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The iconic image

Few of us get to leave the impression that Joe Rosenthal did. Rosenthal was the 33-year-old Associated Press photographer who took the picture of Marines raising the flag during the fierce battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific in 1945. That image struck an instant chord with viewers, and it has been stuck in our […]

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News orgs discover web’s immediacy

A couple of stories from Romenesko’s blog on today show that big time news organizations are discovering the immediacy of the web. One comes from Westworld, which reports that when the Denver Post stumbled onto a scoop last month about beer magnate Peter Coors being arrested for drunk driving, the Post nailed the story and […]

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An expensive comma

Sometimes punctuation can be expensive. That was certainly the case for Rogers Communications of Canada, which recently found that its misreading of a contract — not recognizing the meaning of the placement of a comma in a particular sentence of a contract — will cost the company a couple of million dollars. All this is […]

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Plagiarism: Unconscious and unintentional?

Writing is one of the most conscious and intentional acts a human can undertake. Constructing a phrase or sentence is a high-level mental activity (akin, I tell my students, to doing a complex math problem). That’s why Kaavya Viswanathan’s excuse – or, at least, explanation – for the plagiarism in her novel How Opal Mehta […]

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Finding links

An important part of becoming a web journalist/editor is finding good links to include with the stories and web packages that you are in charge of. This is a skill that requires experience and judgment as well as knowledge about how to establish links on a web page. A journalist skilled in linking recognizes the […]

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The writing life, Gay Talese style

For more than 40 years, there has been intense interest in the writing style exemplified by Gay Talese – and in Gay Talese (web site) himself. But that emphasis, particularly in Talese himself, may have been misplaced. Talese is certainly a writer of utmost grace. He works at his profession with an intensity that is […]

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The death of the clever headline?

Headline writing is one of the most difficult tasks in journalism and certainly one of the most difficult things to teach for the journalism professor. Now — as if accuracy, clarity and a bit of wite weren’t enough — there is a new challenge: search engines. Steve Lohr writes this week in the New York […]

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The Newspaper Problem, in a nutshell

The sports editor of my local newspaper wrote a column this weekend that, inadvertently, summed up much of what is wrong with American newspapers. (He and the newspaper will remain un-named and un-linked.) The column must have been in reaction to some criticism the sports department had received from high school sports partisans. The newspaper […]

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60 Minutes and Tiger Woods

CBS’s “60 Minutes” is being roundly criticized for a segment that aired a couple of weeks ago on golfing phenom Tiger Woods. The piece asked no tough or searching questions of Woods, who rarely gives interviews and has carefully honed his image throughout his career. Defending the show’s approach to Woods, producer Jeff Fagin asked, […]

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The New York Times redesigns its site

The New York Times has redesigned its web site, a move that is likely to draw plenty of attention and comment. There seems to be little new or innovative about the design. It gives the site a cleaner look because of its increased use of white space. What is most disappointing, however, is that the […]

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SJMercuryNews

Writing summaries

The summary has developed into one of the major forms of writing of the Web. A concise, well-written summary allows the reader to gain information and understanding that is found more deeply in the site. Summaries are commonly located on the front page or the section front pages of a site, but they may also […]

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Barry Bonds: hoisted on his own Louisville slugger

Call me crazy, but if I were Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, I wouldn’t be all that anxious to get a judge to dismiss the suit that Barry Bonds had filed trying stop the collection of profits for the book Game of Shadows (web site). A judge in San Francisco almost did that this week. […]

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Driving the message home

A Federal court has ruled that Tennessee (my home state and where I will soon be a resident again) can issue a license tag that contains the words “Choose Life.” A legal fight about the state legislature’s power to do this has been going on since 2002, and in the news story about the ruling, […]

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Getting a job in web journalism

Anthony Moor, associate managing editor/online at the Orlando Sentinel and editor of OrlandoSentinel.com, has written an interesting and encouraging piece about getting a job in web journalism. The article appears on the Online Journalism Review web site and emphasizes that web journalists need to develop the basic skills of the journalist – particularly editing and […]

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Web writing example

David Broder, long time and deeply respected political columnist for the Washington Post, included the paragraph below in his column this morning (March 16, 2006). He is quoting from a speech given by Gen. Anthony Zinni in 2002 about the possibility of war with Iraq. This paragraph is a good example of why writing for […]

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Gordon Parks, photojournalist

Gordon Parks, one of the pioneers of what we today call photojournalism died this week. He was 93 years old. Parks is widely known as one of the first major African-American movie directors. But long before Parks got into movies, he was taking pictures for the Farm Security Administration and Life magazine. His photographs and […]

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An honest mistake — or something else?

When the CBS News show “48 Hours” aired a segment a couple of weeks ago about a murder in Columbia, Mo., it altered a picture of the front page of the Columbia Daily Tribune the show used as a graphic. CBS has acknowledged the mistake, although it has not explained very well how it happened. […]

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The art of linking

Linking is one of the most powerful tools the web offers to journalists. With relatively little effort, journalists can use links to expand their stories and enhance the experience of the readers. Yet very few journalists or news web sites take advantage of this opportunity. Here are a few thoughts about this tool and how […]

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War News Radio

Students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania have created an Internet radio station devoted to covering the war in Iraq. But their station, called War News Radio, is different. Instead of gathering Associated Press and other news service reports and repackaging them, they are creating their own reports using sources that are not often heard from […]

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A wide range of knowledge

Among the many qualities that modern journalism demands of its frontline footsoldiers — reporters — is a wide range of knowledge. Simply put, reporters should know a lot of stuff about a lot of things. Terry Mattingly, who runs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, made the point eloquently […]

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