Friday, November 9, 2012

Final Blog Post

Since this is the final blog post for this class, I've decided to talk about my future. I only have one semester left here are University of the Sciences, after which I will have earned my BS in Bioinformatics with a minor in psychology. My career goal is to work in the public health department as a genetic counselor.

Pursuing a career in genetic counseling is the ultimate goal after graduation. I am currently applying to many graduate programs across the country in hopes of getting accepted to at least one of them. My fall back plan, if I end up not getting accepted to any genetic counseling graduate programs, is to continue my education in human genetics and epidemiology.

My biggest fear when thinking about the future is that I will go through all this schooling and get these degrees and not be able to get a job. While I have had significant financial aid through the government and the University, I still have a large amount of debt that I will need to start paying off after I complete all of my degree programs. I am extremely afraid that I am not going to find a job in my field, which will leave me unable to pay off my debt.

While this is a reasonable fear (to me at least) I believe that I have good employable qualities that will help me get my dream job. The field of genetic counseling is also growing at decent rate, which means as times goes on and new technology is produced this career will be more in-demand. The only thing that holds the field of genetics back is the lack of cost-effective technology. I'm sure this will come with time though!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Lesson In Ethics

The assignment for this post is to answer three questions, given by Professor Flanagan, about ethics. My answers to the questions will be in blue, the questions in black.

1. Is it ethical for a reporter to write a news piece on the same topic on which he or she has written an opinion piece in the same paper?
It is not ethical for a reporter to write a news story in this case. The job of a journalist is to report the news without bias. Writing an opinion column will contain bias and whether or not the reporter intended to include his or her opinion, there is a higher chance that it will happen due to the opinion column.

2. Freelance journalists and photographers accept cash to write about, or take photos of, events with the promise of attempting to get their work on the AP or other news outlets, from which they also will be paid. Is that ethical?
I don't think that it's ethical to accept cash from the person the story is being written about or what is being photographed unless it is stated and explained somewhere, if the reporter/photographer is also being paid by the company which will be publishing it. If he or she is doing it specifically for the company/person and will not be getting paid from another outside source, then it is ethical (again, as long is payment was noted somewhere).

3. Can a journalist reveal a source of information after guaranteeing confidentiality if the source proves to be unreliable?
No, I don't think they should out a source after guaranteeing confidentiality. For all they know, the source believed what they were saying to be true. The reporter should use that as a lesson to do further investigating onto the topic and should take full responsibility of the incorrect information.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Query Letter Draft

Jennifer Macfarlan
My Address Here
Philadelphia, PA12345

Name of Editor
Town, State Zip

November 1, 2012

Dear Mr. Paper Editor,

Your readers have spend a lot of time in the dark the past few days. Without the luxury of electronics, many have had to get creative with ways to entertain themselves and communicate with others.

According to the power companies, around 8 million people were left without electricity after Hurricane Sandy. Many were told once they lost power it could be out for as long as two weeks. With a society that has a large dependency on electronic devices, families had to come up with new ways of spending their time.

In "Article Title Goes Here" I will interview some families to investigate what new and creative ways they have of keeping everybody entertained during their days in the dark. I will also include topics such as:
  • How they communicated with distant friends and family without the use of cell phones.
  • How they dealt without daily necessities such as heat, water, and cooking devices.
  • What they learned about preparing for future power outages and any tips they have for others.
Your readers could benefit from hearing what other people did during the time the electricity was out to help them prepare; "Article Title Here" won't disappoint them. May I write this article for you?

Thanks for taking the time to consider my idea. I look forward to hearing from you.


Jennifer Macfarlan

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Statistics and Analogies

During class we were asked to find the answers to these questions:
  • How many people watched the 2nd presidential debate?
  • What is the US population?
  • How many people watched the 1st presidential debate?
  • How many viewers watch Dancing with the Stars?
  • How many viewers watch the Super Bowl?
To answer the first question, about 65.6 million people watched the 2nd presidential debate. The United State population, as reported by the public data section on, was 311.5919 in July 2011. About 67.2 million people watched the 1st presidential debate. Dancing with the Stars won the most-watched TV show in it's hour and had about 12.92 million viewers for it's last show. The last Super Bowl, February 5th 2012, had around 111.3 million viewers. As the game went on, it rose to 111.7 million viewers.

 Now here are some analogies:
Close to twice as many people watched last years Super Bowl than the 2nd presidential debate.
20% of Americans watched the 2nd presidential debate.
1 in 5 Americans watched the 2nd presidential debate.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Crime on College Campuses

This exercise is meant to teach us that numbers are our friends. The topic is crime on college campuses, which is available on each college or university's website. I looked up the crime rate at Moravian College and found that There was a total of 240 Part I and Part II crimes on their campus. They have about 1,700 students. There was also 43 liquor violations, and 8 drug violations.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How Reports Gather Information

This is a team blog, done with a partner. The topic is school shootings and we were asked to research articles and find how a writer gathers and verifies information, how the writer handles quotes and attributions, and how the writer obtains background information.

The first article was from the Huffington Post titled "Oklahoma School Shooting: 1 Dead in Suicide at Stillwater Junior High School." The writer interviewed many people, mostly students, but also included the police captain and parents. There was also information from the superintendent. Much of the background information on what happened was from the child's friends and witnesses of what happened. Quotes were mainly used from the students. There was also a decent amount of background information from the police, explaining why this may have happened and how the weapon came to be in the hands of an eighth grader.

The second article we looked at was from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The writer interviewed many first hand witnesses and obtained much of his background information from medical records and police statements.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Profile Article

This post is an extension of the previous one. Writing an article on a deadline is tough, but doable. The profile piece was a little harder than the first one when writing it on a deadline. Choosing a person to write a profile on was one of the hardest parts because, while there are many interesting people out there, it's hard to make what they do news and relavent to other people. The other challenging aspect of this piece was finding people to interview. It needed to be someone that knew the person but was also tied in with what I am writing about. Doing those two things along with getting the interviews and writing the actual piece is what made the profile article much more challenging to write on a deadline than the first article.