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Hesperia Star: Follow your dreams

When Peter Day and Beau Yarbrough of the Hesperia Star addressed my J314: Online Journalism class last May, they were frank in explaining how they just tried online and social media tools to see if they’d work, and worried about the consequences later. We all laughed when they said they’d get chastised for using Twitter one week and then corporate encouraged them to do the exact thing that got them in trouble the next.

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Mac freeware for journalists: Google Voice lets you chuck the rolodex

At first glance, I thought GoogleVoice was Google’s way to steal someone’s good idea. Unlike GoogleWave, however, Voice is useful, unobtrusive, and perfect for people like me who think the Web’s the best Rolodex. Whenever I want to make a call now, I just Google the person and click on the blue phone number that appears. I even Googled my own house the other day.

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Brian Williams must recognize citizen journalism to connect

I don’t want to see Brian Williams saying the pros no longer have jobs. I just want to see him give the audience a bit more credit. He seems to get other aspects of the new journalism, such as when he encouraged his audience to DVR his newscasts or when he made appearances on SNL and 30 Rock.

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YouTube handles copyright smartly, legally

I thought I’d have one of those great teachable moments with my summer newswriting class when one student used a Lil Wayne song as background music on her final project and tried to upload it to YouTube. I just didn’t know that I’d be learning the lesson or that I’d have an example of an organization that gets the Internet to share on my blog.

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A future of news ‘kickers’? It’s likely Fwix CEO says

No matter how busy I get (and I’ve been pretty swamped lately), I always try to find time to read mindless fiction. My wife recommended the book I just finished, Extras by Scott Westerfeld, because she said it’s basically about journalists. After reading it and hearing an online news wunkerkind speak to one of my classes, I won’t just agree. I say it’s prophetic.

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Studios, ISPs push users toward illegal downloads

It’s hard to justify illegal behavior. I’m sure that those who download movies know deep down what they are doing is wrong. But strong-arm tactics like these predatory subpeonas coupled with unrealistic prices and draconian controls on how you can use a movie once you buy it push some people over the edge. The only way companies learn sometimes is when people stick it to them. I’m grateful for an organization like the EFF that understands and is willing to fight. I’m also considering switching to Time Warner because at least their not allowing the movie industry to punish me for something they sold me in the first place.

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Alicia Keys doesn’t need a blogger; She just needs her fans

The best bloggers, I think, don’t really set out to make money or work for a celebrity or corporation. They do it to express themselves, and trying to shoehorn someone into a blogging position through an online job search board won’t really work. If Keys and her team were smart, they’d save a ton of money and develop a better site by opening it up to user-generated content.

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Coverville show Idols how to sing someone else’s song

After listening to Brian Ibbott’s Coverville for a couple of weeks now, I’m starting to get it. In fact, I think Coverville should be required listeners for all American Idol wannabes. I’m continually astounded how much I enjoy listening to covers of songs I wouldn’t have listened to originally. After Coverville’s BeeGees Cover Story, I nearly bought the band’s early albums from iTunes. I also couldn’t get Eldissa’s cover of Stayin’ Alive out of my head.

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Seek authenticity in TV, journalism contrived moments

Instead of taking the easy titillating route, journalists and TV producers need to understand what allows someone like Harris to resist the allure of Hollywood to remain the character he is. He’s a fisherman pure and simple. The best journalists are the same. No, they’re not fisherman, but they are information providers. They aren’t in it for the money, the fame, the platform. They do it because they want to help us all understand ourselves better. I hope I can teach a little of that to the next generation of journalists at Ohio University.

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For Sunday: Connecting with retro kids

I wasn’t in a great mood on the way to church this morning. We were running late. Merilee stayed home with the baby, so I had the other three in the back of the Volkswagen, and they were fighting as usual. I made a simple and rather gruff suggestion that they sing a song or something, thinking that would shut them up. Instead, the songs they chose made me realize the best part of being a dad. I get to introduce my children to some of the interesting things the world has to offer.

I can’t tell you how much it softened my heart when all three kids, including Alex, who’s not even two yet started, belting out “Dougy Giro,” a rather obscure old ditty that my friend Scott Richard got me hooked on in 10th grade. I just have to add the lyrics here so Lincoln can find them later. When you really look at it, it’s quite a heart-warming tale.

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