Dennetmint

Goodbye, love.

18. The legal mark of adulthood, but it’s not some sort of immaculate transformation, and our generation has less milestones to look to than those before us. Growing up is one thing, but when do we become adults?

For years now, I’ve been keeping track of the lessons learned as I’ve come into my own adulthood. I’ve gone back and forth about sharing them, but it wasn’t till I received an email that my AmeriCorps program – committed to strengthening the public media infrastructure – was bidding adieu after a decade’s worth of service that I needed to share at least this one.

I’ve been visited by reincarnations of this particular lesson over several years, and it has been especially poignant in the last month. It started when, despite enormous effort from myself and many associated with the School of Interdisciplinary Studies over two years, our academic division was stripped of its collegiate status at Miami University. In the last month, the House strapped a rider to the budget resolution that would essentially eliminate AmeriCorps. And tonight, the Transmission Project is raising its last toast in Boston.

So here is one of the most heart wrenching lessons I’ve had to learn about adulthood, and one with which I have yet to come to grips: As we grow older, we outlive the things we love.

Goodbye, CTC VISTA Project. Goodbye, Digital Arts Service Corps. My class and the staff have inspired me to no end. I can’t thank you enough.

 

Photo by Morgan Sully

Filed under: Storytelling, Technology, , , , , , , , ,

Carnival of Journalism – First-generation youth and context

Recommendation 12: Engage young people in developing the digital information and communication capacities of local communities

This is probably one that’s closest to my heart, and the most organic entry point for me.

In the full description of the recommendation, the Knight Foundation sets the scene for a “Geek Corps” that assigns post-college volunteers to public institutions to help them leverage digital media technologies. There already exists something like this, a program of which I proudly call myself an alum: the Digital Arts Service Corps (formerly the CTC VISTA Project).

But when I first read the recommendation, my mind gravitated toward youth rather than young adults. More specifically, first-generation youth in minority communities. Most of my experience in media has been imagining how to leverage everyday tools for media creation by sources that are not traditionally seen as information providers. This has ranged from mobile media creation by immigrant communities and Millennials to my current position as the citizen journalism coordinator for The Rapidian, a hyperlocal news site for Grand Rapids, Mich.

When we look at the purpose of information, it’s to acquaint communities with the intricacies of issues and phenomena that have a direct effect on them. There are patches of media that serve youth, that serve immigrants but there is a whole swath that straddles the line between cultures, and youth has proven to be a volatile time across the board.

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Filed under: Ethnic groups, Ethnicity, Journalism, Storytelling, Technology, , , , , , ,

Carnival of Journalism – Universities: Modules v. local community engagement

This addendum branches off from my blog post addressing universities’ role as potential hubs of journalistic activities. To see what other carnies thought about universities as journalistic hubs and their role in media literacy, check out Dave Cohn’s roundup at the Carnival of Journalism


Most universities, especially bigger research ones, work on projects that are outward facing, and it seems like currently, they fall under two categories:

  1. Creating modules and components that various news outlets can utilize (All Our Ideas, Mobile Journalism Tools)
  2. Engaging the communities that are around them (MyMissourian, The Local – East Village)

A nod to fellow carny Christopher Wink: “Big universities have a long history of lacking support from the communities that surround them, despite being important jobs creators, covering surrounding neighborhoods can go a long way to sure up its connections with local leaders and residents.”

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Filed under: Internet, Journalism, Technology, , , , ,

Carnival of Journalism – Higher ed, purpose and imagination

<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-980" title="Return of the Carnival of Journalism <Update: To see what other carnies thought about universities as journalistic hubs and their role in media literacy, check out Dave Cohn’s roundup at the Carnival of Journalism

In 2009, I went to my first national conference. I met up with the folks at Denver Open Media in Austin for SXSWi. At the time, I had been working remotely with DOM on their Knight News Challenge project, the Open Media Project, and had caught earfuls of bustle via conference calls, but I had never met the crew.

DOM is a highly controversial, sometimes lauded outfit in the world of public access television. I asked executive director Tony Shawcross why cable access, and in a moment that I often revisit, he said it’s simply the most effective medium at their disposal for what they want to accomplish. He’d as soon lop it off when it no longer serves that purpose.

Media as the vehicle – don’t get too attached.

We’ve all seen them: journos who wax poetic about how to dash your serial commas, how to STET your mistakes. In a shifting journalism landscape, universities’ responsibility is to imbue their students with a flexible mindset, and the rest will follow.

So what environments can universities leverage to exercise that mindset?

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Filed under: Internet, Journalism, Storytelling, Technology, , , , , ,

Common ground

I don’t think I talk enough about how important language is to me.

When I was young, my mom would tell me that at night, I traveled in my dreams. You went to Korea, she’d say. And Venezuela, and Israel and made a quick stop in Australia. Next, off to Mongolia. I would wake up in a cocoon of sheets, hanging off the farthest tip of the bed.

When I was young, I made a list of languages I wanted to learn. I rearranged it every year. First, it was Korean, Hebrew, French, Japanese, Cantonese, Urdu and sign language. Then it was Pidgin, German, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish, French and Thai. I never counted less than seven languages at a time. I wanted to talk with the world.

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Filed under: Ethnicity, Storytelling, , , ,

Poetry as a game changer

There was this beautiful, orange sherbert sunset today. It looked like… what? Ice cream? Topographical ridges? Light stencils? Anyhow, as I tried to describe it to myself at MadCap, I remembered a poem, one that first introduced a concept to me I had not previously thought about.

I was in junior high. We were reading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, which I remember now only in broad strokes. Robert Frost‘s poem was seminal for me.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

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Filed under: Storytelling, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Too much news content? A question to interest-based journalism

Somebody has to say it to those news orgs, and it might as well be me: Give it a rest already!

Here’s the thing: Every time I go to my Google Reader, I am overwhelmed with the amount of content coming in. I mean, really? 500 pieces of fresh content over one week from a tech pub?

And mind you, I divide my reader into niche coverage: tech, news, media dev, &c. As much as I applaud the amount of coverage these bureaus crank, I don’t really care whether some news org is just thinking about mobile, whether another is waiting for alternatives to the iPad. Are you so chained to the 24/7 news cycle that you’ve positioned reporters to catch the slop? That should thought leaders bend the crook of their elbow to return the cup to its saucer—an inquisitive look—suddenly it’s JUST IN: STEVE JOBS ENTERTAINED AN IDEA! PROBABLY ABOUT MOBILE!

My reader, slimmed down from over 2,500 articles in one week from 70 subscriptions. I will say GigaOm is one consistently good provider of content despite the amount they churn. And news flash: Did you know that Steve Ballmer went Twitter crazy in Kiev?

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Filed under: Internet, Journalism, , , , , , , , , , , ,

The ultimate guide for today’s man

Last week was pretty long, so I was looking forward to crashing when I got home. But after traipsing the few steps to our apartment hallway, a vise grip on my bike, the first thing that greeted me on the way up the stairs was a half-naked image of Jennifer Aniston, steam-rolled by text.

That couldn’t be our mail, could it? But I’m the only one with a magazine subscription in the household. So in my usual arabesque – bike to the right, back kick to the door and my free hand reaching out – I grabbed the mail and powered up to the second floor.

I hope it isn’t Wired, I thought as I turned the magazine over.

The other side of the outsert tells us that a half-naked Rihanna* rocks GQ's world.

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Filed under: Internet, Journalism, Storytelling, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Transparency is the new black”


I am:

  1. floored
  2. enamored

with this compilation by Geoff McGhee on data visualization in journalism. It’s seriously worth a Friday night in – popcorn, dimmed lights, the works. Watch it in the annotated version.

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Filed under: Internet, Journalism, Storytelling, , , , , , , , , , ,

Intensity so great, only qualifiers will do

When I was in Peace Corps, my boyfriend at the time was state-side. He would send me magazines and clippings every couple of months: Mother Jones, The Sun, Adbusters. I had just finished reading a piece in Adbusters by a writer in high school and was talking about the effulgence of descriptions, the merits of being selective with adjectives and adverbs, &c. One high school teacher taught that every description is meant to tell you something deeper, and he imparted this memorable description from The Great Gatsby:

Over the great bridge, with the sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps all built with a wish out of non-olfactory money. The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.

Fitzgerald meant something by the sugar.

“If a writer isn’t selective, then the reader doesn’t know what to focus on. The prose will have lost its impact,” I said.

After critiquing the young’un’s writing, I continued:

But as I was sitting there contemplating this writer’s style, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be amazing if all your senses were bombarded so relentlessly you couldn’t even focus in? Where beauty and value were so abundant that every detail must be qualified? I don’t know if I’ve ever even been witness to anything so beautiful (I’m sure you must have, as you’ve been to so many places; ha funny, too, how that assumption [he’s outdoorsy] indicates that I believe such beauty can only exist in nature).

To this day, nothing immediately comes to mind. How about you, dear friends? What is it for you?

Filed under: Storytelling, , , , , , , , , , ,

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