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News and Editorial

What is news?

News is defined by information that was not previously known to the person, or audience, that is being told of it. News is commonly spread through multimedia platforms, such as radio, television and print articles. News is a crucial form of communication that keeps the public in the loop of the current affairs, issues, and people everywhere.

What is Editorial?

Editorial is defined by a newspaper or magazine that contains opinions, either by the editor or the writer. Editorial media content usually consists of columns, rhetoric appeal to the reader in their content and reviews. The reader will trust the writer more if they clearly state their work being editorial (e.g. “opinion” being included in the headline).

In the past, the way news would reach the general public would be through a newspaper being stocked in stores. Up until the early 2000’s, this was a readers only option. The process of waiting for a physical news paper to be stocked in stores is tedious – and more expensive for a company. Physical newspapers would have to go through a manufacturing process, such as printing, publishing and delivery. It didn’t matter what time of the day a news story occurred, because regardless it would not appear in the media until the next day.

Digital journalism has seen a massive increase on laptops, PC’s and smartphones. Apps dedicated to fast access news – e.g. RTE News – mean that the latest story is only a click away, and many stories are reported moments after occurrence. They are often accompanied with photo and video footage that a journalist – citizen or professional – has snapped on their phone.

The impact of fast journalism means that people can access content in the media, such as news and editorial pieces, much faster in comparison to waiting on a newspaper to be published. For a reader, this is beneficial as it means they are more in the loop of what is occurring in the world as it’s happening. However, for a journalist, this is a major increase in competition to get your story out there before anyone else. Professional journalist’s knowledge is now often construed due to citizen journalism flooding social media and blogs. This can be in the form of people taking pictures on their phones, or even writing short pieces on events.

Reader and journalist alike, it is important to be able to distinguish between a news piece and an editorial piece.

The first difference between the pair is how each one is presented to the reader differently.

On most news sites, news is presented as the “priority” to a reader. It is regarded as the most important piece of information, so it will come up first when you click onto the website. This will be either as a headline, or a sub headline around the page. This is often surrounding current affairs, or any major world events happening at present that are fully factual and are for informative purposes mainly.

However, an editorial is one you have to look for, particularly in more distinguished news outlets such as The Daily Mail. It will usually either appear in a box on it’s own, in small writing in the corner of the screen – or page if using traditional print media, or have it’s own separate section all together. In The Daily Mail, editorial’s are titled under “columnists”. As these include a lot of opinion and feelings of the writer, they are not front and center on news websites due to people wanting the “important” content first.

Another major difference is the use of “I” in editorials – “I think”, “I feel” and “I believe” are normally included. This is due to the writer having their own bias thoughts on what they are speaking on. In a news piece, this differs. The journalist should keep themselves out of a news piece as much as possible, and avoid including themselves in their work to keep it unbiased. This is so a reader can feel they are reading a true story and not believe swayed to back up one side or another.

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Magazine and Features Production

RTE News2day begins with fun, upbeat music as the introduction rolls, making it evident from the start that this particular show is aimed at a younger audience (children). The screen and title are full of bright colors. The presenter is dressed in casual clothing (dungarees), and greets the camera with a grin – unusual for a news show – which sets the happy tone. They begin to speak in an informal language, with the headline being about a dolphin finding a new home. However, they are careful to not poke fun at the topics being discussed. This tactic is clever, as the setting reels children into paying attention to what is being said. They also use sensitive and comprehendible language when speaking on more serious topics, e.g. speaking on counterfeit toys, while explaining what counterfeit means, in a simplistic way that kids can understand. Another example is how the presenters went around Charlie Birds walk for Motor Neurons disease and suicide. This was spoken about gently, and involved asking children to send paintings they’ve made in order to raise money. Once again, this is a direct engagement to the target audience. BBC Newsround has a similar color scheme to News2day – bright colors, bold fonts, very user friendly. Print style instead of video. However, there is a more formal tone from the first look – headline is regarding Russian war crimes in Ukraine, in direct comparison to a dolphin being rehomed. RTE News2Day is easy to follow and pay attention to due to the simplicity of the videos and the themes of the video are soft, honing in on the fact it is aimed at children. The description at the side of their videos reads: “Domestic and international news items of interest to younger viewers.” This line is simple and straight forward to the point, again easy for users to understand. When navigating through the website, it is also very user friendly to the age group it’s aimed at, which is young children. It can be found alongside other kid-aimed shows, such as cartoons like Peppa Pig and Odo. The RTE player itself is dark colour themed, contrasting to the show itself.

The BBC Newsround website is user accessible with clip art on every option at the top of each option (Picture of TV on shows, picture of controller on games). It shows the main headline in a large font with a picture of relevance beside it. A similar layout to News2day, the website is easy to navigate around and is user friendly in regards to locating content. However, the age group it is intended for is young teenagers as opposed to young children. It has content of stories that stretch worldwide, e.g. the ship in Antarctica and the NASA astronaut. Articles are also clickbait worthy, of which does appeal to teenagers. For example, the title of “What do you think is the best smell in the world?” implies that there is some sort of scientific logic behind the answer, in which they would provide. However, the content is merely a poll that people were asked about. In my opinion, and from a teenager themselves, BBC Newsround caters well to their target audience because of these factors.

In RTE News2Day, the tone of the piece is applied through people actually speaking to the camera. You can also see the faces and body language of the presenters, giving an upbeat energy to the gentle topics they speak on. They stay professional and keep composure while giving a relaxed vibe. The effect of smiling through the episode is also effective, in the sense that it immediately gives the energy that the show will not be a heavy watch. This appeals to the target audience directly, as children are easily frightened and intimidated in situations that are “too” serious. For example, when speaking on Charlie Birds walk, mentions of suicide can easily set off alarm bells in a child’s head. But, following it up with the soothing image of sending in paintings to help this cause, encourages engagement and also gives the children a sense of purpose. BBC Newsround is produced through digital print media, meaning that there is no body language or speaking tone when consuming their content. It is relied on to get their message across through their wording of their articles, headlines and images included. However, to me this is executed correctly. While News2day tends to attempt to make the news headlines “fun”, BBC Newsround doesn’t seem like they’re trying to make it that way. The variation of topics from serious to casual (Russia/Ukraine war to game bafta nominations to polls about smells) are just told how they are. There is no attempt to twist the stories with distractions to appeal to the audience. This is something a teenager would appreciate, as although the website is visually appealing (bright colors, stock photos of celebrities, snappy headlines) the stories are still being said how they are. Teenager’s brains are developed enough to understand this, whereas children’s brains are not. Unlike broadcast, there is no presenter in print to cover up the stories with a smile and a change of tone. I feel that although both websites cater well to their target audience, BBC Newsround gives a better spin on the news for the reasons listed above.

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User Generated Content Case Study

It Ends With Us is a romance novel written by Colleen Hoover. The reader follows the story of Lily Bloom and her suspicious lover Ryle Kincaid and we learn of her past, her broken home and her struggles in an abusive relationship. Although this novel was released in 2016, it’s popularity has recently circulated on the well-known video sharing app TikTok. With the app having the target audience of mainly teenagers, and Colleen Hoover’s novel being aimed at the same, the correlation between the two makes perfect sense. At time of writing, #ItEndsWithUs has 391.1M views on TikTok through so many users engaging in the craze of Hoover’s romance novel. Short video’s surrounding the book fall under many different types of videos. One video, with 568.3K likes, compares the book to a song by the overnight stardom Olivia Rodrigo. This benefits both the author and the artist to have associations with eachother, as both have a similar target audience of young people. Another trending video includes people reacting to quotes from the characters. This gains a sense of community in the TikTok comment section – people add their own favorites, react to others and like another’s comments. It is a major trend under #BookTok, in which users of the TikTok app post their favourite reads and is also a way for fellow readers to find their next book to get stuck into. The book being popular on this hashtag is beneficial, due to people now being extremely familiar with the cover, the title, the gist of the plot and the authors name.

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Roles and Responsibilities

white printer paper beside silver laptop computer

Roles in team: Research and Marketing/distribution

For the research team, I see this as finding all relevant facts through different resources, such as different websites, books and even people. I would use my research skills I have acquired through the last year of my course. This involves looking deeply into necessary requirements of my project. During year one, I researched through websites, books and interviewees to gain all relevant knowledge for different tasks, mainly in writing articles.

For when I had initially put myself forward for the Marketing/Distribution team, I would see this task as promoting and projecting my project, perhaps through outlets, such as social media. Social media’s include my journalism based twitter, my personal Instagram and Facebook. Catchy phrases and designs could be used to design pieces relevant to my work. Marketing and distribution is important regarding networking for your work, as it makes people of relevance aware of what you want to produce.

At the end, if my team produced a well rounded piece of work, with all required targets reached that we enjoyed to make in the process, I would feel we as a team have been successful in our efforts .

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Blog Task

Positives of comment sections:

  1. Gives a raw and honest view of the general public regarding news stories, without the “filter” of the media
  2. Validates the reader’s opinion for them if they did not feel validated already. Strength in numbers makes their opinion feel more powerful.
  3. A chance to engage with those who feel similar to you about certain subjects, or learn the opposing view of others.

Negatives of comment sections:

  1. Encourages internet trolling, which can be harmful to the victim’s mental health.
  2. Can be biased – people may base their opinions off of what others feel.
  3. May lead to disputes if the person is passionate about how they feel

Do the audience have the right to comment on pieces of journalism?
Do comments change what and how journalists write?

Yes. Without the public, there would be no journalism.

Some journalists, if not entirely confident in their work, may feel upset and disheartened by negative comments. As well as this, they may feel nervous to work on a story if they have previously seen comments from another source receiving hate.

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blog task

YouTube has had a positive impact on journalism, particularly in the sense of citizen journalism. With a platform like this, it is easy for an aspiring journalist to sit down and produce content that suits them and their style. An example of this is Eleanor Neale, a true crime content producer, who uploads herself speaking on these cases from her bedroom based on her subscribers requests.

As well as this, many people prefer the alternative of watching/listening to a news story as opposed to reading about it. YouTube is a solid platform for this, as many news channels upload their content onto it afterwards. An example of this is CNN, who post their highlights onto the platform. Their account is verified, making it reliable for the media consumer.

While the opportunity for citizen journalists is great, this of course comes with its risks. Fake news is easily spread by YouTube, and many times can appear believable. This is due to being able to see the journalist’s facial expressions, reading their body movements and hearing their tone of voice, and can lead to potentially dangerous situations.

YouTube comment sections can turn negative very quickly. This can be disheartening for journalists, and many channels keep their comment sections off for this reason.

YouTube has impacted the public discourse in the sense that many of us are now oversaturated and desensitized to disturbing content. As the platform is mostly free reign until it is reported to a moderator, many people stumble across content that is gruesome (e.g. Bolivia University Accident, where 7 students fell through their schools railing.)

Source: Video shows moment balcony collapses at Bolivia university, killing seven students | The Independent

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Journalism and Society P7, P8 and M4

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Ethics and Censorship

Unethical Journalism:

New York Times apologizes for ‘insensitive’ language in Berkeley article – The Irish Times

The New York Times broke the code of ethics in a report written 24 hours after the Berkeley balcony collapse tragedy, where a group of Irish teenagers lost their lives. In the article, offense to the families was caused due to the victims being described as “not just a source of aspiration, but also a source of embarrassment for Ireland”. This language came across as victim blaming, and was incredibly harmful during such a sensitive time.

Gareth Thomas: Journalist ‘told rugby player’s parents of HIV’ – BBC

The former rugby player’s privacy was invaded when the press got word of his HIV diagnosis. He had not discussed this matter with his family privately, and therefore was pressured into speaking about it. The journalist’s involved were incredibly unethical in the sense that they had no respect for his wishes regarding not making the matter public.

Ethical Journalism

Syria war: Tens of thousands of detainees still missing, UN says – BBC

The article follows the horrors of the huge number of those who have disappeared during 10 years of civil war in Syria. The journalist who wrote the article is ethical throughout the piece. This is due to them speaking respectfully upon those missing, acknowledging the war victims “unimaginable suffering” (which shows they are human, not just statistics), and protecting the identities of those who were brave enough to speak out by referring to them as “former detainee’s”.

Bobby Sands began his hunger strike 40 years ago today. What is its legacy? – The Irish Times

This article pays tribute to prisoner Bobby Sands in how he embarked on a hunger strike in protest of the British Government in order to end criminalization. The journalist who wrote the article remained ethical in the sense that they remained totally unbiased in their views of Sands. No opinion of what he did and stood for is mentioned (as this may differ for certain people), and the article is completely factual.

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Journalism and Society P3, P4

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News and case study

Story Topic: GameStop Stock Shares

  • “Bankers targeting a company to short it i.e destroy it should be banned….not the normal guy who is against it.” – The Sun

This comment is against the idea of those who work with money should not be contributing to these shares, as ultimately it will destroy the company.

  • “Another article that doesn’t tell the truth that the real reason is because hedge funds illegally shorted GameStop 140%” – The Independent

Again, this person is not happy with the level of shares arising in GameStop. They don’t think the media is telling the full truth, and believe the occurrences are illegal and ultimately going to end in failure.

  • “I’m a terribly simple soul I know…. but in my view selling something that not only is not yours to sell but, in fact, doesn’t exist, on the hope you can buy it back cheaper later is…. what’s the word…. fraud? Yes that’s it… it’s fraud.” – BBC

This comment is blunt with their beliefs. They insist that this is fraudulent behavior.

  • All articles surrounding the recent soar in GameStop Stock Shares including comments following one common theme – skepticism.
  • The majority of The Sun, The Independent and BBC’s reader’s appear to believe that the trend of investing your money into the stock market surrounds itself with fraudulent activity.
  • I get the feeling from the comments that the reason they went as far as commenting was down to the purpose of wanting to raise awareness.
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Journalism and Society P5, P6, M3

Gatekeeping and News Selection

Gatekeeping is the act of someone taking control of who has access to certain information. This can be news related, community based or relating to your identity.

Gatekeeping can relate to some people believing they have a right to be the only people that have access to this.

Demographic: 16-19 year olds.

“Flooding in Cork, Kerry and other areas amid rain and wind warnings”

Relevant for those who live in these areas and need to travel etc.

“Donnelly clarifies remarks on school re-opening after earlier saying union talks remained outgoing”

Relevant as this age category may still be in secondary school

“Ireland is getting a new covid roadmap, but what’s happening in other countries now?”

Relevant to contributing to young people’s social life.

“Coronavirus – one death and 686 new cases confirmed in Ireland”

Links in with roadmap, again relating to young people’s social life.

“Screen Watch: your guide to the best TV movies this week”

As we are in lockdown, many young people rely on TV for entertainment.

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P5 Primary