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Archive for May 30th, 2007

How do you spell successful bee coverage?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

The national spelling bee runs through Thursday. I never thought I’d say it, but the spelling bee is pretty cool, especially for kids who make it that far. I don’t really watch TV, so I can’t catch it on ABC or ESPN.

Therefore, I’m digging the Gannett News Service treatment.

First, I liked that I could see our local winner, Sameer, spell his words. This is his third appearance at the national bee, and he’s holding his own and going for it. I know I should be objective, but how can you not root for the hometown kid? (Plus, Abbey’s handling following the spelling bee, not me.) UPDATE: Julie, the executive editor, agrees with me.

I also reaaally like the little blog posts filed on the side. They get cute angles about the kids, their methods and their thoughts on the words they get. It helps you realize that’s really what it’s about: the kids.

Also, we got updates about Sameer’s progress throughout the day from the Indy Star reporter (also Gannett) who’s there covering it. If the newsroom’s following of him was any indication of the public’s (and I guess I’ll see when we the page views e-mailed to us tomorrow), there is a lot of interest. I know I found myself going back to the site every so often to see where he stood.

One thing I could do without? All of the puns. It might be cute once, but seriously, nearly every story s-p-e-l-l-s out something or encourages spellers to “bee” confident, etc. (Note my attempt at a lame title for the post. It’s lame, let’s stop doing it now.)

Amazing package: Soul of Athens

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Check out the Soul of Athens project. (Via Multimedia Shooter.)

I don’t know what class or group or what prepared this package of videos/stories, but seriously, each of the stories is amazing. Together, they really do give you an indepth understanding of the soul of the city where Ohio University is based.

This package is amazing. Well done!

A few to definitely check out:

  • Jenny’s Story — if you only watch one, this is the one to watch. It’s a pretty raw and honest capture of that girl’s apprehensions and ambitions for life beyond her school and city. It’s also universal. I can hear this girl’s voice echo through millions of small towns.
  • Love in the First Person — I love the intimacy of this video, which is shot mostly from the fiance’s camera lens. It’s the basic idea that young love can conquer anything, and this is a testament that even through the tough times, this couple is ready to try.
  • Be Not Afraid — A woman in Iraq to help as a member of a Christian organization is abducted. Listening to her recount the tale is incredible. The way the video is shot and edited also works so well with this story, the stops and starts and unpected turns it brings.

Students, profs speak out on journalism prospects

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I saw an interesting piece on Romenesko: “Colleges keep turning out optimistic print journalists despite the newspaper industry crunch

Most interesting point: On the students still enrolling in j-school in huge quantity…

“These students are young, and I’m not sure they’re particularly concerned or cognizant of the industry’s problems,” Kirkton said. “I think they just expect a lot of change in their lives and that if they go out of here with a good skill set, particularly the ability to communicate well, that they’re going to find a place in life.”

and later on:

“They see this revolutionary change that we’re in now as simply a matter of course. I find them looking forward to helping write the new business model of the newspaper industry,” said Fink, the author of nine journalism textbooks and a former executive vice president of Park Communications, an East Coast newspaper and broadcast company. “I find them intrigued with the online dimensions of the industry.

(My aside to that comment is it hits spot on on how I feel. I accept and embrace change. That’s why I always hated the “where do you see yourself in five years” question. I don’t even know what crazy new way of telling or producing the news is going to exist in five years. But I see myself there, wherever there is.)

Most depressing part: A comment made to a recent grad by human resources for one of the newspaper chains…

“She was like, ‘You know, I don’t want to discourage you, but if you can use your journalism degree to get into a different career path, I would recommend doing that,'” Rancer recalled. “It’s a really, really tight market for recent college grads in journalism.”

(My aside to that comment is that person should get out of this business pronto. There are enough nay-sayers and doomsday predictions from the peanut gallery. We don’t need people hiring and inspiring the next generation of journalists trying to deflect them from pursuing their goals.

To recent grads, my friends from KSU and elsewhere, there are jobs. Yes it will suck to do a job search. No you won’t start out at the Chicago Tribune. Yes you will be paid poorly. No you won’t get the holidays and weekends off. Maybe you’ll luck out, and it won’t be a long drawn out process, somehow I did. Maybe you’ll spend the next six months wondering why you didn’t major in engineering or considering grad school. Stick it out. You were drawn to this profession because you had a passion for it. If you don’t have that passion, spare yourself, your eventual employer and all those other kids who do have a passion by removing yourself from queue of people desperate for a job.)

Most encouraging part: On getting the future of “newspapers”…

“Newspapers might not be on paper some day, but these students, I think, believe that there will be some kind of newspaper industry,” Fox said. “I think what we have to do is really teach the core values of journalism, to be able to understand what is news, how to write it, how to get it ethically and accurately delivered. Past that, I think that we’re in a time where we need to teach that and then get out of the way. We need to let them lead and let us mentor.”

I was quoted in a similar article in the Beacon Journal last summer: “Journalism still a popular major at college

My quote then still holds true today: “I didn’t pick it because it was well paid,” said Meranda Watling, a senior at Kent State who is interning at The Courier in Findlay. “I picked it because I can see myself getting up every day of my life and being excited about going to work.”