Thursday, April 29, 2010

National Geographic Photo Editor to Speak at Knox College

Senior photo editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine and Galesburg native Dan Westergren, will present a talk, “The Last Degree,” at 7 p.m. Friday, April 30 in the Round Room, Ford Center for the Fine Arts, Knox College in Galesburg. The talk is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Second issue of Western Illinois Magazine now available

Western Illinois University journalism students have produced the second issue of "Western Illinois" magazine, a new publication showcasing interesting people, places and things in western Illinois.

The free publication, available in Western Courier newspaper racks on the WIU Macomb campus and in various locations in Macomb, Galesburg and Springfield, includes a cover feature on the history and legends surrounding the abandoned Illinois State Asylum for the Incurable Insane in Bartonville, near Peoria.

Other features in the issue include a look at the 1970s “Forgottonia” tongue-in-cheek political movement, which encouraged people in western Illinois to secede from the rest of the state, as well as the bizarre story of the Macomb poltergeist, a real-life firestarter. The issue offers a profile of Western Illinois University quarterback Matt Barr, and spotlights the unique shopping opportunities found on Galesburg's historic Seminary Street.

Additionally, the issue includes articles on: Lisa Welch, Macomb’s "Rug Lady"; Colchester's Bill Combs, a retired WIU professor who collects antique tractors; a kid's eye view of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield; a profile of comic book writer and WIU alum Chris Ward of Springfield; and other topics.

"Western Illinois is probably one of the least exposed parts of the state, so we’ve found there are plenty of stories out there just waiting to be told," said Alyse Thompson, a WIU sophomore journalism major from West Chicago (IL), and editor in chief of the magazine.

The student-run magazine is produced once each semester. Advisers include veteran Illinois journalist and WIU journalism professor Bill Knight and Rich Moreno, director of student publications at WIU and a former magazine publisher.

To receive a free copy, send your name and address to

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bloggers help expose Israeli censorship

Bloggers and independent journalists somewhat apart from the pressures of the mainstream press were key in exposing a scandal wherein Israel's government placed a reporter's alleged source under secret house arrest for months, placed a gag order on on Israel's news media about the arrest, and even imposed a gag order on the existence of the first gag order, according to the Jewish Daily Forward.

The Forward summarized how the incident finally came to light when bloggers not only stood up to Israeli threats, but posted material despite pleas from the supposed source, Anat Kam, who feared for her future if her imprisonment became known.

The government reaction stemmed from leaked documents apparently showing that Israel's Defense Forces defied Israel's Supreme Court and targeted unarmed Palestinian militants for assassination.

After the first few stories about the story went online, other news media broke the story: the Associated Press, the Guardian, the Independent, Israel's JTA news service, the Times of London and the Washington Post.

Reporter Lisa Goldman recapped the scandal in the Forward.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NYT shares morning meetings with world

Journalism students, much less news consumers, will be interested in the New York Times' latest web feature: scenes from the newspaper's regular morning budget meeting.

That's where editors pitch stories, update colleagues on works-in-progess, and generally plan the next day's editions -- and ongoing web updates.

Reporter Clark Hoyt also did a nice behind-the-scenes overview of some of the unintended consequences of the new feature --

Saturday, April 10, 2010

iPads offer hope to print: 2 blogs

Two insightful posts from Alan Mutter (Newsosaur) and Susan Moeller (Huffington Post) are optimistic about what Apple's new iPad can offer to journalists and to operations depending on print.

"Fortunately, print publishers have a distinct edge over their digitally indigenous competitors in the race for tablet supremacy, because they have a depth of content that will work to great advantage on tablets," writes Mutter, a long-time newspaperman who once was Chicago Sun-Times editor.

"The strength of print is that it enables deep and subtle exploration of a subject," he contnued. "The [iPad] tablet combines the strengths of print, web and mobile into a satisfying -– and, yes, transformational –- experience."

Mutter expressed disappointment with most newspaper and magazine applications, however.

"Publishers who want to take full advantage of the iPad will have to do better by creating content that is media-rich, interactive, viral, transactional and mobile," Mutter said. "In other words, this is no time to cut corners."

On Huffington Post Moeller compares classic, decent journalism to traditional, nutritious food and sees parallels between the "slow food" movement and "slow journalism -- valuing content over speed."

She writes that "the iPad's capabilities align neatly with this agenda."