Everyone But AU by americanobserved
April 19, 2009, 10:23 am
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The NYTimes had a piece today about how J-schools are dealing with changing technology and teaching students what they need to know to be successful in this new economy… and they managed to mention every single J-school … except AU.

Cross-posted at Blog/19 and AmericanObserved.



Our Beloved Professor by Russ
April 15, 2009, 10:07 am
Filed under: Russ | Tags: , ,

As the semester winds down and we turn out our final issues, our beloved professor sets the tone.

David Johnson, hard at work… hard at work?

D@J

D@J

Cross-posted at Blog/19 and AmericanObserved.



Their Work and Ours Too by americanobserved
March 30, 2009, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Russ | Tags: , , ,

After the barn-burner of a post I just made, how about something lighter. Like how our work compares to everyone else’s.

Remember those broadcast people in our program? They do a full-scale TV news magazine every week. It’s pretty good. Sometimes it’s in Spanish. And wow, when did Annie Aho get that TV lady voice?

Our undergraduate friends at the Eagle, are plugging along too, helping us understand how not to write a cutline (click to see it bigger.)

The most tortured cutline. Ever.

The most tortured cutline. Ever.

Surfing away from the AU world, I think it’s useful to compare what other J-school grad students are doing as a yardstick to figure out what we’re doing right and wrong. We’ve hit something of a slump, but I think we’re comparing well.

The Columbia Journalist looks just like it did last semester, and it’s pretty spare – so is our site, but we kick it up with a broad Flash package which really helps. It’s also nice to see they have the same problems writing good headlines.

Columbia also has the “nyc24” which seems to be somewhere between the Journalist’s “city news” focus, and our focus on everything. Well, according to the school’s official Web site it’s focused around “GRIT,” whatever that means. I also broke their rules, by pronouncing it, “N-Y-C-TWENTY-FOUR.” That’s how we do in the Blogosphere.

Anyway, they definitely do some interesting Flash presentations to weave together some multimedia work, for any of you who are interested in that kind of thing. This is my favorite. Kind of choppy, and a little disorienting, but interesting. This one goes over the top, but really, when you’re talking about bail-bondsmen how can you not? It also gets points from me for following up on my favorite HBO show ever. But HBO did it better.

And for anyone who might be counting, or grinding his axe, Medill’s D.C. reporting program starts up again tomorrow.

Cross-posted at Blog/19 and AmericanObserved.



New AU Web Site, Submit Your User Content by americanobserved
March 30, 2009, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Russ | Tags: , , ,

For devoted readers of the AmericanObserved blog, you’ll know I’ve long had a chip on my shoulder about the placement of the Observer on the AU SOC’s Web site. Well, the school has a new Web site, and so does the SOC. The content isn’t dramtically different, although it looks a littl more modern. There’s a “Student and Faculty” work page – it’s still “dynamic” and OUR student work isn’t exactly prominent. We do have a permanent link on the bottom of several pages, and a couple shout-outs throughout the site, which is nice.

Last time I complained about our lack of visibility on the SOC Web site, it got a fairly quick response, which summed up was: you have to tell us you want attention because we’ve got a lot going on. This time they’re making it easier: there’s an easy link to submit “user content” to the SOC Web site. The ability to submit “user content” may be the development that will prevent us from getting jobs in August, but let’s use it to our advantage today.

Cross-posted at Blog/19 and AmericanObserved.



The Twitterview Double Dare by Russ
March 26, 2009, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Russ

We’ve got podcasts, video and live-blogging, but we here at the Observer are about to miss the next boat – the Twitterview. Who needs even a soundbite when 140 characters will do? It’s just enough space to ask a bad question, and just enough space for someone to give a non-answer.

I’m formally daring someone to try this for the next issue. But try picking a Twitter handle shorter than @GStephanopoulos and interview someone with a shorter handle than @SenJohnMcCain.

Cross-posted at Blog/19 and AmericanObserved.



RT: Twitter Wouldn’t Lie to Me! by Russ
March 24, 2009, 11:17 am
Filed under: Russ | Tags: , ,

My goal with this blog was to talk about the Observer, not my personal pet peeves or uninformed opinions about journalism, but I’m going to venture into Twitter territory today. I’m generally fairly skeptical of its application as a news tool – great for (self-)promoting, and okay for news-gathering. My blog-mate Anna will heartily disagree. Probably via a tweet. The Observer has its own Twitter account, which has recently been picked up as a promotional tool. But, we, in general, should be careful about relying too heavily on it as reliable source for our news-gathering. While it has been helpful during some dramatic, hard-to-cover news events, and we’ve used it for our reporting, it has also been “helpful” spreading hysterical, un-true rumors during these panicky economic times. For example, yesterday, the rumor that the New Yorker was going to twice-a-month was re-Tweeted all over. This time the rumor was stopped in its tracks, but like on the Internet, the rumor remains archived and ready to rise again, represented as fact. Also, bad for us and for Twitter – it made Jennifer Aniston break up with John Mayer. Allegedly. Cross-posted at Blog/19 and AmericanObserved.



It should be said… by Anna
March 23, 2009, 9:32 am
Filed under: Anna | Tags: , , ,

That last week’s issue of the Observer was one of the best so far. All of the articles were interesting, the podcast went off without a hitch, and we even had time to do a “behind the scenes” video. I’m very impressed.

Of course, I should also mention that I committed an amateur’s mistake when putting together my breakfast taco video. I needed music for the background, so I went and found a song by Los Lobos and put it in there. I credited the artist, but when I went back and read the terms of use, it explicitly said DO NOT USE THIS MUSIC EVERRRRR THAT WOULD BE STEALING!!

Which, honestly, was kind of annoying, because if you find an mp3 easily available for download, and you credit the artist and don’t try to pass it off as your own work, shouldn’t that be okay? I’m obviously a big fan of creative commons licensing, and for a simple reason: It makes sense. I have yet to go back and plug in new music, but I obviously had to take down the video until I get a chance to do that.

Copyright law is, as we know, super complicated, and it is the only reason I would want to go to law school: To study and eventually fight for or against it. But that’s a subject for another day.

I’d be interested to hear what my fellow Observers think about Creative Commons, though.

Food for thought, watch Larry Lessig’s talk from TED.

Cross-posted to Blog10 and Escapador.