MCom 100w

Writing Workshop

Convo typos

Imagine my dismay to see so many AP style and other errors in the JMC spring 2014 convocation packet. Oh dear. Apparently they didn’t pay attention to these kinds of things in JOUR 61, MCOM 100W, or PR 190.

But you can benefit from their carelessness by identifying and correcting their errors. I’ll add 2 extra credit points to your grade if you add a comment to this blog post that identifies and corrects one of their errors.

One correction per person, please, so several of you can share the “wealth.”

JMC convocation Good job! Thanks to all who suggested corrections.


CCMA highlights

14095_110434648992550_4289460_nYou may already have heard that some of your classmates who toil away at the Spartan Daily were recently honored for their work at the California College Media Association’s annual awards banquet in San Diego.

Spartan Daily staffers received nine CCMA awards, including:

  • Stephanie Wong and Christiana Cobb shared the first place award for Best Special Section for putting together the Daily‘s food issue
  • Raphael Kluzniok took two awards — first place for Best Sports Photo and third place for Best News Photo
  • Codi Mills won two awards — a second place for Best Photo Series and third place for Best Sports Photo
  • Carolyn Seng took second place for Best Features Photo
  • Leeta-Rose Ballester was honored for her story on a family of farm workers

Keynote CCMA speaker was Margaret Sullivan of the New York Times. She recently posted a column, “Lodestars in a murky media world,” based on her CCMA presentation and some of the discussions she had with those in attendance. In it, she talks about the changing media landscape and what it means for recent grads and current journalism majors. She also highlights the journalistic values she thinks will remain important for the next generation of journalists. Check it out.

Some questions have no answers

If you want to read a hella good long-form story, check out “The Reckoning” in The New Yorker.

This story focuses on Peter Lanza, the father of the Sandy Hook Elementary School killer, as he tries to make sense of how his son came to commit mass murder … without anyone seeing that coming. I found this story to be both chilling and gripping.

The author, Andrew Solomon, is a writer and lecturer on psychology, politics, and the arts, and an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, and the arts. He won a National Book Award for “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression.”

Interviewing tips

When we talked about interviewing, I used to show a Pew Center for Civic Journalism videotape on conducting better interviews. It’s titled “Interviewing: New Questions, Better Stories.” Now you can find it online on Vimeo at

TBoxlogoThis video demonstrates how you can develop more complete and accurate stories by asking better questions and by listening for patterns of thought, instead of just listening for good quotes. And it suggests one general type of question that you can use to improve almost any interview.

Frankly, I wish someone had taught me this stuff back when I was working as a reporter. Check it out.

Some schedule changes

I just realized that I need to push back the due date for your Classmate Profile from April 2 (our first day back from spring break, because of Cesar Chavez Day) to Wednesday, April 9. That will give you time to talk again with the person you interviewed, just in case you realize over spring break that you need some additional information.

That change led to a couple of other changes — a ripple effect, you might say. So now your scholarly journal article summary #2 is due April 14 instead of April 9, and your blog post #8 – IMHO (In My Humble Opinion) is now due April 16 instead of April 14.

These changes are noted in orange on the class schedule.

Music anyone?

Just for fun … you might want to check out this recent blog post on Music Machinery on regional music preferences.

bonoboAccording to this blogger’s calculations, the signature artist for California is Bonobo. Clearly, I am out of the loop because I had no idea who this is. Well, now I know Bonobo is Simon Green, and his music is an interesting combo of electronica and DJ-ing … sometimes with live bands.

However, I had to admit that blogger Paul Lamere’s pick for my home state of New Hampshire seems to be on target, at least in light of my brothers’ music preferences. (My sister would not agree on this band … but, hey, I figure 2 out of 3 isn’t bad.)

Job fair

Now that you’ve tuned up your resumes, you might want to head over to the campus Job Fair this Thursday, March 6.

The event, sponsored by the SJSU Career Center, will bring more than 100 employers to campus Thursday afternoon to discuss potential jobs and internships with students.

More than a third of the employers are offering internships … so this could be a great way to kickstart that internship hunt, or to get a lead on that first job after graduation. job fair

Ironic errors

One of my favorite Copy Edit the World entries to date is from Karen Roman (s. 2). She found an ironic error in an Associated Students job application.

Spamalot promo I also got a kick out of this “spammy” entry from Geremy Magbanua (s. 2). Perhaps the menu writer had just seen Spamalot.

I am also curious to find out how someone might “mince beer,” as suggested by this menu item, spotted by Jeffrey Fong (s. 2).



vargas posterJose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker, has chosen San Jose State as the venue for the West Coast debut of his new documentary, Documented.

The film, which focuses on Vargas’ life as an undocumented person and puts a personal face on the immigration issue, will be shown at 6 p.m., Monday, March 10, in Morris Daley Auditorium.

Following the screening, JMC Director Bob Rucker will present Vargas with the 2014 William Randolph Hearst Award.

Rucker and SJSU Journalism Professor and Bay Area TV news legend Lloyd La Cuesta will also lead an audience discussion about the film, inviting people to share their own immigration stories. Bay Area community groups involved with immigration have been invited to join the campus community and share their personal experiences.

Vargas will also spent the day on campus visiting JMC classes and talking with JMC students and faculty.

A former reporter for the Washington Post, Vargas is the founder of Define American, a campaign that seeks to change the conversation on immigration reform here in America.

Typo time

This is my favorite recent Copy Edit the World example, found in my local daily newspaper.

typo 1

Can you spot the error in these two? They’re a little less obvious. Leave your suggested corrections in the comment section of this blog post. Each correct answer is worth 2 points extra credit to the first people who get them right. (One per person, please.)

typo 2  typo3

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