Week 9

Celebration in Wilcannia for a new hero

Locating in outback Western New South Wales, the once-called “Queen City of the West” has a splendid past. In its golden day, Wilcannia was a major port on the Darling River, and third largest port in Australia, played an important role in transporting chain system from New South Wales to Adelaide. Time has elapsed, everything has changed. The present Wilcannia is a small town, with the population of 750, serves as a service centre with banks, shops, motels and service stations. One thing that is worth noticing: the indigenous here truly love their pets.

In recent days, the atmosphere has been getting hotter and hotter. People are preparing for one of the main events of the year on this coming Sunday. The town is about to celebrate 189th year birthday for Jerry, as well as the celebration for a new world record. If nothing unexpected happens until this Sunday, Jerry will be the oldest living creature in the world. Yes, Jerry is a dog. Raised by Woody and Aileen Smith, a red heeler-bull terrier cross Jerry is approaching its 27th year birthday (in human years), which means it has lived for 189 in human years.

Its owner, Woody Smith, is a respected Aboriginal tribal elder. Jerry was raised by the Smiths since he was just a puppy, and now, he is a friend of three generations of the Smiths. To him and his family, Jerry is much more than a dog. “He’s been a good dog and a good friend”, said Woody. In spite of being a guard dog for Woody and his family, Jerry never hurts anyone, except cats in the yard. Dogs and cats have a long story fighting each other, an endless war. It is sad that he has no offspring, but in a positive aspect, he is having the great family: the Smiths.

 Jerry, in some words, is a celebrity in the town. “Everyone in Wilcannia knows Jerry and loves him”, added Woody.

Despite nearly being the oldest living dog in the world, Jerry’s health is in good condition. It is not because he drinks water from Fountain of the Youth, but thanks to his scientific eating habit and activities. “Jerry has grown up on Kangaroo, rabbit and emu as well as scraps off the table”, said Woody. The owner also states that he usually comes for a bush walk with Jerry as a daily activity. Jerry, of course, is not as strong as it used to be. “He’s a fair bit slower now and has to stop every now and then for a rest”, Woody a little bit worried.

In an explanation from Dr Honey Nelson, Jerry’s health doctor, another cause which leads to Jerry’s long age is partially a generic, and activities that Jerry participates in his lifetime such as catch emu and roo. “He could push on to 28 – going by his body condition he could”, said Honey.

The current record is hold by an Australian cattle dog name Bluey (29 years old). People in Wilcannia are expecting that record will be broken by their beloved Jerry.

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Week 11

Introduction 1: Life has never been easy. As you live, there is no way that you can avoid unpleasant things. One facing them, you may choose to evade, or you may choose to confront. Evasion is easy since everybody can do it. However, the way you confront your troubles reflects your true value and your true identity. You can decide to confront aggressively, or you can take peaceful approach. The latter is largely proved as better solution since it shows the good will and constructive attitude of the people. The world is developing better and better, humankind is getting better knowledge of protecting environment. Therefore, Gunns’s intention to construct a pulp mill for Tasmania’s Tamar Valley has caused protest amongst community. A group of inexperienced people under control of Tasmanians Against A Pulp Mill (TAP) is being trained for peaceful protest and civil disobedience.

Conclusion 1: It is inevitable that unfair situations cannot be completely wiped out in the society. Peaceful protest and civil disobedience is considered as the most positive and effective movement for people to express their objections.

Introduction2: Pirate has been a significant problem for sea-business in the world for a long time. The notorious English pirate Blackbeard, the great chief-marauder, was a nightmare for every ship travelling near Caribbean Sea in 17th century. 4 centuries have elapsed, the world has changed a lot in a good manner, yet the pirate issue still remains unchanged. $8.3USD is robbed every year due to pirates. The fact is that sea area near Somali is one of the dangerous spots in the world. It was reinforced by an assault yesterday on Italian cruise ship named Melody and Yemeni oil tanker.

Conclusion 2: Pirate is undoubtedly posing a huge threat to the world. The increasing number of pirates certainly puts maritime business in great danger. As the world economic struggles, more and more people are becoming desperate, which boosts the rate of joining pirate army. Therefore, putting more investments on security cannot resolve the root cause. Instead, economic solutions should be taken into account. By that way, we could be able to reduce the rate of pirates gradually and effectively.

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Week 10

Griffiths uses a quote from Judge Leonard Stretton as a title for his article ‘We have still not lived long enough‘. It is a very strange and impressive start, I think. The backbone of the story is the comparison between the fire in 1939 and the fire in 2009. The author bring the tragedy ‘Black Friday’ in 1939 as an example and evidence to stress his main opinion: 70 years have elapsed, but people have not learnt anything. The brute fact is reinforced by his scientific researchs, which clearly point out how things happened. According to me, if only the fire in 2009 was mentioned alone, the effects on audiences would not be so great. Instead, by comparing the two great fires, the greatest impact is that Australians do not draw any experiences from the past, so they suffer today. This is the very crititcal point of the article, not the damages from the fire.

The article written by Sean Gardiner critically points out the racial discrimination in US society. The police reacted irresponsibly to Romona case just because she is black. Romona was found by her family’s amateur investigation prior to police’s action in horrible condition: raped and tortured to death. The author also mentions Aronov case – a white missing woman. That case happened two months before Romona case and NYPD took massive campaign and action in response to the case. Here, a huge huge discrimination was revealed: if you are white, you are everything, and you are nothing if you are black. Gardiner has done his job perfectly since he makes the audiences feel that he himself took part in the story. Everything happened 5 years ago was described specifically under the author’s nib. Each event was revealed step by step, and each step revealed makes audiences more upset due to the ignorance and irresponsibility of the police. Gardiner does his job excellent since his feature story makes readers addicted to.

I prefer reading breaking news to normal news, therefore, the article ‘Serving in Florida’ by Barbara Ehrenreich does not make me feel as excited as the other two. Honestly, I did not finish this reading, but from my point of view, this article looks like a diary. The article is in fact a diary written by the author herself. At the beginning, she lived a hard life as an anonymous person. It is not like she was quarantined by the community, but the way she lived put herself in such difficult situation. During her daily job, she interacts with other people, and that helps her getting better and better.

As I mentioned above, I am truly interested in investigation feature story. However, it is indeed a very tough task, and I don’t think my current writing skill is qualified for it. Therefore, I would choose another way to write my feature story. It could be one of the latest event in technology which draws people’ attention. Thus, it would be easier for me to find appropirate interviewees, and my feature story would not be so tough.

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Week 8

The article ‘Anatomy of a trauma‘, in my opinion, is one of the finest articles I’ve ever seen. It creates curiousity to its readers at the very beginning and makes them cannot stop seeing downward to find out what truly happens. And the truth was totally shocked: ‘Thomas Kossmann had been performing spinal and pelvic surgery of which he was incapable’. Additionally, Kossmann also took advantages from his patients via billing practices. The existence of such misconducts in medical sphere for 6 years makes even the bravest men frightened. The authors, Richard and Nick, explored the bitter truths via evidences collected from those who were closely relevant to Kossmann case. In spite of not having any personal interview with Kossmann, based on information from surrounding people, a whole picture was drawn with a ultimate accuracy. The noticeable point here is that the authors are not trying to criticize Kossmann. In an attempt to keep the story fair, the authors also bring comments from people ‘on Kossmann’s camp’. If the such comments were not included in the article, then the whole article might be biased against Kossmann. I think, this is the way for the authors to be ethical. They provide research conducted from both sides, and let the audiences decide on their own.

The followings are questions I would like to ask Richard:

– How long did it take you to conduct all the research?

– The Alfred Hospital directly/or indirectly involved in Kossmann’s misconducts. How did you deal with their staffs for your interviews? 

– How would you decide that someone is worthy for the interview? I mean the reliability of the interviewees?

– I’m sure that you have to do lots of research since it were 6 years. My question is where your patient/inspiration come from?

In my opinion, writing a feature story itself is a difficult task, but the investigative featue story is much more tougher. The important thing is that the writer should not let the story be influenced by his own feelings. Instead, he should find a way to provide facts, and that facts will help readers having the most accurate perspectives toward the subject.

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Week 6

Hard news lead 1: New statistics released yesterday showed that Australian universities have received significant enrolments from China, India and South East Asia countries.
Soft news lead 1: Want a bright future, or willing to join a tendency? International students from China, India and South East Asia countries already made up their minds, so do you want to be left behind?
Hard news lead 2: An 18 year old Kate Logan ended her graduation ceremony in Kew Grammar School naked last night.
Soft news lead 2: Kate Logan last night proved that there is nothing women cannot do, including finishing her speech naked. School officials were not amused.
Hard news lead 3: Police yesterday exhumed body of 4-6 year old boy buried 41 years ago in Castlemaine. The coroner’s office will extract DNA using modern technology to reveal identity.
Soft news lead 3: An unknown boy had been buried for 41 years, and yesterday came back to land by police. “The Boy in the Box” was the name given to him, based on his death condition. All efforts were made to reveal his identity as well as his murderer, but it seemed not successful.
Hard news lead 4: A forty two year old Harley Dudley Surritte yesterday was charged with assaulting a police officer in Richmond after throwing a velvet painting to officer’s head. 
Soft news lead 4: $2,500 bail for assaulting a police officer. Harley Dudley Surritte expressed his hatred toward police officer on his own way. Sergeant David Wilson’s head was the target for a two-by-three foot velvet painting of Elvis Presley thrown by Harley.

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Week 5

A 29 year old murder suspect was shot down by the Victoria Special Operations Group last night in South Melbourne.
The man was shot after police intercepted and apprehended the suspect on Bank Street, near the corner of Eastern road. The deceased was shot after threatening and attempting to fire at police with his sawn off shotgun. 
He died at the scene after sustaining gunshot wounds to his chest and one fatal shot to his head. Police remained unharmed.
At least 20 Special Operations and homicide police were involved in the operation,  intended to apprehend the man, who had serious prior crime convictions.
There were a woman and a man together with suspect, both armed. Currently they were being taken and questioned in St Kilda Police Centre. “I saw a woman lying on the ground, being handcurved by police,” said witness Joel Price.
The suspect’s identity has not been confirmed until the investigation is fully completed, but he was believed to be a night club security agent.

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Week 4

Emergency Story

After 30 years in peace, two massive tornadoes landed on Townsville at 02.00pm yesterday. Police confirmed that amongst damages, a busload of children has been missing.

Grace Reynolds, one of the victims, said that she was waiting for her daughter on the bus. Yet the bus never came.

Court Story

22 year old Amanda Jane Felsbourg yesterday was sentenced to nine years in jail for murder her ex partner.

The victim Wayne Laffey was found dead in Keith Avenue, Moe on October 3, 2006, being stabbed more than 30 times.

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Week 3

Amongst several readings this week, ‘There’s nothing in life better than diamonds’ makes me most impressive. I do very like the way Charlotte approaches her interviewee. Unlike other journalists, she does not begin her interview with a question. Instead, she chooses to play a role of Mae West’s friend. That makes the beginning of the interview look like a conversation between two friends. I think, the most difficulty is the start. Charlotte, in this case, has done her job brilliantly. By creating a convenient and friendly atmosphere, Charlotte has made her feel at ease and pleasant, which later proved to be extremely useful for her task.

Charlotte proves that she is very patient since she lets Mae West leads the story. By doing this, she makes Mae West gives more information about herself, because Mae West does not feel that she is being questioned, so she freely talk whatever she likes, which partially reveals her identity. Via some anecdotes at the beginning without any true interview questions, we already had a brief overview on Mae West.

Another point is that Charlotte is well-prepared for her interview. She gathered all neccessary information before entering the interview. That not only helps her avoid asking questions which had been asked before but shows respect to the interviewee. The way Charlotte conducting the interview shows she has a great capability. She does not keep asking prepared questions. Instead, she listens to the story and directly makes interaction. Her flexibility and adaptibility really contribute to the success of the story because they help make the whole story coherent.

As the interview proceeds, we know more about the real Mae West. Previously, I think that there are only three things Mae West cares in her life: work, sex, and diamonds. She is somehow material, in my opinion. However, one biggest revealed fact is that her greatest love is the love for her audience, and that love is unrivalled in comparison to ‘other kind’ of love. I am truly impressed indeed.

Via this article, I know that it is vital to create a good atmosphere prior to the true interview. If it is not accomplished, then the interview is over even if it hasn’t been started yet. Second thing I learn is: a well preparation, adaptibility, and sensibility makes a good interviewer.

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Week 2

In his article, Ellingsen illustrates his spiritual sufferings due to what he saw in Tiananmen Square in 1989. His article helps me understand one of the most difficult task in journalism: he must compose news about what he really doesn’t want to mention. Generally speaking, the article was about the feeling of the author about the massacre in Beijing. Every detail in the urban killing field being memorized and described creates the shock to readers. On one side, Ellingsen fully completes his responsibility as an journalist since he himself said that “journalists like to think what they do as being eyewitnesses to history“. On the othe side, the brute details themselves make him and his readers haunted, ‘haunted by details’. In my opinion, a journalist should not try to convince readers in the way he wants them to be convinced. Instead, it would be much better if he provides the readers with facts, and let the readers think on their will.

The article written by Charlie briefly gives the overview how the journalism has changed rapidly. In specific, the technology development definitely lays big impact on everything, and journalism is not an exception. Thanks to the technology such as internet, people now have found it extremely easy to acquire information. The question is that if things going on like this, will people’ privacy remains safely? Another issue is that the technology almost grants anyone the power to become a journalist. For instance, one publishes a nonsense story or a news. If it was not because of the technology, that story would never be acknowledge by anyone. However, the social network gives him the right to share it with everybody, and those who have nothing to do will pay attention to the story, and the effect is created. The above example shows that the traditional journalism is being threatened. I personally agree with this situation. Since people are given so much power, it is a need to have something, or someone limit their strength. One particular example is Facebook is prohibited in Vietnam. It is because some people use Facebook as a tool to propagate and sabotage the government. As a result, when you are unable to control it, banning it is somehow the best solution.

When reading Paige’s article, I feel that I am reading a statistical report. By using statistics, the information is strongly reinforced, making more reliable to the readers. If evidence is not supported by number, the readers feel that the evidence is created only by the writer himself. An evidence accompanied with statistics is much more reliable, since it implies a research had already been conducted before. The article is about Australian poverty. By providing numbers, the author succeeded in impressing the readers. Yet, an article full of statistics surely makes people bored because it looks like a report. Therefore, at the end of his article, the author includes quotes and anecdotes from people. That was indeed makes the article much more exciting. In my opinion, it is important to keep the balance between the facts and the numbers.

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Week 1

The development of high-technology undoubtedly brings tremendous advantages to a wide range of business, and journalism is indeed not an exception. With the assistance from hi-tech, it has never been easier for journalists to conduct their tasks without encountering any obstacles. However, due to the particular essence of journalism, the new hi-tech tools also bring up issues related to ethics. We all know that the core business of journalism is to reflect the whole society to itself. In order to do so, journalists must strive for news related to all aspects of our daily life, and in some cases, invasion of privacy is inevitable. So, journalism is put into a boundary between: legal and illegal conduct. In my opinion, there is an everlasting debate about the role of journalism: is it serving the community, or is it against the community. It is true that the news posted on media will serve the target audiences, but it also causes dissatisfaction to those who were named on the press (especially if it is an investigative report). I’m not sure whether the government enforces clear law to protect the ‘target’ and limit the rights of journalists, but “the new technology may be running ten years ahead of the law”, says Everette Dennis. So, to sum up, whether the investigative journalism receives negative or positive criticism depends totally on journalists. The high-technology tools themselves are not guilty, but the person who uses them.

Talking about the line between ethical and unethical behavior in journalism, Stephen Glass is a particular example. In his childhood, Glass proved himself as a brilliant student. Great ability of acting and imaginating, it could be great if he devoted himself to writing fictions, or being movies director. However, he misused his talents by exploiting them in journalism, and that was a big mistake which later led to serious negative consequences. The responsibility of a journalist is to illustrate and reflect a nature of the issue as much accurate as he can. However, Glass did things in an opposite way. He used his ‘talent’ to create things which he perceived that would mostly attract customers. Moreover, in an attempt to add more value and credibility to his magazines, Glass also made up people contacts and emails address. Actually, I feel very surprise because his trick lasted for  so long. This man is really brilliant in terms of dealing with people and hiding his deception. However, those who deceives people never gets a happy ending. Glass ended up his career by getting fired when all of his tricks were revealed. He totally deserved it.

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