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Monday, July 12, 2010

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

2010 Reynolds Institute farewell

This has better sound than the version I posted Saturday. You can download the QuickTime file with a free Vimeo account.

Steve Elliott
Arizona State University

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Two Ts, and a Red Tie

Tracy Collins and Tom Blodgett were a real one-two punch yesterday.

Mr. Collins was very clear about his expectations for good visual design, and possibly the only font evangelist I've ever met.  Full disclosure: anyone who includes Monty Python clips in his presentation is automatically all right with me.  His critiques of our work made complete sense after he'd laid out all the rules and guidelines...and he's right about the "melted text" font (insert sad face here); just because you CAN do it, doesn't mean you should.

I especially liked the extreme makeover bit, though my appreciation probably stems largely from the fact that my pages weren't selected for that treatment!  I just thought it was good to see how the same content could be reworked.

It was good to hear that some things are "red tie" issues, and don't necessarily require instant incineration.  (Gotta get a hold of that animation to use in my class!)

Oh, and FYI, to all you non-believers: here's a pic of Mr. Billie Joe Armstrong, in his RED TIE which he wore more or less constantly for the entire "American Idiot" tour.  How DARE you doubt me?  Sam pegged me as "Alt Boy" the first day, and you know it's true.  I own every Green Day CD that has ever been released (even the couple of mediocre ones).

Anyway, I do want to make a public apology to Tom Blodgett for calling him out on the "battle" cliche.  Given the penchant of the various presenters for asking trick questions and messing with us, I really did at the time think he might be testing us.  It was at least irreverent of me, and possibly rude; where I'm from, cheap laughs are sometimes all we get.

There are so many cliches in sports it must be a real minefield to navigate through them all...

Blodgett did have some great ideas for how to keep sports reporting fresh when you don't do daily papers, and I think they will be the first test for some of my new staffers this fall.

Chaplain Favre preaches to the faithful

I can see there is going to be a lot of competition to get in the last word...I guess that's a good thing!

Mr. Favre described himself as an optimist, and referred to his session as "the benediction." I don't know about the rest of you, but I was certainly in need of a blessing this morning. It's also funny how he echoed Milt Coleman asking us for an "AMEN."

"Y'all be good now..." is one of Favre's southern expressions; but he continued, to say that most of us don't like to be told to be good - me especially. I really gotta get back to church.

Mr.Favre described himself as an optimist, and referred to his session as "the benediction." I don't know about the rest of you, but I was certainly in need of a blessing this morning.

"Y'all be good now..." is one of Favre's southern expressions; but he continued, to say that most of us don't like to be told to be good--me especially.

But these days, Favre says "I don't think it is a bad idea to be told to be good."

Favre comes from a time when journalists could be "the drummer," and when those drummers - earlier generations of reporters and editors - had a lesser challenge to capture attention and earn the trust of readers.

He also discussed the very real gulf between "those who have been marinated in technology" and those who never saw a computer until long after they graduated from college.

Favre echoed our other presenters in discussing the crisis in the news business. Having seen firsthand the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, Favre was not mincing words in his metaphor of journalists weathering a storm.

"A mighty surge of fear and mistrust washes through our newsrooms," is how he put it. He later responded to a question about educating our students by saying journalists must actively seek out a middle ground, not just cover the people "who are shouting at each other" over many modern, polarizing issues.

He also directly addressed the idea of plagiarism being such an easy and unfortunately common thing in the digital world, saying "aggregators are growing simply by publishing the work of others."

Favre furthered his benediction when he shared the analogy of planting a peach tree: the little boy says to his grandpa, 'you won't be around when it bears fruit' but the sage grandpa says,'I'm not doing it for me, I'm doing it for you.'

"You are today and will be tomorrow planting the seeds of the future," he said, referring to educating young journalists.

"Listen and respond to the dreams of your students," he advised. Favre also said we should "celebrate their successes, and assure them they can learn from their failures."

"Go home and remember that a [good] classroom is a place of imagination."

As an English teacher primarly, I could tell that (like myself) Favre was quite impassioned about what good writing can do. "Have I captured the small moments that illuminate the characters?" he asked, and referred to journalism as being a spotlight.

"Go home and teach your students to have respect for ideas that are not their own. There are not just two sides to any given story, there are many."

Favre said that even while we are "being herded into virtual communities" we must not abandon our geographic identities or fundamental understanding that all news is indeed local.

Expanding on the role of journalists, Favre said that people from different backgrounds coming together for a common purpose is the greatest thing journalism can produce. He referred to having seen Dr. King transform the national conversation, and that by comparison these times seem dark, in the quality of rancor that has seeped into even traditional news distribution channels.

Favre deplored "mean-spirited voices on the talk shows" and even meaner ones in online comments and blogs--and basically said that we all must protect journalism from pettiness and partisanship.
"Performing ethically is NOT an aberration," he said, and I'm fairly certain he was covering more than just objective journalism. As teachers, we are on the front lines of teaching that vital bit of wisdom (though occasionally the Cliche Police help out as well).
By the time he was done, I wanted to stand on my chair and say "Captain, my Captain!"

I leave with passion

"Yall be good now" said the mountain top preacher of Journalism, Gregory Favre. During the closing if ASNE Reynolds Institute he fed teachers their passion. Passion to go on, passion to start up and passion to be good teachers. He reminded teachers that they are "planting the seeds of the future" and that they must "embrace the changes that will continue to flow like water falls." And last, but most of all, "write praise and speak criticism." Thank you Mr. Gregory for the mountain sermon.

Elaine Williams
Carl F. Shuler H.S.
Cleveland, OH

Sifting through the information

Today is our last day of this amazing experience. Now that it is almost time to board the plane and go home, I have been trying to think about how I am going to go about sorting through all of the resources I have been given and put them to use in my classroom.

Having said that, this morning Jodie gave me some perspective by asking me what is ONE new thing I can do in ONE day in my classroom? I don't have to move mountains from the start. I just have to take things one step at a time.

Thank you to everyone involved with the Institute. It has been awesome!

Kim Isbell
Humboldt High School
Humboldt, Kan.

My face in the video

As I quickly put on my mic and stepped in front of the camera last night -- to express what this Institute has given me -- I knew I couldn't say all I had to say in those brief moments.

There is no sound bite for the endless gift of education.

I was at the end of my rope as a teacher when I applied for this Institute and now that I'm in the final moments, I can say it has saved my life. I am ever grateful for good teachers, friends and people with a passion for media and its essential role in our democratic society.

Keep the love alive all ...

Nate Thompson
Montezuma-Cortez High School
Cortez, Colo.

Sports writing

The area our paper is probably weakest in is sports writing. We don't have a lot of teams, for one, and I've found that most of our soccer players that make it in the class are also our cross-country teammates as well.

Since we're a small dual credit school, that's about all the teams we have.
But attending the sports session yesterday was enormously helpful. Now I know what and how I can cover things, and it's really opened up some possibilities I hadn't considered before.

The speakers have been so top notch all around. The Reynolds Institute has set the bar high!

Thanks again!!

Meghan Brannon-Reese
Houston, TX

Procrastinations, and thanks

As per usual I have waited to the last minute. I get on my students about this all the time, but am a terrible role model about it. Consequently, you will see two posts back to back from me (and the next one will even have a picture).

I can't express how thankful I am about having this experience with everyone. What I have learned will transform my teaching and the way I map out my classes (English too).

I worked with a fabulous editing team whose generous support buoyed my spirits more than once. And our editing team extended beyond just me, Nate, Leslie, and Nickie. Their expression of thanks is echoed here, with gratitude.

Steve has been a wonderful mentor. His meaningful critiques of my work pushed me forward and instilled in me a desire to give my very best (even when I wasn't sure exactly how to get there).

Meghan Brannon-Reese
Houston, TX

Ten Commandments gone wild!

We are now at the end of our training and it is time for us to complete evaluations and survey questionnaires.

Here is a quick survey:

What, in your opinion, are the two men pictured discussing?

A. The Ten Commandments
B. The Ten Commandments of Type
C. Donuts
D. The Diamondbacks
E. All of the above
F. None of the above

Answer in the comment section. Remember, text message charges do not apply!

Sam Bidleman (left) talking and listening with Tracy Collins (right) of The Arizona Republic

Clarence D. Hooker
Hinds Agricultural High School
Utica, Miss.

Urban mountains

During the taping this afternoon, in answer to the question, "What will you bring back to your school?" My answer was simple, "everything!"

O.k., not as easy as it sounds. Like the backdrop of urban mountains (in reference to the high rise buildings) seen through the window slats of the computer lab, I have my own to climb.

Inner city kids, apathy, limited resources and time, students with limited technological and writing skills along with lack of enrollment are only a few of the challenges I will face. At least I have a grasp of the basics of good journalism and can share what I can with my students. I cannot wait!

It has been a fabulous adventure, the facilities have been wonderful and the speakers and all who assisted most informative and helpful. I enjoyed having a "staycation," of sorts, in my own city. I now have new connections and resources right here as well.

Thank you all,

Jamalee Moret
Alhambra High School


Emotions are mixed. Isn’t that always the way of it when you’ve had an intense experience? On one hand, I’m so eager to get home and back to my regular life – the text messages from my teenage daughters just add to that longing, because you cherish those times when they say “I can hardly wait to see you, Mommy!”

But the collegiality of this group of random souls thrown together for a dozen days of intense learning and collaboration is an experience that stands up next to those life experiences we hang onto long past the actual experience.

I’d like to thank Steve Elliott (“two t’s, two l’s”) first and foremost. I’ve participated in many workshops, seminars, institutes, graduate programs and you name it (please note the lack of final serial comma, Steve) over the years, and this programs ranks way up there. Billed as an intense workshop experience, the institute definitely lived up to that promise. Steve kept us on task with good humor, gentle persistence and consummate professionalism that I would expect from a veteran of the AP and member of the ASU community. I learned a helluva a lot, Steve. Thanks.

Seriously, if someone would pay me to go to school and write stuff for a living while I hung out with cool people, I’d take that job in a New York minute – and I’d work this gig for sure.

Living arrangements and details to our creature comforts have been considerate and filled with obvious attention to detail, and Anita Luera deserves major kudos. The Sheraton, the food (thanks, Chad and gang!), the swag (can ANYone tell me what that acronym means??) – if the devil is in the details, well, there’s a pun about Sun Devils in there somewhere, but it’s past midnight and I’m cooked..…Anita, you rock!!

By the way, about that editing experience for the online pub? Wow. Thanks to Nicki, Nate and Meghan and everyone else who pitched in to make the Cronkite Chronicle a professional publication – we all did it!!

Cheers to all – it’s been a fabulous and inspiring ride. Let’s keep in touch.

Leslie Wolfe-Cundiff
Centennial H.S.
Roswell, Ga.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lessons learned from being a student

Though I’ve always considered myself a solid writer and copy editor, I’ve grown a lot these two weeks through reviewing the fundamentals of news writing, using AP style and most importantly for me learning to write under a strict deadline. These are things I ask my students to do regularly and I have a newfound respect for exactly what that means.

In the writing time crunch after the press conference with Len Downie Jr., I found myself reverting to a stilted essay-style format. I should know better – I teach my students about tight focused leads, short sentences and succinct paragraphs. Yet when facing a deadline, I drew upon my English language training instead of my journalism training.

Last week I initially felt as though I’d stepped into the movie “The Doctor” with William Hurt. For those who haven’t seen the movie, he’s a cocky, inconsiderate doctor who becomes a patient and must learn what it’s like to walk in his patients’ shoes.

Just like Hurt, I’m learning what it’s like to be a “real world” journalist all over again and though at times it’s uncomfortable and stressful, I’m excited by the challenge.

The tips that Steve Elliott shared in his presentation on writing aren’t new to me, but they served as important reminders. My initial graded draft of the press conference revealed to me just how out of practice I am.

It’s one thing to copy edit another’s writing – that has become almost second nature to me in my journalism classes. It’s a completely different experience to go out and report the news in real time and condense that into a cohesive, reader-friendly story under the pressure of a deadline.

As my staff and I switch from a weekly-updated online newspaper site to a more 24-7 news coverage format, reporting well under pressure with more regular deadlines will be our biggest challenge.

Milton Coleman, senior editor of The Washington Post, tells his reporters that there’s “no yesterday in the lead.” He said, “We have to make news important to people – it has to be something that they feel they are compelled to read.”

The challenge for my staff is accomplishing that and doing it well in a world dominated by social media and the 24-hour news cycle. We’ll start with the fundamentals and build upon them, learning with each story we cover and write, just as I’ve learned and grown here at the Reynolds High School Journalism Institute.

I will take away with me the lessons about writing I’ve learned and share them with my students. I look forward to showing them the multiple drafts of my institute articles and explaining to them the process I went through to create my final stories.

I want to give a special thanks to Steve Elliott for inspiring and mentoring each of us. The tireless dedication and hours you’ve put into coordinating, teaching, reading and offering timely feedback is greatly appreciated. You’ve modeled great journalism and exceptional teaching. Thank you!

Lisa Edmisten
Woodcreek High School
Roseville, Calif.

Sports Stories

Tom Blodgett, Assistant Sports Editor at The Arizona Republic had some good points for writing sports stories. He explained the challenges and ethics to the job.

I never really thought about the perks with being around professional sports teams.
I can see where journalists could get into unethical situations quickly. Many sporting events have food and publicity items to promote them.
It is important for journalists to protect their ethical image. They need to be honest and not bias to any specific team or organization. If a journalist where to accept gifts and or food from a team or organization it would make the reporter look like they are favoring that team.

It is a really good idea to talk about conflict of interests with young journalism students. They need to understand the value of honesty and personal integrity.

A student publication in a small school would also need to make sure students in the sports and on the journalism staff are not writing stories about the teams they participate in.

Bracinda Blum
Woodbine High School
Woodbine, Iowa

Photo to top right: Tom Blodgett Assistant Sports Editor for The Arizona Republic as he presented at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication for the 2010 ASNE Reynolds Institute high school journalism teachers. ~Bracinda Blum

Here is a link from English teachers about lesson plans for writing sports stories.

It's been an amazing experience!

It feels like only yesterday that we were nervously preparing to take notes at and write our first article about the keynote address by Leonard Downey Jr.  Photo by Nicki Yokota

I'm tired and absolutely wrung out to dry. Volunteering to be a top editor was crazy and I knew it when I sent Steve the email. I know I'm a newbie in journalism and that my editing skills are laughable right now. But I also know I can't ask my students to do something I'm unwilling or unable to do. That was my motivation for volunteering, scary as the experience has been.

That being said, I want to thank my fellow editors - Meghan, Nate and Leslie. It was the best possible team I could've envisioned being on and you guys made the experience a great one.

To those who offered to help in a variety of ways, heartfelt thanks because you didn't have to spend the extra time working on this. I will tell you that your support really boosted our spirits and helped to get everything done in a timely manner.

About Steve. What is there to say? My article was dripping with so much red ink, it even astounded Alan who translated scribbles on the paper.

But I will admit that there is something really caring in Steve's nature that made it hard for me to take anything personally. Maybe I'm wrong but I've always felt that Steve was in my corner thinking that I had potential, and I hope that I've proved him right in some small way.

Huge thanks to Alan, Anita and Monique. You have been there to answer questions, offer support and make sure I didn't have to worry about anything other than what I could fit in between my ears. I really appreciate it.

Finally to the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, to ASNE and to The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU, a huge thank you for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I leave Phoenix with high hopes that I now know what needs to be done to improve the quality of my newspaper class back home and how to make it happen.

Nicki Yokota
St. Margaret's Episcopal School
San Juan Capistrano

Cronkite Chronicle goes live!

Read all about it here.

Congrats to a great editing team and the many people who stepped in to edit copy, populate the site and troubleshoot problems. And congrats to all on creating such lively, relevant content.

Steve Elliott
Arizona State University

What a ride

I suspect you have all received an email that contends that life should be lived so that you slide into the grave at a dead gallop, a glass of wine in one hand, some good chocolate in the other and shouting, "Whoo-hoo, what a ride!"

I feel like that is the life we have had the last two weeks. Meeting some of the big-time movers and shakers in the journalism world. Being taken under the wings of the people at The Republic (and yes, Tracy, I am aware I am using cliches, but that is how I think when I am tired). Being put through the ropes to get real hands-on experience, not just theory. And then today capping it off by learning about typography and how to manage sports writing--two areas I hadn't a hope of teaching before today.

Whoo-hoo, let me at 'em! I've been bit by the journalism bug and am ready to pass on the disease. I will miss all of you, and send you off to your own homes with my love.(And now I will make a serious effort to clean out the cliches and write right.)

Nunn Winship
Warden H. S.
Warden, Wash.

1984: Big brother may be just around the corner

Its amazing how fast technology advances. A decade ago the World Wide Web was in its infancy. Granted the Internet has been in one form or another since 1969 when 

Jason Manning, Director of Student Media and managing editor for Arizona State University's News21 project spoke about where technology is perceived to be headed with web 3.0.  

The design of the web has evolved from being a one-way conversation of looking up information to a two way information of Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites.  The need for an understanding or media literacy is crucial on multiple levels. As advisers we need to be certain that our students are literate in knowing that a post is truly forever.  Additionally, as seen by the News21 project forever can be innovative, thought provoking and trend-setting. 

Manning emphasized the need for parents to be informed of what changes in technology are out there. Advocating for students and parents is a great thing because then everyone is on the same page. 

The Center for Media Literacy has a nice booklet that helps teachers introduce media literacy to their classes. It is available in English, Spanish, and Turkish (for those will large Turkish populations).

Brent Manuel
Pleasant Valley High 
Chico, Calif.

Pearls before Swine

These last two weeks have been packed with excellent speakers and presenters.
With my limited knowledge of journalism, I felt like I was only able to comprehend and really appreciate a fraction of what was presented. All this wonderful instruction was right there in front of me, like pearls before swine.
I took in what I could, and I will continue to use the resources I have received to improve my instruction and my own knowledge. I have been very impressed with this institute!

Chris Braun
Reedley High School
Reedley, Calif.


Boy, Steve Elliott found out that I wasn't lying in my application when I said I really don't know anything about Journalism. Though I fake it pretty well, I continue to bounce between surviving and thriving.
Steve certainly displayed some fatherly patience with me while helping me write, rewrite and rewrite again, my article. I admire those who can continue to practice what they preach, and Steve is certainly one of them.
This experience will hopefully allow me to thrive as an adviser rather than just survive.

Ryan Ludwig
Spanish Springs HS
Sparks/Reno Nev

Tracy Collins discussion on design and typography was one of the most brilliant of the week.  Looking at the styles of design. There are basic errors that we tend to make in our publications on a regular basis.  He discussed moving toward a modular design element similar to the Arizona Republic and away from the traditional dogleg and dutch wrap approach.

When creating a design for a newspaper there are things to keep in mind.

1. Balance - There must be a natural balance of images and text

2. Hierarchy of Type - Make it progressional as the size of the type. The largest at the top then smaller and          
3. Visuals - Make your visuals tell a story.  It needs to convey a message.  Collins states we should avoid photo data dumps.

The second have of the presentation was on typography.  There are many things that I learned about type and what makes a good font.  Below are some of the key components of typography.

For more information on fonts checkout

I Love Typography


Brent Manuel
Pleasant Valley High
Chico, Calif.

Almost finished . . .

Well, I'm finished. My story is approved, blogs are finished, comments made, sessions (almost) completed, file downloaded, and friendships established. It's a bittersweet time because I have learned so much in the past 12 days. I will return to my school with a plan of action, a list of dreams and enough confidence to make it all happen. I know I'll need support once the school year starts, and the reality of life sets in . . . but I know that I have 34 allies (not to mention all the journalists) to help me through the rough patches. Now for some ice cream . . .

Sarah Geyer
South-Doyle High School
Knoxville, TN

Thou shall use color appropriately in my newspaper

Tracy Collins, senior director of operations at The Arizona Republic, gave an eye-opening presentation on design and typography this morning.
It was very humbling to see my school's pdf's of the big screen. I knew we overused color, but seeing it pointed out was helpful. I have been letting my students decide was colors to use, but now I will be able to guide them better in making choices that are appealing to the readers' eye.

Loved the 10 Commandments of Type. The video clips and effects were hilarious. I learned many technical terms about type that I never knew before.

The Newseum's Front Pages is very valuable source for good ideas. My staff and I often look to them for inspiration.

Leona O'Neal
George County High School
Lucedale, Miss.

Resources, resources, resources

I just transferred all of the ASNE resources onto my flash drive, and I can't wait to start using them. I love not having to reinvent the wheel when I teach the concepts we learned over the past two weeks. Thank you to all of the presenters who have generously shared their work.

Kim Isbell
Humboldt High School
Humboldt, Kan.

The light at the end of the tunnel

With one day left in the institute, there is an observable sense of relief for those of us who have written and edited our articles.

The editors are still scrambling to get everything compiled; the rest of us are finishing our blogs, completing our evaluations, or maybe even starting to unwind a bit early. I'm sure if I weren't the procrastinator that I am, I would already be finished.

I'm impressed with how things have come together. We have had great guidance and have put in a lot of hard work, which is evidenced by how good the online publication looks.

Chris Braun
Reedley High School
Reedley, Calif.

We ARE on deadline

It's really something to see "how the kids feel" sometimes. I think a few of us are going to leave here a little more sympathetic of the students and the stress they feel when they have "a ton of work" due (overstatement, but all the same). At the same time though, I think we'd be doing a great disservice to the students if we don't allow them to experience the reality of a journalistic environment before they leave high school, especially if they want to have a career in the field.

All in all, suck it up; we'll survive, eat ice cream, and play rock band, and the kids will always leave school and try their best to forget about the long day they've had, as they head toward the beach (in Florida, that is).

Jenese Giles
Northeast High School
Oakland Park, Fla.

Sports short

In the black, white and read-all-over world of journalism, I believe that sports journalism sits comfortably nestled in a gray world. I believe that sports writers have the most fun of any staff, but they also spend the most hours away from home, out of the office and under public scrutiny.

I really appreciated Tom Blodgett’s presentation about sports journalism. What I appreciated most was that his presentation was geared toward high school advisers, with the understanding that high school papers do not publish frequently enough to stay current with the fast-moving world of sports.

His advice, from creating in-depth player profiles to covering college signings was very helpful, and I think they will be very easy to implement in my paper’s sports coverage.

As a district, we don’t celebrate many athletic victories, so my newspaper staff has struggled to keep up with any of the teams. Our sports coverage has been minimal at best, but always out of date and very one-sided.

My students, who often fashion themselves as the “anti-athletes” in the building, will probably enjoy the opportunity to move away from what happened on the court or field. I think that by gearing our sports coverage more towards the player profile pieces, it will also help foster a greater sense of community within the school.

Above: Tom Blodgett recounts a high school basketball game that hinged on two free throws.

Jessica Kahlfeldt

Turner High School

Kansas City, Kan.

Textual Healing

The devil's in the details. Ain't that the truth. Kerning, tracking, leading, squeezing -- now I know how to tweak my text to make it look more professional. I'm sure I'll never look at a block of text the same way, thanks to Tracy Collins (pictured in the photo to the left) of the Arizona Republic. His presentation was not only incredibly information but also hilarious -- and I've got a copy! Look out students!

Sarah Geyer
South-Doyle High School
Knoxville, TN

Be my freakin sherpa

Tracy Collins, design editor at the Arizona Republic, provided a humorous presentation on what could have been a very dry topic. I have always loved newspaper design, but have not always enjoyed learning about the subject, nor did I have a sherpa to guide me through the tumultuous world of design.

Collins presentation addressed the 10 Commandments of Design, which included excellent information on how to adjust fonts and text by kerning, tracking and squeezing. He also addressed H&J- Hyphenation and Justification.

This information was the most helpful part of his presentation for me, because I had no idea what an impact those small changes could make on the overall design quality of a paper.

Anytime you can watch a movie that features Charlton Heston as Moses, it’s sure to be a good time.

The final part of the presentation was not quite as much fun, the critique. I feel like many of these sessions have been trial by fire, and this session was no exception. As Collins went through the 20 most common mistakes in design, I saw my student’s work flash across the screen over, over, over, over and over again.

Did I mention that my student’s work was a prominent point of conversation for what not to do?

It is never easy to have something that you take personal pride in criticized, but Collins had such effective design recommendations that the exercise was extremely helpful. Collins is a fabulous design sherpa.

Jessica Kahlfeldt

Turner High School

Kansas City, Kan.

"Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."

I know, I know. But when you're talking about sports writing, you can't forget about the quotables the great Yogi Berra has given us.
But seriously, Tom's presentation was great in that it gave a most concise presentation of how to write a sports story. I have seen lots of how-to's, but not as succinct as this one. I will forever be in debt for the news in descending order tip and the basics of what info to include. I have sometimes shied away from focusing on sports writing for two reasons. One, we print monthly and timeliness is an issue. Two, I was never really sure what to include in the story. So, now I know! Thanks, Tom. One final thought from Berra, just for us in Phoenix: "It ain't the heat, it's the humility."

Mid-week at the institute

Rounding 3rd base into home at the institute. Christopher Greenslate gave us the list to put all of this great knowledge to work. We may not eat off a dollar a day but we can move are Journalism programs forward

Thanks to Carol Schwalbe, I can now incorporate blogging into class projects, and not just for Journalism. I will be working on several lesson plans to let students blog their hearts away.

Jason Manning is telling the story and we as teachers need to join him. Where is the world of Journalism going? How will teachers move their students forward in this fast pace world of writing and hi-tech. What's next.

Hot Dogs, hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, ice-cream - Diamondbacks
What a night. The 2010 class of ASNE Reynolds had a good time watching a great game, okay until the 10th inning.
We spent a evening of fellowship and good apple pie fun. Thanks Anita!

Thou shalt make type readable

Dog legs. Kern. Modules. H&J. Squeezing. Skews.
Out of context, our design discussion with Tracy Collins, senior director of operations at the Arizona Republic, might leave the non-designer with lots of questions.
But odd vocabulary aside, Collins seamlessly took us through the world of design and typography and most importantly, what not to do. I'm looking forward to the next time when I open InDesign and change the default settings, especially hyphenation and justification. I am also looking forward to exploring the online resources he gave us to find inspiration.
But most importantly, it always goes back to readability. If students have to make an effort to figure out what is being said, they won't. I think that will be our first lesson in design.

Press Display
News Page Designer

...and a couple of my favorites...
I Love Typography
Typedia: A Shared Encyclopedia of Typefaces

Jamie Ray
Vista Ridge High School
Cedar Park, Texas

How Old I am, How Old I am, my em-space canned!

It was back to the future again. Tracy Collins, designer extraordinaire, explained all the basics of typography, page design, and the zen of balance, kerning and tracking. This was a discussion of topics left too long in the attic of my mind.

As this paige meister explained the ins and outs, tips and tricks, of page design, I was reminded so much of what I was doing 25 years ago. The best part for me was seeing the other school newspapers, and their errors. I enjoyed learning the reasons they are errors that I can explain to my students as I came from the school of this is how you do it and don't screw it up again. This was so useful to me as an educator as these young folk need to know why. The days of telling are ong over. Explaining is where it is at. Now I can explain. Thanks Tracy.

JH Appel
Chaparral HS
Chaparral, NM
The ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Institute has been an incredible source of information. Yesterday, Steve Elliott asked me how I was doing. “Tired.” I responded. His response: “Good!” Yes, we have worked hard and gained much insight. Now, nearly finished with this two-week institute, I have a wealth of information that I will sift through after I get home...and recuperate.

Our session on technology by Alan Weintraut, 2006 Dow Jones Teacher of the Year, taught and reinforced many things. I was encouraged to use Google Docs in my classroom to cut down on the number of attachments coming in and going out when stories are submitted in my journalism class. This will help me with organization—an area with which I need lots of help!

Chris Braun
Reedley High School
Reedley, Calif.

It's all in the presentation

At times I believe I am more like my students than I care to admit. I know I become apathetic when I am overwhelmed and I know I am distracted by bright and shiny things. So, when a presenter comes forth and tells us he is to present to us about law or text, I get restless just thinking about it.
However, Frank Lomonte was able to keep me pleasantly entertained as he discussed the importance on student law issues. And Tracy Collins held me with is expertly designed Keynote presentation, not to mention the doughnuts.
I realize that someone could give the directions on living forever, but if it wasn't presented in fashion for me to understand, I would miss it. I know we fall into the trap of trying to entertain our students too much, but a little excitement makes it fun for all.

Ryan Ludwig
Spanish Springs HS
Sparks/Reno Nev.


This is what I expect of you today.

Steve Elliott
Arizona State University

The email I'll never delete!

Yesterday (Wed., June 23) Alan led the session "Using Technology to Your Advantage." He requested that we bring our laptops and then emailed us all the links he would use for the session. What a smart way to so students sites! He also gave us lots of little hints as he went through each site, including his school newspaper's website, Then, through Skype, he had his editor walk us through posting stories to the site. The student was incredibly professional, confident and knowledgeable. I was impressed, yet again, with Alan's teaching techniques. He gave the webpage over to his editor and hasn't touched it since. No wonder his editor is so confident! And now, as I prepare to head back to my world, I also carry with me new confidence. Thank you Reynolds and WCSJMC!

Sarah Geyer
South-Doyle High School
Knoxville, TN

It just keeps coming...

Just when we thought there wasn't much else to learn, they pull out more. Today we learned how to make the best of blogging, how we can use it to track trends and communicate with the students and the community.

Alan showed us more about setting up and maintaining on-line newspapers, and gave us enough websites to keep us out of circulation for at least a couple days. (Thank you, Alan).

We also began thinking what and where the next generation of the Web (Web 3.0) will be. Holograms? Something we cannot even conceive of yet? Some of us have direct link to the 19th Century through our grandparents' stories of their childhoods. With their, and our parents', help we lived through the 20th Century.

We were at the beginning of the TV age, the transistor radio innovations (remember finally being able to carry our music with us?), the age of punch card computing and everything that has come since. When Jodie shared her joke at the ball park, I was thinking the first two ladies were the manifestations of Web 3.0. Who knows?

Sometimes the world of new technologies seems a little confusing, somewhat chaotic, even surrealistic. Detail of artwork at The Arizona Republic. Photo by Nunn Winship

What I do know is that there are at least 35 schools that are going to be leaping years into the future compared to last year. Some of us will have to fight conservative thinking that keeps the kids off blogging sites at school. Some are stuck with outdated equipment. But we have been given tools to go after grants, make the best of what we have and to convince those around us to try letting our classes move into the future, much the way the old sand lot has become the air-conditioned indoor stadium (right, Chase Stadium, Phoenix. Photo by Nunn Winship).

And it still keeps coming. We have been making connections between ourselves, with the people of ASU and the people at The Republic. As we return to our individual schools, we have so many resources to jump start our programs, or change their directions. We are one fortunate bunch of teachers.

What a reunion we could have in a couple of years, when we show where we have taken our groups. It just keeps on coming, and now we can keep it going.

Blogging framework

Blogs. They're everywhere.

While some have value and contribute to an ongoing academic or social dialouge, do I really need to read about my neighbor's plight to bake cupcakes for a birthday party? Are blogs and other forms of social media cheapening the authenticity of our relationships? That is a quandry that certainly won't be resolved here.

However, Carol Schwalbe, associate professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication offered a basic framework for blogging that I believe can promote a beneficial exchange of ideas and information. Here are just a few suggestions...

o Be passionate
o Have a desire to educate
o Have a desire to share
o Express an informed opinion or point of view on the issue addressed
o Ask a question to encourage discussion
o Share links to other resources

What Journalists Can Learn From Bloggers

What Bloggers Can Learn From Journalists

Jamie Ray
Vista Ridge High School
Cedar Park, Texas

Section 222 rocks

It was baseball, hotdogs, ice cream and something else at the game for the 2010 Cronkite Chronicle crew. Thanks to the generosity of the institute we were treated to the major league baseball game of the year!
I was in awe of the facilities of Chase Field: the traffic control outside, the carnival ambience just outside the stadium, the all you can eat food inside, and last but not least, the convenience of air conditioned comfort.
While it was a sizzling 107 degrees outside, the well built closed roof stadium was cool inside. Oh, I forgot, two professional baseball teams were also there.
The Diamondbacks played the Yankees in what was supposed to be a home game for the D-backs. But, what did I see and hear? Yankee fans everywhere. I couldn’t tell if this was Phoenix or New York.
The game was tied at the end of the ninth inning. I told my classmates that due to the lack of serious hitting in this game by both teams, it would be decided probably by a lone home run by the D-backs and they would win. We left the game just as the 10th inning started. We were less than a block away when we found out a home run was blasted to right field. But it was by a Yankee. Oh no!

Clarence D. Hooker
Hinds Agricultural High School
Utica, Miss.

Friends make first baseball game fun

I thoroughly enjoyed my first professional baseball game tonight. After several days of consistent deadlines, kicking back with friends in a different atmosphere was a welcome break. Thanks Anita, Steve and the ASNE Reynolds High School Journalism Institute for this fun experience and unique opportunity. From the Diamondback hat to the all-you-can-eat buffet to the Yankee game, it was a class act! You've inspired me to take my journalism class to a Sacramento Rivercats game this August.
Lisa Edmisten
Woodcreek High School
Roseville, Calif.

The thrill of defeat

Here are some images from my beloved Kodak Zi8 handheld HD camcorder, which I see is down to $135-ish refurbished ...

From left, Schwinn, Vinh & Co.

Jerry provides color commentary.

Good seats, free food.

Steve Elliott
Arizona State University

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Clarifying some social and pre-social media

A few random thoughts about our day with social media beginning with an apology for those of you born after 1988 or too young to remember 1988. Max Headroom was both a character and a television series that dealt with various topics related to media literacy, but (spoiler alert) books were not popular with the general public in Max’s time, which was always 20 minutes into the future.

The Twitter link to the AP Stylebook has 46,970 followers as of Wednesday at 11.47 p.m. The most recent notes from their feed:

Afghan is the term for the people and culture of Afghanistan. Afghani is the Afghan unit of currency.

Capitalize a military rank when it's a title before a name: Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Otherwise, lowercase the rank.

Another new Stylebook pronunciation entry: Vuvuzela (voo-voo-ZEHL'-uh), a horn used by WorldCup fans in S. Africa.

The term dog tag is acceptable for a military ID tag.

In soccer, defender is the correct term; do not use defenseman.

In soccer, coaches are called managers on U.K. teams and technical directors on some L. American teams.

Stanch is a verb: They hope to stanch the flow of oil. Staunch is an adjective: The candidate has staunch backers.

Interestingly, the Fake AP Stylebook Twitter site, maintained by the same group that supports The Bureau Chiefs’ blog site, boasts 136,732 followers. Sigh. Some of their most recent posts include:

If an article offends readers, simply claim it was intended as a satire. That way you can blame them for not "getting it."

Free up ad space by combining the front page with word-jumble puzzle, e.g. YRAMO TRESRDEA NI TRTOTNSOPIUI NSGTI.

Throw small projectiles at your copy editor now and then. A jumpy copy editor is an accurate copy editor.

Avoid sentences that sound funny, such as "The clowns and monkeys ate kumquats."

Pro-verbs do what Nintendon't.

Do not ask an interview subject about his mother if you suspect he may be a replicant.

Bloody Mary - Capitalized; a drink made with vodka and tomato juice. Your editor's main source of nutrition.

And to clarify Jerry’s comment about CB radios, here is a comprehensive look at what used to be the latest in communication devices posted on, you guessed it, a CD blog. Feel free to comment.

Image – cc by-nd: Connectme360

Sam Bidleman

Bloomsburg High School

Bloomsburg, Pa.

Teamwork means letting yourself be vulnerable

This past week  I was reminded about the nature of teams. There are some great highs when things go right for the group and there are some lows when things go wrong. In each and everyone of our newsrooms we need to deal with new staff members every quarter, semester or year.

From my undergrad years in San Diego, I remember the words "storming, forming, norming, performing, and adjourning." The phrase was from psychologist Bruce Tuckman who discovered that groups grow in stages as they get to know and understand one another.

The past couple of days I was in the performing stage. I was a madman editing videos and photos - not a problem.  Researching and obtaining interviews - okay I admittedly went overboard. Then there was story writing - admittedly my weakest area.

My take away from this week so far is how appreciative I am to have groups that help you out rather then tear me down. Kim V., you were a huge help in taking leadership in editing the papers today and making realize that I need work on my writing. Julie and Jamie never once did you worry about us not completing any items and jumped in to help edit or whatever we needed to get the job complete.We performed as a team to make deadline.

To the advice of Jessica, I have two words...Thank you.

To learn more about groups here is a link to stages of group development.

Brent Manuel
Pleasant Valley High
Chico, Calif.

Useful tips for using technology

Mentor teacher Alan Weintraut presented some very useful tip on using technology today. He talked about new things such as Prezi presentations and Google Docs. I am really excited about getting to try these things when I get back.

I have been wanting to learn how to use Google Docs for a while now and need to get on and start trying it out. I think it will be very useful for my students and make it easier to turn in assignments.

I thought Alan's student who talked to us through Skype was very smart and very helpful in showing us around their publications website. I am very excited to get my newspaper online and can only hope I have a student as smart and involved as him.

Also, I just want to thank Brent for being our staff photographer and taking our mugshots for our online publication. I only hope someone took his picture! Did I mentioned he is so silly. See pictures below. He has a great personality and took some great pictures at the baseball game and was even brave enough to venture down to the pool.

Thanks Brent and Alan!

(Brent Manuel of Chico, Calif. showing off his new
Diamondbacks hat before the game.)

(Brent chilling in front of a Diamondbacks
playhouse at the game versus the Yankees.)

Allison Denman
Spring High School
Spring, Texas

Fellows come together for institute publication

It's almost here. The day our Cronkite Chronicle all comes together, but not without some intense work on Wednesday during our deadline work time.

One of the aspects of this institute that I have enjoyed so much is how we are told how to do something in a regular class setting and are immediately thrust into that real life situation as we prepare to complete a project.

From the story ideas, to the interviewing process, through the writing of the story and the editing, each step has built upon the next and soon we will have our completed publication online and ready for the world to see.

I have enjoyed how we have all been able to work as individuals, in small teams and as a large group. Today I even found myself in the role as "adviser" as different people were trying to post their stories online or work with photos or InDesign. Just that taste of being the adviser-even if it was for a minute or two showed me that I am ready to take all of this information back and apply it to my classroom.

Though it has been a stressful couple of days, I am glad that this institute has been more than a sit and get and even though we have been challenged, we have all come through on the other side as better and more prepared advisers...well, I guess I'll see if I've come through after I get my edited article tomorrow!

Kim Vinh, adviser at Sequoia High School in Redwood City, Calif., helps Brent Manuel, adviser at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif., edit his article for publication. Vinh and Manuel, 2010 ASNE Reynolds Institute Fellows, were working on articles for the institute's online publication, Cronkite Chronicle. (Photo/Laura Schwinn)

Laura Schwinn
Emporia High School
Emporia, Kan.

Do as I say, and as I do

Today we had the pleasure of going to the Diamondback baseball game. Steve came out and joined us. Then, I turned around and saw Steve editing our stories. Thanks Steve, for being a great example and a great resource. You are an exceptional model as to what a dedicated journalism instructor is to be.

Kelly Camak

Gateway to College ECHS, RCC


An open letter to the staff of the Eyrie

Dear Eyrie Newspaper staff,

There are days in our newspaper room that I see you scurrying about, passing each other pages marked with ink. Lauren typically cusses under her breath and sometimes needs to come in the office for a breather.

Those of you who met deadline tuck your heads and do your best to become invisible. You know if I see you playing a game I will tell you to do something.

The page editors often complain they don’t have enough content, a photo didn’t get taken or that someone missed their story completely.

Until today I had never really understood your angst.

You all, including the editors write, take photos, copy edit and editors are responsible for their page.

This week, I volunteered to be a team leader. It was harder than I ever expected.

After our deadlines had passed, I listened to ASU Student Media Director, Jason Manning. He suggested that a trend we may be seeing more of is working in teams.

I had an ‘a-ha’ moment.

Why wouldn’t I have you team up for issues. On the first story one of you could take the lead reporter duties while the other takes photos, then switch roles for the second story.

I know I do not handle stress well. I knew I didn’t handle stress well before I became a team leader.

Why would I do it? Hmm…

I am an overachieving, perfectionist. I wanted to make you proud. I wanted to show you I could do it. I am just like you students.

Today, I experienced, one time, what you experience on a monthly basis.

I love you Eyrie staff, and this institute has given me some skills that will hopefully make you even better than you already are.


Mrs. Evenson

Michelle Evenson
Eden Prairie High School
Minneapolis, Minn.

Lomonte makes learning press law fun

I must admit I wasn't looking forward to our three hour session on press law. A few minutes into Frank Lomonte's presentation and I completely lost track of time. With his animated teaching style, he engaged me from start to finish.

As executive director of the Student Press Law Center, Lomonte shared many case studies and discussed how national and state laws apply to them. "School newspaper cases just don't go to court," he said.

That set my mind at ease, especially as I realized just how much my newspaper students and I have to learn about applying privacy and copyright laws to our publications - especially our online newspaper. One of my first priorities when I return home will be working with my students to write a code of ethics policy and web guidelines for our print and online publications.

Thank you, Frank and the Student Press Law Center, for making sense of the law and being such a terrific resource and support for us as advisers. We couldn't do our jobs as journalism advisers with near as much freedom without you consistently fighting to preserve and protect our First Amendment rights.

Lomonte's Top 5 Analogies (in no particular order)

1) re: Hazelwood court case: "This wouldn't even make the MTV line-up - it's so tame."

2) re: students taking ownership of what they print - a Driver's Education analogy: "It's totally fine to scream break as loud as you can but avoid putting your foot down."

3) re: applying FERPA law too strictly: "If this was not ringing the pedophile dinner bell, would we not know this by now?"

4) re: students crediting photos without permission (Ex. "Courtesy of AP"): "That credit line is not protection against copyright infringement. It's a signed confession."

5) re: paying attention to copyright laws: "Don't shop at the second-hand store, go to the original source."

Above: Frank Lomonte passess on his passion for press law with animated movements that illustrate his points. Near the beginning of his presentation, Lomonte made a handgun gesture at ASNE fellow Tracey Ward's head to illustrate how advisers are sometimes put on the firing line. The act caught all of us by surprise and was over before we could snap a photo. (Photos by Lisa Edmisten)

Lisa Edmisten

Woodcreek High School

Roseville, Calif.

Greenslate inspires teachers

Wow! 2008 Reynolds Institute Fellow Christopher Greenslate was very inspiring. To think that the Reynolds Institute was his first exposure to journalism. From his presentation, it sounds like he built his school's program from practically nothing.

We must all start with a vision. I loved the questions he had us ask ourselves to determine what our vision is.

1. Our journalism program will be...

2. Our publication/ website will set out...

3. After being on our staff, students will...

4. I will know that we have reached our goals when...

I find myself constantly looking at our program daily, but not looking at the big picture. I hope by answering these questions I will be able to create a better map to success.

Leona O'Neal

George County High School

Lucedale, Miss.

Six weeks until Wednesday

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State in Phoenix was home for amost 12 hours a day for the past 2 weeks to 34 journalism teachers from around the country. (Photo by Jodie Schommer)

As the week winds down, the temperatures ramp up. The 2010 ASNE Reynolds Institute Fellows prepare to say farewell to new found colleagues and the beautiful Arizona State Campus. (Photo by Jodie Schommer)

Well all, have you figured out the theme of the titles of my blogs yet this week? I have learned so much and it has all come together and clarity has hit. I have a clear direction after the presenters of today and yesterday. Alan Weintraut's various web sites lit a fire under me. (Too bad his emails went into my spam folder-thanks for resending).

Five things, implement 5 things every year and think about the changes in your publication in three years. Wow! Unbelieveable. This whole week has been amazing.

I always start every class with a 5-8 minute warm up. I use a variety of "fun" things. Try out -it's a great interactive way to learn vocabulary AND companies donate rice to the hungry of the world.

I did 2 new things today-sent a picture over my phone and made a link in this blog. I'm riding the learning curve up and the ride is great.

Jodie Schommer
Lakeside Lutheran High School
Lake Mills, WI

Students thrive in team atmosphere

Jason Manning, (pictured at right) director of ASU's student media had the task of explaining to the Reynolds Institute Fellows just where storytelling is headed.

He gave us a look into the future and urged us to think strategically about change. We understand the way news is now delivered and speculated about how that might change in the future.

We had an insider's view of the News21 program as Manning serves as its managing editor. What an amazing experience for the students involved.

Jason explained that one aspect of the program which helped immensely was the teamwork of the students involved. As he observed each pair of students working on a project he said their skills were complementary which helped each team to balance each other.

Because the students traveled to do much of their reporting, being with a partner helped both mentally and emotionally. It's no wonder that the trend in many professional newsrooms is moving toward teams of journalists working in tandem.

Julie Albertson
Roncalli High School
Indianapolis, Ind.