Old school.

I spent most of Friday doing something at the last minute. (So sue me, I have a journalist’s heart. We do things at the last minute.) Considering I was judging college journalism, that seemed fitting.

Fifty entries in an SPJ contest. I read every one. I liked many of them. When it came time to pin the ribbons, I felt the usual remorse that so many good entries wouldn’t go away with a prize. I expected all of this. What I didn’t expect was this: How little has changed. I’m not talking about the flag of The Post, my collegiate alma mater, still recognizable after, what? Thirty years of subsequent editorial staffs? (Admirable restraint, if you ask me. The first thing a new editor does in the real world is order a sweeping redesign. Ninety percent of the time, a criminal waste of effort.)

No, I’m talking about the form itself — the student newspaper. By this time, the new media should have swept college campuses. There shouldn’t be a student newspaper, but rather, a completely interactive platform-neutral information stream, processing all the important news on campus — in my day, record reviews, classified ads on apartments and two-for-one pizza coupons — into a seamless garment of data accessible on everything from a laptop to a phone, plus Twitter and Facebook and all the rest of it. Maybe, somewhere, that is the case. All I know is that I saw traditional news stories written in traditional ways, presented in traditional layouts on traditional ink-on-paper. It was more than traditional. In fact, it was retro: At one point, I beheld a headline with a kicker. You know what a kicker is? It’s the little mini-headline that runs over the main head, usually with a rule underneath, usually just a few words:

Swine flu sweeps freshman dorms; vaccination clinic announced. Kicker: ‘Sick as a dog’

I haven’t seen a kicker in professional journalism since Jim Barbieri was writing them at the Bluffton News-Banner. That is to say: A while.

There are two ways of looking at this. One, that colleges are seriously failing journalism students by keeping student papers around at all, like a school offering buggy whip-braiding classes in 1925. Or maybe, just maybe, the newspaper isn’t a terrible way to deliver news in any environment, but particularly on campus, where kids frequently find themselves with 20 minutes to kill between this and that, and a paper is not only an efficient delivery vehicle for the information those students might want, but actually, I dunno, something pleasant to pass the time with.

I’m holding with hope. It’s all I’ve got. Although a word of advice to student journalists: You can almost always make your stories shorter. You’re competing with Twitter, you know.

And now the weekend is over, and I’m facing a two-week sprint unlike many of recent years. Good news: It’s work, it’s paying work, and that’s good. Bad news: Might be spotty around here for a while. But you guys are good conversationalists; you can carry this dump for a few days here and there.

Let’s start with an underreported story, in my opinion: What if health-insurance reform dies, as so many seem to want? What then? The cost of doing nothing. Not cheering.

Or try this: A white sorority wins a step contest, traditionally an all-black show. What then? Metafilter has a nosegay of links, and from watching their performance, I’d say they brought it.

Dear Mr. President, Stop smoking. Try Chantix — I hear it works.

And that’s it for me today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Posted at 1:42 am in Current events, Media |
 

55 responses to “Old school.”

  1. baldheadeddork said on March 1, 2010 at 6:40 am

    I don’t know about new media shoving out the deadtree campus paper. I would hope that J-schools are focused on teaching kids how to report instead of getting wrapped up in the medium.

  2. coozledad said on March 1, 2010 at 8:19 am

    I don’t know how people can combine activities like basketball or running with smoking. Before I quit, most things that required oxygen exchange were out of the question.
    But I’ve known people who were runner/smokers. Even into adulthood. One of my friends in college talked about picking up the habit when he ran cross country in high school. During a meet, they’d wait till they’d run up into a wooded area, and fire one up.

  3. Dorothy said on March 1, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I feel it necessary to point out it says “continue smoking cessation efforts.” This does not necessarily mean he is still smoking. It might mean he is to continue taking Chantix, or some other medication to support his efforts. My husband stopped smoking 10 years ago after smoking for about 27 years and it was an ongoing process for quite awhile. He wasn’t smoking but he did take Zyban for about 2 years, and chewed gum (non-prescription) for a very long time. I think he only stopped the gum chewing about 18 months ago.

  4. Jim said on March 1, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Thank you for giving me a smile on a Monday morning with the Jim Barbieri reference. He was the last of his breed. No matter what your thought of them — two deck headlines AND a kicker! — his headlines were always entertaining.

    I think J-schools are afraid to admit the obvious: They are charging full freight for a profession that may pay $35K a year, if you can find a job. Like a lot of other things, newspapers may exist in academia but nowhere else before long. Sigh.

    Coozledad, I’ve always been amazed at the smoking-running thing. I’ve seen runners finish a 2-mile race and light up as soon as they can, while I’m still gasping for as much oxygen as my lungs can get.

  5. Deborah said on March 1, 2010 at 10:04 am

    For the font lovers among us:
    http://fontgameapp.com/game/

  6. Jim Milles said on March 1, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I’ve heard similar comments about j-students’ lack of engagement with or interest in social media from others. I teach in a law school, not a journalism school, but I notice the same thing among my students. I suspect that both fields–journalism and law–tend to self-select students who are drawn to traditional print-based media, and that the schools then reinforce those tendencies.

  7. Julie Robinson said on March 1, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Jim Barbieri was one of the worst yet successful writers I’ve ever read, but an absolute sweetheart of a man who only wanted the best for everyone in his small town of Bluffton and was truly the heart of the place. How’s that for Barbieri style? Run-on sentences, elliptical snytax, and paragraph-long headlines were his hallmark.

    During my years at the radio reading service for the visually impaired, I could guarantee new volunteers would be amazed and frustrated when they tried to read the News-Banner aloud. The English teachers especially tried to edit on the fly, although we had to tell them our mission was only to read the paper, not interpret in any way for the listeners. And Bluffton listeners loved Barbieri’s style. Thanks for some good memories.

    Did anyone else think the Olympic closing ceremonies were a hoot? I’m hoping they were meant as an ironic comment on Canadian stereotypes; otherwise I think the budget got smoked or snorted. Cardboard hockey players and inflatable beaver balloons? Oh my.

  8. brian stouder said on March 1, 2010 at 10:10 am

    You know, I heard some yapping on the news this morning when I was shaving – to the effect that “the president still smokes”, and that really struck me. For all the blathering and froth from our dissatisfied countrymen on the right about how Obama is destroying this or crashing that – if several photos of our ultra ultra cool, next-generation president emerge, with him calmly in command in the Oval Office and with a cigarette held just-so, then I bet the anti-smoking efforts in the country will take a hit (so to speak) that knocks them back to about 1965

  9. Jason T. said on March 1, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Nance, I’ve wondered the same thing about my old college newspaper.

    They do have a website that gets updated in between print issues, but I wonder if they’re getting proper preparation for the Brave New World of Journalism, where well-paid NPR hosts/trade-paper columnists crowd-source their book covers for 20 cents on the dollar.

    On the other hand, a group of students tried to start a competing online-only news website, and it’s apparently defunct. So maybe ink-on-paper is just what you need when you’re waiting for a bus or killing time before class.

    P.S.: I loved writing both “kickers” and “hammer-heads” when I was laying out pages for the school newspaper. Kickers were underlined italic Franklin Gothic, and hammer-heads were bold, 48-pt. type: “SNOW BIG DEAL: Campus digs out after record-setting blizzard” was one of mine.

    Hey, I was 19 years old, gimme a break!

    P.P.S.: When we had a cold snap two years later, the managing editor rejected my proposal to draw little icicles on the flag at the top of the page.

  10. brian stouder said on March 1, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I seem to recall Nance’s News-Sentinel putting snowy accumulations onto their venerable paper’s name, atop the front page….this MAY have been in the blizzard of ’79 – could be wrong – but I’d swear and affirm that I saw it done

  11. MarkH said on March 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

    It’s pretty clear from that code, Dorothy, that he is still smoking.

  12. Jim said on March 1, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Ha! I remember the News-Sentinel gave its nameplate the icicle treatment during the Blizzard of ’78.

  13. Jason T. said on March 1, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Yeah, I got the icicle idea from the McKeesport Daily News. I didn’t say it was original.

    But I was allowed to write the hammer-head: DEEP FREEZE!

  14. Jeff Borden said on March 1, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Chantix made one of my poker buddies depressed to the point of being suicidal. It is one of the serious drawbacks of this particular drug. Maybe the O-man should just chew some Nicorette?

    The student newspaper at Loyola is pretty damned good and it is used by students in much the same way Nancy suggests. There are stacks of them on the counter at the coffee shop/deli in the Information Commons. Lots of students can be seen paging through them while they eat or sip their drinks.

    I’ve only taught a couple of journalism classes, but what I’ve tried to stress is the reporting and writing angle. Whatever the medium, the story needs to be accurate, honest, fair and engaging. It doesn’t matter if it’s ink on paper or an e-mail blast. Privately, I also encourage j-students to study another language or economics.

    Should universities be as truthful as possible to its students? Should the dean of a journalism school give an address every year noting how few of his students likely will find work at a reasonable salary? How and when do you tell a student who has always dreamed of entering the business to forget about it? Does a university’s responsibility to its students include preparing them for a crushing disappointment because the industry is in convulsion? Or is that responsibility solely focused only on making sure the student is as well-prepared as possible and let the chips fall where they may?

  15. brian stouder said on March 1, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t other schools (for example, veterinarian school; or mechanical engineering school) simply raise and raise the graduation requirements, until the numbers of students who graduate are winnowed down to some absorbable number? (An artificially low number, in the case of medical school, if we believe the critics of the AMA)

    by way of saying, I’d vote for brutal honesty regarding career prospects

  16. jcburns said on March 1, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I hate to burst your typographic bubble, but that’s not precisely the same font on the OU Post flag that we had after the David Griffin redesign in 1978ish. But close. I think it evolved away from that and is now headed back in that general direction. I like the little curve of bricks across the bottom.

  17. Joe Kobiela said on March 1, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Did anyone who watched that gold medal hockey game not enjoy it. Even for the casual fan or someone who didn’t know hockey had to love it. I think it could turn out like the 79 Daytona 500 with the infield fight. People that tuned in are going to want to watch more,and what about the 4man bobsled. First gold in 64yrs. I always enjoy the closing, they show the participants dancing taking pictures and having a great time. I thought this was the best Olympics yet.
    Pilot Joe

  18. jcburns said on March 1, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Sammy and I watched and enjoyed the high def hockey. She wondered what the players did to celebrate a goal before plexiglass surrounds–did they leap up and out and land in the crowd?

  19. beb said on March 1, 2010 at 11:09 am

    With all the competition from movies, radio and audiobooks I’m surprised the printed novel continues to exist. I guess it just goes to show that some media continue to be vital and active despite all the competition from other medium. I guess the same is true for newspaper. There’s something about reading a newspaper that the internet can’t supply. The problem with newspapers isn’t that people have stopped reading them it’s that businesses have stopped advertising in them. Newspaper were virtually given away free, supported by the advertising (I doubt that the cover price ever came close to covering a newspaper’s expenses). Solve the advertising problem and you solve the newspaper problem.

    I nearly made it through the entire Olympics without seeing any of it. But my wife suddenly called out last night that Neil Young was singing at the closing ceremonies so I had to watch. And found myself cringing at the isfiring humor of Catheribne O’Hara and Michael J. Fox. Then the skating weirdness of giant beavers and horseless Mounties. It would have been better to just have someone come out and announce: “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here any longer!”

    The ban on smoking in restaurants can’t come soon enough for me. Nonetheless I dislike all the obsession about people smoking. Sure, I do’t want to be around then, but it’s their life and everyone has the right to go to helll in their own manner.

  20. moe99 said on March 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Oh, I dunno, you get hit with lung cancer and you tend to go out of your way to proselytize to the addicted. Besides, my lungs tend to curl up when I’m on the street and pass by clots of smokers hanging around the entrance to buildings. I just want to scream at them, “Do you know what you’re in for???” Good thing I don’t have much of a voice.

  21. Peter said on March 1, 2010 at 11:34 am

    JC, tell Sammy that before plexiglas and tempered glass became standard ice hockey rinks used chicken wire – the Sun Times recently ran pictures of the 50 best Blackhawks players and some of the older pictures show the chicken wire in the background (unfortunately none of the pictures showed the really old Chicago Stadium scoreboard – the one with the dials and minute hands).

    Jeff, architecture schools used to be brutally honest about the profession, but that’s changed. First, they’re profit centers for the universities, so don’t scare away the customers, and second, you can tell the students that only one of them will be successful, and every student will have the same thought that I had “that’s a shame that I will be the only successful one…”

  22. Sue said on March 1, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Here is what we can expect if we do nothing about health care:
    After the insurance companies finish with private insurance coverage (that is, after they have kicked out anyone with any need for it, followed by anyone who can’t pay the 40% increases), they will need to look for a new revenue stream. Next in line: small business insurance. Businesses with too many claims will be dropped; the rest will see even greater increases than they are now experiencing and will begin to drop the benefit. Most of those who lose their insurance this way will be unable to get the gutted private insurance. After this group has been destroyed, it’s on to the bigger groups, same result only it’ll take longer. Once there is no one left to insure, they will ask the government for a handout because they are Too Big To Fail and Very Important To The Economy. During all this, the only people that the safely-insured politicians will listen to are those mostly-insured townhallers screaming about death panels.
    Actually, the best place for insurance changes right now is at the state level. Some states are screwed, others are on the forefront. The way things are going, this is where the experiments will be made, paid for and learned from.

  23. Rana said on March 1, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I think there’s something about the tangibility of the school newspaper that’s at work there – like Jeff, I see students and colleagues at both the academic institutions I’m affiliated with grabbing a paper to read during lunch or to kill time while waiting for something or someone. Usually there’s a stack right by the door of some building that’s used regularly, and they’re hard to miss.

    I compare that with my experience with the local paper, which has mostly gone online. Unlike the school papers, I have to (1) remember that there is online content, and (2) go to it. It’s certainly not hard to do either, but it’s harder than the alternative.

    The other factor that might be involved is that students are dangerous to let near computers. That sounds sort of specious, I know. The thing is, having supervised student workers and taught classes in which there was an internet component, I have learned that two things will happen if you try to do a class project in an online format. First, it will take twice as much time to get them up to speed on the technology – the particular software used, the interface, etc. – as it will teaching them the content. Second, if they can screw something up, they will. Even if you have very bright, skillful students, if you get more than one person working independently on a shared platform, someone’s going to deviate from the approved methodology at least once. Do this cumulatively over the course of a semester, and, oh, my.

    Of course, the thing to do would be to pair the journalism students with the web-tech students, but that sort of collaboration is rare, and equally a headache to manage, in terms of coordinating it all. Whereas a paper can be managed with one student acceptably trained in the publishing software (or even the professor); everyone else submits content, and that one person pastes it in.

  24. 4dbirds said on March 1, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    My oldest quit smoking years ago but he still sucks on the nicotine logenzes. I’d rather have him do that than smoke.

  25. Rana said on March 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Regarding the health care article: this sounds an awful lot like the dynamics surrounding the effort to address climate change:

    “People think if we do nothing, we will have what we have now,” said Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health care research group in New York. “In fact, what we will have is a substantial deterioration in what we have.”

  26. Sue said on March 1, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Mmmm, I loved my Easy Bake Oven. I used it for several of my first baking disasters, but I can still taste the chocolate frosting in the very best tiny chocolate layer cake I ever made.
    http://www.salon.com/food/2010/02/28/why_we_love_the_easy_bake_oven/index.html

  27. moe99 said on March 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Pat Robertson certainly hates Chile more’n Haiti b/c of what they did to his good bud, Augusto Pinochet.

    http://open.salon.com/blog/the_desperate_blogger/2010/02/27/robertson_god_even_angrier_with_chile_than_haiti

    ps. It’s satire, but rather good at that.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2010/02/28/pat-robertson-earthquake-was-probably-gods-punishment-for-chiles-mistreatment-of-augusto-pinochet/

  28. LAMary said on March 1, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    You want colleges to be honest about job prospects and what you can expect to earn? Why? What major guarantees a job and big bucks these days? Five years ago I was telling people to go to nursing school and they would not only find a job, they’d start out making 65k. This year I had a ratio of thirty new grad nurse applicants to each one of my new grad open jobs. Even with that situation I work at one of the few hospitals in the area that even hired new grad nurses this winter. I don’t expect the June grad crowd will do any better.
    Do you think spending 100k for J school to earn 35K is a ripoff? Take a look at the schools that advertise medical jobs. You know the ones that offer training classes for medical assistants or lab techs? They charge something like 20k to prepare you for a job that pays 12-15 dollars per hour. That’s in a big city unionized hospital. The schools finance your training at some outrageous interest rate. I have a bigger problem with that practice than I do with teaching people to write.

  29. Jeff Borden said on March 1, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Interesting comments on the efficacy of different college majors these days. Like Peter, I tend to think the universities continue to accept students into programs for the money,regardless of the real world conditions. And, as LAMary notes, who is to say what kind of degree will guarantee both a job and a future? Health care and education looked like pretty good bets a few years ago, but with every level of government running deficits and pinching pennies, teachers and health care professionals are being shown the door, too.

    Who knows, perhaps there will be an enormous explosion in the information arena and all these journalism students will find plenty of work. My concern about being too negative about journalism prospects is that I might be dissuading the next Mike Royko or Edna Buchanan from entering the business. Of course, I might also be able to prevent the next Mitch Albom from emerging. . .

  30. paddyo' said on March 1, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Whether the Prez kicks the habit or not, I’ll second Jeff Borden on the side effects thing with Chantix. For all I know (and I don’t), it may work, but has anyone heard/seen the ads on TV/radio? The warning part sounds like a “Saturday Night Live” sendup. Here’s the language from the drug’s website . . . and may I wonder aloud: “life-threatening” skin reactions? It’s either hilarious or ghastly:

    “Some people have had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions while using CHANTIX to help them quit smoking. Some people had these symptoms when they began taking CHANTIX, and others developed them after several weeks of treatment or after stopping CHANTIX. If you, your family, or caregiver notice agitation, hostility, depression, or changes in behavior, thinking, or mood that are not typical for you, or you develop suicidal thoughts or actions, anxiety, panic, aggression, anger, mania, abnormal sensations, hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion, stop taking CHANTIX and call your doctor right away. Also tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems before taking CHANTIX, as these symptoms may worsen while taking CHANTIX . . .

    “Some people can have serious skin reactions while taking CHANTIX, some of which can become life-threatening. These can include rash, swelling, redness, and peeling of the skin. Some people can have allergic reactions to CHANTIX, some of which can be life-threatening and include: swelling of the face, mouth, and throat that can cause trouble breathing. If you have these symptoms or have a rash with peeling skin or blisters in your mouth, stop taking CHANTIX and get medical attention right away.

    “Use caution driving or operating machinery until you know how CHANTIX may affect you.

    “You should not use CHANTIX while using other treatments to quit smoking. Tell your doctor if you use other treatments to quit smoking . . .

    “In clinical trials, the most common side effects of CHANTIX include: Nausea (30%), sleep problems (trouble sleeping, changes in dreaming), constipation, gas, vomiting”

  31. coozledad said on March 1, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    paddyo: I was trying to find what was missing from that list: pyromania, somnambulistic criminal activity, annoying conceptual artistry, and erectile dysfunction?

  32. LAMary said on March 1, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    I went cold turkey from a 2+packs a day habit, and let me tell you I had hostility, agitation, depressed mood, depression,trouble sleeping and all around horrible bitchiness for a few weeks.

  33. Dorothy said on March 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Zyban as an anti-smoking drug may or may not still be in use; all I remember is the first day Mike started using it. He phoned me at work and said “This is scary, but I really think this stuff is going to work.” Something about it must have made him feel really confident about breaking his long smoking habit. The doc told him to pick a date in the future, 3-4 months after starting the medicine, and that will be his final day to have a cigarette. He chose my birthday. However a few weeks after starting the process he was diagnosed with severe depression, and then lost his job about 2 months after that. Still after all that sh** to deal with, he persevered and quit smoking. I’m immensely proud of him for that.

  34. Sue said on March 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    The thing that gets me about all these drugs is the “this is how we think it works” language, something along the lines of “it appears **Drug** works by attaching to these brain thingies and inhibiting those brain thingies”. It appears? You don’t know? Not that some of these drugs haven’t been (literal) lifesavers for people with depression or addictions, but that’s just scary.
    And my daughter just graduated with a degree in social work, one of the professions that’s getting hit with severe cuts everywhere. She found a job right away in her field, in her interest (family and child advocacy). Ok, it’s 9 dollars an hour, no benefits and only two hours a week, but!
    No, really. She’ll get a little experience, Wisconsin passed a law allowing us to keep her on our insurance (no, it’s not free, so no snide remarks please), and she can make the bulk of her expenses waitressing. We actually feel lucky at the moment.

  35. Dexter said on March 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Pilot Joe: Loved it, loved the finish of the game; it remains to be seen if hockey in general gets some boost from this Olympics. The closing ceremonies were wonderful, but man, did the Canadians get bashed by all the entertainment reviewers that I read. Especially annoying to almost everyone was the tethered giant moose, which I adored. I found myself thinking “…wish I was there.”
    ~~~~~~~~~
    I am an advocate of anti-smoking campaigns, and I will run from the room if a cigarette is lit. Like a friend does, I “studiously avoid cigarette smoke.”
    Still, being a former cigarette addict who quit 29 years ago, I understand the hold cigarettes have on humans. At this point, I believe Obama’s “plan” to cease smoking is just a ruse; I do not believe he wants to quit nor will he. Let him have his damn smokes, just don’t blow that my way.
    Hillary Clinton made the entire White House a non-smoking property many years ago when she was living there. Does Obama sneak up on the White House roof ala Willie Nelson? Of course Willie was smoking harmless herb.
    My revulsion to cigarettes does not extend to my beloved Kentucky Club and Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco. Even though I basically quit smoking in 1981, I did smoke a celebratory cigar once in a while and once or twice a week I would fire up my Carey pipe or my Falcon pipe until 1986. SO I have been off all tobacco for 24 years, I still crave that pipe. Damn addiction is what it is. It does not torment me, it’s just aggravating. Thank God coffee is still a “go ahead and enjoy yourself” item. As long as I can drink java I’ll be just fine.
    OBAMA TO GOP–I WILL STOP SMOKING IF YOU WILL STOP BEING DICKS (Andy Borowitz)
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-borowitz/obama-to-gop-i-will-quit_b_480690.html

  36. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 1, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Neil Young was great. I’m busy blocking out the rest of what I watched, along with the first twenty appalling minutes of “The Marriage Ref.” The Olympics coverage (excepting Costas the last few days) were convincing me NBC had a future, but Seinfeld et al in the oddly produced, quasi-reality tack-on to the end of the Vancouver Games convinced me they’re as hosed as the rest of the networks.

    And then there’s Leno. Heckuva job, Zucky.

  37. paddyo' said on March 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    As in Sucky!

    And hey, BTW, Nance, your lede (as opposed to the OTHER kind of kicker) gave me the best comeback yet to “civilians” (like my girlfriend) who just can’t comprehend why I can’t (or won’t) decide Right Now Right This Minute on the itinerary for our trip next fall. I’m not talking about taking the trip, I’m talking about what to do on day 1, 2, 3, etc.

    Though I had to leave newspaper journalism a coupla years ago, I will always have that “journalist’s heart,” and so I, too, tend to do things at the last minute. Messy as hell on relationships, jobs, family, friends, etc., but hey, it’s how I was wired for 33 years, and it’s damned hard to alter it enough to suit others.

    I’ll just keep trying . . . but thanks for putting an explanation into one sentence.

  38. MarkH said on March 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    paddyo’, I hear ya. Drives my wife nuts, too. We should have a few beers sometime.

  39. Sue said on March 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    I disliked the cheesy talk-show quality of the Marriage Ref, but actually liked the couples! I thought it was going to be an American Idol game of “humiliate a bunch of losers”, but those couples were tough and hilarious. Hell no, you can’t have a stripper pole in the bedroom and forget the grotto for your stuffed dog. I’m not even embarrassed to admit I liked it. Not the setup, just the couples.

  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Sue — the couples deserved better, absolutely. I’m with you on liking them, which is what kept me watching as long as I did. (That, and waiting to see if Nickleback would get any airtime, which they did after the local news.)

  41. paddyo' said on March 1, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Fine, MarkH — how about in, say, five minutes? No, wait — next week? Uh, next, summer. Fall? (groan)

  42. Jolene said on March 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I was surprised to hear about the potential ill effects of Chantix. Zyban, the other anti-smoking drug that Dorothy mentioned is, in fact, a low dose of the anti-depressant, Wellbutrin. I’d have thought that Chantix would have those properties too, but I are not a psychopharmacologist.

    Kudos, Jeff, on encouraging aspiring journalists to take economics and learn other languages. Another possibility: Encourage them to take research methods and statistics, especially as taught by psychologists, as these courses focus on human behavior, opinion sampling, etc., which is a lot of what many journalists write about.

    There’s no part of my education that I’m more grateful for than my graduate courses in methods and statistics. I don’t sell myself as an expert in those areas, but the habits of mind those courses teach are valuable in any field and would be especially so in journalism. They are, in fact, really just a formalization of the skeptical, “Who says?” and “How do you know?” questions that are central to journalism.

    We need more people who can not only find things out, as reporters do, but explain them in intelligible ways, without relying entirely on the “competing experts” model of truth-telling. Knowing how knowledge is generated and how to assess the validity of claims is central to that enterprise.

    A minor point: It’s Nickelback, not Nickleback.

  43. Jolene said on March 1, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Have you heard the latest re President Obama’s medical report. It contains this passage:

    Continue smoking cessation efforts, a daily exercise program, healthy diet, moderation in alcohol consumption, periodic dental care, and remain up-to-date with recommended immunizations.

    Glenn Beck and his on-air friends used this statement as the basis of nearly four minutes of conversation about the possibility that the president might have a drinking problem. What scum!

  44. Dexter said on March 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    JeffBorden: Neil Young is indeed in great form these days. When NBC cut to that stupid Seinfeld show, that was that, time to switch to Tim

  45. Jolene said on March 1, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Our favorite film critic, Roger Ebert, is going to be on Oprah tomorrow. It’s a brief appearance, during which he makes Oscar predictions in the new voice that software developers in Scotland have been creating for him based on recordings of his recorded commentaries. Set your TiVos–or check out an online source. I’d be surprised if Ebert didn’t get a clip for his own site–or link to a clip on Oprah’s site.

  46. Jeff Borden said on March 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    The story of how the Scottish software company is recreating Ebert’s voice was touted in yesterday’s Sun-Times, which I’m sure can be found easily. It was a very cool piece. At first, the problem was that there was little of Ebert’s voice that did not have ambient noise in the background, but then he remembered all the commentaries he has done for high-end DVD releases, which were pristine in their quality. The studios apparently let him have the raw digital audio, which is what was used to recreate his speech.

  47. Jeff Borden said on March 1, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    More anti-government loons on parade: Hazmat teams are checking the IRS office in Salt Lake City, while a Denver area man has been arrested for sending mysterious white powder to local politicians.

  48. Dexter said on March 1, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    any more word on the two people carried out on stretchers from that Denver IRS?
    I just checked Digg but didn’t find anything, but I did find this, which will soon be a great topic for that stupid new Seinfeld Marriage Ref show.
    http://digg.com/d31KF9q

  49. andy nill said on March 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Isn’t the real story about step contests that their popular at all? I can understand students in the prohibition years taking the time to practice dance/clap routines. But in the year 2010?

  50. alex said on March 1, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve done both Zyban and Chantix and they do really work. Not only do you lose all desire to smoke, you lose all desire to exist. Seriously, it didn’t make me suicidal, but I’m not so sure about homicidal. Everyone around me urged me to return to smoking, and I did.

    I have a current prescription for Chantix that I have yet to fill. The side effects really are enough to have made me averse, and yet my doctor tells me that these aren’t the side effects of the drug so much as the side effects of withdrawal. The creepy dreams, for instance. My doctor tells me that you’ll have those in any event, that it’s nicotine withdrawal, not the drug. It was like being transported into some bad sci-fi movie with giant talking amoebas.

    Gonna give it another try one day soon. Just afraid of mixing it with the antihypertensive they just put me on, which makes me feel disoriented like I’m stoned but without the mellow buzz.

  51. Joe Kobiela said on March 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Dexter,
    Just wondering, U.S. Beats Canada,but Canada needs overtime to beat U.S. Who is the better team? Why don’t they play best of three? Should they share the gold? Loved the moose and beaver,and always enjoyed watching the communist athelets at the closing ceramonies,having a great time with there chaparones lurking in the back ground.
    Pilot Joe

  52. Brian Cubbison said on March 1, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    My theory is that after trying to be one thing to all people (we all get the same print edition; now we’re all web surfers; no we’re all mobile now), we’ll start to specialize in different platforms. Some business will master the free print edition for the downtown lunch crowd, someone else will master building apps for smartphones, and someone else will meet the needs of web surfers. As for college newspapers, I suppose the students are vying for what paying jobs they think still exist. They may live in a new media world, but they’re trying to get jobs in ours. There’s also a difference between hanging out with friends on Facebook and “publishing” your news. I also wonder if journalism instruction will become less of an industry-related thing and become fine arts and social science (who expects to get a job in the English lit industry?) or evening classes at the rec center (how to post a video of your neighborhood meeting to Facebook).

  53. moe99 said on March 2, 2010 at 1:09 am

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/01/AR2010030103345_pf.html

    I think this defines cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  54. Dexter said on March 2, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Joe, I heard the win by the USA on the Sunday before closing day was called a win in the preliminary round. It carried weight; it forced Canada to play and win three games for Gold, and for winning that game the USA got a bye.
    Lots of complaints about Doc Emerich not explaining the OT rules.
    He never even told us if it was sudden death, nor even how many minutes they were playing, or if after this OT and it was tied would they go to a shootout.

    Millions were confused because of course Olympic rules are much different: smaller ice surface, no fighting, and the clock time for the OT has changed.
    A few years ago it was a ten minute OT, now it’s 20 minutes, sudden death, then I am ssuming a shootout, but that was never divulged to the public by Doc and his crew. I love Doc’s work, he just slipped up there on that issue.

  55. andy said on March 2, 2010 at 7:06 am

    Did anyone catch the suit worn by Hockey Night’s Don Cherry (Canada’s Deion Sanders) before the game?