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Scholarly Pursuits

Seth Mnookin Surveys the Science Journalism Landscape

SethMnookinMIT’s School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (SHASS) recently threw three questions at Seth Mnookin, associate director of the school’s graduate program in science writing. All three answers are fantastic.

To the query “… What can typical readers do to ensure the information they get is accurate?”, Mnookin replies:

“There are so many sources of information out there, and it’s important to remember they’re not all equally reliable. Just because someone has a slick YouTube channel with good lighting doesn’t mean they’re reputable.”

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Skidmore College Adds Miley Cyrus to the Curriculum

CarolynChernoffPicPer a report by The Saratogian‘s Jennie Grey, it started in the aftermath of the 2013 VMAs and took fuller form this January when Skidmore College visiting assistant professor of sociology Carolyn Chernoff (pictured) gave a lecture at the Women’s Center titled “The Rise and Fall of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media.”

Reaction to the talk was generally positive, and as a result, Chernoff is now finalizing the syllabus for a much more extensive examination of Cyrus. A summer learning track:

The course, called The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media, is a 251-level special topics course. Chernoff encourages students to look past the colon in her course title and see what the class is really about.

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Marlon Wayans Takes a Page from Ellen’s Oscars Selfie Playbook

On Friday, one-time Howard University student Marlon Wayans stopped by campus yet again, and this time took a moment to do his own version of Ellen’s epic Oscars broadcast selfie.

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Wayans has been hitting various college campuses in tandem with his traveling promotional tour for Haunted House 2. After his session at Howard, he shared the following on Facebook:

I was so impressed by the questions, the attentiveness and the intention I seen the eyes of students HU. I’m a proud Bison. #theworldisyours

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Scott Pelley’s Reply to Visiting Journalism Student: ‘It Ain’t Easy’

CMANYC2014PosterHeidi Kronaiz, news editor for South Dakota State University’s The Collegian, has a zippy summary of her time spent in New York at the College Media Association’s Spring National College Media Convention. She was there with eight student newspaper colleagues.

Kronaiz says the workshops she attended, part of an overall slate of 250+ events, were “incredibly beneficial.” She also relates her convention highlight, which took place during the keynote address:

For me, the most influential part of Scott Pelley’s presentation was getting to ask him a question. Some students asked questions that were irrelevant to his presentation, looking to get a story, not advice. Being a journalism major with a broadcast emphasis, I decided to ask Pelley what it would take to land a job on a national news network.

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Longtime NYT Science Editor to Receive Honorary Degree

JohnWilfordPicHe’s won two Pulitzer Prizes and his account of man’s first walk on the moon still stands today as a bold step in scientific journalism. Later this year, John Noble Wilford will receive an honorary degree from the University of Tennessee, where he graduated in 1955 with a degree in journalism.

From today’s announcement:

The renowned journalist wrote the New York Times‘ front-page story about the first walk on the moon, which has become the most widely used account of the historic event. He covered all three Apollo missions for the Times. Wilford won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his reporting of science and space exploration, and again in 1987 as part of the reporting team that covered the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

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On Lacrosse Fields Then and in Journalism Now, Vet Tells Students It’s All About ‘Pure Substitution Effect’

Sabrina Szteinbaum, associate news editor of student newspaper The Daily Targum, has a good summary of a speech given Tuesday to Rutgers journalism students by Lincoln Caplan.

LincolnCaplanPicCaplan’s credentials are impeccable: staff writer for the New Yorker; editor-in-chief of Legal Affairs; White House fellow; and more. To frame the current changes affecting journalism, he chose to go back to the days when he frequented the playing fields of Rutgers and other universities as a member of Harvard’s lacrosse team:

The first time Caplan played for Harvard against Rutgers in that lacrosse game, the players used old wooden sticks made by Native Americans. These asymmetrical sticks were tricky to balance.

The next year he played in a game against the university, players began using newly manufactured plastic sticks, which were easier for players to balance making the game faster and more exciting.

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Group of Columbia Journalism Students Launch TheFiveFortyFive.com

Should Nate Silver be worried? No.

The545LogoPer a report by India’s Zee News, TheFiveFortyFive.com is the brainchild of six current Columbia Journalism students. They are all of Indian heritage, and the single-subject focus of this new enterprise is the run-up to their homeland’s next national general election:

The students behind the day-old website – Devjyot Ghoshal, Anand Katakam, Iva Dixit, Indrani Basu, Rishi Iyengar and Aparna Alluri – chose the number 545 because that is the number of seats that makes up India’s Lok Sabha.

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American Advertising Federation Hosts ‘Most Promising Minority Students’

This year’s talented group consists of 50 university students from across the country. They have been deemed the best and brightest minority students by the American Advertising Federation and are in town at the Roosevelt Hotel for a full slate of activities.

On Thursday for example, students will participate in on-site “Industry Immersion ” sessions at CNN, McCann Worldgroup and IPG. Bracketed around an IPG luncheon session titled “Speed Mentoring: Multicultural Perspective on Agency Careers.”

Among this year’s AAF program participants is Janet Rodriguez, a senior marketing communication major at Chicago’s Columbia College. She will be giving a presentation about how there can be more accurate representation of Hispanics in advertising, and before heading to New York, told her student newspaper The Chronicle she’s thrilled to be afforded this opportunity:

Rodriguez said she noticed in her previous internships that there was a lack of diversity in the marketing field and she believes the Most Promising Minority program will allow her to address that issue…

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The Epic Columbia J-School Listserve Fail

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 4.08.07 PMThree years ago, Bridgestone Tires reminded us in a Super Bowl commercial how the reply-all email option can lead to catastrophe.

But for hundreds of editors around the country on Friday, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism took it to a new level of vexation.

At 2:02 p.m., the college emailed a listserve of editors inviting them to register for the school’s career expo, where publications pay $125 for a booth to recruit young talent ahead of graduation.

Over the next hour, chaos ensued.

Thanks to a glitch in the Columbia email program, every response requesting removal from the list sent to the initial email was forwarded to everyone on the listserve. Phones throbbed with the buzzing of droves of “please remove me” emails.

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Former Governor Urges Ailes Apprentices to ‘Bring No Ideology’ to Their Work

L. Douglas Wilder, who served as Governor of Virginia from 1990-1994 and mayor of Richmond from 2005-2009, was recently in New York City to address a class of Ailes Apprentice Program students. And thanks to the good folks at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, there is a full transcript of his inspiring remarks.

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On the cusp of his 83rd birthday, Wilder – the first African-American to be elected governor of a U.S. state post-Reconstruction – set the bar high. In fact, one of his pieces of advice would seem to go against the grain of the very network presided over by apprenticeship program patron Roger Ailes:

“First and foremost, bring no ideology to your work. Bring a magnifying glass and a flashlight, but do not bring an agenda. You must let events sit tall in the saddle — cracking the whip, wearing the spurs — and remember that you are along only for the ride.”

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