Note to Readers

By Cassandra Bent

This will be my last blog post. With the semester ending in a few days, I have completed this assignment and will be done my first journalism class.

Before ending my blog, I want to expand upon what I have learned from blogging throughout the semester. First, I have learned the principle aspects of blogging, such as linking out and using tags. More importantly though, I have learned about myself.

With aspirations of entering the broadcast journalism world, I did not consider print journalism. As a matter of fact, in the beginning of the semester when I began writing articles for the first time, I hated it. However, this assignment has changed my mind and taught me that I truly enjoy writing news stories.

I have a passion for news, and this assignment made me realize that I also have a passion for detail and description to help make stories come alive. I have always said that I explain myself better in writing, and I am now beginning to wonder if I explain news better in writing as well.

However, this assignment has also helped me learn more about broadcast journalism. By following Steve Cooper, I began to see his technique of reporting, and feel I will become a better reporter because of it. From interviewing him, I was able to see the Channel 7 News station, which was very exciting. I was also able to learn his cardinal rule of being “flexible,” and take in advice from an already successful reporter. It was a very encouraging experience.

I have decided that I will definitely keep print journalism as an option for my future. Who knows, maybe I will do broadcast and print journalism. I am now encouraged  to work on my interviewing skills and my writing so that I can continue to improve.

Although this is my last post, I may begin a different blog in the future.

Thanks very much for reading my blog!

Advertisements

A Look Into the Life of Steve Cooper

By Cassandra Bent

Most people are fast asleep, as he wakes up at 2:15am ready to begin his day of reporting for the morning and the noon news. However, that is not where this busy man’s day ends. Channel 7 News general assignment reporter and fill-in anchor Steve Cooper goes home to his wife and twin sons and runs in his spare time.

Cooper calls his job as “a dream come true” in his online video biography. In an in-person interview on Wednesday, December 9th, he referred to news saying, “I was always fascinated by it.” As a small child, young Cooper would call into radio shows, and was first exposed to stations when he went to claim his prizes.

Years later, he has worked his way up the ranks. Having run in the Boston Marathon, Cooper said, “Running is my outlet for stress.” And stress is something he must have, considering that sometimes he will be creating a news package and at 11:30am he will be assigned to a whole new story that needs to be completed by 12:00pm.

“The challenging part is making it fresh and exciting,” said Steve Cooper. He expressed his efforts to make news packages interesting to the viewer and “as memorable as possible,” with the inclusion of good interviews.

Having just finished working, on the cold, windy, wintery day that was the first snow storm for many towns this winter, Steve Cooper was chipper, without even a hint of wind-blown hair. He was still wearing his black outdoor-wear pants and had his red and black Channel 7 parka on the back of his chair.

When asked about his favorite type of stories to cover, Cooper brought up that he enjoys covering stories about the New England weather.  “I definitely enjoy the snow storms… it’s exciting,” he said.  

Working as a reporter is something Steve Cooper is very passionate about. “I love it because everyday day is different,” he said.

His advice to budding journalists is advice that can be useful for many other occupations as well as other aspects of life: “Follow your dreams; stick with what you want to do.” He also stresses that in his line of work it is important to be flexible. He described his attitude towards having to switch stories at the last minute as: “Well hey, whatever. Switch to something else and go with it.”

And this, is the hectic life of a news reporter.

Boston Sports

By Cassandra Bent

It’s game seven of the 2004 MLB Playoffs. The Red Sox, originally down three games to zero have a chance to make history and to dissapoint their biggest rivals, the New York Yankees. As their lead increases, their confidence grows, and it is not long before the Red Sox team is drinking champagne and their ever faithful fans are celebrating right along with them.

That year, the Red Sox went on to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. To Channel 7 reporter Steve Cooper, this win was  both a piece of history and a highlight in his personal carreer.

Cooper was the only New England reporter to broadcast live on board a duck both during the Red Sox World Series vistory parade, according to Channel 7 News.  In an interview with Cooper, he mentioned this as one of the most memorable events in his career.

What fascinates him is the “history” behind sports. One of those historical aspects is the home of the Boston Red Sox,  Fenway Park. First opened April 20, 1912, Fenway Park is one of the most famous baseball parks in the world. 

In Steve Cooper’s video biography, he talks about Boston sports as one of the aspects he covers as a general assignment reporter. He mentions that memorable broadcast on the duck boat and goes on to discuss covering stories about the 2nd time the Red Sox won the world series, the “Patriots big wins at Foxboro,” and the Celtics championship.

People often disagree over whether sports can be considered news. This debate will continue indefinitely for years to come, but Steve Cooper adds a different angle to the dispute by mentioning the historical side of sports.

Another topic Cooper ackonwledged is the importance of sports in the Boston area. Although this new insite does not decipher whether sports is in fact news, it sheds light on the fact that, to some people, Boston fans in particular, sports are very important events that people want to hear about in the news.

The Significance of Cops and The Importance of Research

By Cassandra Bent

Cops

They respond to 911 calls and risk their lives to keep the streets safe. Who are they? They are the men and women in blue; cops.

Many news stories involve the police. Whether it’s a story about an event with police on patrol, or it’s a story about violence, police are often interviewed or mentioned on the news. In just one work week, the first week in December, at least two of Steve Cooper’s reports involved the police.

On Thursday, December 3rd, Cooper did a story about bank robberies in Brookline, MA. He explained that after a “rash” of bank robberies, Brookline police have “beefed up patrols” and are working with an FBI special task force to catch 2 bank robbery suspects. His news package then included him asking Brookline Lieutenant Phillip Harrington questions about the bank robberies.

The next day, Friday, December 4th, Steve Cooper’s report also involved the police, but in a very different way. He reported from Cambridge about a little boy who was let off at the wrong bus stop, which was over a mile away from his actual bus stop. Cooper mentioned that the police report was never filed because the Brookline police concluded that no crime was committed.

In Cooper’s December 3rd report, the police were a major part of the story and he actually reported from outside the police headquarters. On the contrary, in the December 4th story, the   police were more in the background and were not a chief aspect of the story. However, cops were mentioned in both of the dissimilar reports.

Research

Knowing background information and related information to stories is critical. People want to know how the news affects them and why it is important to know. This past week, Steve Cooper’s Thursday, December 3rd report from Brookline tied in all of these aspects.

“Be alert to your surroundings,” warned Lieutenant Harrington. This alone opens ears because it suggests that the story relate to citizens in the area.

However, this story is not just important to the people in Brookline. Steve Cooper showed its possible relation to the economic crisis by asking the Lieutenant if the bank robberies are “a sign of the times” to which he replied that he thought they in fact are sign of the times.

Along with relating an issue to a bigger problem, Steve Cooper did his research about bank robberies in Brookline, and proved that the multitude of robberies is not common in this area. He told viewers that last year Brookline had 5 bank robberies in a year, and this year there has been 4 in one month.

Black Friday Madness

By Cassandra Bent

Herds of people waited in lines Friday, November 27 at wee hours of the morning to enter stores. Why would anyone want to sit in the cold for hours? Because it was Black Friday of course. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is an occasion that brings many shoppers out of their homes at early hours of the morning to get good deals on Christmas presents. Often associated with long lines, Black Friday is a day to “shop til you drop.”

Due to the economic downturn, last year’s Black Friday was not as well attended as those in past years. However, this year, with stores opening up even earlier and having even better deals, Black Friday prevailed once again. Steve Cooper and the Channel 7 News team reported on this.  

Having tweeted, “What recession. These shoppers are buying like crazy,” Steve Cooper reported from the North Shore Mall in Peabody, MA. Cooper also mentioned on twitter that shoppers had been lined up outside of Best Buy since Thanksgiving afternoon. Raw footage from the Watertown Best Buy shows shoppers in line the evening before Black Friday anxiously awaiting the opening of the store.

With last year’s Black Friday shopping down, it came as a bit of a shock that the stores were packed this past Friday with the recession still looming. A report from Channel 7 News explained that analysts believed the good turnout was due to “extended store hours” and deals of 50-70% off clothing, electronics, and other merchandise. For example, Old Navy opened at 3am.

Relating a smaller event to a larger issue is an important part of reporting. This report, like Steve Cooper’s tweet, also related Black Friday to the economic crisis. It mentioned a possible improvement in the economy exemplified by the amount of people shopping this Black Friday. Is the economy beginning to climb the steep mountain back to recovery? It is hard to say, but Black Friday showed signs of hope.

Journalism In These Trying Times

By Cassandra Bent

BOSTON- “We just have to live with uncertainty. To me, there are no surprises anymore,” said Boston Globe Editor Marty Baron at Emerson College on Thursday, November 19th. Sitting alongside Baron was Boston Globe Publisher, Stephen Ainsley who agreed that he does not know “what they future holds.”

In a world where online news is beginning to rule, The Boston Globe has had to make cutbacks and changes to stay afloat. This forum, the second in a series of journalism forums at Emerson, discussed the changes for both the business side and the reporting side of newspapers. 

This past year, The Boston Globe was on the market to be sold, had to reopen contracts with employees and ask for concessions, and was forced to make buy-outs and lay employees off. There was a 12% reduction of overall newsroom employees, and pay cuts of 23% for the employees that remained, according to Baron.

“All in all, it was certainly the most hellish year of my career,” said Marty Baron who had to encourage the newsroom and see them through the difficult time. He and Ainsley do not always agree about everything, and have a relationship embedded with “natural tension,” according to Ainsley.

However, Baron and Ainsley do agree on some things. For example, they both remain optimistic about The Boston Globe and journalism itself. Although they are uncertain about the future, both made projections.

Stephen Ainsley’s projections about the future were in regards to the business side of journalism. Ainsley discussed consumers’ desire for fast, up to date news. He also gave an example of the changes The Globe has made to give consumers what they want, which is regularly updated news on Boston.com.

“We’re still not real risk takers,” said Ainsley, who went on to say businesses in the industry have to make “smart, but calculated risks.” He brought up the ever present debate over whether to charge people for online news, and how to go about doing so. Ainsley mentioned that he likes Pandora’s method for making money on online products by charging people a fee to not have to view adds.

Marty Baron’s outlook for the future is one of optimism. “Opportunities are expanding,” said Baron. He discussed the future prospect for younger people to move up in the business much quicker than previously due to their vast knowledge of computers and the online world.

“It’s going to be a very different kind of field,” said Baron in regards to writing and reporting for newspapers. He outlined the qualities he feels journalists of the future will need to exhibit. Baron thinks journalists will have to “embrace change and uncertainty,” be “a bit of an entrepreneur,” be “more creative,” and “operate a bit more on his or her own.”

Although this past year has been a difficult one both for the business side and the reporting side of The Boston Globe, these two prominent figures are able to envision a different, but still bright future for this newspaper that is now incorporating the web.

 The future of journalism is a hopeful one because according to Stephen Ainsley, due to the web, “More people are reading newspapers than ever before.” According to Marty Baron, the web gives reporters “the capacity to tell stories in new ways.” However, even with this evidence, only time will tell what the future holds for journalism.

Comparison of Cooper’s News Packages

This week contains information focusing on Steve Cooper’s packages for the 12:00pm news on Wednesday, November 11 and Thursday, November 12. According to journalist, investigative reporter, former 60 minutes producer, documentary producer, and professor at Emerson College Chris Szechenyi, news packages are a mix of NAT sound, B-roll, SOT, and narration.

  • NAT sound- (natural sound) the sounds that are occurring at a scene, makes you feel as though you’re there
  • B-roll- video images used to make the story come alive
  • SOT- (sound on tape) these are good sound bites from people at the scene
  • Narration- an explanation of the news from the reporter

On Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, November 11, Steve Cooper reported from Plymouth, MA. The story was about a 21 year old soldier, Benjamin Sherman, who died in Afghanistan. Newsworthy due to its timeliness, Cooper’s package began with him giving narration. It went on to include b-roll of marching soldiers, NAT sound of the marching, and sound bites from Sherman’s sister and mother. The sound bites were what stood out the most because they were very emotional. With both women crying, they talked about both Sherman’s life and death. Cooper then narrated that Sherman’s mother had something to say to President Obama, and the SOT was: “It’s time that we do something… either come home or end it.” This was a great sound bite because it addresses a very prominent figure, our President. During the package, Cooper made sure to mention that Sherman’s wife is pregnant. This, along with the crying seen on tape, evoked emotion. At the end of the news package, Cooper maintained a very serious, solemn tone.

The next day, Thursday, November 12, Steve Cooper reported from Boston, MA with a story about Salvatore DiMasi, the former Speaker of the House. Accused of fraud, DiMasi did not answer many questions. Cooper’s package was different from his package of the previous day because this one included footage of him asking the subject questions. Along with b-roll of DiMasi walking toward the courthouse holding his wife’s hand, narration of this, and NAT sound of the wind, this package included raw footage. Steve Cooper, in a group of reporters from other news stations, asked DiMasi multiple questions. After DiMasi refused to answer questions about the trial, Cooper changed gears and referred to DiMasi’s family asking, “How difficult has this been for you all?” DiMasi did not answer this question either. The package included an informative ending, with Steve Cooper notifying viewers that the trial would continue the next day, Friday, November 13. View Footage

Cooper’s contrasting reports on these two days demonstrate that different techniques of reporting are appropriate for different situations. He did not bombard the family of a deceased soldier, but he did ask questions to a public figure the next day. Common elements in both packages were the inclusion of NAT sound, B-roll, SOT, and narration. Cooper also incorporated important facts and good sound bites in both packages.

“Tweeting” The News: New Way to Get Word Out

By Cassandra Bent

In a world where people no longer have to wait for the morning newspaper to arrive or turn the television on at the precise time the morning or evening news airs in order to receive information, reporters are changing their styles for notifying the public. Online articles can be released after the short time it takes a reporter to type up the story, and this has changed the news business.

However, there is one new, even faster way to inform people about news. Known as Twitter, this recently popular website was originally started in 2006. It is not only a way for friends to keep up with each other’s lives, but also a means for sports teams to inform fans about their stats and news, and even a way for reporters and news networks to make instant updates to stories that are forming.

One news network that utilizes Twitter is CNN. With only 140 characters allowed per “tweet”, their updates are quick and to the point.

Reporter Steve Cooper also uses Twitter. New to the Twitter craze, Cooper posted his first “tweet” October 15, 2009. The update, sent from a mobile phone, says, “Just finished covering new Bedford court arraignment#7news.” With a capitalization error, this informal way of reporting is now a new resource to help stay informed.

Steve Cooper’s latest “tweet” is about a Cambridge fire at MIT, and informs that there are “No injuries.” His recent “tweets” have been about the Boston mayoral race explaining that Flaherty claimed he would have a “photo finish” and beat Menino, but did not. These “tweets” also display capitalization errors.

Reading Cooper’s Twitter page is like reading an informal text message from a friend, and is a virtual way to follow him around. It shows what stories he is covering, and tells the basic facts and outcomes. Twitter demonstrates a different side of Steve Cooper because his reports on Channel 7 News are very formal.

Steve Cooper (Channel 7 News)

By Cassandra Bent

“Steve Cooper (pause) Channel 7 News,” he says with a nod.  Whether he is outside in the cold air wearing a parka or reporting on a mild day in a suit, this is always the way he ends his field reports.  From general news to breaking news and top stories, Steve Cooper covers all types of news.  For the past six weeks I have been following his reports closely; I have looked him up, learned what he reports about, and I even follow him on Twitter.  My assignment now is to continue to follow him and write this news blog about what he covers.  At the end of my assignment, in mid-December, I will interview Steve Cooper in person and post a profile piece.

Before delving further into Steve Cooper’s reporting technique and the stories he covers, however, I want to give a biography about this Channel 7 News reporter and anchor.  This information was received from the Channel 7 News  as well as Steve Cooper’s facebook profile.

Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1985 with a BA in Communication Studies and Journalism.  He started his career in the news industry at CBS in Boston and became a part of the Channel 7 News Team in the summer of 1999.  He has worked his way up the ranks and is currently a general assignment reporter for the morning and noon shows and fills in as an anchor on the weekends.  One thing this reporter has accomplished that no other reporter in New England has done, is that he broadcasted live on the back of a Duck Tour boat during the Red Sox World Series parade.

This busy reporter also makes time for a private life.  On top of  working sometimes as many as seven days a week, Steve Cooper is a husband and father to twin sons.  He enjoys being involved in the community, and even ran the Boston Marathon.

Before ending this blog post, I’ll tell you a little about myself.  My name is Cassandra Bent.  Last year, I was a freshman majoring in Communication at Bryant University, and transferred this year to Emerson College, where Iam a Broadcast Journalism student.  This blog assignment is for my first official journalism class.  I look forward to blogging about Steve Cooper and the news he is reporting.

Look for more next week here at Cassie’s News Corner.

Is There a Future for Budding Journalists?

By Cassandra Bent

BOSTON—“I don’t think it’s time to throw up our hands and say its over,” said to Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author, Alex Jones to an audience filled with Emerson journalism students and faculty. At his talk Thursday, October 8th, Alex Jones spoke of the past, present, and future of journalism. He noted such things as the Printing Press and the Telegraph, discussed the “Digital Age” and blogging, and contemplated where to go from here. Throughout his talk, however, Mr. Jones focused on the ethical codes journalists must abide by and the objectivity they must use.

With multiple newspapers shutting their doors, and many citizen journalists blogging and receiving their news from the internet, there has been talk of what the future holds for journalists. When asked about what will happen in the future for the news industry Alex Jones replied, “If I had that answer I’d be a wealthy man, but I’m not.”

Although he went on to discuss the future with uncertainty, he also showed optimism. Mr. Jones said this economic down-turn “may have been the saving grace” for news because it “forced newspapers to make changes”. He explained that he feels newspapers made necessary cuts that should have been made long before the economic shift to coincide with the “digital revolution”. He also noted that most newspapers in the U.S. are still making a profit.

Alex Jones talked a lot about truth. He feels that truth should be “rooted in the individual and institutions”. He brought up news values and spent an extensive time discussing them because although they are “not in fashion” they are important to him. Mr. Jones told the journalism students and faculty, “There is no way to tell the perfect truth.” He explained that journalists have opinions too, but need to use the “objective method of reporting”.

“What we are doing is in fact a public service,” stated Mr. Jones. He described journalism as being a “powerful job”, and gave examples of how journalists make an impact on others’ lives. One example Alex Jones brought up was the war in Iraq. He talked about how people’s opinions of the war changed due to reporters telling the truth about what was occurring there.

Mr. Jones also discussed ethics journalists should have when conducting interviews. He used a true story to make a point that what journalists are told in an interview should not always be published. The story he told was of a young reporter that was a former student of his. Mr. Jones said that the young woman interviewed a teenage girl, and the teenage girl told her about an illegal activity she had participated in long ago. Since the story already said the girl had run into trouble with the police, and the activity had nothing to do with the overall point of the article, Alex Jones advised the new journalist not to add that detail into the story.

Mr. Jones explained the balancing act of journalist’s lives by saying they have a “journalist hat”, “citizen hate”, and “humanity hat”, and when telling the truth conflicts with other values its necessary to weigh the circumstances. Alex Jones told hopeful journalists that sometimes as a journalist you “play God” because you are “taking people’s lives in your hands”. He then warned, “When you do play God be very careful.”