Saturday, December 30, 2006

College Publisher tip

Ever want to create a headline in your College Publisher site and have it actually go to another site or to a custom page within your own site?

In earlier versions of the College Publisher tool you could get away with putting a hyperlink in the headline, but the current version goes crazy when you try that. Instead, use the following code as the body of your story:
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="1;URL=http://put_URL_here">
Replace the 1 with how many seconds you want the browser to wait before going to the new page; a zero will work, too. Change "put_URL_here" to the URL you want to go to. It's probably best to put a blank space or another phrase in the summary field.

Who will go online in 2007?

Wired News has predicted that a major newspaper will abandon print and go solely online in 2007. A bold prediction that leaves out a definition of "major."

Some other sources I've been reading suggests it may be the Washington Post.

Surely some newspaper somewhere will do just that. Indeed some smaller rural newspapers have already done so. Bryan Murley at Innovation in College Media blogs that it could happen at the college level next fall. A couple of student publications across the country have already done that. He even goes so far as to suggest conditions that would allow it.
  • A small advertising base
  • A majority of funding from student fees
  • A small staff
  • A visionary editor
  • A forward-thinking adviser
  • A fully wired campus
Wiill any JACC publications go solely online in 2007? Maybe.

Cypress College would like to be the first, and that could happen. But it seems unlikely. I think a key component is lacking from Murley's list that affects JACC papers like the Charger Chronicle. That component is readership. Which of us has found the solution to drive our student audience to OUR web sites in large enough numbers. If schools would set all campus computer browsers to default to the campus newspaper it might work. Or we need to find another solution. Remember, one of the key reasons colleges have a student newspaper is to reach the campus' students. They're spending time online, but not necessarily at our sites.

Who else might go online? The first online-only JACC paper is more likely to come from a school like Allan Hancock or Evergreen, schools that have flirted with school publications, but have been unwilling to devote enough resources. Such a move is likely to be student-driven.

For the rest of us getting online, staying online, growing online and understanding online will be the watchwords for 2007. Most of the JACC schools are either online now or in the process --West Valley, LA City and Diablo Valley being the most prominent in their absence. Also AWOL is Los Medanos, which has one of the most innovative self-grown sites in the state with its Filemaker backbone. But campus server problems have kept it offline all fall semester. Missing schools who are in various stages of going online, from just barely starting to almost there are:
  • Canyons
  • El Camino
  • East LA
  • Fresno
  • Reedley
  • Saddleback
  • San Jose
  • Santa Ana
  • Southwestern
Most are looking to the College Publisher platform as the answer, though some refuse to go that direction and a couple of schools (such as Santa Monica and Santa Rosa) are abandoning that platform. You've got to love diversity, but the potential of an integrated JACC network through College Publisher is enticing, too. That'll happen in 2007, too, but major schools will be left out because of their independent route decisions.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Web 2.0 idea for College Publisher sites

Cover of Newspaper Techniques magazinePart of my Christmas vacation reading has been the special edition of the e-magazine Newspaper Techniques called "The Publisher's How-To Guide to Web 2.0." And from it I got an idea for those JACC schools that use College Publisher.

You might have heard the term Web 2.0 and not know what it means. Wikipedia describes it as:
A perceived or proposed second generation of Internet-based services—such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies—that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users.
Not really a very helpful definition.

Web. 2.0 is not a new version of the Internet, but rather a new way of using it. Think of putting your student publication online so others can come to your Web site and read what you've produced. For newspapers Web 2.0 would include letting the reader decide what is news. The publication might present some data that the reader chooses how to sort (such as a search engine or a mashup) or it might mean letting the user contribute to the news.

Well, here is a Web 2.0 (really more of a Web 1.5) idea for those JACC publications that use College Publisher. One of the advantages of a content management tool like College Publisher is that it allows you to have multiple producers (your reporters) of the news. They can all post to the database, but content does not go live until an editor okays it. One of the issues we've faced as long as I've been a publications adviser is giving campus clubs as much coverage as they like.

Well, how about giving each club a reporter status account in College Publisher? Let them post their own stories. If you are nervous about abuse, you still have some control because it will still need an editor to approve it before it goes live. That makes it more 1.5 than 2.0, but it is a step the right direction. Perhaps over time we'll become more comfortable opening the gate. And at the same time, you could build some good will on campus (unless, of course, you reject too many contributions or are slow to approve them).

We currently offer free classified ads to clubs. We've added the New Digital Group's INK classified tool to our College Publisher site. It's an enhancement to the built-in classified ad tool of CP. And we give each campus club that wants to to post club announcements as classified ads, which we then run in our print edition as a separate classified ad section. But the idea above would allow them to get beyond 25 words.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

CNPA awards internship grants

SACRAMENTO, December 19, 2006 -- After interviews in Northern and Southern California, 10 students from CNPA-member colleges have been confirmed for CNPA Foundation internship grants.

Three are from the community colleges.

The students, who demonstrated an exceptional interest in pursuing careers in the newspaper business in California, will receive a roster of CNPA-member newspapers, a letter of recommendation and an educational grant to be awarded upon securing an internship. The finalists came from a group of 17 original grant applicants.

After starting an internship, each student will receive a $1,500 grant. Three finalists who displayed exceptional talent are designated as the Darell Phillips, Lillian McPherson Rouse and Philip N. McCombs scholarship winners and will receive an additional $500.

The students, their colleges and their planned summer residences, are:

* Ashley Gebb, California State University, Chico (recipient of the CNPA Darell Phillips Memorial Scholarship);

* Ian Hamilton, California State University, Fullerton (recipient of the California Press Association Lillian McPherson Rouse Fund scholarship)

* Jeremy Herb, Santa Clara University

* Nichlaus Hulsebus (photography), El Camino College, Torrance

* Erica Jolley-Meers (digital media), California State University, Sacramento

* Travis Mason-Bushman, Contra Costa College, San Pablo

* Farin Montañez, California State University, Fresno

* Cindy Ryan, California State University, Fresno

* Jennifer Scholtes, California State University, Chico (recipient of the California Press Association Philip N. McCombs Fund scholarship)

* Alexis Terrazas, College of San Mateo

The CNPA Foundation is a nonprofit corporation organized in October 1993 to raise funds through tax-deductible contributions for internships and other journalism education activities. The Foundation’s mission is to provide financial support to California students who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing a career in the newspaper business. This goal is accomplished by providing financial assistance to college students seeking careers in journalism, advertising or marketing, and to campus newspapers that need new production equipment.

The California Newspaper Publishers Association is a nonprofit trade association representing the daily and weekly newspapers of California.

For more, click the Foundation/Outreach button at or contact Joe Wirt: (916) 288-6021; .

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Media Lecture series from Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley graduate school of Journalism last week presented a New Media Lecture Series that was part of a week-long multimedia training workshop for mid-career journalists sponsored by the school. Each presentation was Webcast live and is available as an archived QuickTime stream. Find the links to the lectures listed below at .

* Joe Howry, Bruce McLean, Colleen Cason, Tom Kisken, Ventura County Star

* Howard Rheingold, "Smart Mobs" author

* Robert Hood,
* Travis Fox, Washington Post

* Seth Gitner, Roanoke Times

* Seth Familian, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

* Al Bonner,

Are you worthy?

Time Magazine has declared YOU as Person of the Year. That you includes both you and me. But do you feel worthy of the grand title? I'm not sure I do.

Time broke from the tradition of naming a single outstanding individual who shaped the world this past year and decided we all shaped the world. Among other things, the magazine reported:
Look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.
Have you done any of that? This all has a major impact on what we do and teach in journalism. You, and I, need to learn it.

I've checked out Wikipedia and, Lord help me, seen my students over-rely on it as a reliable source of facts. But I've never contributed to Wikipedia or created a wiki. Don't even know how.
  • Okay, I've got a MySpace account. My students hang our there all the time. Even my young teen daughter has an account (against my ruling on the subject!). But I haven't spent much time there and haven't spotted the fascination. Haven't actually logged in for the longest time. JACC students, 71 of them, have a group there, but not much happens.
  • I've seen the Mentos display on YouTube and caught the Colbert roast of Bush at the White House Correspondents Dinner. But I've never posted anything there. Not sure how to do it because I haven't felt the need to try.
Time goes on to mention creating avatars in Second Life (never visited it and don't quite understand it) and ordering books and other media from (Whew! Have done that, at least!).

And I'm a relatively web-savvy kind of guy.

I'm still working just to help JACC schools establish online publications (most are either there or in the works). But most of the schools are still just shoveling content from the print to online. Shoot, most schools that print every other week only shovel every other week. What's with that? It's so 2004. Every-other-week is a financial excuse more than anything else. We've all got to get past the shovel stage quickly. Our industry is in rapid transition and we've got to prepare students properly. Content has to go online NOW. It needs to include links to outside source material. (How many of us are teaching ANY HTML, much less how to create links? How many reading this post even know how to code a link?) But even that is so 2005.

We've got to think about podcasts --know how to create one? I do -- and blogs. Our students know how to do MySpace blogs, but we've got teach them that blog journalism is about researching and telling stories, not just creating a diary. And focusing on a general topic and writing on it on a regular basis is hard. I've been on hiatus from this blog for about a month and a half because I've been ill; now that I'm feeling better and have time, it has been hard just to sit down and start again. I have some students who "wrote blogs" this semester and made all of two posts all semester. I've got another who posts twice a day (in addition to writing four and five stories for the Talon Marks weekly; she gets it.

But even that is too little. It's almost 2007. 2006 was the YouTube/MySpace/SecondLife/Wiki year. Now that we are declared as Persons of the Year we've got get our heads out of the sand and start teaching new paradigms for story-telling as part of what we do. Blogger Matt Waite writes about developing a wetlands story for the St. Petersburg Times and describes both the old way of developing a story and a suggested new way.

The old way:
  1. Find, develop, report story.
  2. Somewhere during the writing of it, start talking about photo and graphics.
  3. Oh yeah, crap, we should invite web to some of these meetings we keep having.
  4. Take print graphic ideas, try and mold them into graphics that work online.
  5. Publish.
A better way:
  1. Find and develop story. No matter how many doodads and geegaws you add, it’s still all about the story.
  2. Decide — divorced from any thought of where it is going and what the limitations are — what is needed to tell the story in the most complete way. Do this very early in the reporting. Adapt as you go.
  3. While reporting, be thinking about the end product. Going somewhere? Take a video camera. Interviewing someone? Record it. Maybe you’ll use it, maybe you won’t. Better to have it and ditch it than not have it and wish you did. I have somewhere in the order of 30GB of audio and video that is on the scrap heap.
  4. Develop and plan web graphics first, then adapt them to print. It’s much easier to go from interactive to static than it is to make static interactive.
  5. Publish.
Note the significant changes in the middle steps. It reminds me of those times when students discover late on production night that they really could use a photo with a particular story. If only they had thought of that earlier when it was possible to get one. (Bryan Murley over at Innovation in College Media talks a bit more about Waite's list and suggests that the current Christmas break would be a good time to think about re-engineering what we do.

And blogger Ryan Sholin asks the question, should we become the MySpace of our campus? Ummm, how would we do that? Well, the Bakersfield Californian and others are doing that. If the industry is adopting that idea, shouldn't we? Scares the hell out of me thinking about how one even does that or makes sense of it all. And don't even get me started with the idea of mashups on our campus sites. To an old dinosaur like me, mash up is what one does to potatoes.

Let's see, how long until I retire? Nope, too many years. I'm going to have to learn all this stuff. And so are you.

Back to Time's article on Person of the Year: Not mentioned, but implied was citizen journalism. If everyone becomes a journalist and no one needs any training, then what --beyond the meaning of copyright-- do I teach in my classes until I DO retire? Forget the newspaper class for a minute. Do we even train people to use the inverted pyramid or other story forms any more? Blogger Paul Gillan is just the latest to spout the impending doom of the old way of doing newspapering. MediaShift predicts that three major U.S. dailies will fold during 2007.

I think so. There is a lot of crap the YOUs out there are posting. While we need to learn and teach all this new stuff, for now anyway, there is still room for learning just to tell a story.