Friday, August 1, 2014

Kevin Blackistone's Advice to Young Journalists

I enjoyed Kevin Blackistone's short talk with us. It taught me that you have to take what you get at first and be ready when your opportunity comes. He started in what he called "crime and grime" investigative journalism. He went from there to business journalism to sports journalism. He said "he was in the right place at the right time" to get a job with sports journalism.

But before sports journalism he said that delivering The Washington Post during the Watergate scandal inspired him to do journalism. He thought he could "change the world."

Once he got into sports journalism he found out how much he enjoyed it. He said, "You can't get away from sports ... sports drives cable television." Important cases he brought up to show how big sports are to our culture included the Michael Vick dog-fighting case, Tony Dungy's comments on Michael Sam and Ray Rice's arrest for domestic violence. Blackistone said he "focuses on critical issues" confronting society through sports.

He said he enjoyed covering the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

Meeting Muhammad Ali was also an amazing part of his career, he said.

When asked about tough stories he has covered, he said talking to a family about the death of a child is always extremely hard.

He enjoys being on television but, he said, "people think they know you" because of it.

Some overall advice he gave us was to, "lose all your fear and don't be afraid" in this field.

He added: "Read to distinguish between good and bad writing" and "start your own blog."

Two books he recommended young journalists read were "The Elements of Style" and "Writing Tools."

He also recommended being "active in social media in a smart way."

--Calvin Parker

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Impressions on Journalism Class

Journalism class is finally coming to an end after three weeks, but I'm sure that many have mixed feelings about it including me.

I never knew that I would have made so many friends and learned so many things about journalism. At the start of the class, I disliked it, but now, I feel upset that it is ending.

I had an extremely fun time getting to know new people and experiencing new things with them. If I could, I would definitely come back again.

What is your outlook on the three weeks spent in the YSP Program and in journalism class?

--Joanne Lu

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Reminder About Story Due Thursday at Start of Class

A reminder that your final story is due at the start of class July 31-- as we board the bus for USA Today. Your stories should be 400-500 words; you will have the option to write in a feature structure or a hard news structure -- depending on the topic. You should include a source list at the end, with names and contact info for those you talk to.  (Phone numbers and email addresses.) Remember that when you collect IDs on folks, you should always get contact info (phone #s, email addresses) to follow up with any questions you have after you review your notes. Stories should be typed, double-spaced, with a word count at the top, and the source list with contact info at the end.  Please also attach printouts of any supporting primary documents (police crime stats, for instance), which you reference in your story. Remember: all of you were encouraged to do your story on the Povich sports panel on "Covering the Hot Topic" Thursday, July 24, in Knight Hall, 4-5 p.m. You still have the option to use that, if you attended and took good notes. Panelists were:

  • Christine Brennan, Sports Columnist, USA Today Sports
  • Steve Haas, Former Capitals, Wizards and Nationals doctor
  • David Aldridge, NBA Reporter, TNT
  • Peggy Engel, Journalist, Author / Playwright
(10 percent of grade)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More on Tomorrow's Test

Students, you may use your AP stylebooks and crib sheets for parts 2 and 3 of tomorrow's test. Please bring these tools with you to class.

And in addition to reviewing the notes we discussed in class, please also review your notes on libel.

Women in the Media

One of the talks I enjoyed the most was Anne Rosen's discussion on women and minorities in the media.  Around the same time as the lecture, I saw this Washington Post article that discusses women journalists and media created by women.  The article talks about how women's magazines are often criticized for containing "frothy content" and not being as informative as their male-dominated counterparts.  It discusses how there is a social expectation that women can either be feminine or well-informed, and that the two can never coincide.

What are some of your reactions to the article? What are some ways we can overcome this misconception about women journalists?

--Manisha Sunil

Twitter Talk with Kevin Blackistone

When Kevin Blackistone visited us last Friday, we had a lengthy discussion about Twitter and how he uses his account. "Be active in social media, but in a smart way. Take it to another level," Blackistone said.

Several students asked Blackistone if he would follow them back if they followed him. He politely declined, but explained why.

He uses his Twitter feed for mostly news and not socially the way we young teens use it. Blackistone even commented that every so often he "cleans up" his feed by unfollowing certain people. He used boxer Floyd Mayweather as an example.

"Floyd Mayweather, you give me nothing. Nothing! You give me nothing, and you're a knucklehead on top of that," Blackistone said.

Continuing that discussion, Blackistone advised us to reevaluate how we use social media, saying that it's now time to start posting and tweeting like adults rather than teens.

That being said, how do you plan on "cleaning up" your Twitter account? Will you actually "clean up" your feed or will you make a new, more professional account? Weigh in on how you can improve your usage of social media.

Here's a link to his Twitter page:

--Jared Goldstein

Kevin Blackistone Takes YSP

Kevin Blackistone, a sports journalist and professor at the University of Maryland, visited my journalism class last Friday.  Blackistone spoke about his journey with journalism and how it led him to where he is today.  Starting off with "crime and grime" news, Blackistone morphed into reporting about sports.  

"You can't get away from sports, even if you don't like sports," he explained.  

In addition, I had the pleasure of picking up on a few pieces of advice Blackistone gave to my class.    "Lose all your fear.  Journalism is an endeavor for the fearless," he said.

Truthfully, my favorite part about Blackistone's visit was being able to take a selfie with him and a few of my classmates in the background.

What was your highlight from Blackistone's visit?

Samantha Kaplan takes a selfie with Kayla Johnson, Kevin Blackistone, Courtney Edwards and Sequoia Ragland.  (Photo by Samantha Kaplan)

--Samantha Kaplan

Kevin Blackistone

Last week Kevin Blackistone, a national sports columnist, came to talk to us about his career and also gave helpful tips to us as future journalists.

Blackistone started in regular news and has done investigative reporting, business news and sports news. But in his talk, he mainly focused on why sports isn't the "toy department" of news.

Blackistone said that sports stories focused not only on which team had won the Superbowl, but also touched on serious issues such as  Ray Rice's domestic violence and Lance Armstrong's use of performance-enhancing drugs. He emphasized how sports have "ripple effects that affect all of us."

Blackistone then told us three great pieces of advice: "lose all your fear," "practice the art of writing," and "read." Like many of the other speakers we have heard, Blackistone mentioned how there were so many more opportunities thanks to the Internet.

Lastly, he advised us to "be active in social media, but in a smart way" and take it to a new level.

What was your favorite part of our talk with Blackistone? Was there a specific quote he said that really touched you? 

--Somin Lee

The Journey of Interviewing

Yesterday, I set out along with two other students to interview people for our articles we have to write as our final project. Although we had different subjects, we all needed to interview the same type of people. We ended up interviewing three people; a mentor, a program coordinator for the University of Maryland, and a head-mentor for the YSP.

Thanks to all of the tips we learned from our journalism class, we successfully received valuable information from everyone we interviewed.

We started out interviewing one of the head-mentors at Cumberland Hall. Two of us took turns asking him questions that pertained to the subject we were covering. After this, we asked the head-mentor where we could find a program coordinator for the YSP and he pointed us in the right direction. We had to travel all the way to the mall on campus and find the Extended Program office in order to find him. Asking where to find one of the program coordinators and then searching for his office is what I believe real journalists constantly do in order find good information for their stories.

After this, I had to rush back to Cumberland Hall to interview one of the mentors. Going to Cumberland Hall, then to the Extended Studies office and then back to the Hall again was tiring, but I did get the information I needed. 

I interviewed the mentor, and asked some of the questions another student needed for her research, so we did not all have to interview the same person at the same time. Remembering from class to ask for her name and her title, I was beneficially able to get all of the information I needed for myself, and for the other students.

--Lauren Harris

Feature stories

This week in our journalism class we were tasked with choosing topics to report about. Some of us chose to write about the food on campus, some chose to write about the universities' athletes and athletic program, and others chose to write about other different topics.

In order to effectively write about these topics, we have to conduct interviews with other people such as dining services, the athletic director, etc.

What are the positive and negative aspects of conducting these interviews? What are some of the challenges you're facing while being a reporter? Do these challenges encourage or discourage you from wanting to be a future journalist? Why or why not?

--Megan Hopkins

Povich Panel

Last week, I had the pleasure of listening to and meeting sports writers David Aldridge and Christine Brennan as a part of the Povich Sports Journalism camp. 

During the panel, Aldridge, a TNT reporter, was asked about the Donald Sterling issue and his opinion on the topic. He told us about how uncomfortable he felt being in Staples Center just after Sterling had openly said he didn't want black people at his games.

Christine Brennan, a USA Today sports columnist, told us about her experience covering the dramatic story of figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 Winter Olympics.  The competition was the 6th most watched television broadcast ever and she got to be in the center of it all in Lillehammer, Norway.

After the panel was over, we were all able to go talk to them, get their autographs, and take pictures. 

--Diana Nunez

Most Difficult Skill to Master

We have learned plenty of things within these three weeks -- from how to write a lead to Photoshop. Of all the lessons we have learned in this class, what did you find the most difficult to master? What was the easiest? Did you have any troubles at all? Explain your reasoning for each.

Personally for me making leads was the most difficult lesson. I'm still having trouble with them. In newspapers I've seen them short and simple and to the point. I never knew it was so much effort put into them. I'm still trying to figure out how to do it step by step.

--Toni Dixon

Interviewing Skills

Last week, we talked about interviewing tips. Ms. Harvey told us not to lecture our sources, listen to our subjects, prepare before the interview and to take notes even if we are recording. She told us to ask the softer questions first to make the subject comfortable; that will warm the subject up for  harder questions.

Also, when we interview, we should be aware of how we dress. We should dress for the surroundings and/or the person's occupation.

There are a few phrases we should  remember when interviewing. If the subject says, "I'll talk to you on background," they're telling you to keep them anonymous, but you can publish what they say. If the subject says the interview will be "off the record," the person doesn't want anything they say to be published. You as the reporter will have to decide if you'll continue to hear what they have to say or not.

What other tips do you think are important for interviewing? Would you choose to listen to a subjects story if they told you it would be "off the record"?

--Courtney Edwards

UMTV and TV Broadcasting

Seanne Coates and Samantha Kaplan on the CNS-TV set.

Last week, we visited Tawes Hall to tour UMTV and the CNS-TV set. The trip left a strong impression on me since I have a love for TV broadcasting. During the trip, I was able to work with the cameras as well as be a floor director. Being able to actually work in these positions gave me a better understanding of how things operate in a newsroom and made me more keen to possibly taking on this job. I was especially excited when I  was told writing was incorporated in TV broadcasting. Is anyone else interested in TV broadcasting of any type? If so what specific job?

--Seanne Coates

Ethics in Photojournalism

Hey Guys! :)

Yesterday we talked about photojournalism, and we briefly touched on the ethics behind it. So when does photojournalism become become photo illustration?

After looking online most definitions of photo illustration came to the same consensus; it is when a digital photograph becomes a work of art. But wouldn't you think all photography is considered a work of art? Yes, but no. In photojournalism the job is pretty straightforward, to use pictures to convey a news story to the public. But, with the amazing technology we have today, it's so much easier to edit and manipulate the photographs into something they weren't before.

I think it is so interesting that with a flew clicks of a mouse you can add a single tear to someone's face, or even make two images into one creating a different scene, as Brian Walski, a photojournalist for the Los Angeles Times, did.

So if a photojournalist crops a picture, recolors it, and slightly blur out everything that is not the subject of the picture, is that too much manipulation? Some may see it as just drawing the attention of those looking at the photo, but others may see it as manipulation over-kill.

What do you guys think?

--Sequoia Ragland

Ideas about Journalism Careers

Over the past week, we have been fortunate to meet some notable and well-known journalists, many involved in sports journalism such as Christine Brennan, David Aldridge, Steve Haas, Peggy Engel and Kevin Blackistone.

For me, meeting these journalists was very inspiring and has caused me to think about where I really want to be in the journalism world.  Personally, I know that I want to be involved in the entertainment field, because that is where my passion lies, but I am not putting all of my eggs in one basket.

So I want to know from you: what was or is your future goal as a journalist?  What specific field would you like to be in?  Would you be willing to become active in a different field, like sports?  Why or why not?

--Kayla Johnson


I had the pleasure of touring the Newseum along with many national landmarks on Saturday. Though I liked visiting the Washington Monument and other historic places, the Newseum was the highlight of my day. 

My personal favorite part of the Newseum was seeing the front page of a newspaper from every state. Seeing how bigger papers such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times differ from smaller papers in states such as Idaho was fascinating. 
Quinn Kropschot, Diana Núñez and Alexandra Besch practice their reporting skills at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. 

Quinn Kropschot, Diana Núñez and Alexandra Besch practice their reporting skills at the Newseum in Washington D.C.

--Quinn Kropschot

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Photographs in journalism

Danielle Kiefer and Samantha Kaplan
Yesterday, I visited the Newseum in Washington, D.C. They had tons of really cool exhibits about all aspects of journalism, including ones on broadcast journalism, ethnicities in the newsroom, 9/11 and many more. One in particular that I found interesting was called "Pictures of the Year" and featured award-winning news images from Pictures of the Year International. The photos were all so amazing, and it really got me to think about how important pictures are to journalism. They not only entice the reader to read the article, but photographs can capture things in ways that words may not be able to.

I think this also relates to the article we read for class about distorting photos in journalism. What did you guys think of this article? How does changing images with tools like Photoshop challenge the ethics of photojournalism?

--Danielle Kiefer

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Experiences This Week

This week we have experienced Google Glass and TV and radio journalism.

Google Glass is wearable technology in the form of glasses --  or some people like to say it is "Google on your face." Google Glass has raised a lot of questions about privacy, since there is no way of telling if someone wearing it is taking a picture or video.  Even though this is an issue to some, this technology can be very helpful to journalists, by allowing a journalist to go undercover and possibly be able to avoid injury in another country.

We also visited the radio station, WMUC, and the TV studio (for CNS-TV) on campus.  At the studio there were a lot of lessons learned about being on the air and having the mic and cameras on. At the radio station most of us were filled with joy when learning what the radio station at UMD does, and the opportunities students who work there get.

What was your favorite experience?

--NaDaija Barrow

Student Newsroom Codes of Ethics

Based on what you heard in class yesterday about professional codes of ethics, what points do you think should definitely go in your student newsroom code? Each group should bullet points in comments, below.

Possibility for Your Final Story

Please note:  I will allow coverage of this event today for your story due next Thursday. If you plan to attend this event in Knight Hall at 4 p.m. today -- please dress appropriately. It's a stellar lineup of professionals. I plan to attend this:

Thursday, July 24, in Knight Hall, 4-5 p.m., Room 1208:

Covering the Hot Topic:

  • Christine Brennan, sports columnist, USA Today Sports, former sports reporter for The Washington Post
  • Steve Haas, Former Capitals, Wizards and Nationals doctor
  • David Aldridge, NBA reporter, TNT
  • Peggy Engel, former reporter for The Washington Post and Des Moines Register, author and playwright

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Change in Plans for Tomorrow

Class, my apologies: The trip we had planned for tomorrow (Thursday) is a no-go. I will explain when I see you tomorrow. I am working with YS and USA Today to reschedule.

Please meet the regular time and place, and we'll pick up where we left off with the ethics groups. Then we'll move on to some other topics.

I'll send individual emails as well.

What Kind of Journalism do you like ?

Over the past couple of days we have been exposed to great advice about journalism and becoming enlightened about different types of journalism. So it made me think: Do you guys know what kind of journalism you want to be involved in? For me, I 'm still interested in print, but share with me if you're interested in being a radio host or a news anchor.

--Kayla Braithwaite

Google Glass

Hey guys! Today in class we got to experience Google Glass and how it works. I read a few articles and reviews on the tool and found out some really interesting information. I personally love the idea of Google Glass and believe it would be a spectacular device to use for everyone -- not just journalists -- if the privacy settings were changed. By simply having a way to notify people when they are being recorded or photographed and setting regulations for driving while using the glasses, they can be a beneficial tool to anyone who needs them.

After reading a Chicago Tribune article I learned how Glass could be of help even to paramedics.

According to, Google Glass received a 4.5 out of a 5-star rating.

After today's class and hands-on experience, do you agree more with the use of Google Glass or do you disagree for whatever reason?

--Taylor Jackson

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Name Game

Bands such as the Aphids that come to UMD's independent radio station, WMUC, to perform or record have been known to sign the walls. (Photo by Chris Harvey)

A Reminder About Control

CNS-TV Director Sue Kopen Katcef got animated in the control room when she reminded Young Scholars students that whenever they're wearing a mic, they should watch what they say. Broadcast reporters have suffered embarrassment and worse over comments broadcast accidentally -- when they thought controls were turned off. (Photo by Chris Harvey) 

Trying Out the Anchor Chair

Kayla Johnson of Prince George's County and Calvin Parker of Baltimore County await their cues to read from the teleprompter on the CNS-TV set at the University of Maryland. The news show is produced three nights a week during the school year by broadcast students enrolled in a six-credit capstone course. (Photo by Chris Harvey)

Post Your Pics from Today's Tours!

Class, did you take any good shots from today's tours of UMTV/CNS-TV or WMUC?

If so, feel free to post them under a separate post. Be sure to include a few sentences identifying folks in your pictures, describing a bit about the operations or what was happening, and adding your photo credit.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Women, Minorities in the Media Discussion

Class, what was your takeaway from this morning's discussion with Anne Farris Rosen on minorities and women in the newsroom?  Good news? Bad news? Scary news? Encouraging news?

Please leave your comments below this post.

Sports Journalism Workshops This Week!


George Solomon, a former sports editor at the Washington Post and the college's director of the  Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism, invites you to attend workshops at the college this week.

You may drop into afternoon sessions, as space permits. (Students who are registered in the program get priority seating.) Sessions will cover topics ranging from  sports broadcasting, to social media to multi-media and more.

A daily breakdown of the schedule is here:

Best, Chris

Friday, July 18, 2014

Coverage of World Tragedies

Class, please follow today and over the weekend major publications' coverage of  Thursday's crash of the Malaysian Airlines jet in the Ukraine, and the conflict in the Gaza Strip, where stepped-up attacks by Israel to destroy Hamas tunnels left 28 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead. Both news stories are dominating the home pages of major news sites. 

Please compare how a major site in the U.S., such as the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN or Los Angeles Times, is covering these stories, vs. how an overseas site such as the BBC is handling them. Before Monday morning's class, please choose one of these two events to comment on, below my post. Discuss what kinds of interactives and multimedia are posted, and what kinds of text stories are added. How quickly are major details fleshed out? (For instance, do we know who shot down the plane? Why?) Are any mistakes published and later corrected?What makes these stories particularly difficult to cover? 

Three or four strong paragraphs will suffice.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Story Generation and More....

Class, don't forget: Tomorrow we're switching classrooms: We'll be meeting in room 2105 (the lab next door) from now on. It's got a little more room.

I was really encouraged today by our story generation session--and how you might make national hot-button topics relevant to your school. You had ideas to write about the impact of technology on teaching, and curriculum, and cheating -- and its effect on bullying. And to look back, six months or a year after cafeteria menus are changed to make them healthier, to see if kids are actually eating the food. (Or if they're instead picking up junk food at the nearby gas station.) And to talk to administrators about double standards in uniforms and general attire allowed for gals and guys. (Why, you wondered, is the focus on the girls' clothes? Fear of rape?) And so much more....

I'm encouraged by the good ideas generated by this group -- and hope you'll explore some of them at your school publications in the fall.

As promised, here's a link to the story package on teen athletes and concussions generated by the eight seniors and two grad students in my health reporting class last spring. I hope some of these stories will give you ideas as well:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Welcome! And Tell Me About Your News Consumption

Welcome Young Scholars students! I'm looking forward to working with you in JOUR 150 this summer!

This blog will be used throughout your three weeks with me to start discussions about media coverage of events, changes in technology and practices in newsrooms, media hiring practices and ethical questions about publications' handling of news. The best posts will include some research and links to reported stories or primary documents. Remember to be thoughtful and tactful; this blog is open to the public for viewing.

Each of you must start at least one blog post; all of you must also comment on some of your classmates' posts. I'm hoping our class discussions and guest speakers will give you ideas for this.

To get you started, I'd like you to tell me in the comment area of this post where you typically go for news, what you like to read, listen to or watch for news, and how you get there. (For instance, do you read sports stories linked to friends' Facebook pages? Or do you religiously go to ESPN's home page several times a day to read about certain teams or sports?) Be specific!