Whoa, have I been delinquent in posting. Not good, especially since I had just recently moved all of my blog entries from my old Virtualjournalist blog site to this one. To those who follow me on a regular basis, I apologize, but the past few weeks have seen me: a) lose the computer I’d been borrowing (I have a new one, thanks to a good friend), b) exercise a lot more, and c) volunteering with the Summer Journalism Camp at John Hopkins Middle for the month of June.
The two boys I was mentoring managed to get four stories completed (I believe three was the standard workload). Last Thursday, a week after camp ended, I offered a few hours of assistance by proofreading most of the paper. By the time I was finished, that red pen had gotten a thorough workout.
Now I have a part-time freelance project with a publishing company that I hope will tide me over until I find something — anything — full time.
Tomorrow we’ll return to our regularly scheduled programming. Thanks for tuning in.
Today marks the end of my first week as a volunteer for Midtown Summer Journalism Camp, a joint effort of John Hopkins Middle School, Melrose Elementary and Lakewood High, my alma mater. Go Spartans.
The three-week program helps students from J. Hop and Melrose hone their skills as journalists, sending them out to cover various businesses and citizens in the Midtown area of St. Petersburg.
Some of the volunteers are high school students, while others I’ve met are photographers and writers for The St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune. I believe a few are students from Eckerd College, which helps fund the camp.
Each day, we mentor the pair of students we’ve been assigned to (or, in my case, assigned themselves to me), assisting them with their newsgathering and writing.
Today, the team I’m working with went out on their first interview and did a commendable job. We’ve got do some follow-ups, but should have the article done by Tuesday. Then, as reporters well know, it’s on to the next story.
My experience at the camp has been nothing but positive, as was the volunteer work I did over the past three months for John Hopkins’s journalism program. There’s a reason why J. Hop and Melrose are consistently recognized as the best student newspapers in the nation in their respective categories — the teachers and students are that talented and dedicated.
Stories and photos produced by the camp will be published in Midtown Magazine, which will be available at the “Midtown: Through Our Eyes” exhibit scheduled for Oct. 2-11 at Studio@620.
Posted in civic journalism, journalism education, News
Tagged blogging, John Hopkins Middle School, journalism camp, Lakewood High School, Melrose Elementary, Midtown, Midtown Magazine, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Times, Studio@620, Tampa Tribune
The New York Times unveiled its great-looking new blog, Lens. The light-gray text of the captions is rather small and doesn’t contrast well against the background. But the photos are the focus here, and they are excellent, particularly this lovely set of black-and-whites by Fred R. Conrad.
The St. Petersburg Times‘ Lennie Bennett is a passionate art critic and defender of the arts, and so I would love to have heard her response to some of these reader comments to her article about FSU’s consideration of closing the Ringling Art Museum:
At my previous employer, Creative Loafing, staff writers readily engaged readers who commented on their blog posts, explaining why or why not they were wrong — which led to some spirited discussions.
But the comments on Bennett’s article, absent a response, have all the effect of yelling into a void.
One other nitpick — the Times really needs to provide permalinks to its reader comments.
Andrew Nusca offers a media reality check to the conventional wisdom that today’s journalist must be a camera-toting, video-editing, pen-and-paper wielding jack-of-all-trades:
As new media has increased in popularity and usage, this myth has populated of the multi-talented reporter — you know, the one carrying all the gear a few paragraphs back. And while it’s certainly an ideal, it’s not a necessity. In fact, it’s barely a reality.
Thus brings my first point of this New Media Reality Check: most news organizations simply don’t operate that way.
Nusca uses Henry Ford’s Model-T assembly line to draw an analogy to modern news production:
The same thing applies to publications, moreso as it gets bigger. Whether the publication in question is a newspaper or a magazine or a radio/TV station or a website, the assembly line theory of the Industrial Age still holds true: a writer reports and creates the story, an editor edits it, a photographer shoots art for it, a production editor lays out a template for the story to appear and another editor (or two) looks at the entire package, all while being fact-checked and copy-edited by another person dedicated to that task.
Nusca provides some common sense advice for new and seasoned journalists unsure of whether they have the skills to endure. Pursue the skills you need for your particular niche, he advises. And if you want to be an online journalist:
Once again, Save the Media‘s Gina Chen is lighting the way for reporters who want to thrive in the digital age.
This time, she covers “10 journalism rules you can break on your blog.” My favorite is number 2:
Tell part of the story: Journalists are trained to wait until they have the full story before telling any of it. I’m not asserting that blogs shouldn’t be accurate; they should. But they should be immediate even if that means telling only the story as you know it at that moment in time. The beauty of a blog is you can update immediately as more details become apparent or earlier reports are disputed. This isn’t publishing lies; this is giving readers evolving information in real time.
Gotcha! I’m not saying that — no way! Nope, I’m just paraphrasing the words of Dave Winer, Web pioneer and provocateur par excellence. He reads Doc Searls. And Jay Rosen (me too, actually). And while at a panel discussion about the San Francisco Chronicle hosted by the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Winer poured an ice-cold glass of “THE FUTURE” over those stuffy gatekeepers in attendance:
I said the sources would take over the news. Not enough reporters covering the courtroom? The judge will report, as will the jurors, the attorneys, the plaintiff, the defendent (sic). It will be messier, I would have said had I had the time to complete the thought, but more truth will come out.
I just going to assume that the messy truth Winer left out will clear up a statement I can’t begin to comprehend.
Posted in blogging, citizen journalism, civic journalism, freedom of the press, Mainstream media, media criticism, news industry, Newspaper industry, newspapers
Tagged blogging, Dave Winer, Journalism, Newspaper industry, Scripting the News
You also have to be a good marketer of yourself and your ideas, as Patrick Thornton points out in his latest post at Beatblogging.org, Blog your way into a job:
Blogging your way into a job — Yes, personal blogs make people money, and ads aren’t needed either. I wouldn’t have this job without my personal blog. I’m not the only one with this story either. Tony Pierce wouldn’t be heading up the LA Times’s blogging efforts if he didn’t blog on his own time.
Blogging may never get you a job. But with persistence, it can introduce you to some great minds, strengthen your writing, and enrich your life.