A consulting detective and a vampire slayer walk into a blog on April Fools Day: A semester in blogging

Here we are we’ve reached the end, all those weeks ago we wrote those first blogs not quite knowing what we we’re getting into. Now, 15 blogs later it’s time to choose our greatest hits, and unsurprisingly mine are some of my greatest popular culture talks.

Sherlock Holmes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and those unfortunate April Fools stories.

Once Upon a Time: What I’ve done with these blogs

Blog 14: Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective to Investigative Journalist?

  • I loved all of my blogs that I connected to television and movies and when it came down to it I had to choose between this or the Community blog, Sherlock and Benedict Cumberbatch’s (who plays Sherlock) steely gaze won out. I really loved this blog because I hadn’t thought about how good of a journalist Sherlock Holmes could be. I was unsure in myself if I had done it right, but then when Michele was impressed with it I decided I had done the right thing.

Blog 10: Journalism and Blogging Lessons from a Vampire Slayer

  • Again I loved connecting my favorite shows to journalism; this blog took some serious time. I had the idea of a Buffy blog by week 3 but I held off not being able to figure out what to do with it. I’m glad I waited with the things I learned throughout the course of this class I was able to apply more foundational ideas to the Buffyverse. Stylistically this one was well done and my connections I felt were inventive. Unlike in my Community blog where I only used characters I took to every corner of Buffy, from storylines to my favorite quotes. By far I felt this was my most inventive blog

Blog 11: April Fools News

  • I chose this one because it was one of the few I did that wasn’t based directly on one movie or show. I thought I chose a timely topic, and added the kind of flow that gave my tale of disbelief in Cory Monteith’s rehab trip more clarity. I thought I chose good links to articles about the celebrity tales I chose, and I enjoyed adding the tweets in showing the way that so many deal with life issues these days. This may have been my favorite and most in depth blog I did all semester and I was really proud of it.

Lessons in Blog

So here’s the deal Jessica Biel, I was in no way a blogging expert when we started this shindig, and I’m in no way an expert now (but is there really a perfect formula to the blog), but I did learn a thing or two.

  1. Timing is EVERYTHING: My best blogs were the one I took the time to do. Early on and sometimes later on I would be sitting there and realize at 11:30 on Friday that I’d yet to blog. So then came the 15 minute blog that always had stylistic issues, and was usually a bit made up. Taking the time to do the blogs really benefits the blog.
  2. Journalism truly is everywhere: At the start of the semester when Michele said every blog had to be about journalism, I had no idea what I could connect to it 15 times. I always had heard journalism is all around and I truly believed it, but now I believe it anymore. I mean I connected Buffy to journalism!
  3. The blog is not Bridget Jones Diary: In my mind before this blogs were just peoples personal place to talk about their boyfriends, and complain about their lives; basically unformed rants about anything. Through this semester long assignment I learned there is so much more to the blog. They have opinion, but they also have fact. They’re based in reality, but creativity is encouraged. Blogs are not diaries, and people who think they are, well they’re probably doing it wrong.

A Comrade in Blog

Throughout the semester I read a lot of other blogs, some really stood out, but one I specifically remember was Katherine’s Doctor Who blog. Admittedly at first I read it because I saw a picture of David Tennant and my inner nerd was required to read. Then when I did more than look at the handsome photo of The Doctor I read what was a truly interesting blog.

I loved tackling blogs that connected to my favorite shows, but Who was never one I tackled and loved the way she connected Who to journalism was very interesting. I especially liked how she compared the journalist role as watchdog to society to The Doctor as the watchdog of the universe. I support any popular culture blog and I thought hers was really great.

Goodbye my Bloggers

So this is the end, the blogging’s been fun. Has it occasionally been stressful, yes, but any opportunity to write what I love I’ll take any day.

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Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective to Investigative Journalist?

fp3265_sherlock_heroes_300Like when I usually can’t come up with a blog, I thought of an idea while watching another of my favorite TV shows. This week it was, Sherlock; and I started to think that Sherlock Holmes might just make a good journalist in a few ways.

  1. Deducing: Sherlock always gets to the bottom of things, he calls it “deducing”. If instead of solving complex crimes he was doing investigative journalism he could break any story. He might have broken Watergate months before.
  2. He’d never be biased: Sherlock doesn’t have much opinion on anything, he just solves cases. He also doesn’t care much about anyone, but Watson, so he’d have no personal connections to sources ever totally preventing bias.
  3. He’s focused and imaginative: His focus is unbreakable, when he’d be doing a story that’s all he’d do total commitment to the story and nothing else. He’d spend every waking hour and the hours he should be asleep working on his story; he’d be relentless which could turn annoyting but he’d get the job done every time. Plus his imagination would not only make for good ability to write stories, but also he’d probably be brilliant at coming up with story ideas.
  4. The Bad Side: His brilliance is undeniable, but it could definitely get in the way. He’s often arrogant, and thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room, which he probably is always, but all the same many interviewees would find it unlikable. Like when he tells one of the regular detectives that he lowers the IQ of the entire street. While he would never be bias, the fact he only cares about his best friend, John Watson, would also get in the way of his interviews.

All in all he would have his arrogance in the way, but the brilliance would make investigative journalism a breeze. Sherlock has flaws, definitely, but he for sure would make a great investigative journalist, just as he makes a great investigator or consulting detective as he calls himself.

NKU works to raise retention rates

Recently NKU has been placing a large focus on retention rates. Year to year the university strives to keep their students coming back, with current rates at 67 percent.

Many factors go into retaining students, many stresses lead to students leaving. Northern has been putting great focus on the idea and one of the main ways in which they are working to improve these rates is through student involvement. They believe success and a feeling of belonging make a student wish to return; and that is very true.

They’re taking the subject seriously with various groups being sure to encourage student involvement in hopes of increasing retention. The Office of Student Life, University Connect and Persist, and First Year Programs are all a driving force behind increasing retention rates.

Students’ coming back from semester to semester is at its core about students being happy. If students feel connected, have friends, know their professors, and feel truly successful they’ll come back every year until the complete their degree.

NKU is putting in the work to be sure all of their students are happy and return fall after fall.

Could the effort use some work, probably. Scheduling is a major factor in retention and that has received its fair share of complaints, but when it comes to retaining students through involvement NKU is on top of things.

With 214 organizations, boasting nearly 5,300 members a variety of opportunities are available to every student. Included in this slowly working effort is the simple weekly events that are held on campus.

The biggest problem faced is retaining the largely commuter population. Every organization on campus is working to make clear that living on campus is not a requirement to join.

Retaining students can be troublesome at almost every university, NKU is far from alone.

67 percent may not be perfect, but NKU is working hard towards the goal of improving that number as high as they possibly can.

This week in controversy

Like almost every week some controversy came into the world. Specifically for me let’s talk about the entertainment world.

Earlier this week Brad Paisley and LL Cool J released a song entitled “Accidental Racist”. It’s been extremely scrutinized by the public. While the duo calls it “asking the question in a responsible way” and “having an honest conversation about race”. Personally my biggest problem with this song is that someone is still allowing LL Cool J to create music.

But let’s not talk the subject; let’s talk how the media handled it. Various online articles have popped up and it’s been a hot topic on the nightly entertainment shows. Each have handled it in their own way, with perspective from both sides, and total unbiased. It’s actually been impressive the lack of bias which has been featured on such a heavy topic. The entertainment media world has done just as it should within the rules of journalism. The debate on the song will continue on, but I believe this is a topic that the media can continue to handle well.

The second controversy of the week came from this week’s episode of Glee. Last week I established my love of the show and this week they tackled the heavy subject of school shootings. Now as a fan I watched intensely hoping for the characters I’ve grown to love to be okay, but some critics haven’t taken it the same. Some are judging the timing, in respect for the sandy hook victims. A message was even sent out by an advocacy group telling people not to watch the episode; ironically the episode went on to earn the highest ratings it’s had in weeks.

The show did open with a warning stating that the episode contained school violence. Throughout the episode they treated it well, and acknowledged both sides of the gun control debate and the seriousness of the subject.

Now personally I was for once actually impressed with how Glee handled such a serious subject. I am the biggest fan, but I’m also aware the show can be ridiculous. Often times they lair a song over a serious subject and never speak of it again. This week though they didn’t break out into song during the intense nearly 15 minutes of pure silence during the shooting. They actually managed to only sing 3 songs in the episode compared to a usual 8 and up.

The media took on the subject with stride. While sometimes Glee gets a bad rap in the media this time around they actually featured a totally unbiased look at the episode, acknowledging both sides of the argument.

A journalist’s job is to always show both sides, and to remain unbiased and on this sensitive topic they did just that. Glee didn’t take it lightly and neither did the media, they both gave it the attention and commentary it deserved accrediting both sides.

Two sensitive subjects handled very well by the entertainment media.

April Fools news

April Fool’s Day occurred on Monday, like any day I started off checking out twitter and looking over the latest stories on Entertainment Weekly’s website.

Then I saw a story that shocked me. Cory Monteith, star of one of my favorite TV shows Glee (yes, I’m one of those Gleek people), had checked himself into rehab for substance abuse.

Admittedly my first concern was ‘this better not mess with my show’. Writing out his character for some episodes won’t bother me since he’s like my least favorite, then I realized I was kind of an awful person and became concerned for the man’s health. Just as I had my bad perspective moment I realized the date and found myself not believing the story at all.

On countless occasions I have found myself reading false stories or advertisements on April Fool’s Day.

I began questioning it, was Cory Monteith really a drug addict or was this some sort of false, albeit horrible, April 1st story?

I liked to think no one would write something so serious as a false story, but then again how often today do we see the news that for the five-hundredth time Justin Beiber, or any other celeb, has died.

So is it moral for a journalist to participate in April Fool’s pranks by posting stories that are false, even if it’s just in the name of good fun?

And with things like the false reports of death, pregnancy, or even potential casting shouldn’t a journalist check that the story is true before proceeding?

As journalists we are supposed to report the truth, even us entertainment junkies. The Watchdogs for society, making sure the people know what’s going on. To throw some Mass Communication Law at you, potentially in these situations, for even the littlest of things, a reporter could find themselves being served a libel suit.

While it might be a bit dramatic to do so with some entertainment stories it could happen.

Personally I like the way most celebrities handle things like this today. When a story pops up in a magazine or online they shoot it down with their most useful weapon, Twitter.

Like Emma Watson handling the constant rumor that she had been cast in the 50 Shades of Grey movie.

watson-tweet

Or Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert poking fun at the headlines claiming their marriage was in shambles.

Journalists should always check, double check, and triple check before writing a story, if for no other reason to avoid a libel suit.

On Monday I read numerous supposed spoilers for some of my favorite TV shows, and a story claiming that the lead actor on The Walking Dead was leaving the show. It was all false. At least the Cory Monteith story was true.

April Fool’s is a great day to mess with people and freak them out. There are tons of opportunities and venues for pranks to occur, but journalism probably shouldn’t be one of those places.

Journalism and blogging lessons from a Vampire Slayer

Last week I tackled connecting one of my favorite TV shows, Community, characters to journalism, so this week I thought I’d try something similar.

BTVS 2Since pretty much age 5 I’ve had, what can only be described as an obsession with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, please try not to judge me.

Online I found things like The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Guide to Freelancing, and then I thought about the show I know so well. Its opinionated characters, humor, drama, and genius writing all made sense to the world of blogging and other forms of writing/journalism as well. Opinion based but with hard facts and humor mixed in.

While I know we’ve already done a blog on blogging this one was just too good for me to pass up.

So here’s my own personal Blogging Lessons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer:

 

  1. “I’m an old fashioned girl, I was raised to believe women have the babies and men dig up the corpses,” – Buffy Summers

While Blogging may be a fairly new idea to the world of journalism, with its high tech ways of hyperlinks etc. But you can’t be afraid to be old fashioned anyways. Even the oldest ideas might still apply to the most modern of times.

 

  1. “I laugh in the face of danger, then I hide until it goes away,” –Xander Harris

It’s understandable to be afraid of the blog. You’ll question if anyway cares what you have to write, the criticism may be too much to handle, or you’ll wonder if it’s even legitimate journalism. Don’t have the fear in blogging and if you do, just think you kind of are hiding behind the keys of computer.

Also be Witty say things that might just make people laugh in the face of their own danger.

 

  1. “Carpe Diem: Seize the day cause tomorrow you might be dead,” –Buffy Summers

While you may not be seizing for the same reasons BTVS’ Sunnydale residents did, like possibly being eaten by a monster the next day, you still must seize. Much like being unafraid write what you wanna write, whether its blogging or not. It’s about your passion!

 

  1. Do your research, whether it’s on demons and vampires or not.

Blogging and really any writing you do, you must always check your facts. While you may not need to research a spell that stops the apocalypse, you still need to know what you’re talking about. Even if it’s the simple spelling of a name or company, you got to be sure you get right.

 

  1. Sometimes it’s easy to save the world, or just change it

What you write might not stop the apocalypse, like the BTVS crew did 9 times, but words have power. Writing something down, even if you don’t think its epic might just turn out to be pretty epic. Words can move nations, and change lives. They say knowledge is power, but I think if history teaches us anything words have even more power.

 

  1. Librarians aren’t always creepy!

Sunnydale high’s favorite librarian and watcher to the slayer, Giles was literally a fountain of knowledge. Sometimes that research you have to do for blogging or writing in general isn’t directly there. Don’t forget while the internet’s great books still exist and there are giant buildings filled with them called libraries.

 

  1. Have a Scooby gang; sometimes they have the best ideas.

Buffy Summers was never without her best friends or Scooby Gang as they referred to themselves, to back her up. While we may not need our friends to back us up and give us great ideas on apocalypses or our complicated relationships with our vampire boyfriends, they still have ideas. Sometimes you draw a blank, sometimes you’re just out of ideas, but it’s always okay to ask around sometimes you get the inspiration from the people around you.

What if the characters of “Community” were journalists?

community-cast-blackboardOne of my favorite shows ever is Community.

A little background, Community is about diverse friends, and their eccentric teachers, at Greendale Community College, better known as the Greendale 7 Study Group, where things are never quite like any existing college, and if it did I would want to go there.

Now it may not be a realistically based comedy often, with spontaneous paintball wars and history of ice cream courses, it does show some real world value; and it’s hilarious.

Each of the characters have personalities that can teach us something about ourselves; and even apply to the traits of journalists.

Jeff Winger: Jeff is the leader of the group, giving inspiring speeches to rally his friends. Reality most of his inspiring speeches are actually to get him out of doing anything. Jeff teaches us that bold words and big statements don’t always mean anything. As journalists a 10 page expose may not say anything of value, but a 10 graf piece might break the biggest news.

Britta Perry: Britta tends to be wrong, she tries but often her ideas are not quite exact. What a journalist can learn from Britta is that it’s always good to check and double check your information. Don’t Britta it.

Troy Barnes: Troy is a lot like Britta, which is probably why the two are dating; he tends to not know the meaning of words. Words are journalists medium, we have to know words, and even though it works out for Troy in being hilarious, as journalists we need to know our words.

Abed Nadir: Abed lives in his own world, applying everything to popular culture. Abed is an entertainment journalist’s kind of person. He can teach us that no matter how heavy life gets, or the story we’re covering is it’s okay to have some fun and escape sometimes.

Shirley Bennett: Shirley can teach us to be nice, and respectful. This is good advice in interviewing, good interviews come from the interviewee feeling comfortable, and being nice always helps that along. On the adverse, she often pushes her religion on people which causes doubt in her intentions, this can teach journalists to remain unbiased for more credibility in their work.

Annie Edison: Annie teaches us belief in everything can be bad. As journalists we have to be able to differentiate between the truth and what’s newsworthy, we can’t just believe everything we’re told.

Pierce Hawthorne: Pierce simply teaches journalists, and pretty much everyone, one thing don’t be racist, and profile like him.

Dean Pelton: The Dean teaches us to be ourselves. His eccentric ways prove that we can be ourselves without judgment, write in our style, and write what we love.

Senor Chang: Spanish teacher Chang teaches us to try not to go insane. He becomes so encapsulated in his obsession with the study group, and with taking over the school, he literally loses his mind. So work hard journalists, but don’t overwork to the point of insanity.

Even my favorite group of fictional friends, no matter how crazy they may be, can teach us a thing or two about being good journalists.