Oh my gosh! I am creating web pages

Will I miss Geocities? No, not really. In 1998 or possibly 1999, I was teaching web authorship as part of a freshman composition class, and this page from a student project made me keep the “make a Geocities home page” and “make a creative hypertext” project around, even though every semester, a certain chunk of students complained about it. The plug has been pulled on Geocities, but I’m preserving a…

New book: basic skills for the multimedia journalist

Looking forward to this promising resource. I’ve wrapped the blogs up,  tidied them up, corrected & updated them and put them into 1 handy ebook for you to download and take home. It means you have have an all-in-one desktop reference to giving your multimedia journalism more spark, and getting in the entrepreneurial mindset. Chapters include: video, audio, storytelling and branding. It’ll be available from Monday, it’s 100% free and…

Pressure-cooker kindergarten

Our decision to homeschool began when we moved from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania with a five-year-old, and found there was no option for half-day kindergarten. We decided the move was stressful enough, and since school attendance wasn’t mandatory until age 7, we decided to handle the afternoon naps, storytimes, and playing-with-blocks ourselves. As long as our kids continue to thrive, we’ll continue to homeschool. It’s been more than two decades since…

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On the Edge of Math and Code

Great stuff from Mark Marino… not only is the content fascinating, but the blog-sized presentation, for discusison, of a fundamental theoretical concept is a great example of what the blogging medium can do for (and to) scholarship. Item for today: = In Donald Knuth and Luis Trabb Pardo‘s article on the history of computers, the note the moment at which = moves from equivalency to assignment. Here is a moment…

Margin of Error

I’m gearing up to introduce my journalism students to a news project that requires a basic knowledge of math. I don’t want to make it too frustrating to them, but I do want to emphasize how easy it is to be misled by the math. Margin of Error deserves better than the throw-away line it gets in the bottom of stories about polling data. Writers who don’t understand margin of…

Teaching the Holocaust

I assigned book one of Maus: A Survivor’s Tale to a “Writing About Literature” class, the designated writing-intensive course for our English majors. The students discussed the abrupt ending, the use of ethnic stereotypes, and of course the comic book medium itself. One student’s “Hearing through Yiddish… Seeing in Ink…” is particularly thoughtful. About a third of the class went on to read book two, even though it wasn’t on…

Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, and the Computer

Clearly, the computer re-energized Bukowski and gave him new life as a writer. Yet much of Bukowski’s late writing was about old age and death. The computer fit into this. In poems, letters, and in The Captain, Bukowski chronicled his struggles with the computer. The shutdowns, the lost poems, the time at the shop for repairs. This mirrored Bukowski’s own health problems and trips to the hospital. The computer represented…

Does anyone like 3-D?

Movie critics are sometimes asked why all movies cost the same to view, even though some may have cost $100 million to make, and others $500,000. It’s a reasonable question. I suppose the reasoning is that you get about two hours of movie either way. Now 3-D has provided exhibitors with a subterfuge to force consumers to subsidise their upgraded projection facilities — which is deceptive, because most theatres are…

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Newspapers Have Published Their Share of Hoaxes

Don’t hate on the TV media just because they helped the nation fall for the Balloon Boy Hoax. Back in the day, the print media were the obvious target. On April 13, 1844, Edgar Allan Poe wrote an article in The New York Sun, chronicling how Monck Mason, leaving England for Paris drifted off course and had traveled across the Atlantic in three days, landing safely on Sullivan’s Island near…