ASNE – Arizona Final Thoughts

I’ve been following the blog of the ASU/ASNE Reynolds program this summer and this video from their final session is worth the watch and why you should apply for next summer’s foundation.

Cool Links #45: Stress Is Bad For You

I’ve been under a lot of stress lately, especially for summer break, and it has not been good to me.  I have a peptic ulcer and my doctor says that I need to relax and worry less.  So here’s to hoping that I get some good news soon and while we wait – cool links:

1 – Here are 41 Online Color Tools that are great for web designers, but can also be of value in yearbook, newspaper or photography classes too when teaching color.   Check them out, this link by itself is an afternoon of fun.  A 42 tool is this HTML color code page which really is just for web designers.

2 – If you use Twitter or anytime you need to send someone a URL and just don’t want the URL to be a mile long, then you need to add the Firefox TinyURL addon to your browser.  Comes in handy.

3 – Some of the best, and free, inspiration for layout and design is online.  Both web designers and print designers can learn from these 25 Excellent Examples of Texture in Design.

4 – Insert the word Yearbook Assignment for the word Project and you will get this graphic.

Yearbook Project Time Chart

Yearbook Project Time Chart

5 – This list is for Journalism Grads, but I think it would benefit most journalism/media teachers to follow the same list, heck pick just five to do this summer and you will have learned something.

6 – I don’t always like or agree with what Howard Owens has to say, but this blog post was spot on.  Journalism has thrived and survived in many forms in the 200+ years since the passage of the Bill of Rights.  Just because one form of journalism is dying, does not mean journalism is dead.  It will continue on, just in a different form, probably one we don’t know yet.

7 – This cool links roundup seems to be heavy on the web tools, and so here’s 27 Must-Have-Starter Tools for Web Designers.

8 – If you teach any form of journalism, then you need to read Mindy McAdams’ post about what we really need to be teaching young aspiring journalism students today.  It is a real wake up call.

9 – The Edit Foundry blog has a useful post on a concept he calls Eye Trace, that is similar to the photographic concepts of dominant subject, rule of thirds and leading lines.  It’s all about making the viewer look where you want them to.

10 – Another useful video tip came from Bob Kaplitz’s blog about how to make the most out of very little b-roll.

11 – The digital Photography School has the element that is almost impossible to teach young photographers and video journalists – curiosity.

I am trying not to feel stress.  I am trying not to feel stress.  Etc. Etc. Etc. Calm.

12 Simple Ways to Be The Best Yearbook Staff

Thanks for the idea for this post from the itstartswith.us blog

1 – Care About People:  This means both the other yearbook staff members and your customers.  You have to care about what they want almost as much as what you want.  If you can do that, you’ll be successful.

2 – Always Be Honest:  When you work with people and money, honest is always the best policy.  When you are managing money, make sure you always keep good account of money given to you or paid to you.  When dealing with people, you can only burn them once and get away with it.  The yearbook is forever, so you can’t burn them this year and hope they buy it next year.

3 – Speak Your Mind:  Don’t be afraid to say what you mean.  But don’t be mean when you say it.  Be open and honest, but not with a hard edge on it.  But never keep back something that you think is important.  The rest of the group might not always listen, but at least you said it.

4 – Be Respectful:  Always treat others on staff and in your school, and your customers with respect.  Respect does not mean that you always do what they tell you to.  Respect sometimes means disagreeing, but it can be done with respect.  Don’t treat your customers like they are dumb.  Listen to what they have to say and give them what they want within reason.

5 – Ask For Help and Give It Too: A yearbook staff is a team.  The team only works as well as it’s weakest member.  If you need help, ask for it.  If you are asked for help, give it.  Helping someone else is really helping yourself.  The strongest members of a team always end up working harder at deadline time if work is not done.

6 – Plan, Plan, Plan and Have A Backup:  You can never plan enough for emergencies.  Backup data, have a backup plan, have backup staff and always have a secondary plan.  Stuff happens in life.  Things will go wrong.  Be ready for when it does.

7 – Work Hard: You can’t expect others to do their job, if you won’t do yours.  Come early as my old band director used to tell us and stay late.  Give it your 100 percent attention while you are there. Don’t bring your homework from another class or your personal issues.  Leave them at the door and come ready to work.

8 – Ask Questions and Look It Up:  Help yourself because you can.  If you know that the answer is in the online help or technical documents – then read it for yourself.  But if you don’t know where or how to find the answer, then ask.

9 – Know the Rules and When To Break Them:  Should you go to workshops or read books about yearbook design there will be all kinds of rules.  Some of the rules are good and helpful, but others will only make students in your school dislike the yearbook.  Each school is different and has it’s own informal rules.  Know when to break the rules in order to be successful, not just because you can.

10 – Give Them More Than They Expect:  Whether it’s the yearbook itself or your staff, give more than they ask for.  You’ll be surprised how when you give more, you get more back too.

11 – Organization Counts:  The yearbook runs on deadlines, both for the staff and for the students too.  Don’t slack about keeping up with photo shoots, picture days, page deadlines, etc.  Keep lots of calendars and make sure everyone knows when the deadlines are and when they are expected to be there.

12 - Be Who You Are:  Don’t be like everyone else.  Just because most people on yearbook staff are into reading Twilight books doesn’t mean you can be the gamer kid or the sports kid.  There are so many jobs in yearbook – photographer, designer, writer, ad sales, book keeper, editor and more.  Be your own person and find your niche.

Five Things Sesame Street Can Teach Your Yearbook

Thanks for the idea Copyblogger, check out his Five Things Sesame Street Can Teach A Blogger.

1.  Drive Your Book With Data – Every episode of Sesame Street is audience tested – so are most successful TV shows and movies.  We have to audience test our yearbook to find out what they liked and didn’t like.  This may be journalism, but we should also be learning marketing too.  Do more of what they like and see if it raises your sales.

2.  Be One of the People in the Neighborhood – Find out who are the big fish in every pond in your school.  Who’s the drum major of the band, the basketball team captain, the NHS president.  They are the kids who will buy a yearbook.  Find out what they want to see in the yearbook.  Ask them to help you sell yearbooks in their club or organization for a commission (percent off their yearbook).

3.  Make it Fun – Sesame Street teaches the basics of math and reading with lots of fun for little kids.  The old days of boring yearbooks with gray pages are over.  Yearbooks must be in color and have lots of fun and interesting ideas in them.  Strive to make every page of the yearbook as fun as possible.

4.  Be Balanced – Sesame Street keeps it all balanced well.  Short segments that seem random, but are actually well balanced to keep kids attention.  Keep your book balanced between what you must cover and what the students want.  Of course you have to have sports in the book, but if athletes aren’t buying the book, should 25 percent of the pages be devoted to them?  Don’t just do what you’ve always done.  This is not your parent’s yearbook anymore, they didn’t have Facebook to contend with.

5.  Repeat, but With Style – Sesame Street knows you must repeat it, so they can learn it.  But repetition can be boring.  When you settle on a theme, don’t hammer it on every page so it gets boring.  Spread it out, reuse theme items enough that they become familiar, but not boring.

There are now less than 10 months until the 2010 yearbooks come out.  The sooner you get started, the better.  Happy Summer!

Cool Links #44: Anticipation Mode

Still in waiting mode, and as I said before – I’m not good at it.  So on to the links…

1 – Not all newspapers are dead.  The Naples Daily News is doing quite well for itself and moving into new digs.  Many newspapers are still profitable, even in the midst of recession.  Of course printing on paper daily has a limited future, many people still like it.

2 – The evolution of a photographer.  Funny.

Evolution or De-evolution of a Photographer

Evolution or De-evolution of a Photographer

3 – PBS Mediashift has a long, but interesting article about how newsrooms are adapting to or even banning Twitter and a list of 20 “Rules” for Twittering as a journalist.

4 – My first photojournalism lesson is called – Drawing with Light.  This LIFE photo gallery of Pablo Picasso using a flashlight to DRAW with light in photographs is just too cool to pass up.

5 – Open Thinking has a list of nearly 90 videos online for technology and media literacy.  I have not gone through the entire list, but there are already some gems I’ve seen before.

6 – The Pew Internet Project has this graph on their web site that shows that nearly 60 percent of all homes have broadband and that 80 percent of all homes have internet service.  I’m guessing the last 20 percent are too rural or can not afford internet connections or a computer.  I would love to see public broadband in cities over 100,000 made a goal of this administration.  But it is good that we are here.

Broadband Adoption Data

Broadband Adoption Data

7 – Everytime I think that I’ve found all the good journalism blogs, I’m proven wrong.  Campfire Journalism is going to be added to my RSS reader and there is a great post to start you off on this blog with Helpful Online Tutorials for Journalism.

8 – Newsvideographer reminds us to write to our video by pointing to the Edit Foundry blog who has a great post on the subject here with this video.

9 – As we use more and more multimedia in my classroom, this year I hope to add audio podcasts and that means recording speech.  Usingmac has a terrific tutorial on using Garage Band to record speech.

10 – This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.  A photo list of do’s and don’ts that are true and tounge in cheek.  When you get to the site, there are no photos, but there is a tiny “next” button – click on it.  There are a LOT of examples, but worth it to check them all out.

11 – This might make a fun lesson for yearbook staff after the book is done – found typeography.  This is a post on found and built typeography in the real world.

That’s it for this week.  YOU will just have to be patient while I find some more cool links.

Cool Links #43: Not Good At Waiting

I’m waiting on several things this week – our school is supposed to find out at some point how much stimulus money we get for one thing.  And I am terrible at waiting.  I have no patience.  None.   So, to keep myself from going crazy, here are some cool links.

1 – iJustine has a series of fun and cool PSA videos about being a good digital citizen.  I think I’m going to have my video kids do an assignment like this in the fall.

2 – This is why Twitter is so cool (I am @teach_j by the way).  The ICFJ Twitter friended me and I never even knew they existed until I looked in my followers list this week.

3 – Scott Bourne of Photofocus thinks that it is time that we abandon the form factor (design) of the SLR camera and allow dSLRs to be more innovative.  I’m not against innovation, but as recently as five years ago camera makers tried all kinds of designs.  Most of them were horrible.  The two designs that survived the basic rectangle point and shoot and the SLR.  I think it is due to more than just familiarity.  I think these form factors are the most usable too.  Too bad you don’t allow comments on your site Scott.

4 – Myinkblog.com has an excellent post on the four principles of good web design with lots of great examples of each principle.

5 – Unrealitymag.com has a decent list of 15 low budget films that made a killing.  Their list is heavy on scifi and horror, but it is still a good list.  I teach a unit on film production and I usually kick it off with the Robert Rodriguez classic El Mariachi, which he made in Mexico for around $10,000.  But they left it off their list.  I highly recommend watching it on DVD with the alternate audio track as Rodriguez tells the story of how they created the effects and everything else on such a low budget.

6 – Viewfinder Blues has a great quick tip for video journalists – white balance on whatever you have available quickly.  It helps you from missing a shot. I know that when I worked in TV I always kept a folded piece of copy paper in my pocket just for white balance.  But I’ve also white balanced on all kinds of white and not-so-white objects.

7 – 1TimStreet tells the story via video of how photographer Alexx Henry is taking movie posters to the next level

Moving Movie Posters

Moving Movie Posters

- moving movie posters.  You know those vertical video screens you see at all the malls and grocery stores?  Well he wanted to mash video and photography together using the new Red Camera.  Very Cool.

8 – Open Source Cinema is presenting RIP 2.0 a documentary about copyright.  Boring – WRONG!  It is all about how the remix culture and copyright are at war with each other.  This is a great documentary.  It is chopped up into sections on the site and you can pick and choose which ones you want to use in class.  – Thanks Wicked Decent Learning for the link to this.

9 – Finally, the Baltimore Sun has an article about High School Journalism going online.  The economy is affecting all journalism, but HS Journalism was already on a tight budget.  The best part is that they quote my friend Diana Mitsu Klos, senior project director of the ASNE High School Journalism Initiative.  I met Diana at the ASU/ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Fellowship last summer.  This summer, they are in the middle of the fellowship already and they are producing a great blog that is almost as good as being there.   Well worth the read.

Keep cool and have a great summer.

Missing Arizona

Exactly one year ago today, I was in Arizona attending the ASNE Reynold Journalism Fellowship.  This was probably the best professional development of my teaching career.  Not only was it the best instruction I ever got in both journalism and education, but I met a great group of people that I still keep in touch with and both like and admire.

Beautiful Tempe, Ariz.

Beautiful Tempe, Ariz.

But I have been able to feel like a part of this year’s program by reading their blog posts.  It looks like Steve Elliot, the excellent director of the ASU Reynolds program and the head of their incredible new Chronikte News Center, has set up a blog for the new batch of recruits. I wish them well and hope that their experience is at least half as good as what we got last summer.

I wish we could all go back and do it again.  I know that I’ve learned so much by trying to put into practice the vast wealth of information, skills and techniques that I learned there.  I also hope that they take advantage of having one of the best teachers I’ve ever met with them once again – Alan Weintraut of Annandale High School.  He was one of the best resources and one of the best friends we could have possibly had during our two weeks there.

I can only say that I will jealously follow the ASNE blog as often as it is updated.  I’ve put it in my RSS reader and hope to see updates every day.  That way I can at least imagine that I’m back at ASU in beautiful Arizona.

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