Entries in journalism (3)


New blog tackles ethics in journalism

There's an excellent new journalism blog worth checking out.

Colorado Public Radio's Assistant News Director Judith Smelser's blog "Scribbles and Scruples" tackles issues in the world of journalism, public radio and ethics in the digital age.

Early topics tackled on the blog include "Host/Reporters: How to Make the Most of Your Reporting Time" and "Women Journalists, Could We Be Perpetuating the Glass Ceiling?"

It's a great read, especially for those in public media who are interested in writing, script editing and the ethical dilemmas that face journalists as they do their jobs.

Check out "Scribbles and Scruples" here.


Space coverage beyond the shuttle

Today, as a correspondent with responsibility for covering America's adventures in space, I'm reporting on NASA's latest exploratory endeavors. 

The US space agency today launched a spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center here in Florida destined for Jupiter. It's unmanned, of course, but it's hoped it'll provide valuable scientific data on how the first planet in our solar system was formed. This, in turn, could be very useful in discovering more about the origins of our own planet. 

Here's an audio report I filed a little earlier for Australian Independent Radio News

According to my reporting, many space policy-makers - as well as officials within NASA itself - see this kind of exploration as the key to NASA's future now that the space shuttle has gone. Sure, private companies are working on taking Americans back to the International Space Station within the next few years, and NASA has the long-term goal of manned flight to the Moon, Mars or an astroid. But the real nitty gritty of space exploration and scientific discovery is often done far away from the media glare and the glory of manned programs.

I hope to cover this aspect of the space program more in the future, with a focus on the huge challenges NASA faces, not only in terms of its budget, but also in terms of focus, direction and mission. It's a big-budget agency. Scruitiny of it should not go away just because the shuttle is now history.


Writing a key skill for solo video journalists

For video journalists, the art of shooting great looking video is often the number one priority. Sometimes the traditional elements of journalism can be sidelined. 

For me, when producing a story for a TV client, writing a good script should be one of the most important aspects of doing a standout job. It's often going to be the first tangible thing the client sees of your story. Assuming there is some sort of script editing process, they'll see your words before they see your pictures.

The most critical part of news writing is the lead - the top line! In the document below, Judith Smelser of NPR affiliate WMFE gives a great overview of lead writing.

For veteran reporters who have come from a background of focusing on writing and producing, learning the skills associated with shooting and editing is key. But for younger reporters who have cut their teeth with video cameras, the subtleties of journalism - whether it be writing, law or ethics - can easily be overlooked.

Learn how to write a strong script and you'll be a better all-round reporter.