Assignment 1:

While most newspapers follow a template similar to one another including topics such as current events, editorials, and arts and leisure, there are also many differences that can be contrasted. For example, on the topic of current events, one newspaper might report the news in a way that is intended to sway viewers to their own ideology and beliefs.  Another may spend more time on sports or entertainment.  In this essay, I will be comparing the similarities as well as the differences between three newspapers: two ethnic newspapers and one mainstream newspaper.  The newspapers that were used in my research include, The Irish Echo, The Jewish Press, and The New York Post.  I chose The Irish Echo and The Jewish Press simply because of curiosity.  For me, the unfamiliarity of these two newspapers made it interesting to see what exactly is being published in them and just how accurate they are in their reporting.  As for The New York Post, I chose this mainstream newspaper because of its extreme popularity in New York City.  It has become a daily ritual for many New Yorkers to start their day off by purchasing a cup of coffee and grabbing the New York Post.  I wanted to explore this habit and why exactly are New Yorkers so attracted to this particular newspaper.  The research provided will give knowledge on what exactly is being circulated and whether or not the information given is more opinion the news.  Also, I will discuss ways in which these newspapers can learn from one another and be regarded as fair and balanced.  But before I start my discussion on the newspapers, let us first look at the principles of journalism and what in fact allows a good journalist to be called a good journalist. If our job here is to create a fair analysis of three newspapers, then it is crucial we understand what exactly it is that we are critiquing as well as the definition of journalism.

One of the first rules of journalism, and the most regarded by most professionals in the field, is the rule of verification. The trusted non-partisan media site known as the Pew Research Center provides a mission statement that promises to “…assess the state of news and information in a changing society.”  Additionally, this site also provides a yearly report called “The State of the News Media”, where it provides information on a number of issues all relating to the news and the accuracy of information being reported.  According to Pew Research, the first obligation of a journalist is to seek the truth.  They go on to define that it is the journalist’s duty to verify any facts given by a source.  Moreover, they say that a journalist should be as fair and impartial as possible, allowing for the reader or viewer to be able to come to their own conclusion about the topic being reported.  The Pew Research Center also explains to us that journalism is not completely free of opinionated pieces.  However, it does become an issue when the reporter or journalist allows their personal feelings to overpower a story, which then creates bias reporting.  In other words, in order for any medium to be considered credible, in this case newspapers, you don’t want to create an outlet where only the opinions of journalists’ exist.  The newspaper must be well-rounded, consisting mostly of empirical based facts, and objectivity as their number one goal.  If a newspaper or any other form of communication is to be taken seriously, then the editors-at-large should avoid injecting any unverifiable information which can create a reputation of selling propaganda rather than journalism.  Sadly, in recent years, especially with the influx of non-credible online media outlets, this first rule of journalism is being ignored.  Journalists’ have a duty to report the news in an ethical and responsible manner and more often than ever this seems to no longer be the norm.  So, now that we’ve gone over what makes good journalism, let us delve into the pages of the newspapers in question to see if they meet the criteria of what is considered trustworthy journalism and explore what they can do better if they don’t meet the standards.

According to the media kit provided by The Irish Echo, the weekly newspaper was launched in 1928 and now has a subscription in all 50 states within the United States as well as in Ireland.  As of today, the paper has a following of 100,000 readers, mainly Irish and Irish-American, and over 200,000 visitors to its website.  Not surprisingly, the newspaper stays true to its Irish roots, hardly swaying from anything pertaining to its ethnicity.  However, what did surprise me was the lack of current event news which is usually plastered on all pages of other newspapers, whether ethnic or mainstream.  For example, in their national and tri-state section, instead of listing recent political events of the week, they list upcoming events which include topics such as Irish music festivities and honoring Irish Americans.  What is more, at first glance you would think that this newspaper was published in Ireland itself.  Whether it’s the arts and leisure section or the opinion section of the newspaper, much of the stories they cover consisted of topics that would probably be unfamiliar to most.  For instance, a title taken from the news section of the paper reads, “Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston rolls out Red Carpet for Golden Bridges.”  In the article, it talks about Mayor Walsh’s unbreakable bond with Ireland, starting from the moment his parents emigrated from the country to the moment they settled into the Boston, Massachusetts area.  As you navigate through the newspaper, stories like this are recurring themes.  Again, not many stories are available relating to the metropolitan area.  Their topics in sports included stories on Irish or Irish-American athletes in the fields of boxing, golf and football; better known as soccer here in the United States.  After travelling to an Irish dominated section of The Bronx known as Woodlawn, I was able to acquire a better understanding of why this newspaper is so popular with its readers.  It was explained to me that The Irish Echo has become a popular source for 18-35 year old men and women largely because of the classifieds section which offers a myriad of job listings ranging from contracting to concrete laborers to caretakers for the elderly.  Sure enough, as I surfed through their classifieds, a vast amount of job postings were listed.  It is also interesting to point out that the newspaper lacked any section dedicated to fashion or mainstream entertainment.  One could argue that the newspaper stays true to its title and its mission statement which explains that the newspaper’s intention is to provide coverage on all topics relating to anything Irish.  This description of The Irish Echo becomes even more evident when compared to another ethnic newspaper: The Jewish Press.

The Jewish Press was founded in 1960 and is known to target a more conservative audience.  As a matter of fact, according to its own description, the newspaper’s editorial section has become infamous for its “non-political correctness.”  One can make the assumption that the editorials do in fact touch on subjects that would be considered controversial just by reading their titles.  Examples of some of these debated topics include articles titled, “What Part of Iran’s duplicity doesn’t the President Get?”, “Is Mayor De Blasio Too Pro-Israel for Liberal Jews?” and “The President Plays the Race Card.”  As for the sections related to local, national, and international news, the newspaper puts out an equal amount of stories and headlines, even creating sections divided by state, country, and regions.  This innovative approach is very effective when trying to sort out all the different headlines taking place in each corner of the globe.  For example, if a person is curious as to what is happening in Florida, Lebanon, Germany, etcetera , all they would have to do is click on that section and a myriad of stories become available.  It is remarkable how well-organized The Jewish Press presents itself on its web page, considering all the topics that exist.  Along with the typical themes found in a newspaper, it also includes sections such as Judaism 101, cartoons, interviews and profiles, and even archaeology.  What is more, it gives the reader the option to view the printed version of The Jewish Press, mimicking the look of a real newspaper.  Interestingly, their sports section is dominated by stories on anything and everything baseball.  If I had to pick one area where information was lacking, it would be news in entertainment.  Although they do provide material on this subject, it was not nearly as much compared to The New York Post, which brings us to the final newspaper analysis.

The New York Post has been around since 1801, and is the seventh most widely circulated newspaper across our nation.  The longevity of the newspaper’s existence definitely contributes to its long-standing popularity, especially in New York City.  While researching its approach on how they convey their stories to their audience, it also became apparent as to why The New York Post is considered by many to be a trustworthy news outlet.  This exists because their stories are covered in a more fair and balanced style, which truly allows the reader to decide on their own how they interpret the topic being discussed.  When speaking of politics, the newspaper critiques both Republicans and Democrats equally and fairly, which is difficult to come by in most newspapers and other media outlets.  The New York Post definitely caters a lot of its space to local and international headlines, and its fashion and entertainment section is the largest of the three newspapers discussed in this essay.  Their sports section predominately consists of football, baseball, and basketball, which is a reflection of their American audience.

By comparing and contrasting The Irish Echo, The Jewish Press, and The New York Post, it became clear to me that each of these newspapers can learn from one another.  For example, The Irish Echo can broaden its audience by including more relatable topics that are taking place locally and around the world.  Instead of being known for its classifieds section, it has the potential to become a more well-rounded newspaper and less of a “help wanted” news source.  The Jewish Press can be more like The New York Post as far as providing fairness to all sides of politics and other global issues.  The New York Post can add more topics to make information more accessible to all parts of the country.  The way it tackles local news should be the way it covers stories all across the nation.  To conclude, it is hard to find credible news sources in such a fast-changing society, especially with the internet.  It is so easy to google a subject and access an abundance of information on that search.  So how do we know we can trust what we are reading?  This is where the responsibility of a journalist comes into light.  It is the job of all journalists’ and news sites to be ethical and to be held liable for what they publish.  They have an obligation to release fact-based information and we, the people, have a duty to hold them accountable.


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