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Saturday
Jan172009

If newspapers go away

It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper. Jerry Seinfeld (1954 - )

A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not. Henry Fielding (1707 - 1754)

My mornings usually start like this:

  • Put on the robe and slippers.
  • Make coffee.
  • Feed the cats.
  • Take the (cold) walk down the driveway to retrieve the newspaper from the mailbox.
  • Clean up the cat barf.
  • Get coffee.
  • Settle in the recliner, open the Mankato Free Press and solve the Jumble, read the funnies, scan the news, and read the editorials.
  • Shower, dress and go to work.

Because the newspaper is, and has been, such a big part of my life-long morning ritual*, I read Seth Godin's recent post, "When newspapers are gone, what will you miss?" with dismay. This small panic was intensified when I read yesterday that our major state newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, filed for bankruptcy. It seems I may have to consider what I would miss should print newspapers go away sooner than I would like.

Godin flatly states that nothing will be lost should newspapers stop publishing in print, even arguing that investigative journalism and in-depth reporting will continue. (This might be one area where I agree with Keen's Cult of the Amatuer diatribe.) Yikes.

I thought I'd just check Godin out on a few things out and see if I really can cancel my "Mankato Free Mess" subscription. First the important stuff...

Looks like all the important parts of the paper are online and most have RSS feeds. So far, so good.

I already subscribe to the RSS feeds for NYT columnists David Brooks, Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd, and Paul Krugman. No problems there. Garrison Keillor's "Old Scout" columns are available online, a week after publication it seems but without RSS feed. Local papers have feeds for local columnists and opinion sections.

For "hard" news, I can subscribe to a dozen separate categories of news feed including "strange" at the Associate Press. CNN and NPR both have feeds. Locally, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Mankato Free Press both happily send send stories to my GoogleReader. The Jefferson-German Lakes Association Newsletter still seems to be print only.

OK, you get the idea. Yes, about everything in the paper I enjoy reading can also be found online. And more. And without the cost or long walk down the driveway wearing a bathrobe in -40 degree wind-chill.

Am I just sentimental believing I would really miss the printed newspaper? Is this another example of me resisting pounding my old square 1.0 mind into a new round 2.0 world?

Maybe it is the spread of ego-casting, reduction of editorial view diversity, and just plain loss of the serendipitous findings of interesting "stuff" that saddens me. And having nothing on which set my shoes when I poiish them.

How about it - would you miss the print edition of the that fish-wrapper you read?

*The ritual changed for five years when I worked in Saudi Arabia. While there was a daily English paper, it was not delivered, heavily censored, and there was no "Sunday" paper - something I missed the entire time I worked there. You expats today have it pretty darned cushy!

Friday
Jan162009

Real men read

One of Minnesota's own, Tori Jensen, is getting national press for her "Real Men Read" project. A great summary can be found here on the Education World website.

This is very cool and should be a model for any school who may find that its male demographic reading scores could use a bump.

(That's Tori's superintendent in the poster at the right.)

Oh, I fixed the link to ALA's Read Poster generator. Find example and link here.

 

Friday
Jan162009

Fair Use Scenario: Broadcasting Obama

In a continuing series of scenarios that explore educational fair use issues.

Cheryl, the school media specialist, is concerned about the legality of recording the presidential inauguration and then using her school's closed circuit broadcast system to show it to the entire school (at the request of some of her teachers). Cheryl's school is in a time zone which makes it impractical to get up early enough to watch the inauguration live.

In trying to research such a use, she found a comment saying that anything broadcast over the closed circuit system is considered to be a public performance. One of her teachers who used to work at a TV station thought that one could rebroadcast the news. Cheryl checked C-Span's copyright rules and did not find any specific reference to using their programs on closed circuit. She wrote the network for permission but received no response.

  1. What is the copyrighted material? Who owns it?
  2. Does the use of the work fall under fair use guidelines? Is the use transformational in nature? Can this be considered "educational" use?
  3. What is your level of comfort helping with this event? Are there any changes or limits you might like to see that would make you more comfortable?

Your level of comfort with this use of copyrighted materials: High 5 4 3 2 1 Low

You comments are most welcome.

Image from <www.wosu.org/archive/tv50/index.php>