Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reporting 2.0?

In Chron 2.0, an article posted last week on, JMC lecturer Michael Stoll takes an in-depth look at the life and times of the San Francisco Chronicle. Overall, his article offers another fairly dismal view of the future of newspapers and journalism, pointing to continuing decreases in readership and increasing competition for ad revenues from the likes of

But, as Stoll points out, at least the Chronicle is still hiring...unlike the Mercury News, which is about to slash its news staff again. As reported on the blog:
Merc managers plan to lay off 40 editorial staffers on Monday night and Tuesday morning, along with another 61 workers in the newspaper’s other departments.... Management has remained tight-lipped...and the secrecy has put the 446 employees who received layoff-warning notices on edge. “It’s the largest layoff in Mercury News history – that I’m aware of,” said Luther Jackson, executive director of the San Jose Newspaper Guild.
Aspiring young journalists may want to take note of what the Chron is looking for in its reporters these days. Near the end of his article, Stoll notes that prospective Chron reporters are being asked to explain how they would make blogging, podcasting, and video a part of their news routines. Stoll also quotes Narda Zacchino, the paper's deputy managing editor, who says, "I think we think of ourselves not just as a newspaper anymore, but as a multimedia provider, not just in print but on the Web."

In the olden days, people used to tell ambitious youngsters, "Go West, young man, go West. Now I think it should be: "Go Web, youngster, go Web."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Professor Blogger

A sign of the times, perhaps?

According to BlogTogether, a blog for North Carolina bloggers and podcasters, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill is looking for a tenure-track prof who's a blogger.

An excerpt from the UNC ad says candidates should be "highly skilled in writing and editing online news, in blogging and in developing news content for the web.

Sounds like the future is now.

(Thanks to grad student Ryan Sholin for passing this on.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Still Spanning the Globe

I stumbled upon the end of an era this morning...the last "Spanning the Globe" segment by sportscaster Len Berman on the Today Show (at least that's what I thought...see note at end of this post).

When I was in college, I used to love watching Len Berman, who covered sports at WBZ-TV in Boston in the 1970s. I think that's when he started putting together his wacky "Spanning the Globe" sports clips. He later moved on to NBC...and I moved on to take my first reporting job in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest. It was a long way from home, and I was delighted to stumble across Berman and his "Spanning the Globe" sports report on a local NBC affiliate.

It's hard to believe now, but I was a bit of a sports fan when I was a kid. My Dad was an avid Boston Red Sox fan, and I remember Carl Yastrzemski, "the man we call Yaz" (yes, I can still sing it!), and the "impossible dream" summer of 1967, when the Red Sox came this close to winning the American League pennant. One of the things I'm truly grateful for is that my father lived long enough to see the Sox finally win the 2004 World Series.

For my Mom, it was the Boston Celtics. I remember the golden era of Coach Red Auerbach and legendary players like Larry Bird. When my Mom was in her 50s, she took her first cross-country road trip -- and one of the highlights for her was passing through the town of French Lick, Ind., the birthplace of Larry Bird.

Since then, sports have become so much harder edged and more commercial. Now I rarely pay attention to it, or miss it...except when a marker comes along like Berman's last "Spanning the Globe."

Note: Imagine my surprise at finding an email from Len Berman in my in-box this evening. He wrote:
Hi Cynthia......hopefully you'll be happy to hear that Al Roker was
just kidding this morning. "Spanning the World" is alive and well and
will next air on the Today Show December 13th.
Best regards,
Len Berman

How cool is that!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The BOBs: Best of the Blogs

The U.S. blog Sunlight Foundation won the top award for Best Weblog in the third annual Deutsche Welle Best of the Blogs (BOBs) Awards. The international blog competition is sponsored annually by Deutsche Welle, the German international broadcasting service.

The 2006 BOBs jury members said they admired the Sunlight Foundation blog for its work to increase transparency in government. They called the project "a positive example of how blogs can shape political discourse" and praised it for its potential to be adapted for use in other countries.

Here's one example cited of what that blog has accomplished:
The [Sunlight] Foundation helped bridge the ideological divide in the blogosphere by bringing together liberal and conservative bloggers in its "Exposing Earmarks" project. Volunteers tried to find more information on 1,800 earmarks -- or hidden funding -- inserted into a Labor bill. This effort led to a new transparency law in Congress mandating a publicly accessible online database with detailed information on all future spending bills in Congress.
BOB Awards were also presented for the best blogs in several different languages, including English, German, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese., which won the award for Best English Weblog, tracks the different business models being tried and tested in the realm of digital media.

In the Reporters Without Borders category, the BOBs first prize award was shared by two Persian-language blogs, the photo blog Kosoof, which publishes photos of Iranian dissidents with their families after their release from prison, and Hamed Mottaghis' Weblog Tanine Sokut, which focuses on human rights violations in Iran and issues not covered by Iran's national media.

The BOBs also named a top podcast, Mezumei Studio of China, and gave its coveted Blogwurst Award to Aref-Adib, an Iranian photo-commentary blog that I've already bookmarked for posterity.

For just a taste of Aref-Adib, a recent post shows a noose labeled with the names of Mideast nations and the caption: "Saddam verdict didn't give Bush the big swing he was hoping for!"

More than 5,500 blogs in 10 languages were nominated for this year's BOBs by internet users from around the world. That's double the number nominated last year.

Nominees were first vetted by an international jury of bloggers, independent journalists and media experts, who created a shortlist of 10 nominees in each of the contest's 15 categories. Then the nominations were opened up to the public for three weeks of voting. The BOBs includes both jury awards and user awards.

One of this year's jurors was from the Bay Area: Lisa Stone, an organizer of the locally based BlogHer conference. She gives her take on the BOBs, including the user-named favorite English Weblog, Black Looks by Sokari Ekine, on a post on the BlogHer site.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Now for something completely different...

Check out this seriously entertaining blog post, Chutzpah, Truffles & Alain Ducasse, or this one, My New Favorite Restaurant, on Adam Roberts ' Amateur Gourmet blog.

These posts are kind of like a cross between a restaurant review and a comic book, and they really hit the spot. Delicious fun!

(I found this link on Guy Kawasaki's blog, How to Change the World: A Practical Blog for Impractical People, after clicking over to read a post I saw mentioned on Micro wonder I'm not getting caught up on my grading.)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Road trip team

A former PR student of mine, Abel Habtegeorgis, popped by my office this afternoon. He just wanted to say "hi" and remind me that he and his two teammates will be speaking on campus tomorrow about their summer adventures traveling for the PBS series "Roadtrip Nation."

As you may recall from an earlier post in The JMC Journal blog, Habtegeorgis hit the road for six weeks this summer in a green Roadtrip Nation RV with two other SJSU students -- Cairo Person, a journalism major, and Kisura Hendrix, a PolySci major -- to interview interesting people. Two other teams, from Emory University and Concordia University in Montreal, also participated in the program. Their travels and interviews, caught on film, are being made into a PBS documentary.

Habtegeorgis, Henrix and Person will talk about their travels and the people they interviewed at 12 noon tomorrow in the Umunhum Room of the Student Union at SJSU. They'll also show some of their clips from the upcoming documentary.

Be there or be square!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Words and their consequences

“Anybody who is in a position to serve this country ought to understand the consequences of words,” said the man who just last week insisted that he hadn't just spent the past year telling us to "stay the course" in that growing disaster known as Iraq. Did he forget about TV cameras?

Bush also spent yesterday campaigning, insisting that we are going to win in Iraq. He also praised Donald Rumsfeld, asserting that his secretary of defense is doing a fine job. Yeah, right.

Do we need any more reasons to send the president a strong message (a.k.a. a Democratic majority) in the upcoming election?

Halloween fun

Don't be late to class or the schoolmarm will rap your knuckles!

I sure had fun dressing up on Halloween in a vintage hat and retro clothes. Note my "schoolmarm" props: the slate and wooden ruler (a Coca Cola collectible) are out of the attic (does it sound like I've been watching too much Antiques Roadshow?).

Many thanks to the J-school students who humored me in class, as I waved my ruler at them and generally tried to act like a stern schoolmarm of yore. (Maybe the candy helped.)

For more fun Halloween shots, check out the Spartan Daily's Halloween on Campus slide show.