The Changing Newsroom

Thanks, Becca, for forwarding this link about how the American newspaper has changed in the past three years.  Last semester my journalism students did a unit on community journalism, and they wrote long features that were destined for our new summer-orientation and fall welcome-back issues. So I was aware of some of the changes observed by the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s report on the status of today’s newspaper, though…

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Steampunk'd, Or Humbug by Design

Steampunk is one of my guilty pleasures… I think of it more of an asthetic than a literary movement, and I own neither a pair of aviator goggles nor a wind-up pocketwatch. Nevertheless, it happens that at this moment in another window I’m rendering a 3D view of an brass-and-glass spaceship ethership that features in the steampunk bedtime stories I’ve been telling my kids ever since I saw the last…

Helping the Almost-Journalists Do Journalism

As traditional news organizations face increasing pressure to cut back on investigative reporting and depend more heavily on celebrity and puff pieces (cheap to produce, attractive to advertisers, accessible to a mass audience), Dan Gillmor suggests that advocacy groups such as the ACLU have an opportunity to fill the gap.  If only they were fairer to the opposing view… They’re falling short today in several areas, notably the one that…

The End of Gamers

Does anybody today say — without shame — that their hobby is watching TV? Or listening to the radio? These media are so deeply entrenched in our society that we barely think of them. According to Ian Bogost, a time will come when the concept of “the gamer” is obsolete. Not because games will be obsolete, but because they will become so mainstream that the category will no longer be…

Book editors protest cuts at the Times

Former editors protest and lament the discontinuation of a literary staple: The dismantling of the Sunday Book Review section and the migration of a few surviving reviews to the Sunday Calendar section represents a historic retreat from the large ambitions which accompanied the birth of the section. To be sure, no section of any newspaper can remain hostage to past ways of covering the news of the day. We are…

Teaching Composition: A Reconsideration

Thanks for the link, Neha. Inside Higher Ed has a good article on the place of composition within the field of English studies. I have no interest in the now clichéd grumblings over English departments and their esoteric if not onanistic engagement in high-octane literary theory. I will only say that there is merit to the criticism. On the whole, however, such censure really isn’t going anywhere; these exercises in…

The Big Mistake [News Coverage of Election 2000]

A 2001 article from the Columbia Journalism Review… blogging it because one of my journalism courses this fall will focus on election coverage. What’s sure is that TV’s election night practices are in for significant reupholstery well before the 2002 races. Several networks promise they’ll project winners in the future only when all polls have closed in a state, not just a majority of them. ABC intends to advise viewers…

Stet — The Internet's Typographical and Grammatical Morass

I tell my free-verse-loving creative writing majors that Picasso learned to paint traditional portraits before he chose to put two eyes on one side of a figure’s nose. Likewise, learning the traditional rules of grammar will make your writing more powerful, since if you choose to ignore a convention, it will be a deliberate action, rather than something that happens because you don’t know any better. When transcribing spoken words,…