Now this is more like it

I’m at a tiny little diner/coffee shop in San Francisco, and there’s nine open networks and about ten closed ones.

Thanks “default,” whoever you are…

I’m around the corner from SixApart, and I have no idea how many other companies/bloggers/a-listers that flash across my aggregator.  Palo Alto definitely looked like VC country, and this definitely looks more like coder country.  Of course, parking is still a hassle.

Copy editing question of the day

So what’s this thing you’re reading?

Spartan Daily style says it’s either a “blog” or a “Web blog.”

“Web blog” seems redundant to me, since blog is short for “weblog” or “Web log,” depending on who you ask and how pedantic a mood one’s in.

The 2004 AP Stylebook says “blog” is jargon for “Web log” and should be explained.

Merriam-Webster Online has entries for “blog” and “weblog,” but no “Web blog.”

The New York Times uses all three:  “blog,” “Web blog,” and “Weblog.” (Note the capitalization.)

The San Jose Mercury News uses both “blog” and “web log.”

Anyone have an updated AP Stylebook entry on this from the online version?

In Palo Alto, San Francisco today

I’m working my way up the 280 to the San Francisco financial district today. Is there something cool I should do? Someone I should meet? A conference I should crash?

Let me know…

[UPDATE: Or not… looks like I’ll hit SF tomorrow…]

For the record, as I update this a little later in the day, all the free wifi in the world on University Ave in Palo Alto doesn’t mean squat when the parking is 2 hours max. I moved from the “coral” zone (yeah, it’s the red zone, guys) to the “lime” zone (green…), so I’ve got another 3 hours of free parking before I have to figure out where to go next for free access. I’m working out of the public library now.

Later that day… I switched libraries. I’m at the main branch in Palo Alto now.

Seen at the downtown branch:

  • An older woman and a younger woman speaking French. Not sure if someone was teaching and someone was learning, but they seemed pleasant enough.
  • Nobody but me using the free wireless network.
  • A teenage boy logging on to MySpace on one of the library terminals.

Seen here, 1.7 miles away (thank you Google Maps)

  • Lots of people with laptops out. Some look like library rentals.
  • Children of all ages.
  • Ample free parking.

The library of my youth, below, is apparently closed due to damage from last hurricane season.

Jerry Ceppos critiques the Spartan Daily

Jerry Ceppos, former news executive at Knight Ridder, is in the middle of a series of guest lectures and conversations in classes here at the SJSU School of Journalism & Mass Communications.

Today, Ceppos is in the Spartan Daily newsroom, taking over the usual critique.

  • Make sure the stories in your paper connect to local readers. Get those connections up high, and force your sources to connect to your readers.
  • No really, find a local angle on every story. If you’re covering a bicycle race, find the campus bike club and get their point of view.
  • User-submitted photos are a good idea.
  • More stories on the front page would be nice — it’s too easy for readers to scan three or four stories and toss the paper aside if they’re not into anything they see.

Okay, now we’re on to q & a… (all questions and answers are my paraphrasing, not the original unless you see quotes)

  • Will Knight Ridder survive? We’ll know within a month.
  • How will today’s j-school students be affected by the trend towards corporate ownership of newspapers? Conglomeration does help local papers stand up to local advertisers, and there’s capital to spend. But it’s still a problem — you want to work for newspeople, not businessmen.
  • Who gets hired? Folks who work anytime, anywhere. “If you’re half-hearted, don’t do it.” Be analytical, find the story, look for things that don’t make sense in your neighborhood. Know another language. Have an eye for news. Don’t ignore stories because you think everybody knows about them.
  • How can we show off our skills in an application? Use the clips that best show off your ability to analyze, think critically.
  • How much can we fight with our editors? “That’s how good things happen,” but good motives and politeness counts.
  • How should newspapers balance local and national coverage? Local content is better, but you can tie national/international stories into your local readers. Relevance counts more than location.
  • What should your internship application packet look like? Different in content, not in appearance. Are you an electronic engineer or accountant who can also write? Be sure to point that out.
  • Electronic portfolios? Stick with a hard copy, but printouts from online are fine.
  • Should we advertise ourselves as writers who can copy edit or copy editors who can write? You might be more useful/attractive as an editor. Don’t say you’d rather move into reporting after awhile — every copy editor wants to do that.
  • How to handle lawsuit stories? Use your Freedom of Information Act access and get everything you can.
  • How much to play up your specialty? Make it clear you’re also a reporter who can cover hard news, but point out the skills that most reporters don’t have. Break a hot story? Say so in the letter.

You’ve got at least three more chances to catch Ceppos, including a public lecture at King Library on March 13th. Check The JMC Journal for dates and times.

WANTED: podcasting rig suggestions

I’ve surfed the forums, I’ve listened to podcasts about podcasting, and I’ve read what there is to read, but it all gets so outdated so quickly.

So, faithful readers (both of you), who has suggestions for a podcasting rig?

I need to it to come in under $400 (not my money, don’t worry), preferably under $300. I need something that can record a) interviews AND b) ambient sound. It needs to be able to record ambient sound while hanging around a photographer’s neck. If this means buying two different microphones, that’s okay.

I don’t need a zillion GB of memory – an hour of recording time should be enough.

I prefer something that involves transferring the recording as a wav or mp3 file via usb, firewire, or flash card if absolutely necessary. Mac and PC friendly, please.

Is an iRiver an option? What about an old iPod off eBay with some sort of line-in?

Clues? Anyone?


[tags]podcasting, podcast, podcasts, podcasting rig, iriver, ipod, recording equipment, microphones[/tags]

Redesign continues

Still working on the site – I’m trying out Ultimate Tag Warrior, a heavyweight plugin that should let me lay a bunch of tags on my posts and call them up in a tag cloud in my sidebar. You’ll also be able to click on tags at the bottom of each post to see more about the particular topic on my blog. I’ve been using Technorati tags for awhile now, and I’d like to keep them around, too. We’ll see how it goes.

So consider this a test post…

[tags]wordpress, ultimate tag warrior, tag cloud[/tags]