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.

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)