Small town newspapers can have a great web presence

There is a high probability that what’s contained in this post will be conceived as another old media versus new media argument over who’s better than who or which one will die out first. That’s not my intention, even if does point out a newspaper’s website presence.

Basically, it boils down to this; I want information on what’s going on in the small town of where I grew up in Iowa. My only option? The local newspaper that has been operating their print publication since 1879.

What’s the point of online presence if you don’t do it well?

The newspaper in question does have a website, but it’s highly outdated in terms of how it is constructed and updated. In fact, the basic foundation is something I helped to create in the mid-90’s when my parents owned and operated a website business during that time, giving me my first, professional gigs that have transformed into the sixty4media projects of today.
Continue reading “Small town newspapers can have a great web presence”

Is blogging killing journalism?

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard someone snicker when I say something about blogging, then you know that I could quit my day job and live a nice, wealthy life. That’s why the argument of blogging versus journalism tends to fall into areas of white noise to me, mostly because I’ve been taught, by journalism professors, to not care anymore.

Still, there are those days when it gets me thinking, and it is more to the fact when journalists are the ones who are raising a stink over the legitimacy of this new medium. Such is the case that you can get more details on from a post that Raul made a few days ago.

It takes me back to the short time where I was once a journalism student. Wavering in and out of studies that would give me a better grasp on an educational background in broadcasting, I found myself surrounded by professors who saw print as the only worthwhile medium that one should dedicate themselves to in the realm of media.

Now, before I start to say anything negative, there is absolute truth in the need to develop a solid background in writing, and working in radio for as long as I have, I can assure you that there are folks who have missed this step in their career ladder in broadcasting. Point number one in your journey into TV or radio should be to learn how to write, and then you can focus on looking or sounding good doing it. Some improv acting wouldn’t hurt as well, but I digress.
Continue reading “Is blogging killing journalism?”

Confused by the front page

Hockey MySpace porn what? It isn’t too often that I pick up a copy of the Metro, and it’s usually while I’m waiting for some take out. Snapped a shot of this the other day as game 7 of the Dallas series was approaching.

At first glance, you tend to wonder what hockey has to do with MySpace. And then porn? Oh, wait… it’s two, completely unrelated things. I get it. I think… wait… Yeah, ok. I see what they’re saying.

Give the Metro credit. It catches your eye to see Luongo on the front page with such a big game on the line. Toss the word “porn” and you’ll have more people stopping. Posting this on flickr, I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one. Richard Eriksson left the following comment.

sillygwailo says:

The layout of Metro is always confusing to me. The photos almost never have anything to do with the headline, so the reader–well, speaking for myself–gets the impression that the two are related. At least that’s what I’m used to with other newspapers: a prominent photo has something to do with a headline somewhere on the front page, either next to the photo or underneath it. The Metro goes against this convention. [flickr]

So maybe that cover story was about hockey porn on MySpace?

It’s always good to remember how it was

This popped up on my RSS feeds today from The Onion, and I’m not sure why. I read it when they first published it in September 2005, but this makes me laugh my ass off every time I read it. The Onion kind of does that to me with everything they produce though.

Yes, remember when we didn’t have hockey? Good lord those were some dark days. And it’s the middle response that kills me the most. I’ve gotta find that first season somewhere…

By the way, did you see the Canucks game last night[yahoo]? Holy crap did that make me feel manic depressive or what? J.J. made a great post about it, and Alanah was pretty stoked about it, too. I know we were yelling from our couch numerous times. Well, ok, maybe I was the one yelling more than Rebecca.

And yes, I do (heart) Salo. How can you stop there? The Sedins were outstanding, Kesler had a nice goal (somehow), and Cooke made Kipper look awful. I always love it when “Kippru-I-live-to-take-my-mask-soff” gets schooled.

What a freaking good game, and you can be assured that we’ll gush about it on The Crazy Canucks round table.

So long, Mr. Rumsfeld

Even though it’s made up and satirical, The Onion barely misses the mark with what they do. Sometimes the headline is the best part, but this article is well worth it. At least I know I had a good laugh.

The Onion

Rumsfeld: ‘My Half-Assed Job Here Is Done’

WASHINGTON, DC—After nearly six years of much-publicized service as Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld announced his resignation…

Gannett revamps and tries to embrace new media

I find this particularly interesting because I know a variety of people who have worked or are still working for Gannett owned newspapers. So many of them have bashed the world of new media, blogs, or citizen journalism, citing that amateurs do not warrant journalistic credibility. The guys up in the corporate offices might be forcing them to think otherwise.

The publisher of “America’s newspaper” is turning to America to get its news.

According to internal documents provided to Wired News and interviews with key executives, Gannett, the publisher of USA Today as well as 90 other American daily newspapers, will begin crowdsourcing many of its newsgathering functions. Starting Friday, Gannett newsrooms were rechristened “information centers,” and instead of being organized into separate metro, state or sports departments, staff will now work within one of seven desks with names like “data,” “digital” and “community conversation.”

The initiative emphasizes four goals: Prioritize local news over national news; publish more user-generated content; become 24-7 news operations, in which the newspapers do less and the websites do much more; and finally, use crowdsourcing methods to put readers to work as watchdogs, whistle-blowers and researchers in large, investigative features. [wired]

This transition is slated for full implimentation by May, but you can be certain that newsrooms across the board are pondering what their future is going to be like. The article goes on to address the concern about this action being a cost cutting measure for the future, but staff have been told not to worry about job cuts. That is not what this restructuring is about. I find that hard to believe in its entirety, but this is a daunting move, especially in the newspaper business.

Breebop had a post some weeks ago about journalists and the ego on their shoulders, and I thought back to it immediately while reading this story. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a high respect for those I know in the business, but there are numerous times that they have frustrated me with closed mindedness. It all comes down to sources, but the element of not being a trained journalist, most often with a degree from an accredited institution, can make something invalid in their eyes.

I’m not going to chalk it up to ego as much as I will to over education. Traditional media instructors teaching traditional media in a new age. Some of this is changing, but there will always be a select few who see the new and the changing to be a waste of time and credibility.

Let’s be honest. Gannett is trying to adapt, if not trying to save their butts. You know that resistance will appear, not wanting to lend credit to citizen journalists. I’d be curious to hear what my friends in the business think, and maybe they won’t be thinking I’m so crazy for blogging now.

The power of pancake mix

When you instill the fear of terror in everyone, there is no telling what the effects can be. It can happen anywhere, anytime, and no one is safe. That’s what everyone is told, and some folks believe it to the most extreme. There is always reason to be cautious. Afterall, no one is safe.

“Suspicious” powder in Indianola is pancake mix

October 10, 2006

Three plastic bags containing a suspicious powder found in Indianola on Sunday turned out to be pancake mix.

The Des Moines police bomb unit was called out to help investigate the discovery of the three bags, placed at the intersection of East Fourth and Buxton streets.

Inspection procedures found the items were not explosive devices, police said in a report. “Two bags had broken open and contents were strewn onto the pavement. The items appeared to have been thrown.”

Investigators found no witnesses and ultimately determined that there not only was no health threat, there may not have been any criminal intent.  [desmoinesregister]

It’s not the biggest city in the state by any means.  With a small, private college in the area, I would doubt that it would be a high profile target.  Stranger things have happened.

Dedication of Johnny Carson’s birthplace

When I met Wyn at one of the Metroblogging Vancouver meetups, she mentioned, with a lot of pride, how she puts a little bit of Halifax in everything that she posts, whenever she can. Afterall, it is her home town, and I think that’s what I try to do with a lot of the things that I write about here. If anything, I like to promote information about Iowa that some people might not be unaware of.

Take Johnny Carson[wiki] for instance. He’ll claim that most of his days spent growing up were in Nebraska, but his true place of birth is in the town of Corning, Iowa[wiki]. Yeah, Iowa… Corn… Corning? A historical pun of the sorts, but this is the truth.

Carson birthplace event called off; McMahon ailing

September 21, 2006
Thursday’s planned dedication of the Johnny Carson Birthplace in Corning is off, event organizers say, because Carson’s former pal Ed McMahon is unable to attend.

McMahon was to headline the day’s events honoring the memory of Carson, who died last year. The two were together during the three decades Carson hosted NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

“Mr. McMahon called us (Wednesday) night and told us he was ill and unable to fly,” said Beth Wadle of the Adams Community Economic Development Corporation. “He very much wants to be here when we dedicate the birthplace, so we’re holding off until he can reschedule.”

The small house where Carson was born in 1925, was recently purchased by a Corning native who plans to restore it to its original condition.

Carson also lived in Clarinda, Red Oak and Avoca as a child before his family moved to Nebraska. [desmoinesregister]

There are certain things that you have to be proud of, and for many Iowans, this is one of them. While it is true that Carson sat on his throne for nearly thirty years on the west coast, his roots run deep in the midwest. He always spoke with fondness about where he was from, if not making it apart of his jokes. It’s easy to do, and more acceptable when you are one of us.

I think what troubles me are those who move away from Iowa and do everything they can to hide where they are from. Actually, this goes for anyone from anywhere, and I’ve run into this with a vengence. I outted a girl for being from Indiana once, and that happened at the University of Iowa. I don’t think she liked me much prior to that moment, and she certainly hated me after.

It all comes down to stereotypes. Why not be truthful about your roots and defy those things that people already presume that we are? Not having the sense of pride to say where you are truthfully from doesn’t make your lie of where you claim to be any better.

People often ask me where I’m specifically from when I mention being an American. I’m not afraid to tell them where, and it’s rare to have a long conversation with anyone about it. I do live and reside in Vancouver, but you won’t hear me claim it as where I am from.

The fact is that a majority do not know a lot about Iowa other than what they saw in Field of Dreams[imdb].

Reading spam in the newspapers

I had to take a second look when I caught this headline. First off, this was in the Globe and Mail, not in some spam from my email inbox. Secondly, it reads like spam from my email inbox.

Researchers say new drug helps prevent premature ejaculation

Canadian Press

TORONTO — A short-acting version of a drug used to treat depression helps alleviate premature ejaculation in those severely affected by the condition, improving sexual satisfaction for both the men and their female partners, U.S. researchers say.

Their multicentre study of more than 2,600 men with the problem found the experimental drug dapoxetine increased time before ejaculation during sexual intercourse by three to four times, depending on the dose.

Dapoxetine belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are widely prescribed for depression and include such brand names as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. Dapoxetine was specifically developed for premature ejaculation, based on a side-effect of delayed ejaculation associated with its longer-acting SSRI cousins. [globeandmail]

Being that there are not any gross errors in spelling, this seems to be a legit article.

On another note, I find it very interesting that the drug that treats this closely related to anti-depressants. If you catch any commercial about any of these drugs, “sexual side effects” is always a common thing that you’ll hear that announcer voice mention. This is one of those effects, and yes, there are more. It just depends on the person.

It would seem natural to harvest this side effect to “cure this problem” among men, but let me get this straight. You’re going to pay money to take a pill that will help you get a few more minutes of “joy” in your bedroom experience? Seems a bit odd to me, but I bet they’ll make a good amount of money off of it.

That’s the other side of the argument, based on what the article sited as “utopia” for an additional one or two minutes of bliss. People leading the study hope that this ends up having a Viagra-effect, and I doubt that really has anything to do with fighting this long time affliction that humanity has been battling tooth and nail over. It’s all about making money. Apparently curing cancer or AIDS doesn’t have the same appeal.