Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Students in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon are increasingly having trouble checking out reporting 2.0 tools like video cameras and digital recorders from the school stockpile, a report late last week in The Oregon Daily Emerald revealed.

Apparently, a new set of classes is requiring their use, suddenly making demand dramatically outpace supply.  Frustrations are up.  Assignments are being submitted late.  Deadlines are being pushed back.  And work quality is suffering.

An Oregon junior: “It’s worrisome because if you don’t have funds to purchase the equipment, it’s a game of chance. It’s really discouraging for a lot of students.  It really makes you think ahead and some people are really good at doing that, others are not.”

What’s the multimedia lab and equipment access situation within your j-school or j-program???

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Over the past month, my magical mystery tour of collegemediatopia’s best and brashest conferences has led me to Seattle, New York, and, most recently, Gainesville, Fla.  At yesterday’s Region 3 Society of Professional Journalists Conference— held at the University of Florida– a bevy of entertaining presenters educated student and adviser attendees about all manner of journalistic greatness and ills.

A morning session, led by UF master lecturer (actual job title) Mike Foley, sought to help students stave off the most horrible creature in all of news media: the correction.  He shared the top reasons journalists make mistakes in their copy.

Below is a brief highlight reel of what he laid out, along with a few reasons I nominate as (cringe)worthy additions to the list.  Enjoy.

Journalists Most Often Screw Up Their Stories Because…

1) They work from memory.

2) They make assumptions.

3) They deal with secondhand sources.

4) They become scatterbrained from the warp speed at which they are attempting to publish.

5) They rely upon bad sources, including those who fall into categories such as spinners, incompetents, attention-seekers, and bad memory fiends.

6) They blindly trust emails, tweets, and online story comments.

7) They re-quote info from other news sources without independent verification.

What I’d add to the list…

8) They let their impassioned desire for a great story blind them to factual snafus.  (See Mike Daisey.)

9) They lack understanding about an individual or topic– through either ignorance of laziness.  (For example, see parachute journalism.)

10) They are bad at the writing part.  (Having the facts is irrelevant if you cannot explain them clearly and correctly.)

11) They do not listen to their gut/the voice inside their head telling them something is off, too good to be true or needs another go-round on the fact-checking carousel.

12) They do not want to impose on their sources by calling them back to double-check something, a sudden cowardice I’ve especially seen play out on weekends, holidays, and late nights.  (Note to student journos: Toughen up.  Make the call.  A source might be slightly annoyed at the unexpected imposition, but they’ll be more annoyed that something wrong about them is appearing online/in print.)

13) Once their pieces are published, they do not even scan the related online comments, which at times point out grammar and factual slips.

What other reasons should be included on this list???

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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, JimRomenesko.com 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 winner of today’s edition of this recurring giggly headline feature is The Daily O’Collegian, hands down.  The Oklahoma State University student newspaper topped a front page centerpiece about a new strip club opening near campus with the header: “Diamond in the Muff.

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2012 is only a month old and it is already a mortal lock: Journalism’s word of the year is entrepreneurial.  It is being bandied about by j-profs and programs everywhere, finagling its way into existing course syllabi, new courses, full degrees, books, and workshops.

 —

Among its most prominent early sightings:

1) The School of Communications at American University is launching a “10-course, 20-month master’s [program] in media entrepreneurship” that should earn formal approval soon and kick off in the fall.

2) At the start of the year, Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication staged its first Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute for a select crew of j-profs.

3) Last October, Entrepreneurial Journalism, the latest book from news media guru Mark Briggs, was unveiled.  Buzz has been growing steadily and the book is undoubtedly in place on many class syllabi.

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@CommInternships

A column on journalism 2.0 jobs and internships

By Steven Chappell

The best thing about running the @comminternships feed has been my virtual meetings with many of my followers. One of those followers, @QUCommCareers, has become a virtual mirror of the feed, particularly for students in the Northeast corner of the U.S.

The man behind the feed is Joseph Catrino, assistant dean of career services for the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Ct.  He was hired at Quinnipiac last March, and using social media to find jobs and to network on behalf of the students there has become a big part of his job.

“For me, that Twitter account kind of evolved,” Catrino said. “It was my personal account for years, and I took this position in March, and I am a big proponent of social media. I see it as an opportunity and a chance for students to find another outlet and another opportunity to market themselves.”

In other words, Catrino decided to practice what he preached and make certain the students he serves could see how this evermore important tool could serve them in their internship and job searches.  The feed was originally his personal feed, @jcatrino, but he changed the handle to @QUCommCareers in late 2011, and launched a second Twitter account under his old handle for personal tweets.  “I took the bull by the horns, and started to use my feed to promote career services and career opportunities,” he said.

As the feed grew, he realized he needed to separate personal from professional, which is advice any student seeking a career should take.  As a result, Catrino’s professional feed focuses on jobs primarily local for students at Quinnipiac, but he sometimes tweets jobs from across the country if he thinks his students will be interested. His feed has climbed to about 500 followers at the college, and student feedback has been mostly positive.

“They love it,” he said. “They love the jobs and they love the contacts.  I just got a message from a student.  The Intern Queen (@InternQueen) is coming to campus Feb. 8.  I sent a tweet promoting her visit, and one of my students tweeted back and said she found her internship through Intern Queen.”

Another internship component at the college is a five-week course he taught this past fall for students seeking internships and career advice.  When the class started, most of the students weren’t that engaged in Twitter, and those who were used it for personal, rather than professional, purposes. By the end of that course, however, that changed.

“I required them to connect their Twitter to their LinkedIn account and increase usage of both,” Catrino said.  “By the end, almost 100 percent were engaged in it.”

One thing he said he always looks for in the internships he retweets from @comminternships, @internqueen and other job-related accounts is location.  As he confirmed, “Most students won’t click on an internship tweet if they don’t know where the internship is.”

Chappell is the student media specialist at Iowa’s Simpson College.  As this column progresses, he aims to include profiles on regular contributors to the feed as well as followers of the feed.  If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future topics, contact him through the feed @comminternships or via e-mail: steven.chappell@mac.com.

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A write-up on “Lazy Higher Ed Journalism (spurred by a separate report on “Lazy Education Journalism” in general) recently achieved B-list viral status within the education and journalism communities.

In her Inside Higher Ed essay, Melanie Fullick charges news media with inefficient, often superficial reporting on relevant issues such as school rankings, technology’s impact on education, the value and characteristics of international students and faculty, and the various “solutions” offered as panaceas to supposedly ailing higher learning institutions.

My take: Among their many award-winning, innovative reports, student media are frequently guilty of this as well.  In my view, it’s not laziness.  It’s a disease. :)  I’ve dubbed it the SOS SASS– the Same Old Stories, Semester After Semester, Syndrome.

There are simply some stories that on a scroll through the archives of any student media outlet pop up again and again and again, sometimes with a fresh spin (although many times, not so much), but always with the same core issue or topic intact.

A few examples:

Student Fees

(Being Raised, Some Concerns)

New Staff Hire

(Smiley, Eager to Pitch In)

Campus Parking

(Tough to Grab a Spot)

Why are we covering the same stories over and over and over?  I understand student readers graduate and staff turnover at campus media is high and knowledge of past issues is not a priority and that some stories deserve repeated reporting and editorializing.  But something needs to be done to break out of writing yet again about the debate club’s regional tournament appearance or the annual sorority Easter egg hunt.

What can we learn from our student press predecessors? What is the value of yellowed student newspaper issues or now-archived Web pages displaying past student media efforts?  A flip through these print-and-Web treasure troves can provide a history lesson about how and how much things have changed at your school and also, more importantly, in my opinion . . . what things have stayed the same.

And so, along with ensuring all issues of a student press outlet are archived and available online or in the newsroom or campus library, I contend that all student staffs should consider mining those archives for story ideas, seeing what’s been covered and how it’s been covered.

The potential for present content is tremendous.  Timelines of important issues, more direct compare-contrasts, This Day in School History siders, and strengthened arguments galore.  For example, it’s one thing to complain about the university shuttle service at present.  It’s quite another to quote a mid-nineties article in the same student publication making the same plea for better campus-area transport that has apparently continued to fall on deaf ears.

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