Brennan Leffler [bleffler]
What is your specialty? What subjects do you deal with?
I deal with everything and everything. I write, produce and web edit for a national tv newscast. I am most interested in politics, social issues, and international affairs.
In which media do you presently work or have you worked?
I currently work in broadcast television news, and I have previously worked in radio.
Please list a web address where where one can view an example of your work.
A list of stories i wrote and produced, or co-wrote and co-produced: http://www.jhr.ca/fieldnotes/index.php?view=section&iid=9447&sid=72
My personal blog:
The news program I currently write and produce for, and I am also one of the website editors:
What is "news"?
New is whatever people are interested in, whether it tugs at their heartstrings, their pursetrings, their emotions or their nerves. It affects people in our communities and far beyond them.
To you, what is objectivity?
To me, objectivity is the quality of realizing that there is more than one truth out there, and as such, allowing readers/viewers/listeners to make up their own minds how to feel, based on facts and first-hand witness accounts of events.
What is the best headline you have ever read?
"Condoms Not So Safe - Researcher"
This article appeared in a Ghanaian newspaper, giving patently incorrect information and quoting a researcher without offering any qualifications. It appeared in "The Daily Graphic" on Monday, February 3rd, 2007. The Graphic is Ghana's most widely read paper.
It's not the best from a journalistic viewpoint. As a matter of fact, it may be the worst, but I'll always remember it because it serves as a great cautionary tale on how journalists can perpetuate ignorance and potentially kill people instead of enlightening a society. I beleive it also speaks to bias, as Christianity, and the orthodoxy of not using condoms holds great influence in the country.
What headline would you like to see printed one day in the newspaper?
Which paper do you buy on Sundays? Where do you read it?
I work un Sundays, so I get all the papers free. I read them at my desk!
Does freedom of expression end where the editorial line begins?
A journalists's opinion belongs in the opinion column. However, there is more pressure on journalistic integrity these days. It's a complex issue, given the resource and time constraints many journalists work under.
Do you feel that analytical and investigative journalism is being lost?
Not completely. But there is definitely pressure to deliver faster, and the research day is severely lacking in most newsrooms.
With a camera on every mobile phone, is every citizen becoming a correspondent?
There's a difference between a journalist and a correspondent. Anyone can correspond, that is, publish an opinion or picture, especially with the internet. And citizen journalists have a role to play, but they are generally less reliable because they aren't operating under any constraints or regulatory framework.
How would you explain the boom of the tabloid press?
This quote says it all:
"If misery loves company, misery has company enough."
-Henry David Thoreau
What is your position regarding the right to privacy of famous people?
Another quote, though I'm not sure who said it first:
"Those who live by the sword will inevitable dies by the sword."
What can you teach us about the art of the interview?
You have two ears, two eyes and one mouth for a reason. It's not about you.
Please list well-known people you have interviewed.
Mostly local politicians or people witnesses to news events.
Would you say the journalism blog is revolutionizing the profession?
Yes and no. It's replacing the water cooler and reaches a lot more people, but a blog can't be considered a primary source.
Will the paper press disappear?
In its current form, yes.
What are your thoughts of the free papers distributed in cities?
They're a good source of basic information for people who don't normally invest much effort in staying current. The free alternative weeklies contribute a much wider range of ideas and viewpoints, and I think they are extremely valuable.
What is the book you would like to write?
the working title is "Voluntarily Ignorant"
Is there a motto or ethical principle that clarifies your decisions in moments of confusion?
Never make a decision based on emotion. My job is to be the eyes and ears, not the conscience.
What advice would you give to someone who has just left university and wishes to start in the profession?
If you're wishing, you're in the wrong profession. If you know you want to do this, no matter what medium you're in, you should always practise your writing. It's the cornerstone of journalism in every discipline.
What is your blog address? What subjects do you deal with?
I write travel stories and I also write entries when I'm at home. My writing deals with a wide range of topics including culture, politics, the arts, crime, social issues, justice and more.
What was it that made you create your blog? On what date did you start it?
I started my blog to document my eight month stint as a human rights journalism trainer in Ghana, West Africa. I wanted to expose human rights issues in West Africa. I wrote my first entry on September 29, 2007.
What blogging system have you adopted and why?
Blogger. It was easy to use.
How many visits a day do you get? What type of comments do you receive?
I'm not sure how many visits. The comments I've gotten have mostly been from people I know, but every once in a while, someone I don't know will pop up and leave a comment. They always expressed enjoyment and I was gratified to learn that I have even given a few transplaned Ghanaians a reminder of home!
How has 'having a blog' contributed to your life?
It has provided a much-needed space to rant or contribute viewpoints that sometimes get left out in the mainstream media.
Have you created relationships with other bloggers or readers of your blog?
I have friends and colleagues that blog, yes.
How often do you post? Does regular posting of your blog require a lot of effort on your part?
I post regularly at times. It depends what's going on in my life.
Does blogging bring in income for you? Can one make a living from posting?
No and not currently.
How do you promote your blog?
I email the link to people I know who I think might be interested. And I also put the postings on the social networking sites I belong to.
How would you define your readers? Have you got a faithful audience?
Ha! Small, but faithful would probably be the best descripion.
Are there any blogs you follow daily or regularly?
How do you see your blog evolving in the future?
I see myself posting more videos and pictures, and more entries from foreign locations where I'm hoping to visit and/or live.
What advice would you give to someone who wishes to begin a blog?
It's not that big a deal! Just start! It's for you to express your creativity in whatever way you prefer and capture your thoughts for posterity. It's a much better way to capture a feeling than a photograph.