Sensationalism in the Media

Should i be worried?

One of the biggest problems with journalism and media today is making something bigger than it should be. We see it everywhere. It’s happened countless times where the media covers something so intensely that it even changes the outcome of the situation. Let’s take what is happening in Ferguson as an example. Governor Jay Nixon just recently announced a state of emergency in Missouri. Why is that? Why must he be so worried about the decision of the supreme court that he takes national safety precautions for this dilemma? Because the media has made it into something so big that people are becoming involved like never before.

One huge story that has been in the news over and over again is the outbreak of Ebola in the United States since late summer of 2014. The first article I chose is simply about a nurse who recently returned from Africa that is being tested for Ebola. The article is entirely dedicated to warning the public about another possible case of Ebola. Yet, that is just it, it is just another POSSIBLE case. The article even mentions the fact that the nurse is at a low risk for Ebola, but they continue to dedicate the entire post to the fact there is a risk of another case to worry more people about it.

That first article was published on the business journals for Saint Louis. The next article talks about the same nurse who is being tested for Ebola in Jefferson County. The reason I chose this one as well is because of their opening statement that reads; Does Missouri have it’s first case of Ebola? Of course everyone is going to want to know the answer to that. There’s no way anyone would ignore that lead sentence. What continues to boggle my mind is the fact that it was already announced once this article was released that the woman did in fact test negative for Ebola after all. Like the article just before it had said, the woman was a low risk because she was never in actual contact with anyone that had Ebola in Africa. She went into the hospital after running a fever and feeling muscle aches.

Yet, that is not it. Not even close. This same story was published in different forms on most news stations websites that cover Saint Louis. The final article is covered by KMOV stating all the same information but then adding the crucial piece of information that states the woman is still being kept in isolation after testing negative for Ebola.

So.. I shouldn’t worry?

It’s not that the situation isn’t a serious one because it is. Ebola is a very deadly virus that could potentially spread very quickly if not prepared for. Meanwhile, in Africa, Ebola is killing thousands and thousands of people because they don’t have the means to take care of such a deadly disease. That is where the lines get blurred. News stations across the nation are taking advantage of such a vulnerable story that has the potential to capture the emotion of people all around.

Jon Stewart summarizes the sensationalism perfectly during one of his shows during the initial outbreaks of Ebola in the United States. First he points out how most stations begin to freak out after the nurse who took care of the first man with Ebola in the States contracted Ebola. Many of the stations followed with questions like; how did she get Ebola and the CDC is still trying to figure out how she contracted the virus. Jon Stewart then slams those questions with reason I might add. Of course the nurse with Ebola got it from the man she was taking care of who had tested positive for the virus as well. It’s not rocket science actually, it just makes sense. So making a big deal out of it doesn’t make sense. They are only scaring people more and warning them of potential threats that don’t even completely exist.

Journalists and reporters need to pay attention to which stories they are giving more time and attention to. They might need to take a step back sometimes and re-evaluate what information they are sending out to the public before actually informing them of it.


Getting it Right

Looking back, I realize that I am exactly where I set out to be. I started working for LUTV my junior year. It was under some unwanted circumstances but I was happy to take a job that was in the field of work I was aiming for. Getting into the studio I quickly realized how fast paced the entire environment was. It was a completely different world. People were constantly running around and trying to finish up things before it was too late. Any help that I could offer was greatly appreciated. So, I had to learn quick. The most I would do is man a camera. There were days I had no idea what was going on. For those who aren’t in News, there is slang used for just about everything and all of those letters mean something very specific. Although I speak two languages, I wasn’t prepared for this. There was a special day where they made me floor director but the show bombed and I’m pretty sure most of the reason was because they had no direction. Anyways, that is where I decided to take Super Semester. It is there where I knew what I wanted to do. What really got me was the sense of purpose these people had. They knew what they were doing, even if they were unsure of their product, it all meant something. They are informants, they are the messengers, and they are reporters.

Newsroom Shot. Working Hard!
Newsroom Shot. Working Hard!

This past week has been eye opening. I guess more in a self reflective way. The first time doing sports and weather wasn’t one of my greatest works. Weather has always been a struggle for me in particular. I just don’t understand how someone can multi-task to a point where they are looking at the screen behind them, waving their arms in a coherent manner, reading the teleprompter, all while making sense, and smiling while they’re at it. It’s mind blowing to me. Sports for LUTV seems to be the blue headed syndrome. You talk straight for about 2 minutes and try to take breaths in between. People who talk really fast find Sports to be one of the hardest things for them to do. The thing I’ve realized is that I feel more comfortable being uncomfortable, if that makes any sense. I know where my head is at and I see the product that I am aiming for.

Weather for the Second Time
Weather for the Second Time

I was really lucky with the timing I had for the weather. A cold front was coming our way that had the infamous drastic temperature changes for Missouri. yet, this one seemed outrageous that had the weather starting out the week at nearly 70 degrees and finishing the week with snow fall. So it was a big weather day to say the least. Something we did that was completely different was adding a section in the A Block to talk about the weather before the weather forecast. So instead of just having the weather tease and the weather forecast, I was given an extra segment in the beginning as well. One thing I am trying to work on is hand movement and believing what I am saying. This made a huge difference in the presentation of everything I did. Seeing the final product, even the unedited version is what I saw myself doing two years before. Only this time, it was good. It was more than good, it was great. I am proud of where I have gotten to but by no means is it where I want it to end. I still have a lot to learn in this field of work and that takes experience and time. That’s the only way to get it right.

As a side note, football season is over and that means so is sidelining football as well. my last game working for football was a great one. Even thought the team was losing it was up to me to find stories on the field to talk about and keep the energy alive. There may or may not be some sideline footage on my demo reel coming up next week. Next stop; Basketball Season!

Here is the link to a Food Truck Event I was able to cover for LUTV News.

Tragedy with a Story

Lindenwood Mourns

Last Friday, a Lindenwood Student was killed by an accident on the highway. The school was in shock and I had only met the rugby player a handful of times. The name of the student was Charles Labry and he was one of a kind as many people came to tell me over the process of covering this particular story. Coming into my content week I was assigned this story and everything that came along with it. Memorials happened over the weekend, and I wasn’t able to attend those gatherings. Although they had over 200 people who attended some of them, which is pretty insane. Learning how to go about it was something that I definitely didn’t expect to experience here, at least at Lindenwood. Yet, the show must report what is important to our demographic, even when it makes people uncomfortable.

Local News Channels reported on the accident the morning of, but couldn’t name the fatality because his parents hadn’t been informed yet. Friends around campus spread the news quickly and people gathered around the Spellman center in search of answers from anyone who knew what happened. Having been an international student from France, many of the school’s French population were grouped together as well. The problem for me was finding the right people to interview about the entire situation.

This Is Where I Begin

Starting out, charlesI was able to talk to the men’s Head Rugby coach, JD Stephenson. He made it very simple and easy to interview. He was the only interview I could get for Monday’s show since I was set up to interview the University Chaplain later that day and Charles’ friend the day after. So for Monday’s newscast, we aired the Vo-Sot as the lead story since it was so relevant and had such an huge impact on the school. Having that lead story and interviewing the coach made me realize just how big of a story that really was, sitting ontop of my shoulders.

After interviewing the University Chaplain and one of Charles’ teammate/friend, I was able to put the package together. One problem I encountered here was finding the right b-roll to put into the package. It turned out to be fine because I got enough shots on the highway that seemed relevant to the story in general. Yet, showing the public more information about the memorial and things about Charles was were it lacked more specifically. Overall the package turned out great. It was most definitely a learning experience working with such a sensitive yet serious situation that cried for attention. In the end I’m so happy that I was able to report on this incident and be able to voice how Lindenwood and its students were feeling. Talking to his teammate especially, made me realize I am the voice of whoever this story effects whether I like it or not. It’s up to me to decide what angle, what mood, and what perspective to take on it all. It sounds like a load of pressure but really, it’s what I’ve come to love more and more everyday.

Reporting for LUTV News, I’m Dennise Ramirez.

Anchor Day with Lauren Whan :)
Anchor Day with Lauren Whan 🙂

Real World Experiences…

Starting out right

Can’t believe its already halfway through the semester. Our time here at Super Semester has already been one for the books.

Side line What?

Last Saturday I got the pleasure of helping side line report the football game. This game was extra special because our game was nationally televised with the CBS sports network. So instead of being on camera it was with our KCLC Radio Station.

The crowd at the Nationally Televised game
The crowd at the Nationally Televised game

The crowd was huge and the stands were filled because of the nationally televised game. To be a side line reporter you have to listen to the crowd and the players so that you know how they are feeling about the game and what kind of vibes your getting from their spirit. You have to be the “eyes of the field” or so they told me. You tell the audience at home what they wont know since they are not there in person to feel the energy of the stadium and what fills it. We also had some celebrities come and visit on the field as well. There was Pierre Desir, the now NFL Cleveland Brown player drafted from Lindenwood last year. There was also  Sterling Thomas, a former Lindenwood football player as well. It was a great experience and I’m definitely going to be the side line reporter again for all the future games. Being the side line reporter was extremely different than being the anchor for the halftime show because you are face to face with all the action. The ball was literally thrown in my direction! Yet, I think that is what made it all the more exciting. Having to stay on your toes and then keep your head in check while being at a game that is so exciting.

Meeting the governor

Monday when I came into the newsroom, I had no idea what to do. I got a Vo-Sot done for the newscast that day but then I had nothing else to do. So Jill found out that the Governor of Missouri was going to have a press conference at the Boeing headquarters. So Ryan and I went and covered it, I was there to just help and get hours for it. Also to see the Governor in person!! That’s not an everyday thing.

At the Press Conference

Many important people were there and it was definitely different than most shoots I’ve been to during the course of super semester. We are right beside all the major news channels covering this story which was pretty exciting. Everyone was so professional and seemed to know what they were doing. It is then that I realized Super Semester has given me an experience that I probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

don’t forget the Vo’s

VO are something everyone almost always looks over. It’s just simple video that plays as the talent reads behind it. The only thing the camera man has to do is cut it all together in a sensible order. Yet, that is exactly what I forgot to do. The VO’s.

Lesson learned?

Social Media consumption and Management styles

What is it with Social Media?

As you scroll through social media without even thinking about it; Have you ever stopped to think about who manages them and how much work it actually takes? Probably not. Social Media is an outlet used in your leisurely time, when you want to not think about something or better yet, someone. An article I found helps take us through A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager.

who knew?

Social Media managers vary in many different forms. It can be something you do that takes up little time that in turn allows you to wear several other hats. Or there is the option of making it a full time job. My point is, not too many people realize social media management is a real thing. Social media doesn’t just appear on its own and update on its own. It takes real time and real people to understand and think of creative ways to get to more people than before. Something that didn’t surprise me is the amount of time spent blogging and searching for updates with anything new in the media. Simple things like tweeting and checking local news needs to be put into the schedule because those are important things to do. People want to know what’s going on. Journalists who are interested in having a say in some form of social media should definitely look over this article and familiarize themselves with the daily tasks that are required.

News consumption practices

We may not realize it or do it consciously, but we have evolved the way we receive and perceive the news. We consume it in rates faster, wider, and extremely different than ever before. The article 16 Reason why this will change the how you look at new consumption makes you think about how you really consume the news you do and why. First thing the article does is call out other consumption researches and how they assumed people were telling the truth and completely understood the ways they consumed media. The article then goes on to cite other researches done that do it the right way, like including the news you scroll through when you’re bored at work. All of those little things count as news consumption.

6 Tasks Every Social Media Manager Should Daily Perform

Sounds simple; but it’s not. As the video points out, most people assume a position as a social media manager is easy. It deserves more credit than given because it takes a lot more time and effort than the false stereotype. Managers should be ready to do a variety of different things to fulfill the job of a social manager.

how does this apply to class

From my experience journalists don’t realize that social media is an option after studying mass communication. As the news media keeps evolving we find ourselves getting news from even social media outlets. Everything will be relevant and social media is becoming a huge factor in the future for journalists and mass communication majors across the world.

Keep the Stories Coming..

Stories, stories, and more stories

After Producing my second week, I definitely went about getting my stories and format differently than before. Yet, the hardest part is definitely finding the stories to begin with. There are a lot of things going on around the world. For example, everything that is happening with Isis in the middle-east. Those are very big stories, especially for journalists regarding the awful beheadings of two journalists already. But these are stories that don’t relate to our community and that some people, frankly, just don’t care about!

Producer day

First story

When it comes to stories, I personally like to cover the most known stories around the country. So when I came across the new IPhone 6 release, it was very easy to choose that story. I originally wanted it to be a package because everyone cares about the new IPhone and it relates to most people. Yet, after going to the mall and shooting the b-roll it became clear that we weren’t supposed to be there. Security came up to me and Ryan who was helping me, and told us that we needed permission to shoot anything in the mall. My interviewee overheard and quickly said something on camera so that I had someone to interview. So if by chance, if that interviewee ever reads this, thank you so much. I wouldn’t have gotten the credit for it if you weren’t quick on your toes! A life-saver you are! So the original package turned into a Vo-Sot with one interview. Lesson learned here: plan ahead, and check if you can shoot in that specific area.

covering real news

My second story came the next news day. I had nothing and couldn’t think of another story that sparked my interest whatsoever. Jill then told me and Mariah about the makeshift memorial that was burned down in Ferguson for Michael Brown and I immediately wanted to cover that story. Mariah came and helped out and we went to the actual street where Michael Brown was shot and his memorial was there fully rebuilt with people standing around and talking or taking pictures. When we got there, it hit me that this story is something very important to the community around the area and we are their voice. I was in a situation that real news reporters encounter on a daily basis and it was scary but very exciting at the same time. Ferguson has been in the news for countless reasons. The sensationalism around the entire situation seems a little overwhelming at times but for someone looking to get into journalism and reporting; it’s crazy that something so big is happening just around the corner from us here at Lindenwood. After getting all of the b-roll needed, someone came up to us and volunteered for an interview which made it about ten times easier than having to ask someone for an interview. The lady we interviewed was very emotional about the whole thing and wanted to have her voice heard. I listened to what she had to say rather than just paying attention to the camera or what I was thinking about. It is probably one of the coolest things I’ve done for LUTV and it will probably always be one of the best things I’ll by chance encounter for a while. To wrap around the story we did a live in the newsroom shot and it worked pretty well and ran pretty smoothly. We did have a few hiccups because the teleprompter in the studio isn’t able to hear what I’m saying. So in that situation it was up to me to memorize the first couple of lines in my story and then go off my scripts from there.

ferguson interview

All in all, I became a real news reporter that day without even expecting it. This lady was able to say something on camera that I wasn’t able to say myself. She made me realize covering these stories give me the power to inform people of important information. It is up to me to deliver that information the correct way and fast so that people are informed about something that might matter to them.

Here’s my package from last weeks newscast as the producer about the Virus in the Midwest.

And…. Cue!

Super Semester- Week 1

It definitely lives up to it’s name; Super Semester. Starting out, everyone hit the ground running. Producers were under stress, content team scattered around Saint Charles, and talent furiously writing stories so they could go over their own scripts before everything goes live at 3 pm. Yet, throughout the craziness, there was a sense of purpose and importance that I bet couldn’t be duplicated anywhere else besides the newsroom.

Who are you?

Starting Monday, I had the come across a great story as a package involving a respiratory virus hitting children throughout the Midwest. The very first person I called, I quickly realized my title; News Reporter for LUTV. Now that sounds pretty official. After introducing my new title, the first source at the local Health Department was very helpful and willing to collaborate with me, even if it was just for our college TV station. Then everything else went downhill from there. The rest of the day I was calling different doctors, other sources to try and get another on camera interview for such a cool and exciting story. Doctors were reluctant to talk about any cases since they can’t give out any information about specific patients. That or people simply didn’t want to be interviewed on camera. After an entire day gone, it was time to take a new perspective. The idea suddenly came that the source didn’t have to be a doctor but a worried parent that wants to help prevent tragedies around the Saint Charles area. After calling the first person, they were willing to help and had actually heard about the mystery illness frightening parents all over.

Getting the right shots

My second item for content was creating a VO-SOT showcasing the Sorority Rush week happening at Lindenwood throughout the entire week. I didn’t set up an interview before hand but as soon as I got there, they were very willing to be on camera and help promote their Greek life at school. Everything ran very smoothly at the shoot as the problems began to show up in the edit room. I realized I didn’t grab enough B-roll as well as getting the interviewee in action. That way as I edited and wrote the script, it was very hard to be creative and keep the story relevant to what I was saying. This is only something you can learn by making the mistake once. After editing everything, the story was ready before lunch even started, which is pretty early as most producers may know. When the story ran, there were some technical difficulties that had the wrong reader on camera, which in turn caused the camera to pan over to the actual reader. On top of that, the video that made it a VO didn’t run which then made it a simple reader story. After re-shooting, they were able to fix that and do everything as it was supposed to air the first time.

Lessons learned

There were a couple things I wish I could’ve done differently if I had the chance to do it again for the first time. First the stories I had came to me too late in the game. Over the weekend I couldn’t find much that sparked my interest, and even doing the VO-Sot on the sorority rush week was something that wasn’t something I was interested in doing. Yet, as the package on the virus came into view, I needed to get it all together before Wednesday’s newscast at 3 pm sharp. Since I submitted the Sorority story first, that is what the Producer wanted rather than the virus that could be aired the following week as it would still be relevant. What this means for me is no wrap around. I am the assistant producer on Monday and then the Producer on Wednesday as well. Because of that, I can’t wrap around any content that I make for that week. It changes the layout of the story a little bit, but that isn’t much of a problem. So all in all, it made me realize I need to stay on top of story ideas much earlier and be prepared to assume I am behind at all times.

So far, I am very excited to try everything and really exceed my own expectations in every section of super semester. I even got to be talent for the football’s half time show during our first home season opener! So if things keep going the way they are now, making mistakes will be the least of my worries.

LPS Halftime Show with Kenny Newhouse
LPS Halftime Show with Kenny Newhouse