The ideal sounds great: a group of people who share an interest in a topic are able to exchange information and ideas about it over the internet. Time and geography are overcome. Such communities of interest would be informative, respectful and self-regulating. That was what I described in Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a […]
The trial of high school teacher John Scopes in Dayton, Tenn., 80 years ago this month remains one of the 20th century’s iconic events. It drew vast media attention and pitted cultural forces against one another that are still at war today. This week, to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Scopes trial, the […]
The sixth edition of Writing for the Mass Media is now in print and available for fall adoptions. This edition contains much of the same material and exercises found in previous editions, but there are a few new features: a completely rewritten chapter on writing for the web, updated examples and exercises, a glossary, and […]
Word comes today that the secret to one of the great politico-journalistic mysteries has been revealed: the identity of Deep Throat. It was Mark Felt, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the Nixon administration. This is an important revelation, and not just to those of us who have followed the Watergate story […]
My friend and colleague Herb Thompson (a great American) has done it again. He has written another very nice review of one of my books, Web Journalism. This one appears on SecondaryEnglish.com, a web site geared for teachers of high school English. (Herb had also written a review of Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why […]
Numbers are funny things — especially for journalists. They sound so definite and authoritative. Numbers represent facts in a seemingly indisputable way. They are easy to use and easy to understand. But numbers should always be checked for context and source. One journalist who regularly examines the source and context of numbers is Carl Bailik, […]
Women do not make it into news stories as sources as much as men do. That is the basic finding of a new study conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The basic finding is probably not surprising, but what is impressive and important is how widespread […]
Most discussions of journalistic ethics, according to a recent article by Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute, stem from an examination of the mistakes that journalists have made. These discussions are likely to result in what he calls �red light ethics� – rules that tell the journalist to stop, be cautious, be careful, and […]
The New York Times announced this week that in September it would begin charging for part of its website content. While much of the NYTimes.com site would remain free to registered users, the Times will begin offering its columnists and opinion section to viewers for $49.95 a year. Subscribers to this service, TimesSelect, will also […]
Abraham Lincoln began the Gettysburg Address with the words, “About a century ago, the dudes that started it all . . .” Well, ok. Those weren’t exactly the words, but they are “essentially accurate.” That’s the standard that Detroit Free Press sportswriter Mitch Albom imposed upon himself in handling direct quotations for his column. Apparently, […]
When the Spokane Spokesman-Review recently exposed nefarious behavior on the part of Spokane’s mayor, the newspaper used some deception in its reporting. The reaction of many editors would lead you to believe that “Thou shalt never deceive” is one of the most sacred of Journalist Commandments. But it’s not. Deception isn’t always a good idea, […]
When I taught at the University of Alabama, I would give a 100-question grammar, spelling, punctuation and diction exam to beginning writing students. The test was a difficult one, but students had to make at least a 75 on the exam to pass the beginning writing course offered by the College of Communication and Information […]
Word came yesterday from publisher Allyn and Bacon that Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Medium will be published in Chinese. The book has been in print for about a year and a half now and has been adopted as a text by more than 40 colleges and universities around the country. The […]
This spring has seen a spate of ethical lapses by journalists, so it might not be evident that our ethical standards have actually gone up during the past 20 years. Yet, this is probably the case. More Read more about journalism and issues facing the profession at JPROF.com.
Mike Peterson, educational services director of the Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y., responded to JPROF’s earlier posting concerning the dearth of women opinion writers and why women may be less comfortable than men in slinging their opinions around. He makes several good points worth considering and has a word of criticism about Maureen Dowd’s logic. […]
There aren’t enough women opinion writers — or at least not enough of them make it onto the pages of America’s newspapers. That’s the issue, not what Susan Estrich thinks about Michael Kinsley or how he has responded to her, entertaining as all that might be. That dustup between a couple of high-profile Harvard grads […]
A picture ought to show what the camera and photographer saw. It’s the essence of truth-telling. It’s the basis of journalism. Yet, it’s happened again. A prominent photo has been found to be a lie. It isn’t what the camera or the photographer saw. It was changed beyond recognition, tampered with, made into a “photo […]
Dan Rather has ended 24 years in the anchor’s chair at CBS News, a remarkable fact in a couple of ways. When Rather succeeded Walter Cronkite, there were more than a few office pools on how long he could last. Few people were as respected by the public as Cronkite, and the fiesty and passionate […]
The question of who is a journalist is one of the stickier wickets in the whole question of establishing a shield law for journalists. Telling a journalist from a non-journalist used to be a simple matter (or so it seemed). A journalist was a person employed by a media organization such as a newspaper or […]
Most of the editing students I have taught over the last three decades share this trait: they are reluctant to change anything in an editing exercise, even when it is obviously wrong. Getting them to where they will correct grammar, spelling and style errors in the first step. But to be good editors, of course, […]
Two poems by Robert Louis Stevenson
In this week’s newsletter
Read about the new book Ole Bert: Sage of the Smokies that Jim has just edited and produced for the Blount County Public Library.
Point Spread on Amazon
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