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Journalism and You


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Introduction to Journalism

Journalism is a vastly underrated job, which can make or break a round. Maybe not mechanically, but at the very heart of it, the journalist can add so much to a round it's unreal.



1) Three A's

Reasons for Journalists boil down to the "Three A's": Action, Acceptance, and Acceleration.

Action: The key reason journalists are so damn fantastic when done right.

Acceptance: You'll be known by the entire crew if you do your job right.

Acceleration: For the truly altruistic, you exist to help the crew catch up with what they've missed, and keep their head in the round.

Action

Your key role as journalist. The thing is, in SS13, almost all players do actions for the same thing: recognition. They want their awesome moments to be recognized, their successes to be valued, and people to appreciate them. And who better than someone with a megaphone which spans the whole station? As a journalist, you keep people doing interesting things because they know that they'll be seen. People will put on shows, will sing songs, with take heroic risks, just because they'll be seen. As long as you keep updating with every story that comes in, you'll never be short of stories to relay.

Acceptance

Let's face it. You do your job well, people will know your name. People want to feel a connection to the action going on on-board the station, and you provide it. People will know your name, and thus be willing to talk with you. Interact with you. Respect you. And, of course, you can walk right over them as an antag. This is the role for RP.

Acceleration

People are gonna join late. Consistently. And, while they've been gone, a lot has happened. Consistently. Your news station has the answers to EVERYTHING that's happened. And, if done right, I mean everything.


2) How 2 rite gud

I'm not going to lie, Journalism is hard work. Sometimes, there'll be nothing for ten minutes. That's the most free time you're gonna get. Relish it. Most of your time will be spent running from place to place, taking pictures, getting wrapped up in station-wide cover-ups, and generally having an awesome time. But if you stop and lose momentum, you'll lose the stories before you can get to them. The news doesn't wait for anyone.

That said, I've got some simple tips for writing excellent reports. You don't have to use them, but I have used them again and again.

Use your PDA

Your PDA is going to be the most useful tool you have, and that's no exaggeration. You can ask questions, arrange meetings, and conduct interviews from afar. If someone says something even mildly interesting, PDA them about it, even if it seems to be nothing. Worst case scenario, they say "oh, nothing", and you haven't wasted either of your times. Best case scenario, you get something you might have otherwise missed. There's no losing outcome.

Keep a Camera Handy

Your camera can take pictures to be added to your reports. You want this. Even if its just a picture of someone who was involved, or a shot of the scene post-action, people will be more likely to read your articles. I learned this through experience: people want to see pictures rather than just walls of text. This is particularly necessary early on: if it looks boring on the first page, people won't read your news.

Go to the Wall for the Truth.

Sometimes, getting the truth won't be easy. Security might try to cover-up a break-in, or a particularly smart traitor might just evade your grasp. Don't give up. Use your respect gained through your trade to find the truth. The results are always worth it, particularly when mob justice arrests that no-good traitor thanks to your article, or security feels the heat and reveals the truth. This is why I play.

Use Quotes

Quotes are the best thing in the world. Other people basically write your articles, and you get all the credit. Ask someone on how they fixed a reactor. Quote them word for word in quotation marks. Make it look fancy. be loved by everyone. It feels good to be a journalist.

Smile

You never want to seem antagonizing as a journalist, unless it's for drama, or you have a reason to. Be bubbly, fun, and a generally likable person, and watch as the stories just roll in. People like someone who jokes around, who only wants the best for everyone, and who always tries to do the right thing. You be that person, and people will always be willing to tell you anything you need to know.

Don't Nag

So the HoS just told you some info is classified. Tough. Nagging won't get you anything but a headache, and will probably get you shot by a disgruntled Security Officer (learned the hard way). Just ask them to reveal anything when they're able to. Message them once every 15 minutes or so asking if they can give you anything else. The best stories are the ones that take the longest. But that doesn't mean just give up- if you really thing something is worth getting info on, ask around. Nothing is truly secret, and someone else will know. Besides, it's much more fun to report on top-secret projects when nobodies quite sure how you did it.


3) Newstype

I didn't quite know what to name this, but there's more to the news than just writing a good article every now and then. You need to keep the articles flowing in, even if they're just white noise. Thus, I've classified the news into 4 different 'Newstypes'- different levels of the news. Their rarity is descending, with the bottom being the rarest.

White Noise

These stories mean nothing, but can still say so much. These stories are the stories you'll see in bad tabloid magazines, looking into the lives of members of staff, talking about minor details. Ask the HoS what he does in a day. Ask for a brief description of bio-engineering from science. Hear the janitors emotional backstory. Fight for IPC equality. That kind of thing. Is it fun, interesting, and vital? Yes. Can it change the round? Probably not. These should not, under any circumstances, make up over 50% of your articles. They're always available, and are a useful tool, but to many makes the news boring.

Grey Pages

These stories update crew on the happenings of the station. Rodent Infestation. Aliens outside their windows. Engine malfunctions. Power outages. That sort of thing. These stories should make up about 30-40% of all your stories.

Black Stories

Guns, blood, and ammo. These are the stories you need to be careful about. Tell people about deaths, accidents, assaults, explosions, and general bad stuff. These stories are vital for an antagonist, and only slightly less so for a well-meaning journalist. Twist them to reflect what they need to reflect. But always be tactful, and careful with what you write. You don't want to piss off the wrong people.

TOP-SECRET

The stuff you're not supposed to write about. Be ready for it to vanish off the face of the station in about five minutes. These are stories about Nanotrasen cover-ups, the Surgeon's little experiments, security breaches, and the stuff you're not allowed to talk about. Learn to love the word "REDACTED": it mean's you've done your job right.



4) The Station Around your Finger

A journalist antagonist is very RP based. At the end of many rounds, you can kill someone just by writing a slanderous article with a misleading picture. Buy and sell secrets like an old-fashion mafia boss, and maybe, just maybe, you'll have the most fun as an antagonist you've ever had. You might even win. I don't want to go to much into this, because each character should be on their own in this, but remember that as long as you do your job, and do it well, you'll be able to convince the station of anything you want. Anything.



Long story short, a journalist is a vastly underrated role which can make a boring round interesting, and make an interesting round memorable. Just don't get in over your head.

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  • 1 month later...

I didn't even know this was an option, but I'm definitely going to try it out now. Appreciate the guide, though maybe there could be a little section on the how? I might just be new, but I imagine with some trial and error I'm going to flail my first attempt.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I used to have some good journalist rounds, my first was interviewing a cultist mid murder, another where i reported on a alien life form on station that security tried to cover up and got loyalty implanted, and another where i helped spread what the evil captain was trying to do on a mutiny round.


Be daring, be brash, always have your recorder on and camera on standby. The truth is subjective, write what the crew really wants to read, does security really need all those guns? Whats the thing with a trifoil in the vault and why is it here? Why is the captain the only one with a private shower? Why is medbay so big?

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  • 4 years later...

Seeing as I have been doing The Corporate Reporter a lot, I figured I'd try and add to this since the groundwork was already made. A few other tips or build ons to previously mentioned ones.

Be aware of the following:

1. You are going to be Target Numero Uno for some groups.

It is no secret that you are on the station if you are doing your jobs right, however, the reporter has a room where they can tint the windows and isolate. Further, they have -no- way to defend themselves and fundamentally the Reporter's job is non-essential. All this combines into the perfect first kill. The only way to avoid this, is, at best, to be proactive about it. What I would recommend is:

- Bring an Extra Recorder: Station laws allow you to have an active recorder in your office that's hidden. Turn it on, hide it in a planter in the office, and put a note on the board (Yes, you can put paper with written info on that poster board between the APC and the Newscaster) that says you have one in there. If there's a bloody mess that makes it 'CSI:Reporters Office' you most definately want to make sure to leave clues. Even in death the truth can get out.

 

- Make friends with colleagues: More on this later but the more people who see you the better, the -only- thing aside from suit beacon (turn that on) that's keeping you safe is people noticing your vanishing. If there is anyone in the Liason or Consular's office, -GREAT-. And try and keep tabs with an investigator, more on that later.

 

Do both of those and you are hopefully gonna be either safer, or not as vulnerable to a useless death.. though bare in mind, if a Vampire shows up for a private interview or a Changeling, you're still likely gonna die or worse.

 

2. Corporate Reporters get a Press Pass. USE IT.

There is an unwritten social contract that goes like this:

A reporter asks for comment. The asked party chooses to respond or not. The Reporter does their job.

With a presspass you can pretty much ask for comment or stories or even face to face interviews with everyone on the station. The only exceptions to this rule are security officers during a crisis, or the captain for similar reasons. Beyond that, I've used this to ask the captain for an interview on a lark before, do not burn bridges during this and you can talk to anyone but here's the best part.

If it's a 'Saucy' story and they refuse comment? Put that in the story. Readers may think it suspicious, so the 'unwritten social contract' means that most people you ask for comments are going to give you one, out of a worry about being shown in a bad light that is, likewise, not even incriminating to you. Almost a win-win.

 

3. Your Key Contacts: Liasons/Consulars, and Investigators.

 

The Former can give you news stories, Liasons may also on occassion have a literal heirarchy to assign you tasks or stories to look into. Be friends with them. However, Investigators can give you an entirely other avenue.

 

Investigators and Reporters, Fundamentally, have the same job with different clearances. Each are trying to uncover truths or informative nuggets that they then pass on to those who listen. For the Investigator, officers and their superiors. For the Reporter, your readers. With this in mind, one thing you can try to do is form a pseudo-agreement with Investigators who want to play ball to share tips and information about goings on around the station. This could mean early warnings about stories for the reporter (which leads to a plucky Journalist with the camera in the -right- place.) or could even give the Investigator a 'Non-Security Department' means to look into something. Both parties win, but the reporter stands to gain even more. 

Be warned though, asked the wrong way or if interpreted poorly, this could be seen as soliciting non-civilian info. Be careful with this, as helpful as it is.

 

4. Miscellaneous Tidbits

- I organize my folders for "Recordings", "Transcripts", "Pictures", "Gained Files" and "Misc." Helps keep the office clean, and a clean office is a presentable interview spot.
- Have something to give people, whether you print out a newspaper for them or bring cigars or booze, have something to entice interviewees.
- Take your clipboard, put paper on it and a red pen. Trust me, very handy to writing down interviews.
- Do not be afraid to talk to Antags. Those are some -ABSURDLY- juicy stories that can generate a lot of buzz, and if they aren't psychopathic in motive, they don't want to kill members of the press usually, for they have nothing to gain but everything of their face value to lose.
- You will eventually come to blows with security over secret sources or unauthorized papers. This can get messy. Be ready to de-escalate, and try and have anything with sources names in a hidden area.

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