We’re in Denial About the True Cost of a Twitter Implosion

The public disintegration of a platform that millions of people used every day has been painful to watch. Now that Google’s search results seem almost completely colonized by AI-generated crap, it will be harder for me to listen in on and learn from a wide range of everyday people sharing their opinions and talking to each other. Elon Musk’s platform may be hell, but it’s also where huge amounts of reputational and social wealth are invested. All of that is in peril. […] The jokey mood around Twitter’s failure right now may be a way to temporarily push aside the…

Crime coverage on Fox News halved once US midterms were over

In the weeks leading up to the US midterm elections, the message from Fox News was clear: violent crime is surging, cities are dangerous hellscapes and Democrats are responsible. With the vote over, however, the rightwing news channel appeared to decide things weren’t that bad after all, and decreased its coverage of violent crime by 50% compared with the pre-election average. —Guardian

CBS News Suspends Twitter Posting ‘In Light of the Uncertainty’ About Musk-Owned Social Platform

CBS News is halting its activity on Twitter over Elon Musk’s turbulent and potentially devastating moves following his takeover of the company. “In light of the uncertainty around Twitter and out of an abundance of caution, CBS News is pausing its activity on the social media site as it continues to monitor the platform,” Jonathan Vigliotti, CBS News national correspondent, said in a report about the latest chaos at the company on the “CBS Evening News” Friday. —Variety

Critical Ignoring as a Core Competence for Digital Citizens

I used to spend a lot of time on Twitter. I’ve deleted the app from my phone, and check it a couple times a day from my laptop. I’ve been reading more news and fewer tweets. I followed a Twitter bot that reminds me to go do something else that’s not scrolling slack-jawed through tweets. Low-quality and misleading information online can hijack people’s attention, often by evoking curiosity, outrage, or anger. Resisting certain types of information and actors online requires people to adopt new mental habits that help them avoid being tempted by attention-grabbing and potentially harmful content. We argue…

The Myth of ‘Learning Styles’

The discourse around “learning styles” (the idea that because some students prefer to learn visually, orally, kinesthetically, or through reading/writing, teachers should adapt their lesson plans to meet student preferences) has been useful to me in that it helped me to realize that some methods of instructions that seemed natural to me were actually choices I was making because I was familiar. But students who blame teachers for not respecting their “learning style” aren’t doing their education (or their teachers) any favors. I was introduced to “learning styles” early in my career, by a college administrator who was an evangelist…

Adobe steals your color

What a horrible situation. The Adobe monthly leases are way too expensive for a student paper that only prints a few magazines a term. The software costs more than the printing process, and about the same as the web hosting service. Just not worth the expense. We are making do with free alternatives. For people who work in prepress, a key part of their Adobe tools is integration with Pantone. Pantone is a system for specifying color-matching. A Pantone number corresponds to a specific tint that’s either made by mixing the four standard print colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black,…

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Media Bias Chart version 10 — Left / Center / Right; Fact vs Fabrication; (Ad Fontes Media)

The very useful “media bias chart” is one of several useful ways to classify sources of journalism. While individual items published by any of these sources can vary considerably from the general location depicted in this chart, the takeaway message is that journalism can still be valid and useful even if it has a slant. I make sure to check in regularly with sources above the green line. If I find myself spending a lot of time with the sources in the yellow box, I will hop across the aisle regularly to make sure I understand what credible voices on…

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Life Support (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 3, Episode 13) Bashir keeps the gravely injured Bareil alive to help Kai Winn secure a treaty with the Cardassians

Rewatching ST:DS9 An accident aboard a transport arriving at the station rattles Kai Winn and seriously injures Vedek Bareil. Winn suspects the accident may have been sabotage, infodumping to Sisko that Bareil is crucial to the success of secret peace talks with Cardassia. Winn admits that since she won the election as Kai, her former rival has proved himself a loyal aide, and she not only credits him but admits she doubts she would have been as forgiving. Bareil does not fare well, despite Bashir’s best efforts. Bashir tells Kira he is on life support, and never regained consciousness. But…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In June, 2002, I was blogging about… a female autistic scholars lament, Dr. Seuss, Orthodox Christianity and coding, Shakespeare, and weblogs after 9/11

In June, 2002, I was blogging about A female autistic scholar’s lament The origins of Horton Hears a Who A NatGeo article on the media-saturated life of Iowa college students The function of “er” in speech A Pravda article on parallels between Orthodox Christianity and computer programming Dr. Toast’s Amazing World of Toast (I really miss the Internet that contained such marvels.) The world has changed, but Shakespeare asked questions that are still worth asking.  How innocent we are were. In 2002 we were blogging about “A Writer’s Perspective on an Emerging Medium,” by which was meant electronic text. A…

Behind the art: The Westmoreland’s ‘Death of Elaine’ beloved of staff and visitors

I always slow down and spend some time with this painting when I visit my local art museum. This scene from the Arthurian legends has been out of exhibition for a while and will be back with a new frame Oct 16. A scene of mourning at Camelot, the castle of the legendary King Arthur, is depicted in Thomas Hovenden’s 1882 oil painting, “Death of Elaine.” The king and his queen, Guinevere, along with knights, ladies-in-waiting and servants, are gathered around a bed holding the body of the young noblewoman, Elaine. —Shirley McMarlin, Tribune-Review

Engrossing but difficult to watch: “Man in Cave” documentary on caver Floyd Collins

I’m conflicted. This is a very well done animated documentary, creating visuals that were not part of the original press coverage of Floyd Collins, the caver trapped in Sand Cave in 1925, and the subject of the first media circus, fed by the emerging new medium of radio journalism. The animation adds sight gags and sometimes crude humor, which is juvenile and not particularly funny. This story happened to real people, and I’m uncomfortable their suffering has been turned into entertainment. Yet here I am, watching. (That’s part of the discomfort I feel.) Even though I know how this story…

Between static hand-coded HTML pages and modern content-management systems, there used to be a wonderful bazaar of “mildly dynamic” websites

When I started my blog in 1999 (by adding a date to a “Link of the Day” archive I had been maintaining for a year or so), I coded everything in HTML, by hand.  This was before Facebook, before YouTube, before Wikipedia, and around the time that the domain google.com first went live. Most of the content on the Internet was hand-coded HTML, and instead of search engines, you would click your way through a hand-coded catalog — Arts -> Music -> Classical -> Mozart -> [scroll through a long list] This was perfectly normal, because it’s how libraries organized…

The Lost Art of Paste-Up

When I started using a word processor as a middle schooler in the early 1980s, I recognized the editing commands “cut” and “paste” as metaphors.  Here’s a short video showing the physical cutting and pasting that was required to arrange paragraphs of text prepare a document for mass production. According to layout rules, you’re not supposed to end a line with just a single word at the end of a paragraph, and you’re not supposed to break up a paragraph so that a single line from that paragraph begins or ends a column.  Note that this editor actually shaves slivers…

Past Tense, Part 2 (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 3, Episode 12) Sisko must channel social unrest on Earth in 2024

Rewatching ST:DS9 After the recap of Part 1, Sisko, in the persona of Gabriel Bell, reminds loose cannon BC (from the “ghost” gang) that they have to keep the hostages safe as their bargaining chips. Just when BC starts showing Sisko some respect, the veteran cop Vin tries to be a hero, and Sisko has to save his life. The “gimme” organizer Webb shows up, and agrees to Sisko’s request that he recruit more people like him — ordinary people who fell on hard times — to help guard the hostages.  BC is thrilled by the attention the newscasts are…

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Past Tense, Part 1 (#StarTrek #DS9 Rewatch, Season 3, Episode 11) Plot contrivance particles strand Sisko, Dax & Bashir on Earth in 2024

Rewatching ST:DS9 The Defiant is ferrying Sisko, Dax and Bashir to Earth for a Starfleet symposium.  After a nice bit about how “There’s no place like home, no matter what color the water is,” and some social comedy about tonight’s formal dinner with an admiral, we get a video call from Quark that fills out the teaser but has little to do with the rest of the plot — except perhaps helping to establish the social pecking order — the Federation is calling the shots, Bajoran militia members Kira and Odo are along for the ride, and Quark is back…