Friday, June 13, 2014

Sharing Days! 6/13/14

Random articles, Music and Media



  • I found a new (Its actually old but new to me) song by BOA called "Hurricane Venus".
    • This post written by Lauren DeStefano about "manic pixie dream girls" and how girls can be girls and not an object to be attained. 
    • A map that shows the entire world in stereotypes. 
    • Studying is really hard when this happens: 
      If this doesn't illustrate studying, I don't know what does.
      Can she just absorb it for me and give me the knowledge?

    Posts from Around the Web about Books

    Articles Dealing with Amazon's Bullying
    Articles dealing with YA
    In the News

    P.S I know I'm posting on Friday the 13th, but you guys believe in any superstitions? 

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Do you need to read to be a good writer?

    I don't actually own this picture, but it was cute,
    so I put the title of this post on it.
    Credit Link
    So I know this is a question that depends on the person, but honestly, I just wanted to throw my two cents in there.

    But basically, I know some writers that who for whatever reason either won't read, or they hate it. And I don't really understand it. Now, if you're simply too busy to read, that's understandable (it happens), but a writer (especially fiction) who hates reading?

    If there's anything that writers say will help your writing, one thing that everyone repeats ALL THE TIME its that if you want to be a good writer, you got to READ. 

    I know this one girl who's a fantastic writer. She's honestly pretty good and she knows a lot about writing. The only thing is that she doesn't read and doesn't see why its such a big deal if she doesn't. 

    But see, just like any other craft, in order to improve you have a) study a ton B) practice till you go blind (basically). And reading is how writers study. If you're a writer and you want to improve, you have to read. 
    Reading helps you see what works and what doesn't work. 

    Struggling on how to write something in first person or third? Read books in first or third and see how they do it. Writing a book in verse? Read other books in verse. Read things outside your favorite genres (I'm guilty of not doing this. Basically all I read and write is speculative fiction and historical fiction). Read stuff you don't really want to write or read. Heck, even read nonfiction or if you're a nonfiction writer, read fiction. (You could even read writing guides).

    Take notes while you read if you want. Or if you don't feel like being that studious, don't. Put little tabs by parts that struck out to you or by words you want to look up. Look at books that break grammar and other writing rules. (Examples I've seen of this is The Girl in the Arena in which there's no quotation marks, only dashes. And Blood Red Road by Moria Young in which I think the dialogue is separated by commas). 

    Read and study classics, see what makes them so famous and important. Read friends writing (or go find some writing friends and ask to read their stuff), and critique their writing. Not only will critiquing their writing help them, but it'll help you as well. Show you things to watch out for in your own writing and things you want to try. 

    Basically read everything. 

    Reading for writers is like chefs who don't eat or try out competition's dishes. 

    Sure if you don't read, but only write you'll still grow. But it will be very slowly and you won't see as much improvement. You don't have to read a lot, but you should be reading. How many books and what kind of books depends on you, but if anything, you could always read a little before bed like I do. (Reading before bed, studies have shown, apparently trick you into getting tired easier. But I wouldn't recommend horror right before bed.)

    And besides, reading other books will give you so many new ideas. Like seriously, each book is just waiting to inspire you (not to copy it obviously, but to give you your own idea). Also, don't be afraid to read bad books, because then you can learn what not to do. 

    Another reason you should be reading is because its entertaining and you can learn stuff. Even from fiction books you can learn stuff. You can learn how to empathize better with people (studies show that people who read have more empathy for others), learn how to handle a situation, learn about people and cultures you don't normally interact with, and learn things about yourself. 

    So basically, if you're a writer, there are a ton of good reasons why you should be trying to read if you don't already. Besides, you're a writer. You love books and stories. Why wouldn't you want to read more awesome stories and even learn from them? 

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Online Journalism and Bad Ethics

    Image Link
    I used to use Yahoo! for the majority of my news gathering. It usually gave me interesting news and different kinds of news. It was easy and right there to use. But I recently stopped using Yahoo! at all. One of the reasons was that I've found more news on Twitter (Twitter is apparently a hive for journalists) and its more immediate. But the biggest reason I stopped reading Yahoo! was due to the lack of professional standards I started seeing in their journalists. 

    I'm not sure if Yahoo! wants to be more of a blog than a real news organization, but I have a problem when people who call themselves "journalists" (i.e professional journalists) start to turn the news into their own personal blogs and to further their own personal agendas. 

    I saw it in other stories they reported on, but the ones I saw this the most in was in their reporting on LGBT stories. Now I'm fine reading these and was interested in them because its now a "hot button topic". Its big news and journalists are capitalizing on LGBT stories. 

    See, these journalists when reporting on the topic would often insert their own personal opinions into the story and I finally got fed up when I started seeing them call people who disagreed with them, "bigots" and all sorts of other things. 

    I'm not okay with this. Because Yahoo! doesn't clarify if this is really news they're presenting or opinion pieces. If this is a blog within the organization I'm reading, or if their editors are somehow letting this slide as an actual piece of news. 

    I'm not okay with this because 1) the very first thing you learn in journalism classes (I should know, I'm a journalism student) is to NOT insert your opinions into a reporting piece (unless you're writing an opinion piece), 2) you shouldn't be calling your readers bigots in the first place on a professional website. Its not good PR, I believe. 

    Now I know online journalism is usually written in a more "conversational" style, but that still doesn't mean that you can totally forgo all professional standards. If you want me to take you seriously as a reporter, then you have to act like a professional. 

    According to my journalism textbook, The Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics is considered a standard for most media professionals. This code of ethics rules that journalists should: 
    • Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
    • Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
    • Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
    • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
    • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
    • Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
    And while there's no clear code of ethics for online journalism itself, the Poynter Institute has recommended a set of rules for online journalism.
    • Journalists should avoid conflict of interest. 
    • News Organizations should clearly label news and opinion. 
    • Journalists who work for news organizations may keep personal blogs, but they should discuss their plans with an editor to avoid potential conflicts. 
     I don't care what you're writing, but if you're a journalist and you're writing actual news, leave your opinions out of it. If you want to write your opinions into something, clearly state that this is an opinion piece or get a blog.

    So I even took the liberty of emailing SPJ's Ethics Hotline (you can also call them, but since I was writing this over the weekend, I emailed them) and the Vice Chair of their ethics committee emailed me back, agreeing that opinions should be kept separate from news and that opinions in news stories should be labeled as such.

    So, have you seen other examples of bad journalism in the media lately? (I would show you the article I'm talking about and a few others but unfortunately, I didn't save them).

    Sincerely,
    Sareh

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