Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Reporting Techniques

By Samantha Burden

Ross Markman is a reporter for the Havre Daily News, a small newspaper in Montana. In reading his article, I learned many things about him as a reporter and several of his techniques. Ross Markman reports on more than one event per day, sometimes writing 10 articles per week. He writes about county government, city government and local schools; topics that would only be interesting or important to the local readers. Being at a small paper, Markman has the opportunity to write about several topics and this gives him immense experience.

Due to the abundance of writing Markman does, he has different techniques in order to get his articles written efficiently and quickly. A reporter should be educated in the subject they are going to write about. Background information is crucial to writing a strong article. The beginning of the story is also very important in having a good story; it is what draws the audience in and paves the way for a strong article. It is imperative to try to make the story you are writing about seem interesting and worth-while to the audience.

In comparison to Lillian Ross of The New Yorker, Markman has a very different style of writing. In his articles he is very fact based and there is not a lot of personal opinion. Lillian Ross, on the other hand, preached for the journalist to be a part of his/her writing and to not just be “a fly on the wall.” She incorporated style, while Markman utilizes quick reporting of news.

The Leap from College to Working Journalist

By Angel Matos

Reporter Ross Markman of Havre Daily News is profiled in Newswriting on Deadline in a section called “Real Reporter.” Havre Daily News is located in Montana and it is a small newspaper with a circulation of 4,500. Though he works for a small paper, Markman does not see it as a bad thing, stating that he learns and gains a lot of experience from working there. This is mainly due to the fact that Markman is writing about ten or more articles a week and they are usually accompanied by a tight deadline.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Ross acquired his associate’s degree from Bucks County Community College and got this job after a two-year reporting internship and part-time work for a newspaper in Pennsylvania.

The most shocking part of the article is that he only had one journalism class in college, only two years of college under his belt, yet he was still able to acquire an internship with the Bucks County Courier Times and is now a successful reporter for Havre Daily News. I find this interesting because in comparison to a student who goes to a four-year institution; what are the chances of them getting the same luck?

What steps did he take that can give someone else pursuing a reporting job a similar outcome? My guess would be that Ross seemed to be at the right place, at the right time. He was probably lucky that the paper he was doing clerical work for was also looking for an intern. But I can’t help but have questions: Was he aware of such a position? Did he purposefully choose to work there to get his foot in the door? Or was it, as mentioned, luck?

In the article Ross states, “I may go back and finish my degree… But I think real work experience is more important. I’ve learned so much on the job.” I definitely agree with Ross on the fact that first-hand experience is far more valuable than simply sitting in a classroom, groggy, barely awake in the morning, and trying to learn how to be a… (insert profession).

Though getting to classrooms are such hassle for young college students, I do see the purpose. One must learn the fundamentals; it’s as simple as that. Still, nothing beats diving into the real work, much like the production assistant work that I’ve done in the past. It is an enriching experience that really got my hands dirty with equipment, dusty closets and copy machine ink and even when there were days that were in fact better than others, but there was nothing like coming home, throwing myself onto the bed and feeling tired as well as accomplished.

Ross Markman: Reporter at Work

By Meagan Jaskot 

 Ross Markman is a prime example of a journalist who knows how to work on a deadline. There were many things that struck me in Markman's short spotlight article in Newswriting on Deadline, beginning with his remarkable work ethic. 

Because he covers a small town, Markman is in charge of many of the features in the Havre Daily News in Montana.  His turnover is about two articles each day. This is no easy task, but Markman simplifies the writing process with deep preparation.  Although I always knew the importance of pre-writing, I never realized just how imperative it is for local journalists. Before attending meetings or town events, Markman does his research so he knows what to expect. By doing this, Markman is able to keep pace with the conversations taking place between various townspeople. Markman is responsible in that he never makes excuses.

By setting high personal standards, Markman not only submits well written work, he also leads his co-workers by example. The content of stories are also key. A good news story is one that will interest many people in the community. Boring details should either be spared or included briefly within a larger story.

The third and most prominent detail from Markman's story was about how he came to be a journalist. While in college, he wasn't quite sure where his future would take him. Instead of pursuing a degree in journalism, he declared a major in the broader field of liberal arts.  While working towards his associates, Markman shockingly only took one journalism class.

While reading, I drew a parallel between Ross and myself. I have yet to declare a major, so I liked that Markman discovered his passion for journalism at an internship rather than in a classroom. Markman stated that he gained most of his knowledge through his experiences at his internship, which he was later able to leverage into a career. In fact, Professor Crumb brought a similar facet to our attention, noting there will be a speaker at STAC discussing this very topic.

Overall, Ross Markman is a good representation of a journalist today. With many local papers downsizing, great responsibility is placed in the hands of a select few. Markman works hard to generate accurate news stories in a timely fashion. He demonstrates an exemplary work ethic that all reporters should strive to mimic.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ross Markman: Making of a Reporter

By Emily Maffei

Ross Markman started his career as a reporter with just one journalism class under his belt, an associates degree at Bucks County Community College, and a part-time clerical job at Bucks County Courier Times. All of this led him to further his career as a municipal reporter and landed him an internship that lasted two years. He covered local government issues in Newtown, a suburb north of Philadelphia, PA. He was lucky to have an editor that was able to take the time and show him the ropes.

He decided that it was more important to pursue the career he already started before going back to school. So he took a risk and traveled out west to Havre, Montana where he furthered his career as a municipal reporter, covering stories of local town, county, and other government issues.

Reading this article about Ross Markman, I found it very helpful and hopeful. He talked about various reporting tips from knowing a community, being familiar with a topic before covering the story, and don’t be afraid to reach out and respectfully ask people questions on a certain issue. Hearing his story gives me hope that I will be able to start a career as long as I have determination, self-discipline, and drive.

Ross Markman: Big News in Small Towns

By Vincent Walker

The people in the journalism field thought to have some of the most important jobs are the ones working for The New York Times and reporting on big-time political and financial news for the city. However, perhaps more important are the less well-known journalists such as Ross Markman who write for local papers and take on community issues. In a smaller area, small news is really big news because it most likely affects the entire population of a small town in some way.
Ross Markman, a reporter for the Havre Daily News in Montana, has turned small town journalism into his career and has been very successful at doing so. Markman, as profiled in Newswriting on Deadline, has a process for doing so: first he has to decide whether or not a story is newsworthy. Next he has to do a fair amount of investigating to find evidence to support the news he is considering covering and bringing into the public eye. Then he must turn facts and evidence into an article that will grab the readers’ attention.  He must create a piece that is blunt yet not biased, informative yet not too informative as to be boring to the reader. It cannot be just a list of facts.
The end result of Ross Markman’s writing is an attention-grabbing, informative article that can lead to change in a community, and any change in a small to midsized community is a big change to the people who live there. Ross Markman is an insightful and no-nonsense journalist who takes his work very seriously.

Two Ways of Reporting

By Devan Lau

While Lillian Ross has a long experience of journalism for The New Yorker, a young reporter from a smaller newspaper with lesser experience manages to show his interesting approach to journalism. Meet Ross Markman, a reporter for the Havre Daily News in Montana.

Markman graduated with an associate’s degree from Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania, majoring in Liberal Arts and had a part-time job at the Bucks County Courier Times doing clerical work. Markman eventually got an internship for writing, where he wrote about a local government in a small Pennsylvania town called Newtown. Despite only taking one journalism class, Markman managed to gain experience through his internship.

Unlike Lillian Ross who covers stories on famous people, Markman does his stories on the local community such as the city and county government and schools. Ross does not have a specific deadline for her stories, Markman has a very tight deadline. Surprisingly, Markman is known for his fast and quick journalism. For example, when Markman covers city council meetings, he completed his story after the meetings were over in about an hour.

Markman’s approach to covering a story is different from Ross’ approach. Before Ross writes her stories, she would choose a certain individual that would spark her interest in writing about them. Markman noted that before he writes his stories, he is required to make a plan by doing a background research on a specific meeting he is going to cover. Markman also gets the “inside scoop” from city or school officials to give him information of the issues that are going to be discussed. Markman occasionally writes specific background information on the meetings, which is known as “B-copy.” Markman stresses that this is an important preparation when covering stories on meetings. 

Markman has to decide from the meetings which information would be considered interesting to readers. Once Markman decided certain information is the most interesting, he would use it as a news lead for his stories. One of his stories covered a meeting about the city’s parking issues. Markman’s story contained various testimonies and suggestions from most of the people involved in the parking issue. Despite his shorter experience than Lillian Ross, Ross Markman is considered to be an exemplary writer on the deadline!

Understanding Style: A Look at Lillian Ross and Ross Markman

By Nikki Zaidan

One of the wonderful things about writing is there are so many approaches to understanding a subject or writing a story. Depending on the medium of writing - be it a novel or newspaper article - writers differ in their style and approach.

Lillian Ross, who wrote for The New Yorker, tried to focus on her subjects and the small details about them in order to “really [reveal] the person.” She wrote a profile about Ernest Hemingway, and added details about how he spoke in “broken” sentences; by doing this, people were able to see Hemingway in a different light. Lillian Ross worked for decades at The New Yorker, and in this time she found her style as a writer. She took a lot of time to interview and write about her subjects because she wanted to fully understand them.

Ross Markman, on the other hand, wrote for Havre Daily News in Montana, and since he covered many areas in the newspaper, he had to learn to write quickly and efficiently. He was responsible for writing about his city and county government in Montana, as well as about local schools, and oftentimes wrote at least 10 articles per week.

Like Ross, Markman did research on his stories or subjects beforehand, and stressed the importance of a story’s impact on people, which would provide newsworthiness. However, Markman differs from Ross in the sense that he had to write his stories quicker than she did, and he focused on many different stories every week, as opposed to an individual person, like Ross’s profile of Ernest Hemingway. These two writers had different responsibilities and styles of writing when they worked for their publications, but through their experiences, they were able to have a career in a field that they truly enjoyed and found challenging.

 “Letter from Lillian Ross, The veteran New Yorker writer’s rules of reporting.”
Rogers, Tony. "Real Reporter: Ross Markman." Newswriting on Deadline. Boston: Pearson, 2004. 80-82. .

Journalism Tips

By Lauren Higgins

“You have to determine what’s newsworthy,” says Ross Markman, one of only three reporters for the Havre Daily News in north central Montana. Originally a Pennsylvania native, Markman made the bold move to Montana, where he found a love for covering the local news.

He had only taken one journalism class throughout his academic career and was lucky enough to secure an internship at a local newspaper. In a profile in Newswriting on Deadline, Markman states, “I think real work experience is more important. I’ve learned so much on the job.” The internship opened numerous doors and ultimately led him to the Havre Daily News.                        

Ross Markman can write ten or more articles per week on a tight deadline. He says the major thing good journalists need to remember is to do your homework before reporting on a specific topic or issue. Similar to Lillian Ross, a remarkable journalist for The New Yorker, Markman suggests that the more knowledge one has on a certain subject, the better the article will be. Ross demonstrated in her feature writing that it is important to really get to know the person you are writing about in order to compose the best article. It will be much harder to write a good report without any background material.

When determining how to begin a story, Markman thinks about what is considered newsworthy. “I think of issues in terms of how they affect people,” he states. It is important to find a story that will grab the public’s attention, because the more people are affected by an issue, the bigger the story will be.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lillian Ross: Eye on New York

By Emily Maffei

Lillian Ross is not just another “fly on the wall.” When she worked for The New Yorker as a reporter, she always got very involved in the stories she covered. She was not a fly on the wall nor a back seat driver, she always took the so-called reins of every story she developed.

She was born in June 1926 in Syracuse, NY. Started working for The New Yorker as a journalist in 1945 after World War II. Writing articles, reporting news, and uncovering feature stories was her job. She felt as if she was writing real life short stories, except she could only write the hard facts and nothing but the truth.

Over the course of her life she has published numerous articles, reported many feature stories, wrote several books, including her memoir and a collection of writing tips--Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism--and even satirical short stories. In all her writing and success, she has managed to stay out of the public eye. Her private life has stayed almost invisible.

Listening to an interview from December 22, 2006 on NPR, her New York City apartment private life was pleasantly exposed. During “The Long View” interview I was able to hear Lillian Ross’s first hand knowledge of reporting. One thing she made very clear from the beginning was to LISTEN. Pay attention to detail, don’t rely on the technology to record the information for you.

Look at how she writes about teenagers of Manhattan. The rich kids, or as she likes to call them, “The Shit Kickers of Madison Avenue.” Though Lillian Ross is getting older, she still is an amazing woman with a great sense of humor and a close eye on everything that is happening. Always watching, paying attention to detail. And what better city for her to watch then the city that never sleeps, just like her.

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