Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Campus news aggregator from a mainstream source

Even college newspapers are facing cutbacks, according to the news from Berkeley. Meanwhile, the Democratic National Convention is disrupting campus life in Denver, canceling a week's classes. And Southern Methodist is requiring frats to register parties that serve alcohol.

How do I know this stuff?

I thank Alison at The Paper Trail - Education (
"Being a college graduate and all, writer Alison Go is uniquely qualified to sift through thousands of student newspaper headlines every day to bring you the latest, most important, or just plain weirdest news from campuses across the country."

Say it ain't so, Joe's Diner

With my first class of the day right across the street, I got through my first semester at Radford on Joe's omelets...

Sad to see it closed and its site scheduled for "development," which probably won't put breakfast on the table for some time.

Here's the latest from the City Council, via Tim Thornton at the Roanoke Times:

Council OKs rezoning for Tyler Place development -

Students have had an "R.I.P. Joe's Diner" Facebook group, originally including a (false) rumor that the university was the culprit, but later updated with Tim's July story.

The page has 780 members, but not much discussion... and too few pictures for such a memorable place.

(Now where did I put that shot I took of Elvis on the diner wall?)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quotes for old or new journalists

A few back-to-school words from the late Joseph Pulitzer:

"Every issue of the paper presents an opportunity and a duty to say something courageous and true; to rise above the mediocre and conventional; to say something that will command the respect of the intelligent, the educated, the independent part of the community; to rise above fear of partisanship and fear of popular prejudice.
"I would rather have one article a day of this sort; and these ten or twenty lines might readily represent a whole day's hard work in the way of concentrated, intense thinking and revision, polish of style, weighing of words."

... and the late Finley Peter Dunne's "Mr. Dooley":

"Th' newspaper does ivrything for us.
It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks,
commands th' milishy,
controls th' legislachure,
baptizes th' young,
marries th' foolish,
comforts th' afflicted,
afflicts th' comfortable,
buries th' dead,
an' roasts thim afterward."

... and the fictional editor Perry White (in "Superman, the Movie"):

"Lois, Clark Kent may seem like just a mild-mannered reporter, but listen -- not only does he know how to treat his editor-in-chief with the proper respect, not only does he have a snappy, punchy prose style, but he is in my 40 years in this business the fastest typist I've ever seen."

Election news: CNN vs. Comedy Central?

In this story, Jon Stewart lectures reporters on coverage - Blogs from
Jon Stewart said the "established" media are getting too cozy with candidates and regurgitating campaign spin, calling the 24-hour cable news networks like CNN "gerbil wheels." The story is online... from CNN.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine discusses the election with Jon today from the Democratic National Convention in Denver. See Comedy Central's, "Something approximating election news with something approximating honesty."

The site also has archived video of interviews with Sen. Joe Biden, but my Macintosh didn't want to play them. I was ready to go back to the established media when I decided to try embedding the code for one here in Blogger. Now it works! Go figure... Here's Joe back in February when he announced his own candidacy for president and made a few comments on other candidates... including an embarrassing remark about Barack Obama... News writing students, alert: Jon shows the senator how a little red-pen editing of his punctuation clears things up...:

Footnote: I'm not making this up. You know the garbled-letters "word verification" that sites like Blogger make you type to prove you're a human before you can post something? For this item about Comedy Central my "word verification" code is "gazegag."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pointing at Poynter for online news tips

The Poynter Institute has been doing creative things with online publishing for a dozen years or more, and now has rolled out a new version of its Web site.
Poynter Online - Poynterevolution: "Take a Tour of the New Poynter Online..."

At first glance, there seems to be an awful lot going on, but that was true of the old version, too...

Here are some of the hopes mentioned on the launch page, but I'll break them out into bullets (which may make a list easier to read) and italics (which may make it harder):

  • "Navigation is simpler and cleaner, with most recent articles, comments and community activity linked dynamically from a new left rail.
  • "A new home page carousel enables you to click through the five most recent top stories.
  • "Our new networking service, Poynter Groups, can link you up with colleagues around the world.
  • "And if it's Romenesko you're looking for, just click Romenesko in the nav across the top."
I haven't used the new site enough to have an opinion, but the old one is already a fading memory...

Yike! I didn't realize this new blog template would turn simple bullets into chrysanthemums or increase the line-spacing... Web usability issues are never simple, especially with these "easy to use" tools doing some of the decision-making for you.
Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On - New York Times:
March 27 story, good for background on election news...
"It is not news that young politically minded viewers are turning to alternative sources like YouTube, Facebook and late-night comedy shows like 'The Daily Show.' But that is only the beginning of how they process information.
"According to interviews and recent surveys, younger voters tend to be not just consumers of news and current events but conduits as well — sending out e-mailed links and videos to friends and their social networks...."