Archive for August 15th, 2012

Patrick Devlin

I have written on occasion here about how CaringBridge brought important news about my nephew Patrick Devlin when he was battling leukemia in 2009 and after he died. I mentioned in my eulogy for Patrick that he was working on his deathbed to finish his Eagle Scout project.

Well, this morning, CaringBridge brought the news that Patrick’s Eagle project is finished. It moistened my cheeks. I share it because many readers of this blog expressed appreciation that I shared Patrick’s story, even though it strayed from the usual topics of my blog.

Here’s a passage from John’s latest CaringBridge update, shared with his permission:

Last Saturday we finally fulfilled his Eagle Scout service project plan, and the story is an interesting one. His plan was to make portable dimming light fixtures available to families spending time in the hospital on Baird Five here in Burlington (the Pediatric in-patient ward). Long time readers will remember that one of the first things I did when Pat was admitted to the hospital was to go to Home Depot and buy a clip light and dimmer so we could set up nicer light and read when it was dark and Pat was sleeping without turning on the fluorescent overhead lights or sitting in the dark for hours. Well, he was planning this project with his Eagle mentor when he died. I picked it up and tried a couple of approaches to realize the idea, beginning with identifying the hospital’s requirements for lights in the rooms. These requirements limited what we could do, and ruled out the system our family had used. (more…)


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I am pleased to see more student media converting to a digital-first approach. While the digital future is clear for all media, the audience for student media is even more intensely digital focused.

Both to serve their current audiences and to prepare students for success in journalism, student media need a strong digital focus. I am leading two days of digital-first training for the Shorthorn, the student media news staff at the University of Texas-Arlington.

I blogged last spring about my advice that student media need to take a digital-first approach. The Shorthorn was already planning a digital-first conversion for this fall that includes changing from daily to weekly print publication. The University of Oregon and the University of Georgia have made similar changes in print frequency to emphasize their digital-first approach.

My alma mater, Texas Christian University, is continuing the Daily Skiff as a daily newspaper Tuesday through Friday, but it will create content first for digital platforms and is reorganizing student media to focus on digital content first. I will be leading a day of workshops for TCU’s student media Thursday.

Links I will be recommending to the students for additional reading:

How a Digital First approach guides a journalist’s work

Digital First Journalists: What we value

10 ways to think like a Digital First journalist

Leading a Digital First newsroom

How Digital First succeeds at making money

What does community engagement mean?

Engagement editors: an emerging, important job

What does an engagement editor do?

Finding and developing story ideas

We won’t spend a lot of time in these workshops talking about job-hunting, but because these journalists will soon be seeking jobs, I also am sharing some links on branding and job-hunting:

Use digital tools to showcase your career and your work

Confessions (strategies) of a branded journalist (or a journalist with a reputation, if you prefer)

Tips for finding your next job in digital journalism

Job-hunting advice for journalists selling skills in the digital market

Here are slides for today’s and yesterday’s workshops for the Shorthorn:

Here are links I used during the workshops as various examples (I might forget to include a few links, so I invite students to remind me of any you don’t see here that you’d like to check out). I will be adding to these links later, but I wanted to get them posted before today’s workshops:

The Virginia Tech massacre liveblog from the Collegiate Times

Jay Westcott’s time-lapse photo project on a Cowboys-Redskins game and Jay’s How-I-did-it explainer

Visual.ly and Dataviz

Maryjo Webster’s Making maps with Google Fusion tables


Parkersburg tornado map

Last Chance interactive project on Louisiana’s vanishing coastline

Ivan Lajara’s How to make a slideshow with Pinterest with Storify

Celebration outside the White House








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