Carr’s Fellowship, Franco’s filmmakers, and free pzza: This Week’s Fresh Powder Report

In Honor of Carr:
The New York Times recently announced a fellowship to be started in honor of David Carr, the well-known reporter who died earlier this year. The fellowship hopes to single out journalism hopefuls who share Carr’s interests, are willing to find new, innovative ways to tell their stories, and come from unconventional backgrounds and upbringings. This fellowship provides the opportunity to bring in reporters that may not have made it into the newsroom otherwise — much like Carr himself.

From the Franco Files:
James Franco began hosting his first high school level workshop at Palo Alto High School last week; the first 4-hour class in a series of eight workshops. Franco has been teaching college and graduate level courses for six years, and wanted to bring that opportunity to a younger crowd. His inspiration for this workshop stems from the fact that he experienced an inaccessibility to higher-level workshops and courses when he was a student, and wants to provide others with that opportunity. He claims that teaching classes gets him out of the “self-centered” actor mindset; when he’s teaching, he isn’t constantly focusing on how to top his latest movie or project, he’s focusing on his students. He also aims to bring material to his classes that the students are able to relate to; for this workshop, he’s using his mother’s novel, “Metamorphosis,” which was inspired by Palo Alto teenagers. The workshop will focus on creating a feature film, but in a unique way; the class is broken up into 8 groups, each group responsible for directing different sections of the film. The workshop had over 500 applicants, and only 40 of those students were admitted. Franco even went so far as to advertise the workshop on Instagram in order to gain a strong applicant pool. He says his brother, mother, and some local filmmakers will be involved in the production and progress of this course, all with years of experience and talent to offer the students. Make sure to check out The Campanilefor more stories and videos about the workshop!

NYT Online:
The New York Times recently passed the million digital-only subscribers milestone– and they’ve created the perfect digital article to celebrate. Just further proof that taking your publication online is not only a smart move — it’s inevitable.

In non-journalism related news:
+ Viola Davis was the first woman of color to win an Emmy in the “Best Actress in a Drama Series” category– and her speech was more than noteworthy.

+ Why stop at watches? Apple is determined to have an electric car built by 2019; now everything you own can sync with your laptop.

+ A man from California finds $1,300 in his pizza box, gives it back to its rightful owner, and is rewarded with free pizza for a year. Not a bad deal at all., Will Smith and Concussions, Talk Show Hosts, and Hip Grandmas: This Week’s Fresh Powder Report

Adobe 101:
New staff members struggling with Photoshop? Need a refresher in InDesign? Check out the Adobe education exchange for tutorials, discussions, and more.

Fictitious Censorship:
Will Smith is set to star in the film “Concussion,” which takes a closer look at a degenerative brain disease that specifically affects NFL players due to repeated blows to the head. A recent e-mail hack shows that many of the original scenes from the film have been edited– or removed entirely– so as to not paint the NFL in an “unflattering light.” While the movie is a work of fiction, it’s based on events that are all too real– you can check out the timeline here.

Teachers Helping Teachers:
The educator-run platform, TeachersPayTeachers, give teachers the chance to sell and purchase lesson plans/classroom activities; and the best part is that all of the lesson plans you find on the site have been crafted by people who know what they’re talking about. The Times takes a look at the educator who started it all; Laura Randazzo, from California, who managed to turn her lesson-plan-making hobby into a successful business venture.

Talk Show Journalism:
Stephen Colbert heads over to CBS to host “The Late Show;” a place where he will no doubt be immediately critiqued and compared to his previous talk show, “The Colbert Report.” This article gives a rundown of some previous (and successful) talk show hosts that took a while to “find their grooves,” encouraging audiences to be patient if Colbert does not instantly feel like the perfect fit.

Pointless concern over “rolling Rs”:
This Arizona news anchor was pushed to defend her (correct) pronunciation of Spanish words used on-air; a language native to her personally, and extremely commonly spoken in her state of residence.

In non-journalism related news:
An 87 year old woman has gone viral on Instagram; known as “Baddie Winkle” by her fans, Helen Van Winkle of Knoxville, TN, has over 1.5 million followers, as well as multiple pictures featuring a variety of well-known celebs.

Kermit the Frog is rumored to have a new girlfriend after his “break up” with Miss Piggy in early August. Yes, these are muppets we’re talking about.

Need a new show to watch on school nights this fall? Here’s a list of 15 for you to choose from.


A Vietnam Newseum exhibit, Snapchat is hiring, how not to be boring, and exciting news from Bill Murray: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Vietnam Newseum:
Just in time for Memorial Day, “Reporting Vietnam” opened in the Newseum last weekend, and will be on display through early September. Honoring the 50-year anniversary of America’s first televised war, this display has images, audio, and press coverage from the war, and takes a good look at the media’s involvement with it.

Snapchat…as a career:
On the subject of press coverage, let’s talk about the fact that Snapchat is currently hiring journalists to cover the 2016 presidential race; this is clearly a very media-heavy assignment. Not only will the journalists hired for the job be responsible for compiling original photos and videos, but they will also be in charge of selecting the videos and photos that end up in the “Our Story” page dedicated to the election.

Full of stories:
If you’ve been looking for the place where social media and news coverage intersect, it’s probably called Storyful. They verify content, identify trends, and make it easy for you to incorporate their content into your own news coverage.

How to give a good interview:
Trouble finding the perfect interviewing technique? St. Paul Pioneer Press alum Jacqui Banaszynski gives you 7 tips to help you master interviewing— her biggest piece of advice? “Don’t be boring.”

Click my tweets:
So, your publication uses Twitter, and you’re using it frequently enough, but people don’t seem to be interacting with your content. Here’s how to fix that: Neil Patel explains the difference between a regular tweet and and a clickable tweet, how the latter is much more effective, and how to get your Twitter clickthrough rate up to where you want it to be.

Copyediting for the non-copyeditors:
Reporters do what reporters do best: research, interview, write, tell a story. Copyeditors are responsible for correcting errors in grammar and style. But every newsroom is different, and sometimes reporters have to do a bit of copyediting as well. Here’s a quick guide on copywriting for reporters.  It includes the basics, some external resources, and enough to get you started on really proofreading your own work. May your reporters never use “your” in place of “you’re” again.

Pinning, but NOT on Pinterest:
Have you tried “Pinning” a Tweet, or a Facebook post, so it always appears first?Here’s an easy guide on how to make your most important posts your most noticeable.

These things also happened this week:
+ Are you a Bill Murray fan? (That was a rhetorical question; everyone is a Bill Murray fan.) Netflix is set to release “A Very Murray Christmas,” a sure-to-be magical Christmas special written and directed by Sophia Coppola.

+ John Stewart wants to help Iraq veterans get into showbiz; he has scheduled a five-week boot camp for vets looking to get into the entertainment industry.

+ It’s summer: the season of good weather, beach days, barbecues, and, of course, binge-watching all of those shows you didn’t have time to watch during the school year. Here’s a list of six new TV shows premiering this summer. And yes, True Detective Season 2 is among them. You’re about to enter the Carcosa.

The Columbia Journalism Experiment, First Amendment Awards, and the answer to short attention spans: this week’s Fresh Powder Report.

A weekly summary of journalistic tidbits

The Experiment:
14 students from the Columbia Journalism School created a collaborative site that takes a look at the most successful and prominent experimental journalism of today. Why? So they’re better prepared for the industry when they graduate, so they learn to adapt to new-age journalism; to share their experiences with the rest of the journalism-hopefuls out there. Regardless of their intent, it’s worthwhile project to spend some time investigating.

In fact, here’s a little preview— one article published to the Experiment’s site addresses how journalism schools are adapting to the new age of digital journalism. The article weighs in on the topic from a J-school perspective, backing the issue with a variety of different opinions from reputable sources. If you’re still wondering how journalism education is adapting to a digitized medium, this is worth your time.

Fighting for that First Amendment:
There’s still some time to nominate your brave student for the SPLC’s Freedom Awards! All you have to do is submit a written description on how your student has continued to (lawfully) exercise their First Amendment rights in the face of resistance. The deadline for entries i June 8th, so make sure to send them in soon!

How to write well:
In remembrance of the late William Zinsser, here’s an article written by a lifelong fan, who reflects on some of his most meaningful writing advice. His manual, “On Writing Well” is an absolute must for anyone hoping to make a career out of their own writing someday.

Internet attention deficit:
Have you noticed the exceedingly short attention span most audiences seem to have these days? Would you even occasionally include yourself in that demographic? In the age of 6 second Vine videos, it’s not surprising that analytics reports are showing that readers often won’t finish a story, no matter how great the content. How do you fix this? This article lets you in on all the secrets; what devices tend to increase a reader’s attention, the type of traffic that will ensure they stay a little bit longer, and how to utilize more multimedia to gain a more thorough read-through.

Mobile last:
Concerned that your content isn’t “mobile first” enough? Apparently, you don’t need to be too worried; here’s why “mobile first” and “mobile only” platforms are actually not the most innovative or effective way to reach an audience.

These things also happened:
+ A candidate in a local UK election demanded a recount after he was told he had no votes, claiming that was impossible because he had definitely voted for himself. What a graceful, respectable way to accept a loss.

+ The series finale of Mad Men took place Sunday night; hopefully, those of you following the lives of Don Draper and Co. got a satisfying ending.

+ The president finally joins us on Twitter— how long until angry tweeters chase him off? Just ask Joss Whedon; it can happen to anyone.

Toolboxes, good moms, and the importance of computer science: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Crack open that toolbox:
In case you haven’t noticed yet, we’re big on finding free tools for journalists across the board to utilize. Here are 60 free tools for all of your writing, journalistic, storytelling needs. From fundraising apps to audio aides, this site has something (if not, many things) for everyone.

…here, have another:
While we’re talking about toolboxes, here’s another one; one that focuses specifically on our absolutely favorite type of journalism– the online kind. Infographics, tips from the Guardian, charts, story maps; it’s a treasure chest sure to fulfill all of your digital journalism dreams.

Calling all columnists:
We discuss a lot of journalistic styles in these weekly updates, but seem to consistently overlook one of the tried and true staples of journalism– columns. Here are 7 columns written by Bill Simmons that Benjamin Mullin over at Poynter has declared “the best.” Whether or not that’s true, they are great columns to read and get inspired by.

Mothers raise great journalists:
In honor of Mother’s Day, here’s an inspiring article about one woman’s maternal influence that transformed Pittsburg news anchor Mike Clark’s life from a young age, and gave him the confidence to speak in front of an audience.

Here’s an article that resonates here at SNO headquarters; why aren’t journalists being taught how to code? Sure, it’s possible to pick up some skills on your own; with tons of free, open source materials out there, journalism students can pick up some computer science basics if they want to make themselves even more marketable. But why should they have to? Shouldn’t it be an integral part of the student journalist’s education track? Source seeks to answer these questions, and provide some possible solutions.

These things also happened this week:
+ We’ve been hearing for years now that coffee may have significant health benefits;this article is here to further validate your caffeine addiction.

+ This next season of American Idol will be the last season of American Idol, which means you’ll have to go back to relying on karaoke nights to get your fill of embarrassing vocal performances.

+ Future broadcast journalists: don’t be this guy.

Blurring boundaries, digging up data, and journalistic rights: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Respect the boundaries:
Matt Carlson and Seth Lewis wrote a book titled ‘Boundaries of Journalism: Professionalism, Practices and Participation.” In this article, they give you a taste of what that entails; a deep discussion on what counts as journalism, what doesn’t, and why that line isn’t actually very clear at all.

Dig up data:
Adding solid data to a story only enhances its validity.  Haven’t been doing much of that lately? No worries– this article tells you where you can find data, how to know your sources, how to really interrogate the data, and how to manage your data. It’s a lot of data-related information, but don’t underestimate the importance of including relevant statistics in your stories. As boring numbers may be, they tend to make stories stronger.

Know your rights, journalists:
One student photojournalist recently experienced being unjustly arrested in the midst of a Baltimore solidarity protest. Sam Bearzi, with NYU’s Washington Square News (hosted proudly by SNO), was arrested without being read his rights, without anyone being informed of his arrested, and, after his release, without any record of him even being at the precinct they took him to. Taking photos in the streets to document a protest isn’t illegal; which says a lot about the state of journalism– especially photo and video journalism– in Baltimore right now.

Paying students who work hard, should be a no-brainer, right?:
Students at California State University, Northridge are taking a stand against unpaid internships.  Senior Alex Corey realized, while raising money to send students from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists to a media conference, that he and his journalism team couldn’t afford to work for free anymore. His solution? Raising money to fund their own internships. Corey states that a lot of fellow young journalists have donated to the cause, due to the sense of solidarity they feel having gone through similar experiences. If you have ever doubted journalism’s ability to implement real change, think again.

Collegiate-level Journalism stand-outs:
We love showcasing the exceptional talent in the SNO Network on Best of SNO, but we also enjoy recognizing (and getting inspired by) student journalists outside of it.Here are 5 standout pieces by student journalists from a variety of different universities. If your staff is looking to keep writing in college, these articles are a good place to start getting ideas.

These things also happened this week:
+ John Oliver explains on his show Last Week Tonight why standardized testing is the absolute worst, and why, unfortunately, it’s probably not going away anytime soon.

+ A new royal baby was born, and a lot of people seem to really care about that.

+ It’s teacher appreciation week, so students, please let your teachers know how much you appreciate the fact that they continuously put up with you. It takes a lot of courage. They’re real heroes.

Books to read, resources to rely on, and webinars to watch: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

A weekly summary of journalistic tidbits

Timeless Journalism:
The original AP report from the night of President Lincoln’s assassination shows that on-the-spot journalism will always be relevant.

Successful Twitter journalists to inspire your staff:
Just in case you were doubting the importance of Twitter in relation to journalism,here’s a list of the most influential political journalists who happen to also be fairly active on Twitter.

Read up on data journalism:
If you are looking for some educational summer reading, these books should help expand your data journalism knowledge for the next school year.

Live Webinar based on the Rolling Stone controversy:
This webinar features an author that worked on the Columbia University Rolling Stone report, as well as a journalist from the Washington Post that had initially voiced their concerns about the article when it was published. It’s happening for free, this Thursday, April 23rd, at 2:00 p.m. EDT, and learn from first-hand experience what it’s like to be a part of a national news controversy.

Teaching resources for your classroom:
Designed for new teachers in particular, this site has accumulated all the resources a first-year teacher could possibly ask for– and helpful resources for more seasoned educators as well. From dealing with parents to curriculum planning, this site has tons of tools to guide you through any aspect of teaching that may be intimidating.

Community service as a teaching tool:
A journalism professor at Indiana University believes students stand to learn even more about journalism through volunteering. Emily Metzgar has her students volunteer at a local non-profit as a mandatory part of her course, while also researching previous news coverage of said non-profit. Students then compare their lived experiences to the messages in the media, providing them with a first-hand look at how new coverage can often fail to capture the heart of a story, and seeking to improve that.

These things also happened this week:
Netflix has officially announced their plans to stream a reboot of the universally adored TV series Full House.

Apparently, pessimism pays; optimism often leads to an underestimation of how long a task or assignment will actually take, which can lead to missed deadlines and forgotten due dates.

Whatever you do, don’t eat Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Aggressive advisers, apathetic students, and sentence writing 101

The board strikes again:
North Michigan University recently fired their newspaper adviser for being too “aggressive” when it came to reporting campus news; of course, a lot of the news the student-led board took issue with didn’t necessarily reflect too well on the university. The paper had investigated topics such as the number of sexual assaults on campus, the amount of money the university spent on travel for the school’s board of trustees, and textbook prices.

You go, North Dakota:
Great news for North Dakota this week; the state’s governor signed a law that prevents administrative censorship of student publications in all public high schools and colleges, further protecting students’ right to freedom of speech. It is the eighth state to pass legislation with this motive; hopefully, the other 42 states take notice.

Sentences are hard:
In a recent episode of “Rough Draft,” a popular writing-focused podcast, we get aten-minute lesson on how to write opening sentences that are as captivating and effective as David Sedaris’; and let’s be honest here, who doesn’t want to be a bit more like David Sedaris?

Count your Twitter:
Have you always wanted to see your Twitter analytics, but didn’t think that was physically possible? With Twittercounter, a tool you are able to access for free, you can look at charts that give you a comprehensive look at your followers, volume of tweets, and the number of people you are following. This way, you can determine what area of your tweeting has had the most impact on your audience; extremely useful information for your paper’s Twitter account.

Journalism, who needs it?:
Ironically enough, in the age of social media and digital journalism, high schools around the country are facing both a lack of interest and funding when it comes to journalism programs. Schools aren’t just unable to fund the cost of printing or publishing a newspaper, they’re also starting not to see the point, as the enrollment and participation in school papers has declined significantly. There are solutions, of course; taking your paper online is a cost-efficient solution to the budget problem. But how do we fix the lack-of-interest problem? Engaging students by incorporating elements they already use into a digital journalism production, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even Snapchat, can make the paper more seem more accessible and modern to students.

These things also happened this week:
The first four episodes of HBO’s hugely successful show Game of Thrones wereleaked online before the fifth season premiere on Sunday night– fans of the show with flexible moral codes are now three episodes ahead of everyone else.

Not only do we get a sequel next month, but Pitch Perfect co-star Rebel Wilson hasconfirmed there will be a third installment to the hit film series. Clearly, there’s no such thing as too much accapella.

Apple sold nearly one million watches in the first 24 hours of their official Apple Watch product release. That number would be shocking, but this is Apple we’re talking about; people have camped out for days just to buy a phone. This is almost underwhelming in comparison.

More data journalism, good news for BuzzFeed hopefuls, podcasts and the Rolling Stone

BuzzFeed brings itself to you (sort of):
BuzzFeed reveals their Emerging Writers Fellowship Program, which details a four-month program that provides potential candidates with career mentorship, financial support, and a variety of writing workshops and panel discussions. Being a part of a major news-related corporation has just become more accessible– if you know anyone who would be a perfect fit for BuzzFeed, encourage them to apply before October 1.

More on data journalism (because it’s relevant always):
Data journalism seems to be a recurring topic in these Fresh Powder reports, (probably because it’s super-important, but we hate to sound repetitive.)  Here’s another invaluable resource for you: PBS’ guide on how to teach data journalism. Maybe you’re already a data journalism pro, and you want to cross-reference your own syllabus with this article. Perhaps you’ve dipped your toe in the data pool, but aren’t quite sure where to go from there. Maybe you haven’t even touched a computer. No matter where you are in your educational journey, this article is worth a once-over. Maybe even a twice-over. Have we mentioned data journalism is the future?

Tweet better:
On the subject of data, many of you in the SNO network have a heavy social media presence for your paper (which is awesome, and we heartily endorse such behavior). Here’s an article on how to make your social media image look even better.  This article details seven tips to cultivate a more engaged following, which is a must for scholastic journalism programs.

The new-age of podcast journalism:
Has your program been trying to work podcasts into its production, but just can’t seem to master them?  Now you can peer inside the brains behind NPR and see how they strategize their own podcasting.  As we may have mentioned, the crew here at SNO headquarters is unanimously obsessed with Serial, and if the creators of such a fantastic podcast are willing to share their tips, we’re pretty sure they’re worth listening to.

Freedom of the press trumps religious freedom law:
In a bold (and awesome) statement regarding the latest upset in Indiana, the Indianapolis Star protests the religious freedom law, as they dedicated their entire front page last Tuesday to the issue. Written as an editorial piece, it condemns the new law, joining a long list of others who have also very publically voiced their disdain (Hillary Clinton, George Takei, and Nick Offerman, just to name a few).

Rolling Stone, “A Rape on Campus,” and what went wrong:
And, last but certainly the longest, we have the Rolling Stone article on the inaccurate reporting of an extremely sensitive subject, and the implications of that in the field of journalism as a whole.  It’s not a quick read, but it’s an important one; not only does it explore the investigative reporting of a subject that we still aren’t sure how to handle, but it chronicles one journalist’s journey reporting on shaky factual ground. If you have some time, or any big projects you’re trying to avoid, you should try and make it through the entire thing.

These things also happened this week:

+ More than 1,000 dogs have been struck with the doggie flu in Chicago. (Save the puppies!)
+ More on animals: New York’s cat cafe brings cat-specific music to the kitties up for adoption to find that music composed specifically for cats helps them feel happy and calm.
+ If you haven’t already, read up on the California Drought; it’s one of the best states we’ve got, let’s try and keep it around for a while.

AP Change-up, Robot Takeover, and the rise of student journalism

AP messes with our guidelines again:

The AP Stylebook released its annual updates at the ACES conference this year; no changes too drastic, though. A quick glance over the AP Stylebook’s Twitter pageinforms us that global warming and climate change can be used interchangeably, though climate change is more scientifically accurate. The phrase “committed suicide” is pretty much off the table unless included in a direct quote, and there are quite a few additions to the sports chapter; baseball playoffs, NCAA Tournament, figure skating, and heatstroke, just to name a few.


As long as we’re on the subject of new additions in the world of sports journalism,the New Yorker raises the question, is that still a viable job option for human beings? News sources are beginning to rely on automated technology when it comes to sports coverage– using algorithms to not only collect data and scores, but to actually report on the highlights most human sportswriters would be seeking out anyway. The one thing these machines can’t do is capture the real-live human aspect of sports; which, truly, is one of the most important aspects of the industry.

Machines aren’t able to conduct post-game interviews with the players, or asking the coach a few quick questions out on the court. So, is a full-on mechanical takeover on the horizon? Probably not. But sports reporters may have a slight decrease in responsibility with the success and speed these automated machine reporters have over human beings.


If this isn’t the best argument for going digital, I don’t know what is:
Google, instead of taking the easy way out with a “no comment,” responded to questions about a potential new streaming plan by sending a Daily Dot reported a cute animated GIF. A rep from Google even went so far as to confirm that as their official response. No print paper is capable of that level of sass.

And, since going digital is something you are all clearly on board with, here’s a Listly compilation of 15 great storytelling tools for all of your online needs. From video production tools to cartoonist apps, you should find something in here that could work for your program– or, at the very least, give your staff a slightly more productive way to procrastinate.

Student Journalists > Professionals:
In case your students haven’t been feeling all that appreciated lately, this SPLC article should assure them their efforts do matter. Because the number of professional reporters involved in government coverage is decreasing, student journalists are becoming an important asset when it comes to reporting related news. In fact, the article states that “in four states, student journalists outnumber journalists from professional outlets assigned to the statehouse full-time, where they ensure citizens have access to information about how the state spends their tax dollars and decisions on education, criminal justice and safety regulations.” That’s more than promising, young journalists, so keep up the incredible work!

These things also happened this week:

John Stewart’s replacement was announced; Trevor Noah, a young South African comedian, is officially the successor to The Daily Show.

+ Have you ever wished you could see all of Tom Hanks’ movies in six minutes? Now you can.

+ McDonald’s is considering serving all-day breakfast.  This is life-changing information.