Cool Links #52: Football Camp Was Fun

My 8-year-old son spent all week at football camp.  He had some fun and got a t-shirt.  But I also got to have my kind of fun too.  I shot photos on two days of the camp and put together a little photo video for the kids to see today.  The coach made copies for all the kids.  Happiness all around.

1 – I’m going to kick this off with two tutorials from Audio Tuts+ they have a two-part tutorial on recording audio in the field.  Part 1 and Part 2. Both together make a good before, during and after learning session.

2 – I love this metaphor from photofocus, a good exposure is like a slice of pizza.  I also like it because of the three elements of a good exposure ISO, Shutter Speed and f/Stop.  Three sides of a triangle or a pizza slice.

3 – Do you have these 11 Characteristics of Highly Creative People?  Thanks to copyblogger for the post.

4 – NewsTrust brings us the 4-D’s of Thinking Like A Journalist. I am definitely going to share this will all my journalism kids this year.  They need to do more of each of the four D’s.

5 – At my campus, we have been moving toward more and more online content, but we still need to think about how online is different from print or broadcast.  Advancing the Story has Five Ways to Improve Your Newsrooms Online Output.

6 – I like this idea and may try to put it into practice some way this year – Everybody Has a Story To Tell.

7 – The LIFE photo archive keeps producing great results – this time it is the World’s Bloodiest Battles with the famous photos from the Civil War to WWI to WWII.

8 – This post is borderline on whether I would use it in the classroom or not and it aired on the local news somewhere.  This is what not to do during a standup.

What Not To Do During A Standup

What Not To Do During A Standup

9 – The White House is saving money and that’s good, but they are cutting all newspaper and magazine subscriptions and that can’t be good.

10 – Great moments in technology that CNN has tried out – many of them web based.

11 – The Harvard School of Business has basically said that niche papers are the only way for journalism to be profitable in the future.  I think that is true.  The only troubling issue to me is that there will be no one left with deep pockets to do investigative journalism. The Media Business Blog agrees basically and says that there is no model for 20th Century Journalism as a megabusiness.   And there is another post from the Online Journalism Blog that blames the web for the changes in economics that have killed traditional journalism.

12 – Jon Stewart is the most trusted newsman in America.  NBC’s Brian Williams is a distant second.

Jon Stewart takes up Walter Cronkite's mantle.

Jon Stewart takes up Walter Cronkite's mantle.

13 – Journalism 101 is bucking the trend and defends J-Schools as valuable for the 16 Things You Learn in Journalism School.

14 – Blogger Justin McLachlan posts 10 Things You Need To Understand To Save Journalism.

15 – Lynda.com has posted 15 of their highly rated tutorial videos about Final Cut Pro for Free.

16 – We know that the MegaPixel wars are over.  All cameras have plenty of MP these days.  What are the five features you really need on your digital camera?

17 – It’s not Big Brother of 1984 that we need to worry about says Michael Wesch, but the society of overabundance in a Brave New World that is the danger we face today. I liked this talk so much, I’m reading Brave New World right now. This comic, Amusing Ourselves To Death, sums up the main points – but the video is good too.

18 – The Way We Watch blog has a great post on how TV news should change to attract more audience in the future, he has several specific ideas on how to change newscasts.

19 – The New York Times reports that Cornell University has done a study showing that the news cycle today is 2.5 hours.  Wow!  That’s fast.

20 – Kirk LaPointe’s blog says the Internet is not killing newspapers, direct mail marketing is because it is taking the most expensive ads away from the newspaper due to targeted nature of mailing.

Have a great week, school will be starting soon.  I have about two more weeks until teachers go back for inservice.  I’m ready to go back, but not ready for inservice.

Cool Links #51: Sorry, No Cute Name

Here’s another edition of Cool Links. Couldn’t think up a cute name for this one.

1 – This one is an interesting image search that looks for images that are under CC (creative commons) license on Flickr called Compfight.

2 – I’ve been looking for this forever, and like Daniel in Karate Kid, my wife found it on her first try, it is a Depth of Field Calculator that works with Nikon, Canon and more.

You beginner luck!

You beginner luck!

3 – If you are looking for a free online web host and are tired of the choices out there, try Jimodo, Free Tech for Teachers has a video on how easy it is to set up.

4 – Congratulations to one our favorite blogs – The Edit Foundry, who just won an Emmy for a documentary he edited, but more importantly he posted his methods on the blog for us to share.

5 – This post by Adam Westbrook backs up nearly everything I was saying in my last post about journalism and the future.  I feel great because I have five former students studying media of some kind, but I do hope they can find jobs when they graduate too.

6 –   The One-Man-Band Reporter has a great four step process for framing head shot interviews.  It’s worth the look.

7 -  You ever buy a new computer or suffer a terrible crash on the old one?  Now you are killing yourself to remember all the apps you had from the internet that were so incredibly useful.  Now, you can have a place to keep track of all your favorite apps – I Use This.  The site has places for Windows, Mac and iPhone applications, both commercial and freeware – and if there is an app not in their huge database, you can add it.

8 – The NYT has a well written recap of the Brian Williams-Jon Stewart smack down from the Daily Show.  Both were quite witty and quick.  Fun to watch.

Williams and Stewart go head to head.

Williams and Stewart go head to head.

9 – Daringfireball blog has a good post about how charging for online news content is a losing game.

10 – I prefer Canon cameras to Nikon, not to start any kind of debate over which is better.  Canon cameras fit my budget and they seem simpler to teach than Nikons.  But sometimes even Canon icons can be hard to figure out.  Here’s a list of common Canon DSLR icons and what they mean.

11 – This is so cool, just for memory lane time, but also for teaching advertising technique for video class – Duke University has a digital collection called Ad Views – lots of classic TV ads.  Too much fun.

12 – There has always been some controversy about Robert Capa’s Fallen Soldier photo taken during the Spanish Civil War.  But now there is even more, read all about it at the Daily Telegraph.

Bonus – This last link has nothing to do with journalism, but I love the song “All Along The Watchtower,” and I’m a big fan of Battlestar Galactica.

The Truth About Journalism’s Future

Right now, I have five former students studying some kind of media or journalism.  One is a senior at North Texas studying graphic design and film, one is a junior who just finished as the editor at her junior college newspaper and will be studying journalism at Texas State, and the other three will be freshmen: one at the University of Texas studying PR, one at Sam Houston State studying graphic design and one at the Art Institute studying visual design and photography.

The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a teacher is make sure that each one understood just how tough the job market is and how it is likely to get worse, not better in the near future.  Journalism and media careers are tough right now.  But there are a few things that can help or hurt them if they understand the playing field.

First, they need to understand that traditional news organizations are overstaffed for the internet age.  Here’s the problem in a nutshell.

Too many journalists, too few stories.

Too many journalists, too few stories.

This photo really tells the story.  Back in the day, this was a success story for media.  It let the powerful know they were somebody by the number of cameras and microphones stuck in their faces.  But, in the internet age, you do not have to watch your local TV station or read your local newspaper to get the news of the world.  Having 50 journalists covering the same story is wasteful of resources and is one factor dragging the news media down.  A small number of journalists could do the same job for less money.  That has to happen because ad money is less online than in print and print ad money is dwindling.  Media outlets need to decide what they want to focus on and then jettison the rest.  This is happening and will be painful.

I live in a major metro area.  The local newspaper could probably be run with 40 percent of the current staff, maybe even less.  Most local papers should focus on local news – city hall, schools, traffic, courts, local sports (not pro/college unless the team is in your town), local culture (theater, arts, food, performances) local industry/business and that’s about it.  They need to stop trying to cover state and national government – too expensive.  Stop covering international news – way too expensive. In today’s paper there are only 26 local stories in the 58 page print edition, and that was counting all five counties in our metro area as local.  That’s only one story for every two pages – too much of that news can be found online and done by reporters closer to the story in other publications.

Cut back on mid-level editors and designers.  Reporters must be designers and editors now.  Reporters also need to shoot/edit photos and video.  In the future I don’t see much room for photographers and camera operators.  Those used to be “extra” skills, now they are essential.  Every reporter must blog, twitter and use social media. Every photographer must write and design.  The newsroom will shrink and one trick ponies days are numbered.

Additionally, why even have a newsroom?  What an expense.  Have a small “office space” located near the majority of the local offices you must cover, usually downtown.  Everything else can be done via Skype and Google Docs collaboratively.  Don’t waste reporter’s time coming in to the office.  They only need a laptop, cell phone and a camera – plus an internet connection.

This is the second thing I tell my students, they must be prepared for the internet age.  I was an unusual journalism student for the 1980s.  I was a “print” major, but I took every design class and every video class I could.  I was well-rounded when I graduated and ended up in TV.  Today, students need to be able to write, design (print and web) and do visual journalism (photos/video).  Those are the MUST have skills.  It doesn’t matter if you want to work for a TV Station (soon to be more online, than over the air), print media (soon to be more online than on dead trees), in PR (must work with all forms of media and more often online), film (start-ups/indy all online), or some thing else – the same skill set is needed.

Finally, I tell them that they need to be the best at what they do and be a self-promoter.  The media organizations of tomorrow will require reporters who can sell themselves and their product.  It’s a loud world on the internet and to be heard, you better be good and creative.  I think there will be plenty of opportunity after the current “media crisis” dies down.  Right now there are too many bloated media organizations with legacy thinking, legacy costs and employees that can only do one thing.  The future of media is smaller, mobile, multimedia journalism with employees that CAN do it all.  How do I know it can be done?  Because I teach print, video, photo, design and web.  If an old dog like me can learn new tricks, these young pups can too.

Cool Links #50: It’s All Golden

This is my 50th Cool Links post and I’m bearing down on 500 total posts on my blog.  That is very cool.

1 – I just started reading this blog in my RSS reader, Emily Ingram who has for five weeks been posting great tutorials on how to start a blog and give it all the useful content in various forms.  Great stuff – this week is about adding plugins.

2 – This post is scary, from the Online Journalism Blog, it is about the future of journalism and journalists paying out of their own pockets to do journalism.  I’m sorry, but I can’t see very many people wanting to do this.  Not many people are going to want to pay to do journalism.

3 – This is why I keep Blackstarrising in my RSS feed, because of home run blog posts like this one.  David Weintraub reflects on 9 Things that Make a Great Teacher.  I think he hits it out of the park and for more than just media teachers.

4 – This is just plain cool.  This guy has built several cameras and made them work.  He has photos of the cameras and some example photos he has taken.

5 – When you have photo day at school, maybe you should distribute 10 Ways To Look Good in a Photo.

6 – Wired Magazine has Chris Anderson’s audio book Free available for a free download.  Snag it – for FREE!

7 – Teaching photo composition, but you don’t have any good examples.  Hongkiat.com has 80 outstanding photos all from Paris with lots of great photo composition ideas.

8 – Not sure what a DIMM looks like or an HDMI port?  What is the difference between Firewire 400 and 800?  This poster has almost every RAM type, connector port and video/audio plug in I’ve ever heard of and it is visual.

9 – This is an interesting post on how game designers can help newspaper/media types.  Everything from free online games to buying games to play on your XBOX. Sometimes you have to give stuff away to get a buzz and then people will buy something too.

10 – Can’t make any money using Twitter?  Can’t make any money giving away news?  This kid is and I’m following his BNO.

11 – Most media teachers and many journalism teachers teach in a 1:1 or nearly 1:1 classroom.  This means there is a computer for every student or every student who needs one.  Free Technology For Teachers has a post 10 Things You Need to Know before Going 1:1.

12 – This is just nerdy goodness.  The Periodic Table of Videos: The University of Nottingham has a video for nearly every element on the periodic table and those that don’t, they are working on it.  What can you do like it for your school?

13 – How important is copy editing in the world of fast news?  Do some people care – yes.  Does everyone care – no.  Eat Sleep Publish says that probably less than half your readers care if your copy is 100 percent clean.

14 – dPS continues Photography 101 with a lesson on Light Meters.

15 – Reuters, the British News Agency has put their Handbook of Journalism online as a Wiki.  This means they can update it anytime to improve it.  And they have a section just for video.

16 – You need a CMS – Content Management System for your school, your publication, your blog, etc.  But which one is right?  There are so many to choose from.  Noupe has 10 Simple Rules for Picking a CMS.

17 – When you run a high school publication like a yearbook, you just can’t afford a lens that can shoot great in low light that you have on Friday Night football games.  So, what do you do with that photo to make the running back pop out from the background.  Give it a shallow depth of field in Photoshop. (Yes, newspaper journalists would never do this, but yearbooks are not hard news.)

18 – Got a new, fancy TTL flash?  Then you need to read the photofocus post on using TTL flash.  And remember to RTFM – Read The Flipping Manual.

Remember – it’s all golden!

That Bloomin’ Taxonomy

If you are like me, then you did not enjoy those long lectures in college about Bloom’s Taxonomy.  It always drove me crazy and all I wanted to do was move on past the theory classes on education and into the practical application.

New Modern Bloomin Taxonomy

New Modern Bloomin Taxonomy

Journalism and Media classes often are derided as “just fun classes” where the kids “do nothing but play around with computers and electronic toys.”  But if you get out your taxonomy, then you can show that we do more higher order thinking skills before the end of 1st period, than some classes do all day.  (With apologies to the Army)

Remembering: Our students must remember various commands in multiple software packages, names of coaches and their sport, various times, days and places for photo shoots, and how to operate multiple pieces of equipment.

Understanding: It is one thing to remember where a button is, but they also have to know what it does.  The have to understand various processes such as interviewing, shooting video, taking still photos and writing copy.

Applying: This is where they take what they learn and put it into practice, actually taking photos, shooting video, editing video, designing pages, etc.

Analyzing: This is where it gets more difficult and usually this is where it is helpful for a journalism/media student to take a second or even a third year in order to analyze.  This means editing for mistakes, making suggestions for improvement, looking at photos/video to learn how to take better photos/video, editing page design or graphics for content and useablilty.

Evaluating: Probably one of the most difficult skill levels in media, looking at how successful or well constructed something was (analyzing) and then looking for ways for improvement and then implementing those ideas.

Creating: Almost everything we do leads to some kind of final product:  newspaper, yearbook, TV show, news segment, short film, photograph, web site, graphic, etc.  But of course the students also learn that the actual creation of the final work also means more work in sending it or formatting it properly for production.

Nearly everything we do leads to the very top of the Blooms Taxonomy pyramid – creation.  We don’t even think about it much, because it is just part of our industry.  How many others can say that of their assignments?

Cool Links #49: Uncle Walter, RIP

The entire journalism world is still sad about the death of an icon and former Houstonian Walter Cronkite.  So, I will kick out some journalism goodness to help us all aspire to become better journalists.

1 – My first link is a great tribute in photos to Walter Cronkite.

2 – Apparently the fight between some corporate newspaper owners and Google is turning ugly.  Google is ready and telling newspapers to put up or shut up.

3 – The Digital Photography School always has great stuff, but this is a super useful post – plugins for nearly every photo application to post photos to sharing sites like Flickr, Facebook, Smugmug and more.

4 – I think it is a good idea to give editors a preview of what is expected of them before they agree to take the job on the newspaper or yearbook staff.  Here’s a great job description for a web editor from the JEA.

5 – Adweek and Neilsen did a survey that states people don’t hate ads, and that they actual find them informative and entertaining.

6 – Mindy McAdams put out another edition of her series of skills in multimedia that reporters need.  This one (#14) is how to post video to your blog.

7 – More from dPS, a wonderful post on how to enhance the midtones in photos using photoshop.

8 – Need to make calendars to keep your staff up-to-date with assignments and deadlines.  Here’s a great online calendar tool that you can use with your own photos.

9 – The mediashift blog has an incredible post on the new low price for creating news.  It really shows how large organizations with lots of legacy costs are at a disadvantage.  The future of news is small.  In a related post, eat sleep publish blog has a post about charging for commodities that cost nearly nothing to distribute and why it won’t work.

Walter Cronkite: And That’s The Way It Was…

The grand statesman of journalism, Walter Cronkite is dead at 92.   And the world of journalism is smaller for it.

Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite

And it seems ironic with all the attention being placed on the 40 anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings.

He was always giddy as a schoolboy when it came to the space program and I can understand that because I feel the same way.

Cool Links #48: Motivation Is Key

I’m finally finding motivation to get stuff done, like redo the yearbook and broadcast web sites.  It has been great to get motivated.  So, I’m passing on some cool stuff to you.

1 – Firefox 3.5 is ready.  Whether you use a Mac, Windows or Linux – it is time to upgrade to the best browser available.  Firefox is the most standards compliant, easiest to use and most updated browser on the web.  Do your computer a favor and update.

2 – This is just for Mac users, I didn’t know this trick, but you can use it to find your serial number and much more info about your Mac.  If you are like me and run a lab with many different Macs in it, this can be very helpful to see which computer is the oldest.

3 – I don’t teach math, but occasionally I need graph paper.  It is useful for a lot of things, charts and such.  Here’s a site to download and print out graph paper for free (you provide the paper and ink.)

4 – The ASNE Fellowship program is great, and you can earn Graduate Credit (3 hours) at most locations.  The ASU class has posted their lesson plans, which are also going to be added to the ASNE Lesson Plan database.  The lessons are required for those seeking grad credit.

5 – Need inspiration for your photography class?  Here are 35 incredible photography websites, from photojournalism to documentary and from fashion to portrait.

6 – Columbia School of Journalism, the grand-daddy of them all is changing, check out this video on the News Videographer site.

Columbia School of Journalism Changing To Meet The Times

Columbia School of Journalism Changing To Meet The Times

7 – Batteries suck.  Or maybe it’s cameras that suck the batteries like vampires who suck blood.  We all want to know, how can I make my batteries last longer.  Photofocus has five tips for keeping the power on longer.

8 – This story was disturbing to me.  A number of Washington Press Corps reporters accepted tickets to an “off the record” barbecue at the White House and smoozed it up with staffers on the 4th of July.  To me that is just unprofessional.  Either go as a reporter and report, or don’t go.

Reporters Who Smoozed With White House Staff On July 4th, Wont Kiss and Tell

Reporters Who Smoozed With White House Staff On July 4th, Won't Kiss and Tell

9 – The Journalistics blog has a terrific list of 30 Organizations that support great journalism.  We should all belong to one or more of these.

10 – Slate has a super-funny video that I found on the Mediaite blog titled “Buy One Anyway.”

Buy One Anyway

Buy One Anyway

11 – If you are new to web design, then here’s 26 Tutorials For Starting Off in Web Design.

12 – Advancing The Story has collected Six Tips from prize winning journalists, plus a mini-interview from each.

That makes an even dozen, and that is a pretty good place to stop.

Hometown News Shuttered

I was born in Claremont, N.H., and my grandparents and many other family members still live there today.  I can remember when I was young, watching my grandfather read the newspaper.  He got two, the big paper from Manchester – The Union Leader, and the little local daily The Claremont Eagle Times.

Claremont Eagle Times

Claremont Eagle Times

Now, the Eagle Times is not a big deal to most, but it was the local paper to a number of communities in southwest New Hampshire and southeast Vermont.  Claremont, N.H. sits right on the state line and you can see many Vermont license plates on cars in town.

I also remember as I grew up, noticing the intersting tradition of seperate “paper boxes” next to the mail box on the rural routes outside of town.  Many families took the Union Leader and the Eagle, and you knew who did because of the brightly colored boxes on posts in front of their houses.

It was my grandfather who encouraged me to become a writer and to “tell people stories.”

My parent’s wedding announcement was printed in the Eagle, as was my own birth announcement and a photo of my father as a private heading off to Vietnam.  The paper was a part of small town life and it feels weird knowing that the Eagle is gone and I wonder what, if anything will take its place to cover the news about those small communities in that part of the country.

Cool Links #47: Stress Less

I’m not without stress, but most of my summer waiting stress is over.  My wonderful bride will have a contract and a job this fall.  She is also a teacher and her district had a RIF (reduction in force) and we were not sure until early July as to whether she would have a job or not.  Stressful.  So here are the lower stress links:

1 – Here are 30 Free System Tools for Macs – my favorites are Name Changer, Growl, and Sync Two Folders.

2 – This next one comes from one of my favorite bloggers, although she does not have time to blog often, Miranda Writes has a post with a list of educational reporters who have Twitter feeds and it is organized by state, so check out your state/city.  If you have an education reporter in your town/newspaper and they’re not on her list – let her know.

3 – California State University system has a bank of free images for educational use, check it out.

4 – If you teach web design and use the Free NVU software, here are a great batch of short tutorials for using NVU.

5 – If you ever wanted to use Skype, but were afraid that it was too hard or would cost too much money, then watch this great video about how easy it is to use.

Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers for the tip.

6 – Advancing the Story has an anecdote about how a reporter found, reported and interviewed a story with almost all Internet based tools.  No Internet = no story. Too bad most of these tools are blocked an the majority of schools, because it means we can’t teach our kids how to report using them.

7 – YouTube is trying to do our job.  LOL.  But seriously, they have started a Reporter Center.  Now this link actually crashed Firefox on me earlier today and I thought I had lost this blog post forever.  But I hear there are some really cool videos once you get past the ones from big name news organizations and dig down to PBS, etc.

8 – Mental Floss has a fun post, these are supposed to be the 10 Most Expensive Photos ever sold.  Most are really good photos.

9 – The debate about the future of the news business is ongoing and the NY Times Opinionator blog rehashed a messy war of words about copyright and aggregation online they call the “fight over free.”  Yelvington’s blog has a great post about the wrong headed assumptions of news companies.    Jeff Jarvis’ Buzz Machine has a biting, but factual post about the narcissistic tendencies of journalists and how journalists must change that inward looking personality if they want to survive into the next model of news.   And finally Save The Media blog had two outstanding posts that show exactly how we must change the news business away from the old model or become extinct like Ice Harvesters, while the second post showed that we need to serve niche markets like Sewing Machines.

10 – I hate coming up with “ideas” for yearbook spreads or story topics during February for our TV news show.  The “brainstorming” never works well and students will give you the most inane ideas just to get it over with.  Well, now I will force them to listen to the brainstorming song!  My son loves the Imagination Movers on Playhouse Disney.  The song is catchy, but somewhat inane.

11 – I admire photographer David Anthony for being a true professional.  He found out his VIBE magazine shoot was killed just hours before it was supposed to happen, but he shot the photos and made the subject feel important, and even paid for the studio time.

12 – The 10,000 Words blog has an insightful post about journalists not relying on their tech skills, both because you need to be a good story-teller and the tech skills change very quickly.  I think this may actually be a part of why journalism needs to shrink as a career field.  There are not many people who can master both sides of the field:  tech and story-teller.  I see a future where a small number of these people will create most of the news in very small organizations.  The only real issue to me is how fast the tech changes.  It takes time to learn software/hardware to the point of mastery and it takes money to constantly re-equip yourself with new software/hardware, plus the training.

Happy Summer!

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