Saturday, June 6, 2009

When is it too much.

Social networking is the new trend in journalism. From Facebook to Twitter, journalism professors and news directors across the nation are trying to unite journalist and the public to better share information and keep one another informed. So with all the social networking and putting oneself out there, when does it become too much?
I have been pondering this question as I begin to build my internet reputation as a journalist. There are thoughts and beliefs I refrain from expressing on these mediums to keep my integrity as a journalist but when does it get to the point that I'm "fake?" I believe this is something we are still trying to figure out with all this new technology. When I'm writing on twitter or blogging, I tend to be very objective almost to the point where I subtract the emotion I have towards a certain subject. In this era where being "biased" can ruin one's reputation, I'm afraid to give an opinion. But, I also believe that as a journalist one gives up certain rights as a regular citizen to be completely opinionated.
While I try to find my voice in the internet world, I know for sure that I want to spread information and analyze the way stories are done as well as what's going on in the industry. As I continue my journey, I will figure it out along with everyone else using this new technology.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Do Minority Journalist Face Challenges with Social Media?

Well so far this summer has been all about work trying to make ends meet I feel that that my journalism readings and writings have been on the back-burner. Earlier today between my double shift at Ruby Tuesday's I found an article dealing with on Poynter addressing the question whether or not minoirty journalist face additional challenges when using social media.

Monday, May 25, 2009

School world plus real world equals life

School at the University of Missouri had commencement May 16, then summer school for journalism students began Monday May 18th! Well the start of an intesnse but, meaningful senior year is now underway and I have exactly one year to soak in all the knowledge possible from this great Journalism School.

I began Jen Reeves, Advanced Internet Applications for Radio and TV class last Monday. This is a very popular class at MIZZOU because it helps advance students to the new media world of using social networking as a tool for journalism as well as connecting with the community. This includes blogging, Twitter, Facebook, and so much more in order for use to reach as many people as possible. We participate in weekly shifts called "Dot-COM Shifts" for KOMU-8's website. KOMU is an NBC Affiliate in mid-Missouri is experimenting with new ways to connect with its community using webcasts, and social networking . In this class we learn how to maintain the site, keep stories posted, add new information and stay engaged with the news. The main priority of this class is to expand our knowledge to help serve the community better as well as land a job. In an industry where the old model is out the door and a new model is being discovered, knowing how to do just about everything is a must!

While I'm taking summer school I'm also working as a server at Ruby Tuesday's . I've never served before so this is a great life experience. I'm trying to make some extra money on the side as well as do something different to gain experience. I feel that all jobs are worth it since it helps you learn about others as well as understand where people come from. I think if I want to be a journalist in the future, I have to experience different things so I can be a better journalist. Knowing what people go through can help one become a better writer!

Happy Memorial Day! Thanks to all those that served, are serving and will serve this country!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Performance Tax and the Death of a Friend

It's widely known that the journalism industry is going through a turbulent time.  Well, this doesn't exclude radio stations and with a proposed Performance Tax things might just get a lot rougher.  

According to the National Association of Broadcast (NAB) sponsored website,, "record labels want the government to impose,"  a performance tax on radio stations in which they would be charged a fee for airing music.  This is not including satellite radio, but rather the traditional radio in which the public listens to for free. 

With purchasing songs on the computer with the click of a mouse, people are not as inclined to go buy CD's ( Compact Disks) as they used to be.  This is what's prompting the record labels to propose this tax. The No Performance Tax website says the record labels make it seem as though they are trying to compensate for the artist, but the website says the money will go into the pockets of the record label. 

The radio worlds seems to be excluded from dialogues about the industry and I think think this is a huge issue which could be quite serious.  First of all, radio stations regardless the music, talk shows or other items they host play a big role in the community.  A lot of service announcements are made through the radio and with a extra tax added on to what's already a struggling business, air time might have to be cut.  I think the area that would be impacted the most would be smaller stations.  

What is puzzling about this proposed tax from record labels is the fact that by radio stations playing their artists songs or pieces, record labels are benefiting.  With radio stations playing a variety of songs, people are exposed to new music and will either go buy the album, attend a concert of go to iTunes.   NAB says radio already pays a compensation fee to composers and songwriters of about $550 million annually.  

I think this should be watched very carefully and receive more coverage, at least in the journalism world, because that is a heavy hitter to radio broadcasters.  Peoples jobs could be lost if a station has to shell out thousands of dollars just to play songs.

Death is something that is commonly talked about day in and day out.  It's not until a loved one passes away does it's mysterious nature take a toll upon us and make us ponder the meaning of life and the speed at which it goes.  

My friend from my home town , Travis Pierce, passed away two weeks ago.  When I first found out this numbing feeling came upon me.  Even though he and I hadn't talked in a while, there was a point in our lives in which he and I talked every single day.  I was explaining this to someone the other day how people serve a purpose in ones life. Whether it's for a second, a day or years to come.  His purpose in my life was to bring laughter, a lending ear and friendship during the awkward times of middle and high school.  

While this incident hit really close to me personally, I just have to have faith.  My professor recommended some readings  and I want to share some parts of them with you.

"Forget the past and the future, for happiness is naught but the moment."  and He also gave her a cup of sorrow and said, "Drink from this cup and you will understand the meaning of the fleeting instants of the joy of life for sorrow ever abounds." 
-Tears and Laughter by Kahlil Gibran

"If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.  For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one."
-The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

I have dreams about my friend and randomly remember old memories, all I can do is hold those thoughts dear and cherish them in the moment.


-Sophia Beausoleil 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Do You Have Your Face Mask?

I'll admit, when it first came in the headlines I kept saying "spine flu," but came to realize it was swine as in pig.  Well, this swine flu has impacted people in North America and Europe and has the caught attention of the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control, governments and citizens.  Well Monday April 27th  the CDC , the "Director-General raised the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 3 to phase 4" and the cable network channels raised their level of coverage to turbo.

While information about the swine flu, its symptoms and how to prevent it is important to cover via mass media, putting it on the same pedestal as a plague seems a little too much.   While this illness can make people sick and even cause death, it's probably not going to do as much impact locally as it may seem.  While unfortunately people have passed away from swine flu in Mexico, here in the United States at least about 36,000 people die of flu-related causes each year according to the CDC.

I feel it's important that news media explains how swine flu differs from the "normal" influenza and not just highlight the same symptoms.  With all the images of of people wearing blue face masks, just the masks alone install a sense of hysteria. 

This leads me to conclude that sensationalism by the media can lead to over hype and hence panic.  While the Swine flu could potentially could be dangerous odds are that it's not.  I almost felt as if networks were sitting on edge just waiting for new case to be confirmed so they would have a new story. I say this because major cable networks sat on this topic all day and almost seemed to run out of stories and new topics.  

Last Friday I along with some fellow classmates met Phill Brooks at the State Capitol.  Phill is the director of the Missouri School of Journalism's State Government Reporting Program.   He showed us around the Capitol as well as the proper protocol for how things work.  I think the most beneficial part of the tour was learning about the XLR's and MDN.Org.

A XLR is an outlet where one can plug in their audio jack into it and retrieve sound on the camera.  They can be found in the the House and Senate Chambers as well as in the hearing rooms. It just helps improve the quality of sound.

A great website that can help make reporting more accurate and in-depth is the website, Missouri Digital News. shows what House and Senate committee meetings are occurring.  The website also highlights the rosters for the Missouri House and Senate, who voted for what, different bills and just about all the activity that is
happening or has happened.

Well, as the semester winds down, I'm just working on getting things finished and ending on a good note.

- Cheers Sophia

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Al Jazeera English and Election Night

Sami Zeidan from Al Jazeera English came to talk to our broadcast class Tuesday and expressed about the importance of keeping up with current events as well as worldly events.

I am so glad he addressed this issue because as journalist I think it's key that we know , or at least have some familiarity with different cultures,religions and events world wide. He mentioned that its a privilege to be a journalist in the sense that we have a lot of power and hence a lot of responsibility.  We direct how an event will be remembered, how it will be labeled or what it's associated with.  With the use of images and headlines, we can create or stop disorder.

Tuesday proved to be another interesting day at KOMU.  It was election night! Clark residents voted on a proposals to annex the city as well as pay a retail sales tax.  All these items were on the ballot due to the Junction Project.  The Junction Development Group LLC.  wants to put up a mega sports and entertainment  complex in Clark on 480 acres of land.  That is huge!  It will include a paved race-car track, a coliseum for national horse events, hotel, restaurants, gas station, lake, shooting range, night club, as well as retail stores.  This place is practically a city.  It's a multi-million dollar project that is funded by private investors and will take ten years to complete.  

My job was to find out who won and get an interview with someone who voted and get their opinion about the matter.  Well, since Clark is such a small town, it's part of Randolph County.  I went to the county clerk and waited for the votes to arrive so I could get shots of them counting them.  Since the polls close at 7:00 p.m. , ballots didn't start rolling in until 7:30. 

At that point I left to go back to Clark to try and find people who would talk to me.  I went door-to-door and asked people if they would talk to me.    Clark is a town of about nearly 300 people, so it is extremely tight-knit  and when something happens, odds are its going to spread like wild fire.  I went to so many homes, and people did not want to speak because they were either against the proposal and didn't want their neighbors to know, or they just didn't want to be on camera.

I finally found one lady who was glad to do the interview and explained to me how she is excited about the new complex as well as the sales tax.  She said it's not nearly as bad as some other towns, and it would help Clark as a city.

Now, when Greeley says to always be prepared, I experienced this first hand yesterday.  I usually carry my closet with me whenever I report, but it was such a beautiful day that I left my jacket at home and thought "Oh , I'm not going to need it."  Correction, I did! Don't let beautiful days fool you.  I ended up doing what's called an "On-set."  The reporter sits with the anchors during the newscasts and explains his or her story.  

I was nervous during that "On-Set," but it went well , didn't bomb it , but it wasn't perfect.   They didn't ask me to do a package so I tried to read as much information about these proposals as possible.  I'm still learning a lot as a reporter and as a young adult with taxes and things of this nature.  Frankly, I've never really had to worry about these things because that is something my parents always took care of, but now taxes and part of my reality.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

When You Need a Short Story Who You Going to Call "VO Patrol!"

VO Patrol.

Sounds like something from Ghost Busters, but a "VO Patrol" is when one goes out and and shoots video and gets a couple interviews.  It's a mini story that is read by an anchor and usually lasts between thirty to forty five seconds. 

Well from Saturday until yesterday I was terribly nervous!  This was my first time using the KOMU cameras and reporting as a KOMU reporter.

Whenever I get nervous, I get more confident.  I know that whenever I walk into the station, I must always wear my confidence on my sleve, even when I'm not sure of what I'm doing or when I'm nervous.

My story was about the Columbia Vision Commission.  While I was at the meeting, some of the terminology used was difficult to understand. Going to a meeting where they are mid way through with their process was challenging, but I just had to ask as many questions as possible to make sure I understood just right.

The meeting started at 4:00 and lasted until 6:00 which made me nervous because it would air at the 10:00 and I still had to do some interviews.  Well, at that point my goal was to get back to the station at 7:00.  During the meeting I began to write my script because I had a lot of down time.  This helped a lot.  

Once back at the station, I had to wait for an edit bay, so I hopped on another computer started to write my script in iNews, plugged in my headphones to the camera and started to listen to my interviews. 

I felt good,  I was on time, and all I had to do was upload and edit my video.

The process was not bad at all and was a great way to ease into KOMU.  I made mistakes in my script ( which were caught before time to air) . The use of spell check is a must, as well as supers, and sot times.   I always said , "Oh I'm not going to make mistakes! I've learned from others!"  but it's not until it's time for you to do it that you make some silly ones.  Hey it's a learning process!  I enjoyed it though and feel a little more self confident!