Lu’au Festivities

This was one of my favorite events to cover out of all the events I have reported on at my university. There was tons of planning for the event and I really appreciate everything that was put into place to ensure that students and staff could have a really awesome time! This is an annual event so every year current and new students can enjoy a little taste of the Hawaiian islands!

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight Movie

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The movie Spotlight is a really great example of how journalists bring attention to an issue when it affects the community at a significant level that it has to be reported on. These stories can be rooted throughout a neighborhood, a city, even across many states. I believe the work that these journalists put forth over many months and years shows how personal and dedicated they were in making sure justice was served. As an individual who works in broadcast journalism, this story only reaffirmed why I chose to be a part of the television industry. Being able to report on many different stories in order to show the community what is going on exactly when it happens is what makes broadcasting so interesting. Even though there might be a slight dislike of the media, there is a reason why this industry exists and the many functions it serves besides reporting the news.

If major issues are not brought up and talked about, then who will be the watchdog that monitors the many institutions we rely on? Individuals get comfortable and that is where we get into trouble because that is when people lose sight on what and who exactly they are working for. Ethics play a major role in the different decisions made on a daily basis and some people are less ethical then others. If this unethical behavior exists in top level positions, then it is our responsibility to expose what needs to be fixed and why the behavior is wrong. Bad decision making needs to be corrected if skewed because if not then we normalize the behavior as if there are no alternatives to the norm. People might not enjoy the news digging around and trying to get information, but this is the only way to make sure that the information is vetted correctly and that our sources are actually credible before we publicize the story.

It is nice to know that we have the “fourth estate” looking out for the public’s best interest despite some people in the industry’s misjudgment. Don’t get me wrong, the journalism industry is not perfect either, but there is a large majority of people that work in this industry that are extremely dedicated to serving on the public’s behalf when there is wrongdoing. We worry about things that we think are important to the public because people have busy lives and might not know about the dangers of a consumer product or significant weather patterns that bring major changes that could put lives in jeopardy. The industry is about trying to be ahead of issues so that if something unforeseen occurs we can refocus on what needs to be addressed to the public in a timely manner. News is always happening and being there as its happening is what I enjoy most about being in broadcasting. Letting the communities know what is coming next is the human element of the news that will always exist. We live in these exact same neighborhoods, cities, and states as well so making sure the public is aware and safe also ensures our safety.

 

Inimical Comments

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The role of comment sections plays into getting others who may have some expertise on that particular subject or to just add to the conversation. There are other websites that use a different approach like Kinja which has a voting system that allows other readers to vote on comments. Used correctly, comment sections can and should be civil in order to prevent unnecessary and inflammatory responses in order to bait others into a discourse that is not professional. Comment sections are not one hundred percent foolproof, but that does not mean that a website should get rid of them all together. If different views are not allowed, then how as a society are we supposed to have discourse? In discussions that are face-to-face you are going to have opposing ideas. The option that comment sections offer is the anonymity to hide behind how you really feel about a subject. Most people don’t really have the courage to own up to what their own beliefs are in person which is why people say all kinds of cruel and intentional responses on the internet.

The use of comment sections probably started out with the intentions of seeing how the readers feel about the article, website, and the topics discussed on the website. It wasn’t until people started to spam these comment sections with the purpose of trying to start a comment war over something that didn’t really apply to the article. That is why getting rid of the comments sections in a sense lets the trolls win. Their main objective is to start up trouble and stop the conversation from going any further and getting off track. This is what you don’t want because then your readers will most likely not only stop commenting on articles, but they will no longer visit your website.

As Ricardo Bilton states, “Done right, publishing comments can drive discussion and increase reader engagement. But more often than not, publishers have seen their comment sections devolve into a free-for-all in which decorum and even social norms are tossed aside in the name of some grievance, real or perceived. For an example of the kind of culture the Sun-Times is chasing, Newman cited RogerEbert.com, which observers often said housed one of the best commenting communities online. “He would get hundreds of comments — thoughtful, thought-provoking, civil — on all of his posts,” Newman said. “That’s kind of the feel that we want to get to; … (Digiday 1)

There are options built into comment sections like giving the readers the ability to flag a comment which will most likely get the account suspended and eventually deleted. There is the ability for trolls to keep creating fake accounts, but I think that these publishers just have to keep at it and realize that the openness of the internet does allow unwanted behavior to flourish whether you like it or not.

I do understand that publishers don’t always have the time and resources to monitor their comment sections all the time, but in order to get readers interested in an article which includes other features of your website, there has to be the option for readers to engage with the author besides emailing or messaging on Twitter. People create uproars with other things besides comments sections, for example like live television. Reporters, producers, and director’s plan to have a clean and smooth show, but you cannot always prevent those instances where a rowdy passerby will say something that is broadcast live over the air. This type of behavior is not wanted and most of the time unexpected, but it is sadly a problem that people working in live television have to deal with. If live television were to stop this type of behavior we would no longer send out reporters to cover live events, thus making televised news unappealing to viewers who want to know what is going on in their communities.

Broadcast Interview

Election Night team

I have had the honor of working with Jennifer Castor at the Aurora Municipal Center with Aurora Channel 8 which continues to be a great way for those wanting to go into journalism to gain some valuable skills and even individuals currently in the journalism field to come in and improve on their skills as a journalist or photojournalist. You will get to learn and work with many individuals who have worked in the industry for years and who have also won many awards during the span of their career. Anyone interested in broadcast journalism really would benefit from interning or volunteering with Aurora Channel 8 and getting a chance to learn more about the industry. She is a wonderful mentor and friend that I am still learning from today.

 

CL: What experiences got you interested in Broadcast Journalism?

JC: In college (Fordham University, NYC) I majored in Communications and was exposed to some of the best media outlets in the country. Some of my classes were with the journalists working at WABC, CBS Radio and World News Tonight. One of my professors also required us to read the NY Times each day. I was hooked. News and specifically broadcast journalism became my passion. Also, I was able to intern at 3 different TV stations and fell in love with telling stories through video and sound.

CL: What advice would you give to others wanting to get into television?

JC: Read, watch and listen to as many different newscasts, publications, etc. as possible. I’d also recommend that students immerse themselves in learning the ever-changing technical side of editing and photography.
Take classes that help you to learn more about local government, religion, social issues…. and continue to read about them. As solo-video journalists, we need to be able to take (often) complicated topics and condense them into compelling, accurate and semi-short video stories. Knowing how to decipher the real story is critical. I am so grateful for the world religion and political classes I had to take in school. They help!

CL: What skills are necessary to be a great journalist or a photojournalist?

JC: An exceptional photojournalist is very detail oriented. They listen for natural sound that can enhance they story. They “see” things in the story setting that take the viewer closer to the topic. They are patient and wait for the right moment to get the best sound bite to really “tell” the story. They are also open-minded. Sometimes the story turns out to be something completely different than you originally thought…. good journalist adjust with the story and tell it well.

Commitment is also important. Careers in journalism are not typical in any way. Hours can be long and staying committed sets good work apart from the rest.

CL: What if any, are the most difficult aspects of being in broadcasting?

JC: To me, the news-broadcasting image has changed and so has public opinion. Often, the stories that are covered are negative and even stressful. The public is often hostile toward the media and learning to handle that is (sadly) a new “must”.

There is also a large sense of responsibility. Honest reporting is our job and making sure every fact is accurate (no matter how tired or busy or stressed you are) is so important.

Odd hours and schedules do impact family life. Learn to balance as best you can.

CL: Can people in the news industry move into different positions at a television station?                                                              

JC: Absolutely! Hard work is often rewarded in promotions into roles with new responsibilities. I know people who have started as overnight video editors…. to become national award-winning investigative reporters. A passion and commitment will make that happen.

I started as a video editor and am now a solo-producer who has reported on-air in Denver.

CL: What did you enjoy most about being in television?

JC: I love meeting people in our community, gaining their trust and sharing their compelling story via video. A well-told visual story can motivate people to become educated about a certain topic, can positively impact their lives or can promote positive change…. and much more. Video stories can get to the core of the human spirit and I thrive when being part of this industry.

Photojournalists go places most do not…they see things most do not…. they meet people most do not…. and for me, that has enhanced my sense of community and human nature.

CL: How many different types of awards have you achieved during your time in television?

JC: Let me first say that I’ve never set out to do a story simply in hopes of winning an award. But, hard work can sometimes lead to recognition.

I’ve been honored to have received the following awards:

Peabody Award (national award for excellence in broadcast reporting) National Scripps Howard Award for Excellence
7 Heartland Emmy Awards (20 nominations)
Colorado Broadcaster Association Awards (10+)

National Association of Telecommunication Officers & Advisors Awards (National) National Press Photographers Association Awards (15+)

 

Economic Podcast

In the podcast “The Giant Pool of Money” with Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg they explain the complex situation that affected many people during the 2007 – 2008 housing bubble and subsequent recession that followed. The type of reporting used for this podcast was done very well because it created the scene first and it then broke the story into different fragments to give us the small details of who was involved during this time. By starting with the different moving pieces first we get to see first hand some of the different examples of people who were involved with the subprime mortgages, the NINA loans, and the Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO).

I think having Clarence Nathan on the show put a face to those on the other side of the housing bubble, which were the individuals borrowing the money from the banks. He was one of many people who were brought into the fold when they signed their name on the dotted line of a contract that was a slap in the face for homeowners. The fact that the banks knew the risks of loaning money to people without having to check out FICO scores, monthly income, and if the person was even still living was very telling of how unethical the system was. Both sides knew the implications of loaning out money to individuals they knew could not pay on the loan and borrowers who also knew that they too could not keep up the obligations of the loan created a ripple effect that changed everyone’s piece of mind about the global financial system.

The type of storytelling that both Ira Glass, Adam Davidson, and Alex Blumberg used to explain what brought down the global financial sectors was put together creatively and smoothly so that the listener could still stay with the timeline of events and know all the people involved in the reporting. Writers like Thomas Friedman have also talked about the excesses of banks and those who helped contribute to the financial meltdown. Having an open discussion on what caused the mess in the first place with examples of one of many individuals in the same situation helps to unravel the intricate parts of the whole so that the audience can get a better understanding as to what culminated into a bubble so large that it ruined many lives in the process.

Some of the issues maybe with this type of reporting is some listeners could get sort of lost in who the reports are talking to if the back and forth style of story telling does cue or restate who they are talking about in the story. There has to be the right balance of movement in the story, but not too much or you could lose your listeners and then they spend more time trying to figure out who the people are instead of listening to the content of the story. In this case I think the reporters did a really great job of ensuring that the reporting was fluid and provided many case examples of what contributed to the global financial crisis that many people are still recovering from even today.

Spiral of Silence and Selective Exposure

I think that professor Strother made some really valid points about those in the minority not being able to feel confident enough to speak out against the majority opinion. With social media access available everywhere on any device, you would think that it would make it easier for people who have differing opinions to express how they view a specific topic. Expressing ones views in a face-to-face setting I believe takes more courage than expressing ones views on a comment section or a social media platform. Given that social media provides a little anonymity and also provides the ability to comment on anything without having to attend a town-hall or conference that have people who range in how they feel about certain topics.

Having the ability for others to get their side across is what keeps the conversation moving and allows for individuals to express why they think a certain way about an issue and how those feelings play a role in their lives. Since people have so many different experiences, each person brings a different opinion and way of thinking that could change the way you view something. Having the ability to shed many different lights on the same issue helps to keep the flow of information available to everyone who wants to know what the differing opinions are. If people are not able to get both sides of a topic, how can they know for sure if the information they believe to be true is actually valid? You need two sides to create an argument and there has to be give and take from both sides to come to the conclusion as to which side has more valid points. People can follow the discourse from a specific topic and figure out for themselves what side they feel better aligns with their own personal beliefs. If only one side is allowed to express their opinion then this will make society less open to differing views and more hostile to those who challenge the majority opinion. The Spiral of Silence and Selective Exposure only setup people for being more closed-minded and prevent the two-sided argument I spoke about earlier.

Day 7: Climbing to the Top

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My journey with the Capitol comes to an end this Friday and for me this has been a wonderful collection of memories. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people who all support each other and who are extremely dedicated to serving the public. I hold the Colorado General Assembly in high regard for the services that it provides to the public and the hardworking legislators and staff that support the legislative process every session. I have learned so much over these last two sessions and am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the public in an institution that creates the very laws that affect everyday citizens.

It is important that the citizens of Colorado learn the legislative process because they have a big influence on what bills get passed. Having the ability to go and speak to your legislator and knowing how legislation goes through the Colorado General Assembly helps the public decide what laws they would like to see enacted in their districts and statewide. Government does have many moving pieces, but the process is still enjoyable for everyone involved. Getting the chance to work with so many different individuals with a variety of backgrounds also helps because they can add to the experiences of working with state government. Many people have worked in different departments so this is a great way to network and have the opportunities to move your way through other departments in the State of Colorado. There are many different ways to serve the public and the Capitol is an opportunity that I will always cherish. The professional relationships and friendships I have made will follow me along any journey that I decide to take. It is sad to know that I will no longer be able to see my fellow colleagues on a daily basis. This a moment in my professional career that I will always look back on, but I know that this journey will continue to move forward and will lead me to other opportunities.

Day 6: The Colorado Channel

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The Colorado Channel has been covering the Colorado General Assembly since 2008 and the services are provided by the Open Media Foundation which is a non-profit 501(c)(3) based here in Colorado. After each chamber is adjourned the public and staff at the Capitol are able to re-watch the broadcast 5 – 10 minutes after the live YouTube broadcast has finished because The Colorado Channel has to archive the video for later use. The archived broadcasts are stored on a site digitally and DVDs are made for every broadcast. One DVD goes to Archives and the other copy goes to the Legislative Library. Anyone can go either before the broadcast or after to request a DVD if they would like a copy of that days legislative broadcast.

Aides and interns can embed the link of a specific legislative day and can pick the starting point and end points of where their legislator was speaking at the well in either the House or Senate Chambers. This way, legislative staff can showcase what bills and the reasons for why their specific legislator is supporting a certain bill. The Colorado Channel only controls the audio in both the House and Senate Chambers. They do not set up microphones in the hearing rooms in the Legislative Services Building that is controlled by Legislative Council. The Colorado Channel time stamps everything while the broadcast is streaming live. You can search for any bill that has been timed stamped except for the introduced bills. During the 120 day legislative session, the broadcasts replay back after both chambers have adjourned for the day and each broadcast alternates everyday depending on which broadcast started earlier. The broadcasts are only aired on Comcast Channel 165 in the Denver area. The broadcast are streamed live in high definition and are stored digitally in an mp4 format for viewing later. If constituents, visitors, or those out of state want to keep up with what is happening with the Colorado General Assembly, tune in Monday’s at 10:00 A.M. and Tuesdays thru Fridays at 9:00 A.M.

Day 5: Bills Through the Legislative Process

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The first step of the journey of a bill starts after a bill is delivered to the Front Desk from either the drafter or a legislator. In the House, the Chief Clerk and in the Senate it is the Secretary of the Senate that checks the date on the bill back to make sure the bill is submitted accordingly to the deadline schedule.The bill is then assigned a bill number in the Enrolling Room in the order that they were received and assigned to a committee(s) of reference by the Speaker/President.

This leads us to the sponsorship of bills in which there is a prime sponsor (Representative/Senator) introducing the bill. The sponsors names on the bill are those Representatives/Senators names that appear on the bill at the time a bill is introduced. The chance for legislators to be co-sponsors are called for by the Speaker/President following all of the roll call votes on a bill. Next, there is the First Reading with the introduction of bills. The bill is read with the bill number stated, the title is read and the prime sponsor(s). Depending on which chamber the bill starts in, the Speaker/President state the committee assignment(s). The original bill is delivered to the staff person of the assigned committee of reference and the bill is scheduled for a hearing by the committee of reference. After hearing the bill, a report stating committee action is prepared and delivered to the House/Senate and every bill must have a fiscal note prepared and attached before being passed out from a committee.

The journey continues to Second (General Orders) and Third Readings (Final Passage). For Second Reading the House or the Senate resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole body to debate the bills placed on the Second Reading or special orders calendar and a legislator presides over the committee. The Chair of the Committee of the Whole rules on each motion, bills and or amendments that are deemed passed or lost. For third readings, bills must have a prime sponsor in the second house before being heard on Third Reading and a formal recorded vote is taken on each bill during Third Reading.

The bill(s) are transmitted to the Second House and the House/Senate Enrolling Room and Legislative Legal Services proofread the bills. The bill is delivered to the Second House along with information that states the action that was taken by the first House. The bill is then introduced in the second House which follows the same exact process that took place in the first House.

Day 4: Day at the Capitol

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Each day of the week at the Colorado General Assembly we have groups that come up for their day at the Capitol. These groups can range from teachers, nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and even school groups can come and see their government at work. This is a great opportunity to see how legislators conduct everyday matters in the House and Senate Chambers. Day at the Capitol events help with showcasing to the public what the legislative process is about and what bills their specific legislator is working on during the session. Individuals can visit and speak with their legislator about current bills being discussed and legislation that they would like to see considered for next session.

Having the public come to the Capitol is a great way for their concerns to be addressed and they can come and visit anytime to speak with their representative or senator. Public input is very important and concerns about a particular issue does have the possibility of becoming law which benefits everyone in Colorado. Much of the information is online which is perfect for those who want to see what bills are being passed in case they are not able to come to the Capitol in person. The public can also write to their representative or senator and also contact them by email or phone if they have question about a specific bill during the legislative session. The many different bills passed with the Colorado General Assembly do become law and that is why it is important the individuals take part in the process to make sure that if they want a new law passed or currently laws to be changed, that they let their legislators know what they would like to see addressed. Legislators in both chambers are working rigorously to pass laws that protect the public.