Special Friends, Self-teaching and Super Textual News:this week’s Fresh Powder Report

A new email leak from the Clinton campaign is so shocking-not shocking. Turns out, the campaign has a few journalists it likes to keep close. Turns out, they like to wine and dine their special reporter friends in super secret “off the record” gatherings. And, they like to feed the media stories. In short, the Clinton campaign likes to curate their media coverage. Are we surprised? Absolutely not. Why? Because we among the cynical expect that all politicians do it. We just don’t want them to write it down.

Teach Yo’self

You’ve heard it before: the best way to learn is to teach. Recently, the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Instituteemployed this model of learning by tasking journalism students with creating a web resource for journalists covering race and hunger. Students weren’t given a model and were expected to identify and distill elements of reportage. It was useful; students learned what kind of resources aid effective journalism and built a useable website. Check it out the result: “Reporting Stories Hidden in Plain Sight.”

Show me the… text?

Here’s a surprising thing: younger adults prefer to get their news via text rather than video. A new study from the Pew Research Center shows that while people over the age of 50 prefer to watch their news rather than read it, people between the ages of 18-29 choose text platforms, and online ones at that. But it makes sense: text-based news online can be consumed at will, anywhere and anytime, without the commitment of carrying around a physical paper or listening to a news story. Web publishers, who have been increasingly focusing on video-based news delivery, may have to recalibrate if they want to maintain audience engagement. And with younger adults less interested in the news overall, news orgs will just have to knuckle under and give this petulant population what they want.

Your reading list just got super long

The longlist got shorter, but your list of required reading got longer: finalists for the National Book Awards were announced last week and it looks like good stuff. Roll up your sleeves, get reading, and see if you can pick the winners ahead of the ceremony on November 16th. You’ve got five weeks: go!

The time of our lives

This is the best thing that happened this week, and it’s pretty good.

These things also happened last week:

Clowns became a thing: in a bizarro manifestation of every coulrophobic nightmare ever, people dressed as creepy clowns began appearing around the country, sometimes making menacing threats or chasing passers-by. Clown expert and author of Bad Clowns, Ben Radford, theorizes that clown sightings are more common during times of social anxiety.

Incidentally, the second presidential debate took place on Sunday night and featured it’s own tangerine-skinned, goofy-haired buffoon. After tapes emerged Friday of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women (minimized by the capering candidate as “locker room talk,”) he spent the evening channeling his clownish brethren by lurking behind his opponent as she spoke. Social anxiety? Radford is right. We can thank the clowns.

New engagement day, virtual reality, and Twitter rage: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Today is the third annual News Engagement Day! As a society we’re less interested in the news than ever before, and this in spite of the volume of 24/7 live-feed platforms. News Engagement Day is all about re-prioritizing the news and clicking back in; it’s about getting informed and finding value in staying informed. Today, theAssociation for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication encourages everyone to consume the news and to interact with it: read, watch, listen, comment, tweet, post. Whatever you decide, get back on board with the news. How will you celebrate News Engagement Day? Share your plan, and keep spreading the word!

Building civic engagement through journalism… class.

Kids who take journalism classes are more likely to vote later in life, according to a study by two University of Kansas professors. And there’s a correlation to socioeconomic background, too. Read all about it, and give yourselves at pat on the back, you journalism educators, you. You’re helping to keep civic duty alive.

Freedom of hate speech: the problem with Twitter

What happens when you open a platform devoted to freedom of speech and openness and, incidentally, anonymity? You get a big ol’ steaming pile of hate and vitriol. You get Twitter, apparently. The decade old social media platform that once prided itself on being the platform for free speech is now struggling to address abusive and threatening, often anonymous, posts. That comments are limited to 140 characters seems only to inspire the artful distillation of hatred, and Twitter doesn’t know what to do about it. With Twitter now possibly seeking a buyer, it seems totally possible that we are witnessing the death rattle of Twitter as we know it.

The storytelling limitations of VR

It’s all about immersion these days. When it comes to digesting the world around us, we want to be all up in it. So the advent of virtual reality storytelling is not surprising and, if I’m being honest, it’s pretty cool. Check out this 360 vid of the Blue Angels flying in formation. Now you don’t even need to get off your couch, let alone get into a tiny plane, to have the experience of a lifetime! What is surprising about this newly minted method of storytelling is that, even given our insatiable desire to experience all the things all the time, there remain some experiences that are not enhanced by fully immersive reportage. Like fashion shows. Or awards ceremonies. It turns out that fixed-point observational experiences look worse in VR. Makes sense, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t turn around in your chair at the Grammy’s and stare at the audience behind you, would you? So it’s a learning process. Also, VR is expensive. Read all about the Associated Press’ year long research on VR here.

And if you want to know how publishers intend to market to the perennially short-of-attention millennial generation, check out Circa’s plan for ad-supported VR.

These things also happened last week:

Kim Kardashian West was robbed of $11 million in jewelry after being bound and gagged by five masked men in her Paris hotel room. Appropriately, if slightly surprisingly, Kayne West abruptly ended his NYC concert upon hearing the news, citing a “family emergency.” Kardashian West is safely back in the U.S., having fled Paris immediately after the robbery.

In other news, Curious George celebrates his 75th birthday this year! Incidentally, Curious George creators Hans Augusto and Margret Rey also had to flee Paris when the Nazi’s invaded during WWII. Surely, their narrow escape by means of a single bicycle must have been almost as traumatic as Kardashian West’s devastating loss of travel jewelry.

The end of the Gutenberg era, mobile-first media, and the resurrection of radio: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Pandering to the masses fails in the world of journalism – but it’s still unavoidable:

Treating the audience as a “mass” doesn’t work for modern journalism – providing readers with a “one size fits all” scope for media and news coverage isn’t received well by such a dramatically varied audience. Of course, with major platforms like Facebook and Twitter speaking almost exclusively to the masses, how does journalism readapt to stay customized on such wide-spread social media sites? Collaboration with big media sites, finding funding for the creation of good content to be promoted by major social media outlets, and treating that content like a “product” – one that is highly valued by the social media tycoons that it so heavily relies on for consumption.

Mobile-first isn’t forward thinking – it’s common sense:

With more readers relying on mobile news more than ever, adopting a “mobile-first” approach to news is becoming an inevitability. Thanks to new developments such as Facebook Instant Articles or Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, journalists can publish directly to mobile-based platforms, reaching the near-90% of the U.S. mobile population that use their mobile devices almost exclusively to access news and information. Here are a few ways to make your publication even more mobile-forward, courtesy of the Knight Foundation.

Snapchatters that matter:

Still struggling to see the benefit Snapchat holds when it comes to journalism? Here are five ways to find useful Snapchat accounts to follow as a journalist, courtesy of the Online Journalism blog.

Radio lives on – and it’s likely not going anywhere:

Gareth Mitchell, presenter of popular BBC radio program “BBC Click,” wants you toignore people who tell you radio is dead, asserting that radio will remain a major media outlet until major technological advances are made that can eliminate the need for it altogether. And, since that doesn’t seem like it’s happening anytime soon, he explains that as long as you’ve got an interesting way of putting information out into the radio-sphere, people will still want to listen to it. He argues that podcasters and broadcasters alike must constantly be thinking about their listeners above everything else – why does this content matter to your audience? The ability to curate relevant and interesting interviews, or read a script in a way that sounds natural without getting hung up on small mistakes is crucial, according to Mitchell – and, if you can do this, you’ll still be able to find success in what so many other journalists write off as an outdated medium.

On standing with Gawker:

“I have seen journalists I respect claim that Gawker’s brand of journalism is cruel and hence “good riddance.” I understand this point of view. Gawker’s outing of Mr. Thiel as gay was cruel. On a lesser scale, the attacks on me always seemed as if the writers were talking about a fictional creation named “Stephen Marche.” In their eyes, because I was a columnist at Esquire, I must therefore be a younger, lousier version of Norman Mailer. It bothered me that they never caught the actual mistakes that I made. They weren’t reading me closely enough to hate me for what I deserved to be hated for. But we are all living in a world in which the quality of sentences in a book matters less than the collar of the shirt you’re wearing on the back cover. Gawker reflected that change; it didn’t make it.” – Stephen Marche via The New York Times

This things also happened last week:


Amber Heard’s lawyer is tired of the victim being depicted as the villain – a miscasting that is manifesting strongly in Heard’s divorce process, involving claims of domestic abuse at the hand of her former husband Johnny Depp.

If being the mother of dragons doesn’t pan out, Emilia Clarke has an idea for her next major role – portraying the first female James Bond.

Stephen Hawking doesn’t understand Donald Trump – but he does understand the severity of climate change.

Friday night lights cost more to shine, Yik Yak inspires honesty, and trusty typography: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

The cost of high school football:

A northern suburb of Dallas recently approved the construction of a $63 million football stadium….for a high school. It’s no secret that high school football in the south – and in Texas in particular – is a pretty big deal. With 12,000 seats and an attached events center, this super-sized sports stadium is surprisingly just one of many new, upgraded high school football stadiums in the state of Texas. Members of the community who aren’t invested in football as a sport but support the construction of the stadium purely for its economic value, as it has the capacity to attract regional tourists to the city.

Millennials take to anonymous chat app with surprising sincerity:

The BBC has recently been experimenting with a variety of different chat apps as a means to reach and connect with their audience. When The BBC tested Yik Yak – an anonymous social media app based entirely on location – they tested it out as a way to cover the Canadian elections this fall, posting questions to the app to see if any ‘Yakkers’ would contribute to the conversation. The BBC wound up with tens of thousands of posts from Canadian youths weighing in on the issues that were important to them. Soon after in the UK, the BBC used Yik Yak to engage with their audience during Mental Health Week, which opened up a public dialogue about mental illness that other social media platforms without the anonymity Yik Yak provides may not be able to mediate.

Sports teams still offend:

Sadly, it’s still a debate amongst high school and professional sports teams alike – racial slurs are still being used to represent team mascots, despite the mass attention the subject has gained from the public over the years. While many “educated” Americans get hung up on the linguistics – the same arguments often used as a means to invalidate the use of the singular “they” as a pronoun, or fight against the positive reclamation of outdated slurs like “queer” – the population actually affected by the slurs used in these names remain largely silenced, as the move to change the names of teams affiliated with offensive racial slurs or stereotypes has been almost painfully slow.

Department of secular studies:

The University of Miami recently welcomed a new academic chair for the study of atheism, humanism, and secular ethics. This addition to the academic department heads was made possible thanks to a large donation by a local wealthy atheist, whose goal was simply finding a way to make atheism more legitimate. Religious departments and studies exist at almost every American university – while atheists are often stigmatized in this highly religious country, creating a space in academia for purely secular studies bold step in the direction of integration of non-religious morality and belief systems.

Typography saves lives:

Ever wonder why traffic signs use essentially identical fonts across the nation? For the same reason the National Weather Service recently announced that it will no longer be publishing forecast and severe weather warnings in all caps – becausetypography choices can have life or death consequences.

These things also happened this week:

Hillary Clinton has refused to partake in a final debate with Bernie Sanders prior to the California primary on the grounds that, since she will be the nominee, there’s no point.

Facebook claims it will no longer rely on the input from news outlets to determine what news should be listed as “trending.”

Twitter aims to revamp the 140 character limit by leaving multimedia out of the character count, meaning photos and videos added to tweets will no longer eat into the already constricting character limit.

The same old censorship, the best yearbook photo, and politically correct comedy: This week’s Fresh Powder Report

Stuck in a censorship loop:

The Playwickian student paper at Neshaminy High School, PA recently endured censorship from school administration after staff members made the decision to omit the name of their school’s mascot – the Redskins – from the paper. School leadership gave direct orders to the editors of the publication to use the full name in reference to an article covering a talent competition called “Mr. Redskin.” This is not the first time censorship of this nature has happened at Neshaminy – the school’s new policy is to give administration the final say when it comes to approving or denying stories that run in the paper as a response to past circumstances of similar nature. Even though administration specified the mascot name must be used in the article, the staff chose to publish the article with the mascot’s name redacted – only to have school leaders remove the article from the Playwickian’s website immediately. Attorney advocate Adam Goldstein with the Student Law Press Center claims that this is an unconstitutional act perpetrated by Neshaminy’s administration, and could potentially lead to a lawsuit in federal court.

Government gets involved in discrimination policy:

The Obama administration has issued a directive dictating that every public school district nationwide must allow transgender students to use the bathrooms they decide best align with their gender identity and expression. This declaration is signed by Justice and Education department officials, and will explain what schools can do to ensure that their students will be protected from discrimination. Schools that do not abide by this administration’s new decree could face lawsuits, or even a loss of federal aid.

The best-looking picture in the yearbook:

A seventh-grade student in Louisiana with muscular dystrophy has two pictures in his middle school yearbook – one picture for him, and one picture for his beloved service dog, Presley. Presley accompanies Seph to school everyday, and yearbook adviser Sonya Hogg couldn’t imagine leaving such a significant member of the student body out of the yearbook. Presley, a 6-year-old golden doodle, is trained to help Seph by doing things such as switching lights on and off, fetch shoes or clothes, and run for help if Seph falls and is unable to get up. Hogg describes Presley as “another very quiet student,” and believed it just made sense to include the dog in the yearbook because he’s a part of the school.

College publication comedy vs. political correctness:

This past year alone, at least two college publications have faced disciplinary action after publishing “humor” pieces that were deemed offensive; at UCSD, funding for all student publications was cut after one of those publications released an article mocking students requesting safe spaces on campus, and contained racial slurs. Michigan Technical University’s student newspaper, the Daily Bull, published a satirical piece titled “Sexually Harassed Man Pretty Okay with Situation,” and contained an offensive list meant to explain how to tell if women are “interested” in men, including items such as “she only screams a little.”  The Bull was placed on probation for two years and funding for the publication is being withheld. College campuses are shining examples of free speech – but when “free speech” is used as an excuse to cross comedic boundaries and offend, rather than spread useful and relevant information to the masses, has it gone too far? Is that truly utilizing freedom of speech? Most papers have adopted political correctness policies of some sort in order to avoid this kind of offensive comedy, though some comedies and writers believe any type of restriction – no matter how necessary – is still an infringement of their first amendment rights.

These things also happened this week:

Wondering what the best way to get out of a speeding ticket is? Get cast as the lead in a television show with cliffhangers, apparently.

In a national test of technology and engineering literacy administered by the government in 2014, girls outranked boys when it came to proficiency scores.

Scientists are trialing psychedelic drugs as a means to treat depression – groovy.

The intrusiveness of photojournalism, why computers shouldn’t grade essays, Facebook’s alleged exclusion of conservatives: today’s Fresh Powder Repo

The duality of photojournalism:

“Six of our guys were buried under the rubble of a compound that had been struck by a car bomb. More than a few of us were crying as we scrambled to retrieve their lifeless bodies. I watched a distraught staff sergeant run over to the photographer, whose presence at that moment felt intrusive, and tell him to go away. The photos were published in The New York Times the next day, and there we were: a bunch of soldiers clawing desperately at a pile of rubble. Eventually, everyone, including the sergeant, agreed it was a good thing. The photos were for us. It was our story, in all its agony and truth. Six years later, it’s the only record we have of that terrible day.” -Adam Linehan

Robots aren’t poets….yet:

Can a machine accurately grade a piece of writing? Is a computer scoring program capable of capturing the nuance or flow of a prose piece or an exam essay? The studies haven’t been all that encouraging; an essay written by the BABEL generator (an automated writing machine that essentially generates gibberish) received the highest score by the GRE computer scoring program. Because computer scoring cannot analyze meaning, argumentation, or even narrative, it relies solely on grammar, length, and vocabulary to compile a score. Educators preparing students for these tests have started training them how to write essays that lack substance, but are full of flowery vocabulary in order to receive high scores.

“What” journalism just isn’t enough:

Political reporter Chris Cillizza claims journalism isn’t “dying” – it’s just changing, and some people simply have a harder time adjusting than others. He calls on the wisdom of Erik Rydholm, executive producer of “Pardon the Interruption,” dividing journalism into three “baskets”: the “what” basket, the “so what” basket, and the “now what” basket. Cillizza argues that the “what” basket has been losing it’s appeal in new media; the “what” is almost too accessible, the “so what” and “now what” are what readers seek out in the age of digital journalism. While the “what” still matters, the “so what” and “now what’s” matter just as much; with shows like “The Colbert Report” and “Last Week Tonight” finding so much success, it’s clear audiences crave knowing more than just what’s going on – they want to know why they should care.

People will still pay for good news:

As long as we’re keeping the glass half full, Lydia Polgreen, editorial director of the New York Times, explains in a keynote address why readers will keep paying to read the New York Times. Polgreen urges publishers to look not at what they think they’ve lost in terms of revenue, resources, and retention, but focus on what their customers – the all-important consumer of news – has gained in this new age of media. Sure, the transition has been tough, and yes, journalists have suffered – but the Times is actually making more revenue from their subscribers than their advertisers, simply by staying true to their journalistic business strategy of being a subscription-based news service. The Times can do it, as they’ve long established themselves as a media platform that delivers journalism readers won’t find anywhere else – other digital journalism services may not be established enough to rely on such a firm method of subscription, but it’s still a solid form of reassurance in a time of transformation and fluctuation.

These things also happened last week:

Meghan Trainor stays true to her body-positive message, taking down her latest music video after noticing her waist was retouched in order to make her appear “thinner.”

The fire that ravaged Fort McMurray, Alberta, is finally slowing down – but not before over 2,000 structures were burned to the ground.

Facebook denies censoring politically conservative articles after a former Facebook news curator claimed that stories featuring more conservative subjects were intentionally left off of the “trending news” sidebar.

Killing journalism softly, a new use for Instagram, and appreciating teachers: This Week’s Fresh Powder Report

What’s really killing modern journalism:

This PBS column by former Vice President of News at NPR Jeffrey Dvorkin claims that “click-bait” journalism – or, more simply put, media production that relies on hits and views – will be the death of journalism. Dworkin compares Uber, a “taxi company that doesn’t own any cars,” to modern journalism; now that news comes from freelancers, bloggers, and social media mavens, it’s a more open-source approach to reporting. But why is that a bad thing?Industry wages for those in the journalism field have plummeted, working conditions have worsened, and companies are downsizing, just to name a few. And, while Dvorkin isn’t so optimistic about our ability to “reverse” these digital changes, he knows it’s not all bad – many media industries have skyrocketed profit-wise, and more digital journalism startups are finding success than ever before.

Handheld Journalism Tools:

Whether we want to admit it or not, it’s almost impossible to separate student journalism from mobile journalism. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing – in fact,here are 5 fantastic mobile journalism apps for student staff members to utilize when they’re reporting on the go.

Instagram isn’t just for selfies and cats:

As we mentioned in last week’s’ Fresh Powder, Investigative Journalism is in need of a pretty serious makeover. Enter Jon and Jeff Lowenstein of Chicago, who reported on a mortgage scheme targeting older African-Americans by posting a photo of one of the victims of this scam on Instagram, accompanied by a lengthy captioned that summarized her experience. Long-form Instagram “stories” are an instant, visually appealing way to break big news – and, with platform built around shares, likes, and commenting, it opens up the dialogue surrounding new reporting in a major way.

The ten best places to continue your journalistic education:

Ideally, being a part of a high school journalism publication will inspire at least a few young, bright minds to continue their journalistic endeavors in college – for those select few, USA Today has compiled a list of the top 10 schools to receive a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Speaking out for student journalism:

While we’re on the subject, here’s a blog post written by National Council of Teachers of English member Alana Rome stressing the importance of scholastic journalism as an element of high school education. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

These things also happened this week:

The Met Gala’s theme this year, “Maanus vs. Machina,” inspired plenty of future-forward fashion choices.

Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ breaks records by earning 16 Tony nominations.

It’s Teacher Appreciation Day, so make sure all of you hardworking advisers and educators take some time to appreciate everything you do for your students – you deserve it!

The freedom of staying silent, the future of investigative reporting, and a live broadcast experiment like no other: This week’s Fresh Powder Report

Worldwide journalism isn’t as far out of reach as you think:

The Knight Center for Journalism – a program that trains journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean – received a grant of $600,000 in order to help them expand their reach. They plan to use the funding to create Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCS, in hopes of connecting journalism experts from all over the world.

Sometimes, free speech means shutting up:

JEA National Broadcast Adviser of the Year, Michelle Turner of Washington High School, believes common sense trumps freedom of speech when it comes to protecting yourself in the media. When Turner was featured on a Jimmy Kimmel pre-show segment that involved an interviewer showing her pictures of emojis that are often used “inappropriately” in hopes of getting a specific, comedic response from her, she simply refused. As much as the producers encouraged her to lean towards the risqué response, Turner continued presenting herself as oblivious. She claims there is just too much at stake; her career, the opinion of her family, and her recent JEA recognition, to name a few. Turner was able to process the potential consequences of saying something unfiltered on live television, and hopes that more people – especially the youth – remain aware of what their digital footprint may leave behind.

Investigative reporting finds a new home on the air:

The Center for Investigative Reporting has been facing some uncertainty for years now – in 2014, they began funding a new public radio show and podcast called “Reveal.” The goal of this show was initially to create a space for investigative reporting using a medium not traditionally used for investigative reporting. This concept has given the Center for Investigative Reporting easy access to a national and mobile-heavy audience, while simultaneously helping them evolve in the digital age without sacrificing their core mission.

What’s the best way to spend 24 hours? Non-stop mobile reporting, of course!:

Reporters at BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey recently took on a 24 hour live broadcast experiment in a bid to help improve online radio coverage. The teams used a variety of software to broadcast remotely, and used the experience to test out different iPhone apps in the field, such as Legend, Story, and Page Up. The experiment brought to light a variety of different challenges mobile journalists are faced with when it comes to live updating, such as an occasional lack of data signal, or running out of battery and memory space on mobile devices. In the end, the teams agreed that the quality of their social media content enhanced their on-air coverage, and hope to continue practicing mobile journalism in the future.

These things also happened last week:

Beyonce has done it again – last Saturday, she debuted her hour-long visual album LEMONADE on HBO, and it was magic.

Officer Jason Lai of the San Francisco Police Department has been at the center of a text-messaging scandal, revealing a variety of racist, homophobic, and blatantly violent text messages he’s allegedly sent.

First Avenue concert venue in downtown Minneapolis was the location of a three-day dance party honoring the recently deceased musician Prince, a Minneapolis native.

What the watermelon really means, the idealistic future of collaborative journalism, and Pulitzer Prizes: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

The BuzzFeed watermelon is not the end of journalism:

After two BuzzFeed employees filmed themselves blowing up a watermelon, the new standard for online journalism was almost immediately called into question. It prompted an in-depth think piece from New York Times mediator Jim Rutenberg, imagining the exploding watermelon as a metaphor for the future of digital journalism – with the video of the explosion racking up over 10 million views in a short number of days, how can longstanding news outlets that don’t utilize similarly silly tactics for views hope to compete? Politico reporter Jack Shafer urges professional journalists not to worry too much about the destruction of “true” online journalism; he points out that the New York Times and other major media organizations have always employed diversions as a means of journalism in the same way BuzzFeed has. Shafer argues that it is possible for the absurd and serious to co-exist within a single news platform, and the New York Times serves only as one example of a paper that’s been doing so for years.

Worldwide scandal prompts unique new collaboration:

The recent Panama Papers scandal served as a shining example of what collaborative journalism could (and should) look like. Having an international news story published in so many different places – and on so many different platforms – was largely due to competing news organizations cooperating with one another in order to break this major investigative report as quickly as possible. Is the future of journalism wrapped up entirely in such collaboration, or are these instances of journalistic harmony purely situational?

Journalism in 2015: The good, bad, and ugly:

Prior to the official announcement of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners, the Columbia Journalism Review put together a list of the best (and worst) journalism of 2015.

Pulitzer season:

The actual Pulitzer Prize winners were announced yesterday, and a variety of publications and creations were honored; Alissa J. Rubin of the New York Times in Paris won a Pulitzer for international reporting, the Times snagged the award for breaking news photography, and everyone’s favorite new Broadway musical “Hamilton” won a prize for drama.

These things also happened this week:

The New York Primaries are today; here’s what to watch out for during another politics-fueled Tuesday.

The State University of New York – Buffalo accidentally sent out over 5,000 acceptance letters to prospective students last week, even though student applications are still under review. Whoops.

Stana Katic – known for her leading role on ABC’s hit TV series Castle – will not be returning for a potential 9th season.

Obama talks journalism, journalists talk grammar, and the NFL avoids talking altogether: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Obama encourages journalists to be journalists, not spectators:

President Obama delivered a speech at a journalism ceremony last week, where he used his platform to urge the political journalists covering the presidential race to focus on the actual issues at hand, rather than reporting on the spectacle. Obama compared much of the news reporting surrounding the campaign to going to the carnival, and implied that the media isn’t doing enough when it comes to questioning the promises made by the politicians, stating that reporting on the statements made by candidates followed by evidence that either supports or contradicts them is a more effective means of covering political news.

Old-school linguistics versus identity respect:

Grammarians, Lit nerds, and journalists everywhere seem to have an opinion on the use of the first-person singular “they” as an alternative pronoun to the traditional, binary “he” or “she.” The Washington Post readily accepted this update to the english language; though, not everyone – and certainly not every major media organization – seems to be on board. New York Times magazine columnist Amanda Hess weighs in on the use of “they” as it relates to journalism, how other news outlets are reacting to the word, and what the future may be in terms of less-gendered language at the Times.

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes might give you blisters:

Steve Lopez – Journalism professor at Cal State L.A. – shares his experience transitioning from the world of professional journalism to the world of journalism education – and why the experience both scared and inspired him. After learning first-hand what teaching 30-40 students in a single class feels like, his appreciation of teachers at all levels of education has grown more than ever.

The eerie similarities between the football and nicotine:

A New York Times article takes a closer look at the NFL’s not-so-thorough research on football-related concussions, as well as their ties to the tobacco industry; another organization made infamous for its liberal use of “science” and “data” when it came to downplaying the dangers of smoking cigarettes.

These things also happened last week:

South Africa debates a motion to impeach President Jacob Zuma after allegations of corruption were brought to light in a recent court ruling against him.

Doris Day turned 92 years old on Sunday – and shared a picture of herself and her dog in celebration.

The Wisconsin primaries are happening today – here are 5 things to watch in today’s primary elections.