Archive for November 2010

24, Elon-Style

November 30, 2010

Students in Dr. Glenn Scott's Reporting for the Public Good class this fall

We have our own “24” in progress in the School of Communications.

It isn’t at all like the TV show “24” where Jack Bauer had 24 hours, spanning a 24-episode season, to save humanity from destruction.

Instead, students in Reporting for the Public Good are partnering with the Burlington Times-News to produce a special section examining 24 hours in the life of Alamance County, our home.

As Times-News editor Madison Taylor describes in his column, each student will select an hour of a full day — all 24 — and profile someone or thing operating at that time. It could be anything, with one requirement: The stories better be worth reading.

By the time the editor finished describing the project, enthusiastic students already were selecting times and topics. We’ll see the results in early 2011.


At The White House

November 17, 2010

It’s the kind of brief email that a dean enjoys receiving from a former student:

Hi Dean Parsons,

I wanted to share this with you. Thanks for my Elon education. It’s taking me places. Like The White House. Here’s a link.


David Douglas (class of 2006) is a reporter at WISC-TV in Madison, Wisc., and he was at The White House covering the first Medal of Honor ceremony for a living soldier since the Vietnam War.

U.S. Army Sgt. Salvatore Giunta received the Medal of Honor from President Obama yesterday for heroic efforts to save members of his squad during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2007.

Link Rot

November 14, 2010

With so much information online, a significant problem in scholarship is “link rot” — broken URLs that prevent us from being able to go to original sources to verify information.

Out of curiosity, I conducted an experiment this weekend. Two years ago, I co-authored a book chapter on barriers to media development in Global Journalism: Topical Issues and Media Systems (Allyn & Bacon, 2009).

Our reference list included 41 electronic citations. How many of these would I still be able to access?

The answer is 34. Actually, that’s better than I had expected, having read that “link rot” can be up to 20 percent a year. Of course, many of our electronic sources are informational mainstays — Freedom House, BusinessWeek, Columbia Journalism Review, the CIA World Factbook.

But I couldn’t access seven citations. In the case of a pro-Palestinian website cited in our chapter, I specifically received an “Access Denied” message upon typing in the URL given in our book chapter.

“Link rot” is a problem for both student papers and faculty scholarship, and publishers are working to create a “persistent citation” approach that would give each source a unique string of alphanumeric code, like the ISBN number given to every book published.

I’m glad that good minds are at work to solve this problem.

Student Successes

November 1, 2010

Professor Rich Landesberg gives great advice to students: Don’t work for awards, but always do award-winning work.

It was an award-winning weekend for student media at Elon.

Phoenix14News was named the best student newscast in the Carolinas for the second straight year by the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas. Kirsten Bennett won first place for feature reporting, and Drew Smith won Student Journalist of the Year in North and South Carolina.

Phoenix14News celebrants: David Hodges, Mallory Lane, Jasmine Spencer, faculty adviser Dr. Rich Landesberg, Drew Smith, Brandon Marshall, Kirsten Bennett, Sophie Nielsen-Kolding and Eugene Daniel

And in Louisville, Ky., The Pendulum student newspaper received two national first-place awards from Associated Collegiate Press — “Best of Show” for excellence as a non-daily college newspaper and another for its fine website.

Colin Donohue with CMA president Sally Renaud

Pendulum adviser Colin Donohue received the 2010 Honor Roll Adviser Award from College Media Advisers, 2010 graduate Caroline Matthews won second place nationally in the Infographics category (a Duke student won first place), and Pendulum news editor Jack Dodson participated in a panel on international opportunities for collegiate journalists.

A few weeks earlier, three of our 2010 alumni received national first-place Mark of Excellence Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists at its national convention in Las Vegas. Morgan Little won the national Online Opinion & Commentary competition for three staff editorials he wrote for the Pendulum Online, and Randy Gyllenhaal and Drake Springer won the national General News Reporting competition for a piece they produced for Phoenix14News. More than 3,600 entries were submitted in the SPJ competitions nationwide.

We’re proud of our students doing award-winning work.