to break the story.

A perfect example of why Twitter is crucial to journalists and the public alike lies in the recent events in Egypt. News of the events unfolding in the streets was nearly impossible to come by at first due to technology being compromised. Al Jazeera actually encouraged the community to use blogs, social media, eyewitness accounts and videos to show the world what their country was experiencing.

Through Tweeting and Twitpic, citizens were able to have their voices heard. With the use of the hashtag, #Egypt, anyone with a connection to Twitter could quickly access information.

The preamble of the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics speaks of public enlightenment, the foundation of democracy, seeking truth, integrity and credibility. Twitter most certainly enlightens by allowing a constant flow of information, pictures, audio and video.

The site showcases the first amendment right of free speech in full form and allows the public to take full of advantage of that right and privilege.

If any source attempts to spread falsehoods, Twitter allows for the truth to come out in record timing. For example, politicians like Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) may attempt to set the record straight when need be.

Lastly, Twitter verifies accounts, which allows the public to know whether certain Twitter accounts are indeed credible.

The possibilities for Twitter and its uses are endless. I’m certain the site will grow as we grow. Jason De Rusha (@derushaj),  a reporter at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis provides these tips for journalists:

• Do: Get engaged.

• Do: Read replies.

• Do: Respond.

• Don’t: Turn Twitter into a non-stop back-and-forth exchange. Take bigger discussions to e-mail or Direct Messages.

• Do: Start as a listener. It’s OK to start following people and just treat Twitter as something like the AP Wires. Don’t be discouraged because you only care about 1% of people’s tweets. You don’t cancel the AP Wires because you don’t care about the Lottery numbers from Kentucky.

• Do: Post a profile picture.

• Do: Talk to your boss about his/her philosophy about Twitter.

• Do: Ask permission before tweeting anything about internal information (new hires, fires, layoffs, etc.)

• Do: Treat your Tweets like a microblog. Consider whether your readers would care about something before you belch it out to the wider world.