Blog Archives

The End of a Semester


If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

Well.  Here it is.  The end of the spring semester at Stony Brook University.  I can’t say it went as well as I had hoped.  Health and other obstacles got in the way of achieving my goal of Dean’s List again for the Spring.  Still, as disappointed as I am about the semester and my grades, I must reflect on all that I have learned.  And believe me, it’s a lot.  At this point I am staying positive and looking forward to my Wedding in October, and a successful fall semester at SBU.

Onward, as they say.

Initially, this blog was set up to meet the requirements of a course I took this spring.  Journalism 24/7.  This course taught me that journalism isn’t just about the story.  It’s not just the reporting or producing.  In fact, it’s not at all just about the news.  It’s a business.  Understanding the business side of journalism is just as important as the industry itself.  Learning the behind-the-scene activity that keeps newspapers in business, television programming alive, and radio broadcasting is crucial to a successful career in journalism.  As is learning the ins-and-outs of the webolution in the news industry.  Yes, I said webolution.  I like it, and it’s fun to say.  Learning the business aspects of journalism has helped me understand why certain decisions are made.

The business of journalism keeps the ball rolling, the information disseminated and the people informed.  It must be successful for journalism to continue in the future.  Make no mistake, journalism is not and should never be about the bottom line, the dollar.  But, that dollar can not be completely ignored either.  There is a fine relationship between business and journalism, and going forward, let’s hope that it continues to favor the story, not the dollar.

I have thoroughly enjoyed blogging about the news industry.  Analyzing what people are writing and saying about the industry has been incredibly informative for me.  I suspect that a lot of my classmates will discontinue their blog, although I would encourage the opposite.

Since my blog started at the end of January, I have had over 500 views.  That may not seem like much, but it’s enough to inspire me to continue the blog.  Obviously, someone out there reads my ramblings and well, even if it’s one person, it’s worth noting, I have an audience.

As long as you keep reading, I will keep writing.  I may expand the topics of the blog a bit in the future.  I might get a few guest bloggers to post and I’m thinking about including some original journalism of my own, local stories from my area, maybe a human interest story here or there.

Journalism in every form, is important.  Whether it’s blogging, broadcast, magazine writing, or main stream news.  As I have said in earlier posts, it’s an important tool in protecting our democracy and freedoms.  Watching the Watchdog is just that.  Making sure others in the industry are doing their job fairly, honestly and accurately.  If they’re not?  We will call them out.

Thank you for the support you have shown by reading my blog.  It is my greatest and most sincere hope that I continue to interest you and inform you.  Please, keep coming back.

Kendra Mercer

Muto is a Mute Point


There has been a lot of buzz about Joe Muto, the self-named “Fox Mole” that began blogging for the website Gawker.

This was the case in a recent article by Mark Trumbull, a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor. It’s seems there is almost no one out there in the digital media world (including myself) that can resist discussing Muto.

Through his blogging for Gawker, Muto made some pretty heavy comments about the journalistic ethics of his employer, right down to using the nasty “B” word, bias.

Basically, Muto decided he was fed up with his employer Fox News and decided to start blogging about it. He also posted some video of outtakes that had never aired, and used his daily interactions as a producer to “expose” the bias of FoxNews, and in some instances, specifically their website. 

Trumbull shared in his article what Muto wrote for Gawker, “…The plan was simple: Get hired, keep my head down and my views to myself, work for a few months, build my resume, then eventually hop to a new job that didn’t make me cringe every morning when I looked in the mirror.” 

Trumbull questions whether or not Muto is a whistle-blower, or a “disloyal self-promoter”. 

In truth, I’m not sure why this is news and I don’t think Muto is a whistle-blower, nor a disloyal self-promoter. Okay, maybe the worst self promoter in the history of people looking for their 15 minutes of fame. 

As a news consumer, I’ve concluded that most of the media powerhouses out there like MSNBC, FoxNews, CNN, and the like, all practice what I would say is some form of political bias. I know plenty of people who watch these programs and can figure out that Fox leans to the conservative right and the others, for the most part, lean left and liberal. This is not a surprise. So I’m afraid Muto’s “revelations” about his employer of 8 years is not exactly breaking news. 

This is also why I think, many people are looking to local news, and other sources, like the wide variety of news aggregators on the web, for their information. Why shouldn’t they? 

Despite the ocean of cognitive dissonance viewers find themselves bobbing around in and the myopic view of what the public considers news, this network, as well as all the others will continue to thrive. Largely, because they successfully pass off what is truly opinion, as factual news. They are all guilty of portraying their “talking heads” as if they were anchors delivering hard news they consider important and relevant to the public. 

If you can differentiate between what is news and what is opinion, you will do just fine.  Mind you, there is nothing wrong with having an honest debate and broadcasting opinions as long as the opinions are represented as such.

This blog for example, is simply my interpretation of the news about the news. When I can, I offer up fact based evidence to support my view and when I can’t, well…it’s just my opinion and you can take it or leave it. This opinion should however, never be motivated by my personal political views or other beliefs. It must be an intelligent discussion of the information presented, and that is why I believe at this point in the game, Muto is a mute point. 

His 15 minutes are more like 5, and I look forward to when the news outlets move on to more relevant and newsworthy subjects.