Since <Blink> won’t blink in Blink, Firefox would be the only remaining browser that allows text to actually flash using the <Blink> element.
Vijit Assar, The Evolution of the Web, In a Blink, The New Yorker.
FJP: It must have been really fun to write that sentence. The whole piece is worth a read if you want an easy enough 101 on the history of internet browsers and what’s coming next. Which, if you use a web browser, you should. And it’s in The New Yorker, so you can show this to your grandma and maybe she’ll read it too.
It is the responsibility of scientists and journalists to work together in stopping such empathy fatigue, because empathy is the primary human quality that fuels our instinct to protect human rights around the world.
Jamil Zaki, Empathy Fatigue and What the Press Can Do About It, The Huffington Post.
Circa 2009, I geeked out over Zaki’s article because, well, hearing a psychologist weigh in on the objectivity-is-perilous-in-journalism debate is refreshing. No one’s really arguing anymore over the fact that objectivity is a tricky, nuanced, sub-standard ethic for journalism, but a new, better ethic hasn’t quite emerged. A singular sterling standard probably won’t.
Last fall, some of the best and brightest in media sat down to talk about it all and thanks to Poynter, this book emerged. Really smart people all over the world are creating and debating around accurate and value-creative reporting. You can explore our ethics tag for past coverage of some of those conversations.
Zaki, who is on the science side of things, very much heeded his own call to action and today I’m geeking out over his newest project, The People’s Science, a digital public space where scientists and the public can meet, share, and talk about science.
The site’s purpose is to encourage scientists to write posts about their research in easy-to-understand language and for the public to have conversations with those scientists directly.
In Zaki’s words (via NPR):
In an ideal world, I think TPS could provide a platform for scientists to feature their work to a broad audience and describe why they find it exciting and relevant. For non-scientists, I hope that the site can provide an insider’s perspective on how scientists think, and a way to go beyond the “punchlines” of a given study and understand the process that went into it. I also think the public should be able to use this to vet other media sources, testing claims made by reporters against scientists’ own descriptions. Finally, I’d like the site to be a true forum: instead of each “pop” abstract serving as a static document, I’d like non-scientists and scientists alike to be able to ask questions and engage in discussion about the work posted here. At the highest level, my dream for this site would be to help scientists and non-scientists into more dialogue, which I believe can only be a good thing for our culture at large.
FJP: We agree, obviously, on very many levels. It humanizes the researchers behind academia’s impenetrable walls by thrusting them into the social sphere. It’s a gold mine for science reporters to have easy and direct access to emerging research and scientists. As someone who (in my non FJP life) works for an academic journal and deals quite regularly with the incomprehensible abstract and insanely long paper title, it’s wonderful.
Now go explore the site and ask questions.—Jihii
Porn Studies is the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic and their cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contexts. Porn Studies will publish innovative work examining specifically sexual and explicit media forms, their connections to wider media landscapes and their links to the broader spheres of (sex) work across historical periods and national contexts.
Porn Studies is an interdisciplinary journal informed by critical sexuality studies and work exploring the intersection of sexuality, gender, race, class, age and ability. It focuses on developing knowledge of pornographies past and present, in all their variations and around the world. Because pornography studies are still in their infancy we are also interested in discussions that focus on theoretical approaches, methodology and research ethics. Alongside articles, the journal includes a forum devoted to shorter observations, developments, debates or issues in porn studies, designed to encourage exchange and debate.
I’m graduating in May in hopes of becoming a journalist. I’ve had internships and I’ve worked for my university’s online news source. Can you steer a terrified senior in a direction? Where should I look? What should I be looking for? What should I work on?” — Helena
We get questions like this fairly frequently and there’s no exact answer. But with yesterday’s announcement of the 2012 Peabody Award winners we’re seeing the incredible range of today’s journalism.This isn’t to say that you can’t quibble with this story winning over that story, or say they could chose more innovative work, but it is to say that if you look at the winners from the Web, radio, television and documentary you see a wild diversity of storytelling approaches and ideas.
And reviewing some of the winners, I think, is a great place to start.
Start with the Web and The New York Times win for “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek,” a multimedia feature using aerial photography, video and words while taking advantage of contemporary presentation techniques such as responsive design and parallax in order to augment and further drive the story forward.
SCOTUSBlog is the other Web winner. There are no bells and whistles. Instead, it’s pretty much a text only blog that’s become a go to resource for stories, background and explainers on all things that have to do with the US Supreme Court. Here, deep, thorough, consistent reporting and analysis wins out.
Radio, I think, is in a golden age and the reason I think this is is because of the launch of iTunes back in 2001. This allowed people to easily subscribe to podcasts — and by extension radio programming — that we previously didn’t have access to. Yes, RSS already existed but iTunes gave us an easy interface to either hear or distribute programming. While your local public radio station might not carry it, you can now hear everything from the BBC’s From Our Own Correspondent to The Moth Radio Hour, 99% Invisible and Radiolab among a host of other exceptional programming.
Each of these programs uses different techniques and styles. By listening and analyzing, we learn new tricks that expand our understanding of what’s possible in audio storytelling.
One of this year’s radio winners comes from Radio Diaries, is called “Teen Contender” and follows the 16-year-old Olympic boxer Claressa Shields in a first person narrative from Flint, Michigan to London. Here’s a great breakdown by Julia Barton on the techniques used and how this created great radio.
Other radio winners include WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show, a “traditional” hosted show about New York’s political and cultural life; This American Life’s “What Happened at Dos Erres,” an incredible radio documentary about a Guatemalan immigrant in Boston “who learns that the man he believed to be his father actually led the massacre of his village”; and NPR for its hard news reporting in Syria by Kelly McEvers and Deborah Amos.
I’ll leave it at this and with the recommendation to explore different types of journalism awards across magazines, multimedia, photography, documentary, radio and the rest. Through it, you’ll come across work that brings about an “Aha!” moment, one that makes you say, “This is what I want to do.” And then start positioning yourself and aiming towards doing it by applying for work — or learning the skills needed to apply for work — in that area.
Hope this helps. — Michael
Have a question? Ask away.
Media people who feel smug because they have a Twitter handle, an about.me page, and 500 friends on Facebook often seem to think there is something magical about their ability to navigate social media. There’s not. Social media is easy to use, the barrier to entry is almost zero, and it’s not at all impressive in the larger realm of what constitutes “new journalism,” or whatever it is we’re supposed to call journalism that involves the use of Big Data and interactive infographics.
Journalism skills, however – those antiquated intangibles that fusty old out-of-touch Columbia tries to teach – are non-trivial. Journalists have to be able to not only write, but to also process and synthesize complicated ideas in a short time, structure narratives, master the art of interviewing, take notes really fast, self edit, research in places where others don’t think to look, speak truth to power, ask ballsy questions that might otherwise get their teeth smacked in, construct arguments, dismantle other arguments, see through bullshit, and think on their feet. You can learn those things by yourself through hard work and experience, but it’ll take more than 40 seconds.
Hamish McKenzie, PandoDaily, So Columbia Journalism School’s new dean doesn’t Tweet. So what?
FJP: We’d argue that Twitter and this overall social media thing takes more than 40 seconds to learn but Hamish’s argument against Michael Wolff’s criticism of the Columbia J-School — and its appointment of Steve Coll as its dean — is well worth the read.
Bonus: Jihii Jolly’s Why I’m Paying for J-School.
This morning, I read Michael Wolff’s piece in USA Today entitled Columbia Flunks Relevancy Test. He’s not a fan of the school for reasons I can actually understand (though they might have been more convincing if he’d kept the sweeping generalizations to a minimum).
The overriding circumstance which the J-school seems to regard as not its concern is that the news business, which it counts on to employ its graduates — newspapers, magazines, television news, even online news — is shrinking at historic rates… Columbia, raking in $58,008 in yearly tuition and fees from each student and then sending them into a world of ever-bleaker prospects, ought, more reasonably and honestly, to just shut its doors.
I’m currently an MS student at Columbia. Wolff is right. It’s expensive. He’s also right about the fact that my peers and I probably won’t be making heaps of money down the road.
Like most other students—who, believe it or not, are a pretty wise, critically thinking lot of folks—I deeply considered whether or not it was a financial burden I wanted to take on. In seeking advice on the matter, in fact, I was encouraged not to go to j-school for reasons very similar to Wolff’s: it’s a waste of money, and if I want to be a journalist, I should just get out there and do journalism. But I went anyway. Here is why.
I want to be in an industry that continuously and honestly reflects on itself. I was first drawn to Columbia because of the Columbia Journalism Review. It’s a brilliant and necessary publication—not the only brilliant and necessary publication—but one that has empowered my curiosity for both the past and future of journalism with access to the people who think about it well. I hoped this type of thinking would be present in classes at Columbia. It is.
I want to be friends with and collaborate with intelligent, hard-working people who love both creating and consuming journalism. There is no better way to form life-long connections with such a group of people than by spending months working yourself to the bone in their company. At Columbia, I have had the honor of doing this.
I want to have the skills to be able to create any sort of journalistic project I want, both because I understand the industry is in a time of incredible transition, and these skills will be an asset, and because with the appropriate tools, great journalism can reach more people than ever before. I’m halfway through my degree and I have learned to code, curate, aggregate, report, write, shoot and produce audio, video and photography from employed journalists whom I respect and appreciate very much for the warmth and thoroughness with which they have shared their knowledge and experiences. They’ve brought their friends and colleagues to class too, who have offered their time and expertise entirely for free.
I want to be part of a community to which I can remain connected. To which I want to remain connected. I have been offered mentorship and guidance from J-school alumni who graduated 1 year before my time and 30 years before my time, and they have been nothing but kind and helpful. I cannot wait to pay it forward.
Columbia’s faculty, staff, and resources are great. But truly, it is the students and alumni of a university that make it great. It’s hard for me keep myself inspired without a community. And to do my best work, I’d like to nourish my inspiration. In a city where most of us are willing to get into debt for many kinds of instant gratification, a meaningful community is something I am willing to pay for, to have the opportunity to sustain.
So thank you, Michael Wolff, for making me consider once again, why I’m paying for J-school at Columbia. I didn’t become a journalist to make a lot of money. I became a journalist to become a better human being. Someone more critical, more patient, better at listening, better at asking questions, better at representing others on paper and in film. I’m absolutely certain I will be able to support myself and my family (in more ways than one) with these skills. While I have tremendous respect for those who are willing and able to freelance their way to the top, that’s not the struggle I chose. I chose to join a legacy institution that is finding its way in a transitioning world, and that struggle is something I’m enjoying very much. —Jihii
And so it was the other day when the provost at Indiana University announced she was going to “improve” the university’s award-winning School of Journalism by running it out of Ernie Pyle Hall and mashing it into the College of Arts and Sciences where the scholars in charge will have their way with it. The provost said the journalism education reform we’ve been writing about was part of the reason for change. Yet from all appearances, she knows nothing of our work.
Eric Newton, Knight Foundation. Do Universities Hear the Critics of Journalism Education?
Newton’s piece is an effort to clarify the Knight Foundation’s work on the future of journalism education, which encourages universities to expand their programs, not shrink them, as Indiana University is doing.
Is journalism education getting the message? We’ve been talking about four transformational trends.” Great journalism schools 1. connect with the rest of the university; 2. innovate with digital tools and techniques; 3. master more open,collaborative approaches, and become not just community information providers, but “teaching hospitals” that inform and engage their communities.
Is that message getting through? The first reaction was: We’re doing it! But then schools showed us journalism with no engagement, which is pretty much like hospitals with doctors and medicine but no patients. When we explained, the second reaction was: We can’t do all this! If we teach gizmos, we can’t teach journalism. Wrong again. To teach journalism in the digital age you have to teach both journalism and the digital age — and use modern tools to do it. That’s why the schools that are serious about this are getting bigger, not smaller.
Accompanying the piece is a graphic depicting three layers of journalism education. Schools must do well at the bottom layer in order to climb to the next.
For more, see the report on the Carnegie-Knight Initiative of the Future of Journalism Education.