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Scholarly Pursuits

Shrimp and Grits Helped Seal Deal for Elmore Leonard Collection

UniversitySouthCarolinaLogoAll five of late novelist Elmore Leonard‘s children are in Columbia, South Carolina today together with Otto Penzler, owner of New York City’s Mysterious Book Shop and several other invited guests. The occasion? The announcement by the University of South Carolina that it has acquired a large collection of Leonard’s papers and personal items.

Detroit News reporter Susan Whitall has a colorful account of how and why the Detroit-indebted Leonard chose this Southern institution over the University of Michigan. The collection includes a number of items the university is referring to as “realia” (typewriters, desk, Hawaiian shirts, etc.) and will reside alongside another collection connecting to a formative Leonard influence:

At one point in May 2013 [during Leonard's one and only visit to the University of South Carolina], gingerly holding a Hemingway first edition, Elmore told son Peter how he used to rewrite Hemingway stories “the way I’d want to do it,” with more of the humor he felt was lacking in his hero’s prose.

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Mediabistro Course

Food Blogging

Food BloggingTurn your culinary passion into a successful food blog! Starting October 27, Carissa Chesanek, the Miami Editor for Zagat Miami, will teach you the fundamentals of food writing including establishing tone, sensory details, and highlighting taste. You'll create an engaging food blog complete with a mission statement, posts, and content plan for success. Register now!

Stony Brook Prof Stresses Value of Old-School Journalism

JonFriedmanStonyBrookPicJon Friedman‘s latest Marketwatch column is a good one. In framing what he thinks it still takes to be a good journalist, he laments the fact that many of his Stony Brook journalism students are fixated on the glittery sheen of the boob tube:

When I asked my students last semester what they hoped to do in their careers, the majority said they wanted to be on television. (The most honest of them declared they wanted to be TV stars, not so much for the big bucks but since it just seemed so darned cool to be on TV!) None of them said he or she hoped to be a link in the chain to the late, great Edward R. Murrow. (Who?)

It’s not my students’ fault that TV news today has taken on the mentality of the fabulous 1976 film Network (a movie most of them had never heard of, much less seen). It’s all about flash and pizzazz. News and entertainment are so blurred that it’s hard to tell them apart.

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NYU Adds Games Journalism Course

ChrisPlanteAvatarPolygon is a video games-focused website launched in 2010 in partnership with Vox Media. Among its attractively Avatar-ed content staff is co-founder and current editor-at-large Chris Plante. That’s his picture at right, the site’s equivalent of a Wall Street Journal hedcut.

This fall, Plante with have something else on his plate. Per an item by CJR staff writer Chris Ip, Plante will be teaching a class at NYU devoted to games journalism:

Students will read classic works like Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel’s The Elements of Journalism alongside a 1989 edition of Electronic Gaming Monthly. They will watch Page One, the documentary about the New York Times, and also host a livestream of themselves playing video games while providing commentary. One aim is to create a community of critics who treat gaming as a genre as deserving of artistic critique as film, music and literature..

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For Bigfoot Believers, It’s Mostly Bad News

APTheBigStoryLogoAP likes to showcase its content under the aegis of “The Big Story.” Today, they’ve also got “The Bigfoot Story.”

Below the headline “Bigfoot Hair Samples Mostly From Bears, Wolves,” AP medical writer Maria Cheng details the findings of the first-ever peer-reviewed study of Bigfoot, Yeti and co. The conclusions were published online today by UK’s Royal Society.

First, the bad news:

[Oxford University's Bryan] Sykes and colleagues tested 36 hair samples from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia and the U.S. using DNA sequencing and all of them matched DNA from known animals. Most were from bears, but there were also hairs from a Malaysian tapir, horses, porcupine, deer, sheep and a human.

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University Professor Celebrates ‘Unprecedented’ Edward R. Murrow Award

UMWPantherVisionAt the most recent awards gala put on by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), the winner in the Large Market Television / Ongoing Coverage category was the University of Wisconsin at Madison-Milwaukee. The school’s weekly newscast PantherVision, a partnership with Milwaukee Area Technical College, won for its examination School Shooter Safety.

Milwaukee Sentinel Journal TV-film critic Duane Dudek caught up with Mark Zoromski, the teacher most responsible for all this. He is, understandably, very proud:

“Everybody I talked to at RTDNA said this is probably unprecedented,” Zoromski said. “No one heard of a class-based student television news organization winning a Murrow Award…”

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Former Lieutenant Governor Underwrites One-Week Finance Journalism Intensives

CUNYJSchoolLogoRichard Ravitch, who served as New York’s Lieutenant Governor in 2009-10 and currently advises the judge overseeing Detroit’s fiscal crisis, has made a very interesting move. Per a report by Crain’s New York, Ravitch made a donation to CUNY for the purposes of teaching journalists how to better cover the subject of finance. The inaugural one-week intensive is set for August 18 at the Graduate School of Journalism:

“I decided the reporting was not very comprehensive on the subject,” Ravitch said. “Nobody was connecting the dots on the federal budget issues and state and local budget issues…”

“One of the more useful things I could do with my good fortune was to train journalists to write about this subject seriously.”

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Digital Media Guru Douglas Rushkoff Joins CUNY Faculty

RushkoffBeginning this fall at CUNY’s Queens College, students can work their way towards an MA in Media Studies. Set to mold the curriculum is an expert responsible for terms such as “viral media” and “social currency.”

From today’s announcement:

This marks the first full-time academic role for Douglas Rushkoff, a prolific media theorist, award-winning author and documentarian considered one of the most influential thinkers of the digital age. Starting this August, he will help lead the development of a new Master of Arts in Media Studies program that will address the technological and market forces that dominate our daily lives.

Rushkoff, who holds a PhD in New Media and Digital Culture, is the author of over a dozen best-selling books, the winner of the first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity and creator of four award-winning PBS Frontline documentaries on the cultural and societal impact of media and the media industry.

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Poynter Snags Three-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner

DavidBarstowPicDavid Barstow‘s first Pulitzer was for public service, in 2004. The second, a 2009 prize for investigative reporting. And the third came just last year, when Barstow – together with his New York Times colleague Alejandra Sxanic von Bertrab – won for a series about Wal-Mart malfeasance in Mexico.

Moving forward, this esteemed member of the journalism profession will soon be contributing to the website poynter.org and teaching via the organization’s e-learning site News University. From today’s announcement that he is joining the institute’s adjunct faculty:

“David Barstow is one of the premier investigative reporters and storytellers of this generation, or any generation,” said Tim Franklin, president of The Poynter Institute. “He represents exactly what Poynter strives to impart in its programs and its teaching – excellent journalism that serves the public interest. David is the first of several new adjuncts who will be joining the institute’s already stellar teaching team.”

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Outgoing Harvard Crimson Editor Celebrates Paper’s Influence

Sandra Y. L. Korn‘s final column for The Crimson is a good one. After seven semesters on the paper’s editorial board, including two as op-ed editor, she used the opportunity to sing the praises of Harvard’s student newspaper.

HarvardCrimsonHeadline

Although, as Korn notes, Harvard does not offer undergraduate journalism or communications degrees, The Crimson is put out daily and delivered to dorm rooms, dining halls and professors’ offices. She also recalls a notable chain of events involving Israel, Palestine and the SATs:

In October 2012, The Crimson published an op-ed titled “Israel versus No. 2 Pencils,” in which Lena K. Awwad ’13 and Shatha I. Hussein ’14 revealed that Israeli authorities had held up that year’s SAT tests, preventing Palestinian students in the West Bank from taking the exam on time. The two authors, who had both graduated from Ramallah Friends School, contextualized this event in broader Palestinian access to secondary and higher education…

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SUNY Students Set for NYC ‘Exotic Literacy Adventure’

SUNYCortlandLogoThere are ten students coming to New York City this weekend from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland, representing the courses “Rhetoric” and “The Evolution of Writing.” While most visitors headed for the Big Apple tingle over the prospect of things like a Broadway show and the view from the top of the Empire State, English professor David Franke is amped up about a less glitzy landmark:

The students’ visit to the New York Public Library will include a private tour of its rare book room. “They asked for the course syllabus and said they’d match the tour up carefully,” Franke said. “It’s just off-the-charts crazy exciting.”

Always great to behold a teacher who is passionate about their subject(s). Franke is the kind of instructor who correlates Smartphones with the hieroglyphic practices of ancient Egyptians. He also considers the advent of modern technology to be at the center of a third seismic writing-practices shift, following the invention of the alphabet and the development of the printing press.

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