The Baquet School of Journalism

baquet1How could you not be excited about entering the world of journalism after hearing Dean Baquet’s speech and interview at the 29th Foster-Foreman Conference? Not only did he touch upon major ethical questions and dilemmas seen in journalism, but he also passionately made a case for the future of the industry. With plenty of personal experiences to back up his statements, he successfully proved his knowledge and understanding in the field, and it was a wonderful opportunity to hear him speak.

Baquet had many words of wisdom throughout his time on stage – probably enough to fill a whole notebook page – but there were a couple that really had a big impact on me. First, at one point he said, “Don’t get so caught up in your aspirations that you miss the process of becoming a journalist.” Immediately this quote stuck out to me because I always thought the best journalist is the one who IS always caught up in their work and dreams of being the best. But, Baquet made it clear that it is more important to actually progress as a journalist and learn the right way of doing things, rather than being so caught up with “making it big” that you will do whatever it takes – even if it is unethical – to do so. There ended up being a lot of talk on this matter, and it led to the discussion of whether or not to publish information if it is not completely verified. Obviously, the decision differs based on the specifics of that particular story, but in general, Dean Baquet said it best, “Your ethics are your ethics, and they don’t change.” There is a very powerful meaning behind such simple words and there is a lot of truth in them as well. If you stay true to yourself, and your morals, then you will always know what decision to make.

bigstock-Changes-Ahead-39806335-300x198 On top of just talking about journalistic values and ethics, Baquet also was able to explain why he thinks right now is “just the right time” to enter the profession. He talked about how the world of journalism is definitely changing, but because we are the younger generation and we grew up around it, we have an upper-hand on the older competition. Also, he thinks that the possibility of video and multimedia being integrated into news stories is revolutionizing and could “completely transform the art of narrative journalism.” All of this was very nice and settling to hear, and also very rare to hear coming from an adult. In my experience with older professors and writers it always seemed that they were talking about how journalism is “dying” and how no one reads anymore. So, hearing Baquet’s side of the issue was very interesting and it definitely made me more hopeful for the future of the industry.

After hearing everything that Baquet had to say, I truly feel like I grew as a journalist, and I certainly feel more motivated to get out there and start reporting!

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Will the Real Journalist Please Stand Up?

Plagiarism_ransom20style1

When a new semester begins, every class starts out the same. The professor hands out the syllabus, you get an idea of what the class will be like and you see what textbooks are required. But, there is one section on the syllabus, which shows up every time, and it has to do with plagiarism. Now, at this point, after seeing this so many times and having teachers drill into our heads that plagiarism is completely unacceptable, I admit that I usually skip over this section. But, that is not to say that plagiarism is not important – in fact, it is probably the number one no-no of writing. It is not coincidental that it appears on all of the syllabi.

So, after seeing and hearing about it so much, I would like to think that I have a pretty good idea of what constitutes plagiarism. However, in certain cases, there can be a pretty fine line between whether or not a work needs to be attributed; which is what the Lakeland Ledger Report comments on. In the end though, the main question you need to ask yourself after writing any story or article is, is this my work? Did I actually come up with the idea, structure, and wording of the story? And if I used anyone else’s ideas or words, did I correctly attribute it to them? Plagiarism_And_Its_Repercussions_photo_FINALIZED

It honestly blows my mind how many people are willing to and do plagiarize. I understand that some people might be busy and want to take the easy shortcut of taking someone else’s work, but it all goes back to a simple saying which I’m sure all of us learned at a young age – treat people the way you would want to be treated. If you wrote a story, you would not want someone to take it and present it as their own, so why would you do that to someone else? As Lori mentioned in class, when someone plagiarizes your work, it honestly feels like you have been violated; and no one (at least, I think) wants to feel that way.

I do believe that “accidental” plagiarism does happen more often than people think though, which goes against the Ledger’s committee report. When researching tons of different sources for hours and hours to write an article or story, there is a lot of information being processed, and sometimes things can get a little blurry. You might be writing all original material with no outside influences (or so you think), but then you find out later that some of the ideas you had researched before, sort of came through in your writing sub-consciously. When that occurs, it becomes a very tough situation to figure out, and that is when plagiarism becomes more of a gray area. Also, sometimes it can just be as simple as being really busy and flat-out forgetting to attribute something, which was the case with Matt Refghi. In his blog he talks about a simple mistake (forgetting to re-write a few sentences) and how it led to him being accused of plagiarism and getting a zero percent on his paper. When I read about cases like these, I can relate to it because I know how busy and stressful college can be, so I do feel some sympathy for the condemned “plagiarizer”. At times, it really can come down to an honest mistake.

But, in the end, it seems pretty obvious to me – DON’T PLAGIARIZE. And if you think you might be plagiarizing, then play it safe and cite the source. There is never any harm in playing it safe.

Hunter’s Media Diet

My name is Hunter Maerz and I am a junior at Penn State University studying Broadcast Journalism. My morning ritual for attaining news starts with the television show, Sportscenter, which I put on while I get ready for the day, to get a quick recap of any and all sports news. Then, I have relatively early classes this semester, so while I am walking to class, I pick up a copy of the Daily Collegian. As soon as I get to the classroom, I sit down and look over the stories while I wait for class to begin. By doing this, I am able to catch up on all news relating to Penn State and the area. Then, once it becomes time for me to pull my laptop out, I have the New York Times website as my homepage so that right when I go on to the Internet, their news is the first thing I see. This strategy allows me to easily look through the top headlines of the day and if anything strikes my interest enough, I will click to view the whole story.

Now, going from class to class all day, with some time to eat and hit the gym, makes for a very busy day. So, I always check my Twitter feed on my cell phone throughout the entire day to catch any quick blurbs of news that may be happening in the world. I follow several news corporations such as CNN and Fox News, as well as a couple of sports analysts/agents, and a few public figureheads such as Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. Following a variety of different people and corporations allows me to get a lot of different opinions and news stories that I might otherwise not see. I also read Rolling Stone magazine and Sports Illustrated magazine from time to time, depending on if there are featured stories that I am interested in reading about. I am not a big fan of the radio so I will admit that I do not listen to any talk shows or get any of my news using that platform. The last book I read was The Great Gatsby, which I was re-reading for the second time. It has become quite a favorite of mine. I love the HBO original series Game of Thrones too, and would love to start reading those novels as well. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read the books that led to a trailer like this?

This is me after almost getting swept away into the sea in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, last spring

This is me after almost getting swept away into the sea in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, last spring

In terms of my career, I would like to end up working in the entertainment world, whether it is music or film, because that is what I am most interested in and I would like to explore more into that field. Also, working for a sports magazine or a sports show would not be horrible either. I think of myself as pretty outgoing, so if I end up in one of those fields, I would like to have a job that involves communicating with other people or companies. I just want to make sure that if I am going to have a job, I want to be passionate about it and I want to work as hard as I possibly can to be the best at it.