Cool Links #70: The One Where I’m Not Bitter

This last week the nominations for the 2009 Edublogs were released – and despite reading two of my pal’s blogs where I was nominated, I did not end up on the official nomination list.  But as I said in the title, I’m not bitter.  Maybe I’ll take a page from my friend the Scholastic Scribe and create my own awards. Well, on to the links.

1 – Ever want a cool Twitter Web 2.0 style logo?  Well, now you can create one in seconds at Twitlogo.

2 – If you want to feel old, even if you are a 20- or 30-something, just watch this video of the decade according to 9-year-olds.  You know them, they were the Millennial Kids born in the year 2000.  I know one personally, because he is my son.

3 – This really scares me as a journalism/media teacher – just as it looks like the massive job cuts may be slowing or even stopping in the news business, there are many big news companies ready to outsource production jobs to large central locations, possibly even off-shore.  It really looks bad for kids who want to pursue a career in nearly any type of media.

4 – This next post is going to be useful for me, my kids are weakest at interviewing.  This is especially true if there is any resistance on the part of the subject or if they don’t know who to interview. They’d rather just give up and look for another story, no matter how boring.  They’d rather it be easy.

5 – As a school teacher, we need to see the writing on the wall, or the screen, that delivery of content via print is seriously outmoded.  Video and interactive web content have supplanted text a long time ago.

6 – This is a great post for photography teachers out there from the Digital Photography School – 23 Popular DSLR Lenses.  They have great lists for both Nikon and Canon.

7 – Videomaker Magazine has a super video on YouTube titled, The Seven Deadly Sins of Camerawork.  Well worth your time to watch.

8 – “Print” media really needs this to get here and fast – tablet form factor devices for e-reading of books, magazines, newspapers and more.  This is how media needs to be served in the 21st Century.

9 – Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine asks Is Journalism Storytelling?  The answer is yes and no.  Journalists provide information, but much of that information is now available in other places today.  Journalists must also be storytellers to put all that info into context that people can understand.

10 – The 10,000 Words Blog has a timely post of 20 Must Have Gifts For Journalists.  If anyone wants to buy me the iPod notepads, that’d be great.  Of course an iPod Touch would be nice too.

11 – I’ve always said that photographers are artists.  There’s long been rumors that Leonardo DaVinci used a camera obscura to paint the Mona Lisa and I also love the movie “The Girl in the Pearl Earring.”  But now there is photographic proof that Norman Rockwell was a swell photographer as well as a great artist.  He shot his subjects for his famous paintings.  Here’s a second link to an NPR site about it.

Norman Rockwell - Photographer

Norman Rockwell - Photographer

12 – The Web Show OPEN investigates what makes the TWIT Network operate and why it is so important to the way media of tomorrow will be small, niche and powerful.

13 – I love these.  I may even start my Spring Semester in broadcast journalism with these and have the students adapt them for their own.  They are Jim Lehrer’s 8 rules of journalism.  Full transparency – I used to work for PBS.

14 – Give an Orange a camera and find out what happens.  It may not be journalism, but it is photography.  Yes, I’m now facebook friends with an ape.

15 – has also put up a number of their older documentaries – like this one about the LA Times from the 1970s? or 1980s? Definitely set on the wayback machine.

16 – Luminous Landscapes has a number of tutorials about photography posted online, like this one about histograms.  They are thorough, helpful and well-illustrated.

As of today, I’m back to +/- zero for my weight challenge.  So I guess that’s good, now have to keep on the treadmill and see if I can get to negative numbers next week.

Cool Links #69: The One Where We Made No Jokes

What an amazing pick-me-up we were given in Houston this week.  It really made us all feel better.  Now I just hope we can sell a few more books this final week of yearbook sales. Wish us luck.  On to the links.

1 – I’m pretty sure that I’ve blogged about this before, but I can’t find it anywhere on my site, so maybe not.  This is a short documentary style story about a pressman who still creates outstanding typography using a letter press.  Worth a watch.

2 – This was an interesting watch – the decade 2000-2009 in seven minutes.

3 – As a high school teacher especially, we have to at least understand the talk.  That is the lingo of teenagers.  In the world of the 21st Century, that means text speak, slang and more.  Teacher 2.0 has a short list of hot terms.

Emo Grass

Emo Grass

4 – It is sad how many unconfirmed numbers are flying around in both online and traditional news outlets.  This is not journalism, and needs to be crushed.  My own journalism teacher held the threat of an F over our heads for an error of fact in any story turned in. This goes well with an article about fixing mistakes from

5 – There is hope for the future of news.  David S. Bennahum wants to do for news, what McDonald’s did for fast food.  Turn it into a self sustaining franchise system that can be set up in any town in America.  Yes there is some localization, but it is mostly about keeping costs reasonable and focusing on what the local community wants/needs in a news organization.  I’ve been preaching this very model for a while.  I’m just not wealthy and not good at fundraising.

6 – The Epic Fail of news – Probably Bad News.  Funny, but not – all at the same time.

7 – If you are teaching interview techniques, here are 92 interviews to watch as good examples.

8 – Even with the hope of item number 5, I do agree with the Newsosaur, that we are likely to lose an entire generation of news reporters as newspapers and TV news programs fail, but before a fully functional web news system takes its place.

9 – This looks like a fun thing to try with students – Write or Die.  As they say, putting the prod in productivity.  This tool actually eats the words you’ve typed if you don’t keep typing.

10 – Lost Remote feels that local TV news is already dead.  I think that in many ways they are correct, but I also think that those of us who are immersed in digital online media think everyone is too.  But in reality, even large numbers of the under 20 generation still consume a lot of TV.  I think it still has some life left in it yet.  The internet still doesn’t do well during bad weather and under the crush of huge numbers of visitors (like during a crisis).

Unfortunately I am +2.5 pounds this week.  Ouch.  Too many events where there was food served.  I’ve got to eat less and exercise more.

Cool Links #67: Pumpkin Pie Post

For me, the best part of Thanksgiving is the pumpkin pie.  I’ve already had a slice and will probably have to go to the store on Wednesday and buy another pie.  This is not helping in my battle to drop some weight.  I’m seriously thinking of Twittering my weight once a week in an effort to provide some external motivation.  What do you think?  Post it here @Teach_J. Now on to the low fat links.  With even more holiday flavor.

1 – I’m not a regular reader or a fan of The Scobleizer (the man with a huge following on Twitter), but this link came via my Twitter feed and I agree with a lot of the premise.  I’ve been lamenting this trend on this blog for some time – the blurring between the ad space and the content space.  The loss of ethics and standards of journalistic conduct.  And if those stories aren’t enough to crush your inner journalist, then watch this video of an LA Times reporter on Dancing With The Stars and wonder where is journalism heading?

Reporting on The Stars?

Reporting on The Stars?

2 – Is The Internet Dying? Or is it experiencing the same slowdown as the global economy?  Here’s a slideshare that shows Internet traffic is down to a great many sites.  The question is why?  I’m wondering if it is due to mobile devices.  I’m not sure that the google metrics the slideshow uses show mobile hits.

3 – I love guerrilla marketing.  Anything different, outrageous or funny will get people’s attention.  What makes it effective is if you make a point too.   Here are some good examples, now I just want to know how we can take these ideas and translate them into good ideas to sell yearbooks.

4 – If you are like me, you spend a lot of hours in front of a screen both at work and at home.  I really like this Lifehacker article about making your workstation ergonomic.

Make your workspace ergonomic

Make your workspace ergonomic

5 – Thanks to Viewfinder Blues for putting me onto the trail of this gem.  You’ve got to love the pure ’80s schlock value.   Funny, yet satisfying.

6 – The copyblogger has been one of my favorite blogs for a long time.   Short, useful posts like this one are why – The Art of the Paragraph.

7 – Thanks to the wonderful Suzanne Yada for posting this interview with blogger and head TWIT Leo Laporte on the future of journalism.

8 – Copyblogger strikes again with this post about EMINEM and how he is a great storyteller.  I don’t like his music, but there’s no disagreeing with his success as a rap artist, which comes mainly from connecting with his audience.

9 – This next link is just for fun – 8 Video Games that Feature Photographers. My favorite:

Pokemon Snap

10 – Poynter Online has posted a site and a Twitter stream called 100 Things Journalists Should Never Do. Some of it is repetitive, but worth a look.

11 – Advancing The Story has a list of Five Don’ts for Multimedia journalists.  Best take away – Don’t complain about carrying gear. There are hundreds of darn good reporters out there who are carrying resumes right now who would kill to be carrying gear.

12 – DigiDave thinks we can save the communication of information without “Big J Journalism.”   I’m sorry, but I disagree.  I think that without journalists backed with deep pockets, we lose the power of the press to big corporations.  I agree that the current model is broken both at newspapers and broadcast.  People bought the paper for the sports section or the crossword puzzle, the news came as a bonus.  Same with TV, they watch CBS or NBC for the entertainment, but once or twice a day there is also news.  It was good for our democracy.  People were informed by happy coincidence.  Under this new model of the future.  Journalism will be smaller and only found by those looking for it.  Well, as they say, most news is bad news.  Most people would rather not.  The uncoupling of news from everything else in a newspaper or an entertainment source like a TV network will hurt journalism.   It will diminish both the quantity and quality of the news.  The lack of profit will drive talented journalists into other businesses and those few who remain will produce less, thus less news.  Business and government will not care.  There are so many easy ways to spin their PR to the populace.  And now there will be fewer journalists out there to ask the hard questions.

13 – I like this post from the Clever Sheep – Ten Trends for the Classroom of Tomorrow.  But the first one needs to be  getting rid of the Internet nannies in every school IT department.  Otherwise, none of the great Web 2.0 tools will ever see the light of day in a classroom.

Sorry this took so long to get out this week.  I’m on holiday time and that means everything is a little slower.



Cool Links #66: The Web is Everywhere But Our Schools

In an effort to “protect” our children, we block anything and everything on the internet at school.  I’m not saying blocking pornography, graphic violence and profanity is a bad thing.  But many schools go way beyond that.  They block any site that allows commenting, opinion or “unfiltered” content.  They also block bandwidth “hogs” like video and multimedia.

Think of just about any Web 2.0 tool and it is blocked at many schools – Twitter, Wikis, blogs, Skype, YouTube, Flickr, etc.

And yet it doesn’t stop them.  So many students come to school with the internet in their pocket.  They have smart phones that are web enabled, they just go around that AND they can get the other stuff too – the stuff we really don’t want them accessing at school.  But because we have made the internet useless, they just bring their own.

Now on to the links that many of us won’t be able to access at school, just like this blog.

1 – Copyblogger says that there are seven harsh realities of the internet that content producers need to know.  Great list, just replace blog with newspaper, TV station, etc.

2 -10,000 Words blog wonders “Do Journalists Really Look Like This?” You really need to check out the hot and nerdiness of reporters on this site.

3 – Mastering Multimedia has 10 Ways To Make Your Photographs Better.  Best take away is know your camera!  But the second best one is use good lenses.  We bought one 80mm Prime lens that has made our photography in the gymnasium 10 times better.

4 – Thanks to the Fail Blog for this newspaper fail.

Headline Fail

5 – This is inspiring, but we’re still not sure how to make hard news pay for itself.  This young single mother turned her make up tips blog into a paying business.

6 – This is true for video shooters, photographers and reporters doing interviews – pay attention.  What else is there to say?

7 – This site is pretty interesting, it is a national “tween” newspaper called the  The stories are tween-focused, but a lot of them come from the AP.  I’d like to see more tween written content on the site.

8 – The Newsosaur has a well composed argument that newspapers are too tradition bound to survive in the internet age because they are always asking, “Who else is doing that?” before they try something new.

9 – The Copy Paste blog has a useful lesson idea that might spice up headline writing.  The lesson uses a painting to help teach students how to summarize.  Great idea.

10 – The Online Journalism Blog has a great lesson idea – Mapped Story Telling.  It is his concept to replace the inverted pyramid with a “tumbled pyramid,” especially in online storytelling.

11 – One of my favorite blogs is Notes From A Teacher.  It has been rather quiet this last six months or so, but when there is a post, the quality is astounding.  This time he equates journalism with playing the violin. And I can’t agree more.  I play two instruments myself, trumpet and French horn.  I loved playing when I was in high school and college.  I also love writing and shooting, designing, etc.  I love journalism.  His best take away – it’s better when done with someone else.  I think that was always the appeal of TV for me.

I enjoyed working for the newspaper, but it was such a solitary existence.  I enjoyed TV so much more, because most of the time you worked with others.  It was rare to work on a project alone in TV, at least in the old days.  But the solo mobile journalist is becoming the rule today, as the one-man-band was the exception back then.  That’s too bad, because I too think that working as a team is best.

I also agree that, like music, journalism takes time and hard work.  One of the things I’m fighting against, is a movement in US high schools to cut out elective classes in the first two years and then jam pack the final two years full of “career preparation.”  This does not give a high school student the longevity with the material that he/she needs to be successful.  One of my most successful former students was the editor of our school’s newspaper and yearbook in her four years in my class.  She went on to edit her junior college newspaper and is now a staff editor at Texas State University.  I wonder how her path would have been changed by only having two years of prep work, instead of four.

12 – The Oatmeal blog has a wonderful graphic on when to use and apostrophe and when to not use one.  This is a big problem for my students and I plan to share this with them.

13 – The Denver Post has an excellent collection of Berlin Wall photos from its construction to those wonderful days in 1989 when we thought that anything was possible and the Iron Curtain came tumbling down.

End of the Berlin Wall

14 – At some point in the future, we are supposed to get our copy of CS4 Creative Design Suite.  But not yet.  When we do, I will be spending a lot of time at Adobe TV.  Lots of tutorials and how to’s.

15 – The Lasolite School of Photography has a huge collection of lighting tutorials.  Well worth a look if you are trying to do studio or portrait lighting. And if that’s not enough, there is the Photoflex Lighting School with even more tutorials.

Wow, that was two days in the making.  Hope you find it useful.


Cool Links #65: The Parent Post

Parental contact and involvement has been a running thread this week.  I attended the NHS induction for my daughter this week and I read several blog posts which focused on the subject.  I agree and believe that parental involvement can be the difference for kids, but how do you get reluctant parents to participate?

1 – Own the story.  That’s the advice of the Copyblogger, who recreates a scene from Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.  Great story.

2 – The brand new online only Texas Tribune has a great piece on the problem of counting and dealing with high school dropouts.  It focuses on Texas, but it’s not just a Texas problem.

3 – This link feels like that endless chain of kids sitting in a circle repeating the same phrase – but Kirk Lapointe says that Jay Rosen has 10 points about social media that come from various places.  Check them out.

4 – If you use Macs, then has a solution for your problem – whatever it is, all 50 of them. Bonus from me #51, go the Apple Store.  I did today.  Got two cables cheaper than it would have cost me online.  New Macs should be running Monday.  Super take-away:  My CD or DVD is stuck in the optical drive and won’t come out when I press Eject.

5 – FreeTech 4 Teachers blog has this great share – the Washington Post is looking for nominations for the best education blogsNominate your favorite one!

6 – If you don’t already follow FakeAPStyleguide on Twitter, you should.  It is the funniest thing so far since Overheard In The Newsroom. MediaShift has an article about their success.

7 – This is so true and an area where school media can really dominate.

“(Local content) is the number one unmet need online.”

— Lisa Gurry, senior director at MSN, commenting about the brand new, which includes prominent integration of local news, weather, events and traffic.

8 – Business skills and journalism has been another area that seems to be a recurrent theme this week.  I can’t agree more that we need to teach the skills and journalists need to learn them, but salesmanship is also an art.  I worry that the focus on being a writer, videographer, photographer, designer, web master and now business sales guru is asking too much of most people.  I myself am pretty good at the first group, but suck eggs at business.  I also think that this is going to push the field of journalism even more towards PR and cults of personality.

9 – We are now teaching a generation of children who have no recollection of the Cold War.  It is ancient history, like WWII.  But only 20 years ago, pictures like this one changed the world as East met West and Germany was reunified.

The Day the Wall Came Down

The Day the Wall Came Down

I lived in Deutschland (Germany) for nine years on Army bases.  I remember the “Red Menace” and lived in constant state of concern that we would go to war with the USSR (Russia).  What a different world we live in today.  Check out the slide show on the site.

10 – Just got a brand new PC for your media program?  But none of the tools, like Flash or VLC or iTunes are up to date or even installed. is the solution, they will make a custom installer for your PC that will install one or up to 65 utilities, browsers and plugins that media specialists need every day.

11 – If you’re not reading this blog via RSS, then you should be.  Not just my blog, but every blog you read.  Don’t know how?  Check out the 10,000 words blog who will make it easy for you.

Finally, let’s all keep the teachers and students of Killeen Independent School District in our hearts, thoughts and prayers as well as all the families of the troops killed or wounded on that terrible day this week at Ft. Hood, Texas.  I spent five years in KISD schools and lived on Ft. Hood.  Military life, especially in a  time of war is difficult enough.  But this added burden will be with them for a long time.  Long after the TV trucks leave, they will be holding on to the emotions of that day.

Cool Links #64: The Deadline Post

Now that football season is nearly over, comes an even more important season:  Yearbook Season.  The first deadlines have come and I can now see which young, starry-eyed journalists are not entirely made for yearbook.  When checking stories and layouts, there seemed to be some missing content.  So, this week will be their last chance to impress and turn in their work.  It just seems like every year there are always a few kids that just don’t get the importance of turning in work on time in order to have a great book.  Oh, well, on to the links.

1 – What is the future of media? Good question and even better answer.  I love the snark in this quote:  How about an easy question like “What is the purpose of the universe?”

2 – The Bellringers blog wonders how we can live and prosper without – – – – – chocolate?  I think the Orwellian faction at the US Dept. of Ed. needs to get a grip.  This edict has killed two of our best fundraisers and the pressure of testing has killed another one.  We can’t sell food in any form during the school day AND we can’t have any activity that takes kids out of class during the school day. Brutal.  Anyone have an idea for a good fund raiser?

3 – Where was this table the other day when I needed it.  My web design class asked me what comes after petabytes.  I didn’t know.  Should have asked Wikipedia.

4 – I think the Internet is stealing my lessons.  LOL.  We were discussing the legalities of school officials forcing kids to take down photos from Myspace, etc.  Here’s another case where photos taken outside of school got kids in hot water in school.

5 – I totally agree with the Principal’s Page that we are pampering the Germ-Ex Generation entirely too much.  We also panic at the slightest provocation.

6 – In this digital world of photography, it feels like we’ve forgotten the beauty and power of black and white photography.  Maybe a lesson idea for my photojournalism kids!

Power of Black and White

Power of Black and White

7 – This video is so cool as a video teacher, I wish I had thought of it first.

8 – Good news:  Newspapers aren’t dying as fast as everyone says they are. And I believe that they won’t die, just shrink.  People will always need news and they want it to be ad supported and free to read, or very close to free.  What we are seeing is not the end of news, but the end of the organization known as a newspaper.  We don’t want everything that a newspaper used to bundle in one place.  In fact, most of us don’t need or want everything that’s in a newspaper.  Micro news sites will take their place, and that means fewer journalists unfortunately. (see article #1)

9 – I hate it when I come across a blog or video site that doesn’t have an RSS feed.  Andy Dickinson has a quick tip on how to make your own RSS feed.

10 – The 10,000 Words blog has a great post on how Alfred Hickcock can make you a better video creator.  I love this list of to do’s.

11 – I’m going to share this with my yearbook staff, because some of them need more passion – 10 Things Google has taught us. Best take away – Passion Wins!

Have a great week, but don’t give any candy to your students.



Cool Links #63: The Wedding Post

I was away for the weekend attending my nephew’s wedding in Dallas and I didn’t find the time to do a cool links post.  But now I have some time to make one.

1 – Thanks to Andy Dickinson for a link to the Flip Video Spotlight site.  Under the Resources tab are videos about shooting and how to’s on production and distribution.

2 – This site may be part of the future of journalism and the arts in general.  This is a funding site for arts, writing, journalism, etc.  called Kickstarter.  Worth looking into.

3 – Anytime you need to show something to your students, it seems like the tech isn’t working that day.  But if you take a screen shot ahead of time, then you have a back up.  This is easy in OSX, and finally easy in Windows 7 – Freetech for Teachers shows us how.

4 – This is a quick and simple list of do’s and don’ts of web design.  Web Design Ledger has a list of 20 do’s and don’ts for the aspiring web designer.

5 – Trying to figure out the whole debate on the subject of Net Neutrality, then this video about the Open Internet helps explain parts of it.

6 – Adam Westbrook has posted his PDF eBook called 6×6: Advice for Multimedia Reporters.  The price is right = free.

7 – The networked blog has a great resource for creating screencasts and posting them online – Screenr.  Looks like it is worth checking out.

8 – Didja know that Mr. T was a teacher? I pity the fool who snapped a towel in his gym class.  How about Sting, Gene Simmons or Sheryl Crow?  All started out as a teacher.  Maybe we can all be famous some day.

9 – Creepy retouching taken WAAAY too far.  The site has a lot of inappropriate language, so I just posted a couple of photos.

10 – JEA has some options for online audio and video editors like Aviary and Jay Cut, but I just don’t think cloud computing is ready for schools yet.  Too often, we have slow internet  with limited bandwidth and filters.  So I don’t see this as a solution for every school yet.

11 – Ryan Sholin has some great advice for journalism students at all levels if they are serious about going into the world of media creation.

12 – Video shooter beFrank shows that you don’t need a super awesome set up to do a super awesome job of shooting a macro “product” shot for b-roll.

13 – Adam Westbrook also has this little gem – the figure 8 style of storytelling.  He says use it for video, but I think it could be powerful in print features too.

14 – If you’re like me, your school blocks everything useful or any kind of bandwidth suck – like video sites.  So if I want to use a video in class I need to be able to download it at home.  This great Firefox plugin is just the thing for that.

I hope you have a great time and Congrats to my nephew David and his new wife Jessica.