William Zinsser: What Is Good Writing? (Clarity, Simplicity, Brevity, and Humanity.)

Most of the students in my “News Writing” class don’t want to be journalists, but they all want to make a living from their writing skills. I’m trying to emphasize some of the markers that journalists put into their work, in order to signal that their work is credible. For instance, one saying in journalism is “Get the brand of the beer, the model of the car, and the name…

The Man Who Photographed Ghosts

This review of a book about early photography offers some thoughtful reflections on how technology has been frequently used to distort the truth rather than reveal it. It’s a quote — I’d never seen it before — from Franz Kafka: “Nothing can be so deceiving as a photograph.” It immediately caught my interest because it captures something that I already believe: that photography is inextricably connected with lying. How could…

About the Sinkhole in the Adjunct Faculty Lounge, and Other Mid-Semester Announcements

I recently spoke with the Sarah Sutton, General Manager of the Walmart on Victory Boulevard, and she’d like me to express to you all that while she’s still willing to permit any adjunct faculty members in need of shelter to sleep in the loading bay behind the store, trapping and consuming the seagulls that flock to the parking lot overnight is now forbidden, as piles of seagull bones left in…

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A new study shows that students learn way more effectively from print textbooks than screens

Saving this for next term’s “History and Future of the Book” course. Students said they preferred and performed better when reading on screens. But their actual performance tended to suffer. For example, from our review of research done since 1992, we found that students were able to better comprehend information in print for texts that were more than a page in length. This appears to be related to the disruptive effect that scrolling…