Archive for July, 2006

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It’s so ugly

July 20, 2006

ugly web sites with zefrankA little bit of crude language, but this web video about ugly web sites on MySpace is as funny as it is informative about how much we take for granted that new technologies provide. The amount of work involved in creating a newspaper page or a web site is made so simple for us with today’s technology.

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Bloggers

July 20, 2006

Mindy McAdamsMindy McAdams is quickly becoming one of my “must read” bloggers. She has included an interesting summary of a PEW Intenet and American Life Project study on blogging.

PEW is a good source on how Americans use the Internet.

Reuters also has a story on the report.

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Multimedia storytelling and artists

July 18, 2006

Mindy McAdams writes a really interesting blog on teaching online journalism. I found this post about interactive artists particularly interesting. I think it defines an element we are hoping to capture in our Internet for Journalists class.

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Blogging requirement?

July 12, 2006

question markI’ve been thinking about how to infuse my journalism courses with blogging so that my students can learn. One thought is to require all returning newspaper staff members to develop a weekly blog that focuses on some aspect of the college or student life.*

Ran the idea past incoming editor Tanya Bermudez the other day and she wasn’t interested in it.** Still, I wonder…

* The more I read about online publications the more I see that we need to focus on content that cannot be found elsewhere. I’ve always known that and emphasize that we should 1) cover campus news first and 2) off-campus news that affects our student readers. I’ve always suggested that for columns and sports coverage. Makes sense to emphasize it with blogs.

** I also read that many journalsts, including student journalists resist learning new media. Yet, can I in good conscious continue teaching ONLY old media? Much of what has developed with the online publication has taken time to infuse into the culture of the Talon Marks. Requiring blogs might not be popular at first, but will be considered normal after several semesters. The trick is to introduce it correctly.

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Talon Marks reunion

July 9, 2006

Last night was the big 50th anniversary Talon Marks reunion. What at hot time (literally for a while there)!

reunion sceneIt was so great to see some 50 or 60 current and former Talon Marks staffers and their families join us for the evening. It was a thrill to talk to so many of them and see how their lives were affected by their long hours at the Talon Marks. Some were my former students, but the vast majority were from Tom Nelson’s days. After all, he was here for 26 years and I’m only on my nineth.

Many remarked on how the newsroom was the same, but different. We lost the horseshoe copyediting table*, the darkroom* and the clocks of the world, but we’ve added computers* and the online publication.* Offices have changed a bit, but many were seen pointing to this corner and that corner and saying, “That’s where my desk was.” (*See comments for additional storyline)

reunion sceneMy favorite story of the evening came from Lauren Rodriguez, who is now at KTLA-TV after getting her bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA. She says that because of her degree she is asked to copyedit a lot of the stories at the TV station, but that it is not her English degree that helps her, but the Dirty Dozen list that she learned at the Talon Marks.

Biggest glitch of the evening: Campus Facilities forgot to program the air conditioning to stay on for the event and the Student Center became a hothouse the hour before dinner. It took a while for the AC to kick in with any effect once we got things turned back on.

Also loved the video of memories that Amara put together.

We started a database of contacts and created a set of alumni scholarships and we’re already starting to plan a renunion picnic for next summer.

Biggest disappointment: We were still getting contact information the day of the reunion. Would love to have had the info earlier so that those individuals could have planned to be there last night, too.

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Who needs ink? San Jose State podcasts

July 6, 2006

San Jose State University’s Steve Sloan has produced a series of podcasts that talk about journalism education and new technology. A link can be found in the sidebar of this page.

Of particular interest to me was a 13-minute podcast entitled “Who Needs Ink?” That was the title of a presentation at the California Commonwealth Club presentation in San Jose that Steve attended in March 2006. Afterward he interviewed a number of people, including panel participants Dan Gillmor, author of “We the Media,” and former Knight-Ridder VP Jerry Ceppos, about what the future of the media means for journalism education. The podcast could easily be used in a mass media survey course when talking about careers in the media.

A down note, though, was the last interview with a high school student, who after three years of “fun” working for his high school newspaper proudly claims he has no intention of working in the media.

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Going to online exclusively

July 5, 2006

The <a href=”http://www.bodegabaynavigator.com/
“>Bodega Bay newspaper announced this week that it is going to drop its print edition and continue to publish exclusively online. Seems that subscription costs cannot cover the printing costs and the publisher feels he has enough of an out-of-area audience to sustain the effort.

<a href=”http://www.bodegabaynavigator.com/
“>Bodega Bay logo
It is too early to tell whether this represents the shot heard ’round the world for newspapers. Bodega Bay is not the first publication to go exclusively online, just the latest. When one looks at Slate and Salon one has to think we still have a ways to go. But I like the concept of being the guy who builds the lemonade stand out in the middle of the desert. Very little business now, but when the road comes through you can put up a sign saying “Been in business since ….”

As the Cerritos College Talon Marks’ online subscription rate gets ever-so-close to our print distribution numbers –just a couple of hundred away with new subscribers signing up daily, even in the summer when we’re not creating new content– it gets interesting thinking about following Bodega Bay’s lead. Problem is, college newspapers exist largely because schools want a publication that can reach students.

When I look at the list of our online subscribers, I get the sense that we’re looking at more of a new audience than a repeat audience. That is not to say that we don’t have some double-dippers, but they probably represent less than half our online subscribers.

Until we get better at getting the campus community to look to our online publications for campus information we can’t afford to consider dropping online papers –even if college students don’t like to read newspapers. We built our lemonade stand eight years ago and I think we’re beginning to understand some of what it is going to take to do that. In any case, we’re closer than those who haven’t built their stands yet.

And we can surely train students to work for those future online-only publications.