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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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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Vegan challenge… it has begun

Vegan Challenge! | Two friends, one month, zero animal products

I’m pretty sure I have one of the most talented web designer friends. Get ready: It took Matt Anderson about 2.5 days to whip this site together.

Matt and I started vegan challenge as a friendship project. Neither of us are vegans. We tossed around the idea of keeping a blog during the first challenge in June 2010 but didn’t pull one together till this bout.

You’ll see less random posts on Dennetmint this month, so pop on over to for our back-and-forths. We each learned a lot of different things from the last vegan challenge, and I hope you’ll join us on this January adventure!

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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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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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“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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Show me the $$

“When you are young, you have more time than money.”

Chris Anderson, The Web is dead, long live the Internet

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Morning inspiration: Duet

I’m a little embarrassed to own up to my most recent Hulu find, The LXD, yet for some reason, I can’t help but share it with everyone. My explanation goes something like this:

It’s called The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. The plot’s awful, but the dancing and cinematography are amazing. It’s about these dancers whose superpower is dancing. And there’s this babbling fool archetype who introduces each episode, a black man who stares into space like he’s blind. Sort of a forced Professor X character but for this legion whose battling a bad troupe—not bad dancers, mind you, but evil—except it’s not clear at all what’s at stake. But seriously. The dancing. There are no special effects.

So having now made my admission, what better way to start a morning lush with rain than with this clip? (If video doesn’t work, click here)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Bonus: Robot Love Story

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Design literacy needed: Oh Joy! puts Earth Day at -1

In honor of Earth Day, this Parisian fool is going to load his vintage Fiat with about a thousand pounds of soil and shrubbery.

In honor of Earth Day, Oh Joy! has shared this piece of design candy with her readers, kicking them over to manufacturer BacSac.

And for the sake of Earth Day—I cannot find a dramatically suitable way to say this, but—I am appalled beyond words! The readers have gone gaga!

Do the math. 132 gallons = 500 liters = ~1,000 pounds. Soil is heavy. Heavier than the driver and his kids combined. Those sprouts cannot hope to offset the extra pollutants the car is putting out. On top of that, the car is decades old and uses outdated technology that is likely less efficient than new models on the road.

Case and point, friends: Trendy green. Anything is forgivable as long it’s visually chic. Oh Joy! is a staple design blog, and I’m floored by the irresponsible curation. I can’t remember the last time i saw a bigger black hole in critical thinking.

Misinformation: +1, Earth Day: -1.

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Social media, get over yourself

Every morning, I check my Twitter, Google Reader and Facebook for my social media breakfast. They’re the best ways to get the most relevant news based on who I subscribe to and because of this, I trust shared links even when they don’t correspond with my immediate interests. One of my favorite wielders of social media is NPR—especially effective on FB—and they had posted a new story on applying for jobs in our digital age. In a nutshell: Résumés were out. Letters of inquiry, passé. If the companies they surveyed were any indication, employers now court a 10-12% of their employees via LinkedIn.

The same topic bookended my night. This time, it was News Hour with Jim Lehrer on OPB. There are now lay-off camps, and the instructor whose seminar was shadowed took it one step further: Not only were anything to do with paper apps a relic of the past, he was disgusted by them. FB and LinkedIn are the new matchmakers. Social networking is the way to go, and nothing else will suffice. From the sounds of it, anything else could be an indication of how unvaluable you are.

Yes, social media is useful. Generally speaking, LinkedIn and Twitter are probably the most useful: You’re encouraged to sell yourself. I’m not sure how Facebook comes in since it depends on reciprocal relationships, differs in privacy settings and is used more personally.

But my beef is this: Not only is Twitter your living business card (an apt way to think of it if you’re going to use it), but you better have a blog and whip up a following. The message is go all out. Blogs are coveted by employers because it’s the most insightful digital reflection of your savvy. Can you command an audience? Are you an innovative thinker? Do you use social media effectively?

Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 found the leading measure of success for bloggers to be personal satisfaction. Blogs are started for a glut of reasons, and all are legitimate. I haven’t compared the numbers lately, but back in 2006, the buzz was around Technorati Founder David Sifry‘s quote that the blogosphere doubled in size every six months. We all guessed this would slowly level off, but with the economic slump, more people–especially age 40+, have been taking more enrichment courses that they hope will help them land a new job. I’ve found this in my social media classes. It explains the focus on social media at the lay-off camps. But with blogs numbering in the hundreds of millions, it’s difficult to break into the bloggerati even if you are consistent with your posts, on-topic, insightful and crossposting. Consider this Willamette Week feature from 2004. Most of the blogs listed on here have faded away or rusted over the last five years now that the Internet isn’t so shiny anymore.

It’s not fair for consultants to be slamming résumés and letters of inquiry. Perhaps a printed sheet, a manila envelope is passé, but we all put our résumés on LinkedIn. A letter of inquiry is not only valuable in highlighting certain experiences but also in showing you’ve done your homework on the employer and your values align with theirs (hopefully augmented by your experiences). A PDF of your résumé as a digital submission is still your résumé. An email inquiry or LinkedIn inquiry is still a letter of inquiry. Digital tools are another iteration, a change of medium but not intent. Social media experts should be lighting their topic forte favorably rather than employing scare tactics.

Whenever someone I’m talking to brings up how overwhelmed they feel by social media, I tell them this: You don’t need to use it all. Wearing bangles, chokers, collars, necklaces, chains and rings on all fingers is not exactly tasteful. You just need to know why each social media tool is useful and choose the right ones for you. Anything else would be inauthentic, and who wants to break that all-important mandate of social media?

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