Cool Links #8: Full of Warm Gooey Goodness

For some reason, I can’t stop thinking about apple pie, thus the title.  So, here are the batch of links.

1. The Rebuilding Media blog has one of the best breakdowns I’ve seen about why newspapers are failing on an economic level in the Internet age.  It is all about supply and demand.  News supply is large and demand is low.

2. It is all about tribal outlook on the Eat, Sleep, Publish blog.  If you have two groups of people, like online vs. print – they will fight!

3. When you are building a web site, you should follow these 10 simple principles of CSS masters according to NETTUS.

4. Finally, Smashing Magazine says simple is the best kind of web design and gives plenty of examples of great simple design on the web.

School Supplies: Full of Wonder and Wonder How?

When I was growing up – back in the dark ages, I loved going school supply shopping.  Even more than school clothes shopping, it was supplies that made it real.  New pencils in boxes, fresh folders, unopened binders and more meant that school was soon here.

But at the same time, I also dreaded the annual sojourn to the store for back to school necessities.  My anxiety came from the fact that I knew my parents were always stressed out over school shopping.  New clothes, supplies and other costs stressed the family budget.  My family was one of those who qualified for “reduced price” lunch – which meant we only paid about 35 percent of the cover price for a lunch ticket.

So, as a teacher I know how hard it is for many parents to get lots of back to school lists.  High school is much worse, since there are now six to eight classes that each have a supply list.  High school also has high priced classes like band, art, dance, etc.  And their kids have to deal with the fashion show that is clothes shopping.

The way I handle this in my class is to make sure we have enough supplies to get through the start of school and then ask my students to bring in supplies.  I have a list of six supplies they should bring:  Kleenex, pencils, pens, hand sanitizer, paper and then I add a random one (something we need, but not every year).  To that I require one folder.  Each of these supplies costs $2 or less.  The six supplies are extra credit.  They do not have to bring them.  I collect them and then have a trusted student keep track of keeping the classroom stocked from the supply closet.

This allows me to give students an easy extra credit assignment for each six weeks, but also help out students who need a pen, pencil, etc.  I keep a container stocked with pencils, pens, scissors, etc.  If a student needs one, they just take one – no questions asked.   So students who can’t afford to bring supplies are not penalized and they can also get a supply they need without having to ask for it.  This way they never have to feel embarrassed.  And if after the frenzy of back to school madness is over, they can then afford to bring in some supplies – that’s OK too.

So, I think all teachers need to keep in mind those students who can’t afford those long lists of supplies and try to find creative ways to help all their students succeed without being embarrassed.

Web Art of Wordle

This is the Wordle Art of my blog!

Click on the image to see the large Wordle.  Fun!

Finally Reporters Accepting Metamorphasis

It is exciting to see that the conversation on many journalism sites is moving beyond – woe, despair and agony!  Just yesterday, I found several sites that seem to look towards the future with realism and even excitement.

That’s The Press, Baby thinks that internet newspapers of the future will be more interactive and – heresy – even fun!

PJNet is still a bit of a holdout for woe and despair – their post is a conversation starter: Should we keep doing journalism if the community does not value it enough to pay for it?

Steve Mullis says taht the transformation has already begun.  On his blog, he notes that sevearl new forms of journalism that are not based on the traditional ad method are thriving.

And finally, Recovering Journalist wonders “What will happen when a major metro newspaper goes dark?” Not much and a whole bunch at the same time.

In general, I agree with most of what these blogs have to say.  Journalism is changing – technology is going to make our industry much different.  But in many ways the transformation will empower us as citizens, as journalists and as individuals.  The technology will actually make journalism better.  But we can’t sit on the sidelines and sob that we weren’t trained for this!  In my own job as a journalism teacher, I’ve had to relearn my entire job in 14 years.  Nothing is done the same way it was when I started this thing – except for the journalism itself.  Interviewing, story writing, photo and video composition, and much more is still the same.  But the way we deliver the content has changed drastically.  I’m excited about learning new things.  Every day!

Yearbook Yourself!

This is just a fun idea – and proof that yearbooks aren’t dead yet.  Maybe yearbook companies should be doing more things like this!  It is called Yearbook Yourself and it is put out by a chain of malls.  You crop a photo and then see yourself in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, etc.  Loads of fun!

Wanna Become A Journalist Young Padawan?

David Remnick of the New Yorker magazine has a video blog post at the Big Think Blog, which also has a collection of vlogs about media.

And the Guardian’s Cath Elliot has a great post at ContentContent – about acting like a journalist.  Both are great advice for young kids in high school or college who are thinking about becoming a journalist.

No Guts, No Story

This is why we need good journalists out there.  This is why we have to keep fighting to find ways to fund good journalism.  Reporters, like this one in Russian occupied Georgia, are getting shot and sometimes even killed trying to get out the news.  You’ve got to respect the courage it took to keep reporting, even if it was only a small injury – a sniper with better aim could have killed her.

The general public sometimes just doesn’t understand the kind of courage it takes to be a reporter and even more so, to be a professional under these kinds of circumstances.  Sometimes it IS journalists out there risking their lives for free speech.

Update:  The Oline Journalism Blog seems to think this was staged or at least blow out of proportion because the shooter was supposed to be a “sniper.”  Just because she got hit by fire that may not have been from a sniper doesn’t mean she was less brave in my book.  Maybe it is Georgian propoganda, but I wouldn’t blame them – the whole world is ignoring Russia’s return to Soviet style totalitarianism.  And that isn’t good for any kind of freedoms – especially speech and press.

Lessons of the Olympics

With the 2008 Olympics in full swing, everyone is thinking about and talking about the games.  This includes Mashable, who had a great, inspirational post titled:  7 Lessons Olypians Can Teach Us.  I borrowed their theme and made a powerpoint from it for my yearbook class.  The lessons really do translate well to any team based organization.

Cool Links #7: These Interwebs Are Full Of Coolness

Don’t ask about the headline – I just have a lot of cool stuff to share!

Walmart – love them (low prices, smiley faces) or hate them (corporate greed, large eco-footprint) has decided that copyright never ends! 😦  I wonder where they got that idea?  Maybe Disney or the government.

Fashion magazines are getting hit just like all the rest of the print industry.  Ad sales and page count is down in the fashion industry.

I love iTunes, my iPod and listening to podcasts – but hey, nothing is perfect.  PC World has a list of 11 Things They Hate about iTunes.

I make use of Wikipedia a lot! has a list of four search engines that make using Wikipedia a lot easier.  I personally like Powerset the best, it even has a Firefox search plug-in.

I’ve become a Twitter fan, even though I didn’t get it at first.  TechCrunch is a atwitter as to why Titter Hasn’t Failed!  Heck the Fail Whale has even become an icon!

Burn Your Web Candle Less

“Time is the fire that burns men’s souls.”  I love that quote, because for those of us who develop media – time is our enemy.

Here is a great post from (Re)Encoded that has 10 ways to save time creating web pages.  I only wish I could find 10 tips for writing, photography and video editing!