Thursday, November 16, 2017

Geography Is Not Dead

Adrianna Davies

Photo via KRCB

On November 16th, Eric Weiner, an award-winning and best-selling author and journalist, made a stop to Baker Ballroom at Ohio University to discuss how technology is not ruining geography and that geography and your place in the world does matter. Weiner has explored the world to find the "happy places" and how these places can change a person's life for the better. He described himself as a "place person" and had the desire to explore from the age 5, when he ran away from home. He had an overwhelming sense to explore what was around the corner. Weiner believes that we all should "travel in order to explore".

In fact, geography matters now more than ever. It enriches the lives of everyone and it's important to know and be educated on where things are in the world. Weiner defined geography not as memorizing the states and their capitals, it's about being a possibilian. A possibilian is a person who loves to explore and heads into any and every situation with an open mind. (Read more on Possibilianism here) They view the world as a laboratory of ideas and places that have yet to be explored. 

Weiner used an example to describe the different cultures of the worlds. Culture is the sea we swim in. If a goldfish is in a bowl for it's whole life, it doesn't learn anything outside of the bowl. Exploring the world is being fluid and able to leave that bowl. We need to step outside of our comfort zone and experience the cultures across the world, proving geography is not dead.

When Eric began his journalistic career, he found himself often depressed, reporting on the war, disease and famine, all things that were bringing him down. He brought up the idea to NPR that he wanted to travel the world and look for the "happy places", but that was shot down because that's not what journalists do.

Weiner described the different types of places:
1) Home 
2) Work or School
3) Third places are a neutral place. This is a place were people of different backgrounds can come and hangout. There are regulars to this place and it's often free, accessible and has a strong focus on conversation. Some examples include - the library, a coffee shop, the mall, etc.
4) Thin places is a topic that pre-dates Christianity. It's the distance between heaven and Earth which is consider to be less than 3 feet away. This place isn't viewed as fun or beautiful, although it can be. It's a place that will relax or transform you. It's where you become your essential self.
5) There is no such thing as boring places - only a lack of imagination and boring travelers.
Lastly, there are smart places.

Smart places are were geniuses tend to come from. 
Geniuses can be born with their intelligence. Some geniuses are made and some grow. Places that produce a certain amount of geniuses in a certain time are called genius clusters. A city is a prime example of how to make a genius. They offer interaction opportunities.

Many geniuses have borrowed ideas from other people and perfected it. Some have come with "invisible helpers" that create a spark in geniuses. Geniuses come with a powerful creativity aspect. (Weiner makes a note that Stanford University conducted a study that people that walk more have more creativity - read here.) Often, immigrants have more success because of moving to a different place with different ideas. 

Weiner left us with this advice. "Travel without expectations, leave space for ignorance (the good kind) and let yourself be surprised. Be open to new experiences and don't stay in the five star hotel because odds are you won't know what it's really like there." Geography is VERY MUCH alive!

Decision Making Model—Case Studies

Efemena Efeurhobo

How to make a decision

Ethical decisions making is the help of making the right decisions in different dilemmas.
Everyday people will be faced with a million decisions to be made everyday. Various decisions could range from, what you eat that day or if you should hold your kid back in school, because they are falling behind in class. Following the above decision making model can also conceptualize it for many and make it easier.

Making ethical decisions can be stressful and hard. To make them a bit easier we can have our own personal ethics codes that we can follow. This is just a set of guidelines and morals that you, yourself follows. Having a personal ethical code will deem it more easier for you to make decisions, because this is your moral stance on issues pertaining to it. We are humans, and like to fall back on something we are loyal and true to. This makes it a tremendously more easy, efficient and fast to come to a decision.

When faced with our professional work environment we must stand our ground and voice our personal convictions on perhaps, doing a certain news story or running a new campaign. We have to ask ourselves, will it hurt other people?, will it be offensive?, and or Am I using the write word usage to refer to someone. These are many questions that we need to figure out. We want to hold ourselves accountable, but also in the workplace as well.

Your Values

Firstly your personal ethical codes should align with the company that you are working for. If they don't then you need to perhaps find a different place of work. Your personal ethical codes are just important and when faced with an ethical dilemma you can turn back to them. In a situation where something in the back of your head tells you that something is not right, it most likely isn't. If you are feeling that a certain campaign or story you are assigned to would lead to consequences you need to trust that it will. Many people do not speak up or are scared to do . This in turns leads to many consequences and as a journalist you must think of the stakeholders involved. The stakeholders could include your own company, other companies in that industry, and the readers.

The company you work for should also have ethical codes they follow as a company. Many companies have ethical codes they follow such s the Associated Press and The Washington Post. The Associated Press' ethical code is at states, "the thing it is striving for a truthful, unbiased report of the world's happenings...ethical in the highest degree."-Source( They even go above and beyond as to have an integrity hotline that workers can report a problem too.
The Washington post also has an ethical guideline as "The Washington Post is pledged to an aggressive, responsible, and fair pursuit of the truth without fear of any special interest, and with favor to none."-Source( These aren't there specific guidelines, but are a basic overview on their moral stance to the specific ones when it comes to their stories

Take a stance


As a professional in the working world I would want to look for certain things as a worker. My personal ethic codes would be to make sure the company I am working for has a diversified staff, in importance to stories and campaigns and making sure that they are thinking of the stakeholders involved. Along with this the company will also need to make sure they are following the SPJ code of ethics. As a journalist you should have no problem if all these requirements for your personal ethics, the SPJ code of ethics and the company's code of ethics are being brought into question. 
generally it comes down to doing the right thing and not doing the wrong thing. You will be tested a journalist and your job is to stick up for yourself and others that will be affected. Lastly hold yourself accountable and your company. It might be tough, but someone has to make sure it's being done.

Facing Journalism's Diversity Problem

Ryan Severance

Of all the problems facing America's news rooms today, few are more insidious and readily reparable than the total lack of diversity. From editorial boards down to part time reporters on local beats, there is all but a complete lack of people of color, and frequently women as well, from the primary sources where most citizens get their news and information. The repercussions of this are startling and widespread, so what's to be done about the lack of diversity in today's media?

It's well documented that there's a dearth of non-white, non-male journalist. Indeed, more evidence seems to pile up to support the "whitewashing" of American journalism each day. While small progress has been made in limited sectors, it's clear from the consistent patterns of prejudice in hiring that structural forces are at play.

The truth of the matter is, a lack of diversity in America's newsrooms results in major stories being missed, critical perspectives being ignored, and stereotypes being projected into every living room in the nation. If journalism is to survive the modern onslaught it's facing, including charges of biased coverage, it needs to retrofit its news teams to provide better, more equal coverage that can be more widely appreciated by a diverse audience.

America's demographics are rapidly changing - the previously white-majority country will likely be a white-minority country in our lifetimes - though this is seldom reflected in hiring figures. Time and time again, it seems that those in charge of hiring America's future journalistic stars are ignoring the evidence of the boon diversity provides to newsrooms.

Source: Tufts University 

The solution to our problem is altogether easy to understand, if not hard to implement due to structural resistance. A new ethics guideline, one that stressed the importance of diverse viewpoints being present in newsrooms, is desperately needed. Only after a new model of ethics that guides us to make better informed decisions on the basis of diversity has become ubiquitous can many of today's greatest news and information dilemmas be solved.

This strategy necessitates fair pay protocols, too. What's the purpose of making newsrooms diverse, if the payment for workers of color or women is still unequal? In such a situation as that, no real progress would be made - we'd only be paying lip service to diversity, without recognizing it's legitimate moral necessity. It's not even about ethics, either; from a business standpoint, journalism cannot survive as an industry if it's not able to meet the needs of its audience, which is clearly demanding more diverse newsrooms.

Until men and women currently in power stand up to speak up about the dearth of diversity in today's field of journalism, the problem won't change. We need a new generation of ethical warriors, equipped with a strong moral code and ready to crusade for their cause, if journalism is to be saved from the demons currently haunting it at every turn.

Will it be easy? Certainly not - but matters such as this never are. With time, dedication, and sacrifice, America's newsrooms may yet be saved from the total lack of racial and ideological divergence that currently plagues them.

Brett Pulley: Content is everything

Efemena Efeurhoboe

Smart moves

Brett Pulley, a very well established man, is the Executive vice president at Weber Shandwick. One of the world’s leading PR/advertising/marketing firms with offices in 79 cities that covers 80 countries.

18 months after Instagram was created in April 2012 Facebook bought Instagram for a whopping 1 billion dollars. People might ask, "Why?", "How did they know Instagram would be such a big hit?". The potential that they saw in this social media platform was it's ability to create content. Nothing more, nothing less, a concept that was so simple. Although, yes the price was rather expensive, but look at Instagram now

This was one of the biggest and smartest moves Facebook has ever done, and is probably one of the best buys of the century. "Emarket predicts Instagram will bring in 595 million in ad revenue this year, which is no drop in the bucket relative to Facebook's 12.4 billion last year. A Wall Street analyst said in December that Instagram is worth 35 billion."-Source (

Flash forward to 2017 look at Instagram now. It it was of the biggest social media platforms in the world with over 800 million monthly active users. -Source ( Instagram has a ton of features like: allowing users to post "stories" (modeled after Snapchat), direct message, share photos, like them, and in some cases create a business. There are a ton of boutiques and shops that even got started from Instagram as well as famous Instagram "influencers" making money off of sponsored content.

This era

"Most of our lives era of extreme fascination of new platforms and gadgets"- Bret Pulley
This raises the question of: "What kind of stories can you tell in this new world of digital media?" One thing we must note is that media is an art form,and that it is a form of communication. It is highly important for brands to be extraordinary communicators. This is where Brett Pulley's company Weber Shandwick comes in and helps out different brands.

Different steps that are needed to craft a good story Brett Pulley notes are as follows: Having an anecdote, meaningful colorful detail, personification, knowledge, facts, background, and history.

You can do anything

A very key insight that is worth noting is having a clear and precise understanding of what action you want the reader to take. We can look at the new Barbie campaign. The new Barbie Campaign gives Barbie a more inclusive look. Barbie is now marketed and targeted to girls of all races and colors. They have also expanded more of Barbie's professions that she takes on. Now instead of the traditional white Barbie that only had professions such as, a house mom, and a cook. Barbie is made in all different types of shades and has professions such as, president, professor or an astronaut. This has made to be one of the most brilliant and most successful campaigns. The clear action for the reader to take is to "Imagine the Possibilities" as the campaign says and to have young girls be inspired. 

From writing about gambling in America and covering social and political issues around the world, to being apart of the most successful campaigns in the advertising and pr industry, we can all agree that Brett Pulley is a man of many talents and skills. His advice is "As you pursue opportunities don’t overestimate the value of all the communications you exchange " From the Barbie campaign I must finally note their powerful slogan that resonated with me, "You can be anything".

The Thug, The Terrorist, and The Lone Wolf

Jacob Sherer

Phil Graham of the Washington Post once said that journalism is the "first rough draft of history." When breaking news hits, framing is key and improper word choice can help feed misleading stereotypes.

Following the massacre in Las Vegas, in which Stephen Paddock killed 59 and injured more than 500, media outlets quickly referred to the assault as the worst mass shooting in history. The coverage generated controversy for a number of number of reasons.

First, many were quick to criticize the media for not labeling Paddock as a terrorist. Choosing instead to refer to him as a "lone wolf" and "living a quiet life." These aren't the words that should be used to describe a mass murderer. Had Paddock been a practicer of Islam, the media would have labeled Paddock a terrorist from the first headline. One would assume that if a person commits the worst mass shooting in history, no matter their demographic profile, they are inherently a terrorist.

However, this does not match the FBI definition of domestic terrorism with the key clause being that the incident has to have the intention of influencing or coercing the government. And since Paddock was killed before his intentions were discovered, it impossible to know what his motive was before committing such an atrocity.

Another issue with the coverage was the labeling of the incident as the "worst shooting in history." The use of this language almost makes these frighteningly frequent events invading the American newsphere appear to be a superlative. As something a person should try to eclipse. The distinction is also just not accurate. Many far deadlier massacres have occurred on United States soil, with most of the victims being people of color. More specifically African Americans and Native Americans.

Initially I mentioned the importance of framing. The media is often much harsher when the perpetrator is a person of color. The media even treats white suspects better than POC victims.

Following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, people wondered what photo news outlets would run if they were gunned down garnering worldwide attention to the way victims of color are treated in comparison to white suspects and perpetrators.

Language is also important when reporting these events. Similar to the media coverage of Paddock being described as having "lived a quiet life" before the shooting. Headlines for white suspects often attempt to paint the perpetrator in a positive light and have an air of disbelief surrounding it. Attempting to distinguish the event as a freak incident that nobody would have expected.

While headlines involving a POC victim tend to be more dismissive and almost try to make it appear the victims deserved what happened to them almost as a form of character assassination to make the actions of the perpetrator appear justified.
This is by no means the standard procedure of news outlets, but it happens with enough frequency that greater responsibility has to be taken to eliminate bias, give respect to those who deserve it and not distort the facts.

What's Wrong with Diversity Coverage

Emma Toman

What's the Deal? 

Media outlets rarely covered topics of diversity because they are afraid of stepping on toes. Diversity is a hard topic to cover and can often come across wrong and end up offending entire communities so outlets avoid it. Which should not be the answer to diversity beats. The deal is that media outlets cover stories they think are news worthy. Those stories often have protagonists and antagonists and there are preconceived stereotypes about who the protagonist is and who the antagonist is. Therefore we end up with stories that call mass murders "lone wolves" when they're white and victims of police gun violence are "gang members" when they're black. While many organizations are working to change this, it is a slow movement, when it shouldn't need to be a movement in the first place.

 The Double Edged Media Outlet Sword

If an outlet has a diversity beat there are problems because there shouldn't be need for one. When diversity appears in the news it should just be because it is a part of a news worthy story. But, if there is no diversity beat there is not equal coverage and communities feel slighted or even lied to. Outlets are forced into a situation that closely resembles a rock and a hard place. While it may not look the best on a news organization to have a diversity beat, at least diversity is being covered. The same goes for black or Hispanic reporters appearing on television, I can't help but wonder is there not equal coverage because people aren't putting them on the news or they just don't chose journalism as their field of employment.

The Words of Journalists Have Power 

Image result for trending tweets about the dove commercial
This tweet was featured in a Buzzfeed article where the model in the ad responded to online harassment. 
No truer words have been spoken. People don't realize that many perceptions they have about people or situations is because of something that was said on the news. In October, Dove released an ad for one of their new products. I had not seen the ad when I got on Twitter the morning after it was released. People were shaming it left and right, and while not all Twitter users are journalists they are still broadcasting their thoughts on a public platform. The picture featured above is a trending tweet about the Dove ad  and how it is extremely racist and controversial. If you watch the full ad you will see that the product is being advertised for women of all skin types. Many different women change their shirts and change complexions. But, off first glance on Twitter I thought, based on other peoples words and descriptions that Dove had released a racist ad.

On a much more extreme level words have power when it comes to violence as well. Words have the power to blow situations extremely out of proportions and cause more harm than good. This article published by the Daily Mail, is one of many that called Stephen Paddock, Las Vegas shooter, a "lone wolf" instead of a terrorist perhaps just because he is white. While reading such articles after news about the attack had just surfaced, I didn't notice anything. I didn't think it was strange, the only strange thing in my mind was the fact that a normal, shy, white male shot and killed masses. Looking back it is absurd. Lone wolf? That is not the correct term for someone who kills tens of people, that is a terrorist. What would have been said in articles if Paddock was of a different race?

Educating Journalists

As a journalist myself it is easy to say that I won't racially profile people in stories, and I would never release ads that are borderline racist, and that I'll always report equal coverage. Many other journalists say the same things and then we end up with some of the most prominent sources reporting fake news about Hispanic communities. While SPJ has a section on diversity ethics and guidelines  they can often times be vague and hard to follow when it comes down to a situation.

The best solution to solving diversity coverage is to educate journalists before they get into the field. To try and eliminate words that profile people and opinions they may have before they start writing and reporting so when they do start the public gets the accurate story. While this may not be the most plausible solution it is the best way to get equal coverage in the media.

The Importance of A Diverse Newsroom

Lauren Schumacker

Although the past century has been progressive in an attempt to bring equality to our nation, there is still much progress to be made. Women, people of color, people with disabilities and many other different types of people are still discriminated against every day.

All of these people have stories to tell. Usually, the best person to tell one's story is the person who can relate, understand and empathize. This is why it is important to have a diverse newsroom.


Most newsrooms are filled with perdominantly white men. According to The American Society of News Editors, the amount of minorities employed has decreased from 14% to 13% in the past 10 years.

Julie Burton of the Women's Media Center explained to CNN just how much better hew newsroom became when the staff grew more diverse.

"Yes it really matters. My experience leading a newsroom showed me, time and time again, that staff diversity results in better and different coverage," she said. "When a group is truly diverse, the nefarious groupthink that makes a publication predictable and, at times, unintentionally biased, is more likely to be diminished."

She pointed out that even major newspapers, including The Times, have issues with diversity. Even on the team of 20 culture critics, there is not one black member of the staff, according to Burton.

What is the benefit of increasing diversity in the newsroom?

Our industry is all about finding stories and making the public aware of various events. The benefit of having a diverse group of people, is having a diverse group of backgrounds. If everyone working for a newspaper grew up in the same city with essentially the same life, its not likely that the newspaper will be able to completely grasp certain stories that they don't relate to, if they even find the story at all.

In other words, a white man will not likely be able to tell a story of the struggles of growing up as a black woman. I mean, he might. However, someone who has experienced racism and sexism is probably better suited to write about everything that goes along with the topic.

For example, it should not have to take a black journalist to step up and tell the newsroom that a mugshot of a man killed by police should not be the photo used when writing a story about it. However unfortunately, I have to think that things like this happen only because there was no one on the staff to point out how inappropriate it is.

Events like this make the newspaper appear biased. It decreases readership among an entire community if the members of the staff do not know how to appeal to various types of people.

How do we fix it?

First, we have to acknowledge that it is a problem. Employers need to understand that there is more than just one type of person who is qualified to do that job. Diversity training might be helpful to certain newsrooms who don't understand how a diverse team of journalists might greatly influence the content of their newspaper.