Tag Archives: New York Times

News Values in different medias

There are different news values, and I think different medias emphasize different values in their reporting, because they know what works (what sells or makes a profit) for them. I compared a NY Times article on Israel’s reaction to the situation in Egypt, to content on the English site of Al Jazeera covering Israel as well.

“I’m not worried at all. If the people in Egypt want to kill themselves,” he shrugged. “You write in Al Jazeera that Ron Chayek said ‘a good Arab is a dead Arab’.”

Ron Chayek, a 35-year-old website manager

This quote from the Al Jazeera page sums up one of the huge differences between content from the two sources. While NY Times did get quotes from people in Israel, they were either officials, or academics. Al Jazeera, on the other hand, collected and published several quotes from regular people in Israel, who don’t say the same thing. Mya Guarnieri worked hard to include quotes representing many different reactions and opinions, even the minority ones.  I think Al Jazeera is large enough that with their 65 bureaus – one’s probably in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem  – it would be easy for their staff to go out into the streets and actually ask passerby what they think of Egypt. There’s a sense of intimacy and reality, that is almost absent from the Times article, which says at the bottom has contributing reporting from Jerusalem.

But perhaps the differences really just boil down to a space and/or resources issue. The Times article was one of the front cover stories for 1/31, but it’s just over 1000 words so it feels short. On the other hand Al Jazeera has plenty of space for its coverage of the Egypt situation that their website so they have two articles on the Israeli situation, one that is manly the quotes from the people and the other reporting on the government. I don’t think the Times had time or room to pursue both sides of the story so they chose the more official government spin. Which for the casual reader in New York, is a fine angel, but for the more invested follower of the Egypt situation, I think they would be more satisfied with Al Jazeera’s coverage.


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Filed under Assignments, News

Is it Mixing? Or Plagiarism?

Last weekend, while I was busy trying to solve the EU’s problems with a potential unified military force – I was at Harvard National Model United Nations – I came across a short NY Times article that struck a nerve.

Helene Hegemann is just 17.  But she already has a play and a movie under her belt. Her first book, about a 16-year-old who enters Berlin’s drug and club worlds after her mother dies, has climbed the bestseller lists and is a finalist for a $20, 000 award. But the book and author are in the middle of a huge plagiarism dispute.  It turns out the author has lifted pages from another book without many changes.

The Awards jury was aware of the charges when they made the book a finalist. And one member was even quoted as believing the mixing was a concept of the book.

The author identifies herself as a

representative of a different generation, one that freely mixes and matches from the whirring flood of information across new and old media, to create something new. “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity,”

I totally disagree with both the author, and the awards jury for selecting this book as a finalist. I have no problem with mixing, when the artists are forthright and say they mixed. But this author tried to get away without saying anything. That’s plagiarism, and she got caught.

Mixing is most common in music, when DJs produce new tracks by throwing a couple old songs over new beats. But I’ve never really seen it in books before. I just don’t think it goes well with such a static medium as books. The whole point of books and printed words in general is that it is the original thought of the writer, which goes against the philosophy of mixing.

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Filed under News, Writing

Religion Class Part II

For Thursday’s religion class we needed to read Andrew Sullivan’s column from 2003 about leaving his Church.

There were a lot of emotions in the class, but unfortunately we only really discussed the article for about a half hour. We had 3 presentations and had to do class evaluations as well.   I was not the only one who was shocked, angry or depressed after reading the column. Mr. Sullivan was unable to reconcile being gay and going to Church after his parish asked a gay couple to leave the choir when they went to Canada to get a marriage license and had a newspaper article written about it. This couple had been members of the choir for over 25 years. It brought up the way Vatican has handled gays over the past few years. Pope John Paul II met with the man who tried to kill him, but he wouldn’t meet with openly gay Catholics.

I really sympathized with Andrew because I could feel his anger and pain. I could imagine that going  from attending mass weekly at the same parish for your whole life (Andrew says 40 years…) to being unable to enter a church because of all the anger would be very painful. I wouldn’t be able to handle not going to church because of the strong connections I’ve made.

But the biggest question that reading the column brought up for me was whether you are denying part of yourself when you sit in the pews and are gay. I think your sexuality is between you and God. Period. God knows what you do and who you like, but God loves everyone equally (and probably couldn’t care less about your love life…)  But I’m reminded of what happens with a Bishop finds out when a politician voted Pro-Choice. He’s denied Communion, asked not to participate in mass. I can only imagine what would happen if those same bishops who would deny Communion to people who voted for Pro-Choice politicians found out there were gay Catholics in their diocese.

Gay Catholics are out there. There’s an organization called Dignity USA that celebrates all LGBT Catholics. I looked at the Boston chapter and learned they worship in an Episcopalian church. They don’t receive any support or resources from the Boston Archdiocese.


Filed under Musings

Tweets for Rent

What if a friend on twitter (some you know well either in real life, or just online) told you where to get personalized m&ms and included a link? Would you click it? Do you ever click a shortened link, not knowing where it will end up?

According to an article from the New York Times Tweets are the next billboards for rent. There are several start ups that are looking for Tweeters to hand over their feed for a quick ad. They’re hoping to use celebrities with thousands of followers, but also regular tweeters too. These tweeters get paid, but the start-ups take a cut. Some companies differentiate between celebrities and Joe schmoes, while others just take a 30% cut across the board.  A sample tweet would be marked as sponsored, which would let followers know its was an ad. The article mentions that three years ago, a similar trend started with blogs, but the posts were not clearly marked as ads so a lot of people were against the idea.

Even though the tweets are clearly marked as adds, some people are against the idea, because the ads would spoil the “authentic dialogue” on Twitter.  But I think sometimes the only difference between an ad and a hearty recommendation is the label. We all tweet recommendations  – I usually tweet about the podcasts I listen to. While I’m not against the idea of tweeting ads (and even would consider looking into signing up if I needed the money) I know I would not purposely click on a link from someone I know if I knew it was an ad beforehand.

What do you think?


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Digital Natives

Does being a Digital Native – a young Millennial who grew up with computers – allow me to multitask better?

Scientists have already come up with a study that proves adults actually harm their productivity by multitasking, but an article in the NY Times Science section poses the question whether kids do so also.

There’s an example of reading while a movie you know is on. The med student guessed he was reading at 80% efficiency, meaning he would be able to sit there reading for a longer time.  (Literally there is a line in the article like that. I was very surprised when I read it, but it does make sense)

I can really only speak from my study habits though. I noticed when I came to college, they seemed to change. I can’t get much done in my room when it’s the weekend. I have to move to the library – preferably the 1oth floor – where there are a lot less distractions. During the week I usually sit at my computer in my room. I still get distracted but I don’t allow myself to stay distracted for that long. I think it’s because I am aware that I have x amount of time to do something for the next day. During the weekend the due dates are further away and it’s harder to buckle down.

Last night for instance, I was reading a chapter in Marty’s A Christian World and every time I reached a section break, I played a game of Bejeweled Blizt on facebook. I probably didn’t finish my written response to the reading as fast as I would have if I hadn’t played a game, but I was able to stay focused longer by taking a little break for a minute or two. However it was just after midnight when I finished and I didn’t want to start my German essay when I wasn’t at my peak, so I had to do it today instead of doing some work for tomorrow.

Multitasking is a gift and a curse to me. The line between multitasking and procrastinating can get really blurry sometimes. (Facebook really is a hinderance sometimes) I find there are certain things like writing for my creative writing class that I need to turn my internet off. But there are other kinds of assignments that I either need the internet or it doesn’t bother me.

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