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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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Grading writing assignments

For quite a number of years I taught the introductory writing course at the University of Alabama, the infamous Mass Communication 102. I worked with seven or eight graduate teaching assistants each semester, and in our weekly meetings we talked a lot about grading. This memo to them grew out of those discussions several years […]

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Generous words for JPROF.com

Chip Scanlan is one of the Poynter Institue’s writing gurus and a writer whose advice on the craft is widely read and respected. In addition to his articles on Poynter’s website, he has begun a weblog called The Mechanic and the Muse: An Owner’s Manual for Writers. Scanlan recently stumbled onto this web site and […]

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JPROF’s exercise room

JPROF’s exercise room, hosted by Annie the Grammar Queen (right), is open 24 hours a day. You and your students will find a variety of exercises of sharpening their writing skills. Help your students learn the rules for using commas (exercises are keyed to JPROF’s Rules for Using Commas page), the terms of grammar, subject-verb […]

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Learning HTML

Instructors of web journalism classes face a dilemma in how much HTML they should teach or require that their students should know, especially since many of us use web editors (Dreamweaver, GoLive, etc.) or content management systems to produce web sites. There are occasions, of course, when some use of HTML is required even when […]

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GoogleMaps mania

The ability of web site developers to put a customized GoogleMap on their web sites is creating quiet a stir these days, including a story this week on National Public Radio that includes an interview with Mike Pegg, creator of a GoogleMapsMania, weblog that tracks the use of GoogleMaps. The implications and possibilities of using […]

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Academics, start your engines

It’s that time of year again when we in academia have to gear up for the coming semester. If you’re one of those, maybe JPROF.com can help. The syllabus for the course I am teaching in web journalism this semester at Emory & Henry College is located on this site. Anyone who is interested can […]

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Inside a cartoonist’s mind

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jim Borgman is giving us a fascinating peek inside the mind of the editorial cartoonist with his new weblog, BorgBlog. Borgman is posting not just some of his cartoons but some of his sketches and his thoughts about how particular cartoons develop. The site currently has three versions of the cartoon he […]

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Another aspect of immediacy

One of the five characteristics of the web — identified and explained in Web Journalism — is immediacy, the ability to post information quickly. With the growth of the blogosphere, this charactertistic has taken on another aspect: the ability of people to pass information around quickly, even if it isn’t true and doesn’t make sense. […]

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The First Amendment — it protects lobbyists, too

With the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal story dominating Washington, one of the cable news shows earlier this asked its viewers to go online and vote on the question of whether or not “all lobbying should be banned.” The question was both silly and stupid — and maybe even a little dangerous. Nobody likes “lobbyists” or […]

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The center of gravity has shifted

The web has pretty much rendered obsolete the adage that says you should never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel and newsprint by the ton. Today there is less fear and frustration with the news media on the part of those outside the profession, and there is more willingness […]

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Want it to last? Draw, don’t write

A review of Clifford Connor’s A People History of Science in the New York Times this past weekend has this observation: A great moment in the history of science was the publication of Andreas Vesalius’s anatomy book, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, in 1543. What made the book a triumph wasn’t the Latin text Vesalius wrote […]

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Censorship, pure and simple

It is sad, frustrating and infuriating when you see people who should know better acting in ways that are just not very intelligent. That was the case this past week with the high school principal and school superintendent in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The principal confiscated copies of the school newspaper before they could be distributed […]

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Staying in the background

That’s where reporters like to be when they are covering the news. Becoming part of a story inevitably changes the story and destroys the reporter’s position as an independent observer. Michael Bamberger, golf writer for Sport Illustrated, found himself in the untenable position of becoming part of the story when he was covering golf phenom […]

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Miller, New York Times finally open up

Judith Miller and the New York Times have finally published accounts of the controversy that landed Miller in jail for 85 days this summer. A careful reading of them leads you to believe that Miller went to jail because of a misunderstanding between her lawyers and those of Lewis Libby, chief aide to Vice President […]

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The odd odyssey of Judith Miller

New York Times reporter Judith Miller got her Get Out of Jail card last week, but her release wasn’t exactly free. She had come to an agreement to testify after being released from her confidentiality obligation by her source. And she has had to endure some pretty stinging criticism from fellow journalists who have questioned […]

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Notes: accuracy, wordiness, clichés, etc.

Looking for ideas for lectures or discussions with your classes? JPROF has plenty. For introductory classes in mass media or journalism, you will find lecture notes on the following topics: news, newspapers, books, magazines, radio and television. There are also a variety of discussion starters and notes for some of your other journalism classes, including […]

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