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Thoughts on Our Team Paper

By Malory Green

After reading the abstract of our team paper, I have a greater understanding of where our research will be heading. I am actually looking forward to searching broadcast news archives in order to provide the future readers with a greater understanding of the media slants that unfortunately circled this event.

cable-news-logos

The abstract also raises some exceptional points about framing and the media agenda. The example about Hurricane Katrina is an excellent examples of this. One media outlet covers it as a faux pas on the part of the people who lived in New Orleans who were more horrendously affected than they should have been based on their refusal to leave the city during a natural disaster that they knew would be catastrophic while another paints the governement as a seperated entity that hid behind their desks in Washington while thousands of people suffered from lack of assistance. My heart breaks at both of these representations of the event because I don’t believe it was an either/or situation. I believe that journalists have a responsibility to present both sides, particularly in a case such as this where both sides have merit.

katrina 1 katrina 2

The picture on the left communicates people who were seemingly left out to dry (literally and figuratively) and the utter devastation that surrounded the situation while the right shows military personnel taking a very active role and makes one wonder why the people were still there in the first place while some people (perhaps the elderly person above) simply could not leave.

There are many other examples within the abstract that would also be great examples of the different ways that media frame events, particularly in regard to race and gender stereotypes but I thought this to be one of the most powerful.

Dr. Moody instructed me to voice how I was feeling about the project in regard to the paper and I feel that in the interest of integrity I must voice a few concerns. The abstract is well written and certainly conveys the point but possesses a clear feminist slant. This could possibly be unavoiable in an article with this type of objective but I thought it was worth mentioning. Furthermore, the discussion about Bennett and Edelman might need futher elaboration when the actual article is written. Absolutely, their point is true about most American news outlets but there are world news organizations that are so unbiased at times that it is impossible to discern their personal feelings on the matter. Another spot that sparked concern was the citation of Byerly’s study in 1999 about feminist presence in newsrooms sparking the shift in rape coverage. It’s an excellent point but I think it is definitely in need of elaboration in the actual article as it seems to suggest that one must be a feminist in order to be compassionate in rape cases. This is not necessarily true. The last was the mob mentality section’s highlighting of fraternities and athletes. Absolutely, it is a prevalent part of news today and an excellent point but I think that other groups of men should be highlighted as well (i.e. gangs).

All in all, I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to work on a paper that is going to be submitted for publication, particularly one that is such a touchy subject that needs to be brought out into the open. I think the research for this study will be instrumental in practicing for future research.

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Dr. Marlene Neill’s Presentation on Research

By Ben Murray

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Last Tuesday, Dr. Marlene Neill, an assistant professor of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media at Baylor University, visited our Mass Communication Theory class to share her ideas on scholarly research.  Dr. Neill studies Public Relations and its influence on the ethics and functionality of the workplace.  She highlighted papers she wrote titled, “Beyond the C Suite” and “PR Professionals as Organizational Conscience,” which were published last year.

Dr. Neill also provided the class with useful and interesting information regarding the research and writing of an academic research article.  She addressed one of the most difficult parts of writing a paper: choosing a topic.   Her first piece of advice was to read journal articles that interest you. Most importantly, focus on the conclusion of the articles.  It is in the conclusion section, that authors will offer suggestions for future research and list other areas within the subject matter that need further study.

“If anything, reading other journal articles could spark a new idea and take your research in a completely different direction,” Neill said.

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Steubenville Rape Case-Justice

By Malory Green

Dr. Sara Stone, chair of the Department of Journalism, PR & New Media at Baylor University, visited our communication theory class Tuesday to discuss media ethics and the Steubenville Ohio rape case that we’ll be doing our team paper on this semester. Stone emphasized the fine line between journalists being compassionate to the victim and presenting all sides of the news story while being objective. Deciding whether a story is worth it is one of the primary questions of a journalist.

One of the handouts Dr. Stone gave us highlighed the fact that talking to a journalist could even be cathartic to some victims. As per the Society of Professional Journalsts (SPJ) code of ethics, news often serves to give a voice to the voiceless. Our societal norms and even specific laws of victim confidentiality are done with the best of intentions and are probably the best way to handle a situation devoid of a perfect solution. In an effort to protect victims, journalists often take their voice away and leave them feeling helpless and damaged. Victims, particularly young ones, often don’t know they have the choice to do something more.

As a journalist, I believe one should never allow a story to become more important than an individual. It is similar to the oath to “do no harm” that medical professionals ascribe to.

do no harm

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Privacy, Rape and the Media

By: Tonya B. Lewis

Sara Stone, Ph.D., interim chair of the journalism, public relations and new media department spoke to my Theory of Mass Communication class today and delved into privacy issues, ethics and the media using examples of various rape cases in the United States and India.

The Media’s Responsibility in Covering Rape Cases
As part of Dr. Stone’s facilitated discussion, she provided several articles for us to review. A quote from one editorial said:

Unlike in India, [U.S.] media is not talking about the ‘why.’ Why are there systems in place that allow rape to be committed over and over again in this country? Why are boys raised to think that rape with an unconscious woman can possibly be considered sex?”

Dr. Stone poised a provocative question: Is it true that American boys are raised this way?

To which (each in our own way), we vehemently replied, “No!” But, the class admitted that a mob mentality coupled with alcohol and immaturity can create a volatile mix.

Protestors create signs advocating for the end of violence against women in New Delhi, India.

Protestors create signs advocating for the end of violence against women in New Delhi, India.

One article we read provided several tips to journalists covering rape cases that I found very poignant. Senior faculty member at Poynter Al Tompkins quoted Poytner’s Kelly McBride who advised journalists to “use clear language when reporting on a rape” as to avoid “sanitizing the language” by treating victims as “actors.” Tompkins writes, “We say, for instance, that a young girl ‘performed an oral sex act,’ rather than: ‘He forced his genitals into her mouth.'” In Tompkins example, the first description makes it sound as if the victim is a willing participant who chose to act or perform versus being forced into an act against her will.

I found this nugget of information from McBride to be one of the most important factors for journalists to consider when reporting on rape cases. We tend to prefer euphemism to harsh truths, and I think that unintentionally it helps to foster and cultivate a rape culture that send the message that rape isn’t that bad, especially if it wasn’t a “violent” rape. It’s not that I want the horrid details of a rape laid out in black-and-white on the front page of the news. I just want rape to be referred to properly and not with some watered down language such as assault, “digital penetration,” sex without consent, or sexual intercourse.

McBride also warns journalists against victim blaming, providing “salacious details about sexual assaults” and describing non-consensual sex as rape.

Protesters, who did not want to be identified, hold signs outside of the Jefferson County Justice Center and Jail in Steubenville, Ohio, on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.  About 20 other demonstrators stood outside the justice center with signs and masks protesting the rape trial of Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, accused of of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in August of 2012. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Lisa DeJong)

Protesters, who did not want to be identified, hold signs outside of the Jefferson County Justice Center and Jail in Steubenville, Ohio, on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. About 20 other demonstrators stood outside the justice center with signs and masks protesting the rape trial of Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, accused of of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in August of 2012. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Lisa DeJong)

Ethics and Privacy
In this day in age with power of social media, Dr. Stone contends that there is no such thing as privacy anymore, and I tend to agree. On a whim, people can take information and pictures and share it quickly and publicly. After all, it was videos and images shared on social media that alerted the Steubenville victim and her parents of her rape, which helped them have evidence to present to police.

New Delhi vs. Steubenville
In a Poynter article titled, “Why journalists are covering rapes differently in New Delhi & Steubenville,” Mallary Jean Tenore examines our outrage over the vicious attack against a young woman in New Delhi juxtaposed against our sympathizing with the attackers of the 16-year-old girl in Steubenville. Tenore also examines the portrayal of the victims. The woman in New Delhi was humanized and her narrative included “what her hopes and aspirations were, what she had accomplished at a young age, and how hard she worked to pay for her education.” The media coverage of the Ohio teen focused on what happened to her and “less on who she is as a person.”

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Dr. Neill: PR, Marketing, and Research

Research being carried out at the Microscopy l...

Quantitative Research being carried out at the Idaho National Microscopy Lab: http://www.facebook.com/idahonationallaboratory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Marlene Neill, an assistant professor of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media at Baylor University, spoke to our Mass Communication Theory class Tuesday about trends in scholarly research.

Dr. Neill is a Public Relations specialist who has worked in the field as well as academia in the capacity of professor and researcher. She discussed two papers that she either authored or co-authored. In addition to discussing the specific papers she wrote, she also discussed the process of getting a paper published and presenting it at a conference, as academia is becoming increasingly research oriented.

One of the major distinctions Dr. Neill discussed within research is whether or not the project is quantitative or qualitative research. Quantitative research is utilized most heavily in the sciences but is often seen in the arts (journalism included). For instance, one may do a survey, an experiment, or any number of research tactics that would be more definitive and cover a much larger group (therefore allowing generalizations) than qualitative research. The latter method of research employs in-depth interviews with a specific person or a focus group that only covers a small group of people. Neill prefers qualitative research and conducted both of the papers she discussed with us in this fashion.

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Abstracts, Lit. Reviews and Methods…Oh, My!

By: Tonya B. Lewis

New [nyoo]: adjective
1. unfamiliar or strange (often followed by to ): ideas new to us; to visit new lands.
2. having but lately come to a place, position, status, etc.:

Graduate School [graj-oo-it] / [skool]: adjective/ noun
1. An institution or program that you can’t believe you voluntarily signed up for.

Research [ri-surch or ree-surch]: noun
1. diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications;

2. something you can’t believe that you’re supposed to learn, do well and get published, especially when you just learned how to search for e-journals and thought APA was like a 2013 spin on Naughty By Nature’s “OPP” song. (Hmmm)

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