Cool Links #34: It’s Hotting Up Edition

It seems each week brings a two-three degree rise in the temps here in Houston. Maybe that’s a good thing, they say abnormally cool summers bring hurricanes – Alicia, Allison, Katrina/Rita and Ike all came during abnormally cool summers. So, I will post some “Hot Links” today.

1)  The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts has an exceptional lesson plan (in pdf form) to accompany either the play or film Frost/Nixon that I featured last time on my blog.

2) Houston Chronicle Techblogger Dwight Silverman tells us how to give an old computer new life by donating it to Goodwill.  Houston has a Goodwill Store just for computers.  Many can be had for a song and a good number will run Windows XP or even Mac OS X (10.4 or 10.5).   They also have keyboards, mice, monitors and networking hubs.  It is all used, but most come with a 7-day or 30-day money back guarantee.

3) Adam Westbrook has two informative posts on his site for broadcasters:  Three Ways To Instantly Improve Your Writing and Five Quicker Ways To Improve Your Writing.

4) Scott Bourne’s new blog Photofocus has two wonderful posts on how to use a tripod (part 1, part 2).  Best bit:

It occurred to me that no one had ever actually asked me that question before. I also realized that no one had ever actually “taught” me how to use a tripod. I developed tripod technique based on trial and error.

5) The Evolving Newsroom blog tells us that we should not confuse the future of journalism with the future of newspapers.  I say well said, journalism is multi-platform, multiple technique now.  We have to let go of the old model and embrace the new one or be crushed by the death of the old, especially journalism educators.

6) If you use Final Cut editing software, then you will love this plug in.  Free, very cool, right justified “lower third” titles all with a quick little plug-in.

7) If you are planning your 2010 yearbook, newspaper, broadcast or web theme – then you might want to explore how to Create Consistently Colorful User Experiences.  The post has a great list of resources used at the end of the post too.

8 ) MacLife magazine has a list of 10 Things Every Final Cut User Should Know.  Best takeaway – where to find the audio overlay toggle.

9) Next year, I’d definitely like to add Javascripting to my Web Design curriculum.  This will give me a complete six-weeks for all six grading periods.  The W3Schools have a solid beginners course on Javascripting to go with their one on HTML and CSS.

10) The Black Star Rising blog has superb advice for any photog, but especially for photojournalists – carry a point and shoot with you at all times.  That way you never miss a shot because you didn’t have a camera with you.

11) PBS has put some of their best content online as full streaming video – shows like Frontline, News Hour, Nova and more.

12) The copyblogger has a fantastic post about headlines that get results including the 50/50 rule and the 80/20 rule.

13) The graphicdesignr site has a marvelous post titled Multimedia toolkit: 55 sites you should know about.

14) Go check out Wicked Decent Learning Podcast this week because they are accepting no substitutes as they discuss subs.  And I get a great shout out from them at the very beginning.  You can also subscribe to them at iTunes or listen via their blog.  Please leave them a comment either on their blog on the iTunes page.

15)  I just added the JEA Digital Media blog to my google reader.  It has lots of incredible examples of digital media and some first class how to’s.

16) The always topical 10,000 words blog has a top notch post about Why journalists should learn code (and why some shouldn’t bother).  I myself started in the WYSIWYG world of online design.  But it didn’t take long for one of my web pages to suck.  It just wouldn’t do what I told the software to do.  And no amount of tweaking could fix it.  I still design in a visual graphic editor.  I am a visual person, I started my career in TV and before that loved PageMaker as a designer and editor on my college paper.  But now, when a web page becomes balky, I don’t hesitate to flip over to the HTML or CSS to try to fix it using “brute force.”  In other words making changes to the code to make the problem go away.  Sometimes that doesn’t work either, but I find that the more I know about HTML, the easier it is to work on the web.

17) I admit that I’m a harsh critic of the Houston Chronicle, but I want to be one of the first to congratulate them on winning a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of Hurricane Ike.  After the power came back on at my house, I flipped on the TV and the computer.  The Chronicle had so much better coverage than any other source.  They really deserve this award for performing under very difficult conditions.  Much of the fourth largest city in America was without power for most of a week, many of the hardest hit areas were without power for 3-4 weeks. Through it all, they kept reporting the news.  Now, that’s journalism.

18 ) I know I’ve blogged about it before, but The Neiman Journalism Lab has a heart breaking post about reporting on your publication’s own death.  Great videos from the Seattle P-I and the Rocky Mountain News.

19)  I know I have this argument with my video students at least once a year – don’t use music as a crutch in a video.  The News Videographer blog touches on this subject and its greater importance in broadcast journalism.

20) Not sure how I came across this final link today, but there is a Girl Group (or at least the lead singer is a girl) called Camera Obscura and their recent release is titled My Maudlin Career.  Sounds so like journalism right now if you are a doom and gloomer.  I’m not, I think the practice of journalism is only getting better.

Have a great week and think of us as we start our mandated state testing this week.  Happy-Happy-Joy-Joy.


  1. Frost Nixon was a great flick…and the KenCen does such great stuff for the schools, I’ll have to check this out. Thanks so much for the tip! PS: Don’t forget today’s Silly Sunday Sweepstakes!

  2. Once again, thank you for the great links. You’ve filled up my bookmarks to the point where I’ve been forced to go in and organize them!

    • Honestly, that’s why I started this web site. I needed a place to keep my resources. Every time I moved to a new computer or changed browsers, I had to carefully move my book marks. Plus they were not easy to share. So, I started the blog. First for myself, and then to share with others. The sharing has been more rewarding.

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