Tag Archives: journalism education

Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links for December 4, 2011

Photo courtesy of SXC.

Why New Media Literacy Is Vital for Quality Journalism

Josh Catone, writing on Mashable, discusses the continuing (and increasing) importance of critical thinking skills for journalists and everyone else who gets their news from social media, blogs, online websites, etc. Lots of good examples peppered through out the piece.

Here’s a sample of what Catone has to say about how to define media literacy:

In today’s media-saturated world, the concept of literacy is again changing. According to Pinkard, kids in school today may not be considered literate in the future if they don’t fundamentally understand new forms of media — things like blogs, Twitter and streaming video. To be truly literate, though, you also need to be able to think critically about media, discern fact from fiction, news from opinion, trusted from untrustworthy. These issues have always been thorny, but the explosion of self-publishing has only made media literacy more vital to the preservation of our democratic society.

Conventional Wisdom and What It Says About Journalism | Adam Westbrook

Westbrook, a UK journalist who launched his portfolio career as an independent entrepreneur-journalist in the depths of the 2009 global recession, makes an assertion that conventional wisdom is rarely the protective influence many journalists assume it must be.

He writes,

Conventional wisdom is dangerous because it stops us doing the things we know we really want to. It stops people who ought to do great things, stretch their abilities on ambitious work and ultimately shape the future of journalism and publishing.

Why I Write With My iPhone

Lifehack contributor Chris Smith discusses why he prefers doing his daily writing work on his iPhone (vs. the iPad) and offers links to a few apps that make writing on that most popular of smartphones easier.

How journalism professors can use screencasts as an effective & efficient teaching tool

Journalism educator Katy Culver shares in a brief post on Poynter.org how she uses screencast technology to help students retain copy editing tenets through “narrated” quiz answer keys, record video software tutorials, and provide feedback on video and slideshow submissions from students.

Amazon Rewrites the Rules of Book Publishing | NYTimes.com

Amazon.com taught readers they don’t need bookstores – now it is teaching writers they may not need publishing houses. Amazon published 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form, representing a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program. An important article for everyone who wants to write books and have readers buy them!!!

How to Write What People Actually Want to Read | Write To Done

Mary Jaksch, chief editor of Write To Done, provides a quick, easy-to-understand tutorial for using a keyword search tool to determine the best topics to include in a blog, story, etc., based upon readers’ search queries.

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Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links for October 18, 2011

Photo courtesy SXC.

25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer | The 99 Percent
Jocelyn K. Glei has compiled a great list of insightful snippets from 25 famous authors, from P.D. James and Kurt Vonnegut to Margaret Atwood and Annie Dillard.

Here’s a sample of the quotable wisdom provided, from Cory Doctorow, author of “For The Win”:

Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement.

The 5 Step Process That Solves Painful Writing Problems
Copyblogger contributor Brian Clark presents a simple regimen for avoiding writer’s block, bloated copy and do-nothing endings. The most surprising part of the system he recommends? Headlines and subheads should be developed before the rest of the body copy – which is rarely the order in which they are developed for magazine articles.

Spend Some Time Living Before You Start Writing | Advice to Writers
Jon Winokur quotes novelist Annie Proulx, who confronts the old saw “write what you know” head-on, saying, “It is the most tiresome and stupid advice that could possibly be given. If we write simply about what we know we never grow. ”

Game Changer | Fast Company
Do games have any place in the training of future journalists? Adam L. Penenberg, a journalism professor at NYU, reports on the improvement in learning retention in his graduate classes after he layered in game mechanics (prizes, walking tour treasure hunts, social media leader boards) to his business and economics course. An intriguing article and interesting reading for anyone following the emerging trend of schools employing simulations and games to stimulate learning.

If “He Said, She Said” Journalism Is Irretrievably Lame, What’s Better?
Jay Rosen, journalism educator and author of Press Think blog, discusses his criticism of a recent NPR investigative series on security at the Mall of America and shares examples of paradigm-busting online publications that insist on fairness but do not hide behind “objectivity” as a way of coming to a well-researched and well-reported conclusion about the facts as a reporter has discovered them.

How to feed your journalism cow
UK journalist Adam Westbrook suggests a number of idea-sparking sources for writers of nonfiction and those in associated genres (filmmaking, photography, design). I’m most interested in exploring Adam’s own Video.fu film library, which focuses on nonfiction films that tackle their topics in a story-based way, and using the crowdfunding site Kickstarter as a source of ideas that their owners are trying to make viable.

Bonus!

Forget the candy, give books for treats this Halloween
Book editor Barbara McNichol shares a link related to the Books for Treats campaign, which aims to replace the candy-begging ritual in American neighborhoods at Halloween with adults giving out books to kids instead of candy. What a great idea!!!

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Write This Way: Top Writing and Editing Links for January 16, 2011

Photo courtesy of SXC.

How technology is changing travel and journalism | 10,000 Words
Mark Luckie discusses new advances in travel and location-based mobile and desktop technology — everything from Foursquare and Gowalla to mobile overlay apps Historypin and Streetmuseum — and their implications for travel and journalism.

Disposable E-Readers on the Way? | FolioMag.com
Matt Kinsman posts an intriguing note about new developments in the creation of “e-paper,” which could lead to digital reading devices made of paper but offering ever-changing content.

News Entrepreneuring
Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, posts 10 excellent tips for journalists interested in starting their own news site to make a go of it. Very, very practical!!!

15 magic minutes toward kick-starting your writing
Daphne Gray-Grant, writing for Ragan.com, lists five tasks that can be done in a quarter hour that can move your writing ahead.

William Zinsser’s 5 tips for becoming a better writer | Poynter
At 88, the author of “On Writing Well” is still writing and teaching people to become better writers. He shared five tips with Poynter blog writer Mallory Jean Tenore for sharpening one’s skills. My favorites: “Learn to take readers on a journey,” and “Think of writing as a process, not a product.”

Bonus Link!

Zinsser on Friday | The American Scholar
William Zinsser’s weekly column on writing in The American Scholar.

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Write This Way, Condensed: Top Writing and Editing Links for June 6, 2010

Photo courtesy SXC.

Is J-school relevant? (#wjchat)

Multimedia journalism educator Mindy McAdams, on her Teaching Online Journalism blog, summarizes a recent Twitter chat she moderated. The chat was organized by WebJournalist.org and discussed the relevance of journalism education in today’s media landscape, what would replace j-school (internships, etc.) and what j-schools might teach to help students compete in today’s vastly changed journalism world. She also links to a full transcript of the chat, which is awesome and info-packed!

Lost Remote | How to be a good PR person – or PR client

Steve Safran reminds flacks and their clients to “remember what we write about” and asserts that providing signal, not noise, to online and traditional journalists will result in influence that will carry a company’s or individual’s story much farther.

How To Live Tweet A Conference

Mark Stelzner, writing on the Inflexion Advisors blog, offers a compact post full of tips on the right way to live-tweet conference proceedings on Twitter.

Journalists to Follow

Very nice two-part list (this is part 1) from the Society of Professional Journalists’ publication, Quill. What’s especially nice is that they include a Q+A with each person about the future of journalism. (Here is part 2, if you are interested.)

73 Ways to Become a Better Writer | Copyblogger

Mary Jaksch, Chief Editor of Write to Done blog, shares dozens of suggestions for improving your writing, as shared by WTD blog readers.

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Write This Way: Writing and Editing Links for April 27, 2009

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Photo courtesy of SXC.

Getting Journalism Education Out of the Way

I have to thank Amy Gahran of Contentious for this link: It’s a provocative essay from 2002 on the potential obsolescence of journalism education by Betty Medsger.

Writing in Zoned for Debate, NYU’s faculty’s webforum on current issues in journalism, Medsger, the former head of the Department of Journalism at San Francisco State University and founder of its Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism, found in 1996, as she analyzed surveys taken for a national study of journalism education, that 27 percent of “new journalists,” people who had worked for one to 11 years said they had never studied journalism.

Further research by Medsger revealed that a majority of winners of major journalism awards, including Pulitzer Prizes, Alfred I. DuPont Awards for broadcasters, Nieman Fellowship and Knight Fellowships at Stanford University never studied journalism in school. Many of the winners majored in literature or history, with the rest majoring in a wide sampling of liberal arts and science disciplines.

What to make of these facts? Why have post-Watergate journalism graduates (of which I am one) not made the same sorts of impact as those who never set foot inside a j-school?

Medsger writes:

“The greater achievement of journalists who did not dedicate their academic years to learning how to fill the vessels of journalism, (in contrast to what goes in them), suggests a profound challenge to what journalism educators have assumed was their raison d’etre: training people in how to fill the vessels. The finding suggests that radical changes, or at least intelligent experiments with new approaches, are needed at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The way things are done now seems to get in the way.”

The rest of the essay suggests a more interdisciplinary approach to teaching journalism that seems positively prescient in light of the challenges that print journalists and other media professionals are facing in 2009. I believe Medsger put her finger on a long-term trend in journalism that has caused the industry to lose its way and struggle as its business model eroded out from under it—a focus on the how-to-fill-vessels technique end of things to such an extent that thinking about reader (or audience) needs has become, at best, an afterthought.

KCNN: A guide to crowdsourcing

The Knight Citizen News Network is an information-rich site for community-focused new media start-ups, run by American University’s School of Communication and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It has a number of helpful guides for citizen reporters and traditional journalists on how to use Web 2.0 tools to create high-quality local news sites.

“Crowdsourcing” is a term that’s gained much interest of late—Jeff Howe, author of a book by the same name, defines it as “the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.”

In journalism circles, crowdsourcing means letting ordinary people help you with your writing research. It’s a complicated business to balance the power of “open source” reporting with the journalistic tenets to vet information thoroughly and the tendency to rely on statements from public figures as credible. This helpful guide explains the best way to do it without compromising accuracy.

The guide is part of a more comprehensive toolkit for citizen journalists on KCNN, which includes how to generate or uncover story ideas, credible story research, mining data banks for relevant corroborative material and finding and training good reporters. The site is full of useful tips for anyone wanting to do in-the-trenches public interest writing, whatever their level of professional training in journalism.

49 Creative Ways You Can Profit From Content Marketing

Writers, particularly those who have a defined specialty niche, often wonder about how to best showcase their expertise without sounding cheesy. Sonia Simone, senior editor of Copyblogger and the founder of Remarkable Communication, has developed a comprehensive list of products that any author with a specialty (whether it’s a beat or something the author is considered a bona fide expert in) can use to create new information products or guide their content planning for their website, blog, webinar schedule, e-newsletter, etc.

Yes, a few of the suggestions are a little off-beat (example: write a column from your pet’s point of view on your specialty topic), but most of them represent solid new ways to connect with present and potential readers/audience members and keep them interested in reading (and buying) what you have to offer.

Bonus Link!

The #1 Untapped Income Source That Freelancers Forget

Skellie, writing on her newly revived (?) Anywired blog, has developed a nice post on how to take your freelance skills (and income) to the next level by offering consulting services to your clients.

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