Alana Taylor versus Heritage Media

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    The buzz has more or less died down, at least in the pages of Gawker, MediaShift, TechDirt and Romenesko. But our very own Alana Taylor did a feature for PBS blog MediaShift, a commentary really, on the lack of New Media savvy amongst the students and faculty at NYU in a class called “Reporting Gen Y.”

    She did so by mainly remarking on the irony that in a class full of journalism students, she was the only one to have ever posted to a blog before, let alone heard of Twitter, FriendFeed, or any other microblogging utility. After she posted her observations on this, the Professor for the class banned any unauthorized blogging of the class.

    Romenesko, in his trademark succinct manner, summarizes the hubbub the best:
    “Every single journalism class at NYU has required me to bring the bulky newspaper,” writes AlanaTaylor. “I don’t understand why they don’t let us access the online version, get our current events news from other outlets, or even use our NYTimes app on the iPhone. Bringing the New York Times pains me because I refuse to believe that it’s the only source for credible news or Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism and it’s a big waste of trees.”

    Alana Taylor says after writing about her “Reporting Gen Y” class at NYU, instructor Mary Quigley told her not to blog, Twitter or write about the class again. (Quigley tells Mark Glaser: “I would certainly require a student to ask permission to use direct quotes from the class on a blog written after class.”) Glaser writes: “As a private school, NYU might be able to restrict a student’s reporting on what went on in a classroom — but that would go against everything that journalism schools are teaching students about the First Amendment and freedom of the press.”

    Michael Getler has “serious problems” with the ”undercover” piece by journalism student Alana Taylor (left), which was published on PBS’s website. Journalism is going to evolve, the ombud writes, but “it seems to me that certain fundamentals must remain bedrock. Among them is the notion that journalists must always, except in the most rare circumstances, announce themselves, go through the front door, say who you are, what you are doing and who you are working for.”
    As often happens in these sort of defining process story events, they can very easily turn into fodder for not just commentary but learning.  Alana has told me that a number of professors around the country have said that they’re making Alana’s original piece and the controversy it stirred a part of their curriculum for journalism ethics and New Media-related courses. 

    Given that, I took a few minutes over the weekend to talk to Alana and get her side of the story. I know from personal experience when a seemingly innocuous article spins far outside the context in which it was originally written. Last August, I wrote a short little piece regarding confirmations I received for the existence of the gPhone, and the five or six sentences of analysis and information I wrote were duplicated, cited, and

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