Did you know that members of the Baseball Writers Association of America are the ones who decide whether former baseball players get enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame? It's true. Journalists vote to see who will go into the Hall. Last week, in his column about this year's HOF nominees, Philadelphia Inquirer sports columnist Bob Ford (left) stated that despite being a member of the BBWAA, he does not vote. He wrote: "My belief is that journalists should not be in the position of attempting to impartially report on a process in which they are involved. We don't let political reporters serve on candidate nomination committees or the like, and the principle is the same."
Do you agree?
Does voting mean that journalists cannot report on the process without a sense of bias, or even hypocrisy?
Or is he taking his role too seriously?
How involved can journalists be in the subjects they are reporting upon?
Can a finance reporter invest his/her money? Can a political reporter be registered as a Republican or Democrat? Does an education reporter need to think twice before sending their children to private schools?
Remember, this is clearly a promotional stunt - the team allowed the anchor to play because the team knew they would get free publicity from it. But it's the Globetrotters! It's just a silly event, no?
• Should the station have aired the video?
On one hand, it seems like good marketing, right? Make your anchor look like a regular guy, build his brand and all. On the other hand, he's supposed to be a journalist, no? He's supposed to be reporting the news, not being the news, right?
"He had a lot of good friends who were journalists," she said in class. "They were fair to him."
After growing up in the Philly region, her family moved to the West Coast. Dei wound up going to college at UCLA, where she studied psychology.
"I looked at the comm classes and everybody looked the same," she recalled. "I didn't want to be in that cookie cutter mold."
While at UCLA, she worked in the athletic department doing office work. She made valuable connections there, including with a person working at a new sports station in Los Angeles.
"I called that guy every day," Dei remembered.
Eventually, she began working for that station. That started her on her professional path in sports and journalism.
She became a producer at NBA Entertainment for a few years before becoming a sports anchor/reporter at local news stations in Madison, WI and Cincinnati.
"I was the first female weekend sports person at both places," Dei said.
She eventually wound up back in the Philadelphia region when Comcast Sportsnet launched in 1997. She's been covering the Sixers, among other things, ever since.
Here are a few things she said that stood out to me:
• Her experiences behind the scenes, including learning how to edit video, made her feel qualified to do on-camera reporting.
• When covering the Sixers, she often arrives at the arena by 10 am for morning shoot around. She'll do locker room interviews afterward, and then prep stories for the Internet. She'll do live shots for the afternoon newscasts and then return to the locker room for interviews before the game. She goes live during pre-game, then works the game and post-game reports, often ending her day after midnight. "I hope to have a glass of wine in hand by 12:30," she joked.
• "Everything I've ever done, I've written for myself," she said. She does that because "I know it's going to be accurate," she said, and the words will sound more natural if they are written in her own voice.
• She has never had any problems being a female reporter in sports locker rooms. But being a woman in sports can be a hurdle, she said. Sometimes, women aren't considered for certain jobs that have been traditionally held by men.
• She went back to work within a few weeks after giving birth to her first child - out of loyalty to her job and because she wanted to make sure she kept her position. Dei suggested that if your employers offer three months of maternity or paternity leave, take it. You'll never get that time again.
• She began covering the Sixers around the same time Allen Iverson joined the team. They became pretty close over the years. But it was a business partnership, Dei said.
• Her news team had a conversation about reporting on the off-court antics of athletes despite potential conflicts of interest because the Sixers and Comcast were owned by the same company for a while. They decided, "If we want to be taken seriously as a news station, we have to cover the tough stuff," she said.
• She does not do selfies with the famous people she meets. "I've never gotten an autograph before in my life," she said. "I won't help my kids either."
• The industry is changing, she said. People are moving away from cable and streaming stuff. That has an impact on what gets covered in the news now.
When the video of presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking candidly about women appeared, well, everywhere last week, journalists had to make very quick decisions about how to handle the language involved in the story.
Many news organizations opted to use asterisks in the key words like f**k and p***y.
The argument against using the words was driven by a concern that it would be jolting to readers, especially given that the story would be played so prominently on page one, and that there were other ways we could signal what Trump said without relying on the actual vulgar words.
Ultimately we decided that the words themselves were newsworthy, and that omitting them or merely describing them or slyly hinting at them would not have been forthright with our readers.
Did they make the right decision?
By running the full language, were they making a politically motivated decision? Should the potential impact of the words on the audience have been a factor in determining whether to use the full curse words?
Citing the conviction of a former football coach for sexual assault against children, the student-run newspaper took issue with the idea of celebrating Paterno:
"Paterno has not been a member of this university’s staff since 2011," wrote Lauren Davis, the opinions editor at The Daily Collegian. "He is no longer a community hero. Paterno was a remarkable part of this university for numerous years, and for that we have the right to be thankful. For those who attended Penn State while he was here, he has every right to remain a legend. He was a hero, and no one wants to see their hero fall. But in light of these past years — even these past few weeks — this is in no way the right time or manner to 'commemorate' him, if he even deserves to be so."
The news organization has received hundreds of angry comments online.
"How old is the idiot who wrote this?" asked a commenter whose occupation is listed as a teacher's assistant at a Catholic school.
Other comments are much worse and some get rather personal.
Multiple questions arise from this:
1. Even if this story is in the "opinions" section, is it acceptable for the journalist to take sides?
2. Would you be able to take an (apparently) unpopular opinion and put it into the world like this?
3. How would you react/respond to the critics? Would you state your case again or just allow them to vent?
4. As a journalist trying to be comprehensive, should you invite a leader of the opposite viewpoint to write their side of the story?
5. In a digital world, an essay like this could follow you. Some potential sources, employers, friends, whomever might find it and judge you based upon what you wrote. Would that make you reconsider the opinion or would you go for it anyway?
Did the media scare you away from the beach over the Labor Day weekend with their talk about the pending storm?
Here's what a meteorologist wrote on Saturday for philly.com:
My advice: Stay home if you’re already inland. If you must go to the shore, plan on coming back tonight at the latest. And tell your friends and relatives the same thing (which I have done to my friends and relatives). If you live at the shore, be prepared to “hunker down” for a few days-perhaps without power, and perhaps cut off by flooded roads. And take everything off balconies, porches, and lawns and bring it inside.
And yet, area beaches were unscathed by Tropical Storm Hermine.
So, did the media mess up? Did they hype up the storm because that draws eyeballs to their newscasts and stories?
When important or famous people arrive in town, it's not uncommon for journalists to greet them at the airport and ask them questions.
So, when Michael Phelps landed in Arizona after the Rio Olympics, members of the media were there to greet him and ask him questions.
Except this time, Phelps asked for privacy.
Do you - as a journalist - continue pursuing him in order to get the story? After all, he is the most decorated Olympian of all time. Given that he had just won five gold and one silver medal and had announced his retirement, he seems very newsworthy, right?
Or do you allow him space, and maybe try to get in touch a few days later? He deserves his privacy, right?
But should they have used their front page to make such a statement?
The front page not only mocks a leading presidential candidate but it offers numerous other jokes: they list Kid Rock as the ambassador to Japan, they announce that Trump has won a Nobel Prize, and they say that Trump named his puppy after the wife of China's president.
Does this help shed light on the the situation? Are they making the significant interesting and relevant? Or are they taking sides when they should simply be presenting the news?
In an era when there is so much competition for readers, and readers are reluctant to absorb "boring" news, is satire acceptable from traditional news outlets? Or does this sacrifice their overall credibility?
Jenni Joyce was a child actor, performing on stage from a
very young age. That experience set her on the path to the career she has
“I was always interested in journalism,” she said. “I was
always asking questions.”
When she was 16, her singing teacher connected her with
Carol Erickson, who was then a weather person at CBS3.
Jenni began making weekly trips from her childhood home in
Cherry Hill to Old City, where CBS3 was located. She made that commute
regularly for the next three years until they ultimately hired her.
“I fell in love with this career more than I could have ever
imagined,” she said.
By then, she was a broadcast journalism student at Temple.
She continued working at CBS3 until she graduated a semester early, in 2006.
She took her first on-air reporting job in The Bronx at News12. She was a one-man band, showing up at locations in a News 12 Prius with a
bunch of equipment – camera, tripod, microphone, etc. She shot and edited video, including stand-ups.
“Every day was so exhausting,” she said, noting that one-man
band reporters are becoming more and more common in broadcast journalism.
She did stints at CBS 21 in Harrisburg and at Action News
here in Philly before landing at Fox 29. These days, she is a general assignment
reporter, filling-in on the anchor desk when needed.
Most days begin with staff meetings, where everyone presents
“If you’re not bringing anything to the table, it’s not
good,” she said.
She reads the local newspapers and websites, follows a lot of social media, connects with
various organizations and she looks for national stories that she can put a
local spin on.
“Eventually people will start coming to you with story
ideas,” Jenni said.
For the evening news, she’ll begin gathering interviews and
b-roll around 6 pm and then write the script by 8:45. It goes to her director
for approval by 8:45 and the photographer begins editing around 9:00. She
usually goes live during the 10 pm newscast.
“I love what I do,” she said. “You learn so much about
people. You go on adventures with them.”
Here are a few things she said that stood out to me:
• Finding a good story isn't always easy. Sometimes, you need to pull people aside. "Engage them," Jenni said. "Get to the heart of
• Having good writing skills is crucial to putting a story together. "Writing is everything," she said, and then quoted a former boss, "If you're a good writer, you can go anywhere."
• When she was new to the industry, she would DVR her reports, watch them and critique herself. That's how she improved.
• Fox 29 is a local news station and they do not have the same political agenda as the Fox Network.
• As a broadcast journalist, your appearance matters. "You have to look put together," Jenni said.
• Because she is on television, viewed by thousand of people every evening, she gets recognized, which kind of makes her a celebrity in town. "I really don't think about it," she said.
• As a journalist, she is always working. Everywhere she goes, she's looking for story ideas. But she makes sure to have a personal life. "I make sure to go to happy hour every week," she said. "I need that outlet."
Temple University has proposed building a new 35,000-seat stadium that will be primarily used for football. It would be located between Broad and 16th streets, along Norris.
When rumors of the project started floating in the fall, The Temple News wrote in an editorial: "While the prospect of such a landmark building brings students exciting visions of football Saturdays on Main Campus filled with pep-rallies, tailgates and short walks to the game, the reality is that a new stadium would bring much darker conditions to the already tense state of relations between the community, the university and its students."
CNN meteorologist Chad Myers took some heat (ironically) for saying that news directors at local stations will sometimes tell their weather crews to make forecasts sound more ominous, especially during times of potentially severe storms like this past weekend.