blogging / Links

7 links: Interns, paywalls, cleverness, failure, Flash, press conferences and internships

linksHousekeeping: I’m in the midst of heavy revision of my dissertation draft, so posting will likely be light over the next few weeks unless something big breaks.

Reminder: Feb. 1 is the deadline for applications for the Spring 2010 CICM internship. $500 stipend. Work from anywhere. Write about the future of college media.

Via Doug Fisher, journalists and PR experts scrum over how to handle a press conference about new USC football coach Lane Kiffen when he left U. of Tennessee after one year. I especially like the point where the PR guy says, “just remember, you’re in our building.” The University of Tennessee is a public institution.

Updating Flash Journalism (Part 2) – Mindy McAdams details some of the steps a journalist should take if she wants to learn Flash CS4, since Mindy isn’t going to be updating the excellent Flash Journalism. Worth a read. And here’s a link to Part 1.

The Right to Link – Jeff Jarvis takes down Rupert Murdoch’s silly campaign to exsanguinate the Internet by disallowing links to News Corp. web sites.

Linking is not a privilege that the recipient of the link should control – any more than politicians should decide who may or may not quote them. The test is not whether the creator of the link charges (Murdoch’s newspapers will charge and they link). The test is whether the thing we are linking to is public. If it is public for one it should be public for all.

It is always baffling to me how journalists want to wrap themselves in the mantle of a free press when it benefits them financially, but refuse to practice the sort of openness they preach about for elected officials. You can read more at

Mark Johnson: Failing faster – Daniel Bachhuber sums up a talk given at ICANN about experimentation and innovation. This summary should be familiar to readers of this blog:

There’s a difference between innovating and creating. Innovating is trying new things. Instead of covering the council meeting and writing about it, bring an audio recorder, a couple of microphones, and try to tell the whole story without using your own voice. That’s innovating. Creating, however, is about developing a routine that makes you prepared to produce. Technique isn’t creativity. The people who know all of the ins and outs of Photoshop, but can only produce within the scope of the assignment aren’t creative enough.

Too often in the day-to-day grind of producing a newspaper, the routine becomes preparation to produce what you’ve produced in the past. Even if what you’ve produced is “new” media. The challenge is to incorporate fresh ways to tell stories into your routine.

Notes on the Cleverness Economy – Ryan Sholin uses the humorous aspects of Twitter to make a point about the news business today. And it’s a really good point:

“Breaking News” is the treadmill. It’s the “flow” that keeps your audience engaged, coming back, checking your site or your blog, turning on the TV, visiting your national news site on their phone first thing in the morning to check if anything has blown up overnight, subscribed to your hyperlocal blog’s e-mail updates, checking their RSS feeds to see what’s new. And that’s crucial to building and engaging online news consumers.

But it doesn’t last. The stuff that does last? The most obvious answers include investigative and enterprise reporting, but I think there’s room these days for great infographics and data visualizations, too. For example, I’ve gone back to this New York Times piece on the 2008 Democratic primaries more than a few times over the last year, sometimes for political reference, and sometimes just to demonstrate the sort of displays of information that interest me these days.

Recommended: Find the balance, online producer, between churning out a steady stream of content and taking time to build something of lasting value beyond the next few hours.

I’d say the same applies to bloggers, educators, students, etc. Writing a quick hit blog post is relatively easy to do (I’m doing it now!), but there should be content that explores the boundaries and implications of what’s going on in your area of expertise as well.

What we won’t learn from the New York Times’ paywall – Steve Yelvington is one of many who have or will be commenting about the new effort by the Times to get blood out of the Internet turnip (see here for links to other discussion). Yelvington is usually pretty lucid and informative, so his take is worth a look. While it’s nice to discuss the effort of the “paper of record,” the implications for smaller newspapers are less than you’d know if you just read journoblogs all day.

From an unpaid intern: Are unpaid internships a necessary evil? – Chris Dunn posits the question based on a discussion over the fall break about the issue.

My take: No. SATSQ (simple answer to simple question).

The businesses who offer unpaid internships are taking advantage of the marketplace to get work done for nothing. Free work that they wouldn’t expect from a “professional.” Part of the problem with American society in general is that we don’t value labor enough, and free internships don’t help. I realize broadcasters have been using free interns for years. But that doesn’t make it right. I should expand on this thought sometime.