Posts Tagged ‘Blog’

Madeline Huerta recently celebrated her 1,000th college problem.  As I’ve previously posted, the Boston University student is the creator and overseer of College Problems, an uber-successful Tumblr site that offers undergraduates a spot to vent about everything related to higher ed. that irks or annoys them.

The user-submitted entries typically run only a sentence or two, almost always with a set-up and a punchline and sometimes without proper capitalization and grammar.

Four sample problems: “Running out of ways to make Ramen exciting”; “Trying to make new friends because everyone you know is abroad”; “That two-week mark when you stop caring about classes”; and “Tuition increase for a building you’ll never use. Meanwhile your dorm is collapsing.”

A screenshot sampling of four more:

In a brief break from the problems posting after her 1,000th entry, Huerta wrote to readers, “I just wanted to send out a mass THANK YOU to everyone who’s made submissions, liked, reblogged, followed, and sent in positive messages today. It honestly means so much that you read the blog (not too seriously, I hope) and let it brighten up your day a little.”


In the Spotlight: Madeline Huerta, Founder & Overseer, College Problems

College Problems: ‘Everyone’s Got Them. Tell Me Yours’

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Jenna LaConte recently warned Kanye West to steer clear of a romantic relationship with Kim Kardashian. She separately pushed rageaholic R&B singer Chris Brown to move past his feud with rapper Drake.

She also told Justin Bieber to plead guilty in court and accept jail time for assaulting a photographer — stemming from an alleged incident in May — in order to finally earn the “thug status” that comes with spending time behind bars.

Bieber, Brown and West did not ask for LaConte’s advice, but that did not stop her from dispensing it.

“The Unsolicited Celebrity Advice Column” is a weekly summer blog series published by The Gavel, a progressive student newsmagazine at Boston College. LaConte, Gavel‘s culture editor and a junior English and communication double major at BC, has a four-fold aim with the half-serious, half-satiric feature.

First, she is using the column as a vehicle to indulge her celebrity and gossip news urges.  She is also seeking to provide a fresh, real-world perspective on the Hollywood bubble.  In addition, she is helping to keep Gavel blog content fresh during the summer doldrums, when many student media websites are so stale their homepages sport weeds.  And she is occasionally reminding readers that other individuals are involved in bigger celebrity stories, not just the A-list celebs.

For example, when news broke about the Miley Cyrus engagement drama, LaConte wrote to Liam Hemsworth — her budding actor fiancé — not Cyrus. Her advice to Hemsworth: Call the whole thing off, fast.  As she wrote him, “Don’t let the lack of brain activity in Hollywood drag you down. Please reconsider this grave mistake. You’re better off having everyone laugh off the short-lived engagement than going down in history as yet another failed celebrity marriage.”

In the Q&A below, LaConte lays out the scoop behind “Unsolicited Advice,” including how she selects the celebs and the advice she offers them.

Q: How did the column come about?

A: I write for The Gavel. We pride ourselves on being progressive politically and technologically, meaning we’re able to update online all the time. So as the year came to a close, we were all thinking it would be fun — just as a summer project — if individually we each took on a blog. So, for our next meeting, we were all told to present an idea. My mind instantly went to celebrity news.

In some ways, it’s a little bit embarrassing because it isn’t of course the most intellectual topic. But if I’m browsing the Internet, I find myself reading celebrity gossip websites.  We’re surrounded by it. We’re all sort of familiar with it.  Reality TV right now, we watch it for the train wrecks. It’s just how I like to unwind, I guess, to read about the train wrecks in Hollywood.

I then decided the typical kind of news writing form could easily get boring — both for me and readers. So I just thought, “Since we turn to celebrities so often for the train wreck aspect, why don’t I take that and turn it around on the celebrities and pose solutions to their unimaginable problems that we’re always reading about in the headlines?”

Q: How do you decide who to advise in each post?

A: The way I look at it, you have people like Lindsay Lohan, whose life is falling apart every day. I could write to her, but I’d end up doing it every single week. So I decided instead to go looking for some of the more hidden celebrity gems, coming up with things that aren’t right out there in the forefront of the news or taking something that’s really popular and putting a different spin on it. For example, with John Travolta’s marriage falling apart, I wrote to his wife instead of him.

Also, I like to stay as current and relevant as possible. I like to be on TMZ [the night before writing each post] so I can have something that’s a bit more recent. Some of the more interesting ones are those you aren’t necessarily thinking about all the time or aren’t all over the radio like the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorce.

To read the rest of the post, click here or on the screenshot below.

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An article of mine focused on “seminal media blogger” Jim Romenesko’s independent site has just gone up on PBS MediaShift.  It includes an interview with Romenesko and the “new Romenesko” Andrew Beaujon, who is assuming a lead role with Poynter’s MediaWire later this month.  Here’s the start of the article below, in hopes of enticing you to click and read the rest.

Jim Romenesko is having a good time. Lately, the “journalism evangelist,” “KING of the blogosphere,” and “go-to source for news about the news” has been waking up earlier, posting more often, and featuring content he had not felt free to publish for more than a decade.

In the wake of his abrupt departure from The Poynter Institute late last year, he established an eponymous independent site that has quickly been embraced by media professionals, educators, students, and even a few Facebook spammers worldwide.

In just over two months and 400 posts, has become the journalism community’s newest destination site. The rapidity of the site’s rise in popularity and influence has even surprised its founder. He is beginning to earn revenue from related advertising, but sees the cash simply as a bonus.

“I guess in many ways this is my retirement blog,” said Romenesko, 58, in a recent phone chat. “I feel that I can get up and start working when I want to. I can stop when I want to. But it’s been so much fun that I actually get up earlier now than I did when I was employed by Poynter. I enjoy posting on weekends. I don’t see it as work. It’s kind of a hobby now, and it’s fun.”

The Word Plagiarism

“How did this go off the rails?” That question began his new blog’s opening post, which detailed the collapse of the Poynter Romenesko media blog he had updated for more than a decade.

A small set of buzzwords and phrases included within the mid-November post sparingly tell the tale: changes to the site, traffic decline, 12 year itch, retirement, doing a media blog on my own, “semi-retirement,” cross post items to Poynter, odd arrangement, smelling bait and switch, the word plagiarism, response was overwhelmingly supportive, called my father, “I resigned from Poynter yesterday,” they were still using my name, cease and desist, Romenesko+ became MediaWire.

It is his most-commented post so far. “When I wrote that very first post explaining what went down and people saw there was a lot going on and had been a lot going on prior to that, just putting that out helped things die down,” he said. “For me and for readers, I wanted to close the book on that. I’m certainly looking ahead, not back.”

He said he has been heartened by the high traffic, the enormous level of interactivity, and the longtime readers who have followed him to his new web home.

One of those readers is Michael Koretzky, a journalist currently serving as director of NYC12, the Spring College Media Convention hosted by the College Media Association.

“I wasn’t outraged by the Poynter-Romenesko dispute because I never could grasp how that relationship started in the first place,” said Koretzky. “Poynter always reminds me of Mater Christie, the Catholic school I attended in fourth and fifth grades — the education was so much better, but the rules were so much stricter. Romenesko never seemed a good fit for that. Just look at the pictures of the Poynter staff in their tiny little mugshots and compare them to photos of Jim. He looks like a serial killer next to their smiley faces. Jim’s site looks like he writes– it’s simple, easy to read, and doesn’t try to be more than it is.”

To read more, please click here or on the screenshot below.

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The College Media Hall of Fame is a digital enshrinement of individuals, news outlets, and organizations who have made a recent lasting impact on collegemediatopia.  Inductees include standout student journalists, innovative student media entrepreneurs, and impassioned advocates of campus press 2.0.  With a hat tip to the annual Time 100, many of the posts announcing each honoree include a few words of adoration penned by a close friend or colleague.  Next up…

David Teeghman

Founder and Publisher, J-School Buzz

J-School Buzz, an independent student blog focused with unblinking intensity on the University of Missouri School of Journalism, awes me.  At the moment, it is the only hyperlocal student blog within collegemediatopia of any significance.

It continues to break interesting stories and trigger debates of consequence in Columbia, Mo., and beyond.  And it is staffed by students within the Mizzou J-School who are unafraid to doggedly and at times critically report on their own program, for its own good.

As its editor-in-chief Ali Colwell writes with gusto, “It is not our job to make the journalism school look good.  We are bloggers, always digging for the truth. . . . We want to be a student voice for the Missouri School of Journalism, and we welcome conversation as well as debate.  We want to engage readers and create a site that fosters the dialogue for our amazing school that brings in the best students around.”

As part of Teach for America, Teeghman is leading middle school reading classes.

The man behind the Buzz deserves applause, respect, and a hyperlocal blog focused just on his hair.  David Teeghman launched the site in January 2011.  Roughly 13 months later, he can pat himself on the back for an accomplishment most j-students never muster: an actual start-up success story, one that has outlived his time in school.

Teeghman, now a Mizzou grad, is currently taking part in Teach for America in Indianapolis, while J-School Buzz continues to be a player in the student media arena nationwide.  Just yesterday, its post about the Mizzou J-School Facebook account not actually being officially aligned with the school prompted a response from the school’s planning and communications director on Romenesko.

For his courageousness, spirit of innovation, entrepreneurialism, and hyperlocal A-game, Teeghman rightfully earns a spot in the College Media Hall of Fame.  Frankly, it’s long overdue. :)

“A Rising Journalist with a Vision”

By Claudia Tran

Most of my interaction with Teeg was not during regular daylight hours or even face-to-face.  Most of the time, it was between 2 and 4 in the morning and we were communicating via Facebook, Twitter and text messaging, sometimes all of the above. In all honesty, it was usually the moments when I was right about to silence my phone or shut off the computer that the text or the chat with a new piece of advice or demand came from him, greeted with a half-groan and an eye-roll from myself [during her time as J-School Buzz editor-in-chief].

But it was during these times I had the privilege of getting to know a rising journalist with a vision.  Certainly not liked by all– and that has been the topic of many of our conversations– it is difficult even for his most passionate, fake-Twitter-account-creating critics to deny that Teeg is not only a talented journalist, but also innovative and dedicated.

Sure, he calls me Tranny (not only that, he encourages the world to) and enjoys likening me to a “cat continuously scared by its shadow,” but I always knew Teeg had my back and only wanted me to learn as much from the experience as he has.  He’s like a journalism equivalent of a big brother.  From him and his website I gained trade secrets far more valuable than anything a textbook or class lecture could have taught me.  He put 110 percent into J-School Buzz and never looked back.  He’s rolled with the punches, had successes as well as failures, and continues to push the boundaries in the name of our education.

Best of luck in the future Teeg.  May you continue to be controversial– we know you will be, and remember that JSB will always stand behind you.

Tran is a former J-School Buzz editor-in-chief.

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In the wake of his expedited departure from Poynter late last year, Jim Romenesko has established an eponymous independent site that has been passionately embraced by many in the journalism community.  Even with his high-profile name recognition, the rapidity of the site’s rise in popularity and influence is startling.

Below are 10 early observations about the roughly two-month-old

1) Romenesko is blogging with a vibrancy and candor that was missing from his latter days at Poynter (when, frankly, he had all but disappeared).  He seems to be inserting more of his personal voice into posts, including periodic giggly headlines and other dollops of dry wit.  While occasionally veering too much toward informality, the writing overall is indicative of a man who is clearly enjoying what he is doing.  My guess: That enjoyment is being shared by readers like me.

2) Reader interaction is up, up, UP.  He is basing numerous posts on interesting reader emails, inserting lots of site and Facebook comments in ‘reaction’ posts, and including lots of tweets and other web chatter from the newsy masses.  The result is a site seemingly more attuned to the news media sentiments of the moment.

3) Romenesko is fast becoming a social media machine.  He tweets, posts and interacts on Facebook, and has made Vadim Lavrusik a happy man by utilizing Facebook comments on all posts along with regular site comments.  (His Google+ presence is barebones at best.)  One of my favorite regular posts is the daily links rundown of what he’s tweeted but not blogged about.

4) He also appears to be morphing into a weekend blogger.  While not yet establishing a reliable rhythm to his Saturday and Sunday routine (some weekends it’s been very light or basically nonexistent while others it has been quite steady), he does seem to be slowly embracing the 24/7/365 blogging mentality.  If nothing else, it is one more way to gain an edge over his previous employer/current competition.

5) The site is fun to look at!  Romenesko has begun featuring images in earnest– a mix of logos, screenshots, headshots, Creative Commons standbys, and primary docs.  It adds liveliness to the scroll-and-browse proceedings.  Only slightly disconcerting observation: unattributed headshots are popping up evermore as of late.

6) His value is evermore as a primary source.  His email-for-a-reaction-MO was entrenched at Poynter, but he is definitely reaching out much more regularly to the individuals and outlets he blogs about– and receiving subsequent responses at a surprisingly high rate.  And it might simply be circumstantial, but the responses have been more interesting!

7) Ads are beginning to appear.  Some scream bush-league, interspersed with a few biggies such as AT&T.  Bottom-line curiosity: Is he making any money at all, or anything close to what he was pulling in at Poynter?  Doubtful, but of course he’s still in the scrappy insurgency phase.

8) Three things I personally don’t like: the headlines pushed to the side; the muted mellow blah gold/mauve headline and hyperlink color; and the lack of posts available for scrolling on each page (Poynter’s MediaWire doubles Romenesko’s posts-per-page count).  These are all minor complaints.

9) There is still an inside-the-castle-walls feel to the whole shebang at times, based on what he writes about and who he sources.  (Apparently the “new Romenesko” will “cast a pretty wide net . . . [that includes] community media, ethnic media, overseas media, blogs and online publications.”)  But Romenesko is noticeably writing more about student media and journalism education issues.  I do recommend expanding the reach to more of the blogosphere and social media realm.

10) The site’s tagline states boldly: “A Blog About Media and Other Things I’m Interested In.”  I have yet to determine what else he is interested in. :)  At this point, everything he’s blogged about is focused squarely on all-things media.

Lingering Question) Prior to the Poynter plagiarism-charge craziness, Romenesko had stated he was planning to move on from daily journalism news aggregating.  Is that still the short-term or long-term plan???


A Strange, Sad Day in Journalism: Romenesko’s Resignation

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The One Eleven, part of The Columbia Daily Spectator‘s “Spectrum” blog network, is built atop students’ penchants for being awake at all hours and forever web browsing to avoid schoolwork.  Each morning, at exactly 1:11 a.m., overseer Stephen Snowder provides a recap of the world in quick bits, sometimes serious and sometimes wacky.  It appears to exist as the sarcastic younger brother of College Daybreak, a daily email breaking down world events in similarly easy-to-digest chunks.

Snowder explains the blog’s existence at the beginning of each post, noting simply, “It’s late.  You’re up.”

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Like many journalism educators, I’m heading this week to St. Louis for the annual Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference.  I’m presenting twice, including at the gathering’s sole college media session.  Below is info on both sessions.  If you find yourself in St. Louis, stop by the Renaissance Grand Hotel to say hi.

Wednesday, August 10th, 3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Session: Issues Facing the Campus Press

Moderating/Presiding: Brian Steffen, Simpson

Covering Hate on Campus: A Case Study, Caley Cook, Allegheny College

Evolving Medium: A College Newspaper Works to Adapt to Changing Readership Habits via Print Design, Multimedia Inclusion, and Online Promotion, Sonya DiPalma and Michael E. Gouge, North Carolina at Asheville

Students 2.0: College Media Moguls who are Changing Journalism and the World (Wide Web), Dan Reimold, Tampa

Credentialing of Campus Media Advisers: Is There a Doctor in the Newsroom?, Carol Terracina_Hartman, Bloomsburg of Pennsylvania and Robert G. Nulph, Lewis University

Friday, August 12th, 1:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Session: Geeks – The New Journalists

Moderating/Presiding: John Kerezy, Cuyahoga College


Toni Albertson, Mt. San Antonio College (journalism entrepreneurship and self-learning)

Brian Steffen, Simpson College  (“Twitter and the Accidental Journalism Student”)

Mitzi Lewis, Midwestern State (data journalism)

Dan Reimold, Tampa (blog entrepreneurs and content farms)

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