Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hoaxes Reported = Compromised Credibility : By Nikky Raney

"In journalism there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right." -- Ellen Goodman

The urge and sensation of being the "FIRST NEWS OUTLET" to release information seems to be more important than being the first news outlet to release the RIGHT information. The balloon boy hoax is only one of the many hoaxes that have been covered & reported by even the top news sources.

I personally try to get as many interviews, secondary research, etc. before submitting an article (or blog entry). I have recently noticed that the "blow-by-blow" practice of journalism has been resulting in questionable credibility.

When a credible news outlet puts out an article and then follows up on the coverage of it over the course of a week one would expect that all this research and coverage going into the article is being done thoroughly and to the best of the ability to serve the readers. When the outlet then, after days of reporting this story, reports that the entire story ended up being a hoax it compromises the integrity, credibility, and principles of the reporter, editors and the news outlet as a whole.

If these reports are being covered for days straight it is inexcusable for why the information was not fact-checked. I know how it is working on a deadline, but there are ways to report these stories that you are unclear of. Instead of being one of the many news outlets reporting without deeper fact-checking or research, do the research. If you feel the need that the article needs to be covered (you obviously don't know it is a hoax yet), if you are unsure about it and cannot 100% say that you have fact checked the article to all your abilities (as well as an EDITOR), then report about the other media. Talk about the many headlines out there about "Insert Story Here," but discuss the recycled quotes, lack of research or (obvious choice) answer the questions that the other news outlet doesn't.

I never thought that I would do this, but I am going to give credit where credit is due. has been the first to report many stories (Michael Jackson's death), and then all the news outlets followed. Maybe the reason TMZ's articles seem more "credible" is because of the "evidence" within the videos. TMZ usually is only reporting based on what clips are seen in the videos. I am not advocating for paparazzi, nor am I saying that TMZ is a more credible source of news, but what I am saying is that even though TMZ is none of the above - the stories started at that site are accepted as credible and are used to fuel the news for other outlets.

I am sure there are times when it is inevitable for these things to happen, but it seems like these "hoax" stories are being published by MULTIPLE news sources. And they are the SAME hoax stories. How are the 100s of news outlets all being tricked. Are the people they interview great manipulators, or are the journalists spending less time fact-checking/interviewing/editing and more time making sure they put out the information first?

The future of journalism is worrying me. I am honestly worried. I believe in fact-checking, copy-editing, reporting, interviews, secondary research, AP Style, attribution, and credibility. I don't want to be the "first" to get the news out there, I would rather be the ONLY one not putting out the story, than to be one of the many putting out a story that ends up becoming a hoax.

I will assure you the blogs&articles I write will always be checked and edited. I will admit when I am wrong and if I have made a mistake. I am not saying that I may never end up reporting a hoax, but I am saying that I am going to do everything I can to make it damn near impossible.

I think that journalists need to go back and review some things from the Society of Professional Journalists (or renew their membership).

The blog writing I am doing for will include some "future of journalism" blog entires as well as entries about "celebrity/entertainment" news, because I have some guilty pleasure writing to get out of my system. (I'm a 19-year-old college girl, of course I have some interest! I may subscribe to Newsweek, but I also subscribe to Cosmopolitan!)

By the way: Media outlets are STILL doing follow up stories on the balloon boy hoax.


Nikky Raney

Contact Me

"A journalist is basically a chronicler, not an interpreter of events. Where else in society do you have the license to eavesdrop on so many different conversations as you have in journalism? Where else can you delve into the life of our times?" -- Bill Moyers

Written by Nikky Raney

If you have anything in particular you want me to write about send me an e-mail.

I will try to incorporate more photos/visual into my posts

This entry originally was originally posted HERE

Oakland Montclair Home Invasion attempt; suspects at large

According to the City of Oakland, Ca, Yahoo! Cleveland Heights Neighbors Group, two African American men attempted a home invasion on the 500 block of Montclair 5 AM, May 10th. This is the Oakland Yahoo forum report:

Sorry (and scared) to report another home invasion robbery attempt. My neighbor just informed me that there was a home invasion and robbery attempt at the house next to him. This occurred on the 500 block of Montclair Saturday Morning at about 5:00 am, the suspects are two young, African American males (no other description). The main house is a rental and the owner and his family live in the in-law downstairs.

The suspects gained entry through a back upper window by stepping up on a garbage can (not sure if the window was locked or not). The upper unit was empty, so nothing was taken. The owners downstairs heard the noises, came up to investigate and the suspects fled.

Unfortunately that was not the only crime of that kind; note the word "another." Below is an edited letter detailing another crime attempt on the 600 block of Athol in Oakland:

My friend and neighbor across the street asked me to let everyone know what happened this morning. Two men with knives broke into her house while she and her 7 year old son were sleeping, around 5am. One of them held her while the other took her laptop, family jewelry, and bank card -- all right in front of her son.

They managed to get in through a tiny window on the side of the house which was cracked for air. An important fact to note is they broke in on the side of the house that is next to a house that the neighbors recently moved out of -- they knew that no one would hear them because the house next door was empty.

Please be more aware of keeping your windows closed at night and your doors always locked. Also, some people may not be aware that when calling from a cell phone, 911 gets routed to the CHP somewhere else. Remember to dial the following emergency number if using a cell phone: (510) 777-3211. You may want to program it into your cell phone.

For those who are concerned about any possible Oakland racial witch-hunt that could unfold from this, the best way to avoid that is for everyone in the neighborhood to know and talk to each other. That calls for you, yes you, to reach out to people who don't look like you just to know who they are.

Rima Fakih: Miss USA / Miss Michigan 2010 - First Arab-American

Lovely Miss Michigan 2010 Rima Fakih was just crowned Miss USA.

Rima is a Lebanese American who lives in Dearborn, Michigan and was crowned Miss Michigan on September 19, 2009.

This is a welcome event at a time when it seems that Arab-Americans have been stereotyped in the American media in a very negative light, almost automatically associated with any terrorist bomb plot, and even the last time the media focused on an Arab American woman from Michigan it was the CBS News 60 Minutes story of CIA Agent Nada Proudy.

24-year-old Rima Fakih was born in 1986 in New York, then raised in Dearborn with her parents and her younger brother Rami, according to her bio on the Miss Michigan website.

Rima graduated from the University of Michigan where she got her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with a minor in Business Administration. From all accounts, she's a confident person who's proud of her Arab-American background. Rima said that her father told her "You don’t know who you are until you know where you come from."

And on that, reportedly, there are images of Rima that may be painted as controversial in light of her win but the website reports the photographer, Fadil Berisha, is Muslim and Rima's family fully supports the photos and her work.

This blogger only watched 4 minutes of the Miss USA TV broadcast, and immediately noticed Rima Fakih because her personality jumped out of the screen (Seriously!) and she had a very toned body. Rima was certainly a contender. Congratulations to Rima for making history!

Conan O'Brien likes his women like his BBQ; what's Conan's wife say?

Conan O'Brien on Twitter is a riot, especially when he blasts off really interesting tweets. But even with that, Conan's latest Twitter blast is something:

I’m in KC. I like my BBQ like I like my women, HOT. Also, rubbed with Molasses, Coffee Grounds and Cayenne.
about 6 hours ago via web

Women? As in more than one? The last time this blogger checked, Conan O'Brien was married to Liza Powel and they have two children. Liza's a looker, so Conan should have said he likes his BBQ like he likes his woman singular: hot.

Whatever the case it's clear the former host of The Tonight Show is feeling good about himself and his future. His new show on TBS starts this fall and his negative NBC past is finally behind him after the 60 Minutes interview.

What was on Conan O'Brien's mind? Does he have a David Letterman-type female assistant he's thinking about? Writer perhaps? Cheerleader?

Conan, clear this up for us?

Stay tuned.

Pirates beat The Cubs 4-3; Lou Piniella looking for 1,800th win

The Chicago Cubs are still acting like the lovable losers of my childhood. The Cubs are in fifth place in the National League Central Division and dropping close games. The Cubs just lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 4 to 3. Cubs' Manager Lou Piniella's looking for his 1,800 win, but considering the Cubs have dropped the last 9 of 11 games, that oh-so-close mark seems light years off.

What's wrong with the Cubs? A lack of young bats. Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee, the Cubs stars, go back to the Dusty Baker and Steve Bartman years. The Firstbaseman Derrek Lee is 34 years old and the Cubs may have waited two years too late to trade him. Thirdbaseman Aramis Ramirez is 33 and is averaging .170 this year. Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee are the ones Cubs fans look to produce and they're not doing it.

The Cubs need to focus on getting young players from the minors who get on base. Small ball and rouster rebuilding are the tonics for the Chicago Cubs.

Miley Cyrus Lap Dance Video: Perez Hilton has Miley in short shorts

The only changes in the Miley Cyrus Lap Dance Video scandal are the passing of days and the diminished number of tweets cracking on Miley's friend, grind dance partner, lap dance receiver, and movie producer Adam Shankman.

Out of all of this, Miley Cyrus emerges even more powerful than ever.  At one point last year it seemed Miley Cyrus was going to turn away from her sex-oriented marketing campaign and this year she participated in more events to help those in need like "Help for Haiti."

Miley even ditched her popular Twitter account where she occasionally posted risque images of herself.  But then the video surfaced last week and from the comments on it, her fans are defending her:

 Perez Hilton captured Miley in what he identifies now as her "trademark" uniform and blogs:

Miley Cyrus was spotted in Calabasas sporting her usual uniform of exceptionally short shorts and HOrrendous boots

Bottom line: Miley Cyrus gets away with it because she's is the center of teen fashion and frankly teen female sexuality. Lap dances and grind are not only OK, they're standard action not just at night clubs but now at high schools, middle schools, and it would seem elementary schools, as reports of a video of a dance team of 7-year old girls would show (but you will not see it here).

And if you think it's just men who are looking at Miley Cyrus, you're wrong. Taking the YouTube Partner video demographic information on this blogger's TMZ-allowed version of the Miley Cyrus Lap Dance Video as an example, the viewership breaks down as follows as of this writing:

50 percent male
50 percent female

And the video is most popular with:

Female 13-17
Male 45-54
Male 35-44

But not by much. Digging deeper into the data, the reality is the spread of viewers by age and sex is almost even for all groups except ages 55 and up.

The sex and age categories that the Miley Cyrus Lap Dance Video are most popular with are not overwhelmingly greater in percentage than other age and sex groups, save for one group: Female 13-17.

Much of this videos views are driven by Miley Cyrus' core demographic of Female 13-17. In my video, 85 percent of the views from the age of 13 to 17 are female. According to my YouTube data, the only other category that is almost as dominated by one sex is 45-54, which is about 70 percent male. Think about that.

We have a story of a 16-year-old Miley Cyrus lap dancing with a man, Adam Shankman, of 44 and now 45 years old, and both of them represent the top demographic groups watching the video. I shudder to think of what a savvy marketer would do with such information, but we may be seeing the answer to my thought already.

Miley Cyrus is leading the trend of a teenage look; girls 13 to 17 follow and copy her. They go to websites like, and And if they're not trying to copy her style, they're on fan sites like and in forums defending her as "just having fun."

And even Beyonce's copying Miley Cyrus' style. Look at her at the Coachilla Music Festival with Jay-Z:

And don't make the mistake of thinking that Miley's lap dance and grind dance weren't common. YouTube's full of grind dances and lap dances created by young women.

But what's interesting, and that I have no answer for and must consult's resident expert Dr. Christina Villarreal to weigh in on, is why the videos' second most popular demographic consists of men 45 to 54 and that's followed by men 35 to 44 with guys in their 20s and teens, then men over 54 last.

I'd have bet that men 18 to 24 would have been the leaders of the males. Not so. That's also true for the Miley Cyrus Stripper Pole Dance video, and that didn't even have a clip of Miley dancing. The lead demographic groups were the same as above, basically the Miley Cyruses and the Adam Shankmans.

It's apparent this overly sexualized Miley Cyrus is driving a movement who's impact and consequences have not been completely discussed, thought about, or seen for that matter. There's also, it seems, a fear of talking about where all of this is headed, and such conversation is challenged by comments like "Who cares?", "They're having fun", "Why do you care?", and so on.

Do we want a society where it seems teenage girls are dressing to turn on older men, or are we already there and its too late to stop it?

Stay tuned.

Grateful Dead The NY Historical Society - Suzannah B. Troy

The NY Historical Society is being renovated so only one small section is actually open and it is filled with Grateful Dead treasures! This collection of powerful photos and memorabilia are on loan from The Grateful Dead Archive on loan from the University of Santa Cruz.  

The first blown up image you see is of The Filmore East on the Lower East Side and there are powerful photos of the Filmore with mobs of people lined up to see the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. I remember reading Janis would go to Ratner's after and Ratner's moved yet again and than finally closed as so much has these days.
There is of course poster art and all kinds of collectibles and Grateful Dead music plays through out this small exhibition. I do want to warn you the price to get in is 12 dollars I think. You may want to double check me on that and the gift shop is filled to the brim with Grateful Dead items. I bought an amazing pair of GD earrings!
“I am incredibly happy that the kind archivists at UC Santa Cruz understand the social value of our priceless archive and its hallowed meaning to our most beloved 'Dead Heads.' Without the care it is now receiving these treasures would be lost. Please join me in preserving the legacy so we can all continue to explore and experience what the "Grateful Dead" means to us.”  - Bill Kreutzmann
You can contribute your thoughts

Note:  For Suzannah B. Troy fans, my jacket with patches and pin from Rescue Workers and fellow volunteers was on display at The New York Historical Society and is now downtown in the Sept. 11 Museum collection.

Missing The ING Bay to Breakers and The Beach Chalet

Suburban Atlanta, GA - Today marks the first weekend in over two decades that this blogger has not ran in or even been in the San Francisco Bay Area to be a part of The San Francisco Bay to Breakers.

Last year marked the first time I didn't run it; I was on an ING press truck and created videos and video interviews of the runners from it. Talking with Sammy Kipwara and the very shy Lineth Chepkurui last year was fun. It's funny to see that the same group dominated the Bay to Breakers this year.

This is Lineth Chepkurui's 2nd Bay to Breakers win and her 3rd consecutive year placing either first or second. From my experience, Lineth's silent, peaceful way masks the fierce competitor that fuels the incredible records she's tallied: third straight Women's Champion and double-World-record holder, this time clocking in at 38:07. Amazing.

Just for grins, this is my Bay to Breakers video from 2009:

I miss seeing Sammy Kipwara. Sammy's 2009 performance was something to see. I've never seen a person run so fast in my life, and it wasn't on television.

No Bay to Breakers Controversy in 2010

In 2009, the Bay to Breakers was the center of a dispute over changes in rules designed to crackdown on problems like public urination. It marked the creation of a new public figure, Ed Sharpless, who led a group of people dedicated to the preservation of The Bay to Breakers. It also marked a turn into what to me seemed to be a more boring Bay to Breakers. Not because of the rule changes, but because of a general alteration in San Francisco culture.

What I remember most about the Bay to Breakers was some organizer arranging for 10,000 cups of Miller Lite Beer to be ready for the first runners to finish. That was 1988 and my time as 1:04:30. The beer at the end was a great incentive to continue running at that pace for several years to come.

Then, in 1994 , the beer stopped flowing so freely, which is another way of saying it wasn't free anymore. Eventually, what was known as The San Francisco Examiner Bay to Breakers, wasn't because the Examiner bowed out. The name concert performances drawing stars like the late Ray Charles and The Raylettes were replaced by bands I'd never heard of. Now, the runners Footstock that used to go until 6 PM, stops at 2 PM.

The Bay to Breakers is not as fun as it used to be, and it's not because of the rules, it's because of the culture. Now, what I wrote is a head-scratcher, because you may say the culture caused the rules changes. My point is the overall production of the Bay to Breakers has been more defensive than offensive over the years. That's something we talked about in this video from last year:

But what I missed most of all was eating and drinking at The Beach Chalet, which we do every year after the Bay to Breakers.

The Beach Chalet is owned by Lara and Gar Tripelli, who also own the new Lake Chalet in Oakland. The Beach Chalet is actually two places: the Beach Chalet and The Park Chalet behind it. What's fun is to see the number of people who are just plain dog tired from running.

It's also fun to eat their big burgers and fries.  As cheesy as that sentence was, you've got to try them!

But all that's in the past. It's a beautiful Georgia day and I'm out here in the quasi-country helping my Mom by keep three acres of house and property. I've got to admit my stress level's way down. When you get to a certain point in life, parents come before you do or for that matter the Bay to Breakers. That's the stage I'm at.

Stay tuned.

Pink Cosmo Interview + Sex Tips - Suzannah B. Troy

Pink fans will eat up June 2010’s Cosmopolitan with Pink on the cover and in depth interview by Alison Prato.  What did I get from this article?  Pink is happy and back with her husband Carey.  She did date an amazing guy that she was really simpatico with while separated from her husband who happened to be a musician as well as romantic but not Carey!
I am a big Janis Joplin and no offense Pink but Janis Joplin is in a category all her own but Tina Turner gave her a poster with Tina and Joplin and wrote, “To Alecia the second coming.”  
Side note for Janis Joplin fans...Kims’ Video store on St. Marks Place in the East Village, NYC is now closed but for one dollar you could rent a video of Janis Joplin flying back to Texas to attend her high school reunion.   She is dressed in fully Janis regalia with the big boa and sun glasses and in the most charming of ways she rubs her success in her old high school buddies noses.  Hint: They were not very nice to her.
Buy the Cosmo to get  all the Pink details and enjoy the photos by Matt Jones. I do have two Pink songs on my IPhone, “Glitter in the Air” and “So What”.  I relate to Pink’s all or nothing attitude but not her smoking cigarette attitude which she needs to get a grip on.  (Read the article in Cosmo.)  
Her performance at the Grammy’s of Glitter in the Air was outstanding and she starts out very slow...(reminds of my short story “Chopping the Street: one mega-million at a time” -- maybe I should get Pink to star in the short story if it ever makes it to the big screen.)  Pink walks out into the very jaded audience and start’s singing and ends up in an almost naked outfit suspended high above the air dancing in a Cirque de Soliel like performance.  This is old news but so outstanding I will include the video link.
Also fun in this issue of Cosmo are 75 sex tips from guys and how not to push your man away.  They talk about Johnny Depp and his longtime girlfriend, Vanessa Paradis experiencing just a little bit of friction over a love scene with Angelina Jolie in Johnny in their upcoming film, “The Tourist”.