Friday, November 28, 2008

Who broke the news room!?

Scott Templeton, one of the writers for The Baltimore Sun in The Wire

HBO's series, The Wire, exposed a lot of information about Baltimore's police department, newspaper and the crime going on in the local city neighborhoods. Whether it was true or not, I'm not exactly sure, but I enjoyed watching it and it opened my eye to a lot of things about my hometown.

When I watched the first episode, I noticed that none of the new, young reporters had no moral. The newsroom was very unhealthy and one reporter, Alma, didn't even know how to write a lead. Scott Templeton lied about a kid named E.J. being at the Orioles Stadium in a wheel chair, in episode two. No one could find clips about the kid being shot and Templeton didn't get a photo of the kid.

In episode three, Alma's story about 3 found dead in a house in Baltimore City, didn't make the front page. The Sun obviously had their priorities mixed up. Also in this episode, Whiting tells the staff that news as a whole is shrinking because advertising is down and also competition with technology. He tells them that the overseas papers have been shut down and there will be a "fresh round of buyouts."

Scott Templeton was the fabricator. He fabricated stories about E.J., the woman who died from an allergic reaction from a crab cake, Nathan Levi Boston and Terry Hanning (the homeless men) and a quote from an anonymous homeless woman at the candlelight visual (episode 8). Then, McNulty caught Templeton lying about the last homeless murder. He made up everything about the phone calls, quotes and the gray van that was supposedly leaving the scene of the murder. What really shocked me was Episode 10. Alma got transferred to the Carroll County office even though she actually did honest work, but Scott received a Pulitzer Prize for dishonest work. If The Wire was true then I would never want to work at The Baltimore Sun or read their publication ever again,

Overall I felt The Sun was corrupt, unprofessional, uninformed and it's just not a good newspaper. Hardly any of the rules of journalism or ethics were followed. I think Gus Haynes was the only honest person there. He did his job and he knew that Templeton was a liar from day one. When you are a honest person and do honest work, your reward never comes or if it does it takes a while to come to you, but those who lie and do dishonest work receive instant satisfaction.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Got Green?

For the second mulitmedia assignment, I plan on interviewing Towson Campus Greens. One of the "green groups" at Towson. First, I plan to do more research on this topic, because I really haven't heard much about it. Then, I'm going to interview someone from the group. I already have some questions I want to ask them, I want to know how their group got started, what activities have they already done and what are their plans for the future and how have they helped towson and communities outside of towson to go green. If I can, I would like to ask everyone in the group about their opinion of Towson going green: is it good or bad? Will it work and get everybody on campus involved? Hopefully, I can get a picture of all the members that are in the group or maybe they will have an upcoming event where I can take a picture.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Field Trip

One of many paths located in The Glen Woods at Towson University

Two Towson sophomores, Charnay Anderson and Brian Wright, walk down the steps leading to The Glen Woods behind Smith Hall

The Towson Tiger stands in front of Stephens hall, which is considered to be the old part of Towson U's. campus

This class assignment was really fun and I learned a lot about taking pictures. It's not very easy to get good shots, there is a lot of work involved. First, you must find the light whenever you're taking a photograph of a person or a particular thing, like the Towson Tiger. You can do this by using your hand to find where the best light is. Also, you should remember the rule of thirds where you frame your subjects to the side instead of in the center of your viewfinder. You should also do visual cropping before you take the picture. You should eliminate off unimportant things by moving closer, zooming in or taking the picture from a different angle.

Dance Photography and Film Presentations

For my multimedia assignment, I'm choosing to write a story about a documentary film called Water Flowing Together, by Gwendolyn Cates. This event takes place Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7:oop.m.

Ms. Cates documentary features Jock Soto’s “journey from a hardscrabble childhood to stardom” as Principal Dancer for the New York City Ballet. This is being presented by the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the Department of Art & Design, Art History and Art Education, The Women’s Center and Office of Student Diversity.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Man charged for rape of Towson U. student

A 24-yr.-old man has been arrested by Baltimore County police and charged him with kidnapping and raping a student at Towson University on October 6.

Ian Murphy is charged for raping a 21-yr.-old woman. He attacked her while she was unloading groceries from her car at about 1 a.m. in the 7900 block of Knollwood Road. Murphy forced the woman to walk to the 7600 block of Knollwood Road, took her behind a bush and then assaulted her.

The woman called the police after the attack. She was treated and then released from Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC). She wasn't able to give good details about her attacker but investigators recieved information from "concerned citizens" and obtained a warrant for his arrest. Towson University police sent out an e-mail notification to all students, faculty and staff describing this incident.

Murphy was charged yesterday for first-degree rape, first-degree sex offense and kidnapping. He was denied bail and then taken to the Baltimore County Detention Center. Murphy is scheduled for a bail review tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A "Cold" Hearted Mother

The Inverted Pyramid style of writing includes the lead at the beginning and details are arranged from most important to least important. This style of writing shouldn't include suspense or leave the writer confused.

The story I found was located on the front page of the Baltimore Sun,,0,5824525.story?page=1. A Calvert County woman came forward about having two of her adopted daughters remains in the freezer. She was accused of abusing her own 7-yr.-old daughter, who was found walking in the street bare-foot Friday night. Police said the girl showed signs of neglect and abuse and are unable to identify the remains of the two girls, who were 9 and 11 yrs. old, until autopsies are performed. The mother was ordered held without bond earlier this morning. The lead in this article says, "LUSBY - A Calvert County woman accused of abusing one of her three daughters was ordered held without bond this morning after police investigating the case found human remains in the woman's basement freezer, authorities said." It gives the 5W's and 1H and it's straightforward. The most important details are stated in this first sentence. The second sentence gives the name of the mother, her age and states that one of the daughters was found walking around. Then the next two paragraphs goes on to tell what the police said and found. Later on in the article it describes the mothers background and also gives quotes from neighbors.

Books in Baltimore

For my article, I decided to cover the Baltimore Book Festival, which is located in Downtown Baltimore at Mount Vernon Place. The event is from Friday, September 26, 2008 until Sunday September 28, 2008.

I already know from the Baltimore Sun, that many authors will be there showcasing their works and also reading them. There will be performances from local bands, food and games. Since this is a broad topic to write about, I have decided to focus in on the children's section of the festival. I will try to ask questions about how long the bookfair has been around, do the people in charge of the childrens tent see a lot of kids, what is their perspective of the book fair do they think it will make people in the Baltimore comunity more interested in reading and other questions. I will pay attention to how many kids I see there, what kinds of activities are offered to kids and are the kids participating and how the adults get kids to participate in the activities.

Concise Headlines

The first headline I chose was Charnay's. Her headline about the University system was concise, and straight to the point. "Struggling economy impacts the UMS's decision to freeze hiring affecting all faculty and unfilled positions" It tells the who, the what and the where. She also gives a link to where you can read the whole story. Her headline makes you want to read the rest of the story. Check out Charnay at

The other headline comes from Brian Wright. I loved his first headline which read,"Spidertown?" Tigers lose, 45-14 to Richmond." It makes you want to no more. It makes you stop and think.....spidertown in tigertown!? Huh!? The next one says, "Towson fumbles a victory in a turnover battle allowing Richmond to take advantage of Tigers miscalculated plays." The word "battle" lets you know that it was a tough game and "misculated" means that the Tiger's definetly have work to do. These adjectives were very good and he also used the 5 W's. You can read more about Brian at

The last headline that I liked came from Gillian Grandison. She talked about Towson's new recycling program. "Towson goes Green with Recycall; a recycling program that offers single stream recycling to students." It gives the 5 W's and it also lets the audience know wha Recycall is. You can look at Gillian's other news headlines at

Inside the Press

Towson Falls to Richmond, was the name of the article found in this past Sunday's Baltimore Sun. Towson University's football team lost to Richmond, the defending CAA champions, on Sunday, Sept. 13th. I think this article is original reporting because of this quote: "It all came down to turnovers," Towson coach Gordy Combs said. "We kept turning the ball over on their side of the field. You can't beat a quality team like Richmond making those kinds of mistakes." Also to give this type of deatil about the football game, I think the reporter had to be there, because the details are so vivid and they paint a picture in your head. Here's an example the reporter used in the article: "The Spiders, ranked No.4 in the Football Championship Subdivision poll, opened a 7-0 lead by converting Derek Hatcher's midfield interception into an 11-play drive that ended with John Crone's 3-yard touchdown run. The Spiders' second touchdown, at 3:43 of the first quarter, came after Nicholas Battle blocked a punt by Bill Shears, setting up Richmond at the Tigers' 23-yard line." To read more about Towson's upsetting lost, you can read the article here:,0,2943719.story
Press Release

On Sept. 13th, 2008, the Baltimore Sun featured an article about Walgreen Co. making an offer on Sept. 7th, 2008, to buy Long Drug Stores for $.28 billion, hoping that CVS would back down from their offer. Walgreen CEO, Jeffrey Rein, wrote a letter to Long's board of directors saying that he preferred to negotiate with Long's, but was also prepared to take the offer to the company's shareholders directly. In a press release, Walgreen had expressed interest in gaining Long's earlier for $70 a share, but never received materials for the company. No further information has been released about the Walgreen buying Long's. You can view the full article here:,0,1146767.storyI think this article is a press release because the article says that Walgreen disclosed information in a press release and nobody was interviewed for this article.

Original Reporting

Summary Leads and Short Reports

A summary lead is one sentence that sums up the whole article and that also can grab your attention to make you want to read the rest of the article. Leads are usually declarative sentences that contain a subject followed by a verb. A short report is two or more sentences use to sum up a story when there is a lack of time, space or information. Bulletins, E-mail alerts, Crawlers and Newspaper briefs are all examples of short reports. These examples are usually short and get straight to the point about the story.

An example of a lead I found was at The article is called, City raids yield arrests, heroin. I believe the lead for this article is the first little paragraph which says, "Law enforcement officials Thursday arrested nine people -- including at least one police say is part of the city's 'dirty dozen,' Baltimore's most elusive violent repeat offenders -- after 18 federal raids that netted heroin, automatic weapons and bags of cash." Even though it's a little long it has a subject, verb and object.

An example of a brief can be found on the New York Times website at The article is called Bush Said to Give Orders Allowing Raids in Pakistan. I think the brief might be this, "The order allowing Special Operations forces to act without the prior approval of the Pakistani government underscores U.S. concerns over Pakistan’s ability and will to combat militants."

Three Blog Stories

One of the stories on the front page of the online Baltimore Sun is, Fire damages historic Baltimore shopping center. It talks about how a four alarm blaze damaged Baltimore's first large outdoor strip mall. This is newsworthy because it represents some of the news values. It has impact because it affects the people that used to shop there for years. As far as prominence, Mayor Sheila Dixon lives in that neighborhood and said the shopping center, "provides a number of needs for the community." The conflict is people vs. nature. It took firefighters 3 hrs. to extinguish the fires. It happened at around 9 a.m. today, so it is timely and it happened in Baltimore City, this refers to proximity. It has human interest because some shop owners were effected by the fire and they also show pictures and video clips of a shop owner describing what happened and the firefighters trying to control the fire.

Another story I saw on the front page was called, Franchot calls for overhaul of spending. This article talks about how Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is trying to come up with a revenue to avoid a budget shortfall that cpould costs us $1 billion or more next year. Even though Gov. Martin O'Malley raised taxes it's still not helping with household incomes, falling home values, an instable market, and uncertain jobs. This story has impact because it could affect everybody in Maryland, we might have to pay more taxes, more money for food and gas. The article has prominence because it mentioned the Maryland Comptroller, Peter Franchot, and Gov. Martin O'Malley. It has timeliness because the article mentioned that Peter Franchot and other fiscal leaders would meet later today to discuss, "an increase for the state's debt ceiling, which would allow more borrowing for roads, schools and other projects." This is happening in Maryland, so it has proximity.

The last story that i thought was newsworthy was, Bay Bride repairs complete. Lane closings on the bridge began Aug. 26 after corrosions were found during an inspection Aug. 10. The reopening means that there will be less backups and commuters (mainly those from the Eastern Shore) can get home quicker and safer. It has impact on anyone who has, does or will drive on the Bay Bridge. Gov. Martin O'Malley was also mentioned in this article. This event happened on Aug. 26, but the repairs for the bridge was completed today. The conflict was people vs. nature.

Outstanding Portfolios/Elements of Style

The journalist I'm writing about is Drew Tewksbury. He has worked for Taschen Publishing, People Magazine in London, Flaunt Magazine, L.A. Alternative, and National Public Radio. I think Drew Tewksbury carries the same thing that Jared Silfies. He probably carries a camera, a laptop, notepad, pencils or pens, USB cables, a thumb drive and maybe a Elements of Style book. The link for his website is

I think the Elements of Style's book says that Jared Silfies probably wouldn't be considered as a real journalist or one that would be taken seriously. Jared Silfies uses a lot of technology and gadgets for his article or work. The book just mainly talks about usage, composition and form. It doesn't talk about integrating technology and journalism, but maybe an updated version of the book would.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Introduction

Hi, my name is Amber Owens and this is my sophomore year at Towson. I am a commuter, which can get so annoying at times. I already had you as a teacher for my MCOM 101 class in my freshman year, first semester. Of course my major is Mass Communications and my track is Journalism. I love writing about anything. I want to be a magazine journalist and hopefully write for Vogue magazine one day. I also have a newly found interest for print photography. I hope that this class will teach me how to become a better writer and familiarize myself with the applications of the web. I am very excited to be in a new class and it seems like it is going to be fun and interesting. I can't wait to get started on everything.