Books on Papers

The Wall Street Journal has a good collection of recommendations for books about great and infamous newspaper writing. I plan on reading 2-5 on the list. Something to do on a rainy Sunday.

Mr. C

More On How To Be A Good J Student

This seems to be the topic du jour – how to be a good j student. I mainly focus on how to be a good j teacher, but I’m open to advice for our students.

Both posts today come from college based blogs, but once again the advice is just as good for high school journalists. There is a good post from Innovation in College Media on how to be a good student and another on Teaching Online Journalism on how to be a better photojournalism student.

Both of these posts go great with the posts about the Circle of Life of a Journalist from the other day. It makes a complete package of how to get the most out of your high school or college journalism training.

Mr. C

Copy, Copy, Copyright

This is a very interesting topic with too few resources, but Ars Technica has a great article with a link to a great PDF document that is available for teachers. It is cool because it is one of the few resources that gives full credit to both sides in the debate. It gives credit to the copyright police as well as the concept of fair use.

And since it comes form Ars Technica, it definately has grreat resources for web designers. It is one of my favorite topics and I’ve discussed it several times before, here, here, and here.

Mr. C

In The Beginning There Was a Pyramid (Inverted)

The Daily Writing Tip blog has three great posts for your first lesson on writing. First is How To Write News, the second is on the Inverted Pyramid, and the third is on the 5Ws and the H.

This is a trifecta of learning on how to do basic journalism for any j class – broadcast, newspaper, intro to j, or even yearbook!

Pick a blog post and start intro to journalism.

Mr. C

Sick Day – What Do You Do?

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I’m home today with my ill son. He has an ear infection. It looks like it is getting better, but I had to scramble to put together a lesson for each of my five preps (classes). I actually teach on a seven period day, but have two class periods that repeat.

But this post is really about what you should, or can do on a sub day. First, you need to get a textbook. Yes, those ancient things printed on paper. Most journalism and media textbooks are seriously lacking, but here’s my list of a few good ones. Try to find some money to buy a class set of one a year – or convince your principal or district to buy them for you. If all else fails fund raise.

My favorite resource is the JEA Bookstore, because membership has its privileges.

For broadcast or video production, the book Television Production and its workbook seem like the best out there. I say this because I don’t actually have it. I have a terrible book that the state gave us that is about 5-6 years out of date.

For yearbook, newspaper or general journalism – I like The Radical Write and Journalism Today. Make sure you get the Radical CD and the JToday workbook too. And I also like the 1,2,3 Yearbook Guide.

One of the real problems is photography. I used to like the book Applied Photography, but it is out of print and about 8 years old. It has almost no section on digital photography.

Make sure you copy plenty of “throw down” lessons before each semester starts. Then if you have an emergency or a terrible day, you have some seat work lessons for your students to do with a sub.

I really hate interrupting the production schedule when I’m out, but my students have not shown themselves to be up to the task of working without oversight. The subs in my district are not really good enough to provide quality oversight, so I can’t trust my students with the equipment when I’m not there.

Mr. C

The Circle of Life in Journalism

As a former journalist myself, I understand why some people leave the profession.  But as a journalism teacher,  I’m at the other end of the spectrum – trying to encourage young impressionable minds to join the ranks.

I sometimes think things come to me by some kind of karma some days.  Today I ran across Paul Bradshaw’s blog post on 10 Things Journalism Students need to do to be better journalism students.   His post is focused on college journalists, but most are no less true for high school journalists, my favorite being – learn how to spell.

But right after I read his post, I stumbled across The Recovering Journalist blog which had a great post about life after journalism.  And  for many high school journalism teachers, the battle is winning or keeping talented kids in your classroom.  They wonder why they should keep doing the hard work of journalists when they don’t plan on becoming one.  This post answers those questions, and the answer is that good writing will be a skill that is marketable.  The researching and marketing skills they learn in your classroom will help them in nearly any job they hold in the future.

If there is one classroom that looks remotely like the real world it is the journalism class.  We must watch our bottom line, sell a product, market the product, create the product and do it while still trying to master the skills needed.

So, why – journalism?  Because it is the toughest job you’ll ever love.  (apologies to the navy)

Mr. C

Park Your Links In The Right Places

Web designers need to make sure that they understand the difference between the five types of links and how to use them on their site. Copyblogger has a great post on this and why it is important to make the most effective use out of each type of link.

Happy web designing.

Mr. C

You’re Not My Type(face) Part II

Or How I Stopped Fearing Fonts and Love Typography

This web site is a great resource for teaching typography and every media student needs to know something about it. Print designers need to understand kerning and leding, while web and broadcasters need to understand the readability of various fonts and how they are affected by their medium.

My favorite article on the site is “Who Shot the Serif?”

Kern on!

See also my earlier post about type.

Mr. C

10 Tips To Write Better (simple right?)

Actually it is, you can teach your kids to write better copy for the yearbook, newspaper or broadcast with these great tips.  It is a cool blog entry with writing tips from ten great writers throughout history.  The tips are obvious and what you are probably teaching already, but this blog post is a gem.

Mr. C

Get A (Down)load of This – The Mac Classroom

Need a free application for your tired media budget?  I know I do.  Here’s a great place to get open source applications.  Most are free to a good home.  Read all the info before downloading.

They have tools for almost every media area – web, music, video, photography, etc.  And a lot of great Mac utilities too.

Worth the visit.

Mr. C

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