Cool Links #79: The One About Saturday Work Days

This Saturday my district had an official work day.  Now, I know my teacher pals out in California are wondering how crazy I am to complain, since they have furlough days.  It seems weird, but true.  We have 10 days a year of staff development.  My district decided that two of these days would be on Saturdays prior to state testing weeks.  Lucky for me, I got time to work on planning, grading, ete.  I took that time to check yearbook pages.  It took up nearly all of the day, plus I checked equipment that was turned in and put away (some poorly).  It was actually a productive day.  Now the links:

1 – This is a fun read.  A Newsweek magazine writer in 1995 wrote a screed against the internet – mostly about how it was going to fail to bring us online shopping, telecommuting, online ticketing and reservations and how it would fail to replace newspapers, want ads, travel agents or retail stores.  Fun.

2 – A good friend of mine is heading to Portland for a conference, but more importantly is wondering – just like I often do – how the heck do you find a camera that will work with your computer editing gear?  It’s a big problem.

3 – This is an excellent post about the 960 Web grid.  I think almost all good design on the web or off starts with a good grid system.

4 – The excellent Edit Foundry blog has a post about how to use regular text features found in most NLE software to spice up your b/roll in a news story, complete with video examples.

5 – As a kid, I loved School House Rock.  The videos helped me learn the Preamble to the Constitution and what the heck an Adverb was or a Conjunction.  I’m working with my yearbook staff on AP Style and Grammar and some need a refresher on the parts of speech, but I want to make it fun for them, so here are some of the best Grammar Rocks episodes.  I highly recommend purchasing it – possibly from

6 – The ever useful Bob Kaplitz blog has another post about shooting your own stand-ups, something we all need to teach now that everyone is expected to be an MMJ or 1-man-band.

His second video this week was one about constructing a video for storytelling.  Great tips.

7 – As someone who is always trying to find a better way to motivate students to do a good job, I find this Dan Pink TED Talk to be both interesting and depressing.  He shows us how extrinsic motivation is not working, but doesn’t really show us how to use intrinsic motivation to replace it.  I do plan on reading his book Drive soon.

8 – It seems like the Paparazzi have always been with us, at least as long as photography has – here’s a photo from 1932 to show how it was done then.

Paparazzi in 1932

Paparazzi in 1932

9 – Campfire Journalism has a wicked cool video on how to use Garageband for Journalists.  I wish there was a similar video for Audacity too.  They have a ton of other great resources too.

Have a great week.  We are nearly done with the yearbook – can’t wait.

Cool Links #78: The One Where You Wonder WTH

There seems to be a lot of What The Heck? (WTH) kind of thinking going on in schools today.  Maybe it’s all the pressure from high stakes testing, maybe it’s all the economic cutbacks, or maybe it’s just plain dumb.  But there have been stories about spying on kids, cranking up the pressure on teachers about testing, and changing their shirts in the yearbook.  OK, on to the links.

1 – Let’s start off with the WTH #1.  Why would a yearbook adviser want to get mixed up in a FREE SPEECH debate?  Shouldn’t a journalist be on the side of freedom of expression?  Especially when it is not disrupting school? J-School profs all over America are sighing and face palming.

2 – If you don’t already read Bob Kaplitz’s blog, then you should.  He has the best tips for MMJ’s (multimedia journalists).  Like this one about using cell/web access and two laptops to shoot video while driving. (Safely we hope.)

This second video is about how MMJ’s can add spice to their writing by writing to the video.

3 – This article was just too interesting to pass up.  The mathematical equation responsible for blockbuster movies.  Apparently there is a way to determine if you can keep an audiences attention based on the length of the cuts in a movie.  Very interesting.

4 – The “Google” Newsroom is an interesting idea.  I think it is the future of journalism.  We have to rethink how we staff a newsroom and how the media products we put together are created, staffed and edited.  We even have to decide which medium a story should be told in – because there won’t be video, photo, writing and online in the future.  There will only be one newsroom for all of it.

5 – From looking forward to looking back at the last 20 years of Photoshop from MacLife magazine.  A great retrospective, including toolbars and splash screens.

6 – The Edit Foundry has a great video over at his YouTube page about using simple transitions with your stories.  Great video.

7 – The Web Design Ledger has these Most Common HTML and CSS mistakes.  Useful for beginners in web design.

8 – This was one of the most fun links this week – how cliches link to typesetting by Seth Godin.



9 – Tamron Lenses has posted Episode 5 for Beginners Exposure and Metering.

10 – Why can’t we all just get along?  I mean, can’t there just be one format to rule them all in photos, video, etc.  I guess not.  And there are new formats all the time.  My favorite conversion site is, but the Format Factory seems to also be a good backup.  Here is another translator – just for PDF files to Word files.  I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks promising.

11 – Here’s a quick cheat sheet for Grammar.  Keep the Nazi’s at bay.

Grammar Nazis

Grammar Nazis

12 – The iPad was recently announced by Apple, and many in the print community see it as the savior that they need and that the music industry didn’t see with the iPod.  But the Daily Beast thinks the iPad could actually kill newspapers, not save them.

13 – WTH #2:  If you haven’t already heard the story about the administrators spying on students at home via their school issued laptop cameras, then here it is a great big WTH.

Well, I hope your yearbook deadlines, newspaper and broadcast deadlines are going well.  Good luck.

Cool Links #77: Crash and Burn

I’m not sure why, but Google Chrome keeps crashing hard on wordpress today.  Other than that little problem it is usually my favorite browser.  So, now I have to get all my favorite sites into Safari and that’s a pain too.  So, if you are reading this, it is despite the best efforts of technology to keep it from you.

1 – Jay Rosin, the distinguished journalism prof. from NYU has a short video on youtube about the current state of the New News.

2 – Bob Kaplitz has another great tidbit on how to make the most of scant b/roll.  This is also a touching story, with a super narrative.

But Bob wasn’t done with just that.  He has another video from the Today Show about Master Storytelling about a master storyteller and salesman.

3 – Since I am still waiting for Photoshop CS4 to be ordered by my district and my old copy of PS7 won’t run on Leopard, I’m testing out free image editors.  This go around, I tried Aviary‘s Phoenix image editor.  I created a new background for my Twitter page.  Aviary works fairly well for an online editor, but honestly it is not really as good as iPhoto.  I’ll keep looking until I get CS4.

4 – The Edit Foundry has a great video on the use of Natural Sound in storytelling.  I personally love stories with lots of Nat Sound.  I feel it drives home the realism of the story to the viewer.

5 – The 10,000 words Blog has a collection of Valentines for journalists.  Here’s my favorite:

Words can not describe this image

It's from the heart, really.

6 – Adam Westbrook has a super checklist for news startups, but I think it would work for news stories, yearbook themes, nearly any media idea.

7 – Should journalism teachers be teaching students more about the business of journalism?  Should we still be teaching about the near-religious “wall” between content and advertising?  Newspaper Death Watch has an eye opening post about this very topic.

8 – Tamron Lenses has posted episode four of their beginners guide about shutter speed.

Well, another short list – mainly video and photo.  Let’s hope the links pick up as the East Coast digs out.  Crazy how much snow fell from Dallas to D.C.


Snowpocalypse 2010

Cool Links #76: The One After The Saints Won

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints.  No town needed a pick-me-up more than the Big Easy.   And now that the game is over, I have some time to put up some of the weekly cool links.

1 – I can’t decide if this is the lamest or the most hilarious video ever.  It’s called Stop Da Presses and it’s about AP Style .

2 – As a photography teacher, I’ve always heard that JPG files are lossy.  But since we only resave our files 2-3 times at most, I’ve never really seen the damage done by repeated saving of a JPG.

3 – Seth Godin is always interesting.  He has a post about the world being broken into hunters and farmers.  I actually talk about this with my students – mainly how girls have better color receptors in their eyes (gatherers) and boys are better at seeing action (hunters).  Thousands of years of evolution make us who we are.  I think we need to see who our students are in media too.  Hunters are better reporters – they are good at tracking down information and getting it from the source.  The also make good, fearless photographers.  But we need farmers too, they are good at time consuming, detailed processes like editing stories, creating layouts or graphics or piecing together a video from many sources of video.  This is what makes me wonder how much we are hurting ourselves when we think that all journalists can do it all.

4 – Tamron lenses released Episode three for beginners – titled Aperture.

Sorry it’s a short list, but it was a slow week with the Super Bowl and everything.