The morning five

April 9, 2013

Like every other journalism practitioner, information is my lifeblood.

Each day, before work, there are some sites that are a must-visit to kick-start my workflow. The short list I provide here is by no means complete and does not include the obvious nor social media sites. Likewise, I have left off this list because his blog should be a given.

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Don’t be a ‘Google whore’

April 4, 2013

Untitled-1This week’s unit in Advanced Media Reporting was on blogging and the students’ first assignment was to find five websites that are must-reads for journalists.

The parameters are pretty broad. They can include blogs, information sources, government sites and just about anything but social media (That is next week). I really hope they dig into this and don’t just Google “Best journalism sites” or some such crap.

As a signal of encouragement, I offer these hints. The best sites are often links from other sites. And when you decide on your five, look for diversity. If you are a sports reporter, don’t give me, and Pick a news and information source from them. Don’t give me a bunch of blogs within a home site, either. Give me some diversity. And, sporto, generalist sites on multimedia, data mining, writing and photography fit the bill, too.

Find sites that will make a journalist — you — better at what you do.

Oscar Wilde knew the Importance of Being (like) Earnest

March 2, 2013

Size matters.

The Daily Iowan knows a great thing when it sees or reads it.

The Daily Iowan knows a great thing when it sees or reads it.

In journalism education we often preach that brevity and economy are critical tools of the trade. But when do those need to be cast aside in favor of long-form presentation?

My argument is that those tools are still part of the enterprise storyteller’s utility belt. Even if the story is a print monster of 2,000 words. Or the story is a video 11 minutes long. Sentences and scenes should still be just long enough to accomplish their goals and paragraphs should not include unnecessary sentences.

But it is my argument that it is the enterprise and long form and the willingness to take on these stories that separate great college newspapers from good ones.

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Sparty shows us news features are everywhere

February 19, 2013

employableThursday, my Advanced Media Reporting students have to tell me what they are working on for their second stories.

I know how that will go.

At least a few will tell me, “I can’t think of anything in-depth. There is nothing really deep or important going on here.”

Well Col. Sherman Potter from M*A*S*H* used to have an expression for that: Horse Hockey.

I just got around to looking at the College Media Association’s Best of Collegiate Design from the last year. Hey, I’ve been busy. Right there on the first page of winners is a great story idea in the informational graphic design category. The State News at Michigan State University has a story and large graphic with the hed:

Are you employable?

The deck reads, “Recent statistics show which majors are most, least employable, how much students make in those careers.”

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Shameless plug for my cooking

February 17, 2013

sauce labelA new batch of Old Newsman sauce is on the way.

And it is made with Myer’s Rum and mango. Good stuff by a grouchy guy who is willing to share. If you know The Old Newsman, get your jar soon. Holiday weekends aren’t all about busting the chops of students and catching up one’s gradebook. They are about cooking what Mrs. Old Newsman likes and what I WANT.


C’mon gang! Challenge yourself!

February 17, 2013

outside the boxI preach this all the time: Don’t do the obvious and the mundane in an obvious and mundane way.

Punch up that stuff!

Don’t just do a story on campus parking and how students think it sucks. If there were trams and moving sidewalks and porters to carry their bookbags, students would complain about parking.

So how do you take the campus parking story and give it punch? Glad you asked. After the jump, I will tell you and then take an actual assigned story from a campus paper and do the same with it and see if the reporter takes my advice.

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Positive hate is a positive thing. Kind of.

February 15, 2013

I fucking hate The Maneater

The non-J-School student publication at the University of Missouri is a pain in the ass on multiple levels.

First, it gets the Mizzou journalism imprimatur without being part of the School of Journalism. Barnacles.

Second, they are a pack of arrogant assholes.

Third, they are good.

Dizzy Dean, the Hall of Fame pitcher from the equally objectionable St. Louis Cardinals once said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.” The Maneater can brag. Because it does it.

Tonight, I looked at most of the college newspapers in Missouri online. The Maneater provided the most comprehensive campus, state and regional news of any paper. It hit on culture, and it had a comprehensive opinion section that went afield of campus but the columnists addressed issues and not themselves.

The Maneater hits the news. And though a little light this time, it covers the state Capitol.

I fucking hate The Maneater.

But I read it.