Class Notes

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Final next Thursday: bring labor of love (printed) to class @ 10:00

News V. PR

“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” –George Orwell

Shane Moreland — News director at Channel 7; has a lot of experience; came & talked to us in class

  • Only profession protected in the Constitution
  • Noble thing – right to ask questions, stand up to people, “ask boldly because we know we can – we have the law behind us”

Bruce Herald is president of U of I, came in from corporate world

  • Wanted to talk to him, but he hasn’t been willing to speak since they asked back in November
  • Gerry Gallagher
    • Allowed to talk at Rose Bowl & public meeting
  • FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) – wanted to see those requests sent since November
    • works because it is a public university
    • Handler called him yesterday, let him have it
    • When people tell you “don’t look here, nothing to see here” that’s when they doubled the pressure
    • list of questions requested by head handler (PR)
      • never use that

“You have to be suspicious – of everything and everybody”

  • everyone has an agenda (just need to recognize it)
    • theirs is to protect the president
      • he’s not used to answering questions from media
    • Story is going to be done even if there is no interview with the president
      • FOIA filed again by this Friday if she doesn’t schedule an interview
      • if he doesn’t do interview, the story will end up being more of an interview about how he won’t cooperate


  • Journalism is more sensitive than it was about 30 yrs ago
  • Can’t report rape/sexual assault
  • Example:
    • gathered info from Facebook, Twitter, family’s go-fund me page
    • Lauren Moss: social media, did research
    • filming was on public property
      • With this story, the info was already out there, so they reported it



For the most part, people who comment there’s 2 sides: the supporters, and the criticizers

  • When you’re young, you might be upset


Being Coachable

  • Girl who didn’t have much experience was put on the air
  • Be coachable & able to learn; aggressive in the field
    • girl was reading off the paper; her delivery wasn’t very good
    • now she’s got good skills
      • relaxed, more comfortable
      • got better and better; PRACTICE
    • you need to be able to communicate the story – want people to actually watch
  • Have to have a thick skin
  • Remain open to new ideas
  • Millenial mindset: “I deserve better.” *Don’t have this; GIVE = journalism


We make mistakes

  • She said “girlfriend” – should have said “woman”
    • told her age, it’s a small
    • on the legal paperwork (criminal complaint)
      • she doesn’t see anything wrong with that
      • ethically, it’s an issue, though
      • read initials, too
    • TV is passive – don’t give small details
      • shouldn’t put it in a written story either
      • in court: go into detail, but not on TV and whatnot
    • Can you? yes. ethically? no
    • if you can extrapolate info, then do it
  • Rare time: you would discuss it with team, warn the public, etc.


TV v. Print

  • sometimes you can’t make a news story into a tv story; have to be interesting
  • need more discussion when there are hard stories to tell; not gonna do/find a story on depression (for example) in a day
  • Tv can bring things to life
    • Police recognized for a rescue
    • dash cam video
    • never said the mother’s name
      • who shot the video? – it was scene from officer’s dashboard cam; could say that
      • 1:15 – optimal time
      • won’t have an enterprise story for every single night/news
      • How can you do it better is the question – sometimes you get defeated
    • want to be competitive! (if you’re not
  • TV reporters should:
    • love to talk
    • power hungry (i wanna win)
    • curious (ask questions – don’t be afraid)
    • ***overcome if you don’t have these
      • puts “do not call” on the hire sheet thing
        • has hired people who called him every time
    • If you can have a protected source
      • if you have a PR person telling you not to ask why

What to do if you miss a story

  • Used sound – sometimes your best sound isn’t that of an interview
  • Someone has to think about it/how to put it together
    • using a wireless mic is essential
    • Michael didn’t find news in a newsroom
      • reporter; trying to find info in news room
        • news was in oelwein – was calling people; should’ve just gone


His favorite: report a story no one else has; every day you walk in with a blank sheet

  • get info casually
    • be more friendly
    • didn’t ask for an interview
  • Kill interview:
    • would you be willing to go on camera for an interview?
    • best sound happens when you’re not rolling
    • Eliminate “on camera”
  • A lot of it is just common sense; just talk to people like regular people
  • Put yourself in their place


Advice: be well-read; check your phone; NEWS; keep up with what’s going on

  • don’t have to be a brainiac – be a consumer of news
  • if you’re not a consumer now, then good luck getting a job

Toughest to report:

Virginia tech, tough when it hits home, stories about children, dramatic traffic accidents

  • “Why don’t you do good news?”
    • people will think you don’t have good news all the time
    • look at media you’re interested in
    • practice
    • take a long story, cut it down; can you tell a story
    • get someone to read it – be credible
  • How to be a reporter in public:
    • if you’re a journalist, you’re a journalist 24/7
      • can’t act up in public – no getting drunk, etc.
      • in contract; get caught up in Twitter, Facebook
      • don’t want impression out there
      • they will find out your Facebook info
    • if you don’t want it on TV or in print, etc.
      • they do background checks (& driver’s license)
      • if you can’t drive a company car, you can’t really be a reporter
      • can be something from so long ago, but it will follow you


  • judgement & decision making
    • cause more harm than good?
    • code of ethics: minimize harm; wouldn’t report anything
    • decide what actually fits/will harm
      • ex. don’t report bomb threats unless it’s a major evacuation
    • not the same thing every day – challenged all the time

Korean War Veteran – acknowledge how you know person




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