Reflection 9: Numeracy test

In the wake of this week’s numeracy and grammar test, most of my fellow journalism classmates expressed their contradictory thoughts on the one paper that included numbers and mathematical symbols. Numbers, in general, can be perilous if not handled properly, especially in news reporting as they can be the foundation of a particular story (Journalist’s Resource, 2014).

According to Wickham (2003), numbers can become complicated. Thus, it is the journalist’s role to convey their meanings directly and effectively to the readers or news consumers. Indeed, Kamath (2009) argues that having a fundamental understanding of probability, statistics, averages, percentages and any other relationships with numbers is crucial to the world of journalism.

Although the 20-minute exam was only a competency test, I learned a lot of things like calculating the GST of a purchase and the percentage of a whole number. As a girl who despises the world of mathematics, I never gave these concepts much attention until the day before our in-class test. It truly is the journalist’s job to turn these problematical numbers and equations into its simplest form in order to make it understandable for people – be it a project about a government’s budget, the average of graduate students or the annual revenue of an Airline company.

Furthermore, after learning and reading some scholarly articles about maths in journalism, I’ve come to realise how crucial mathematics is for journalism, not just for mathematicians or accountants.

Overall, I thought I did a great job in my numeracy test.

++++

Journalist’s Resource (2014). Retrieved May 29, 2015 from http://journalistsresource.org/tip-sheets/foundations/math-for-journalists

Kamath, M.V. (2009). Professional Journalism. Vikas Publishing House Pvt Ltd.

Wickham, K. (2003). Maths Tools for Journalists (2nd e.d).  USA: Marion Street Press, Inc.

Advertisements

Reflection 8: 10-year passports

Following the recent update on the New Zealand passports, I’ve decided to do a reflective post about it. To do this, I will be analyzing three news outlets, namely, The New Zealand Herald, Stuff.co.nz and Radio NZ.

Essentially, the Department of Internal Affairs confirmed on Monday that adults will receive a 10-year validity on their New Zealand passports, later this year.

The news values linked with this news story are as follows:

1. Impact- this change will obviously influence a number of people. For example,  all New Zealanders, travellers etc.

2. Timeliness- this story surfaced only yesterday.

3. Proximity- this is a story occurring in New Zealand, where I live.

4. Conflict- the story might prompt conflicts among groups of people who may not support this change in law

5. Currency- this is an issue that is in the centre of public concern.

Thus, I’ve analyzed how this issue was covered by the NZ media.

The first notable thing was that both Radio NZ and Stuff.co.nz said that the change in law was implemented by the Internal Affairs Minister, Peter Dunne. On the other hand, the NZ herald said that it was confirmed by the Prime Minister, John Key– I thought this showed that NZ herald is pro-government.

As far as quotes are concerned, there were strong use of quotes in all three platforms. Radio NZ stood out as they provided an audio file for further information.

Personally, I liked how Radio NZ and Stuff.co.nz both portrayed this story; they showed more objectivity than NZ Herald.

Reflection 7: Rohingya refugees

Last week, The New York Times published a news story with a powerful photo of a strained boat with hundreds of emaciated Rohingya refugees. The plight  of the Rohingya refugees spoke volumes about how cruel and indifference some people can be.

Here’s a brief background of the Rohingya people:
Hailing from the northern province of Rakhine in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), the Rohingya people are a Muslim minority.

For years, the Rohingya people have faced numerous persecution in their hometown; most of them had been fleeing to other neighbouring countries in the Southeast Asia , desperate to seek shelter and other humanitarian aid. Myanmar, which is a Buddhist-dominant country denies that they are not ethnic group and thus, are illegal migrants who deserved deportation. Bangladesh and other countries are reportedly to have the same views towards the Rohingya people. In other words, they are stateless. According to various reports, Bangladesh have offered to help them. However, they must change their ethnicity to Bangladeshi.

What prompted me write a reflection about this is the lack of humanitarian aid in Southeast Asia. It shocked me in a way that nobody, not even their own fellow countrymen want to accept them.

The UN and other international aids should set up a temporary tents or camps and have them settle there. Other countries should also make an effort to address this serious matter. They should also give these people as much as media coverage in order to raise awareness.

++++

(For more info about the Rohingya people, visit http://says.com/my/news/facts-about-rohingya-refugees-and-their-plight?utm_campaign=website&utm_source=sendgrid.com&utm_medium=email)

Reflection 6: District court visit

Despite the gloomy weather on Tuesday,  our journalism class took a trip down to the district court in central Auckland. The visit was a fantastic experience, one that you could describe as an eye-opening observation of the justice system.

Once inside the court, the judge, lawyers and everybody else followed a protocol that was really interesting to observe.

Although we weren’t allowed to take any notes or photos, we sat down at the back of the court and watched how they processed each trial. Some of the trials required rescheduling because some lawyers did not show up in time.  This, for me, was really interesting because I thought lawyers are meant to be punctual and formal.

However, there were a few court terms that I was not familiar with and I found myself a little confused at times.

After our court visit, I thought about being a court reporter. According to Storck (2014), shorthand is among the skills that you one could gain from being a court reporter. Being able to transcribe recorded speech into written form astounded me. It would be incredible to learn how to write notes down in a different and unique way. Also, I thought this would serve as an instrumental tool in lectures, note-taking and journalism, particularly in interviews.

Overall, I thought it was an amazing experience and am glad that I came along with my class. The visit also provided me a different perspective towards journalism.

++++

Storck, A. (2014). How to start a court reporting service business (beginners guide). MicJames.

Reflection 5: News Presentation.

This week’s post will be about my reflection on our group assignment, namely, the news presentation.

My group is comprised of three people and I thought we all managed to deliver a great performance.

In terms of the news gathering, we found it a little challenging to pick an interesting story to talk about. However, with the help of the news diary, we were able to determine the relevant and interesting ones.

Thus, we decided to present the ‘Fight of the Century’  to our class as it was the most disputed story at the time due to the huge costs involved in the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

We analyzed how the NZ media covered the event and through this activity, I saw how the media in general can be one-sided with such stories. I looked at NZ Herald and it lacked objectivity, which I thought undermined the true essence of news reporting. It focused mostly on Mayweather’s side.

It was also interesting to compare the NZ media with the international media. Although, we did not stress on this idea, the US and British media covered the match with more objectivity and I guess this may be attributed to the fact that they could have sent actual journalists to witness the hype and event.

In summary, this activity opened a new perspective towards news reporting and objectivity. Maybe it is something that we, future journalists, need to take into consideration in order to avoid misreporting.

Reflection 4: High court visit

Earlier this week, I had the privilege to go to the High Court in Central Auckland and observe a murder trial.  Because of my tight schedules, I was only able to stay for a short period of time. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic experience and I learned many things about court procedures and criminal justice system in New Zealand.

According to the Journalist’s Resource (JR) (2011), a study conducted by Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Centre in the USA, covering court trials is among the most important tasks for journalists. This may be due to the fact  that “coverage of the courts fulfills part of the watchdog function of the media” (JR, 2011, par. 1). Furthermore, what I learned from my court visit was that there is a significant amount of public interest, particularly with heavy criminal cases.

The criminal justice system was easy to understand. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Justice (NZMJ) (2015),  under the Bill of Rights Act 1990, a person charged with an alleged crime can assume innocence until proven guilty. That person is then given a list of rights, including the right to consult with a lawyer. The next step is for the police to interview the person and warn him/her anything he/she says will be written and used for evidence should the case proceeds.  Lastly, the police may or may not press charges depending on the interview and on the circumstantial evidence.

Overall, it was a great opportunity and I wished I stayed a little while to observe the court setting in depth.

++++

Journalist’s Resource (2011). Retrieved May 1, 2015 from http://journalistsresource.org/syllabi/syllabus-legal-reporting#

The New Zealand Ministry of Justice (2015). Civic Educations. Retrieved May 1, 2015 from http://www.justice.govt.nz/services/access-to-justice/civics-education-1/the-criminal-justice-system/the-crime