Reflections on investigative reporting: important principles

Part 1: News announcement

Nokia Corporation to Introduce a New Phone in the Market.

As the year comes to a close, Nokia announces its intention to introduce a new phone in the market. The phone’s release date is on 15 December 2014, at the Nokia Arena, with all members of the media invited to the event.

The new Nokia L will run on the android system, which is a break away from its usual windows operating system. Targeting the high-end market, the Nokia L phone will be a substantial rival to the Iphone. The phone will feature a 5.8-inch 2440 x 2660 display and a large 1800 mAH battery. Also, the phone will feature a unified notification center lacking in most Nokia phones, and open the prelude for future directions.

For its design, the new Nokia phone sheds away its usual plastic covering to spot a new metal casing that the company is expecting to adopt even in its subsequent models. The phone will also be waterproofed following in line with the latest adoptions in the mobile phone markets. The display will be super amoled and extending to the edges to increase the media allowance and offer the customer a better viewing experience. For the processor, the new phone will pack an 810 processor on a 64-bit architecture, and an adreno 429 graphic cards for the multimedia section. Nokia has put much emphasis on multimedia, a section that has had no new improvements over some time.

The company’s recent partnership with Microsoft in its provision of the Windows 8 software will be on hold as it seeks to launch the phone on an Android 5 operating system. Importantly, Nokia is not revoking the partnership with Microsoft, but rather the adoption of the android system seeks to explore new markets. Subsequent smartphones may don an android operating system depending on the success of this introductory model. The phone further has a 20 megapixels camera including an optical stabilization alternative and a front 2-megapixel camera. The phones battery has an improved efficiency of 40 percent, which will support a longer battery life than the previous models.

Nokia’s roll out of the new Nokia L comes at a time when we expect stiff market competition from the high-end phone manufacturer, Apple. Expectations are that our new Nokia phone will be a worthy contender against the recently released Iphone even as other competitors such as Samsung prepare to launch their own versions. The top-notch market that the Iphone occupies remains a monopolized market sector where Nokia is looking to leave its mark. Nokia believes that Apple offers the real competition in this market, but there is optimism that the new device can successfully bring in new trends that will permanently place Nokia on the high-end frontier. Nokia has been recently suffering slumping sales in the last half year, and this release is expected to boost sales and place Nokia firmly within the high-end market. Nokia will no longer be a spectator in the high-end mobile phone market but is looking to be a trendsetter worldwide

Nokia Corporation invites all media houses to this event as we seek to unveil the next generation of smartphones and as we celebrate innovation. Nokia is a company committed to enhancing life through embracing and encouraging innovation through creation of the next generation of smartphones.

 

 

Part 2: Feature story.

The American Dream

As Arthur made his way to the backroom following the announcement he could only reflect on how far he had come after setting foot in the States. His stint as the top IT expert within the Nokia Corporation had begun 7 years ago after finishing studies at the Michigan Institute of Technology. After graduating with first honors, Nokia had asked him to join them in their employ. Thus far, Arthur had been instrumental in designing the new Nokia L smartphone, as well as defining its specifications. Regardless of this, his journey has not always been rosy.

Arthur had set foot in the United States after having undergone a bleak past, but one that he could not regret. He had been born in Nigeria in the 1980’s, but he did not even know the exact date. His parents must have been poor as they abandoned him in a hospital’s entrance, and this had marked the beginning of his predicaments, well, probably until now. He had been brought up in a children’s home in Nigeria with others he considered his brothers and sisters, but the war between the Christians and Muslims had displaced them as the shells hit their home. At this time, Arthur was about 10 years old, and he never envisaged such an ending. He was now destitute again, ‘how much will I have to go through’ he muttered as he sat on a rock watching the dying embers of what was previously his home. Arthur longed for a motherly love to reassure him, tell him that everything would be fine, but he was all alone. Alone in a world that did not care or offer any solace. In light of this, Arthur had one thing that kept him going, courage to face the next hurdle.

Arthur watched as villagers passed by on their way to the warmth of their homes. No one cared about this little boy, but he was used to it. As darkness approached, Arthur decided to move to the city and try his luck at finding a job. He would do anything just to have a plateful and a warm blanket in the night.

Three years had passed since setting foot in the city, but no one would offer him a job. “He is just a kid looking to steal something and escape,” one of the factory managers had retorted. Only one thing was left, begging, and sleeping on the hard pavement.

His life as a street urchin was the hardest for him, he ate what looked edible from the bins, with passers by offering some food or change once in a while. Regardless, Arthur knew that one day a bright light would shine. During the day, he kept himself busy reading old newspaper wrappings and walking down the streets of Lagos peering in offices and wishing. He could see large Nokia adverts within the city and in newspapers, but none of that was important at the time. He did not envisage working there or rather being part of a transformation at the company. His small education at the home had seen him master some English and he could speak even though not fluent.

As Arthur signed the news announcement reports to be released to media stations, he remembered the day luck shone upon him. On a hot summer afternoon, Arthur was busy prying the streets having not eaten anything in the last 24 hours. He had tried begging for some crumbs or leftovers, but none was willing to help. As he was about to cross the road to a bin outside a small hotel, he noticed a white man approaching, eating on something. For Arthur, he knew that this was it. White tourists were an easy prey around and one could snatch just about anything from these ‘naïve’ westerners. He pretended to be headed in the opposite direction waiting for the opportune moment to snatch the hotdog.

“Hey you” the white tourist was calling out in the direction of Arthur, even before they met. He looked American, probably in his fifties. Arthur thought of ignoring and focusing on what his mission was but was perplexed. “Why would this man want to talk to a street urchin like me?” he thought. As the two people met, the American handed him the hotdog and asked him if he would like some more food. Arthur looked around confused and unable to comprehend what the American was offering, but he nodded his head as the American signaled to Arthur to follow him.

As the duo approached The Konvy Hotel, Arthur felt a warmth inside him at the feeling of enjoying a warm dish. He had never been inside a restaurant all his life. He had only watched from afar, as he relished the thoughts of sitting there one day and here it was. The two individuals sat there, with the American trying to initiate a conversation, but Arthur was not concerned. All he wanted was a warm meal regardless of the heat outside. After all, what does he have to talk about with a foreigner who does not understand a thing about suffering.

Arthur was standing up to leave after gobbling down his meal, when the American promised to pay him if he showed him around. He had nothing to lose and the thought of a few coins for something he considered worthwhile warmed his heart. The two left the hotel and headed for a clothes store. Arthur had never thought of this moment here where a stranger could be warm enough and care to clothe him. That night, the American paid for a month’s stay plus room service for Arthur at the Hilton Complex Hotel. This was more than Arthur had hoped for yet that was not the end. At the lounge downstairs, Arthur and Mr. Smith, the American, held a conversation where Arthur had expressed his enthusiasm to study and work as an IT expert.

At 13 years, he joined school in the United States under Mr. Smith’s tutorage, and his passion for education and a transformed life had seen him excel in his studies. After high school, he joined college on a sponsorship for his exemplary performance, to pursue his passion in IT. Fast forward to 2014 and Arthur was on top of the world as an IT expert. His enthusiasm to be part of something big was about to materialize with the release of the new Nokia L phone. The company had helped hone his skills in technology, and now he had a gift to offer the world.

 

 

Part 3: Web Release.

Nokia recently announced its intention to roll out a new phone in the high-end market previously dominated by the IPhone. The new Nokia phone, which is an all-out new specification model, is expected to be a trendsetter as it already gains wide admiration from mobile phone enthusiasts.

Such an announcement comes following the recent introduction of the iPhone 6 in the market. Expectations are that the new Nokia phone will be a worthy contender to the iPhone even as Samsung prepares to release its S6. The recently released iPhone 6 has been an eye candy for customers and its specifications have stunned critics and reviewers also. The top-notch market that iPhone occupies remains a monopolized market sector where Nokia is looking to leave its mark. Samsung’s soon to be unveiled S6 is also a possible competitor on this front but Nokia believes that Apple offers the real competition but there is optimism that the new device can successfully bring in new trends that will permanently place Nokia on the high end frontier.

According to the CEO, the phone’s release will come in mid-December, a month before Samsung unveils its S6 smartphone. Nokia has been recently suffering slumping sales in the last half year, and this release is expected to boost sales and place Nokia firmly within the market. Its strategy to include completely new specs different from the previous models shows the maturation of the company as it seeks to explore new grounds. As the CEO noted in his announcement release, Nokia will no longer be a spectator in the high-end mobile phone market but is looking to be a trendsetter worldwide

 

 

Part 4: Reflection.

Reflection paper: Investigative reporting

Abstract

Journalism as an important part of society’s news-making section and each member of the journalism community has to understand the principles making up news reporting. In this reflective section, there is an analysis of the dynamics of investigative reporting that has been part of class discussion. The text overviews investigative journalism and its principles such as the need for fact finding and to keep searching for information. Journalistic principles adhered to determine the kind of story or news feature that will gain admiration from the audience. Also, journalistic principles help in the adherence of ethical standards necessary in maintaining morality even within news reporting. The reflection on feature stories also analyses the important facts about feature stories, and the likely direction that a reporter might take. The reflection section also considers the various attributes that I had to adhere to as a journalist. Feature stories need not be aligned to the hard news but should be a reflection of events within society that readers can relate to.

Reflections on investigative reporting: important principles

Introduction

 

In reference to investigative journalism, it is seen as the first step in drafting legislation as it focuses attention on the failures within society and how these failures can be circumvented by the rich and powerful (Burgh, 2013). For investigative reporting, it can be seen as a way of delving below the peripheries of any news and bring to light the concise facts behind such news. Investigative journalism and reporting have the commonality of not just reporting, but analyzing the facts to paint a clear picture of the events around a phenomenon. Discussed below are the important aspects that define investigative reporting.

Principles of investigative reporting

From the analysis of news announcements and other investigative reporting sections, there are certain evident principles. One principle is that news needs to have an aspect of value. News reporters such as radio and televisions receive a lot of request from citizens to follow up certain stories, but of concern should be the value that certain news creates and whether they are worth following. Negative information receive widespread acknowledgement than positive information (Overholser and Jamieson 2006), but focus should not entirely be on the negative news. In announcements around corporations, the same rule applies whereby much attention will be accorded to areas of interest to the public, and what will help gain more readership (Spark 2013). The news created around an event such as a phone release should take to account factors such as whether the announcement is new, interesting, unusual, and significant to people. A phone release such as outlined in the first section is bound to create interest from sales people, phone enthusiasts, software developers and other reviewers. As such, such an announcement passes the critical principle of creating value.

Another important principle in investigative reporting is the need to be informed. One cannot be informed without being critical in the collection of information (Tong, 2011). The implication is that an investigative journalist has to have their eyes and ears open for new information. A news announcement such as given in section one may not fail within the dynamics of investigative reporting, but nevertheless, reporters have to be on the look out for information, new facts, and trends within society. A reporter/ editor not informed on technological issues may fail to capture the essence of such an announcement, or rather edit out pieces of the article that form the basis of the news announcement.

Getting the facts right is another important principle of investigative reporting. By the term ‘investigative,’ one has to dig below the surface as information is sometimes withheld. Reporting news is different from reporting investigative information. One has to gather facts related to the topic of interest if the final draft is to be newsworthy. In defining reporters, general reporters do not endeavor to seek detailed knowledge and only seek quotes from spokesmen or public relations officers (Spark, 2012). For investigative reporting, information has to be sought from the core with questions such as when, where, what, and how. As such, they do not seek information from the public relations officer or the organization’s spokespersons, but are willing to listen to everyone. In a news announcement such as given in part one, certain information such as phone specifications may come from the company, but additional information may result from speculations proven through fact-finding.

Evidencing the given facts is another important consideration and principle of investigative reporting that seeks to support the outlined facts (McChensey & Nichols, 2010). The importance of evidence is for avoiding defamation or prosecution in a court of law. For recorded information, it is important to pursue a signed statutory declaration. In a news announcement, evidence may only regard the press release given by the company. Substantiating of other facts beyond the information given by the organization is equally important in investigative reporting regarding the news release.

Working within the law is equally important in journalism, as reporters have no special privileges or rights within the law. Even on an investigative piece, hacking is against the law, trespassing on private property is not allowed and neither is listening in on people’s conversations. As such, even as the need to gain information calls for unconventional means, investigative reporting needs not attempt to transcend the law. Ethics are also important in journalism as the ignorance of ethical standards implies the lack of morality in such a story. Journalism is a mirror for society’s actions, and it should be reflective of the values that the society holds dear. For a news release such as one outlined above, ethical standards apply in gaining information not given in the press release.

Reflections on feature story

Feature stories are articles focusing on particular events, places, and or people. Being a story, the feature has to be descriptive, well researched, reflective, colorful, and most importantly journalistic. The feature story given in the second section offers a well-described sequence of events around an individual chasing the American dream. Such an article reflects on the current issues in the world that some people can relate to. Importantly, feature stories have to capture an audience by covering the given topic in depth and amplifying important elements of an occurrence.

Writers of feature stories have time, space to focus on imagery and include as much background, and description possible. The feature story outlined in the second section does not revolve around the news feature from the announcement but is well within the limits of human interest. A feature story can be a news feature offering a sidebar background, a hard news story, or a timeless story that still invokes human interest.

Regardless of the approach that the feature writer wants to apply in his writing, certain factors are key and necessary for consideration. One is that the feature story has to present the individuals as actual human beings. In most cases, feature stories are real life stories, hence, this is never a problem. The feature story has to show creativeness and engage the audience through stimulation of the mind (Reimold, 2013). Feature stories need not be a plain recount of events, but rather have to capture the reader’s interest through the creative narration and sequencing of events.

The characters in the feature story should have warts and flaws that show that they are really human. A reporter may think of introducing flawless characters to appeal to the readers, but in essence, readers understand that not all human beings are perfect. Being a feature within a news announcement, the story deserves real people and the record of real events, which implies that flaws have to be part of the story. Before embarking on the task of a feature story, the journalist may not be wary of the form the story will take (Ricketson, 2006), and what he finds is what dictates the direction of the story.

The length of the feature story in the third section is justifiable, as feature stories are longer than hard news article. This is because journalism allows for the deeper venture of feature stories into the subjects expanding on the characters and details rather than only outlining few points. Feature stories include development of the themes due to the availability of time and the writer may postpone the main point until the end to build on suspense. Encapsulation of the whole story within the lead makes it boring, monotonous, and plainly uninteresting.

 

Different feature stories

There are different types of feature stories that a journalist can focus on and develop. Human interest is the first type of feature story that discusses certain issues from the experience of an individual.

Profile stories bring out different features of the individual that reveal his/her lifestyle and character (Shapiro, 2006). Such stories help the reader understand the profiled individual and draw certain relevant information such as inspiration.

Stories referred to as how-to are resourceful materials that inform individuals on how to do something. The writer offering the information may learn about it from the experts through interviewing or research.

Feature stories take different forms but need to have a developed theme that certain readers can relate to. The stories may also include behind the scene events or historical features of interest to the public.

Conclusion

Every segment of a media form whether a news release, an announcement, a feature story or commentary contributes to the financial success of the respective institution. Such can only happen through increased or loyal readership that is enticed by the journalistic traits of the individuals responsible for creating content. As such, investigative journalists have to exhibit characteristics of knowledge-ability of the intended audience and work towards satisfying their needs through responsive journalism. Reporting on news announcements should help capture all the facts, feature stories should be creative, enticing, and receptive to the audience. Journalism has to transcend the commonalities of everyday writing and stimulate the need to remain glued to the media forms.

References

Burgh, H. (2013). Investigative journalism. London: Routledge.

McChensey, R. & Nichols, J. (2010). The death and life of American journalism: The media          revolution that will begin the world again. New York: Nation Books

Overholser, G. & Jamieson, K. (2006). The press. London: Oxford University.

Reimold, D. (2013). Journalism of ideas: Brainstorming, developing and selling stories in the        digital age. London: Routledge.

Ricketson, M. (2006). Writing feature stories: How to research and write newspaper and   magazine articles. Paris: Allen & Unwin.

Shapiro, S. (2006). Reinventing the feature story: Mythic circles in American journalism. NO:        Apprentice House.

Spark, D. (2012). Investigative reporting: A study in technique. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Tong, J. (2011). Investigative journalism in China. CA: A&C Black.

 

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