Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Period

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More on Punctuation

“There is not much to be said about the period, except that most writers don’t reach it soon enough.”

—Edith Wharton (1862-1937),
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist (The Age of Innocence, 1920) and short story writer.
(And, apparently, overindulgent dog owner...)



• Editorial Comment: Sometimes I don’t make it that far.



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More than 100 artisans launch gift-giving season at Novemberfest, by Kristi Ottley
Logan car burglaries almost double over 2010, police say, by Rouchelle Brockman
TONIGHT: New student Communicators Guild invites JCOM alumni back to campus, by Rhett Wilkinson

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sanitized

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Protecting U.S. Sensibilities?

“Each week, TIME Magazine designs covers for four markets: the U.S., Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. Often, America's cover is quite, well – different. This week offers a stark example. Witness:



“Yes, what you see is TIME devoting its cover in international markets to a critical moment in Egypt's revolution – perhaps the most important global story this week – while offering Americans the chance to contemplate their collective navels (with a rather banal topic and supposition, to boot). . . . ”

“Viewing these covers, a question must be asked: do these moments of marketing (through a choice in covers) reveal more about Americans, or about the state of American journalism?

“I fear the answer.”

—David Harris Kershon, The Kos Group,
STUNNING: Comparing U.S. & World Covers for TIME Magazine,”
Nov. 25, 2011

Note: more examples at Kos.

• Editorial Comment: I can hear the marketing guys now—Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil—and their boss, O. Strich.

This seems to be a disturbingly standard practice. In the past, CNNinternational has often aired video that is much more graphic than the sanitized (or missing) version seen in the U.S. Al Jazeera and other non-Western news organizations frame events very differently than U.S. media do—one returned Iraq veteran told me shortly after he got back that troops routinely watched Al Jazeera more closely for their news than U.S. sources. Who’s protecting us, from what? And why?

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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More than 100 artisans launch gift-giving season at Novemberfest, by Kristi Ottley
Logan car burglaries almost double over 2010, police say, by Rouchelle Brockman
Wednesday: New student Communicators Guild invites JCOM alumni back to campus, by Rhett Wilkinson

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• PeezPix & MORE! at 8th annual Cache Valley Winter Gift Market, Dec. 2-3.




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Monday, November 28, 2011

Tom Wicker, RIP

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They don’t make many like Tom Wicker, 1926-2011

MONTPELIER, Vt. - On Nov. 22, 1963, Tom Wicker was in the first press bus following John F. Kennedy’s motorcade when the president was assassinated. Wicker, The New York Times’ White House correspondent, would later write in a memoir that the day was a turning point for the country: ‘The shots ringing out in Dealey Plaza marked the beginning of the end of innocence.’

“At that moment, however, all he knew was that he was covering one of the biggest stories in history. ‘I would write two pages, run down the stairs, across the waiting room, grab a phone and dictate,’ Wicker later wrote. ‘Dictating each take, I would throw in items I hadn’t written, sometimes whole paragraphs.’” . . .

“Gay Talese, author of the major history of The New York Times, wrote of Wicker’s coverage: ‘It was a remarkable achievement in reporting and writing, in collecting facts out of confusion, in reconstructing the most deranged day in his life, the despair and bitterness and disbelief, and then getting on a telephone to New York and dictating the story in a voice that only rarely cracked with emotion.’” (AP obit here) . . .

“The searing images of that day — the rifleman’s shots cracking across Dealey Plaza, the wounded president lurching forward in the open limousine, the blur of speed to Parkland Memorial Hospital and the nation’s anguish as the doctors gave way to the priests and a new era — were dictated by Mr. Wicker from a phone booth in stark, detailed prose drawn from notes scribbled on a White House itinerary sheet. It filled two front-page columns and the entire second page, and vaulted the writer to journalistic prominence overnight. . . .”

“Mr. Wicker had many detractors. He was attacked by conservatives and liberals, by politicians high and low, by business interests, labor leaders and others, and for a time his activism — crossing the line from observer to participant in news events — put him in disfavor with many mainstream journalists.”

—Robert D. McFadden, in Wicker’s New York Times obit, Nov. 25, 2011

• New York Times slideshow.

• Editorial Comment:
A pretty good legacy for a journalist—on the front lines of huge events, reporting to the world, and attacked by critics on all sides, including journalists. Tom Wicker, an intrepid career with neither fear nor favor. Thank you.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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More than 100 artisans launch gift-giving season at Novemberfest, by Kristi Ottley
Logan car burglaries almost double over 2010, police say, by Rouchelle Brockman
Wednesday: New student Communicators Guild invites JCOM alumni back to campus, by Rhett Wilkinson

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• PeezPix & MORE! at 8th annual Cache Valley Winter Gift Market, Dec. 2-3.




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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hit the Couch!

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The WORD is taking the rest of this Annual Week of Overindulgence off to remember what and whom to thank. And to practice for the Annual Black Friday Burping Cotillion. Enjoy.

TV Therapy

“Seeing a murder on television can help work off one’s antagonisms. And if you haven’t any antagonisms, the commercials will give you some.”

—Alfred Hitchock (1899-1980), filmmaker




• Editorial Comment: Sure. TV always makes me want to kill someone. Mostly my TV.








MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

Visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café

News Flash: USU mathematician named best prof in Utah in 2011
Logan car burglaries almost double over 2010, police say, by Rouchelle Brockman
New student Communicators Guild invites JCOM alumni back to campus, by Rhett Wilkinson


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• PeezPix & MORE! at 8th annual Cache Valley Winter Gift Market, Dec. 2-3.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Glam Me

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The Glamour of Grammar

“The word grammar has taken a bit of a nosedive since the days when some tipsy scholar north of Hadrian’s Wall mixed up his r’s with his l’s.

“Today grammar connotes everything unglamourous: absentminded professors; fussy schoolteachers; British grammazons with binding names like Lynne Truss; nagging perfectionists; pedantic correctionists; high school [or university] students asleep at their desks, stalactites of drool hanging from their lips. Long lost from grammar are associations with power, magic, enchantment and mystical energy.”

—Roy Peter Clark, writer and word-lover, in his The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English (2010)

• Editorial Comment: Conjugate, you trolls!

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

Visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café

News Flash: USU mathematician named best prof in Utah in 2011
Logan car burglaries almost double over 2010, police say, by Rouchelle Brockman
New student Communicators Guild invites JCOM alumni back to campus, by Rhett Wilkinson


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Monday, November 21, 2011

‘Advocacy’

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The Gonzo Hammer

“There are a lot of ways to practice the art of journalism, and one of them is to use your art like a hammer to destroy the right people — who are almost always your enemies, for one reason or another, and who usually deserve to be crippled, because they are wrong. This is a dangerous notion, and very few professional journalists will endorse it — calling it ‘vengeful’ and ‘primitive’ and ‘perverse’ regardless of how often they might do the same thing themselves. ‘That kind of stuff is opinion,’ they say, ‘and the reader is cheated if it’s not labeled as opinion.’

“Well, maybe so. Maybe Tom Paine cheated his readers and Mark Twain was a devious fraud with no morals at all who used journalism for his own foul ends. And maybe H.L. Mencken should have been locked up for trying to pass off his opinions on gullible readers and normal ‘objective journalism.’ . . .

In my case, using what politely might be called ‘advocacy journalism,’ I’ve used reporting as a weapon to affect political situations that bear down on my environment.”

—Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005), journalistic and counterculture icon,
Better than Sex
(1994)
Image: Thompson with 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern/Annie Leibowitz, Rolling Stone

• Editorial Comment: That’s more like guerilla journalism, Dr. T.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

Visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café

News Flash: USU mathematician named best prof in Utah in 2011
Logan car burglaries almost double over 2010, police say, by Rouchelle Brockman
New student Communicators Guild invites JCOM alumni back to campus, by Rhett Wilkinson


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Friday, November 18, 2011

Future of News

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Is this any way to run an airline?

Point: “‘This model that you’re pursuing I think is broken. I don’t even think it’s a model you can justify,’ said House Majority Whip Greg Hughes, R-Draper.”

Counterpoint: “Deseret News President and CEO Clark Gilbert told lawmakers that his newspaper doesn’t cover politics as traditional news media do, but instead covers it only as it relates to the newspaper’s six new areas of focus: families, education, faith, care for the poor, financial responsibility and values in the media.

“‘What should the Deseret News be good at? Cynical, negative, skeptical journalism, or journalism that focuses on helping people improve their lives?’ Gilbert said.”

Final word: “Hughes said an analogy of what the Deseret News is doing is, ‘If you have an airline that flies to St. George, and you decided not to fly but have buses. You’re still going to have transportation, but you are not an airline.’”

—Lee Davidson, reporter, The Salt Lake Tribune (and former Deseret News staffer), covering a free breakfast hosted by Deseret Connect for Utah legislators.
Some Utah legislators don’t like Deseret News’ citizen journalism:
During breakfast with news boss, some express their mistrust,”
Nov. 17, 2011
(Thanks to alert WORDster Randy Simmons)
Cartoon by Pat Bagley/Salt Lake Tribune

Related: After confessing to feeding news stories to DNews under pseudonym,
West Valley City mayor resigns his job at PR firm to preserve “transparency.” See also, Wednesday’s WORD.


• Editorial Comment: Hi. I'm Dee Connect. Fly me.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

Visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café

News Flash: USU mathematician named best prof in Utah in 2011
Reflections of a Metal God—an interview with Ian Hill of Judas Priest, by Ben Hansen
City council votes to spend $300,000 on new fire truck for Wellsville, by Allie Jeppson
Paradise council decides – reluctantly – to join flood insurance program,
by D. Whitney Smith

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Doomed by Technology?

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What’s Killing Newspapers?

“Our parent corporation, McClatchy Newspapers, has watched its stock fall like the rest of Wall Street—only sooner and further. We’ve had to make unprecedented cutbacks—including, for the first time, and then the second, in the company's history—layoffs. Or, as one typically cynical McClatchy reporter calls ’em, ‘cake days.’

“Even here at the Sun-Star, we lost people. The newsroom, my responsibility, is down to seeds and stems in terms of numbers of reporters, photographers, copy editors and sports writers.”

—Mike Tharp, executive editor, Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star, 2008 URL
Note:
As of this morning, the Sun-Star
was still alive, thank you very much.

• Editorial Comment: “Seeds and stems”? They do inhale in California, don’t they?

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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Richmond votes to regulate future sexually oriented businesses, by Rouchelle Brockman
Reflections of a Metal God—an interview with Ian Hill of Judas Priest, by Ben Hansen
Logan High theater students ready for comic fairytale ‘Mattress,’ by Kristi Lambert


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Citizen Journalism—Not

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Who wrote that?

“The Deseret News isn’t the only newsroom to embark on a citizen-journalism model to make up for smaller reporting staffs. The benefits are obvious: The content is cheap. But the costs can be enormous.

“Giving people a pipeline to your news pages and your website — labeling it as ‘news’ and treating it just like the stories produced by your reporters — is an invitation for abuse. People have vested interests in getting information out. Usually it is not evil; it’s human nature. You want to give a plug to your brother-in-law’s new business, to your child’s school, to your own enterprise.” . . .

“If Mike Winder wants to become a reporter, he should go back to college and take journalism classes. In Journalism 101, he will learn that what he did was a disservice to newspaper readers and the citizens of his city.”

—Terry Orme, managing editor, The Salt Lake Tribune,
Editor column: West Valley City mayor harmed his city, Deseret News readers,” Nov. 12, 2011
Image: Salt Lake Tribune

Background: West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder, frustrated by thin news coverage of his city, started submitting news stories to area newspapers under a pseudonym, “Richard Burwash.” Since the story broke, The Deseret News and other media are reexamining policies on “citizen journalism.” Winder resigned yesterday from his job as a PR executive, but continues as mayor. In August, The Deseret News laid off 43% of its newsroom staff.

• Resource: Code of Ethics, Public Relations Society of America.

• Editorial Comment: Mike: We’re registering students for next semester now.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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Democrats a better fit for LDS Utahns, state party leader tells students, by Heidi Hansen
AIDS is focus of Anthro Museum program this weekend
Aggie debate team out-talks 20 colleges to win regional tourney
Logan High theater students ready for comic fairytale ‘Mattress,’ by Kristi Lambert

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

They Said, We Said

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Truthtelling

“We must remember that in time of war what is said on the enemy’s side of the front is always propaganda, and what is said on our side of the front is truth and righteousness, the cause of humanity and a crusade for peace.”

—Walter Lippmann (1889-1974), journalist, political commentator and author of the term “Cold War.”
Image: Wisconsin public employee union protestors. Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor

• Editorial Comment: Our truth is truer than your truth.


MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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Democrats a better fit for LDS Utahns, state party leader tells students, by Heidi Hansen
Review: On last world tour, Judas Priest waves goodbye to Utah, by Cathy Morgan
‘Brigadoon’ will cast its spell at Mountain Crest, by Rachel Kenley
Logan High theater students ready for comic fairytale ‘Mattress,’ by Kristi Lambert

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Woof!

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Watchdogs of the Press

“The truth is that most American newspaper people are really more interested in dramatic spot news, the splashy story, than in anything else. They want to be in on the big blowout, no matter how silly, and would rather write about what happened than whether it made any sense. . . .

“We are fascinated by events, but not by the things that cause events. We will send 500 correspondents to Vietnam after the war breaks out and fill the front pages with their reports, meanwhile ignoring the rest of the world, but we will not send one or two reporters there when the danger of war is developing.”

—James B. Reston (1909-1995), Pulitzer Prize-winning author,
New York Times editor and columnist, from The Artillery of the Press, 1966

• Editorial Comment: Woof! Woof! Woofwoofwoof!

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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Democrats a better fit for LDS Utahns, state party leader tells students, by Heidi Hansen
Review: On last world tour, Judas Priest waves goodbye to Utah, by Cathy Morgan
Engineers outline transportation master plan for Nibley, by Mandy Morgan
Logan High theater students ready for comic fairytale ‘Mattress,’ by Kristi Ottley


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Friday, November 11, 2011

War, hunh! What is it good for?

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The Veterans Day Edition: Shared Responsibility

“How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalism and believe those lies when they see them in print.”
—Karl Klaus (1874-1936), Austrian journalist, critic and writer

“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. . . . Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
—Gen. Hermann Goering (1893-1946), Nazi commander, 1946

“[The typical] ‘justification’ tactics by proponents of military intervention . . . brought us the entirely false reports, in 1990, that Iraqi soldiers were killing babies in Kuwait City by switching off hospital incubators—brought to us by Washington PR firm Hill and Knowlton. [British journalist] Maggie O’Kane recounted her meeting with nurses at the hospital who were utterly mystified by these stories. The source turned out to be the fifteen-year-old daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington, who was presented to the U.S. Congress as a nurse but, in fact, had not been to Kuwait in years. As O’Kane says: ‘There's always a dead babies story.’ The effect is to demonise the enemy and create a sense of urgency which admits no time for diplomacy.’
—The Peace Journalist Option, findings of the Conflict and Peace Journalism summer school,
Taplow Court, Buckinghamshire, UK, August 1997


“Media coverage is integral to shaping the course of events in war & peace. With technology bringing more rapid and intense coverage, the connection becomes increasingly clear.”
—The Peace Journalist Option, findings of the Conflict and Peace Journalism summer school,
Taplow Court, Buckinghamshire, UK, August 1997


“[W]e have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged—or failed to emerge. . . Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper.”
—New York Times editorial acknowledging
newspaper’s role in supporting Iraq war, May 26, 2004

Image: Famed WWII front-line reporter Ernie Pyle shares a smoke with a U.S. Marine. (U.S. Defense Department)

• Editorial Comment: Like it or not, remember that we’re all in this together.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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REVIEW: Judas Priest delivers final-round knockout blow, by Ben Hansen
Sheriff’s employees disappointed by County Council budget discussion, by April Ashland
Political science prof wins bid for seat on North Logan’s city council, by D. Whitney Smith


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Essential Equipment

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Good Advice Too Seldom Followed

“The wastebasket is a writer’s best friend.”
—Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902-1991),
Novel Prize-winning author










• Editorial Comment:
Most writers need more wastebaskets.



MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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Election results calm compared to council meeting in River Heights, by Lindsay Nemelka
Sheriff’s employees disappointed by County Council budget discussion, by April Ashland
Political science prof wins bid for seat on North Logan’s city council, by D. Whitney Smith


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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Journalism of Yesteryear

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“[T]here’s a real thrill in seeing your own byline over a story when it’s in print, and there’s always the feeling that you’ll try to make the next story just a little better.”

“The editorial writer must be able to write on many subjects. But instead of merely reporting news, he analyzes it and explains its meaning, often expressing his personal opinions. He must reason accurately and fairly, and write in an interesting manner. To understand and interpret problems of the day, he must read and study continually, in addition to having a great amount of knowledge and experience.”
—Encyclopedia Britannica Films,
“Your Life Work” series, 1940s
See Maria Popova post here, and on YouTube, Journalism (1940). (Thanks to alert WORDster Barry Kort)

• Editorial Comment: Isn’t that adorable?

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

• ‘Mingi’ Babies: Friend and colleague Matthew LaPlante, with amazing photos by Rick Egan, tells the heart-wrenching story of tribal infanticide in Ethiopia, in Is the tide turning against the killing of 'cursed' infants in Ethiopia? on CNN.com. Amazing stuff.



Visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café

River Heights residents want animal control to take more responsibility, by Shanna Peterson & Lindsay Nemelka
Firefighter Academy students use First Dam Run as training opp, by Kristi Ottley
Temple Grandin: ‘I saw an opportunity to be a practical reformer,’ by Rachel Kenley

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