Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Good News, Bad News

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Extra! Extra!

“Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.”

—Henry Anatole Grunwald (1922-2005), TIME editor-in-chief, author and U.S. ambassador to Austria




• Editorial Comment: I heard the news today, oh boy.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .
News from our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
Vindication: Sundance documentary clears men after 17 years in prison, by Ben Hansen
Sundance Review: Don’t put much money down on ‘Lay the Favorite,’ by Natasha Bodily
Mother Nature inspires Mendon artist’s award-winning paintings, by Josh Ruggles
River Heights passes noise-nuisance law to deal with barking dogs, by Sean O’Sullivan
Hyde Park makes changes to roads, residential setback requirements, by Shannon Neilsen
No injuries in Wednesday fire at Utah State’s LDS Institute building, by Tmera Bradley

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Oh! To another toad, beauty incarnate thou art!




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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Traits of the Journalist

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Fair Warning

“Macdonald was a man who had a congenital distrust of authority, but whose talent and charm made this into an appealing trait of temperment rather than a personal or professional liability. Macdonald not only enjoyed provoking; he liked to be provoked. . . .”

“Macdonald was vociferous, opinionated, and, when he was drunk, nasty and combative, though this was true of many of his peers as well—it was an alcoholic milieu. He was also, almost serenely, pure of heart. . . .”

“A person whose financial requirements are modest and whose curiosity, skepticism, and indifference to reputation are outsized is a person at risk of becoming a journalist.”

—Louis Menand, writer,
in profile of journalist
Dwight Macdonald (1906-1982):
“Browbeaten,” The New Yorker, Sept. 5, 2011
(Thanks to alert WORDster Linda Steiner)

• Editorial Comment: Passion required. Eating optional.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .
News from our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
Sundancing 2012: For many at festival, the focus is far from the films, by Ben Hansen
Mother Nature inspires Mendon artist’s award-winning paintings, by Josh Ruggles
River Heights passes noise-nuisance law to deal with barking dogs, by Sean O’Sullivan
Hyde Park makes changes to roads, residential setback requirements, by Shannon Neilsen
No injuries in Wednesday fire at Utah State’s LDS Institute building, by Tmera Bradley
250 brave icy Hyrum waters to take ‘Polar Plunge’ for Special Olympics, by Kristi Ottley


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Oh! To another toad, beauty incarnate thou art!




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Friday, January 27, 2012

Ought-oh correx

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Speling Counts

“Relying on spell check and its sibling autocorrect, my fiction students have staged countless scenes of family quarrel in the dinning room. Ignoring how a college student can have failed to learn the spelling of ‘dining,’ let’s consider: the dinning room, where families din at one another every evening. Or there’s the scene with the boyfriend who keeps starring at his new girlfriend, amazed by his luck. I love that—I see his eyes full of stars, blinking off and on like supernovas, much more interesting than simply staring.”

—Lucy Ferris, writer-in-residence, Trinity College (Connecticut) and contributor to the Lingua Franca blog, 2011



* The Spell Check Mug Poem:

I have a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks for my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it.,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it’s weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.


Editorial Comment: Spelling schmelling. Its the idears that count.

Belly Laugh: Did you miss yesterday’s extraordinary WORDs from legendary journalistic curmudgeon H.L. Mencken? Click here.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .
News from our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
River Heights passes noise-nuisance law to deal with barking dogs, by Sean O’Sullivan
Hyde Park makes changes to roads, residential setback requirements, by Shannon Neilsen
No injuries in Wednesday fire at Utah State’s LDS Institute building, by Tmera Bradley
Sundance 2012: Redford’s New Frontier all about film innovations, by Ben Hansen
250 brave icy Hyrum waters to take ‘Polar Plunge’ for Special Olympics, by Kristi Ottley
Flooded basements, closed roads still the story in Cache Valley, by Jemina Herrero


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Remember the farmers’ market? Those were the days.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Belly Laugh

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Observations from the Circus

“Here . . . more than anywhere else that I know of or have heard of, the daily panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly—the unending procession of governmental extortions and chicaneries, of commercial brigandages and throat-slittings, of theological buffooneries, of aesthetic ribaldries, of legal swindles and harlotries, of miscellaneous rogueries, villainies, imbecilities, grotesqueries, and extravagances—is so inordinately gross and preposterous, so perfectly brought up to the highest conceivable amperage, so steadily enriched with an almost fabulous daring and originality, that only the man who was born with a petrified diaphragm can fail to laugh himself to sleep every night, and to awake every morning with all the eager, unflagging expectation of a Sunday-school superintendent touring the Paris peep-shows.”

—H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), journalist, social critic and author, from “On Being an American.” Prejudices, Third Series (1922)
(Thanks to alert WORDster Karl Petruso)

• Editorial Comment: Newt Gingrich? Seriously? Laugh to keep from crying.

• Back to Basics: Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs from Australian journalism prof Eric Loo on techno hype? Click here.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .
News from our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
No injuries in Wednesday fire at Utah State’s LDS Institute building, by Tmera Bradley
Sundance 2012: Redford’s New Frontier all about film innovations, by Ben Hansen
250 brave icy Hyrum waters to take ‘Polar Plunge’ for Special Olympics, by Kristi Ottley
Flooded basements, closed roads still the story in Cache Valley, by Jemina Herrero
North Logan boundary change may affect corn maze, by Steve Kent
Guv gives Aggies political pep talk, vows more support for colleges, by Allie Jeppson



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Remember the farmers’ market?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back to Basics

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Blog This

“Is journalism education being too carried away by exuberant interest for the latest digital device, its varied applications for breaking news in real-time, and emphasis on digital media production skills? Are journalism schools in fact graduating web technologists, news bloggers, news site designers, desktop publishers and videographers instead of street-smart conscientious journalists? Is the emphasis on training students how to produce and package multimedia products compromising the imperatives of educating students to be more reflective, investigative, ethical and community-oriented story tellers? To what extent have journalism curricula being diluted to adapt to the new student demographics - students who are reading less but more attuned to animated visuals, Facebook, Twitter and hypertexts? How have journalism teaching methodologies and contents changed when students—being digital natives—are unthinkingly relying on the internet for ‘news’ and ‘information’?” . . .

“Are we losing sight of the fundamental function of journalism education? Which is to educate students to become journalists of conscience and integrity, to be responsive and passionate about exposing the disparities, poor governance, political patronage and the many layers of injustices and corruption in their respective communities. This is a prosaic observation, clichéd even. My point is good journalism should not be confused with multimedia delivery, website design, podcasting, blogging and packaging stories.”

—Eric Loo, journalism professor, University of Wollongong (Australia), “Editorial: Back to basics in journalism education amid the techno hype,” Asia Pacific Media Educator 20, 2010.

• Editorial Comment: But the passionate Tweet gets read, and the multimedia storytelling gets heard. I'll read the five-part investigation tomorrow.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

News from our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
Sundance 2012 opens with powerful Aussie film, Wish You Were Here, by Ben Hansen
250 brave icy Hyrum waters to take ‘Polar Plunge’ for Special Olympics, by Kristi Ottley
Flooded basements, closed roads still the story in Cache Valley, by Jemina Herrero
LaPlante: Doing ‘missionary journalism,’ from classroom to war zone, by Kristen Munson
North Logan boundary change may affect corn maze, by Steve Kent
Guv gives Aggies political pep talk, vows more support for colleges, by Allie Jeppson



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Dr. Seuss weeds.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mighta Woulda Shoulda Coulda

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Conditional Tense

Election news: Mitt Romney would have liked to have done better in the South Carolina primary.

“The timid grammarian,
unable to approach the object
of his unspoken proposition,
is destined to dwell forever
alone in the woulds.”

—Andrew Merton
, journalist and poet,
“Subjunctive,” from
Evidence that We Are Descended from Chairs (2011)

• Editorial Comment: Romney has a little trouble with his verb tense—and he’s a little tight in the shoulders, too.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

News from our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
Sundance 2012 opens with powerful Aussie film, Wish You Were Here, by Ben Hansen
250 brave icy Hyrum waters to take ‘Polar Plunge’ for Special Olympics, by Kristi Ottley
Flooded basements, closed roads still the story in Cache Valley, by Jemina Herrero
LaPlante: Doing ‘missionary journalism,’ from classroom to war zone, by Kristen Munson
North Logan boundary change may affect corn maze, by Steve Kent
Guv gives Aggies political pep talk, vows more support for colleges, by Allie Jeppson



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Dr. Seuss weeds.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Bread Dough

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Fair Warning: Kids Are Sponges

“Based on my own experience, I believe the brain is as soft and malleable as bread dough when we’re young. I am grateful for every class trip to the symphony I went on and curse any night I was allowed to watch The Brady Bunch, because all of it stuck. Conversely, I am now capable of forgetting entire novels that I’ve read, and I’ve been influenced not at all by books I passionately love and would kill to be influenced by. Think about this before you let your child have a Game Boy.”

—Ann Patchett, novelist, The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life (2011)

• Editorial Comment: Explains a lot: I grew up on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In.






• Heart & Soul: Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs from Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, about the importance of free expression? Click here.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

News from our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
250 brave icy Hyrum waters to take ‘Polar Plunge’ for Special Olympics, by Kristi Ottley
Flooded basements, closed roads still the story in Cache Valley, by Jemina Herrero
LaPlante: Doing ‘missionary journalism,’ from classroom to war zone, by Kristen Munson
North Logan boundary change may affect corn maze, by Steve Kent
Guv gives Aggies political pep talk, vows more support for colleges, by Allie Jeppson




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Cukes at Farmers’ Market.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Heart & Soul

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Public Health


“Freedom to speak and write about public questions is as important to the life of our government as is the heart to the human body. In fact, this privilege is the heart of our government. If that heart be weakened, the result is debilitation; if it be stilled, the result is death.”


—Hugo L. Black (1886-1971), U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1942


Editorial Comment: Get me the national defibrillator, stat!







Image:
The U.S. Supreme Court on October 23, 1967: (front row, left to right)
John Marshall Harlan, Hugo Black, Earl Warren, William O. Douglas, and William J. Brennan Jr.;
(back row, left to right) Abe Fortas, Potter Stewart, Byron R. White, and Thurgood Marshall.

Bettmann/Corbis.

Tweet of the night from @317lindquist: “Spent all day printing out Wikipedia. If anyone needs it, you can take turns signing it out...” (ref: Yesterday’s WORD, “Stoppa SOPA.” Thanks to tweeting WORDster Bruce Adomeit)

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

Visit our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
Guv gives Aggies political pep talk, vows more support for colleges, by Allie Jeppson
Planning commission reconsiders Smithfield animal laws, by Jessica Wilkinson
Protecting water supply is Richmond’s main concern with ski resort, by Chris Lee
18-year-old USU sophomore killed in Idaho crash on I-84
Life after the Church: Former Mormons reflect on their decision, by Heidi Hansen





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A misty morning dawns over Cache Valley, Northern Utah.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stoppa SOPA

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Congress learned Wednesday what the Arab Spring showed governments across the Middle East and Northern Africa last year—the power of social media, which may have stopped SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Internet Property Act) dead.

Internet Flexes Political Muscles

“Wikipedia, the world’s free online encyclopedia, went dark on Wednesday and other Internet players including Google put black censorship bars on portions of their websites in protest of pending U.S. legislation designed to curb online piracy. . . Internet companies aim to get U.S. lawmakers to back off of bills designed to shut down access to overseas websites that traffic in stolen content or counterfeit goods.

“Internet players argue the bills would undermine innovation and free speech rights and compromise the functioning of the Internet. ‘Something this big—which looks to be the largest and most prolific online protest ever in the short history of the Internet—that's bound to get the attention of lawmakers across the board,’ said Jeffrey Silva, an analyst at Medley Global Advisors.” (Reuters)

CBS: “Yesterday’s Internet-wide protest may not have killed Congress’s anti-piracy efforts completely, but a lot of legislators (including some co-sponsors) suddenly can’t run away from the bills fast enough. According to Ars Technica’s count, 18 Senators, mostly Republican, have withdrawn their support for the Protect IP Act in the last 24 hours, including seven former co-sponsors.” (CBS)

BBC: “‘More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge,” Wikipedia posted. You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. “From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defence of a free and open Internet.’

“Elsewhere, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg deemed the occasion worthy enough to post his first tweet in almost three years.

“‘Tell your congressmen you want them to be pro-Internet,’ he wrote, linking to a longer statement on Facebook.

“He continued: ‘We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the Internet’s development.

“‘Facebook opposes Sopa and Pipa, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the Internet.’” (BBC)

Editorial Comment: Don’t mess with my Wikipedia!

Related: Useful video explaining proposed laws.

Share the WORD: Today’s WORD on SOPA. Click here.

Fact-Check: Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs from New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane? Click here.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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

18-year-old USU sophomore killed in Idaho crash on I-84
Life after the Church: Former Mormons reflect on their decision, by Heidi Hansen




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A tropical-looking December sunset over the U.S. Coast Guard station on the Samoa spit near the entrance to Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fact-check?

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All the News That Fits

“Arthur Brisbane, the public editor of the New York Times, went to his readers with a question (1/12/12): ‘I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.’

“Brisbane (who, as public editor, speaks only for himself, not the Times) referred to two recent stories: the claim that Clarence Thomas had ‘misunderstood’ a financial reporting form when he left out key information, and Mitt Romney’s assertion that President Obama gives speeches ‘apologising’ for America. Brisbane asked whether news reporters should have the freedom to investigate and respond to those comments.

“The reaction from readers was swift, voluminous, negative and incredulous.

“‘Is this a joke? THIS IS YOUR JOB.

“‘If the purpose of the NYT is to be an inoffensive container for ad copy, then by all means continue to do nothing more than paraphrase those press releases.’

“‘I hope you can help me, Mr. Brisbane, because I’m an editor, currently unemployed: is fecklessness now a job requirement?’”

—Clay Shirky, media author and columnist, “New York Times Public Editor Asks Whether Paper Should Fact-Check Politicians; Gets Resounding ‘Yes!’” AlterNet.com, Jan. 15, 2011

Editorial Comment: Motto: “All the News that Doesn’t Offend”? Well, as publishing mogul Lord Thompson observed, news copy is useful in a newspaper because it prevents advertisements from bumping up against one another.

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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

18-year-old USU sophomore killed in Idaho crash on I-84
Life after the Church: Former Mormons reflect on their decision, by Heidi Hansen




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A tropical-looking December sunset over the U.S. Coast Guard station on the Samoa spit near the entrance to Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Overeating

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Time (Mis)management?

“This is the first year that I think my productivity has dropped because [of my media consumption]. I’m looking at the coming year and thinking, what am I going to give up? Am I going to give up following the NFL? Am I going to give up listening to music and going out and seeing it? Am I going to give up riding my bike? Or am I going to cut back on some of these digital habits I have that are eating me alive and some of these . . . endless panels about the future of journalism? The future of journalism is wearing badges and talking on panels, as far as I can tell.”

—David Carr, media columnist, The New York Times, “David Carr: The News Diet of a Media Omnivore,” on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, WHYY, National Public Radio, Oct. 27, 2011
Image: Carr (left) with Times Media Editor Bruce Headlam, from 2011 documentary PAGE ONE.

Related Carr WORD.

• Editorial Comment: Lessee, what to do, what to do? Facebook or shower? Tweet or eat? Skype or read a book? Link or think?

• Related: Page One: Inside the New York Times,” a documentary on the angst and travails of America’s greatest newspaper, featuring the media reporting staff, including David Carr. Reviewer Michael Kinsley calls the film “a mess,” but I recommend it.


MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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

18-year-old USU sophomore killed in Idaho crash on I-84
Life after the Church: Former Mormons reflect on their decision, by Heidi Hansen




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Coast Guard motor lifeboat Humboldt Bay comes to the WORD’s rescue in the Pacific over Christmas break. Click on the image for the harrowing tale.


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Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK (1929-1968)

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Misquoted Inspiration

WASHINGTON, D.C.—“Dozens of students from an elementary school in Washington took turns Friday reciting [the Rev. Martin Luther] King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.

“‘We are humbled to be here today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the enduring legacy of his vision for a nation united by respect, integrity and justice,’ said Watkins Elementary School assistant principal Suriya Douglas Williams. ‘Our fifth-graders have studied and prepared diligently to share Dr. King’s message with you, a message which still resonates today, nearly five decades after he first delivered it.’” (CNN)

But King is misquoted on his new 30-foot “Stone of Hope” memorial on the National Mall, by Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin.

“There’s a quote carved into the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall: ‘I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness,’” NPR’s Scott Simon said.

“Except, as poet Maya Angelou pointed out this week, it’s not a quote. It’s a concentrated paraphrase that takes a word here and there from a speech that begins with Dr. King saying that he didn't wanted to be lauded, but . . . ‘If you want to say that I was a drum major,’ he began, ‘say that I was a drum major for justice ...’

“Ms. Angelou, a consultant to the memorial, said the words as chiseled, ‘makes Dr. Martin Luther King look like an arrogant twit. . . . The ‘if’ clause that is left out is salient. Leaving it out changes the meaning completely.’

“The memorial’s chief architect told NPR that the quote was ‘a paraphrase of the original statement based on design constraints.’ Meaning, I suppose, ‘Hey, there’s only so much room on the wall.’” (Scott Simon, National Public Radio, Sept. 3, 2011)

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last week gave the Park Service 30 days to fix the misquotation, saying that in his experience, things a more likely to get done when there’s a deadline.

More (complete) quotes from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), who would have been 83 yesterday:

• “Curtailment of free speech is rationalized on grounds that a more compelling American tradition forbids criticism of the government when the nation is at war.... Nothing can be more destructive of our fundamental democratic traditions than the vicious effort to silence dissenters.”

• “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

• “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verbs agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

• “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

• “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

• “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”


• Editorial Comment: How would the world be different today without the assassinations of the 1960s? What would Martin, John and Bobby have done?

MORE INTERESTING STUFF . . . .

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

18-year-old USU sophomore killed in Idaho crash on I-84
Life after the Church: Former Mormons reflect on their decision, by Heidi Hansen




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Coast Guard cutter Humboldt Bay comes to the WORD’s rescue in the Pacific over Christmas break. Click on the image for the harrowing tale.
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