Monday, October 30, 2006

Students make cell phone movies

Students at Boston University are part of a new experiment class (I know that feeling, JMC163 is all a big experiment). They are in a class that is on movie making - with cell phones. It is a trend that has not really caught on big here in the States, but from other articles I have read, other countries are way into content for cell phones. It is a cool idea, a cell phone company working with a University to the benefit of both the company and the students. Just think a school on the cutting edge of technology. Boston of course, not San Jose.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The joy of jury duty

About midnight last night I realized that I had jury duty this week. My bad. So I went online and saw that my group had been called and saw that if you don't show, "the court may find the prospective juror in contempt of court, punishable by a fine of up to $1000.00, or 5 days in the county jail, or both." So I was feeling really great.

Now, I am not as bad as it seems. I actually want to serve on a jury, or at lest get called to the courthouse. I have never sat in on a trial before and I think it would be interesting to watch. That said, I am pretty busy, and when I got my summons I noticed that full time students can postpone their service until a time that school is not in session. Of course the form that you are supposed to fill out in incredibly confusing, but I filled it out and sent it in with a copy of my class schedule and then forgot about it. But I never heard anything back, so last night when I remembered that I had jury duty this week I was not really sure if I did or not. Then I came home this afternoon and found two identical letters from the county saying that my request was granted and I do not have jury duty until the week before Christmas. I was quite relieved that I am not going to be in jail anytime soon, but I was a little upset at the tardy and wasteful two notices. I should have gotten them at least a week ago.

Overall, I was very surprised and disappointed at the difficulty of the whole thing. The form to request a postponement is very confusing and parts are contradictory. If a college student like me that enjoys studying English, government and politics has a hard time figuring it out, how is a new citizen that has only been in the country for a short while supposed to figure it out? The judicial system, at least here in Santa Clara County, needs to make some changes.

P.S. Can someone email me the week of December 17th to remind me I have jury duty again?


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Liberating students online

Andrew has a great post on the need for students to have access to a server to post content online. He points out that SJSU is part of iTunes U. There are a few podcasts in iTunes, but why don't we have a page like Stanford? And, more importantly, as Andrew points out: "There has been no explanation from the University or iTunes about how STUDENTS can access the server. That's like writing the PHP for Digg and then removing the submit button!"

As I posted before, students need to be able to create a presence for themselves online. As Scoble told us when he visited JMC163:

“I don’t care if you blog or not, but if you are not in Google and your work is not in Google, I don’t trust you, I don’t know what you do, I don’t know that you are participating in the community and sharing and building a brand around your journalism…. They are not hiring people that do not have a body of work that they can demonstrate.”
San Jose State, and probably most other colleges, needs to recognize this and make it easier for students to create a presence online. I think it is embarrassing that there are not more classes for us to take to learn this stuff. The only way to learn is to do it yourself. I have seriously been thinking about taking a class at a local community college to catch up on the web skills I need, the skills that are not taught in any classes I can take at SJSU.

Newspapers urged to embrace the Web

A group of online editors told the Associated Press Managing Editors annual conference that "their industry's survival depends on how well they can engage and excite the masses of readers on the Web."

Funny, most of us (at lest the people my age) would probably say "duh, of course, everybody knows that!" But for some reason the people running newspapers need to have a meeting with experts telling them the basics.

For some reason, the traditional media companies have been super reluctant to do anything online until very recently. Even now, they are not sure what to do and how to do it. I do not have all the answers, but it is clear that newspapers cannot keep doing what they have been doing.

As one of the editors pointed out, newspapers cannot just take their content and replicate it online. The content and the site itself needs to be fresh and new.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

'Google Bombs' and Reader Beware

Interesting article from the National Journal via MSNBC today:
Political bloggers coordinate 'Google Bombs'

Of course, I had never heard of "Google Bombs" before, but the concept is not new. Companies have been using the same techniques for years to get their companies listed first among search results. It is not surprising that some political consultants finally decided to do the same thing.

This highlights the danger of relying on Google and the Internet in general for your information. There is a lot of important information out there that is not findable via Google, and the information you do get is not always reliable or trustworthy. Of course, the Internet is a very valuable tool, but the user must beware.

A good example of this is to do a quick Google search for "Martin Luther King." There are probably thousands of young students who go online for information about King, and what do they get? The very first (unpaid) link is to martinlutherking.org. Sounds like a good source, right? Take a look at the page, it is anti-civil rights. The website calls King a "liar, cheater and traitor" and calls for the end of the King Holiday. At the bottom of the page, we see that the website is hosted by stormfront.org, a "White Nationalist Community," not exactly the type of organization you would expect to get unbiased and correct information about a black civil rights leader.

Be careful. Not everything you read online is true.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

SJSU needs tech

We discussed in my JMC163 class today the need for San Jose State University to provide more technology for students to use. We really need ftp access so that we can post things online, on space provided by the University. The class is on new technology and tools, but many of the resources we have are provided by the professors at their own expense, or we have to get it ourselves. We are in the heart of Silicon Valley, and yet our facilities and equipment are way behind. I am not ungrateful for what we have, but it is sad that the school can not provide some of the tools we need. Professor Stephen Greene spoke to the class and talked about how the school really needs to proved more technical resources for students. He said that he visited a number of colleges in other parts of the country and they were all jealous that he was from Silicon Valley, but he said that they had better technological resources than we do here at SJSU.

Virtual Reporting

Reuters announced that they now have a reporter stationed in the virtual world of Second Life. It is an interesting concept, a big international media company reporting events that are not necessarily happening in the "real world." I have not taken the jump to join Second Life yet, but it is on my to do list. It will be interesting to see what happens as media companies try to deal with more people spending more time in the virtual world.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Josh Wolf still in prison

The Chronicle had an update today on Josh Wolf, the blogger and filmmaker who "is well on his way to becoming the longest-jailed journalist in U.S. history." This is a topic that we journalists like to talk about a lot. The ethics of journalism often conflicts with the desires of government. I will not say that Wolf is right or wrong, mostly because I do not know. It is just important to note that this is a difficult issue that comes up again and again. A journalist must protect his sources and have the freedom to investigate and publish as he will, but I can also understand the need for the grand jury to get information and punish those who have broken laws.

College Volunteers

An AP article from the Merc today said that college students are volunteering in ever increasing numbers - up more than 20 percent from 2002 to 2005. That is great news if you ask me. I think that volunteering is one of the best things you can do, not only to help your community, but also to further your own education and help yourself. I am not as involved now as I have been in the past, but my best memories of high school come from the service activities I was involved in. I was able to go to Denver, meet Erin Brockovich and was on the front of the local section of the newspaper and was on multiple TV news shows. It was lots of fun, and I learned a lot about my community. Get involved, go volunteer!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blogs all over the world

I just got back yesterday from a quick trip to New York City. It was great, it was my first time there and I hope I can go back to see everything that I missed.

Last week (and I am just now writing about it), David Weinberger spoke to my new media class via Skype. He told us about GlobalVoicesOnline.org, a website about people are blogging all over the world. It is always interesting and enlightening to see what other people are writing about in other places. I posted before about WatchingAmerica, which has stories from news sites in other countries. These two websites help us see what the rest of the world thinks of us and gives a new perspective to current events.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Scoop on Dig

Newsweek has an interview with Digg.com's founder Kevin Rose. Digg is an interesting take on the concept of getting news online as it allows users to determine which stories are important. It is changing the way that many (especially young) people get their news. I have not really caught on yet, I still check the traditional sources (like Newsweek on MSNBC), but I will have to start checking out Digg more often.