Sunday, June 19, 2011


Learning about Page One, the new documentary about The New York Times, has led me to learn about the news organization ProPublica, which I have added to list of "More News Organizations" to the right.

The About Us page for ProPublica gives the details of its establishment and work.  According to this page, ProPublica is an independent non-profit newsroom focusing on investigative journalism.  It looks for stories that have a major impact on the public, whether it be in the realms of business, government, education, or other prominent institutions. 

ProPublica began publishing in 2008 and is led by former editors of several major news organizations, including Stephen Engelberg, a former managing editor of The Oregonian.  All of their stories are published on their website, and they offer many of the same stories to major news organizations free of charge.

ProPublica has received two Pulitzer Prizes.  In 2010 it received a Pulitzer for Investigative Reporting, the first to be awarded to an online news organization.  For 2011, it received a Pulitzer for National Reporting, the first to be awarded for stories that were not published in print.

Due to the nature of our journalism course here at the seminary, we may not spend a lot of time on investigative reporting.  However, a solid understanding of the place of journalism in democratic societies includes this investigative aspect.  ProPublica seems to be a good current example of this kind of work that our students can explore during their studies next semester.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Page One: Inside the New York Times

Yesterday NPR ran a review of the new documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times.  This documentary, directed by Andrew Rossi, goes inside the Times in 2010 as the famous publication deals with the clash between the old print media and the new digital and social media.

Much more information about the film and the issues it addresses is available at Take Part, the digital division of Participant Media, the producer of Page One.  This could be an excellent film to watch with the journalism students at the seminary!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Photography Course at News U

The News University, which is offered by the Poynter Institute, offers a vast range of self-directed courses and webinars for student and professional journalists.  The courses cover all aspects of journalism.  Many of the courses are free, and after signing up for an account, users can earn points that can be used as payment toward the fee-based courses.  

Last week I completed a short self-directed course entitled The Language of the Image.  The course covers the basic types of photographs with emphasis on active photographs that capture real-time events.  Fifteen different elements of good photography are defined and illustrated with many stunning photographs.

This course is a great resource for those who are just starting to work with photography or who would like some background and vocabulary that will help when they discuss their work with others. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Technology in Work and in Life

Working as a journalist today certainly includes engaging with an array of technology, which can be intriguing, frustrating, exciting, and overwhelming, sometimes all at the same time!  With all of the recent changes in communications technology, journalism students would do well to reflect on their own relationship to the technology in their daily lives.

This was on my mind when I picked up The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart.  Maushart and her three teenagers gave up all screen technology inside their home for six months.  She had been frightened by the behavior of her children before the experiment, but she also had to deal with her own technology hangups. 

Maushart brings to her book much of the current research on technology use.  While some readers may find Maushart too irreverent or sarcastic, I found Maushart's sense of humor bringing a necessary levity to such a challenging scenario for her family.

I've added a new section for technology under the page "Books on Journalism," so as the journalism program continues to explore this aspect of our work, new titles will be added.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The International Reporting Project

Yesterday in response to a comment about Global Post, I mentioned The International Reporting ProjectI was not aware of this project before now, so I looked further into their website.

The two main components of the program are the fellowships and the gatekeeper trips.  The fellowships are offered to U.S. reporters so they can do original work overseas, covering stories that may be neglected otherwise.  The gatekeeper trips are for editors and other supervisors in news organizations.  The participants travel as a group to a location overseas to learn more about an unreported story with a global impact.

I am struck by the multilayered nature of this project and the potential impact it could have if people from various levels of an organization participated in it.  This is a good reminder that awareness and participation in worthy stories needs to happen at a variety of levels.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Link - Global Post

I have added a link under "More News Organizations" for Global Post, the organization for which James Foley works.  Foley and his recent release from captivity in Libya was mentioned earlier this week.

Global Post, which began in 2009, is taking up the work that has been left undone because of the decrease in foreign news coverage by the American media.  It seeks to be the only internet journalism site solely devoted to international news.  

Global Post has reported from 130 nations and has readers around the world.  While the site is open to everyone, their business plan also includes providing special benefits for those who pay a monthly fee to become members.  Members can take part in conference calls with journalists working overseas, propose story ideas, and give input about which stories need to be covered.

It looks like Global Post can be a great resource for the journalism students of Mount Angel Seminary.  While our work focuses on our local events here at the seminary, the class can also be an opportunity to learn more about global coverage.

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