Sunday, September 21, 2008

Two versions of the same story about college-info site

The New York Times magazine tells a story one way -- and any anecdotal opening about an entrepreneurial Wesleyan grad will get my attention... (Wes '83 M.A., '88 M.A.L.S. myself)... I wasn't sure from the lead and the headline whether this was about one Web site or the college-search process in general... the "nut graf" below was a while in coming.

The College Issue - The Tell-All Campus Tour -
"One measure of an idea’s greatness is how obvious it seems in retrospect, and Unigo’s central idea — that high-school and college students would much rather learn from one another than from a book — is so self-evident that your first reaction is surprise that no one has acted on it before."

But here's something extra for news writing students -- click on John Hockenberry's "Back Story" podcast on the story page to hear him tell Unigo's story the NPR way, interviewing Times reporter Jonathan Dee. Wesalum that I am, I was especially amused when Dee talked about his own college choice.

Reporter's notes on writing a profile

...and profile subject's response

Constance Loizos got interested in Halsey Minor when she read a Virginia newspaper story saying he was interested in running for governor. She wondered what part his Silicon Valley reputation might play.

Here's her interview about reporting the story...

And here's the story, CNET Founder Halsey Minor Profile - Executive Articles -
"The Baddest Boy in Silicon Valley"

C.E.O. Halsey Minor is a successful entrepreneur with a lovely family. So why do so many of his former tech-world colleagues revile him?"

Minor, who 15 years ago founded the tech-news company CNET, the first Web-content company to go public, was interviewed in Charlottesville, where he still has a home.

Bonus: After you read the article, don't miss the comments -- including a critique signed "Halsey Minor."

I ought to read "Portfolio" more often... Luckily, I got to this issue via Waldo Jaquith's blog after starting out with his RSS tips, which I got to from while looking for sites about public information in Virginia. I'm always relieved when my hypertext-r-us linking around leads to something timely for one of my classes... and both public records and profile writing are on the agenda this month.