From the viewpoint of a Conservative Massachusetts Native: Donald Trump and Journalism

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For me, the issue of journalism in the age of Donald Trump is a complicated one. Reasons for such complication include: I voted for Donald Trump for President, I am an independent leaning Conservative who’s a lifelong Massachusetts native and I am surrounded by friends and colleagues who think completely differently than I do when it comes to Donald Trump.

These matters have all made it difficult for me to express my feelings on issues because of the constant labeling I get whenever I express any sentiments of conservatism. While I did vote for Trump, not everything he says or does I agree with, which is an important distinction to make especially when I write any pieces for journalism or read about Trump in newspapers and online websites.

For the bulk of my existence, I’ve consumed news media through CNN and Fox News, however with the rise of Social media, that consumption has grown to include multiple media outlets. There is the Huffington Post, Brietbart News, and many other far left or right wing media outlets that skew their viewpoints to their targeted demographics. I think this has become a large problem in the world of journalism because more and more everyday, bias has become prevalent and to the point where it has become insufferable and unavoidable.

You cannot turn on CNN or Fox News without experiencing their bias towards liberal and conservative views. During the Election, CNN only had one Conservative member on their panel, Jeffrey Lord, and Fox News didn’t have any liberal news media members on their panels. For people to further trust news outlets on being neutral and giving a fair view of what’s going on in the world, news organizations must stop this one way road of driving in the realm of journalism. It might be hard for some people to believe that a Conservative is saying this, but I am.

The problem of bias in journalism has not only spread throughout news outlets but also into College campuses as everyday, you see liberal agendas instituted within administrations at colleges like UC Berkeley, Emory University, and even schools around in Massachusetts. Schools consistently promote “safe spaces” and do not allow Conservative speakers to give talks at their schools simply because they do not agree with their rhetoric. Again, this is a violation of free speech and should not be allowed at any institution anywhere, yet it happens more and more.

Take a look at what liberal comedian and talk show host, Bill Maher had to say on the PC culture that’s ruining schools and colleges in America when it comes to their disagreement on politics:

 

This kind of thinking from the majority of College kids around the country is what’s helping to contribute to the demise of news media outlets as well, because the kids who study journalism right now in school, are the same ones that retain their bias at the news media outlets they will right for in the future. Just because someone doesn’t have the same view as you, doesn’t mean the view doesn’t exist and that there aren’t a large mass of people out there that think differently.

I think most college kids live in a bubble nowadays, especially in Massachusetts, where there is the sentiment of “How can anyone like Donald Trump or agree with anything he says?”. I’m here to say, well, I’m one example of those types of people, and while I may be quieter in the public front about my politics, because of how I was raised to keep it to myself, there are millions and millions of the “silent majority” like myself who are Trump supporters.

However, I believe I have a sense of neutrality that many conservatives and many liberals do not have, especially when it comes to writing a news story. My job is to report the facts, not to lean one side, unless I am a columnist for a specific paper. I feel that in today’s world, the facts are reported but that there is bias in the sense that views are interjected into news stories all over the place. One of the first rules of basic news reporting again is to stick to the facts, and many do not do this anymore. This results in stories being spread all over Facebook and Twitter, retweeted or shared by the same biased people that agree with those sentiments, skewing political views.

 

As Bill Maher so eloquently put it again, news stories are becoming more clickbait than substance and that is a major problem for liberal news outlets and some conservatives to some extent, because people are fed up with reading about useless information.

Going forward, over the next few years of the Trump administration, it is not known what will happen in the world of journalism as news has been categorized a lot by Trump directly as being “fake news” when it doesn’t agree with him. While I don’t necessarily agree with Trump’s tactics, I do think he has a point, especially with outlets like CNN, the Huffington Post, and Washington Post, because those outlets are left leaning outlets that tend to sensationalize a lot of what Trump has to say. Again, I disagree with the way Trump attacks these organizations but I can see his point, as do many Americans. Hopefully that relationship can be mended and rebuilt as time moves on because a torn relationship between free press and the presidency does not bode well for the Journalism movement going forward in America.

Final Newstrack: Closing Thoughts on Al Jazeera

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Through my semester of reading and exploring Al Jazeera, I got a closer look into what kind of news organization they are and what perspectives they bring to the table. They are a very unique website that doesn’t have a large following domestically, but do have a great following internationally. Here are some takeaways and things I learned about the global news giant:

  1. Al Jazeera’s Goals:

Al Jazeera outlines their detailed and fulfilling mission statement on their site and emphasize, “giving a voice to the voiceless”, and to show the diversity of the world by expanding on global media. They definitely serve their purpose well and hold up the standards they set for themselves. As I read the intimate and emotional stories that Al Jazeera covered, such as stories on Syrian refugees or the impoverished communities in Africa, the stories contain a personal touch that evoke emotion from readers, by presenting harsh realities that many of us are unfamiliar with.

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2. Global Footprint:

International news networks strive to have outlets and subsidiaries in as many areas of the world as possible, and Al Jazeera succeeds in that department more than most. With many news branches such as: Al Jazeera America, Al Jazeera Balkans, and Al Jazeera Arabic, they cover a wide array of areas that provide perspectives into those communities. Having reporters and “boots on the ground” to directly cover every area is a strong advantage to have and allows for accurate information to be provided to readers. I compare it to major businesses that have aspirations and goals to expand their company overseas to widen their impact. Al Jazeera does that and as a result, has created a global brand that is followed all over the world, increasing its impact.

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3. Methods to the Madness:

Given that this is a multimedia focused class, it’s important to note that Al Jazeera uses a wide variety of methods to cover stories in a more interactive and entertaining way. They use effective techniques consisting of: photo stories, short video documentaries, interactive timelines, and personal stories. These days, folks are looking for more than just straight news stories, they’re looking for stories with emotional stories, especially pertaining to serious and political news. Al Jazeera covers those desires and shares stories from people who usually do not have a voice, again fulfilling their mission statement. For example, as I covered previously in one of my blog posts, Al Jazeera created an interactive story on how mothers in Bolivia live in respects to motherhood and child rearing. The powerful photos and little stories included in the feature were very personal and detailed, which makes readers feel as if they are there listening to the mothers stories in person. This focus on evoking emotion with their stories really makes Al Jazeera stand out.

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4. Closing Thoughts:

Personally, I hadn’t ever really explored Al Jazeera prior to taking this class. My news consumption mainly consists of reading and perusing through CNN, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and ESPN. However, with my new found knowledge of Al Jazeera, I might plan on incorporating them into my cycle of news media outlets to look out for. They are a great source to go to if you are interested in learning more about what’s going on internationally, whether on a massive global or smaller more personal touch. Hearing and reading stories you won’t normally see on CNN, is a nice change of pace that broadens your horizons.

How does Al Jazeera cover Breaking News?

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Breaking News is one of the most important aspects in the world of Journalism, especially today considering how fast news can get around via social media. Al Jazeera uses social media as a big part of their breaking news coverage. With utilization of their multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook alerts, they strive to inform the public with Breaking News in a quick and timely manner.

An example of this would be their coverage of the Russian Metro bombings in St. Petersburg this past weekend. When news of the bombing emerged, Al Jazeera tweeted out a “BREAKING NEWS” picture along with a tweet linking to the news story of the bombings on their website:

As news concerning the bombings unfolded and more information was released, Al Jazeera tweeted out several updates to keep their followers and readers informed of what was going on:

Again, to reiterate, as more information was released by Russian officials and authorities, Al Jazeera tweeted out detailed updates on what new information had come in. Using Twitter as the “Main” Breaking News tool is what many organizations in the media do because of its simplicity and immediate effect of getting news out to the public.

What’s interesting to look at is the image that Al Jazeera uses in their “BREAKING NEWS” tweets. They use the same image with white lettering and a red background, with their company logo in Arabic lettering next to the phrase. The usage of a red background and white lettering is smart because it catches the eye of readers much more efficiently than other colors. Red stands out and with big white lettering, people are more likely to click on the article and read it.

While Al Jazeera isn’t as followed or well-known in the United States as it is in other parts of the globe, they still manage to utilize their social media tools in order to deliver news fast to the US on their Al Jazeera English Twitter account. Skillfully designing their banner to seem more interesting to the eye is a successful technique that garners clicks into their news article.

Al Jazeera’s Alternate Storytelling Methods

As a news organization that focuses on issues in the Middle East and World affairs, Al Jazeera uses several different methods of storytelling. They have a podcast and audio station that followers can tune into on their website, with pages on iTunes to follow the podcast. However, the really interesting storytelling method that they use is something called “Interactive Documentaries”.

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These interactive stories involve writing, video, pictures, and interactive animations that involve readers exploring the story. For example, a story on the media and how we can read it strategically, is presented with very little writing and more videos to engage their viewers efficiently. These days, especially with the younger generation, people tend to lose focus with long drawn out papers and react better to videos.

Another example is their story on mothers in Bolivia and what their roles are in everyday life. In the interactive story, you can click on different symbols on objects within the picture and there is information/video on whatever subject you click on. The story is designed with animation in order to seem more attractive to the general reader.

Overall, I’ve encountered these kinds of stories on sports websites like BleacherReport and ESPN, as well as big news organizations like CNN. I always enjoy these interactive types of stories and find them more interesting to go through as opposed to just reading an article. The interactive aspect involves readers directly into the story which has a great and more positive impact in terms of what they read.

Al Jazeera Media Story

Mothers and Children in Bolivia

 

Matt Peacock’s Road to Recovery

The video that I’ve created tells the story of Matt Peacock, a BU Student, who had aspirations and hopes of joining the BU Basketball Team as a walk-on. He was about to be offered a spot on the team by the Coach before he suffered several injuries including a torn achilles. He was in a cast for several months and has started rehabbing and training for the hope that he can maybe claim that spot he was going to be offered come the fall.

I filmed my story with my Canon EOS Rebel T5i with a 18-55mm Lens using a tripod during my interview of Matt. With the action shots I completed, It was all handheld shooting with the same camera. I shot the interview at Matt’s apartment in Boston and the action shots of him doing basketball drills at FitRec. I edited the video using Final Cut Pro X. It was a lot of fun and an interesting story to share from my friend.

Matt Peacock Video Story

Kevin Yazhari’s Test Gallery

NewsTrack #4: Al Jazeera’s stance on Fake News

“Fake News” is one of the most controversial phrases used in the political & news world today. It’s a phrase that has become one of President Donald Trump’s favorites and he uses it as an attack, or defense, however you view it, against the mainstream media that criticizes him on a daily basis.

By definition, fake news can be described as the deliberate spreading of false information with the intent of misleading people for a specific reason, in this case it is politics. President Trump has railed on publications such as: The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, NBC, ABC, BBC, and almost all other major mainstream news outlets for fabricating stories to tarnish his stances or image. Through press conferences and his Twitter account, Trump takes a hard stance against the media and claims they are an enemy to the American public.

Interestingly enough, Donald Trump hasn’t mentioned Al Jazeera as a “Fake News” organization. In fact, I don’t think he’s mentioned them even once. Al Jazeera is a news outlet that covers affairs around the globe and given that many of Trump’s campaign stances targeted the Middle East, Al Jazeera has spent a lot of time covering and talking about what the current President has said.

Al Jazeera thinks Trump’s rhetoric against the media echoes sentiments similar to authoritarian leaders from the past. However, they haven’t gone as far as some other news organizations have when criticizing and analyzing Trump’s attack against the media:

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It’s clear that Al Jazeera isn’t one of the news organizations that Trump considers “Fake News” but much of that is probably due to the fact that they haven’t criticized him to the level of many other mainstream media outlets. Being an Arabic founded news organization, if Trump’s policies and stances start directly affecting the middle eastern part of the world, Al Jazeera might come out in a stronger stance against the President’s actions and sentiments.

As for whether I personally think the media attacks Trump too much, I do think that mainstream organziations do show their bias by sometimes taking too strong of a stance on a topic. However, I find it hard to label reputable and successful news media like CNN or NBC as “Fake News” just because Trump doesn’t agree with what they’ve written. Yes, there are some culprits who intentionally stretch and fabricate stories for political motivations but you can’t cut down the whole tree just because a few apples are rotten. I think Trump has a legitimate case against the media and their sometimes biased reporting but the street goes two ways and not everything can be blamed on journalists.

Link:

Al Jazeera on Fake News