Professional journalists helping student counterparts, journalism in the common core, and Punxsutawney Phil’s big day: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

This blog could save your life– or at the very least, your sanity:

The After Deadline blog on the New York Times website is a fantastic resource for all grammatical and stylistic newsroom queries you may have.  From words that are almost (but not quite) right to the art of journalism prose, this blog can answer those obscure writing-related questions before you’ve even had the chance to ask.

Professional and student journalists stand together:

Professional journalists in Missouri are standing by their student counterparts in support of the New Voices bill, which aims to protect student journalists from future censorship. Former adviser at Missouri Southern State University Thomas Hanrahan voiced his support of the bill by claiming that student journalists are no different than professional journalists– he believes some of the most important journalism is coming out of schools across the nation, and limiting their free speech benefits no one.

Top online stories from 2015:

Here’s an impressive collection of some of the best in online journalism from 2015. Highlighted are 40 projects, all utilizing the digital medium to tell their stories in unique and memorable ways– and a great means of inspiration for your all of your digital stories.

Journalism is, in fact, an important component of the common core:

Has anyone ever tried to tell you that Journalism doesn’t fit into the common core? If so, you can now confidentiality tell them they’re wrong. Reading and writing nonfiction– a skill students don’t often acquire in standard English literature classes– actually increases literacy scores and comprehension across the board. This videoshows how teachers have incorporated journalism instruction as an aspect of the common core.

These things also happened this week:

The Iowa Caucus took place last night– you can read more about what happened (and what that means) right here.

The 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards aired on Saturday– here are the top five moments from the event.

Our furry friend Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this morning, which, if you believe the forecast can be predicted by a rodent, means an early spring for us this year. Thanks, Phil.

Free spirits, new voices, and strikes: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

‘New Voices’ in Nebraska applies to college students only:
Nebraska’s student press freedom legislation bill, known as the ‘New Voices’ Bill, was recently introduced by Sen. Al Davis. The aim of this bill is to ensure that student journalists attending public universities and community colleges have the right to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of the press in all school-sponsored media. This bill, however, would not extend to high school journalists (like the new law in North Dakota), due to the fact that Senator Davis believes college students are “mature” enough to responsibly utilize freedom of the press, whereas– according to Davis– high school students might not be.

Vox shares their social media secrets:
The popular journalism platform known as Vox shares their process for fully utilizing social media in reporting; from pitching stories based on questions their Twitter followers are asking to monitoring conversations across multiple social platforms, Vox uses a variety of social media to drive their content, give their audience a brief overview, and generate future content.

Local newspaper in Canada faces employment strike:
Around 100 employers from the Chronicle Herald in Halifax, Nova Scotia, are on strike due to the company’s desire to cut salaries, increase working hours, reduce benefits, and make layoffs. The owners of the Herald argue that a significant staff reduction is necessary due to the loss of readership of the paper, as well as the competition with other digital news providers. With considerable support from the community, the on-strike employees continue to stand strong in hopes of maintaining their journalism careers and the future of local journalism.

Making a Journalism School 101:
Journalisms schools are a consistent component of higher education across the country; most major universities have a school dedicated entirely to the study of journalism and mass media. But what if you wanted to start a journalism program at an already-established university from scratch? One professor at Morgan State University in Baltimore got to experience what that’s like first-hand. DeWayne Wickham, a former USA Today columnist and creator of the School of Global Journalism and Communications, had the unique task of building an entire program at Morgan State from the ground up. Now two years in, Nieman Lab interviews Wickham on his experience, the choices he’s made along the way, and why “global” is an integral part of the school’s title.

Show off your Free Spirit:
Application deadline for the 2016 Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference is fast-approaching.  One high school JUNIOR from every state and the District of Columbia will be selected for an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., June 18-23, and will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship to the college of his/her choice. Visit for more information and to apply online.

These things also happened last week:

The managing editor of a hip-hop focused news site wrote a profound piece on white privilege in response toMacklemore’s recent song release on the subject.

The X-Files reboot premiered on Sunday night– cue the supernatural nostalgia.

The East Coast Blizzard may have subdued, but the cleanup has just begun. We here at SNO Headquarters feel your pain, east coast. We really do.

Educational shortcomings, a journalistic win in the UK, and decoding Snapchat: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

We can learn from other countries when it comes to education:

It’s no secret that the education system in the U.S. is…flawed. Teachers rarely receive the recognition they deserve or the developmental opportunities that allow them to grow in their profession, two things that teachers in other countries are getting, and it’s making a huge difference. In Singapore school systems, a group of “master teachers” are responsible for helping other teachers improve. In Shanghai and British Columbia, teaching more closely resembles any other profession– advancement is expected and attainable, and teachers are encouraged to interact with other professionals in their field for growth and development. So what are we missing here in the States? A level of trust in the educators themselves; to assist one another in their field, to grow and develop independently, and to explore new approaches to education that may or may not end up being successful.

It’s hard to argue with a picture:

Typically, a picture is only “worth 1,000 words” when it depicts something people aren’t used to being confronted with– and even more so when it’s something they’d rather not see. It’s no surprise photojournalism has been extremely influential regarding civil rights movements in America— from segregation in the fifties to protests that are hardly a year old, capturing racial injustice on camera seems to be one of the best ways to uncover the harsh reality of social injustice in the country.

The social media platform you’re probably avoiding:

Some of you are already using it to help promote your program, most of you are using it because it’s fun– but some people aren’t using it at all. Why? Because, let’s face it, the concept of Snapchat is more than a little confusing. What’s the purpose of Snapstories? Why would you even bother sending a message to someone, only to have it disappear forever as soon as they read it? This article walks you through how to use what may arguably be the most popular social media app among high schoolers today.

Terrorism Laws vs. Free Press:

In a fight for freedom of the press, a UK Journalist wins in appeals court after having encrypted documents seized at Heathrow airport in 2013. From The Intercept: “The central concern is that disclosure of journalistic material (whether or not it involves the identification of a journalist’s source) undermines the confidentiality that is inherent in such material and which is necessary to avoid the chilling effect of disclosure and to protect article 10 rights.  If journalists and their sources can have no expectation of confidentiality, they may decide against providing information on sensitive matters of public interest.  That is why the confidentiality of such information is so important.”

These things also happened last week:

The fourth democratic debate aired on Sunday– here’s a full transcript, just in case you missed it.

A less widely-viewed (but important) awards show happened over the weekend–check out who won at the Critics’ Choice Awards here.

This eight-year-old from Texas spends his birthday as selflessly as possible.

Predicting the future (with data), more scrutiny for the Rolling Stone, and drones: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

From data journalism to psychic journalism?

With both data journalism and computational journalism on the rise, could it be possible for journalists to predict breaking news before it actually happens? One writer at Neiman Labs thinks so; financial news, world news, medical news, and weather news are the areas of journalism Maycotte believes will be influenced most by data-driven predictive journalism. Of course, we can’t see every headline coming– entertainment news will likely continue to be as wildly unpredictable as always, data or no data.


While we’re on the subject, if your program has been looking to dip a toe in the data journalism pool, but aren’t quite sure where (or how) to start, here’s a collection of over 200 tools to assist you with all your data needs. You can filter by tag, usage, and cost– the site makes an effort to showcase tools that are free and open source, so most of what you find will be readily accessible for you and your staff.

The Rolling Stone is at it again:

Rolling Stone magazine fell under scrutiny after recently publishing a 10,000 word article written by Sean Penn– and not just because they willingly published a piece of journalism penned by a celebrity. The criticism comes from this article’s editing process– more specifically, the practice of Prior Review. Penn allowed his source to pre-approve what would be said about him in the article, which, according to the chair of ethics committee for the Society of Professional Journalists, “discredits the entire story.”

These are the drones you’re looking for:

We know plenty of you have already had some experience with drone-journalism, but in case anyone needs convincing, they’re kind of a game-changer when it comes to photo and video journalism. From capturing natural disasters to wide-frame shots that would be impossible on the ground, using drones in journalism allows us to have eyes where we never could before. It makes high-quality, groundbreaking photojournalism more accessible. It also comes with a few regulations, so make sure to read up on that before diving in with a drone.

These things also happened last week:

The Golden Globes aired Sunday evening, and here are the winners.

Jennifer Lawrence scolds a journalist for looking at his phone while asking her a question– unnecessary? Probably.

A trending hashtag on Twitter reinvents classic book titles with modern, tech-themed names. (#InternetABook)

Correcting charts, collaborating with consumers, and chronicling crime: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

The year in pictures:

Keeping with tradition, the New York Times has collected the best photojournalism from the past year, so you can look back (in high quality and stunning detail) at all of the major moments from 2015.

Don’t let your Facebook friends fool you:

We’re all journo-nerds here, so it should go without saying that accuracy isn’t just important– it’s everything. Here’s an article that demonstrates how often heavily-circulated charts can be extremely misleading– and, oftentimes, downright incorrect.

Your audience makes you:

I think we can all agree that consumers are pretty important when it comes to journalism; you can write all the articles you want, but without an audience to read them, you’re just typing to an empty void. It turns out consumers may play an even bigger role than we realize– certain facets of journalism are relying on collaborative reporting by taking data from their consumers to create a more detailed story. Colorado-based news project iSeeChange is entirely formatted around non-journalists reporting on the climate, weather patterns, and other environmental changes in order to get a more thorough depiction of the weather in that area. Viewing your audience as valuable contributors in addition to reliable readers could lead to even better reporting, so don’t discount those who aren’t familiar with AP style when it comes to collaborating on your next big story.

Is storytelling synonymous with journalism?:

Documentary-making is its own unique form of journalism; Sarah Koenig, a journalist by trade, found significant success in the making of the Serial podcast, where she tried, like any good journalist would, to remain objective, present the facts, and tell a story. Following the success of Serial came Netflix’s new (and heavily discussed) documentary Making a Murder, a ten-episode series following the trials of Steven Avery. But where does the true journalistic presentation end and entertainment begin when it comes to documentary filmmaking? It’s a thin line to walk, and this Time article breaks down what happens when you mix facts with melodrama.

These things also happened this week:

Kanye West auditioned for American Idol.

We can all feel slightly more validated thanks to Spotlight being named Best Picture by the National Society of Film Critics.

The new Star Wars themed Monopoly excluded the film’s main character from the game entirely, and all fifty people who still enjoy playing Monopoly were not pleased.

Why advisers advise, how Twitter can boost your journo cred, and more on the First Amendment: this week’s Fresh Powder report

Spreading the love with a hashtag:

Advisers, we know you love your jobs. We’re aware how rewarding and exciting your day-to-day operations in student media and journalism can be. We also know that sometimes it helps to be reminded why you’ve landed the best job ever– and Twitter is here to help you with that. A recent trending hashtag #whyiadvise has journalism instructors and advisers supporting each other, their position, and student journalism in general. Ranging from free pizza to being permitted to share the truth, advisers from across the nation have shared all of the reasons they keep advising. Feel free to add to the conversation on Wednesday, a day Nicholls State University adviser (and SNO customer) Nicki Boudreaux is hoping will become #WhyIAdvise Wednesdays.

Tweeting for legitimacy:

We’re sure we’ve said something like this before, but just in case you missed it,here’s further proof that using Twitter well actually makes you a more credible journalist. Journalists who interact with their followers are generally rated more positively than journalists who are off the Twitter-grid; of course, interacting with followers and starting arguments with followers may not be the same thing, but showing an engagement with your readership will definitely help you out in terms of exposure, especially with younger audiences.

Best design practices:

If you’ve been waiting for a brief video lesson on how to make some really nice-looking charts to share your comparative data in your stories, you’re in luck! Here’s this week’s free episode on charting your data with images from Lynda.

The First Amendment in 2015:

The Newseum Institute has released a long, in-depth look at the state of the First Amendment in 2015– you can find the 17 page survey in its entirety here. The report contains a lot of data, pie charts, and bar graphs, but scanning through should give you a good idea of the role the First Amendment has played in journalism and media this past year.

These things also happened last week:

The 2016 Grammy nominations were revealed on Monday, and you can check out the full list of all 83 categories here.

A conservative political blogger responded to a New York Times editorial in a very visual way.

Kim and Kanye welcomed a new member to the West family this weekend— and no, they’re not naming him South.

Social media is shaping everything, apps are reviving mobile news, and Seinfeld is still awewsome: this week’s Fresh Powder report

Social media sculpts our news:

The coverage of the Paris attacks, when compared with the coverage of the bombing in Beirut, was largely disproportionate– when it came to Paris, the response time was faster, the information was widespread, and links were shared consistently and quickly, while Beirut went largely unnoticed. Why? Social media. This investigation takes a look at exactly how social media coverage played an important role in these two tragedies– and why it will continue to play a role in all breaking news stories.

Small newsrooms are still great newsrooms:

If you’ve got a miniature-sized news team, you probably already know that most articles with tips on how to successfully manage your newsroom don’t always work for you. Here are fifteen innovative ideas for smaller newsrooms, so you can get the most out of your all-star team.

Donald, the enigma:

You would think that someone who essentially goes out of their way to give the media way too many things to report on should be easy enough to cover; apparently, this is not actually the case with Donald Trump. With TV reporters dealing with blacklist threats and being denied interviews, it can be hard to find a common ground when it comes to reporting on this particular candidate.

The print-to-mobile mindset:

Going digital doesn’t mean sacrificing long-standing print values– at least, not to the Washington Post. They work those ideals into the creation and updating of their mobile app; with developments like “pinch view,” where, while reading the Post on a tablet, you are able to read two stories side by side, they’re putting to rest the notion that mobile news is in any way limiting. If you’ve ever found yourself wishing you could have a mobile app for your publication, we can help you with that.

Follow the code:

Struggling with ethics in your newsroom? When it comes to things like sensitive coverage, “off-the-record” statements, and advertising, it’s always better to know exactly where you stand than to make an educated guess. Accountable Journalism has just released a searchable database that makes it easier to do some double-checking before hitting that “Publish” button– with over 400 media ethics on topics varying from Audio to Sensational Material, you’re bound to find some guidelines on whatever topic you’re trying to tackle.

These things also happened last week:

Kobe Bryant shared his softer side by writing a breakup poem to basketball to announce his retirement from the NBA.

The cast of Seinfeld proves they are one of the greatest casts to ever grace the television screen by sending videos to a terminally ill superfan for his birthday.

We’re all familiar with therapy dogs, service animals– even cats can make useful companions. But what about…horses? Equine therapy may be the next big thing in mental health treatment.

Service journalism, how to grade with hope, search for a good scoop, and appreciate fictional journalism: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

What to do when you’re both excited and question something:

The exclamation point and question mark merged together to form one of the most unique methods of punctuation– but where did it come from? Here’s the very brief history of the interrobang that you never knew you wanted.

The importance of service journalism:

Dow Jones News Fund 2015 Teacher of the Year Mitch Eden delivered a speech at the National High School Journalism Convention in Orlando this year– for those who missed it live, the full text is available online. Eden discusses the value of service journalism in student media.

Is our current system of grading students as effective as we hope?

Probably not, according to this article. With so many external factors contributing to the “why” of passing out grades (sports eligibility, deducting points for late work as punishment, etc.) the real purposes behind those grades can easily get diluted, or lost entirely. Is there a balance between being fair, while still giving students hope that what they’re doing is worth it? Fortunately, the author provides some resources on equitable grading practices, so you can make sure you’re not accidentally diminishing any academic aspirations in the process of giving out grades.

Have journalists come to fear America’s most wealthy?

For years, the 1% has been largely shielded from major media scrutiny– but why? There are constant reports on the middle class, the impoverished, and, occasionally, the upper class. But what about Wall Street’s elite? This article takes an in-depth look at what may be causing this lack of coverage.

On an endless search for stories?

Your hunt ends now. Even with the innumerable newsworthy events happening right now, coming up with an original story can be a daunting task. This article from BBC Academy walks you through where to look to find the best new scoops.

Sometimes fake journalism is the more exciting journalism:

It’s no secret that all of us at SNO headquarters enjoy a good fictional journalist, but we will also be the first to admit that journalism-related films and tv series are usually willing to put “entertainment” before “accuracy.” Here’s an article that lists what the latest movies about journalism get wrong (and right) about the lives of fictional reporters.

These things also happened this week:

As the Hunger Games franchise wraps up its final film, let’s reflect on why we’re thankful for the series and its movie adaptations.
Not looking forward to awkward family conversation at Thanksgiving this year? Just listen to Adele.

A week later and the solidarity in Minneapolis is still going strong; with a trending tag on Twitter and a large amount of support from the community, the peaceful protesters aren’t giving up.

Insta-blogging, safe spaces (or lack thereof), and an exciting contest from Flipboard: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Instagram is the new blog:

Instagram is quickly becoming more than just a way to share well-cropped, filtered photos of your cat being adorable; Insta-blogging has made an impact among celebrities, journalists, artists, and creative writers alike. While each Instagram “caption” is limited to 2,200 characters, it creates a unique platform for micro-blogging, accompanied with a picture (or collage of images, if you know your way around Picstitch). Instagram provides an intimacy that Facebook no longer can, as well as a privacy that many larger blogging platforms (such as WordPress or Tumblr, where anyone who knows your URL can look you up) can. It also creates a sense of community that often won’t be found elsewhere.  Instagram gives you more room to speak your mind than Twitter, but the ability to reach more than just family and friends on Facebook. Even individuals with true celebrity status can open up (check out Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s puppy posts if you feel like riding an emotional rollercoaster).

Respecting the right to refuse press:

As journalists, the line between “investigative press” and “invasive paparazzi” can often be a little too thin– in times of tragedy, violence, and vulnerability, how much space does the media deserve to take up? Protestors from the University of Missouri attempted to block the press from their protests last Monday; and, while the media certainly reserves the legal right to be present at such an event, the question this Washington Post article poses is— should they be? Understandably, the black community at the University of Missouri has become distrustful of the press, as it has time and time again unfairly portrayed police (and other) violence against members of the black community. Why should some journalists be given the green light when they hold the potential to do more harm than good? When anger over a lack of respect of First Amendment rights overshadows the respect for human beings who owe the media nothing, and are simply searching for a safe space, the media is doing something wrong. Though it may seem counterintuitive, it should be a well-accepted fact that, of course, not everyone is going to want to be a subject of journalism. As Terrell Jermaine Starr writes, “It’s one thing to demand access to public lands; it’s another to demand access to people’s grieving.”

Safe spaces are becoming increasingly harder to find:

It’s not just one Washington Post reporter that feels this way; here’s a similar article from the New York Times that cites both protests at Mizzou and Yale as examples of Universities that need to do more to make their student body feel safe, heard, and respected– from death threats against black students at the University of Missouri, to offensive Halloween costumes at Yale, academia is far from creating an inclusive space where the individual rights and safety of the students are of higher priority than “creating an intellectual space.”

A (pretty exciting) call for submissions:

Flipboard has officially announced their participation in “Great journalism from America’s High Schools,” a collaboration with a Flipboard magazine started by one of our very own members of the SNO Patrol, Jonathan Rogers (Iowa City High School.) Flipboard and JEA are inviting all high school journalists to submit their best work (created any time in between September 1st, 2015 and September 30th, 2016) for consideration in the magazine. Stories must have first been published elsewhere (on your school’s website, or maybe even on Best of SNO!) and the links to these published stories simply need to be sent to for review. Flipboard writes: “Each month, we’ll flip up to 10 of the best stories into the magazine and everyone who gets “flipped” will receive a one-of-a-kind T-shirt from Flipboard the following month.” You can read more about the official contest rules here. Good luck!

These things also happened last week:

SNO went to Florida! If we got a chance to talk with you at this year’s National High School Journalism Convention in Orlando, thanks so much for stopping by! These conventions are great reminders of why we do what we do, and we love nothing more than getting a chance to see all of our “SNO Flakes” in person.

Returning to Minneapolis, we discovered that SNO’s homeland is making headlines this week– and not in a good way.

Surprising absolutely no one, the U.S. can’t agree on something.

Police Policies, a new SAT, and the answer to what teenagers are really doing on their phones: this weeks’ Fresh Powder report

Teens and their tech:

Teenagers get a pretty bad rap for spending “too much” time on their phones. We may have some preconceived notions of how they are spending their time on their mobile devices– and a lot of the time, we assume it’s time wasted. This article busts five common myths about how teens are actually spending time on their phones; and it’s not nearly as unproductive as you think.

The new SAT:

Everyone’s favorite standardized test is getting a makeover: the SAT has made some significant content changes that aim to better reflect what students actually learn in school. This test re-vamping will actually make the SAT look a little bit more like the ACT; and they’ll be adding more “advanced math,” just to make sure it’s still painful.

Do officers belong in education?:

Are police-driven school policies actually making schools any safer? If you’ve been paying attention to recent news headlines, the obvious answer is no. In fact, placing more police officers inside schools has made students more likely to drop out of school entirely. And, with officers consistently targeting minority and disabled children for more severe punishments, it’s certainly not helping bridge any achievement gaps. The Obama administration has focused a great deal on changing this problem: they’ve been conducting more investigations, and changing school disciplinary policies, and, because more students are reporting (or filming) these “disciplinary actions” taken by officers in schools, awareness is quickly spreading.

Using a restroom comfortably shouldn’t be so hard:

This is a topic that’s made its way into the Best of SNO inbox quite frequently: bathrooms. Schools across the country are making decisions about bathroom policies in regards to gender identity; while many schools have chosen the gender neutral bathroom option, some schools remain resistant to ditching the binary.

Inspiring Infographics:

Here are 90 of the internet’s best infographics to give you some ideas for that next info.gram or ThingLink you add to your story.

These things also happened this week:

Star Trek is getting a new tv series; that vulcan salute emoji came out just in time.

If you told me a year ago that a red Starbucks cup would have caused an actual controversy, I wouldn’t have believed you. I still wouldn’t. It’s unbelieveable.

Prepare yourself for awards season; here’s a list of fall movies you need to see.