Author Archives: jkbiehl

Wrap-up and test review

Today we will:

  • Discuss news
  • Review for test 2 (Tuesday)



Test review

  • Fake news
  • Media diets — how does what you read shape what you think and know?
  • News neighborhoods VIA
  • News vs opinion and opinion vs punditry
  • If I’m in a news neighborhood, how do I know if info I am getting is good?
  • Look for VIA Verification, Independence, Accuracy
  • What are the sources? Direct/indirect — how reliable are they? Are they anonymous?
  • Does the reporter open the freezer
  • Who owns the news? Does this affect the coverage? Is the publication biased?
  • Is the reporter transparent?
  • What is missing?
  • Is the report fair and/or balanced? Does it need to be?
  • What’s the point of being an informed news consumer?


Test format

  • Five multiple choice questions involving basic concepts from lectures and PPs. 25 points
  • Do five of seven short answer questions (you must do one of two videos) 75 points

Know the terms we discussed including: Fair vs balanced, Fair language, fair play, fair presentation, bias, cognitive dissonance, implicit bias. Be able to discuss.

Understand why who owns the news can matter and affect coverage.  Know the pattern in media conglomeration and why it matters.

Be able to explain when a story requires balance and when it doesn’t

Be able to apply what you have learned and use examples to make points



Fair presentation?

Baltimore Mom

Fox and Friends on Baltimore Mom

Video to deconstruct: WIVB Box cutter



Editing workshop

Today we will:

  • Hear a Newscheck
  • Discuss news
  • Discuss basic tips for speaking on camera
  • Edit A3




Speaking on camera

How You Look

1. Wear Clothes You Feel Good in

Have some fun with your wardrobe and be sure it reflects your personality. Choose comfortable clothing that showcases the real “you.” To make a slightly more formal statement, a suit and tie or blouse and skirt is perfect. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Keep hair out of your face. Feeling good about yourself is key. And it will show.

2. Your Mom Was Right: Sit Up Straight and Stand Still

The camera exaggerates everything because there is nothing to distract the viewer. If your posture is poor, viewers will think you’ve checked out and lost interest. Your body should convey your energy and intelligence without being stiff and robotic.

Don’t fidget. Plant your feet hit width apart.

3. Watch Your Body Language — Everyone Else Will

If you impulsively rub your leg to calm your nerves, it will look like you have fleas.  Find a good place for your hands so they aren’t distracting to viewers. You can talk and gesture with your hands, but don’t go wild.

4. Smile With Your Eyes

A warm and genuine smile does wonders for coming across as sincere and confident.  The eyes can dictate whether a smile is real or forced. Look mostly at the person, but sometimes at the camera.

How You Sound

5. Use Your Natural Voice.

Leave that “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America” voice at home. Be yourself and speak to the camera like it was your best friend. Not only is it more natural, but it’s what people expect. You want your video to reflect who you are, not Brian Williams.

6. It’s How You Say It

You know what you’re talking about. So focus on how you deliver the goods. Pacing matters. Don’t rush. Enunciate.  Avoid slang. Your choice of words is also key. Simple and clear beats a multisyllabic mouthful any day.

How To Prepare

7. Look At The Camera As You Would Your Dog

Don’t be afraid of the lens — it won’t bite or even lick you. Just look into it with the love you’d give a welcoming pet at the end of the day. Don’t look around; darting eyes scream, “I’m nervous and desperately searching for the exit!” Blink naturally; excessive blinking signals a lack of sincerity.

8. Keep It Moist

Dry mouth is the enemy of talking. Get that frog out of your throat with a sip of water. Taking a water break can also be a way to step away from the camera and calm your nerves. And keep your lips moist with something other than your tongue!

9. Chill

Don’t go in front of a camera full of nerves and sweaty palms. Do whatever is necessary to help you relax — stretch, do jumping jacks, listen to music, go into the bathroom to talk to yourself. Sit in front of the camera only when you’re feeling calm, cool and collected. It will add to your confidence.

10. Breathing Is Good

Not only is it essential for life, but breathing is necessary to be awesome on camera. Take deep breaths before you go live, and continue to breathe easily when the camera’s on. If you find yourself breathing or talking too quickly, it’s time for a break.

NPR: Sea Turtles


  • A3 due Thursday Nov. 16
  • Tuesday: RPC 30-33
  • Read humor pieces passed out in class.

Today we will:

  • Talk about news
  • Finish coming up with issue piece ideas — talk about structure
  • Look at worksheets
  • Talk about Neil deGrasse Tyson profile
  • RPC 22





*Nov 2 John, Dabin, Norin, Guanlin

Nov. 9 Mark, Bela, Conor, Rayjon

*Nov. 16 (Silverman)  Makenzie, Alan, Tiffany, Jackie

Nov. 30 Caitlyn, Ema,Briana,


A2 Deadlines:

  • Worksheet draft due: Today
  • Outline with lead and nut: Nov. 2 (Thursday)
  • Revised draft – Thurs. Nov. 28

A3 Deadlines:

  • Draft: Nov. 9 (we will edit in class)
  • Final: Nov. 16

RPC 22

Jimmy Breslin: Digging a Grave for JKF

Gay Talese: Silent Season of a Hero


Neil deGrasse Tyson


For Thursday:

UB Spectrum:

The Parking Game, NYT: The Price of Nice Nails 




Profiles and Interviews

Today we will:

  • Talk about news
  • Talk about your quotes and questions you have for assignment 1 (drafts due Thursday)
  • Give out interview partners
  • Talk about profiles (cub reporter reading)
  • Talk about interviewing
  • RPC 12-15 –words matter



WORDS Matter!! Choose your words carefully. Cut repetitive phrasing and get the name of the dog. Figure out what details matter and use them.


New Yorker profiles

A profile is a portrait of a person in words. Profiles dig beneath the surface to explain what motivates and drives people. They must have an angle, a theme or thread that is introduced in the lead and pulls through the whole story.

They are similar to obituaries

Interview partners.

Do research on your person’s home country. Find out if Buffalo has a large population of people from that country. Restaurants etc.

Write an email to your subject by the end of the week.

Interviewing etiquette

For Thursday:

  • Read “The Little Sister” and think about how she got the story, did the interviews
  • Draft 1 due Thursday
  • Newscheck group 2 presentation

How do I quote someone?


Today we will:

  • Finish discussing Justin Bieber piece
  • Talk about quote format
  • RPC 6,8,9
  • Talk about Newschecks



Newscheck dates

Sept. 28 Babatunde, Alexis, Andrew, Yanna

*Oct. 5 Gina, Chloe F, Lea, Sydney

Oct. 12 Chris, Brendan, Richie, Talei

Oct. 19 Logan, John G, Sara, Alex W

Oct. 26 Chloe B, Jack, Alex M, Manni

*Nov 2 John, Dabin, Norin, Yang

Nov. 9 Mark, Bela, Conor, Rayjon

*Nov. 16 (Silverman)  Makenzie, Alan, Tiffany, Jackie

Nov. 30 Caitlyn, Ema, Briana


Justin Bieber Would Like to Reintroduce Himself

Do you feel like you know JB after reading this?

  1. Voice — colloquial
  2. Lead and nut reversal
  3. Anecdotes — chicken fingers, poolside, monkey, Mexico mooning, walk through hotel, Ferrari, Hailey
  4. Detail — thumbnail profile of him, description of clothes, description of hotel and arcade, how he talks
  5. Dialogue — we get to know JB through his quotes. She shows us his personality, rather than tells us about him. First quote at pool, apology pg.2, God, monkey, mooning at sacred site, love, Adderall, parents
  6. Honesty – JB is hard to interview, describes why, Ferrari and references,
  7. Transitions — lead to first quote, repetition of unsettling, God and negativity, after anecdotes moves to something else (Tulum to antsy)
  8. Explainers/narrative of his life — what happened with the monkey, what is Adderall, what does his hotel look like, what happened in Mexico, who are his parents etc
  9. Awkward moments — doctor
  10. Kicker — slips out the back door

Any annoying habits of writer:

  1. Repetitive
  2. Exaggerates for humor
  3. Too wordy in places?
  4. Too into self? Too present in the piece?




For Tuesday:

Read: “The Course of their Lives” (part 1)  and “How to Write a Profile.” 

Debate 1 and what happens when truth and accuracy differ?

Today we will:

  • Have five minute news roundup
  • Hold debate 1
  • Talk about law vs ethics and truth vs accuracy and leakers
  • Begin thinking about credibility of sources/anonymous sources
  • Reminder: Test 1 Tuesday

Will cover all readings, lectures, case studies AND include two ethics dilemmas for you to solve. I will supply SPJ Code and Bob Steele’s 10 questions.



Are laws always ethical?

Should journalists always follow the laws?

How journalists break laws (often in name of ethics)

  1. Defy the government
  2. Don’t reveal sources
  3. Go undercover – lie about who they are
  4. Test system — ABC plutonium/NYP airport security/School safety
  5. Protect criminals by not outing them

How journalists act illegally and unethically

  1. Steal information themselves via illegal means
  2. Plagiarism
  3. Fabrication





Watch the Academy Award winning film “All the President’s Men”

Come to class with a WRITTEN LIST (to be turned in) of three to five ethical and three to five unethical tactics Woodward and Bernstein used in their reporting of the story.

If you don’t know the history of Watergate, read about it BEFORE you watch the film.

History: Watergate



Profiles and Obits — Here’s Your Chance to Kill Off Your Classmate

Today we will:

  1. Discuss news of the world (briefly)
  2. Hear a Newscheck from Peter, Paolo and Amanda
  3. Talk about profiles and obits
  4. Start an obit
  5. Discuss Joe DiMaggio


Profiles and obits


  • RPC 12-15
  • Read “The Legend,” by Greg Bishop for Thursday
  • Obit due Tuesday, Oct. 1