My Fascination with WSCR 670-AM’s Dan Bernstein

         In my short 18 years on Earth following Chicago sports, there’s only one media personality/journalist I can think of who has written some of the best and worst articles I’ve seen. Some of his articles, in my opinion, are completely on par and bring an exemplary point on a figure/team/issue in sports. On the contrary side of the coin, I’ve found some of his articles teeming with biased, bull-like stubborn opinion and un-justifiable opinion laced and paraded as fact. He is WSCR 670-AM radio anchor/reporter Dan Bernstein.

            I’ve been listening and reading pieces from Mr. Bernstein for around five years. The way he speaks and writes for 670-AM WSCR The Score in Chicago is very unique in the regard that he often uses a denser vocabulary than other writers on The Score’s staff while writing articles. Another aspect of Bernstein’s that I respect and admire is his ability to condone and fire back against asinine opinions of callers into his show.

What I believe soils reputation as an effective journalist, as well as a tactic I would try extensively to avoid as a journalist when writing about news, is adding a trace of biased opinion. Bernstein has been following and reporting on the Penn State football scandal since it’s mainstream attention began in November 2011. However, many of his articles include attacking the university and fans of the former who had nothing to do with the scandal itself. I have no problem with doing numerous stories on a subject, as well as doing commentaries on those stories with traces of opinion. Adding on to the last point, Bernstein’s logic sometimes becomes fact-less: “Wheat Chex will make you sad. I have no scientific evidence for that, but Wheat Chex will make you sad.”

            Regardless of how I would or would not emulate myself after him. Dan Bernstein is a journalist/radio personality I hope to listen to for many years to come. I can look to him and his partner Terry Boers for insightful sports information, as well as above average radio humor.

Where does it end? My journalistic opinion on what can come from the Maryville rape case.

It seems the national news media has discovered the rape case of 14-year old Daisy Coleman a few months too late. The story is, no pun intended, nothing more than a dead pile of ash like the Coleman’s former house, which has been burned down without a distinguishable reason for why it burned down. Regardless, this quiet suburb in the northwest corner of Missouri has the national media descending on the re-opened case, and the Internet connected public up in arms over the dismissal of the case originally.

Anyway, one follow-up article to the one I’ve read recently by the Kansas City Star can be quotes from several citizens of Maryville giving their pure, no-bull thoughts on the case originally and why they think it has been opened up again nearly two years since the saga began. Asking many people around the city will give an article a flair for diversity in opinion, as well as get a perspective from the townspeople who saw the case unfold from the beginning.

Another follow-up I would consider, given the recent claims by the other alleged rape victim Paige Parkhurst, is tell the story of what happened the night of January 8, 2012. Given the new information, a story of what happened can be told through her perspective and possibly fill in the blanks that the public can’t agree on it.

Since it’s been so heavily compared and paralleled to, comparing the Maryville case to the recent Steubenville rape case from last December is another option for a follow-up story. Since Steubenville is still fresh in the public’s mind, a story comparing and contrasting the two cases can point out distinct facts in each case, as well as pointing out where the cases are significantly different. The Maryville victims were younger than the victim of Steubenville, and the perpetrators in Steubenville were also younger than those in the Maryville case. 

No matter how this new chapter of this sorrowful saga ends, hopefully this can bring light to the world of small-town politics, shady business in district courts and the alleviation of football culture in high schools across the country.

“News”: My response to the Onion article “Psychiatrists Deeply Concerned For 5% Of Americans Who Approve Of Congress”

I am a huge fan of The Onion. As someone with a very sarcastic sense of humor, to see a news source tell a “news story” in such a fashion is always entertaining. Although the Onion isn’t considered “real journalism,” the stories are told in such a way to look like they are real and expert journalism.

            The Onion ran an article on October 9th titled “Psychiatrists Deeply Concerned For 5% Of Americans Who Approve Of Congress.” This article has come as a response to a recent poll from the Associated Press-GfK after the infamous “government shutdown” earlier this month. I found the topic of the article topical and current with the government shutdown and the running gag in media of Congress’ low approval rating compared to other entities. I also liked the inclusion of quotes from an actual “psychiatrist”.

            Another thing I really like about the article, although it has nothing to do with the story too much, is the picture chosen. The picture, taken by Shawn Thew of the European Pressphoto Agency, of the congressmen and congresswomen leaving the West Wing of the White House after a meeting with looks of defeat (Boehner, first from left) and slight anger/irritation (McConnel and Reid, first from right and second from left respectively.)

            Personally, one thing I would add to this article that I feel is lacking is a quote from one of the supposed “15.5 million Americans who approve of Congress” to know what their mindset is.

            News sites like the Onion build up the strength of journalism as a whole in a way. They bring a spin to “news” so that readers can find out what the best news sites really are online and around the world. 

Dog eat dog, read the news. Someone win, someone lose: The United States Government Shutdown

The United States government has effectively “shut down”, and the media is in a frenzy over the biggest political story of the fall. With the biggest political story of the fall comes every major and minor news market trying to report on new developments or put new spins on the story being unfolded for the American pubic as well as the world to see.

One headline that I found constantly, but still felt the need to read were pieces on how the government shutdown affects the normal, everyday citizen. As a journalist, I really like to see articles where they make the reader ponder “Wow, I didn’t think I would be affected by this, but this article proves differently.”

Another headline I’ve seen many times are ones that predict how the rest of the shutdown will play out. This title is the kind of title I’ve noticed journalists, editors and websites will use to draw more readers and clicks to their page. The title is drawing and alluring to the reader, and is an ethical move on the part of a journalist in my journalistic opinion if the title doesn’t make any false claims or doesn’t follow the subject of the article.

            Yet another form of headline I’ve constantly seen is a title that proclaims a “loser” of the shutdown. But it seems every article has a different “loser” from whichever angle the writer takes. The U.S. economy is going to default, it’s the loser when it’s over; Boehner is holding up federal jobs and functions, himself and the Republicans are the losers when this is over; President Obama and the Democrats are not doing enough to put an end to the halt in government action, they will be the losers when this is over.  But until any resolution and reconciliation is made between the two parties, the U.S. government appears to the rest of the world as children fighting with no middle-ground as a viable option; a “My way or the highway” kind of mindset. To the rest of the world, all of us are the losers. Not just the politicians, but the public who have elected officials who may take this country to the brink of calamity unless their demands are met. All of us are the losers.