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.

News literacy, sneaky editing (and advertising,) and exploding stars: This week’s Fresh Powder report

New in news literacy:

News Literacy 2016 is a collaboration by the students in the Studio 20 program at NYU – a master’s level program focused in newsroom innovation and digitally adaptive journalism. The News Literacy project attempts to summarize what these students had to learn prior to beginning the project work, and wanted to share this content with other journalists in the hopes of improving the learning curve. The eleven different topics presented on the site explore a variety of areas that significantly impact journalism today, and what journalists can do to tailor their content to the current demands of the industry.

Shady editing:

Stealth Editing: The practice of publishing an article, then going back and making major changes to the article well after it has been published and read without notifying your readers. In a recent New York Times article focusing on Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, this exact phenomenon occurred; a fairly neutral article that focused on Sanders’ political progress rather than his setbacks remained online for several hours before two paragraphs were added, subjectively critiquing his proposals. The major criticism of this type of editing stems from the fact that making substantial changes to an article that change the tone or viewpoint of the article after readers have posted or shared it seems unfair and dishonest to those who posted the article prior to the stealth editing.

The codependency of political media:

All politics – especially politics surrounding the presidential race – naturally form a codependent relationship with the media. The media has the power to shape a narrative, or provide insight to a political figure that the general public may not have access to otherwise. The mutually beneficial relationship between political candidates and news media is nothing new – but the intense focus news medias are taking when it comes to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, and the way this attention benefits him – is a different beast entirely. It’s hard not to continuously report on Trump; as a candidate, he makes it easy, as he’s remained consistently outspoken during his campaign. However, Trump isn’t like other candidates; he understands the media in ways that his fellow presidential hopefuls can’t, thanks to his extensive background in reality television, and decades of being a public figure. He knows how to gain media attention, and he knows how to control the narrative. This puts journalists in a very delicate position; choosing not to cover Trump could severely impact ratings and viewership, while continuing to report on Trump only serves to further this extreme codependence.

Why fooling readers with ads isn’t a cool thing to do:

“Native Advertising” is an increasingly popular form of advertising that aims to make ads look more like articles, thereby making it more difficult for readers to tell the difference. As of this week, the Federal Trade Commission is getting involved with this somewhat questionable practice; the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection believes “consumers have the right to know when they’re looking at paid advertising.” This form of “trick” advertising hasn’t been a problem with print journalism; online, however, this kind of advertisement is becoming more common. The biggest problem with native advertising? Disclosure. Are news sites actually letting their audience know when a story is a real news article and when a story is being paid for entirely by an advertiser? It’s a new standard of journalistic integrity almost exclusive to online media, and something to be aware of when using advertisements in your publication.

These things also happened this week:

The shockwave from an exploding star was captured on camera for the first time.

A new environmental study suggests that the earth is even worse shape than we probably realize.

Serena Williams responds to a tournament director’s incredibly rude – and scarily outdated – remarks regarding female tennis players.

All-star inspiration, senate support for free speech, and sexist censorship: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

NBA star shares why journalism matters:

CJ McCollum, shooting guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, isn’t just interested in playing basketball – he also loves reporting on it. He majored in Journalism at Lehigh University, and, while working on his game was certainly his main focus, his passion for journalism never faltered. He worked as a student editor for the school’s newspaper, and he even got to sit down with NBA broadcaster Tim Capstraw to practice calling a game. Now, McCollum’s launched an educational program called “CJ’s Press Pass,” where he empowers high schools students to get some hands-on involvement with journalism. His first group of students from Portland Madison High School received an assignment from CJ himself to cover the Trail Blazer’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. McCollum provided the students with all-access media passes and conducted a special press conference after the game. After all the students had a chance to report on the game, McCollum selected a winner; student reporter Hannah Ortloff took the prize with this assignment, which provided her with the opportunity to co-host McCollum’s weekly radio show with him, as well as getting her article published on The Player’s Tribune.

Senate support for free speech:

Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota recently took to the Senate floor in support of students’ free speech and first amendment rights in response to North Dakota’s passing of the New Voices legislation last April. Sen. Heitkamp spoke out about the “dire” effects that administrative restraint has when it comes to student journalism. She claims that an academic environment that chooses to censor student media is not “an environment that values and empowers student voices and it’s not a climate that is conducive to effective and learning civic participation. We can and must do better.”

SPLC launches Active Voice:

While student media censorship certainly affects all students, it turns out that it does, in fact, discriminate.  New research shows that young women reported experiencing censorship – both from school administration and from themselves – more often than young male students. To encourage young female journalists, the Student Press Law Center has launched the Active Voice initiative, which works to “make the voices of women and girls heard in the media through advocacy campaigns and by training women and girls to use media to advance the state of their own rights, safely and without fear of reprisal.” You can get involved by sponsoring a fellowship, applying for a fellowship, or simply joining the network to stay updated and help spread the word about the need for free speech in student journalism.

When going digital changes everything:

For the Dallas Morning News, going digital means starting over in a major way. Not only has the Morning News staff had to re-imagining their entire reporting model; they’re also moving out of the same building they’ve been working out of since 1949. The Morning News is Dallas’ only remaining newspaper and, following the arrival of editor Mike Wilson in 2015, going digital went from being a smart idea to the only remaining option. Wilson and his team decided to entirely reconstruct the makeup of their paper and rebuild it for the new age of media. Everyone who had been on staff had to apply for new jobs, as many of the old jobs available at the Morning News no longer existed. The teams became organized by topic-oriented “hubs” rather than desks or beats, and they’ve started treating their business like a website rather than a newspaper. Sure, it’s a lot of change, but we know better than anyone that going digital is the best thing you can do for your publication.

These things also happened this week:

An NFL official shocked us all by actually confirming the link between football-related traumatic brain injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is the first time the NFL has ever acknowledged this connection.

Good news for those of us living in frozen tundras – a recent study shows that the cold may actually make your immune system stronger.

It’s Super Tuesday 3 today, so if you’re in any of the states currently holding primaries, make sure to get out and vote. In the meantime, here’s what you should watch for during this round of primary voting.

Spotlight in the spotlight, the trouble with tenure, and Super Tuesday: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Martin Baron in the Spotlight:

Martin Baron, former editor of the Boston Globe, shares his experience viewing the Oscar’s this year as the film Spotlight – a film based on events Baron played a large part in – was nominated in a variety of categories. The film ultimately ended up taking home the Oscar for best film – arguably the biggest award of the evening. Baron reflects on the movie-making process, how accurate he found his own portrayal in the film, and the one thing he wishes would have been included in the final cut.

Your First Amendment rights in Philly:

Recent federal judge ruling in Philadelphia dictates that citizens do not have a First Amendment right to film police officers on their handheld devices – unless they are somehow challenging the police conduct. The judge argues that this ruling will not leave citizens helpless when it comes to capturing police misconduct, though; he claims that, in the case of a police officer seizing your phone and deleting the video/continuing to act with misconduct, the court can proceed to trial on Fourth Amendment claims instead of First Amendment.

To tenure or not to tenure:

A legal battle concerning teachers seeking tenure in California is making its way to an appeals court this week, as students continue to argue that protecting teachers this way help keep bad teachers in schools, while teachers unions argue that the tenure system helps retain teachers. The student plaintiffs in this trial claim that securing the jobs of bad teachers most negatively impacts poor and minority students, while the opposition argues that it is the district’s fault – not the law’s – that keeps poorly performing teachers in the classroom.

Book banning bill:

Virginia may be the first state that will allow parents to stop their children from reading books in school that contain sexually explicit material. The bill would require that all k-12 teachers identify content as sexual explicit, and then notify the parents of their students, giving the parents a chance to opt their children out of that particular lesson, and the teacher provides them with less “explicit” reading material. Those who oppose the bill believe it’s one step away from banning books, while those who support the bill argue it is the parent’s right to have a say in what their children are exposed to.

In non-journalism related news:

In case you missed it/boycotted it/don’t have cable, here’s a complete list of all the Oscar winners from this year’s Academy Awards.

It’s Super Tuesday – which means, if you live in one of the ten states participating in the primaries today, you should probably show up and vote. Here’s everything you need to know about Super Tuesday.

Daisy Ward – born on February 29th, 1916 – celebrated her 25th/100th birthday yesterday.

Storytelling tools, the new Grantland, and Facebook: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Storytelling tools that never tire:

Poynter delivers a comprehensive list of some of the best storytelling tools for new journalists.  From Storify, GIF makers, and Autotune, it’s a good reminder that the most basic tools are usually the most useful when it comes to innovative reporting.

The Ringer:

After Grantland came to an end last year, Bill Simmons hopes to fill the sports-shaped hole the website left behind by creating a new digital venture called The Ringer. It is scheduled to roll out in March first as an email newsletter, though it promises to later provide “downloadable podcasts, webcasts and electronic publications in the fields of entertainment, sports, sports and social commentary, pop culture, movies, music, television, technology, electronics, celebrities, current events, news, politics, lifestyle, and topics of general interest…downloadable mobile applications including for the transmission of audio and video content, messages, and information.”

The biggest (mock) election yet:

The American Press Institute, Newslea, and Rock the Vote are coming together in hopes of planning what may be the biggest student-based mock election ever, Students Vote 2016. While Newslea and Rock the Vote are helping to create this election experience, API aims to introduce thought-provoking questions concerning the journalism voters may encounter, and which politics-based media they can trust.

Instant article gratification:

Facebook plans to open Instant Articles to all publishers this April— which is good news for small and local news organizations in terms of gaining equal access. There are hundreds of publishers currently using Instant Articles through Facebook, and there’s no question why. Former Instant Articles product manager Michael Reckhow explains that “Instant Articles get clicked on, interacted with, and shared more than regular articles.”

Why the current teacher shortage may matter more than most:

“Teachers always come and go, but in recent years there are some new reasons for the turnover. Polls show that public school teachers today are more disillusioned about their jobs than they have been in many years. One 2013 poll found that teacher satisfaction had declined 23 percentage points since 2008, from 62 percent to 39 percent very satisfied, the lowest level in 25 years. Fifty-one percent of teachers reported feeling under great stress several days a week, an increase of 15 percentage points reporting that level in 1985.” – The Washington Post

These things also happened this week:

The GOP primaries are starting to get a lot less humorous after Trump won– by a large margin— in Nevada last night.

Here’s a new map of the Milky Way. It’s pretty.

Facebook is getting ready to release its “reactions” feature— now, outside of simply liking your friends’ posts, you can express that you love it, share that it made you laugh, or even let them know it makes you sad. And, before you ask, no– there is still no dislike button.

The newest voices in the fight for free speech, text-heavy SATs, and the most pirated album of all time: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

The fight to protect student journalists continues:

“At the highest quality institutions, censorship is, thankfully, almost nonexistent. You would never see a Princeton or Columbia trying to lay a finger on its student journalists because they know that there would be an enormous reputational price to pay. Where we do see a fair degree of censorship is at those second- and third-tier institutions, the ones that are the most reputation-conscious because they are the most financially strapped. The climate has become more and more difficult for college journalism because institutions are so obsessed with their reputations. The competition for state funding is more intense than ever. The reliance on private donors is more pronounced than ever. And the ability of a news story to live beyond a single news cycle on Google is greater than ever. For all of those reasons colleges are much more motivated to crack down on unflattering journalism than they might have been during the paper-and-ink era.” –Frank D. LoMonte

The SATs get a reading-heavy makeover:

It’s going to change who does well,” said Lee Weiss, the vice president of precollege programs at Kaplan Test Prep, one of the nation’s biggest test-preparation programs. “Before, if you were a student from a family where English was not the first language, you could really excel on the math side. It may be harder in the administration of this new test to decipher that, because there is so much text on both sides of the exam.”

New New Voices:

Maryland and Illinois join the New Voices campaign in hopes of protecting their student journalists from censorship. Maryland’s bill was introduced by Senators Jamin Raskin and Jim Rosapepe two weeks ago, while Illinois introduced a similar bill last week. Both bills aim to protect student journalists in high school and college, though students in Illinois at the college level are already protected by the College Campus Press Act.

New Hampshire Primary Coverage:

Medium shares the best of student journalism from the New Hampshire Primary— between a notable social media presence and a variety of different articles all written by high school students in the midst of the political action, there was no shortage of coverage concerning the most recent presidential primary elections.

These things also happened this week:

The 2016 Grammy Awards premiered last night. While the actual awards themselves can be exciting, most of us just tune in for the performances. Here’s a list of the best Grammy performances this year, just in case you missed it.

President Obama is searching for a new Supreme Court justice following the death of Antonin Scalia— and, while this may typically be a highly sought-after position, it’s potentially one of the worst times to land the job.

After a slight delay, Kanye West released his anticipated album The Life of Pablo exclusively on TIDAL music on Saturday; however, due to the limitation of its release, the album has been illegally downloaded over half a million times since its debut.

A closer look at a damaged brain, the university-uncertainty effect, and one educator who’s making us all look bad: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

When donating your brain to science can, in fact, change lives:

Stories about retired NFL players suffering from CTE– a form of traumatic brain injury caused by repeated blows to the head commonly found in professional football players– is certainly not “news.” However, following the release of the film Concussion, this phenomenon is getting more wide-spread attention, most recently in the form of an actual analysis of former NFL quarterback Ken Stabler’s brain postpartum.

Stabler lost his battle with colon cancer in July, but not before specifying that his brain was to be removed during autopsy and sent to scientists for dissection in hopes of finding the source of his seemingly inexplicable mental decline in the final years of his life. Despite the fact that quarterbacks are typically more “protected” than their teammates in other positions, the doctors responsible for studying his brain found widespread lesions they labeled “severe,” proving no position in professional football is entirely safe from the dangers of degenerative brain damage.

Majoring in self-doubt:

Justina Sharp, a freshman in college, majoring in journalism, is no stranger to the industry; prior to actually pursuing a degree in the field, she’d already published articles in The Huffington Post, the New York Times, and on MTV News. So how did Sharp go from being so certain about her future in journalism to actually doubting her skills in a matter of months? One word: college.

Visualize it:

Here are five stunning examples of data journalism utilizing interactive, timeline-based visualization; a picture may be worth a thousand words, but these amazing infographics may be capable of saying more than one article ever could.

Calculating successful education:

He may not be teaching journalism; in fact, you could argue the subject he specializes in is the antithesis of any of the literary arts. Despite the traditionally challenging and not-universally-liked subject matter, high school calculus teacher Anthony Yom has created a classroom of engaged learners who seem to be genuinely interested math; so much so, one of his students recently became one of 12 individuals in the world to earn a perfect score on the Advanced Placement Calculus exam. So what’s his secret? Magic? Hypnosis? We’re still not entirely sure, but you can read more about him and his students and try to figure it out for yourselves.

These things also happened this week:

The 50th Super Bowl took place on Sunday, and, while many of you were watching for the sports, fanfare, and camaraderie, plenty of us tuned in for the thing that really matters: the commercials. Here are USA Today’s picks for this year’s top 5 Super Bowl commercials.

And, in case you were one of the many viewers who experienced some volume-related difficulties during the halftime performance, you can relive the musical extravaganza in all its glory right here.

The New Hampshire primary takes place today; here’s what you need to know about the results.

James Franco is allegedly set to direct a movie based on the infamous “Zola” Twitter-tale that took over the internet this October– which, in true Franco fashion, should be exactly as absurd as sounds.