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Unless Buzzfeed-style Clickbait Replaces all Forms of Human Communication, or Republicans Return to the White House, Listeners will Continue to Deal with the Smug Dread Generated by the Formulaic Endings of NPR Stories

I love some good meta. I wrote a dialogue-heavy short story about writing dialogue-driven short stories. Mark C. Marino wrote this excllent MPR-style essay about the formulaic endings of NPR stories, which are designed to leave you feeling smarter but emptier, so that you return to fill your pledge-drive mug with another dose of Third World Problems angst. And although I cannot answer that question, one thing is for certain:…

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Verification Handbook

One of journalism’s most treasured clichés, spouted by seasoned editors who ruthlessly slash other clichés from stories, is: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” But the cliché doesn’t tell the journalist, or humanitarian professional, how to check it out. Verification is the essence of journalism, but it also illustrates the difficulty of journalism and the need for high standards: The path to verification can vary with…

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Baltimore Residents Urged To Stay Indoors Until Social Progress Naturally Takes Its Course Over Next Century

“As we continue to incrementally evolve into a completely free and fair society over the next 100 years, please do not venture outside unless it is absolutely necessary. Those who go out onto our streets before our social, economic, and political structures have undergone gradual reform over the course of several generations are doing so at their own risk.” —The Onion

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Boosting the Signal: Peaceful Protesters in Baltimore are the Norm

Video of people throwing rocks or burning cars appeals to our baser emotions (anger, fear, disgust), which leads to faster, more intense emotional responses that TV can use to make money (by packaging our eyeballs and selling them to advertisers). TV news is very good at capturing our attention. Images of hundreds of peaceful, determined faces appeal to our higher emotions, which are not as easy to monetize. I want…

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We are cruel. We always have been. The Internet did not make us so

We didn’t start the flame war. Scandalous satirical pamphlets were once cranked out by writers and sold at train stations, like so many primordial blog posts. Political cartoons have a long and vicious history. Incivility is our legacy, not our invention. It is part, but only part, of who we are. And have always been. –Tabatha Southey, The Globe and Mail.

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Undergrad Danielle Sidoti Nails an Oral Interpretation/Analysis of “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy

In my online “American Literature” class, I recorded several video and audio lectures, which students listened to and responded to via their blogs. By the middle of the term, I started scaling back my audio lectures, in part because the students didn’t need to hear my voice anymore — they were interpreting the works on their blogs. I started asking them to post their own audio interpretation of poems and passages.…