By March 2, 2017 Read More →

BIG VIEW – Journalism 101

The BigView
By Chris Murphy

Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?

I love newspapers. I always have. I have them delivered to my home daily. In addition to the papers, I scan all of the feeds to keep me up on current events, and I really try to educate myself on all of the issues, from both sides. I have learned that as a person, or as a parent, you really can’t get to the root of something until you have looked at it from many angles and put yourself in some other shoes. But knowledge and learning is everything to me. Facts are really important. There are only one kind of facts, and they are facts. No hyphens.

Who? What? Where? When? Why? And How? These words have helped me throughout my life and are keys to learning. This is the foundation of journalism, building a brand, growing your company and even parenting, and it all gets back to skills that are part of “Journalism 101”. Well-researched subjects and the presentation of those facts are skills we all need.

Modesto has so many things we need to do. To move ahead and be a better city we need to regularly ask these questions, not of each other, but to ourselves as well. Let’s learn, study, and get smarter and build a better place to live. You don’t need a college degree to be a really smart person; and these key questions will help guide anyone to find the truth anywhere, but you can get a fantastic four-year degree and shoot for the stars. Here are just some of people and groups doing this and how you can get involved. For a list of all of the local school newspapers and journalism programs visit

Ken Riddick
President and Publisher of the Modesto Bee and Merced Sun Star
The business model for News has changed dramatically in recent years. Our mission has not.
The foundation of a well-functioning community — and democracy — is a well-informed society. The Bee has been an integral part of our community for generations. No other organization has deployed more news gathering resources within the community through the years to bring the Valley the news and information its citizens need.

Our journalists are our community. They live here, they raise and educate their families here and they shop and play here. It’s always been that way. They care deeply about our community and bring that passion and an abundance of professionalism to the task.

When we’re doing it right, we can entertain you with interesting stories, an interesting point of view and, hopefully, touch your emotions or make your world more understandable. We should reflect our community. We can make your life or your business more effective, more relevant. And we can hold those people and institutions in power accountable to the communities they serve.

Today we’re investing in technology, training and our people to make sure our mission continues to find its target. I’m proud to be a part of it.

Catching the Journalism Bug at Downey High School
By: Leia Johnson
The journalism program at Thomas Downey High School is thriving! The practical art of not only writing, but conveying stories in an alluring manner, is being taught to over 50 students at TDHS. To teacher, Mr. Guevara, these classes are vital because it’s the only school place that students can promote their own opinions and ideas with an unregulated voice. “It’s necessary for students to have this open channel dialogue with their peers, it’s also a safe place to voice their concerns or views”, Guevara explained to me. Downey is lucky enough to have two opportunities for student to better their skill of writing, the Shield yearbook and the Realm magazine.

As copy-editor of the Realm and am proud of the effort put into this advanced magazine. One factor of writing for a school, which we don’t take for granted in the copy department, is our ability to print anything that we want. Our teacher helps steer us in the right direction of overall appropriateness, but has ensured our overall freedom through the first amendment. For the print magazine, Hannah Heightman (the editor-in-chief) and the rest of the editor staff publish stories with abstract angles that discuss ideas, human interest stories or simply thought provoking pieces.
Stay updated with our progress at

Video Journalism for the Future
Gregori High School
By Jim Richards
Jags News Network (JNN) is the nationally recognized student broadcast program that serves Gregori High School. Student reporters produce original content that focuses on student life, school events, and issues that extend beyond the school boundaries. Individual broadcasts are released to the internet on Fridays and feature school announcements, school news, video stories that feature students, campus teams, and entertainment that relates to teens and the high school experience. The award-winning JNN Broadcast Program teaches student staffers to craft video stories and produce live streams with the use of Panasonic camcorders, Nikon full-frame DSLRs, Premiere Pro video editing software, a campus broadcast studio, and one of Modesto City Schools rare Mac Computer Labs. Check out JNN at In photo Davis Rosas Buzo (l), Emma Jakobsen (r)

The Good Book
If you want to learn the professional way to create articles, word usage and so much more, the Associated Press Style Book is the journalists’ bible. If you ever have any questions about grammar, libel laws, article building, this is your book. I have had one of these on my bookshelf for 30 years and use it regularly. You should get one of your own or go online here.

Hemingway’s Rules
When Ernest Hemingway was a cadet journalist at the Kansas
City Star he was given a style guide that included four basic rules he committed to
memory. Apparently they served him well for the rest of his life. They are:
1. Use short sentences
2. Use short first paragraphs
3. Use vigorous English
4. Be positive, not negative
5. Valid points all.

Modesto High School
The Panther Press was created by and for students of Modesto High School. Its goal is to bring information to the MHS community and acknowledge ideas, events, and individuals in a manner as unbiased and professional as possible. This is a very active school newspaper with a good web presence and a full staff of student reporters. They are covering good ground and encourage the community to share. They even have their own website.
Check it out.

Think like a lawyer
Mock Trial is where a lot of it starts.
This is the verbal jousting training that could either make or break a potential legal career and requires a skillful command of the language. So some congratulations are in order for the 33rd Annual Stanislaus County Mock Trial Competition Championship Round, with the Gregori High prosecution team and Beyer High defense team presenting
The 2017 Winner is Gregori High School and the runner-up team is Beyer High School
Winner of the Journalism Contest – Alysse Messer, Hughson High School
The winner of the Artist in the Courtroom – Felix Jara, Pitman High School
Gregori High will represent Stanislaus County at the State Mock Trial in Riverside, March 24 – 26,
Where can you get a degree in journalism?
Dr. Shannon Stevens, CSU Stanislaus

CSU Stanislaus offers an 18-unit Journalism Minor as part of the Department of Communication Studies in the College of the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. However, anyone at Stan State can earn a Journalism Minor—in fact we often have Journalism Minors who major in fields as diverse as Spanish, Business, English, or Computer Science. As the minor adviser and the adviser to The Signal student newspaper, I have an incredible opportunity here to help guide our students toward journalism-related careers or graduate school programs. Our students are taught to engage with our communities and to give back in countless ways because they have learned that an informed citizenry is the keystone of our democracy–and journalists do the hard work every day to keep their communities in the know. Our minor is designed to balance exposure to media theory with practical, hands-on experience in media production (print, web, radio, video, social media, etc.). That is why our students take classes and write, edit, design, and produce content for our student newsroom (which is structured to reflect a real daily newspaper based on my 15 years of experience in the field) while our radio station provides experience DJing, ordering music, and managing a diverse staff. Take a look at and a listen at (91.9 FM) and you’ll see the quality that stems from a solid education that melds theory and practice. And be sure to check out two of our standout podcasts: Ask the Reporter and Central Valley Politics!

There are more amazing journalism programs here in Modesto and the surrounding area. Please check for links to other talented student programs.



Posted in: community, news

About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.