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Easter Break

Easter Break is officially here. Enjoy the time off, and I will see you all back here next week.

Stuff journalists like…

With all the doom and gloom in the industry, it’s nice to take a moment for a lighter look at journalists and the stuff they like.

I admit to liking “The Good Old Days,” “Outsmarting Spellcheck,” “Statistics” and “Hometown Heroes,” though I’m not such a big fan of “Citizen Journalism” (as practiced) or “Anonymous Sources.”

Nonetheless, this is fun stuff and definitely worth a read.

Thanks for a great bootcamp

Thanks to all of you who made this weekend’s Journalism Bootcamp a terrific success!

The bootcamp, which was co-sponsored by the University of Scranton and Marywood University, featured volunteers from the Times-Tribune newspaper who presented a wide variety of workshops on everything from opinion writing and copyediting to legal issues and government records.

The reviews have been wildly positive, and we’ve already started talking about hosting our third annual workshop next spring.

Also, since several of you requested it, here’s the link to the Superbowl Twitter Map, which was one of many projects that Jeff Sonderman highlighted during his presentation on web reporting.

Students must find new paths to journalism

Req: A, N

Journalism will survive  — even if the newspaper landscape changes dramatically during the next few years — and students will have to adapt, according to a group of journalism experts who met in Washington Monday to discuss the future of jobs in journalism.

Those interested in a journalism career must explore new ways to break into the field, according to an article in the Baltimore Sun:

The traditional path for young journalists — start at a small paper or TV station and work your way up — is vanishing. But new paths exist for those with expertise and specialized skills. Deep knowledge in, say, energy policy or the ability to produce stories that pop online are valuable, said John Harris, editor of Politico. If you’re not enterprising, he said, you’re in trouble.

“For people who are just plain worker bees and are pretty good, I don’t find it an appealing career,” Harris said at Monday’s conference on journalism jobs at the Newseum in Washington. “I just don’t see why somebody would go into the business unless they thought they could be an A at something.”

[Continue reading Journalism Remakes Itself]

This echoes comments from the Poynter Institute’s Al Tompkins, who told students at this weekend’s convergence training seminar in Scranton that they must master the new technology if they are to increase their odds of statrting a successful career in journalism.

Al Tompkins to speak in Scranton this Saturday

Req: A, N

The Poynter Institute’s Al Tompkins, one of America’s most requested journalism teachers for mid-career professionals and college students, will present a day-long convergence seminar in Scranton Saturday.

Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins

The event, co-sponsored by the University of Scranton and Marywood University, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Marywood’s Swartz Center Conference Room A.

The program will include sessions on writing and reporting for video, the ethics of video editing and storytelling for the web.

Tompkins is Group Leader for Broadcast and Online at Poynter, which widely regarded as one of the world’s premiere journalism training centers.

He is the author of “Aim for the Heart” a broadcast writing textbook used by more than 70 universities worldwide. He co-authored “Newsroom Ethics” a workbook and CD series for the Radio and Television News Director’s Foundation. He helped write the RTNDA and National Press Photographers Association’s codes of ethics.

Tompkins writes “Al’s Morning Meeting” a daily journalism blog/email read by more than 20,000 journalists every day.

Tompkins has worked as a national award winning photojournalist, reporter, producer, investigative reporter and news director since 1973. He has been awarded some of journalism’s top honors including The Peabody Award, The National Emmy, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, 7 National Headliner Awards, The Japan Prize and more.

He has taught workshops to thousands of journalists in 44 states and five countries.

Directions:

  • Follow N. Washington Avenue past the School for the Deaf on your right.
  • Take a Right onto Seminary (you’ll see Marywood’s main gate ahead of you,
    but don’t go through it).
  • Take a Left onto Adams Avenue.
  • At the intersection of Adams and University Avenue, take a Right, going up
    the hill into campus.
  • On your right, you’ll pass Nazareth Student Union, Madonna Hall and
    Emmanuel (a very small brick building).
  • The next building on your right is Swartz. There’s a chapel in the Swartz Center, making easily identifiable from the outside by the stained glass.

Parking is available going up that hill, next to Emmanuel, and behind the buildings on the left side of the street. There will be an open house on Saturday, so if all of those areas are full, keep driving up the hill and you’ll run into other lots.

Graphics Class Note

Req: G

I have a meeting at 9:30 a.m. on campus, so I might be a few minutes late for class. We will be moving into Adobe Photoshop, so please feel free to open the program and poke around a bit until I arrive.

Finding story ideas

Req: A, N

Our Advanced Newswriting class has been struggling to find story ideas in recent days, prompting several class discussions about what the media cover, what they should cover, where they find stories and how they develop news angles.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share some articles pertaining to the subject.

First, is Steve Padilla’s “21 Ways to Find Story Ideas.” Steve’s best piece of advice is his first… establish a “story-hunting mindset.” If people you know are talking about something, it might be newsworthy. If it’s something local, it almost certainly is.

In Writing Matters, Lee Enterprises writers and editors point to another key bit of advice… be curious. Talk to people. Think about things. Ask questions, of yourself as well as others. Observe the world around you and ask why things are the way the are and how they came to be that way. Look for the unusual, but also discover the unusal side of usual things.

The Student Newspaper Survival Blog offers a list of suggestions geared specifically to college journalists, such as studying bulletin boards (print as well as electronic), paying attention to in-class announcements and just opening your eyes as you walk around campus.

I’ve posted some other suggestions earlier this semester, including checking out other college newspapers and trying to focus on writing “must read” news.

Just ask yourself… What bugs you? What excites you? What scares you? What entices you? What interests you? What do you just want to know more about? If the answer is “nothing,” then ask your friends (and, maybe, consider whether or not journalism is really the right career for you).

*Edit 3/25/09: Interesting story in this morning’s Times-Tribune about the University’s growing footprint in the Hill Section. It’s definitely worth a story in next week’s Aquinas. So is the fact that President Obama has endorsed the proposed Scranton-NYC rail line.


This blog is maintained by Dr. Matthew M. Reavy as a service to journalism students at the University of Scranton.

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