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I'm an assistant professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where I teach and research how news sites can better reach their audiences. I received my Ph.D. from the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri where I was one of the founding editors of MyMissourian.com, a citizen journalism site for Columbia, Mo. Before graduate school, I worked as a community newspaper editor in Southern Utah and Southern California.

iTunes hacks, OU experiment, MU Direct summer class

I finally got around to watching Julie and Julia the other night, and I’m inspired to be a better blogger. I recognized the sense of accomplishment Ms. Powell must have had from the time that I completed a NaBloPoMo contest last December. I also understood how she developed an audience, even if I haven’t been very good at it. By her example then, here are a couple of quick bullet points to catch up:

  • iTunes account hacked: The headline says it all. I’m still on the hook for about $60 in iTunes store purchases from someone who got a hold of my iTunes account information and downloaded about a dozen apps. I’m glad I caught it so quickly because most of the victims are on the hook for a lot more, according to a post on Mashable. At first, I blamed it on my children. As soon as I get home from work, they fight over the iPad, and I made the mistake of saving my iTunes login. Alex especially loves to hit the big purple “App Store” button. But when I couldn’t find any of the purchased games on my device, I knew something was up.

I’m still working to resolve the situation with my credit card company, but I have to say, I’m sorely disappointed in Apple’s customer service. As soon as I noticed the breach, I called iTunes. The lovely young woman on the phone was sympathetic and directed me to a form on the iTunes website where I could write up my complaint. No, that’s not a typo. A live customer service representative directed me to e-mail Apple my concern.

The biggest issue with this stupid setup, however, is that despite a promise someone will contact you within 24 hours, NO ONE EVER DOES. I sent at least five messages using the stupid form and never heard word one. I know they received the messages because Apple promptly disabled my account, preventing me from even downloading the available updates for my apps. But it took a call to the iPad technical support number to resolve the issue. That representative couldn’t have been nicer. He actually waited on the phone with me while we were stuck in the iTunes customer service queue.

I’m glad I got it resolved, and I’m not too worried about getting my money back from the credit card company. I’m just disappointed with Apple on this process. It’s got to be pretty obvious to them that these applications aren’t on any of the devices associated with my account. You’d think they’d just be able to credit and refund them. However, their solution is to let the credit card companies deal with it.

  • One of the things that has kept me away from the blog are the summer classes I’m teaching. I’ve returned for the fourth and probably last time to MU Direct to teach J8108: News Writing for the High School Journalism Advisor. I’ve always tried to expand participants’ minds about the potential the Internet offers to high school publications, and normally, I’m frightened by their narrow mindedness. This is the class where a handful of students nearly reported me for suggesting a high school newspaper should start a Facebook site because Facebook is where all the predators hang out.

This summer, though, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. High School instructors, at least this crop, are beginning to understand. I even had say this:

“I think if schools would not block social media and the Internet as much and teach how to use the Internet and social media as tools for education, research and finding reliable news sources then students would be more interested in news.”

I couldn’t agree more. If you interested in some of the curriculum, check out my weekly YouTube videos to the class. There’s some housekeeping, but I think the journalism tidbits I thrown in are worth seeing.

  • For my in-person news writing class at Ohio University this summer, I created a simple WordPress page on this site. All but one of the students this summer are English or integrated language arts students who have no previous publishing experience. I thought this site would be good for them to feel what it’s like working on a deadline. They are required to submit one story a week with at least one online element (audio clip, short video, photo slideshow). I’m also using them as guinea pigs to see if something similar would work on a larger scale. My opinion’s still out on that, but I’m gratified by the results so far. Check back tomorrow for a collection of short personality profiles.

PhotoCredit: My son Alex, who’s just about two and a half, loves playing Talking Carl on my iPad the most.

2 Responses to “iTunes hacks, OU experiment, MU Direct summer class”

  1. Hey Hans! My beloved high school newspaper the Tiger Tribune is where I discovered my love of journalism and print. Unloading the boxes of papers and toting the full wire racks was one of my favorite things to do. It was nice to have such a tangible, physical output of our efforts. However, since I’ve been a Mizzou they’ve gone online only, a move which I suspect actually hurts the number of students at the HS who read it. But, the district is supposed to be issuing laptops to students soon in an attempt to go somewhat paperless, and a link to the newspaper is supposed to be one of the first things students will see. It’s an interesting concept. Hope all is well!



    July 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm
  2. Hans #

    Thanks for the comment Taylor. I remember the days of waiting for the paper to come out well. It was so exciting to see people reading my stories in the halls. It was also heart wrenching to see the newspaper on the floor.
    However, I’m glad to hear at least one school is helping students how to properly use the Web for news rather than just blocking them from supposedly suspect sites.
    I’m doing well, BTW. I love your site. It looks great!

    July 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm

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