La Salle selling art generates mixed reaction on campus

On Wednesday, January 3, La Salle University announced its plan to sell 46 works of art   from its Art Museum as part of a five year strategic plan known as Momentum: 2022 which seeks to improve educational initiatives.

La Salle’s collection contains a total of 5000 works, many of which are not on display but are held in the university’s database. Of the works that will be sold, 36 are on display while 10 are from the university’s database. The works that are sold will be replaced by works that are stored in the university’s collection.

LaSalle’s decision is motivated not by a need for the selling of art but rather by the idea that selling the art could benefit the school more than keeping it.

In recent years, La Salle has struggled with an enrollment decline and deficit. La Salle president Colleen Hanycz hopes that selling art for profit will ultimately improve student life at La Salle.

“No one likes to sell art,” says Colleen Hanycz. “But if there is a higher purpose to better serve the students that we serve, we will.”

The artwork will be sold by Christie’s between April 2018 and July 2018 in New York, NY, and London. Some of the art will be sold online depending on the category. The art is estimated to sell for 4.81-7.34 million dollars.

According to faculty members, the deaccession funds would most likely go to improving the University library as well as creating a new coffee bar, gym facility and possibly a bookstore.

The Board of Trustees determined which works of art would be sold by first deciding which works must be stored in the collection for preservation. They decided these works by identifying which works have pedagogical value to the La Salle community.

Brother Daniel Burke opened the doors to the museum in 1976 with the understanding that art can have a transformative effect on individuals as communicated by the university’s patron saint, St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle. Burke, president of La Salle from 1969-1976, wanted the students of LaSalle as well as the local community to have access to LaSalle’s Art Museum as a tool for learning.

The La Salle Art Museum is an integral part of La Salle as La Salle is a liberal arts university. Many classes, such as history, philosophy, art history, and even math, utilize the Art Museum to supplement the material that is being taught in the classroom.

La Salle’s Art Museum is compact yet it houses hundreds of pieces which comprise many different time periods and artistic movements. It is considered one of the most highly regarded university museums in the Philadelphia region. It is not only available to students but it is also open to public schools and children in the neighborhood.

lasalle art museum 1

La Salle’s decision to auction off 46 works of art from its Art Museum for potential financial gain has stirred controversy among faculty and students alike at La Salle. It also has received backlash from art critics and museum curators.

The process of selling art, known as deaccessioning, is not held in high regard among major professional organizations. These organizations believe that art should be sold for other works of art but should not be used for physical repairs or ongoing expenses.

Most Universities use specific criteria to determine if deaccessions should be made. These criteria include but are not limited to:

  1. The object is no longer useful or relevant to the purposes of the University.
  2. The University is unable to properly preserve the object.
  3. The object has deteriorated beyond reasonable repair.
  4. The object serves no distinct function in the collection. Other objects in the collection duplicate it.
  5. Removing the object will improve or strengthen the collection as a whole.
  6. The object is requested for repatriation by aboriginal groups or foreign governments.

Shortly after the decision was made, La Salle students began organizing protests, such as the one pictured below which was taken in January near the Lawrence Building. On March 20, La Salle students protested the decision outside of the Connelly Library.

art protest

Faculty members in the philosophy, art history, and religion departments have formally expressed their disagreement with La Salle’s decision. They have sent letters to Colleen Hanycz and other members of the board of trustees, who are responsible for the decision to sell works of art which many consider some of the best works of art the University has to offer.

Philosophy professor Cornelia Tsakiridou emphasized the unity of the collection and La Salle’s decision will have an impact on the entire gallery.

“The collection is not like a heap of rocks.” she said. “It was an organic being, very carefully collected. Removing the works, those which are most important, is like removing a vital organ from a body. The integrity of the collection is badly damaged by this.”

La Salle alumni have also protested by writing letters expressing their dissatisfaction with the recent decision.

I sat down with Dr. Tsakiridou and she elaborated on her feelings toward La Salle’s decision to sell its art for profit. Her reaction is below.

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Pulitzer Prize winner gives tips on how to find one’s voice in journalism

On Wednesday, April 18, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Lane DeGregory hosted a webinar in which she offered advice to potential journalists based on her career in the field.

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One of the main pieces of advice she offered was to find one’s voice in journalism. She said that using too many quotes  is a huge impediment to finding one’s voice. Instead, she said, journalists should paraphrase and only select important quotes.

DeGregory also noted that having a good editor is key to finding one’s voice. She also said, however, that journalists should first try to edit their own work before sending it to an editor.

Finding one’s voice, DeGregory pointed out, also means listening to the voice of the story as well as the voice of the place you’re working for.

Other tips she offered for finding one’s voice in journalism are to own the information, try on different perspectives, and shift the tone of different stories depending upon perspective and subject.

DeGregory said that you should be able to tell your story to a friend over lunch. This approach to writing a story is an effective way of finding one’s voice.

In addition to her tips on finding voice, DeGregory distinguished between three types of voice journalists can use. The three voices are third-person, second-person, and voice of authority.

Third person accounts are the most commonly written type of news story in which the facts are presented in a completely objective way. These types of stories generally work effectively. Second person accounts are more difficult to master and involve pulling the reader(s)  into the story so that they can empathize with the people in the story. Voice of authority is the hardest type of story to pull off. This type of story is written by getting inside the head of the person you are writing about and understand the perspective of that person.

DeGregory said that one of her favorite parts about being in the field of journalism is being able to “explore other worlds and be different people.” Journalists must get inside people’s heads to understand what they were thinking. They must explore others’ lives by seeing things from others’ perspectives.

She pointed out that journalists should avoid using jargon and should instead take their audience into account.

Another tip she offered was to seek silence when conducting interviews. She explains that interviewees only need 15 seconds of silence to start opening up.

 

 

 

Mobile journalism is an essential form of modern journalism

Journalists have a more challenging job in today’s world than they have ever had before. Most modern journalists would classify themselves as mobile journalists, abbreviated as ‘mojo’.

In the past, journalists had to know how to write well, collect data, interview, organize data, interpret basic statistics, take quality pictures and the like. Today, mobile journalists have the same responsibilities but they must also have audio-video skills and must understand the latest apps and technology.

Mobile journalism involves using whatever means are necessary to create the best possible visual story. Journalist Ivo Burum defines mobile journalism as “a combination of digital storytelling skills and tools used to capture and transform raw user-generated content (UGC) into complete user-generated stories (UGS).”

The mobile journalist can decide for himself whether or not he prefers an IOs smart device or an Android for capturing still photography, videos or other media content. The Android is more affordable while the IPhone devices have had better video editing apps over the years.

Burum also notes that pixel size is important in determining how much light is captured in pictures. He recommends mobile journalists buy a smartphone with at least a 12-megapixel camera.

Mobile journalists can use one of three types of microphones: shotgun microphones, lapel microphones, and wireless microphones.

Shotgun microphones are used for close quarter filming, lapel (lav.) microphones are ideal for recording interviews, and wireless microphones are used for long distance shots.

Several apps on smartphones and IPhone have the functionality of video cameras so as to enable mobile journalists to capture quality pictures and videos. Filmic Pro is the most used video camera app with features such as white balancing, focusing, and real-time audio monitoring. Camera + is an ideal app for capturing still photography. Its features include white balancing, focusing, and color/brightness settings.

Sound apps such as Ferrite and Rode Record are essential for mobile journalists who want to capture voice overs. Video editing apps are also used by mobile journalists. IMovie and Luma Fusion are two video editing apps compatible with Iphones while Kinemaster works for Androids as well.

Mobile journalists can be classified according to their skill and knowledge of the field. The MOJO pyramid classifies mobile journalists as generalists, specialists or VJs.

pyramid.png

Generalists, at the bottom of the pyramid, make up a good portion of mobile journalists.

Specialists are more professionally skilled than generalists. They tend to produce one story form with dedicated gear.

VJs comprise the top of the pyramid and are in the minority of mobile journalists. They are highly skilled field reporters who use specialized gear to complete the toughest assignments. They can shoot, edit, interview, produce, and file data using any gear they have on their possession.

Mobile journalism is the future of journalism. Therefore, understanding how to use modern technology and apps is crucial for modern journalists.

Dr. Kathy Olson, media law expert, discusses law as applied to journalism

Last Wednesday, Dr. Kathy Olson, law professor at Lehigh University, came to our online journalism class to discuss issues relevant to journalists such as libel, privacy, and copyright. She specifically focused on how these issues impact online journalism.

According to her presentation, libel can be defined as a false statement of fact published by the defendant that hurts the plaintiff’s reputation. By this definition, the statement would have to have been proven false; the defendant would have to prove actual malice, meaning either he/she knew it was false and published it anyway or he/she had a reckless disregard for the truth (negligence in determining whether or not it was true).

In the field of journalism, journalists must ensure before stories are published that information about public figures is true; they cannot be careless about the truth of a statement before it is published.

Privacy is another matter that journalists must seriously consider before they publish stories. All individuals are guaranteed a right to privacy, which is mandated in the U.S. Constitution.

Respecting individuals’ privacy means that journalists should not intrude individuals’ private space. Journalists should consider the newsworthiness of the information that they are disclosing to the public. They should also consider the four torts recognized by most states:

  1. Intrusion upon seclusion or solitude, or into private affairs;
  2. Public disclosure of embarrassing private facts;
  3. Publicity which places a person in a false light in the public eye; and
  4. Appropriation of name or likeness

These torts summarize privacy rights of private and public figures.

Copyright is another area journalists must be aware of in order to avoid publishing any content of which they are not the sole owner. Thus, they must be creative and only print and/or distribute material that belongs to them.

For example, a journalist cannot write a news story about an event and then provide a picture that someone else took for a different story. If a journalist, for instance, was writing a story about 9/11 or related to terrorism and incorporated a picture of firefighters raising the flag which was taken by another journalist shortly after the terrorist attacks, they would be liable for suit.

The presentation, however, makes note of four fair use factors, factors that permit limited use of copyright material without permission from the original owners.

These factors are the purpose of the use, the nature of the work being used, the relative amount of the work being used, and the impact of the use on the potential value of the copyrighted work.

Copyright

The first factor considered seeks to determine whether the new work has added anything valuable to the original work. The purpose of the use can be illustrated by considering parodies, such as Weird Al Yankovic’s covers of popular songs. Weird Al’s covers are not simply copyrighted works that he takes ownership of but rather they are intended to parody the original works by adding new lyrics to familiar beats.

The second factor considered is the source being used. Factual sources can be used more than fictional works because fiction is more original; thereby, the original owner has a greater right to their own creative works of fiction.

The third factor considered is the amount of the copyrighted work being used. If a small portion of a copyrighted work is used, however, it must not be the most memorable or original aspect of the work.

The fourth factor considered is the impact the use will have on the original artist. This factor considers the influence the use will have on the market as well.

Overall, journalists must know the rights they are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution while also being aware of factors which could ultimately allow them to be sued. They should consider whether information is libelous or intrudes on the privacy rights of individuals. They should also be careful about which pictures, videos, and other media they use to make sure that they do not copyright original works without permission.

 

 

A Family Connection at La Salle University

Attending La Salle University has a family tradition as four of my family members attended and graduated from the university and my brother and I currently attend La Salle.

My grandfather was the first member of my family to graduate from La Salle in 1956. He was the first member of his family to graduate from college.

My Aunt Kathy followed in his footsteps, graduating from La Salle in 1980. Nine years later, my mom became a La Salle alum. My Aunt Sue (on the other side of my family) also graduated from La Salle in 1988.

My brother and I are currently juniors at La Salle.

In the slideshow below, I integrate the family tradition of attending La Salle with La Salle breaking from tradition by selling 46 works of art from its Art Museum. I incorporated photos which reflect some of the most common places I visit on La Salle’s campus.

https://spark.adobe.com/video/ZUz0sam4fBO8q/embed

The state of online journalism for independent companies

newsIn today’s world, people can get their news in a variety of ways ( newspapers, television, web sites, blog sites, social media, radio). Aspiring journalists, however, should know the state of web journalism as this means of receiving the news is becoming increasingly popular in today’s digital age.

According to mediashift.org, independent web companies are struggling financially. Independent news sites are typically found in larger cities and focus on issues that affect those cities. Many of these sites have established unions to ensure better working conditions and compensation under which journalists can live. Independent blog-type journalism must compete with larger corporations to prevent workers from being laid off.

The Huffington Post has shut down its blogger network of up to 10,000 contributors. Buzzfeed, Mashable, and Gawker are all struggling as well.

As a result of layoffs and downsizing, future journalists, including those who work at mainstream news organizations, have less profitable opportunities. However, as noted in the article, independent journalists and news organizations can still be successful. Independent journalists must find ways to be financially self-sustaining.

Journalists have opportunities to pursue their passions but they may not be able to make a good pay from it. Journalists must know how to seize opportunities with successful corporations. They must always be aware of the business side of journalism, including the entrepreneurial aspect of independent journalism.

Trevor and Morgan’s presentation on independent news media not only sheds light on the financial difficulties that independent news organizations face but it also points out that aspiring journalists may also find that it is difficult to get a job with a major newspaper.

Ethan Zutterman, an MIT professor and media analyst, claims in his book that in the age of the Internet, more people tend to rely less on professional writers for news and information. The Internet has paved the way for a wider selection of news stories, blogs, and opinion pieces.

Although the field of journalism may seem discouraging to aspiring news writers due to layoffs, downsizing, and very low wages, the good news is that journalists can be successful if they pursue what they are passionate about while continuously being conscious of the business aspect of the field. Individuals who pursue journalism should consider things like advertisements, which are a source of revenue as well.

Web journalism continues to grow, with an ever expanding array of opportunities for those that are committed to writing, reporting, and seeking information.

The Impact of Deaccession at LaSalle’s Art Museum

LaSalle Art Museum

On Wednesday, January 3, LaSalle University announced its plan to auction off 46 works of art held at its Art Museum to meet certain educational initiatives as part of a five-year strategic plan. LaSalle’s collection contains a total of 5000 works, many of which are not on display but are held in the university’s database. Of the works that will be sold, 36 are on display while 10 will be taken from storage.

LaSalle’s decision is motivated not by a need for the selling of art but rather by the idea that selling the art could benefit the school more than keeping it.

This topic was first brought to my attention in a Philosophy of Art class which I am currently taking. In the class, we discussed the impact of selling the art, the value of art, and the concept of who actually owns works of art.

With regard to this topic, it is important to understand who the art actually belongs to and for what purpose an institution would choose to sell its art.

I have visited the LaSalle Art Museum numerous times and have found its wide selection of various works from different time periods to be one of its best features. Although relatively small in comparison to other museums I have visited, the Art Museum of LaSalle is extremely important to LaSalle’s liberal arts curriculum.

Brother Daniel Burke opened the doors to the museum in 1976 with the understanding that art can have a transformative effect on individuals as communicated by the university’s patron saint, St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle. Burke wanted the students of LaSalle as well as the local community to have access to LaSalle’s Art Museum.

I asked three LaSalle students about their opinion regarding LaSalle’s decision to sell 46 works of art from its art museum.

Tom, a junior communication major, said the decision did not personally bother him but he felt bad for students who really enjoy visiting the Art Museum. Overall, though, he has no objections to their decision: “Hopefully it [will] impact the community positively because of the money we’re getting from it.”

Justin, a sophomore criminal justice major, felt differently about the matter. He said, “I actually don’t agree with LaSalle doing that. LaSalle doesn’t have any right to be selling the art to other people for profit.”

Teagan, a junior communication major, is uncertain about the impact LaSalle’s decision to sell its art could have on the community. “I feel like it could be a good thing,” he said. “It depends upon what the money goes to.”