Author Archives: jkbiehl

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

Today we will: Discuss news of the world Hear a Newscheck from Nancy and Eric and Billy Discuss your pieces Discuss RPC — and passive vs active Take time for individual help Features The Lens: Nairobi NYT: Iran-US NYT: Merkel … Continue reading

What Can We Learn from John Stewart? Humor and Journalism

Today we will:

  • Discuss the news of the world
  • Discuss RPC (quickly)
  • Discuss humor and what makes us laugh, particularly John Stewart and Stephen Colbert



  1. Read Dave Barry humor pieces — think about why they make you laugh
  2. Work on Assignment 3 rewrite due Tuesday April 16
  3. Final piece — Assignment 4 — due the last day of class

Journalism and the Law

Today we will discuss:

The US Constitution





Chicago Tribune

ESPN and Ohio State


Ohio State

The best way to get information is to understand what you are entitled to see.

US Constitution – Bill of RIghts


FOIA letter generator