Another year has come and gone and another group of students has left the building (along with Elvis). I’m in a better mood than I was at the end of the last school year. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I am. Graduation almost always puts me in a good mood. It it so great to see the kids that I have worked with, helped, laughed with and sometimes even cried with walk across the stage and commence the rest of their lives. When I was a kid, I thought commencement was an ending, it was only my senior year of high school that I learned that it meant beginning.
Next year really will be a new beginning for me and my students. We will have a new principal, a young and inexperienced yearbook staff and just maybe something wonderful will happen. I’ve learned in 15 years as a journalism teacher that sometimes you have to pray for rain, but plow your fields. You can’t just hope for great kids to show up, you have to help the ones you have become great kids. I’m cautiously optimistic about next year.
So, with that positive, hopeful note – here are some links that I hope will help you too.
1 – This is a great video from a Middle School in Florida (with some help from Full Sail University), they created a reading campaign that is fun.
2 – Adam Westbrook asks the question: Are Two Heads Better Than One when it comes to creating video journalism. I think that it is very hard to do it all yourself and do it well. I’ve worked with and met a number of journalists who were very skilled at one thing, but not great generalists. I’ve only known a small number of journalists who are good at all aspects of VJ. Are solo mobile journalists (backpack VJs) the wave of the future – I think yes. I think that the business of journalism has become a numbers game and two costs more than one. Is it better journalism – no. Do we need to train our students to be able to do it – you bet we do. In a related post, Reflections of a Newsosaur says that journalists don’t know much about starting a business and that most new news startups are doomed to fail.
3 – PetaPixel has this interesting post – Photography According To Google. They used a google image search on famous photographers to find the photo with the most Google Juice for a specific photographer. Interesting choice for Ansel Adams.
4 – I’m a sucker for Mark Twain, he seems like my kind of fellow – sarcastic, dry humor, wit and yet a hopeful, caring heart. The Scholastic Scribe has a missive about yearbooks and Mark Twain – worth reading.
5 – Spot the prop. It seems a group of property masters in the TV and Film biz have been reusing the same prop newspaper over and over again. Great gag.
6 – The Knight Digital Media Center is starting a series of posts to help journalists understand how the web is created. The first part is what we would call deep background, but it gives you a foundation for understanding the rest.
7 – Do people pay for content – no. They never have, they pay for access.
8 – I am definitely a Mac. I loved watching this series of ads for the last four years. John Hodgeman as PC and Justin Long as Mac was a great pairing of comedy. AdWeek has the complete 66 commercials on their site. Here are my favs.
9 – The LemonDrop blog has a useful graphic with more information than most high school newspaper stories about prom. Great looking graphic too.
10 – Mindy McAdams at Teaching Online Journalism brings forth a debate: Is Journalism School Necessary? or Worth It? I’m of two minds. I think there have been a number of great journalists who never went or at least never finished j-school. But there have been an awful lot of j-school grads who have been bad journalists. I think that the culture of newsrooms is more important than any j-school. But I don’t think we have the culture today that would teach young kids the ropes and ethics like in years past. So, that is where j-schools are important. But if we could develop a better news culture, we wouldn’t need them.
11- Save the Media blog has an insightful post What to Keep and Get Rid of From Old-Time Media. It’s mostly a list of keep, 5Ws and H, Inverted Pyramid, etc. The lone toss is background paragraphs. I agree, but the list could be expanded.
12 – Adam Westbrook says you need to devote yourself to “1000 True Fans.” For yearbooks, especially, I agree. I’ve been a yearbook advisor for 15 years. And in that time we’ve never really been able to increase sales beyond 25 percent of our student body. I think it is because a yearbook focuses on the students who “do” stuff. At my school, only about 15-20 percent of the students are involved in activities (sports, clubs, band, etc.) What we need to do is focus more on selling to the kids that want to buy and stop scattering our efforts. I think next year we are going to assign students to hunt down kids in a specific group and ask them to buy a book. Maximize our target market.
13 – Hey Teacher This is How I Learn is an interesting and thought provoking post. I wonder how kids decide what isn’t boring. I honestly don’t know if any teacher could have made me appreciate math, although I did like Geometry. I’m not against making the content “interesting,” but interest is in the eye of the beholder. I also think that a lot of kids like computers in the class so they can goof off. I find it a challenge sometimes to keep my students on task in my 1:1 classroom. There are 20 of them and only 1 of me. It is impossible to monitor them all, all the time. Not sure how to present information in a more interesting way when so many web 2.0 tools are blocked at my school. Technology is often as much a curse as a blessing.
14 – This came from Photo du Jour – the evolution of news: newspaper, kindle, iPad.
15 – Will customized television ads save commercial TV? Doubt it.
17 – Someone needs to let the government know: High School Dropouts Cost The American Economy Millions.
Wow – what a bunch of links. Hope you are enjoying your summer vacation.
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