Saturday, June 06, 2009

Journalism as a pro-am lifestyle... sometimes with music

A UK university offers an MA in Social Media, asking & answering: "Is the MA in Social Media for me? If you are a media or cultural studies graduate, have experience in the web, PR, or marketing industries, and want an opportunity to explore the emerging area of social media through scholarly research or practice, then: yes."

Picking up threads from my recent Twitter obsession... Coincidentally, blogger MarketingProfs offers: "Everything I Need to Know About Twitter I Learned in J School"

And blogs out its requests for local neighborhood citizen reporters to go to meetings:

... with a Twitter boost from blogger & J-school prof Jeff Jarvis:
"NYT to public: 'Be the journalists.' The Local assigns the locals. "

Maybe J-schools need a new slogan: "It's not a career; it's a lifestyle"?

And one you can combine with your other talents -- in this case, not the usual underground press, but something I considered when I lived in Boston.

At the time, I even had a line or two from this song in mind... "newspapermen meet the most interesting people..." along with this picture from one of my favorite LP jackets.

New slogan for banjo heads -- or laptop lids? -- "This machine surrounds unemployment and forces it to surrender."

Thursday, June 04, 2009

unTimely product launch?

As a long-time Palm Pilot, Palm Treo and Palm TX user who has resisted getting an iPhone, I think the new Time magazine cover was a very rude thing to do the week of Palm's "Pre" launch.

Something ought to be done...
(OK, so I don't know what PreTwitter will look like.)

Confession: Apple products outnumber Palm products in my house two-to-one. But if a Sprint/Pre will work in Floyd, Va., where my AT&T phone doesn't, I might just switch.

The article, meanwhile, by Steven Berlin Johnson, is worth a read... Says he, "I called my Dad to tell him about it this morning, and his -- typically droll -- response was, 'Well, that's a pretty roundabout way to get your face on the cover of Time.'"

Learning Secrecy 101 on college campuses

An investigative report in the The Columbus Dispatch, "Secrecy 101", has gone beyond Ohio's borders to uncover colleges' public records policies concerning college sports. From Alabama to Oregon, the Dispatch reporters found examples of schools censoring player information, often citing a 35-year-old student privacy law whose author says it was intended to protect student grades, not athletic records.

From the Knoxville News Sentinel to the Wall Street Journal, other media are picking up on the story. "Unfortunately, that's the way secrecy laws work," News Sentinel editor Jack McElroy said. "Governments find it convenient to err on the side of confidentiality. So one result is that the $5 billion college sports establishment operates with little public scrutiny."

So far I haven't seen any follow-up in Virginia papers, although the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech are both mentioned in the Columbus, Ohio, paper.

"Across the country, many major-college athletic departments keep their NCAA troubles secret behind a thick veil of black ink or Wite-Out," the Dispatch reporters said. For example, under its interpretation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, one university wanted $35,330 to provide documents that were free of charge at more than half the 69 schools who responded to the reporters' record requests.

The Dispatch asked 119 schools for reports of NCAA violations, football players' summer-employment, players' "comp" ticket guests, and flight manifests for team air travel. Fifty schools, including the University of Virginia, either didn't provide information or wanted too much money to comply with the request, the paper said. Virginia Tech received good marks on some, but not all, of the record requests..