Archive for November, 2009

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Jurassic Farce

November 20, 2009

June, 1993. Like an the enthusiastic six-year-old I am, I anxiously await this new movie. It promises to bring my fantasies to life: Humans on a crazy adventure with dinosaurs.

Jurassic Park is the pinnacle of dinosaur adventures, Michael Crichton’s vision is beautifully illustrated. Steven Spielberg used groundbreaking computer generated dinos to usher in a new era of film making.

But as my father assured me, I was to afraid to walk down the street because I was convinced a Velociraptor would eat me, those dinosaurs are not real.

I was deceived, it happened again in Forrest Gump. Tom Hanks, although a great actor, never met President Kennedy.

The technology is out there, and it is being used to make what is false look real.

Simple things that professional ethics would prevent most responsible journalists from doing are causing news everyday, from an airbrushed photo to a hyped up uncredited rumor.

These things can cause a mass hysteria at times, and you may not realize at first how false a source is because it is polished so well. Just like those damn dinosaurs on Jurassic Park.

Its also why I have a good laugh every time I am at the grocery store and I see Batboy staring at me, i know that is not a source for truth.

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“For more information please go online.”

November 13, 2009

If I had a dollar for every time I have been told to “go online for more information,” I would be a rich man.

I could not even register for school correctly without having someone at the information center tell me to search the school’s website for the answer. It feels as if I have wasted a lot of time by not going to the Web in the first place.

The information we seek is going digital; all the world’s knowledge and intelligence available at your fingertips from anywhere at any time. Now especially since memory and data storage is remarkably cheap it is easier than ever to chronicle the life and times of yesterday and today on the Web.

Want to know who the world-champion hot dog eater is? Google it. Want to learn of Leonardo da Vinci’s amazing inventions? Check out a museum’s Web page.

Sometimes I feel like Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast when she first enters Beast’s library and discovers the huge amount of books she did not even imagine existed. The Web is a digital library of knowledge, and as with any library there are the good and bad sources.

The people at the information center were a bad source because they just referred me to a place I already knew had the information. Sometimes I feel like I will never ask a human a question again because they will either not know the answer or simply tell me to Google it.

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Code: a love story

November 6, 2009

The way people receive their news is changing, journalists need to make certain they are prepared to learn the new tools of the trade: computer code and Web skills.

All the news I want fits into 140 characters, well at least the slug and link to an article fit. The number of people that have turned to alternate media such as the World Wide Web and mobile devices for their daily news has grown. Accommodating these new media is not a difficult task. Using the web is a very simple process, one that even children pick up with ease.

The very basic tags of HTML were designed to make web pages look like newspaper pages. Like newsprint there is a major headline, followed by a subhead if necessary, then the article text. Title of this blog is a heading tag (<h2> to be exact) while the text is in standard paragraph form (<p>). The Web has also had an inverse reaction to the way newspapers are designed. Just take a look at the Front Page of the USA Today, it looks like a web page front page with its short teases and big pictures that dominate the area above the fold is very different from front page design roots.

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Certainly there are people who have issues with basic Web skills but you don’t have to learn HTML to have success with the Web. Being knowledgeable of how to use all of today’s growing web resources could be put on your resume as a good thing. Older journalists and editors may not have any knowledge of how to make a blog, or how to tweet on Twitter, or even set up a Facebook account those kind of things if done correctly can give you a leg up.

Do not be terrified or overwhelmed of the Web and its underlying code. Instead do like Neo in the Matrix, use it for good, crazy cool outfit not necessary.