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Two failures who saved each other – and then saved a nation (part 1)

July 19, 2018 | By Jim Stovall | 1 Comment | Filed in: Civil War, Home, journalism.

Well into his adult life, Cump Sherman considered himself a failure. So did others. He had attended West Point and had accomplished some relative successes in his military career. But when he left the army, he proceeded to fail at everything he tried. His health — he suffered from asthma — and his mental stability were • Read More »

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Alabama vs. Georgia, 50+ years ago: The Saturday Evening Post-Wally Butts-Bear Bryant libel case

January 8, 2018 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, First Amendment, Home, journalism, law, reporting.

More than 50 years ago, the Alabama-Georgia matchup resulted, not in a national championship, but in a legal ruling that expanded the First Amendment protections we now enjoy.

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Maria Popova reviews ‘A Sting in the Tale’ by Dave Goulson

August 7, 2014 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, Home.

  Maria Popova, who produces the wonderful and stimulating BrainPickings.org website, has written a lengthy review of Dave Goulson’s book, A Sting in the Tale. The review is titled, A Brief History of How Bees Sexed Up Earth and Gave Flowers Their Colors, and subtitled, How a striped, winged, six-legged love machine sparked “the longest marketing campaign in history,” which should be enough to • Read More »

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A journalist needs something to write about: Richard Ben Cramer, Alex Rodriguez and the book that did not get written

January 22, 2014 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: books, Home, reporters, reporting, writers, writing.

In 2006 Cramer sold both his publisher and his subject on a book about Alex Rodriguez, the star of the New York Yankees who was recently banned for a year by Major League Baseball for taking banned substances. The book had the title, The Importance of Being Alex: A Life with the Yankees. He had a $550,000 advance from the Hachette Book Group. Rodriguez had agreed to cooperate fully. In fact, he welcomed Cramer into his entourage. What happened after that is a sad tale but, unfortunately, not unique.

Listen to an audio introduction to this post:

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Happy birthday, JPROF.com

December 31, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Home, JPROF, teaching journalism.

The image I had for JPROF.com during those first weeks was as a giant filing cabinet for information and resources I was gathering about journalism education and how to teach journalism. Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How had just been published by Allyn and Bacon, and I thought there might be a second edition at some point. I wanted a place to put all the stuff I was pulling together (much of it from my own files of more than 25 years of teaching journalism).

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The First Amendment, Luther Baldwin and the Alien and Sedition Acts

December 21, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, Home, journalism education.

University of Tennessee professor Dwight Teeter discusses the case of Luther Baldwin, a New Jersey man who was prosecuted under the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Baldwin became a symbol of Federalist intolerance during the 1800 presidential election.

This video is part of the Tennessee Journalism Series and was produced and edited by Jim Stovall.

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Writing good tags should be part of the journalist’s writing process

December 19, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Home, journalism, journalism education, teaching journalism, web journalism, writing, Writing for the Mass Media.

At minimum, tags should include
• all of the proper names and places referred to in your story;
• major ideas and concepts of the subject of the story:
• important actions and processes referred to in the story.

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Jonathan Swift, writer ‘to the vulgar’

December 18, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: history, Home, JEM 200, journalism, journalism education, writers, writing.

Jonathan Swift wanted his writing to be “understood by the meanest.” It’s the standard we want our journalism students to shoot for.

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How we got the First Amendment (video)

December 17, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: First Amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, history, Home, journalism, journalism education, teaching journalism.

In this two-and-a-half minute video, Dr. Dwight Teeter explains some of the political maneuvering that occurred to get the an amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech into the hotly-debated Constitution in the late 1780s. The freedoms protected by the amendment — religion, speech, press, assembly and petition — were not foremost in the minds of the Founding Fathers. Discussion questions are included with this video.

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The web imposes new responsibilities on journalists

December 16, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Home, journalism, news, teaching journalism, web journalism.

The web has imposed new responsibilities on the journalist – responsibilities that go far beyond those of the traditional print or broadcast reporter.

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7 reasons why you should encourage your students to tweet your lectures

December 12, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Home, JEM 200, journalism, journalism education, reporting, web journalism, writing.

Some professors ban laptops, tablets and smart phones from their classrooms, seeing them as distractions for their students. Instead, they should welcome them as tools for engagement.

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Newswriting in the near future

December 10, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Home, journalism, journalism education, news, writing.

The speed of the Internet and the World Wide Web in disseminating information has forced editors and journalists to rethink the way they present news and the structure of writing.

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FDR, the editor: A date which will live in infamy

December 7, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | 1 Comment | Filed in: audio journalism, editing, history, Home, journalism.

The nation had just endured a bitter debate about whether or not it should go to war. The Japanese ended the debate on Dec. 7, 1941, but the attack on Pearl Harbor had not cleared away the bitterness. Franklin Roosevelt had to weigh his words carefully.

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Creating an interactive chart with Google Spreadsheets (video)

December 5, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Home, journalism, journalism education, teaching journalism, web journalism.

How do you make an interactive chart like this one and put it onto your web page? The video on this page will explain it all.

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The sliderule analogy

December 4, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Home, teaching journalism.

The analogy between teaching journalism and teaching mathematics is just about perfect. But there’s a problem.

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Katie Couric, David Pogue, Yahoo and the inexorable march to online

December 3, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: Home, journalism, journalists, web journalism.

Katie Couric is the latest media star to catch a glimpse of the future. That future is online.

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