The Responsibility of the Media

Deciding what to publish and what not to

In a day in age where the internet has a direct affect or influence on almost every American, people are saying and doing things that people 100-years-ago could never even dream of.

Journalists are forced to make important decisions regarding the content of their published work that could have wanted or unwanted outcomes. With every story they work on – from the smallest questionable details, such as the color shirt a person was wearing when arrested – to the decisions that must be made when faced with topics that are potentially harmful to their readership, from obscene quotes to the most controversial scandals.

When deciding whether or not to omit a statement or detail from a story whether it be online or print, certain personal and ethical standards must be established and followed. The media has a responsibility to report the news as it happens and the precise way it happens. While doing this they must also stay within the set personal and ethical standards established by the journalist and the publication. In addition to meeting these guidelines the entire publication or company, must keep the readers thoughts and position on the subject in mind.

With that said, when deciding whether something that has the potential to affect the reader or viewer is too obscene or harmful, the value of the said statement must be evaluated. In other words, it must be decided if who the speaker is and what they are saying has enough news value or is essential to the story. Generally, but not always, if the speaker is of a high position or importance, they should be quoted or portrayed accurately; using the exact words and actions in the story regardless if it is on print, online, photography, video or any other new multimedia outlet.

The Following scenarios will help illustrate the options journalists and their publications or umbrella companies have when faced with different a variety controversial stories with varying degrees of affect on the reader:

Scenario 1: Deb Woodell is a retired accountant in Glassboro, N.J., who wants to wear her own heirloom tap shoes to class at the new dance academy on High Street, but officials at the place say that the taps do not conform to current tap standards and will damage the floors. In response to being denied, Woodell sets up Occupy Dance Hall in front of the building in protest. When interviewed by your reporter, she rails against the establishment and says, in part, “These assholes wouldn’t know heirloom tap shoes from a hole in the ground.”

Scenario 2: When campaigning for president in 2000, George W. Bush was caught unawares by an open microphone, saying “There’s that asshole from the Times.”

Scenario 3: After leaving the Philadelphia 76ers over philosophical differences, Larry Brown quickly found work coaching the Detroit Pistons. Upon being questioned at a public news conference about why he left Philadelphia, he replied, “I got tired of coaching assholes.”

Looking at scenario 1, the subject is not of high position or national importance. Therefore, the quote, “These assholes wouldn’t know heirloom tap shoes from a hole in the ground,” should be omitted.

In its place the journalist should use a paraphrase or partial quote that accurately portrays the story without changing the message. For instance, in place of the quote the following paraphrase or something similar could be used – Woodell, in reaction to being denied the option of wearing her own heirloom tap shoes, said that the dance hall doesn’t know, “heirloom tap shoes from a hole in the ground.”

In this case removing part of the quote from print or online, does not affect the message or the story, therefore it is safe to remove.

However, in scenario 2 the situation and rules are different. Unlike Woodell who is just an average citizen in Glassboro, the subject in scenario 2 is the President of the United States, who holds the highest position and importance level in the nation. Therefore, it is critical to cover the story to the smallest detail, not only to ensure accuracy, but also to protect the publication from legal action.

Furthermore, since this is the President, what he says and does has the potential to directly affect every American. It is also the given right to voters if not all Americans to know their elected officials actions and statements.

With this said it is important not to rush printing the story just to be the first publication with the cover story centered on President bashing the NY Times. Instead check and recheck all of the facts and quotes and try to obtain additional primary sources. This is important because if you did not hear or see something firsthand, there is a possibility that the information may be fabricated or altered.

When evaluating the situation in scenario 3 one of the main factors in deciding whether to change or omit the quote is the publications location and target audience. Since the subject has strong influences in the both the Chicago and Philadelphia areas, as well as in sports, then any publication whether print or online, whose target audience is geared towards any of these characteristics should cover the story similar to the way the Presidents story was covered. This is not to say that the publication should be oblivious to the reader’s position and thoughts on the subject. They should however decide whether or not using the exact quote holds more news value than potential reader harm.

In this case the quote should be published because even though Larry Brown does not hold an important position, he is however, nationally recognized and important.

On the other hand, publications that do not have a target audience that is greatly influenced by the subject, like that of Philadelphia or sports publications, may still cover the story. However, it may be in their best interest to paraphrase, omit or partially use the quote.

In Addition, another aspect that should be addressed is the media’s various multimedia outlets such as online video or audio.

For instance, in any case where there may be supplemental video, audio or even photos to the story, omitting the quote or questioned actions from the published story, but not completely from the page is a safer option. For example, where the removed section was replace it with a link to the supplemental media that either includes the questioned quotes and actions or, explains or recaps them. This can be done by using either one of the subject’s representatives or the publication itself to produce the supplementary multimedia.

Lastly, by placing the linked material further down the page and having a warning at the beginning of the selected media, the publication can insure that only those who have read the story will knowingly explore any supplementary material.

Following both the personal and ethical standards established by both the publication and journalist, the decisions regarding a stories content or credibility should be able to be made without hesitation and concern.



This will be my last post on a Taste of Hammonton. I will be moving to a new blog that will move outside of Hammonton and explore what South Jersey has to offer. I am looking forward to meeting more restaurant owners and employees and to share my experiences and discoveries with you.
This blog was a project for an Online Journalism class at Rowan University that has helped me learn more about journalism and about food. Take a look at some of my favorite posts that I had the most fun doing.

Pizza Pizza Pizza-The Best Pizza Pies

Fiesta Mexicana

Q&A with Linda Cashan


Pizza Pizza Pizza – The Best Pizza Pies

Hammonton has many choices when it comes to pizza. When trying to decide where to order the first choice you need to make is what kind of pizza you are looking for. In Hammonton there are three main pizza groups: the New-York Style or round, the Sicilian or square, and white pizza. Also, some pizzerias offer deep dish or Chicago Style pizzas, which are essentially pizzas with a buttery crust, lots of cheese and enough sauce to keep it from being dry. Think of it as a regular cheese pizza and a Sicilian pizza having a baby and dressing it in melty cheese and sauce, that’s what it would be like. If you ever have a chance to have Chicago-style pizza eat it, you won’t regret it.

I think it’s safe to say that most likely every American has had at least one slice of pizza in their life. The most commonly found type is the first on our list, the New-York style pizza. Dough that is Hand tossed to the perfect thickness, topped with light sauce and mozzarella cheese creates the perfect round pizza. While every pizzeria in Hammonton offers round pizzas the differences can be noticed almost immediately. Having too much sauce or not enough sauce can be the difference between a onetime customer and a repeat customer.

While there are a lot of choices in town, like everyone else I have my favorites. For round pizza’s it’s between Nino’s and Bruni’s; both offer their own take on the classic round pie. I have never had a dry or burnt pie from Nino’s. Their pizza sauce is perfect and so is their crust; it’s slightly chewy but light at the same time. Nino’s makes one of the best pies in town that is simple but fresh and delicious. If you’re looking for something a little different Bruni’s is another one of my favorites when it comes to Round pizzas. They do things here their own way, by putting the cheese on first and then the sauce. This makes your mouth water as soon as you take your first bite. Their pies have a thin crust that you won’t find anywhere else in town.

Not a fan of the round New-York style pizza or looking for something a little more filling, then a Sicilian is what you’re looking for. Unlike a round pie a Sicilian has thicker slightly chewy but fluffy dough and is topped with cheese and sauce. When my family is in the mood for a good Sicilian pie we go to either Marcello’s or Brothers. Marcello’s has an awesome plain Sicilian that can be made even better with toppings like fresh sundried tomatoes, green peppers and Italian meats. Brother’s Pizza on the other hand, has a great old fashioned tomato pie along with tasty toppings.

White pizza is really just a pizza without the sauce. It helps showcase healthy fresh ingredients like spinach, fresh tomatoes, broccoli, olives and ricotta cheese. It is a light alternative to the classic round pie and a good way to incorporate fresh vegetables into your diet. While not a huge fan when it comes to white pizza I will have it occasionally. I enjoy the different varieties and takes on white pizza from Marcello’s, Brother’s and Nino’s. My favorite white pizza is topped with spinach, rough chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs and sliced peppers.
Below I’ve added a map to help you in your search for pizza.


Holiday Sweet Tooth

December is packed with family reunions full of home cooked meals. No matter what holiday you celebrate, I’m sure you will be having at least one family dinner, and every holiday dinner isn’t complete without dessert. In town there are a slew of Italian bakeries and sweet shops. The Italian bakeries are good but I’m looking for the best. The best pies, best cupcakes and best pastries.

One of the first desserts you’ll find at almost every dinner table during the holidays is pie. From Apple and blueberry to pumpkin and sweet potato everyone has their favorite pie. Nestled two miles down rt. 206 is Penza’s Pies at the Red Barn Café. With a diverse selection of pies from blueberry made from fresh blueberries from literally down the street, to the creamy cheesy ricotta pies. My favorite penza pie is blueberry. With a perfect chewy yet flakey crust packed with Hammonton fresh blueberry filling it is absolutely delicious.

Pies not your favorite? From Scratch Bakery on rt. 30 is home to my favorite cupcake, strawberry cupcake with strawberry cream cheese icing. The cake is a light and moist slice of heaven. The icing pairs sweet strawberries with a perfect cream cheese icing that isn’t overly sweet. From scratch also offers pies, cakes, and other pastries which are equally as good as their cupcakes.

For the chocolate lovers out there head on down to Sassy Sweets just off Bellevue Ave. They offer everything from decadent fudge to simple but delicious chocolates and a wide selection of cakes that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Ninos Making Pizza

Ninos Pizzarama Pizza Man Mike makes a cheese and speciality pizza while owner Tony talks about his pizzeria.

Nino’s Pizzarama from Shawn Cameron on Vimeo.

Applebee’s Veterans Day 2011

Photo by the Apple America Group

As a way to show appreciation and thanks to both the Veterans and Active Duty service personal of the United States Armed Forces, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar offered free food to these heroes and their families. As a cook for the Applebee’s in Hammonton, NJ I was able to participate in this year’s Veterans Appreciation Day.

With a walk in cooler filled with prep for the day we opened our doors at 10 am, an hour earlier than usual. During a normal Friday lunch rush we’re fairly busy, typically serving around 160 guests from 11-4. During the dinner rush we usually serve upwards of 300 guests from 5-8 with smaller rushes of 20 or 30 the rest of the night.

However this Friday was far from ordinary; by 11:30 the restaurant was full to its capacity of 160 and we were on a wait. With six cooks on the line during the lunch rush we were double our usual crew and ready for what was about to come. It didn’t start slow; before we knew it the equipment on each station was filled to its limit. Despite the massive amount of orders we were able to serve everyone quickly and accurately doing each order right the first time.

After our successful lunch we restocked and prepared for what was expected to be an even busier dinner rush. Just before dinner three more cooks came in bringing the total to nine in the kitchen, three for each of the three stations (Fry, Mid/Sautee and Broil).

With a line of guests going out the door it was safe to say it was going to be busy, and busy it was. The orders started coming in five and ten at a time. Even with extra cooks and a limited menu the food can only cook so fast. At the brink of disaster, everyone was able to keep their cool and work as hard as they could to get through the rush.

Luckily we were able to work together and push out the orders allowing our Veterans and Service personal to have hot, delicious food made right. This year we served about 700 guests during our lunch rush more than twice as much as usual. I know that everyone in the kitchen felt a sense of pride in the food and hard work they put out. The same pride that the hero’s we were serving felt in serving their country.

Around Town

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Fiesta Mexicana

Fiesta Mexicana has been serving fresh authentic Mexican food since 1999. Owners Noe and Carmen Castenada offer a menu full of authentic Mexican classics that everyone knows like tacos and nachos to my favorite Carne Asada.

Whether you’re having lunch or dinner Fiesta Mexican takes you out of Hammonton and brings you down to Mexico. Starting outside the feel of Mexico is created with a Mexican flag and architecture that resembles a southwestern home made by hand with tan, red and green colors.

Once inside the Mexican atmosphere continues to flow with Mexican music playing in the background and colorful traditional Mexican clothing and artwork on the walls.

The menu, created by the owners is in both Spanish and English with brief descriptions of each dish. Diners choose from a wide variety of tacos, burritos, enchiladas and fajitas. Also, there are many traditional dishes which include another one of my favorites Parrillada Fiesta Mexicana. As a steak lover I found this dish amazing. It’s a charbroiled rib eye steak with strips of flank steak and Mexican sausage sautéed with bell peppers and onions. This dish is a mixed grill that showcases Mexican flavors with three different meats.

For taco, burrito, fajita and enchilada lovers Fiesta Mexicana has every so many options to choose from that are made the real way with fresh ingredients and spices. Homemade tortillas are filled with a variety of meats, seafood, cheeses, beans, vegetables and other Mexican ingredients and foods like guacamole and chilies.

Fiesta Mexican has much to offer. They’re pricing is affordable and families are welcomed. There is a children’s menu and a tasty selection of desserts and beverages including tropical milkshakes like mango and banana.

Lunch at The Silver Coin

Recently my fiancé Lauren and I went to the Silver Coin Diner located on the White Horse Pike in Hammonton. Having been there before are expectations were high and were expecting the same great food and service we have had in the past.

We went for lunch and arrived around 12:30 and the diner seemed to be pretty busy. Unlike most restaurants during lunch and dinner we were sat immediately. Our waitress Leeann was very nice and quick. Even though I took forever looking at the menu for what I wanted, she stood patiently, before politely asking if I needed more time. After accepting she returned a few minutes later and took our orders.

We each ordered wraps; I ordered a Buffalo Chicken Wrap and Lauren ordered a Turkey Club Wrap. The wraps came with a choice of soup and French fries. We both choose the Chicken Noodle soup which was delicious. The soup had a good amount of chicken, noodles, and some vegetables. The broth was good and everything was up to the proper temperature.

It didn’t take long for our food to come to the table given how busy it was we were expecting at least a 15-20 minute wait and it was more along the lines of 5-10 minutes if that.

The Buffalo Chicken Wrap was a wrap packed with breaded chicken tossed in a mild buffalo sauce with real blue cheese crumbles. There was also a side of blue cheese and a nice size portion of French Fries cooked the right way. They were not covered is grease or overly salted.

The Turkey Club Wrap was homemade fresh sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and bacon. For being a classic wrap it was filled with unique tastes that left me wanting another bite. Our bill came to $24 including fountain drinks. For the quality of the food and service $24 is a fair price for a delicious lunch.

Asian Cuisine

Hammonton has a few different choices when it comes to Asian food. While there are many to choose from the most popular are Hoy Yeung on the Pike, Eastern Phoenix on Bellevue, and The Grand on the Pike. For location information and direction follow the link.

The Asian Restaurants Hoy Yeung and Eastern Phoenix  offer up both Chinese and Japanese menus along with fresh sushi. Both offer familiar dishes like Sesame Chicken, Lo Mein (Chinese Spaghetti), and General Tso’s Chicken among others such as Chinese Pizza and Egg Rolls. Aside from these familiar dishes both restaurants have menus filled with a vast range of Specialty, traditional and modern Asian Cuisine.

From Hoy Yeung’s Chinese menu the Hoy Yeung Steak, a T-bone steak served up with vegetables and house gravy and the Cantonese Chow Mein with Lobster Tail, Shrimp, and Scallops. From the Japanese menu a mouth-watering Salmon, Shrimp, and Scallop Teriyaki as well as many other Tempura and Teriyaki dishes. Hoy Yeung also offers many seafood dishes as well as vegetarian selections like Tofu and the entrée Vegetarian Singapore thin noodles. There is also a sushi bar that serves traditional Japanese Hand Rolls and a range of sushi and sashimi.

At Eastern Phoenix there’s an Asian twist on American classics like fried chicken wings and French fries. Far from fried chicken is the chef’s special Dragon and Phoenix, a fresh half lobster tail in a delicate white wine sauce along with a chunk of white mean chicken in a spicy brown sauce.

Along with its specialty dishes Eastern Phoenix hosts a wide range cooking styles and dishes in Szechuan (garlic and spice), Hunan (spicy), and Buddhist (vegetarian) styles. Apart from its Chinese menu there is a large selection of Japanese dishes and platters. Eastern Phoenix also features a sushi bar that prepares fresh sushi and sashimi, as well as various traditional and specialty Japanese hand rolls.

Finally at The Grand they specialize in Chinese cuisine, and have been awarded the title of “Best Chinese Restaurant” by both the Hammonton News and the Hammonton Gazette for the past 12. Some of The Grand’s specials include: Szechuan Delicacy; marinated steak, chicken, red peppers and snow pea pods sautéed with a hot Szechuan bean paste a Mandarin style dish that has a combination of jumbo shrimp, sliced chicken, and tender beef sautéed in a mild garlic sauce with crispy vegetables.

Along with their specials The Grand offers their own take on Chinese classics. Such as their General Tso’s Chicken, which in my opinion has the best sauce I have come across. They also offer affordable lunch and dinner combinations without sacrificing taste and quality.