I slowly become a citizen journalist?

students bask in the sun on Parrish Beach

My column in the Phoenix today, “Lowering the price barriers to education,” would have been a lot better if it could have had hyperlinks in it 😛 Sigh… I’ll always be a blogger at heart. One link that should have been included is the Swat Book Buyback program, an attempt at starting a Swarthmore-specific website for selling and trading books with each other. Sadly, nobody has heard of it, and it doesn’t seem to be getting much traffic… hopefully people will actually start using it, if it actually works. Most people I talked to just used Half.com, which is an eBay project, and not Swarthmore-specific. Does the Phoenix have a linking policy? I feel like there should be more links in the online versions of their articles, but I can understand how this would cause editorial headaches.

I also began contributing to the Daily Gazette’s “photo of the day”… the picture you see in this post is my first submission (which was accepted).

10 thoughts on “I slowly become a citizen journalist?

  1. The thing about being a print publication is that there are issues of unfairness when giving the online readers lots of features the print readers lack — especially when, in theory, you *want* people to prefer the print edition because all your ad and subscription revenue comes from print (and you spend a hell of a lot more time prettifying the print edition than the online).

    Also, yes, it’s a headache dealing with links when they have a tendency to be volatile and to breed complaints when they suddenly go dead, sometimes surprisingly quickly after they’re put up. This doesn’t stop people from using URLs (as opposed to links) in their articles, but in general a newspaper should be distinct from a blog in that it treats itself as a primary source and tries to include as much information as possible in its own text — once you get bloggy, it becomes very easy to save time by linking rather than paraphrasing, and the author’s own voice starts to fade into the background.

    • This makes me feel like there should be some Swarthmore news site with more ambitions in the realm of multimedia and the internet. However, it seems unlikely that the Daily Gazette will expand beyond its current limited format, which doesn’t really include hyperlinks or multimedia, and the Phoenix is, as you say, a print publication. Can you see any way to develop a more internet-savvy Swarthmore news site? The Daily Gazette accepts photo submissions, but is it at all likely that they could in the future accept audio or video submissions? Such a thing would integrate well with our idea for a Swarthmore-based media server, if it were to happen with either the Daily Gazette or the Phoenix or some new news organization.

  2. the problem at RU is that we have multiple book swap sites. = some public interest group ought to flyer up your campus with information regarding that, or write a letter to your editor about it. if you can get published by the big guys, i’m sure they’ll run you.

  3. I’ve sold nearly all of my myriad Intro Education books through the site, but I did notice that not many other people were selling stuff.

    Out of curiosity, how does one contribute to Photo of the Day?

    • Basically, you e-mail your photos to Charlie Buffie, the photo editor, and he selects the best recent submissions and uses them.

  4. ::cries::

    The sky here (China, pearl river delta — near Hong Kong) is yellow, never blue. The air is dirty. It’s getting hot and @^@#$@# Humid and the mosquitos are our in droves (and this is only the beginning). Enjoy your clean skies and the beautiful Swarthmore Spring.

  5. hello, it’s katharine, an ’09er.. i was at ride the tide, and, more specifically, the freeculture meeting.. friend me back?

    • Hey Katharine, it’s good to hear from you! However, I have some rules for friending people in place in order to try to reduce the number of people on my friends list and thereby hopefully reducing the amount of time I blow on Livejournal.

      One of them is that I’m not friending any more people who don’t attempt to capitalize or punctuate properly in their Livejournals. I already have enough people on my friends’ list who engage in this somewhat annoying behavior.

      I feel that abandoning punctuation and capitalization is acceptable in chat rooms or IMs, where the point is to type quickly rather than well. On the other hand, reading a large chunk of uncapitalized, unpunctuated text in one huge paragraph is painful. Many of your posts look like they would be interesting to read, but I look at the long unbroken page-long paragraphs of text, and I lose all desire to read them.

      Line breaks and paragraphs are important, periods are important, it makes text easier to read… there is a reason for the rules of writing that we learned in grade school, and a balance has to be struck between informality and readability. I also believe that more care should be taken with text that is permanently on a web page rather than in an ephemeral IM.

      If you promise to make your LJ easier to read in the future, I will friend you back, but otherwise you will have to remain unfriended.

      • Haha, touche! As a courtesy, I am writing more properly here. I can make no promises about my journal though; writing in that manner helps me get my ideas out quickly without feeling bound by the traditional binds of organization. I even usually do “freewrites” for formal papers in that style first, the way that some people might do a web/brainstorm outline. I organize it later. However, no hard feelings if you wish not to friend my journal as a result. I’ll file the critique away in my brain though so that I can be more aware of that qualm; there may be others who feel the same way but haven’t spoken up about it.


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