John Oliver Returns to Out-News the News—by Ignoring Trump

I prefer reading and listening to the news rather than watching it, but I’m glad to know that some TV news is focusing on depth. While cable news and online reporters struggle to report on Kellyanne Conway’s most recent TV appearance or fact-check the latest Sean Spicer press conference, Oliver and his team of four researchers can quietly spend months on a single 20-minute segment about something that will be…

I touched up an intro to hypertext essays from 2000.

When I initially wrote this introduction to hypertext essays in 2000, my assumption was that readers would be experienced writers who already knew what an essay was, so that I could use that knowledge to differentiate between an ordinary essay and a hypertext essay. By 2017, we are teaching “multimodal composition” in our freshman writing classes. Some of the students come in with great writing skills (and I always tell them…

Make a date with #HeartOurArt at The Westmoreland Museum of American Art

While our daughter is performing in Stage Right’s Pippin across town at the Greensburg Garden & Civic Center Friday, my wife and I will be portraying characters in works of art as part of a “SweetArt Dance” at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art. I’m digging out my pirate eyepatch and learning about glass-blowing for one role, and learning about wine-tasting for a different role. People who come for the…

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My dad predicted Trump in 1985 – it’s not Orwell, he warned, it’s Brave New World

As my father [Neil Postman] pointed out, a written sentence has a level of verifiability to it: it is true or not true – or, at the very least, we can have a meaningful discussion over its truth. (This was pre-truthiness, pre-“alternative facts”.) But an image? One never says a picture is true or false. It either captures your attention or it doesn’t. The more TV we watched, the more…

Trump’s Claims About Media Coverage of Terror Attacks Are Bogus

The difference between PR and journalism is that journalists aren’t doing their jobs unless they tick somebody off by reporting news that at least some of the people involved wish had never been reported. Facts matter. I have no doubt [Trump] truly believes the only reason people have criticized his executive order imposing a travel ban from seven Muslim countries is because they don’t know how serious the problem is.…

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Journalists call out White House claims on terror reporting

The easily-disproved surface-level claim, that the media have not “adequately” reported on terror, is nerd-baiting. What’s more important to the White House seems to be that the public fear imminent and ongoing attacks by Muslims, and now journalists around the world are reminding the public that they covered all these incidents (including minor ones, such as knife attacks in which the only casualty was the terrorist), which keeps those incidents…

Business is the most popular college major, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good choice

Make that dime-a-dozen business degree more marketable. Study the humanities or the arts, too! Learn how to develop critical thinking, self-reflection, compassion and wisdom that will help you decide what to count or measure or build, and why. And, hey, artsy people! Take a statistics or grant-writing or computer programming class. The world needs more balanced people with both a sensible head for numbers and a heart bigger than a Cheetos…