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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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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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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