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Ethics, Facts, Sources, and Press Conferences

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ENG 285
Chad Gibbs

Ethical Question: What do you do if one of your advertisers advertises in a white supremacist newspaper? What if he says he’ll take the ads out? Do you run the story?  Isn’t it old news?  Can you stand to run story against and advertiser?  Do you put in all the facts? Facts  don’t site sources, but need to know where facts come from Checking  accuracy  identification (name & spelling, age, address)  credibility is key  if ours suffers ppl won’t talk to you Proof  two (reliable) sources are better than one o helps avoid defamation  look at official records (budgets, committee reports) Interpretation  why and how lead to subjectivity o be careful when explaining cause-> more facts o try to be objective do good and be fair Story Origination in large papers ~1/2 stories come from news/press releases  best are already written in news style  give same treatment you would news stories (headline and first paragraph)  no by-line if unedited  if edited gets reporter’s name  good starting place b/c has idea and contact info  some are embargoed  moment one breaks everyone does  PR also relies on credibility  has levels (press agentry, public relations, corporate relation, internal relations, public affairs)  press releases have spin in client’s favour Tips  screened for quality phone calls  always take collect calls just in case  some are fakes that reel you in strangers  do you trust them?  this is where interviewing comes in  will they give you name and contact info? o if they won’t it’s sketchy  people have news outlet they feel connected to and will contact contacts  building contacts makes for easier gathering o press releases, getting through gatekeepers, doing stories  need to have before story breaks Records  quarterly reports, minutes, federal documents (time consuming), budgets, annual reports, police and court records  easier story  look for well known name  look for unusually large numbers  strange stories Localising  localise a national story  look at trends  look at AP and CP wire  don’t localise everything, people will stop believing you Regionalising  trends locally that may be in wider community  take touchy subject and put in broad context, then say happens in your community too Follow-up  most demand this  internet shines because can do instantly o print and broadcast must wait until next cycle  continue questions about event/situation o what now o who’s next o why and how?  far easier as follow-up Unannounced Stories stay alert  this is where your intuition and filter helps in finding stories  are there surprises? brainstorm  slow day? come up with a list that fits your section to fall back on wandering  break routines  go new places and do new things  get out of comfort zone  expand horizons  you have access! reading  keep up to date on info  trends  be well read  blogs, are they journalists? o they don’t know rules o aren’t same level o who are they? o are they just sharing info? o they don’t abide by same journalistic rules and principles Questioning  think like a 3-year-old because you’re writing for grade 8  be curious Meetings best way to cover is attendence  focus o don’t keep track of everything said o listen for story o story is not that meeting happened o train ear  avoid “sitting there” o coverage doesn’t begin and end with meeting o who’s there? who isn’t?  audience o number of attendees o are they cheering? Booing? calling for order? o do they have complaints?  what’s happening next? o what’s been tabled? why? o does something need to go through a public hearing Speeches and News Conferences  Speeches are to advertise themselves o extensive prep  News Conferences are to answer questions or have an announcement o want limited exposure o scheduled for a short time before news b/c can better control story  all on record  might get copy of speech o look for changes o body language and tone o consider this embargoed  pool reporter who works for multiple agencies covering  goal is to get in 15-20 minutes Finding the news  take a quick look if it’s possibly corporate and for free publicity  keep track of how and what others report o consultants and clippers Question time  don’t be timid!  don’t save juicy questions for end  be prepared by doing your homework!  might get short private interview after  listen to what others are asking  relationships are important, you may get priority question Follow-up  look for reactions from audience  see how speaker reacts  quote land, sift through for prime Ethics Defining  grey area  how much will yo
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