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Week 10: Journalism 2001. April 7, 2008. Review of last week’s news. Hard News: (murders, city council, government, etc.) Major local stories Major national/international stories Major sports stories Soft News: (retirements, school programs, human interest) Local stories

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Week 10: Journalism 2001

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review of last week s news
Review of last week’s news
  • Hard News:

(murders, city council, government, etc.)

    • Major local stories
    • Major national/international stories
    • Major sports stories
  • Soft News:

(retirements, school programs, human interest)

    • Local stories
    • National/international stories
    • Sports stories
  • Next week we’ll review final project
    • Bring copies of stories to upload to eportfolio
sports story review
Sports story review
  • More impressive stories!
  • Easier when have exciting game/match to cover
  • Remember that the score is the “what happened” for a sports story
  • Quotes strongest high in story
  • Background information helpful
  • Watch tense
    • Team: its or their?
  • Style errors:
    • Time element
    • numerals
CLOQUET, Minn. - The Duluth Denfeld boys’ hockey team fell just two goals shy of the State Hockey Tournament, losing to St. Cloud Cathedral 3-1 in the section 5A final before a capacity crowd at Cloquet Area Recreation Center.

INT’L FALLS, Minn. – The International Falls Bronco boys basketball team beat the Cook gophers 71-53 before a huge crowd Friday night at the Falls High Gym.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – On a high from winning one of the longest series against Minnesota State, University of Minnesota showed no weakness as they went on to beat St. Cloud State University 3-2 on March 20, 2008.

upcoming stories
Upcoming stories
  • Sports Reporting Assignment
    • Will review/rewrite story in class tonight
  • Community Journalism reporting assignment
    • Final article due next week: April 14
    • Any problems?
  • Feature Story Assignment:
    • Story pitch due: April 9
    • First draft due: April 21
    • Final article due: May 5
feature story ideas from last week
Feature story ideas from last week!
  • End of year: Where students will live in summer, types of jobs
  • Proposed North Shore Scenic Railroad extension from Two Harbors to Biwabik
  • Spring hiking trails in area
  • UMD athlete profile
  • Impact of tuition increase
  • Summer grilling/food
  • Plays, cultural activities
  • Study abroad programs
let s brainstorm more feature ideas
Let’s brainstorm more feature ideas
  • Common jobs for students in the summer
  • Play review/analysis
  • Duluth resident reaction to Leatherheads
  • Nursing home resident
  • Chinese student adjustment
  • Bicycle riders on Munger Trail
  • Duluth Zoo
  • Aquarium
chapter 24 in depth investigative reporting
Chapter 24:In-depth & Investigative Reporting
  • In-depth article
    • Goes beyond a basic news story
    • Detailed information on subject
    • Investigative articles
    • Civic “watchdogs”
    • Months or years to complete
    • Need to remain focused
reporter as investigator
Reporter as investigator
  • Dig beneath the surface
  • Subject important, significant
  • Original work, not a handout
  • Go beyond the news release
  • “Smelling” a story
steps in gathering information
Steps in gathering information
  • Conducting research
    • Introduces a reporter to the language of a complex topic
    • Helps reporters find sources from different stories
    • Helps to formulate a list of questions
    • Provides other articles written on the same topic
    • Uncovers good/bad things to look for in interviews
    • Sources of information: Internet, newspaper library, databases
    • Talk to everyone you can
    • Interview as long as you can
    • Ask sources for names of additional sources
    • Know the answers to incriminating questions before you ask them
    • Use a tape recorder for in-depth or particularly sensitive interviews
    • Interviews from the outside in
    • Smoking-gun interviews
    • Double-checks and triple-checks
    • Confidential sources
writing an in depth story
Writing an in-depth story
  • Finding the right lead
    • Summary lead
    • Lead block and nut graph
  • Use bulleted paragraphs to summarize findings
  • Use anecdotes and observations
  • Finding the thread
  • Writing a first-person article
chapter 26 law
Chapter 26: Law
  • First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.— The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

reporters and their sources
Reporters and their sources
  • Shield Laws
    • Statutory laws to protect reporters from revealing sources
    • Each state has different interpretation
    • What does Minnesota have?
fair trial vs free press
Fair trial vs. free press
  • Conflict between First Amendment and Sixth Amendment
    • Sixth amendment: Rights of the accused to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury
  • Why would there be a conflict?
  • Jury Duty
where to learn more
Where to learn more
  • Minnesota statutes
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Federal circuit courts
  • Online legal research
  • Libel: Communication of false information that damages an individual in his or her profession, business or calling.
    • Six requirements for libel action:
      • Publication
      • Identification
      • Defamatory nature of the story
      • Proof of falsity
      • Proof of fault
      • Actual damage to reputation
classes of libelous words
Classes of libelous words
  • Words imputing the commission of a criminal offense


John Doe was taken into custody Wednesday for murdering Sally Smith Tuesday night.


John Doe was taken into custody Wednesday in connection with (or in the investigation of) the Tuesday night slaying of Sally Smith.

Words that impute infection with a loathsome communicable disease of any kind that would tend to exclude one from society.

Is this news?:

John Doe, who was elected Wednesday to be president of the local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was treated last summer for a venereal disease, the Daily Bugle has learned.

Words that impute inability to perform, or want of integrity in the discharge of, duties of office or employment.

Don’t write:

Public school groundskeeper John Doe is unfit by temperament and intelligence to adequately perform his duties, sources who wish to remain anonymous said Wednesday.

  • Words that prejudice a particular person in his or her profession or trade.

Don’t write:

Attorney John Doe, who will represent the widow in the embezzlement case, is the most incompetent lawyer in town, according to courthouse observers.

defamation by implication
Defamation by implication
  • Implication created by the reporter’s organization of facts.

John Jones was seen entering the Shady Oaks motel yesterday with a woman. The motel is located in a known prostitution area.

  • Reporter/news medium must assume responsibility for the statement if it is used
    • The fact that information was provided by a source does not necessarily mean that it is correct.
    • Beware of off-the-record tips passed along by sources, even high-ranking officials or law enforcement officers.
      • Don’t write: Police said that the alleged crook is in custody.
      • Instead: Police said that the man charged with the crime is in custody.
defenses against libel
Defenses against libel
  • Conditional defenses
    • Privilege of reporting: Fair, accurate reporting of official proceedings
    • Fair comment and criticism: Applies to opinions about matters of public concern
    • Neutral reportage: Report charges made by one responsible person or organization about another when both parties are involved in a public controversy
absolute libel defenses
Absolute libel defenses
  • Statute of limitations
    • Two years in Minnesota
  • Truth
  • Privilege of participant
    • Participants in official proceedings
  • Consent or authorization
  • Self-defense or right of reply
partial defenses
Partial defenses
  • Publication of a retraction: Clear admission of erroneous reporting
  • Facts showing no gross negligence or ill will
  • Facts showing that the reporter relied on a usually reliable source
the actual malice standard
The actual malice standard
  • The New York Times rule
    • New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: 1964
      • Supreme Court: To collect damages, a public official would have to prove the defendant acted with “actual malice;” knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.
    • 1967: Supreme Court said that public figures, in addition to public officials, also have to show actual malice to recover libel damages.

Bottom line:

More protection from libel action if plaintiff is a public person.

libel in cyberspace
Libel in cyberspace
  • Distributor vs. publisher
  • 1996: Communications Decency Act
    • Protects online service providers from liability for publication of defamatory material
checklist for dealing with libel
Checklist for dealing with libel
  • Be aggressive – but don’t take foolish risks
  • Be fair – keep an open mind
  • Seek advice if you are unsure of your turf
journalism ethics
Journalism Ethics
  • “But I thought you were . . .”
    • When a source doesn't know you are a reporter
    • http://journalism.indiana.edu/resources/ethics/handling-sources/but-i-thought-you-were/
out of class assignments
Out-of-Class Assignments
  • Due today: News Release rewrites!
    • Email: lkragnes@d.umn.edu
  • Due April 14: Red Lake Cartoon Reaction article
in class assignment
In-Class Assignment
  • Editing classmate story
    • Make changes, give to reporter
    • Editing form returned to me: Worth 5 points
  • Rewrite sports stories
    • Using all of the editing suggestions, rewrite/edit your story
    • Email final copy to: lkragnes@d.umn.edu
      • Worth 5 points
    • Stories will be posted on class website
  • Doublecheck assignments correct in egradebook:
    • http://www.d.umn.edu/egradebook

If grading tonight:

215 and above: A

190-214: B

165-189: C

140-164: D

Less than 140: F

  • Store academic information on your Electronic Portfolio. Each student has 100 mb of storage.
  • Access Electronic Portfolio at: https://portfolio.umn.edu/portfolio/index.jsp