Sunday, April 29, 2007

My friend Terry Nelson says it all...


About that sad scenario at Woodlan High School in Indiana--concerning a journalism adviser who has taken a lot of heat, and now has been transferred to another school, apparently, because of a student written newspaper column (on tolerance toward gays): Here's what my good friend Terry Nelson wrote and had published (a few days ago) in the Fort Wayne, Indiana, newspaper.

Right on, Terry!

I was a stranger in a strange land.

“You’ll be teaching the students from 9 until 5 each day,” Luba, the Slovak
administrator, whispered to me.

“Will I have an interpreter with me all day?” I whispered back.

“Yes, and he will help translate any handouts you want to use,” Luba said.

As I leaned in to catch the quiet conversation, I looked around the public
restaurant and heard women laughing, dishes clinking, doors opening and
closing. Why were we whispering in a public place?

Luba explained to me this was an old habit from the time her country was
under the Communist regime. She told me that you could not speak freely
during that time; that you could not trust anyone -- not even the person
drinking coffee next to you. It was ironic we were still whispering as I
was there to teach freedom of speech and fact-based journalism to the high
school students now that the country was under a different, political

My Slovak students were so excited that summer. They were empowered to use
their lessons in communications to write stories of consequence and
interest to other teens. They researched their topics tirelessly and ran
down various individual news makers and experts for information and
quotations -- even the president of the Republic, whom they found in the
stands of a tennis match.

They became better informed, more engaged in their education and in their
country, and they realized that they could make a difference in their world
through the study of journalism. They were active, involved citizens of the
Slovak Republic.

Freedoms we treat so casually, the freedoms of speech and press, were
enthusiastically embraced by a group of teenagers halfway across the globe
to whom this freedom had only recently been made available.

Fast forward a half dozen years to Woodlan High School and the conflict
between the Board of Education and the high school’s newspaper staff. I’m
sure the principal meant well when he said he was disturbed after reading
an editorial regarding better treatment of students who believed they were
homosexual. After all, he is the administrator in charge of the high school
nd answerable to the community. I’m sure the adviser was sincere when she
said she never thought the column’s topic would upset the principal or the
school’s leadership. After all, she has been trained in journalism
education and is responsible for the protection of the students’ First
Amendment rights. Most importantly, I’m sure the student writer was earnest
in her positive message of respect for all students at school -- regardless
of their sexual orientation. After all, what other message would anyone in
the Woodlan school district expect?

In most other school districts, this student column would not have caused
the brouhaha and carnival that has erupted as a result of several knee jerk
reactions -- perhaps from fear of a perceived negative public reaction to
the column’s content or the school board’s need to extert control over all
players under their “regime.”

As one school board member remarked recently, “This is a school board
meeting, you can’t talk about free speech here.”

I mean, come on now.

Underneath the hastily-concocted restrictive publication policy, the
punitive administrative leave for the teacher and now a recommendation for
her termination, there is much at stake: a public school system’s
integrity, a young teacher’s livelihood and most importantly, the lesson
being taught to all students of Woodlan High School that you are not
American citizens, your opinions do not matter and you should not expect to
be treated with respect.

The conflict at Woodlan High School has an eerie feel of deja’vu for me.
As a journalism educator myself, I experienced a similar situation nearly
30 years ago when I was fired for supporting the students and their First
Amendment rights. I too was not yet tenured. I too was considered
insubordinate for not following an “order” that I felt would be unethical.
Following 21 hours of an open hearing over a period of four days, my school
board met privately -- in violation of Indiana’s Sunshine Code -- to decide
how they were going to vote in front of the public and media. So they
offered me a deal: Drop the lawsuit I had filed charging the administrator
with censorship of the student publication and I would keep my job. When I
sked if the principal would stop punishing the students who also wrote
letters to the editor or who commented on anything perceived by the
administration to be negative, the response was that the school board
backed the principal in whatever methods he used.

I said, “No deal.”

Enraged that a young teacher would turn down their offer, the board marched
in and voted 4-1 to support the principal and superintendent in their
recommendation of my firing. That summer, the school board reconsidered
after realizing the legal problems ahead, reversed their decision and
publicly reaffirmed freedom of speech and press for all students of
Yorktown High School.

It was a long, difficult year, but the conflict and the overturned
recommendation for my removal was a moral victory for the school system’s
students and an education on the First Amendment for the community members
of the small town.

I returned to teaching journalism and advising publications and am now
concluding my 31st year of teaching students about their rights and the
responsibilities to research, report, problem solve and tell the truth. I
try to impress on them that they must have knowledge and ownership in their
communities and in their world. Students have read the books of what
happens when citizens fall asleep: George Orwell’s 1984; Fahrenheit 451;
The Communist Manifesto.

Former students call to tell me they serve on their city’s councils and on
various committees. They volunteer for not-for profit organizations and
other humanistic causes. They are empowered as a result of their
publications experience in high school, and continue in their civic
undertakings now as adults. Exercising First Amendment rights and
responsibilities through the school’s publications is the best civics
lesson that can ever be offered in a school’s curriculum.

I’ve read that early Christians sacrificed their lives to get the word of
Jesus Christ out to the dismay of King Herod. I’m sure King George wasn’t
happy about the pamphlets advocating the dumping of tea in the Boston
Harbor. And the unpopular notion of freeing the slaves probably distressed
more than one plantation owner prior to the Civil War.

Speaking out about injustices, inadequacies and unpopular ideas is part of
our history. And part of the reason why problems get solved and unfair
practices revealed.

The East Allen County school district has an important decision to make
that hangs in a delicate balance. Will they model “bullying” and discharge
a young teacher who supported her student for writing a mature and
responsible column over a controversial subject? Or will they step back and
realize that true education involves an element of risk and trust in their
teachers and students to discuss a variety of subjects in the school

Now that’s something to shout about.

Terry Nelson
Journalism Teacher and Publication Adviser
Muncie Central High School, Muncie, IN
2001 Dow Jones National Journalism Teacher of the Year

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Fort Wayne, Ind., newspaper responds


The newspaper in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has an on-target editorial concerning the brouhaha Amy S. finds herself in. (See my earlier blog today AND see my April 24 post for background info.

My whole take on this mess in Indiana is that this particular school administration defines the First Amendment as "you're free to publish anything we agree with."

Sadly, too many school administrators throughout the U.S. have the same sentiment.

Click on the link above to read the editorial defending the teacher and blasting the school administration.

My friend Terry Nelson sent me this link. Thanks, Terry!

School superintendent grasps for straws...


A few days ago, (See my April 24 post, I believe) I blogged about an embattled (barely hanging onto her job) high school journalism teacher/adviser in Indiana.

My good friend, Terry Nelson--former Dow Jones High School Journalism Teacher of the year for the entire United States (yes, you all, she knows her stuff about the First Amendment and how to do dance with journalism at the high school level), this morning sent me the following school superintendent's response to the hullabaloo. Terry definitely gets up early on Saturday a.m. when she's wrankled about something!

And who can blame her?

Here, courtesy of Terry's e-mail to me, is what the school superintendent wrote:

EACS Statement Re: Recent Events
>Dr. M. Kay Novotny, Superintendent
>(April 27, 2007)
>It is a sad day for this nation, and the free society we live in, when
>public school administrators are chastised and ridiculed for taking
>actions that the United States Supreme Court recognized nearly twenty
>years age were permitted under that Court's interpretation of the First
>Amendment of the United States Constitution. It is equally disappointing
>when professional journalists, in their eagerness to sensationalize a
>story, ignore facts inconsistent with the journalists' "theme" for a
>story. East Allen County Schools, and several of its senior
>administrators, have been the victims, over the past three months, of
>just such an experience.
>Through no fault of EACS, or its senior administrators, a routine
>personnel matter has taken on a much larger existence. That routine
>personnel matter has now been concluded with the uncontested written
>reprimand and temporary unpaid suspension of EACS journalism teacher,
>Amy Sorrell, for neglect of duty and insubordination. Yet, during the
>time period this routine personnel matter has been pending, East Allen
>County Schools administrators have been accused of both intolerance and
>"waging a war against the First Amendment." Neither accusation has any
>basis in law or in fact.
>First, as part of the settlement agreement of this personnel matter,
>Mrs. Sorrell has issued a statement which recites: "None of the actions
>I have taken or comments I have made from January 23, 2007 through April
>25, 2007 were intended to suggest that the administrators of Woodlan
>Junior-Senior High School have been motivated by intolerance towards
>homosexuality. To the extent that any other person has interpreted my
>comments or actions as so suggesting, I apologize." East Allen County
>Schools senior administrators have accepted Mrs. Sorrell's apology and
>assume that her statement of apology was sincere and heartfelt and not
>some shallow, insincere statement made, with her fingers crossed behind
>her back, in order to save her job. Although Mrs. Sorrell's apology is
>the first one received, it should not be the last apology East Allen
>County Schools, and its administrators, should receive on this matter.
>Second, as part of the settlement agreement of this personnel matter,
>Mrs. Sorrell has made the belated acknowledgement that "EACS
>administrators have the right and duty to regulate the publication of
>school-sponsored publications, including establishing a uniform
>statement of editorial policy for all school-sponsored publications" and
>"SACS administrators may review all or part of any school-sponsored
>publication prior to its publication in order to satisfy this
>obligation, and that the mere existence of prior review does not imply
>intolerance on the part of the administration." Had Mrs. Sorrell
>displayed this "new-found" wisdom earlier, there would have been no
>personnel matter to precipitate this recent controversy. In contrast to
>the initial position taken by Mrs. Sorrell, the District-approved
>school-sponsored publications policy has been adopted and published in
>the school-sponsored newspapers of the other four EACS high schools.
>EACS officials have heard from a great number of individuals, on this
>matter, during the course of the past few months. Sadly, a significant
>majority of the comments received have been rude and disgusting
>character assassinations that could lead one to conclude that many who
>preach tolerance and observation of First Amendment protections do so
>only to provide themselves a forum and a protection for their own
>foul-mouthed commentary.
>Of greater concern are the comments received, and the editorial opinions
>expressed, that claim to come from First Amendment "scholars" and
>"fans." While there is certainly room for debate as to the meaning and
>application of any amendment to the United States Constitution, there
>should be no basis to accuse a public official of unconstitutional or
>illegal conduct when the public official's conduct is consistent with
>prior judicial interpretations of the constitutional provision in
>question. In this instance, not a single critic of EACS, or its senior
>administrators, called to the public's attention a recent 7th Circuit
>Court of Appeals decision that squarely addressed the parameters of the
>First Amendment rights of public school teachers. In Mayer v. Monroe
>County Community School Corporation, 474 F.3d 477 (7th Cir. 2007), that
>Court reaffirmed an earlier position it had taken in 1990 "that
>public-school teachers must hew to the approach prescribed by principals
>(and others higher up in the chain of authority)" and that public school
>teachers did not have a constitutional right to introduce their own
>views on a subject "but must stick to the prescribed curriculum--not
>only the prescribed subject matter, but also the prescribed perspective
>on that subject matter." As Judge Easterbrook, the Mayer opinion's
>author noted: "A teacher hired to lead a social-studies class can't use
>it as a platform for a revisionist perspective that Benedict Arnold
>wasn't really a traitor, when the approved program calls him one; a high
>school teacher hired to explicate Moby-Dick in a literature class can't
>use Cry, The Beloved Country instead, even if Paton's book better suits
>the instructor's style and point of view; a math teacher can't decide
>that calculus is more important than trigonometry and decide to let
>Hipparchus and Ptolemy slide in favor of Newton and Leibniz." There is
>no exemption from this well-settled rule of law stated in the text, or
>any footnote, of the Mayer opinion for public school journalism
>The journalism class Mrs. Sorrell was assigned to teach at Woodlan
>Junior-Senior High is described in the EACS secondary course catalog as
>"Student Publications (LA1160)." That course is a designated school
>newspaper or yearbook course and meets the State of Indiana requirements
>for such a course. The course, according to the catalog, "offers
>practical training in publishing the school newspaper and yearbook."
>Even the course syllabus authored by Mrs. Sorrell identified the course
>objective to be "to produce a quality newspaper for Woodlan High School
>within the budget of the Tomahawk staff." Once a decision was made,
>regardless of who made it, to discontinue publication of the newspaper
>for whatever reason, there was no academic basis to continue the-class
>under some alternative, self-selected curriculum. Once Mrs. Sorrell was
>removed, the course, with eight of ten students remaining in the class,
>returned to its stated purpose and is once again publishing a
>school-sponsored newspaper.
>EACS has appreciated the public statements from professional journalists
>who have recognized the soundness of the District's position throughout
>this matter. For example, the editorial staff of the Indianapolis Star,
>in its April 22, 2007 "Voices" section, noted that "the [Woodlan]
>principal seems to be on solid legal ground in limiting content." And
>apparently, according to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Steve Key,
>counsel for governmental affairs at the Hoosier State Press Association,
>confirmed that, under United States Supreme Court precedent, school
>administrators can serve as "publishers" of school-sponsored student
>publications. Locally, veteran News-Sentinel columnist, Kevin Leininger,
>recognized that EACS had legitimate reasons to be concerned about
>portions of the original student article that appeared to question or
>criticize some people's religious faith.
>Mr. Leininger also noted: "The principal is, in effect, the publisher--
>and has the legal authority and obligation to review content when deemed
>The most difficult question to answer is why, with the strong evidence
>of multiple episodes of misconduct marshaled against Mrs. Sorrell, is
>she being allowed to teach next year at an EACS secondary school? The
>answer to that question has the potential to have multiple parts. But
>the central core of any answer would be compassion. EACS senior
>administrators have been able to set aside their frustrations with the
>"spin" applied to this situation to give Amy Sorrell a second chance to
>prove, despite her relative youth and obvious inexperience, that she can
>make as great a positive mark on EACS education as the administrators
>whose reputations her comments and actions have helped tarnish. Just
>last year Woodlan Principal, Dr. Ed Yoder, was Indiana's middle school
>principal of the year. And Assistant Superintendent Dr. Andy Melin was
>recently named Superintendent of Peru Community Schools. Both
>individuals have made significant contributions to the education of EACS
>students over many years. Neither deserved to be falsely and wrongfully
>accused of intolerance or "waging a war against the First Amendment."
>In the end, it would appear that EACS and its senior administrators are
>more tolerant and more knowledgeable about the First Amendment than
>their critics.

Friday, April 27, 2007

News Editing (MCOM 333) makeup assignment


Makeup assignment to replace one or more zeroes you have in News Editing MCOM 333:

1. This assignment is due at the start of our final exam. Must have it printed out and ready to submit to me at the start of our exam.

2. Length is about 3-3.5 pages, typed, double spaced.

3. Criteria for assessment: A) How well you followed the assignment directions. B) Quality of your writing, including mechanical perfection in spelling, grammar, word choice, punctuation and sentence structure. C) Attention to correct graph structure—no more than 3-4 sentences to a graph. D) Extent of critical thinking in your analysis, especially how well or appropriately you applied/cited key principles, concepts and guiding ideas in our course.

4. Directions: Obtain (from the Mass Comm. Dept. Resource Room—219 Johnson) a recent edition of ONE of the following newspapers:

Chester News & Reporter

Lancaster News

Fort Mill Times

Daniel Island News

Wall Street Journal

(Or you can obtain a recent edition of The (Rock Hill) Herald from a nearby news rack.)

Closely examine the newspaper you are focusing on. Evaluate the quality of writing and/or editing in its headlines, cutlines and sampling of key stories. Be sure to make a connection between your selected newspaper and what you learned in our course and/or from our textbook in writing your evaluation. In addition, comment on the design and packaging of key elements/pages of your selected publication. Good design? Bad or poor design? Areas for improvement? Explain.

IMPORTANT: Get a big brown envelope from Jamie Low (in 219 Johnson) or from someone else, and include this makeup work in the envelope, along with your selected newspaper. Put everything in the envelope and put your name on the outside of it. Give it to me at the start of our final exam.

This is the only material I will accept to replace the zero or zeroes you currently have in my grade book. No exceptions.


My students are blogging away!


It's really easy to create a blog and join the blogosphere. Just go to Google. Then search for:

Follow the directions. Almost quicker than you can say "Internet" or "hypertext markup language," you're a blogger!

These students have been blogging this semester in my Media Writing class. If you get a chance, tune in to one or more of their blogs:

James Lambert:

Sports, especially news about Carolina Panthers, WU men's basketball and baseball teams, and WU soccer team

India Richardson:

Celebrities helping Africa

Kristyn Yeater:

Health and fitness

Josh Gaines:

Extreme sports--surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding

Temeika Hines:


Danielle Ferguson:


Brittney Barnes:

Food and nutrition

Ashlee Darby:

Legal news/crime news associated with music industry

Peter Landis:

Science and technology

Emily Abraham:

Issues that women and girls face today in the world

Kristyn Edwards:

U.S. involvement in the Middle East

Dustin Evatt:

News about S.C. college campuses

Demetria Boyd:

Black people and other ethnic minorities in America or elsewhere and what affects them

Star Dunbar:


Never falsify your credentials


It doesn't pay to lie about what sorts of degrees you have earned and where you earned them. Case in point is the recent (and much beloved and previously much respected) dean of admissions at MIT

Yesterday she was caught lying about her educational background; thus she no longer has a job.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

High school students write about free media


Every spring at Winthrop, our chapter of SPJ sponsors an essay contest on First Amendment freedoms. The contest is targeted to area high school students.

This year, our big winners were from Trinity Christian School in Rock Hill and Bessemer City (N.C.) High School.

Here's an article written by Winthrop senior (and SPJ president) Ruthie McCrae, who graduates next week, incidentally. Nice job on this story, Ruthie. Good picture of the essay winners, too, Ruthie. (From left in the photo are: Cate Marshall, Matt Morgan and Dorothy Whitely.)

39 essays entered in Winthrop’s high school writing competition on media freedom

Winthrop University’s chapter of SPJ is getting high school students interested in the role media and the First Amendment plays in our lives. For the last 17 years, the Winthrop chapter has participated in SPJ’s High School Essay Contest; it encourages high school students to critically reflect on First Amendment freedoms, the bedrock of the press in America.

This year 39 students, from two high schools within a 50-mile radius of Winthrop, submitted essays. Winners were honored at a reception on April 18 organized and sponsored by the Winthrop chapter.

Dr. Larry Timbs, associate professor of mass communication and Winthrop SPJ faculty adviser, says that it’s important for Winthrop to involve high school students in the annual essay competition.

“The future of journalism is in high school students,” he said.

The topic for this year’s contest was, “Why Free News Media Are Important.”

Katie Pasour and Matt Morgan, tenth graders from Bessemer City (N.C.) High School, tied for third place. Dorothy Whitely, a senior from Trinity Christian High School in Rock Hill, S.C., came in second place, and first prize went to 16-year-old Cate Marshall of Trinity Christian High School.

The three winners celebrated their achievement with punch, cake and gifts donated by the Winthrop bookstore.

Marshall believes the media play a vital role in society. In her essay, she wrote, “Free media protect us from governmental abuse by supplying information that is unfiltered by any official or agency.”

Whitely is also appreciative of press freedom. “It’s [the press] essentially that makes us free,” she said. “It influences what we hear and how we make our decisions.”

Pasour did not attend the competition but she is thankful for the press because without it: “everyone would be more or less ignorant in many things we take for granted.”

Two faculty members from Winthrop’s Department of Mass Communication and a reporter from The (Rock Hill, S.C.) Herald judged the entries.

First Amendment taking a beating in Indiana


Okay, I admit it.

I tend to be a First Amendment absolutist.

Can't abide by folks who want to restrict or prohibit expression that is not libelous, obscene, violence inciting, pornographic or that invades someone's privacy.

Just purely "offensive expression" or highly sensitive/controversial expression should not be suppressed or punished.

But that's what is happening to journalism adviser Amy Sorrell at Woodland Junior-Senior High School in Indiana.

The school's administration wants her fired.

But for what?

Potentially offensive expression?

Read about it in the above link.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Way to store your favorite sites


Have you ever heard of a Web site about Web sites? More specifically, is a place you can store all your favorite/bookmarked sites.

Say you're vacationing in North Dakota (visiting the Badlands) and you're about 2,000 miles from your home computer.

And you want to visit some of your favorite sites, but you can't immediately recall the URLs. (Yes, I know--you can Google and find them, but what a pain...)


I'm using it. It's neat.

Check it out.

Friday, April 13, 2007

e-book lowdown


Here's a recent story that I wrote and had published in a journalism trade publication.

It's about electronic books. Will e-books replace ink on paper?

Read on:

By Larry Timbs
Special to Publishers’ Auxiliary

If Johannes Gutenberg of movable type fame (1466 in Germany) were alive today, he’d be scratching his head and frowning.
Especially if he eavesdropped on professional development workshops for journalists working on America’s newspapers.

The main talk, sometimes, it seems, the only talk, at these workshops and conventions centers on the digital age.

It’s about the Web

It’s about figuring out how to deliver news via such technology as cell phones, I-Pods, satellites or Wi-Fi.

Those who work in the newspaper industry are consumed with digital technology.

Yes, Gutenberg, who loved the printed word on paper, would be puzzled and bedeviled by it all.

The blogosphere and the rush of newspapers and other information media to rush head first into it would blow his mind. “What’s going on here?” he’d muse, confronted with the specter of newspapers and other print media downsizing their pages, making their type smaller, or even abandoning ink on paper in favor of electrons or pixels on a screen.

But wait.

It might be best to re-think predictions of the demise of ink on paper for newspapers, magazines and books. Yes, it may turn out that they eventually will not be printed on paper, but that is probably decades away.

Readers, according to a university administrator who has been reading and exploring a Sony e-book (called an “e-Reader”), won’t soon abandon their traditional newspapers and books.

Mark Herring is dean of Dacus Library Services at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. He recently has been sought out by the local press, professors, staff, students at Winthrop and by others to give his take on a $400 Sony e-book (called an e-Reader) purchased by the library as an experiment.

The library’s e-book is portable enough, weighing only six ounces and capable of storing up to 80 conventional books.

As e-books go, it holds a charge pretty well (up to 7,500 page turns with one charge, according to Herring). Plus, you can easily change type size and bookmark a page electronically. “The e-book cleverly electronically dog ears the page,” Herring said.

The Sony e-Reader’s resolution—reader-friendliness of the screen and print--is quite good, too, he said.

But this pricy electronic gadget has a few negatives.

Herring has read about 300 pages on the Sony e-Reader. An aficionado of printed text on paper, Herring is the author of several printed works himself—the latest titled “Fool’s Gold: Why the Internet Is No Substitute For A Library” (McFarland Publishing, Spring 2007).

The man who treasures books and has a reverence for traditional printed text won’t easily be won over by Sony’s electronic book, Herring said.

“E-books have improved some, but not by much,” he recently wrote. “Sony’s new e-Reader (touting E-Ink technology) offers a solution to the ghost image by using flash technology to erase the ghost image when a page is clicked. “While it works, after a dozen clicks, the novelty has long since disappeared,” added Herring, who believes it will be at least another 50 years (and maybe more) before e-books win over readers. “On-screen resolution is better but it is still only about 50 percent of the printed page. This reader reads better under various kind of lighting but direct sunlight is still a problem.”

This business about light is holding back e-books, he said.

Reading an e-book, after you’re accustomed to snuggling up with traditional ink on paper books, is a letdown, he noted.

One explanation: We humans for the past thousands of years (even before Gutenberg) have been reading text with light coming from over our shoulders. With the e-book, light comes from the screen.

That sort of digital fly in the ointment surfaced with students in a journalism/mass communication class at Winthrop, where Herron recently spoke about and passed around the e-book for the audience to explore.

One of the ideas touched upon when Herron spoke about e-book technology was the possibility that one day students might have all their textbooks in one portable lightweight e-book—like the Sony e-Reader.

Some students liked the thought of carrying one e-book in their purse or back pocket—as opposed to lugging around 5-7 textbooks in a backpack all day. Still, though, when they made a test read of a few pages on the e-Reader, many were less than impressed.

“When reading the e-book first hand, I noticed that it was more straining on the eyes than the average paper book,” said 19-year-old Patrick Gerasia, a freshman pre-mass communication major from West Palm Beach, Fla.

“I think the e-book is a great idea, but the world may not be ready for it yet,” wrote El Novak, a sophomore pre-integrated marketing major from Simpsonville, S.C.

Algierre Barron, 21, wonders whether someone would inadvertently damage himself or herself with an e-book. “I think that reading an entire book online would be tiring and I would want to know what the health consequences would be over long periods of exposure,” wrote Barron, a junior history major from Georgetown, S.C.

Likewise, Ryan Martin, a sophomore majoring in family and consumer sciences, thinks that people, given a chance to sample e-books, will soon tire of them and return to traditional books.

“I personally was unimpressed with the e-book and do not see it flying off the shelves at Best Buy,” Martin said. “The e-book is small and portable, yes, but annoying and expensive as well.” The “annoying flash you have to deal with at every page,” lowered Martin’s opinion of the e-book.

Forty-seven-year-old Robyn Bunch, a mass communication major from Charlotte, N.C., said that from her brief encounter with the e-Reader she can’t imagine reading an entire book on it. She noted that her attention span is much shorter when reading material on a computer: “I will generally print out anything over a page or two pages. It is difficult to imagine reading an entire book on the device; I believe it would take much longer to read than a regular book and then might affect my enjoyment of the material.”

And the future of such technology?

Martin, Herring and others don’t see e-books taking hold with readers for many years (maybe several decades.)

Books, possibly the oldest form of mass media and for centuries one of the most cherished means of distributing information and knowledge, are tried and true. That’s a dominant theme emerging from many of those at Winthrop who have read a few pages from e-books.

It seems likely, then, that e-books won’t soon replace their traditional counterparts. That’s heartening news for book publishers worried, among other things, about the copyright implications of e-books.

Digitally skeptical newspaper publishers, too, (especially those who cling resolutely to ink on paper) should breathe easier.

Martin may have summed it up best: “It seems ridiculous to me that we are now trying to modernize one of the most ancient of ideas. I don’t want to be at my church in 10 years reading the New Testament from a hand held. That seems so blah. The best part of a book is being able to pick it up and read it time and time again and then pass it down through your family. The wear and tear the actual copy of the book takes makes it that much more special and personal. Technology is anything but personal.”

Larry Timbs is an associate professor in the Department of Mass Communication at Winthrop University. Adviser to the campus SPJ chapter, he’s also faculty adviser to the student newspaper at Winthrop—which has a Web site and podcasts but which is also still printed with ink on paper.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

'The Sopranos' make TV history


How can anyone begin to understand the power and influence of the tube without having tuned in lately to 'The Sopranos'?

The show transfixes me.

Maybe I've always vicariously wanted to be in the mafia?

It's full of violence, beatings, sex, cussing, degradation--you name it.

But it's very interesting--and it takes TV fare to a new level.

A multiple Emmy Award winning show, The Sopranos is now in its final season.

Want to get inside the mind of a mafiosa scroundrel? Tony Soprano is mean, bloodthirsty and crass. But he's really intriguing.

Read about him and the show he stars in in the above link.

Shock jock in trouble


Don Imus, a shock jock who's written about in my Intro. to Mass Communication textbook (chapter on "Radio), finds himself in the national news--bigtime.

But it's not the kind of coverage he covets.

Read about what Imus recently said about the Rutgers Univ. women's basketball team; as a result of that verbiage, advertisers are bailing out of his show, and African-American leaders such as the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson are calling for his job.

I've never been a big fan of Imus. Even shock jocks best know there's a line they cannot and should not cross.

Read all about it in the link above.

Monday, April 9, 2007

My oldest daughter is interviewed on MSNBC-TV


Okay, I don't know what side of the abortion debate you're on.

Regardless, you might find the video link about an April 6, 2007, MSNBC-TV interview with my oldest daughter, Dorothy Timbs Yeung (she married Patrick Yeung in December 2006) quite interesting.

It pertains to the ultrasound bill now being hotly debated in S.C. and elsewhere across the U.S.--but especially, right now, in S.C.

When you click on the above link, you might have to wait for a few seconds till the commercial(s) play out, but then and there, big as life, is my Dorothy in the national news.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


The following material, sent to my boss, Bill Click, and forward to me by Dr. Click, does not have a link, but I think the core message is right on the money:

Could we use this as a touchstone slogan for Gen Ed? Or at least as an inscription in the Human Experience text? Another way to promote DEEP LEARNING?

Begin forwarded message:

From: Ted Pease
Date: April 6, 2007 9:22:09 AM EDT
To: Recipient List Suppressed:;
Subject: TODAY'S WORD--common elements
TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM--Friday, April 6, 2007

"There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
--Frank Zappa, musician
* * * * *
TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free "service" sent to the 1,500 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered, send "unsubscribe." Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote 'em; I don't necessarily endorse 'em. In theory, though, all contain at least a kernel of insight.) Responses and rebuttals welcome.

* * * * *
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff
Pease Omphaloskepsis Institute
Trinidad, California

"Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little." --Tom Stoppard, playwright

J. William Click
Professor and Chair
Department of Mass Communication
Winthrop University
Rock Hill, South Carolina 29733
Phone: 803/323-2121
Fax: 803/323-2464

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Place to store your digital photos


I didn't know about this Web site. It's called Photobucket.

Good place, if you have a lot of digital photos, to store them and then be able to retrieve them from any Net connected computer.

Murdered police officers in Charlotte, N.C.


A city mourns two fallen police officers--murdered a few days ago in Charlotte, N.C.

I have a friend and neighbor who is a sheriff's deputy in York County, S.C.--where I live.

I asked him last night why he continues to work in law enforcement, given the dangers of his occupation.

"Because that's what we do, Larry," he responded, while puffing on a cigarette. "That's the only thing I know how to do. What other job would there be for me?"

Whatever our police officers are being paid, it's not enough.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Neat tricks with Google and other Web stuff


Recently in my spring 2007 MCOM 241 (Media Writing) class at Winthrop University, everyone in the class, including yours truly, demonstrated some neat tricks with Google and other search engines. Here’s what we came up with

Google tips from Larry Timbs:

Let's say you are doing research on loggerhead sea turtles at Jekyll Island, Georgia, and you want to be kept up to date with the latest info. on the Web concerning your research topic.

Here's how Google can help you.

1. Go to
2. At the far right of the menu bar, click on "more.
3. Drop down menu takes you to the choice "even more"
4. Click on the first choice--"Alerts"
5. Fill out the required info., along with your e-mail address. But
CAREFUL! Do NOT enter a name like "George Bush." Doing so will get you hundreds or thousands or millions?? of e-mails sent to you daily. Be as specific and precise as you can.
6. Each time something breaks on or is posted on the Web about your research topic, you'll be alerted via e-mail.

Helps you keep current!

Also (from yours truly), these Google tips may be useful:

1. Type in the following:
2. Then look for a book icon that allows you to search inside a book.
Example: Robinson Crusoe
3. Takes you to pages of that book!

Use the Google search box as a calculator. Example: 3+77= (hit return or enter and you get the answer.)

Likewise: 15*15= (hit return or enter and you get the answer which is 225.)

If you type apple into Google, you get the computer company, not the fruit. But let's say you want the meaning of apple. Get definitions by typing: define: apple


Phone Directory

Let's say you're looking for someone's phone number. For residential listings type, for example, type in:

rphonebook: Click, Rock Hill, SC (Gives you my boss’ (Dr. Bill Click's home phone number.)

Or, you have a phone number but not someone's name and/or address.

Just type in the phone number and hit return or enter. Gives you the person's full name and address.

Tip from Ashlee Darby
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:02pm

If you want to find a relative a friend (or you're just being nosy), the Most Wanted webpage is a great place to go. Actually if you are not a resident of Richland County you can access any police webpage from google. The page allows you to view mugshots of criminals, view a neigborhood list of sex offenders with their addresses. It also allows you to research police beats. The most wanted page provides listings by state and by specific county

1. Go to

2. type in South Carolina's most wanted criminals and fugitives

3. click the link titled "South Carolina's most wanted criminals and fugitives"

4. under criminal records click "Most wanted criminals and fugitives"

5. proceed to click SC Most wanted on the list

6. Click your on your local police dept.

7. The following info will be the offender's picture, the offense, the address and a contact number for any info that you have.


...and that completes your google search

Danielle Ferguson
Date: Monday, March 26, 2007 4:43pm
Hey you guys, if you ever are wondering whether or not your classmates updated their blogs.........check out google blog and type in their blogspot address and get all the latest news from your classmates blog pages. Have fun and good luck on blogging

Kristyn Yeater
Date: Monday, March 26, 2007 9:03pm
If you wanna check out something via satellite, check into Google Maps. It’s on the google page right above the bar you type stuff in. Just type the location in that you want to see on the map (just a map or by satellite) and it will take you to it. You can zoom in and out to find specific roads or buildings...pretty neat!! miss your home sweet home? well go and look for in on google :)

James Lamberts
Date: Monday, March 26, 2007 11:13pm
1) go to
2) click on "Movies" on the left hand side panel on the front page
3) to find the nearest cinema fill in the zip code you reside in a search for cinema type box asking for your zip code (It should be on the top right hand side)

India Richardson
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 9:30am
Thanks to Ashlee darby, I am now hooked on! If you ever want to find a song or a video or a music artist, is the best place to find what you are looking for. I always go there to search for a song that I've heard only once on the radio or have
seen the video and just wants to hear it again. You can even save it in a playlist on your computer, but get an account with Imeem-a free one....Here's how u search:

1. go to
2. In the top right corner of the window there is a search box
3. Type in the name of the song or the artist you are looking for and click the green button with the magnifying glass in it
4. what people have uploaded to imeem that relates to your search will pop up
5. Find the one your looking for and there you have it!

THANKS ASHLEE for introducing me to IMEEM!

josh gaines
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 11:34am
So go to of course. Whatever music video/film/short film you are looking for, type in the title name and possibly the director or screenwriter. Once you have done that a list of videos will come up.
Click on the one you want and the video will start playing. to the right of your screen is a drop bar that says "Windows/Mac OS X".

Click the drop bar and then you will see "Sony PSP/ IPOD Video".

Click the "Sony PSP/ IPOD Video" highlighted area. then a centimeter below that will be"download" ... click download. once it's done downloading to your DESKTOP.


Move the file to iTunes and there ya go. Just plug in your iPod and
upload that video.

Brittney Barnes
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 6:58pm
1. go to google. com or yahoo. com (your choice of search engine)
2.type in
3. hit the homepage link
4. on homepage of site, type in a last and first name of a person in given boxes
5. Names with written works of the person should appear
6. select and click on desired person(s) name(s)
7. view written work of author

Peter Landis
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 9:23am

You first go to the Google website or if you have a Google sidebar on your browser, use that.

Type in the name of the artist, album or both (to narrow your search).

Click the link at the top of the page that says "Images." Hit the "Search Images" button.

Hopefully (if you didn't misspell the band name or if it does exist on the web) a load of image sources popped up on your screen. If so, you can either browse the default images Google found, or you can filter through the images you don't want.

You can do this by moving the mouse to the upper left corner to the "All Image Sizes" scrollbar and selecting either "Small," "Medium" or "Large" to satisfy your craving.

What can you do with this image?

Place it in iTunes, save it to your computer and print it to replace an album insert lost years ago, or waste some time by putting it in Apple Works Painting or Microsoft Paint and stretching out the faces of the people on the cover.

Temeika Hines
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 11:38am
Hi You Guys!!

I did not have a google/yahoo tip. I went directly to There you can basically learn how to do anything. I call it the "how to" site.

Just type in, and in the search box type in whatever it is that you are wanting to learn how to do.

Everything and I mean everything, seems to be on that website.

Check it out. There's a lot of funny stuff on there. My personal favorite, the dancing dora the explorer doll.'s hilarious!

Emily Abraham
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 11:49am

You type in your address and it shows your house and how close it is to registered sex offenders. It even alerts you when one moves into your neighborhood.

Changing and saving lives


Pastor Sam Thompson in Clover, S.C., is saving lives and turning people in the right direction.

He's helping the homeless and the hungry.

Uplifting inspiring story about Thompson and his mission recently ran in the York Observer--written, by the way, by an alumna of Winthrop Univ.

Mouse steals man's false teeth


Yes, as I always say, who needs fiction when we've got journalism?

Do you think mice are cute?

Do you trust the little critters?


Read what happened to a man in Maine.

Monday, April 2, 2007

News about my daughter, Dorothy Yeung Timbs


My oldest daughter, Dorothy Timbs Yeung, works for National Right to Life. She was mentioned in an article today about proposed legislation for South Carolina.

Click on the link above to read about Dorothy.