Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Restaurant review

Home of the Porno Burrito

Today’s subject: the potato taco or, to be more specific, the wonderment of civilization that is the potato taco at El Atacor #11, a taquería chain’s grungy outpost on the fringes of Glassell Park. You have, no doubt, tasted a potato taco, perhaps the basic model of the starch bomb tricked out with chopped onion and a bit of salsa, or perhaps one of the fancy examples of the breed, cooked with the roasted-chile mixture called rajas or embellished with all manner of sautéed vegetables.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Narrative story of the week

"Beyond the Statistics: Druggist Confronts the Reality of Robbery" is one of the three pieces in the Pulitzer-winning feature package by
Angelo B. Henderson of the Wall Street Journal in 1999. This particular piece is a good example of the type of narrative you will do for your final.

DETROIT -- "Get on the ground," a man holding a gun screamed. "I'll blow your heads off if you move."

Dennis Grehl and a co-worker complied. Dreamlike, he found himself lying face down on a cold, gritty black-tile floor, a pistol against the back of his head.

"Please, mister, don't make me shoot you," a second gunman threatened. A crazy memory: tiny specks of light floating in the tile; that, and the paralyzing weight of helplessness.

Mr. Grehl is a pharmacist, unassuming, mild mannered. A family man with a wife and a daughter.

He was being robbed. He works in the Redford Pharmacy, a small neighborhood place in northwest Detroit. It's been around forever; the kind of place that delivers.

He had gone into his chosen profession in part because his mother had advised him to. "Nice and clean," she had said. Plus, he liked to help people.

He had helped these guys, too. One said he was looking for foot powder and skin lotion; the other, cough drops. They were African-Americans, well-dressed. They had totally conned him from out behind his counter.

Now he was a chump, on the floor.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dramatic narrative

This story of a man who survived a grizzly bear attack was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer prize. Read it and see why.

A hike into horror and an act of courage in Glacier National Park

A California man visiting Glacier National Park with his daughter instinctively puts himself between her and the rampaging bear's claws and teeth.
By Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
April 29, 2007
Glacier National Park, Mont. — Johan looked up. Jenna was running toward him. She had yelled something, he wasn't sure what. Then he saw it. The open mouth, the tongue, the teeth, the flattened ears. Jenna ran right past him, and it struck him — a flash of fur, two jumps, 400 pounds of lightning.

It was a grizzly, and it had him by his left thigh. His mind started racing — to Jenna, to the trip, to fighting, to escaping. The bear jerked him back and forth like a rag doll, but he remembered no pain, just disbelief. It bit into him again and again, its jaw like a sharp vise stopping at nothing until teeth hit bone. Then came the claws, rising like shiny knife blades, long and stark.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Examples of government/social issue stories

These two stories are good examples of the types of stories for your next assignment.

This first one, from the LA Times, is a good example of a controversy story.

FORT COLLINS, COLO. -- When it starts at 10,000 feet and slices through the mountains in the canyon that bears its name, the Cache la Poudre River is a shock of water in this dry land.

But by the time it winds its way out to this laid-back college city of 120,000 people, most of its water has been grabbed by farmers and other cities that control the maze of canals and diversion dams that turn the river into a trickle.

This second story is profile of a dead U.S. solider who will receive the medal of honor for saving three Navy Seals in Iraq.

On the last day of his life, on a rooftop in Ramadi, Navy SEAL Michael A. Monsoor was assigned to protect three SEAL snipers. When an insurgent's grenade lobbed from the street bounced off Monsoor's chest, he didn't hesitate. He yelled "Grenade!" and pounced on it even though he had a clear path of escape.

He was dead within 30 minutes, but he had saved the lives of three SEALs.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Wild World of Internet journalism
In-class exercise

And it is wild. American newspapers are failing at spectacular rates even while their online readership is growing. Print newspapers might not know how to deal with the shift in readership, but many online sites do. Blogs and journalism sites like the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post garner millions and millions of readers, making them as influential (possibly even more at times) than traditional print standbys as the New York Times.

If newspapers are confused by the new online rules of journalism, so are traditional journalists themselves. This piece by Mark Glaser, a journalist and blogger, really sums up the struggle. Read the following post and then create your own post about the subject -- giving your own thoughts on the distinction between the world of blogging and news gathering. I'm especially curious to read any predictions you have for the future of online journalism and journalists.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Money for blogging students!

Check out this link for information about how you -- Yes, you my J. 310 students -- can make money out of all these blogging hoops I'm putting you through.

* Your blog must contain unique and interesting information about political issues, current events, opinions, etc. No spam bloggers please!!!
* U.S. citizen;
* 3.0 GPA;
* Currently attending full-time in post-secondary education; and
* If you win, you must be willing to allow us to list your name and blog on this page. We want to be able to say we knew you before you became a well educated, rich, and famous blogging legend.

Anatomy of a tornado

This wonderful narrative of a town's visit by a monster tornado is actually a series of narrative stories, interwoven to tell the larger tale of a tornado in north central Illinois. It was written by Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune and won a Pulitzer for best feature writing in 2005.

I encourage you to read the whole three-part series reprinted on the Pulitzer web site.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hello J. 310 class,

In this post, find some helpful tips for blogging at blogger.

First, remember that blogs are all about links. A link is a web site URL embedded in a post. When a reader clicks on a particular word, the embedded hyperlink takes them to the new site.

To add a hyperlink is simple. Merely highlight the word or words you want to link to some where, such as my favorite blog, LAObserved.com, then click the strange planet Earth/chain link icon on the tool bar above this text (just to the right of the T). It will give you a box to write in the link. It's that easy.

HINT: Make sure you try your links to see if they worked. One wrong letter can make it invalid.

Text blocks
Many blocks excerpt the news stories they reference and link to in order to entice readers with the most salient parts. Bloggers generally note that this is a quote, and not their own words (thus avoiding plagiarism accusations) by marking it as a text block. To do that, copy and paste the text to your post, highlight it, and click the quote mark button on the tool bar above this text (just to the right of the check mark).

This is what a text bock should look like. Make sure all excerpts are in text block format or no one will be able to tell what's yours and what you borrowed.