Cool Links #26: The Recession Edition

Wow – in a really bad way.  February was a bad month with more than 600,000 jobs lost in the US in a month.  Not to mention the Seattle PI and the SF Chronicle talking about or moving towards total shut down.  Everyone is feeling it – education is not exempt.  Budget cuts, hiring freezes, RIFs are all we hear about.  So, lets hope some of these cool links can be a small respite from these woes.  There are some good things out there and lets try to keep looking for the good.

1) The first link is more of the bad though – it seems that a major metro area can be covered with 22 journalists.  I partly agree with this and I also partly disagree.  Part of me says, that really once you strip out a state desk, national, international, fashion, entertainment, financial, etc. – and filter down to just local government, courts, etc. – really, how many journalists do you need to cover what is basically city government?  I think you do need a few more for local sports coverage – but I also think that can be covered with more social networking and building a real community to help cover it all.  But I don’t think ALL of those other journalists will become permanently unemployed.  I think that there are so many underserved, niches out there that a small 2-8 person operation can create all kinds of new information products that will serve those niches.  I think that what we are really seeing is not the death of newspapers, but the shattering of them into their many parts.  No two people ever bought a newspaper to read the same parts and in the modern world they don’t have to and more importantly don’t want to buy or even deal with all the parts they don’t want or need.  Unfortunately this is a painful transformation.  A related post is that we all need to remember that Newspapers Don’t Own Journalism – it can, will and is surviving without newspapers.

2) Mark Hamilton’s been away from his Notes from a Teacher blog for a while, but maybe it was a good break.  He’s back with a powerful post about how we need to change journalism education.  I think he is on with almost all 8 of his bullet points.  But I love #5 the most:

5. We do not put enough emphasis on students trying and failing. The college system (especially scholarships) relies on GPAs; many students are fixated on grades and terrified at the thought of failure, which is where all the interesting learning takes place.

I’ve always thought that too many teachers don’t get this, not just in journalism.  Sometimes we HAVE to fail in order to learn.  It is not about how we fall down, but that we get back up and try not to fall down the same way again. Thanks Mark.

3) If you haven’t seen the destruction of CNBC by Jon Stewart, then you need to.  How scary is it that Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Matt Drudge, the Huffington Post and Real Time are telling us the truth more than the “Real Media.”  Why didn’t the media tell us about these toxic loans before now?

4) The digital photography school has added lesson six about shutters to their excellent Photography 101 site.  The graphics that show the shutters actually working are excellent.

5) The has a really good basics of Javascripting for HTML page.  I am hoping to learn how to do this next summer, so I can add it to my web design class.  Right now I’m teaching HTML and CSS plus using a GUI editor and a CMS.  But we haven’t touched Java yet.

6) We live in a time of sea change, we really have moved from the industrial model to the internet model.  And Steve Yelvington has a post where he really states this well.   This quote really sums it up for me:

Everything is a special case. Get used to that. We can’t get our heads around everything being a special case. That’s far too difficult.

7) Well known Flickr contributor Kris Krug has a really fun conference talk about how to take better photos.  Best take away – set the F$%@n white balance.  Some off color language – NSFS.

Short list this week.  Hope everyone out there is well and keeps a positive outlook.