09 September 2013

Lori King's Blog in hiatus

   This blog is in hiatus when college semesters are in session.
   However,  there are lots of educational content and photos dating back to 2009, including my experience of writing a Master's Project paper for Kent State University, and my 10-day KSU media trip to New York.
  My other blog - owenspj.blogspot.com - is currently active!
   Thanks for viewing my blogs!

16 August 2013

Students are like cats, and to love them is to teach them

Isaac with his mom (my daughter) Quinn.

   While petting one of my four cats recently I marveled how completely different they all are.
   Isaac likes to play fetch, and will jump three feet high to grab a toy out my hand. But we don’t dare pet him on the back because he hates that. He loves hanging over a shoulder, but only in the morning.
   Dolly likes to greet me every morning by running into the room and jumping on my stomach. At night she likes to chase me around the house like a cat and mouse. Dolly hates being picked up or carried, and she loves being combed.
   Rex is the vocal one, but only in the morning. He has the most beautiful meow I’ve ever heard. It’s nearly singing. He also fetches, but only when he feels like it. He hates being combed.
   Sophie, Rex’s sister, is the silent type. She likes to be held but looks absolutely terrified and is as stiff as a board. She doesn’t fetch, doesn't mind being combed, and plays rather rough with her much bigger brother.
  As I was thinking about their varying personalities it struck me that felines are like students! No, I’m not saying students are animals, or that I treat them like cats. The point I’m making is that students are like cats, so you can’t treat them all the same way.
   Cats have a rep for being independent and stubborn, though some are rather needy, and yet others are mean as snakes and would claw your hand off if you attempted to coddle them.
   Throughout a semester or school year teachers get to know their cats, I mean kids, pretty well. Let's face it, what teacher hasn’t encountered these same personalities traits?
   Here’s a list of the most common types of students I’ve dealt with over the years:
·      Teacher’s pet. These types always aim to please. They appear to listen to every word I say, take lots of notes and never miss a class. This is why they're the teacher’s pets! I’d be lying if I said we always hope for perfect students in every class, but that’s unrealistic and would be quite boring.
·      Inquisitive. They can’t ask too many questions, and often to the annoyance of their classmates. Even when they know the answers they ask the questions. But every class needs one of these types because they ask important questions that too many students are afraid to ask.
·      Defensive. Most everything I say is either not how they heard it, or not how they learned it before. They know better, and think I should know more! I just have to remind myself to take a deep breath and not get defensive myself.
·      Insecure. These students simply need attention, though it’s hard to notice since they often tend to be invisible. I often wonder if they were neglected, or carry a chip on their shoulders due to social or economic factors. These are the kids who should not be ignored, even if they are a little defensive. I try to give these students a little more attention.
·      Egotistical. This type frustrates me a bit. Sure, they have talent, but it takes more than talent to make it in this business. Here's one problem: if they think they know everything, then they won’t listen to instructions because they want to do everything their own way. These over-confident types don’t understand yet that someone is always their boss, even if they are freelance, and they need to do things as instructed. Another problem is they often aren’t open to improving or learning. I counter this attitude by docking grades when all students don’t follow even the smallest assignment details!
·      The techie. These students, most of which are CRT (computer arts majors), are much appreciated because they bring a skill set I sometimes lack. They are often willing to share their knowledge with the class, and seem to actually enjoy helping their classmates, and me. Hey, we teachers don’t know everything, and we never will!
   Okay, you can't really compare a cat to a techie, but you know what I mean. Teachers should be cat people, even the ones with sharp claws, because it's our job to teach even the unteachable.
   So yes, I love all of my cats, because, after all, I'm the cat lady.

14 August 2013

Meet the student, admin staff of the Owens Outlook newspaper

   The Owens Outlook newsroom will thankfully be buzzing with activity next week when the Fall semester begins Aug. 19.
    It will be a bit of an adjustment for editor-in-chief Josh Widanka and managing editor Cathy Zeltner, the dynamic duo who has worked in a quite, barren office throughout the summer to plan and plot for both the online and print editions of the Owens Outlook.
   The online edition will continue to provide the Owens student and faculty community with news and entertainment, but the exciting news is the return of the print edition, expected to make its debut in November.
Owens Outlook staff from left: Josh, me, Cathy, Chris G. and Mike the IT guy.
   We are currently ironing out the details of what the print edition will look and feel like, and where it will get printed. Josh and Cathy are also working tirelessly to recruit student staff. It is a big endeavor to start a paper from scratch, but these two editors have the heart, mind and stamina to get the job done!
   Without Josh and Cathy’s commitment to bringing back the print edition, it simply wouldn’t happen.  It also takes the support of our administrative boss, Chris Giordano, and IT guy Mike Jerzykowski. As the new adviser, one of my jobs is to introduce these key players to the community. So…
   Editor-in-chief Josh Widanka has been pursuing a degree in Political Science at Owens since 2010. He had a very hard choice to make this summer: either be a member of the Owens student government or continue his editorship at the Outlook. To do both would have been a conflict of interest. Fortunately for the Outlook staff, he chose journalism, which makes sense considering his journalism philosophy:    
   “Freedom of Speech has become too limited. We as a society are standing back and allowing more and more of our freedoms to be taken away. We should fight back and I feel that the press is the means by which we can do this. The press, no matter what level it is on, is charged with reporting fair and accurate news.
   “I would love to see the Outlook become a massive student driven organization on the Owens campus. I want to help to achieve this by fighting against the norms, and bringing our paper back from an all online issue to a printed one, as well.”
   Managing editor Cathy Zeltner graduated from Northwood High School and Penta County Career Center. She has a business degree in Office Administration, as well as two certificates from Owens Community College. She currently earning a photography degree.
   Cathy became involved with the Outlook while a student in my Intro to Photojournalism course. She started out as a photographer, then was quickly promoted to photo editor and then managing editor.
   “I believe there is a lot of information that people don’t know about. I want to make that information available. Knowledge is power. I look forward to returning to print. I believe a print version, as well as an improved online version, will be useful tools for Owens students, staff and faculty. I am excited to have the opportunity to help make these changes.”
   Our IT guy is Mike Jerzykowski, who has an associate of Applied Science degree in Information System Administration. He is a former Toledo Blade employee, and has been at Owens since February 2012. Mike will help the Outlook staff with our IT issues, for both the online and print editions.  
   “Journalism comes in many flavors: print, online and television, just to name a few. However, they all should have the common goals of quality and accurate reporting. My vision for the Outlook is putting out a quality print and online newspaper that the faculty, students and staff can be proud of.”
   Like I posted earlier on this blog, the Outlook editors and myself wouldn’t even attempt to bring back a hard edition without administrative support. By that I mean that the administration will have a hands-off approach, and let the students control the content without prior review or censorship.
   My boss Chris Giordano, dean of Student Life, has assured us that the Outlook staff does, indeed, have that support.
   Chris earned his BA in English from Rowan University, a MS degree in counseling from Upsala College, and a Graduate Certificate in Adult and Organizational Learning from Suffolk University. He’s been at Owens for four years. 
  “The Outlook is being re-conceptualized to ensure engaging, developmental and experiential elements is a part of a meaningful co-curricular student experience at Owens.  My vision is to transition The Outlook into a sustainable student-run print and electronic edition newspaper that becomes fully integrated into the culture of the campus.”
   Last but not least is…me, the new Outlook adviser.
   I have been in the newspaper business since I was 18, but this is my first time to advise a student publication. My vision as adviser is to train and support the student staff, but ultimately let them make their own decisions; let them make their own mistakes; and let them claim their own triumphs. How else will they learn to be responsible communicators?
   Now you know a little more about us. I will post a photo of us next week, after our next meeting.      

25 July 2013

Help wanted: Calling all Owens students who want to jump on board

A want ad designed by managing editor Cathy Zeltner, which is also the Outlook's Facebook cover photo.
   I haven’t posted on the progress of the Owens Outlook lately, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t made progress!
   Over the past few weeks the Outlook editors visited the Bowling Green State University student media office, began their staff recruitment effort, and attended to about a dozen little other details that kept them quite busy.
  • The BGSU visit was a definite highlight. When we walked into the bustling student newspaper office last week, it was a thrill to see nearly a dozen youthful faces look up from their MAC computers. They were busy putting the paper to bed, and the student journalists/photographers/graphic designers were laying out their pages for the next day’s edition of the BGNews, which publishes a broadsheet newspaper three days a week and also has an online edition. Josh and Cathy brought back lots of ideas that will help The Outlook with organization and training.- Thanks to student media adviser Bob Bortel for letting Josh and Cathy listen and learn!
  • Josh and Cathy are frantically recruiting student staff for the Fall. They are hanging flyers throughout campus and posting online announcements everywhere, including in the My Announcements section on Ozone, and on their Facebook pages. There is also a new 'employment' form to fill out if you’re interested in contributing.
  • Because editors Josh and Cathy will be the only paid student staff members, we brainstormed at the meeting yesterday to come up with other incentives for student workers. These are still being discussed and will be announced at the Outlook’s first meeting (TBA).
  • Josh is working on providing a media company to install convenient outdoor newspaper kiosk boxes throughout campus so the paper can be picked up anytime. It’s a great idea that I hope gets implemented.
  • The editors are still working on completing the new Owens Outlook staff policy/style manual. This will help keep all student staff members on the same page regarding everything from press law/ethics to font styles.
   To keep us moving at such a brisk pace we have meetings every two weeks. It includes Josh, Cathy, Mike the IT guy, our administrative boss Chris G. and myself. This helps keep us motivated and on track. So far it's working!
   I must say that this couldn't happen without the hard work and high enthusiasm from Josh and Cathy. These two editors never cease to amaze me with their ability to get things done. We are also lucky to have administrative support from Chris G. and IT help from Mike. What makes them care so much? I will try to answer that question in the next blog post.
   In the meantime, go to the online edition of the Owens Outlook and READ ALL ABOUT IT!

16 June 2013

The trials, tribulations of a student media adviser: press freedom

Original layout of The Outlook.
My redesign. Articles are fake, and
photos are by me.

   Sometimes even I think we’re totally nuts for believing we can buck this 21st Century online newspaper trend.
Many people might think we’re being too optimistic, even unrealistic.
   Despite the naysayers and my fear of failing, we are going forward with our plan to revive a great tradition of providing a campus newspaper that can be physically held, passed around and archived in a scrapbook. 
  We had our first meeting last week to discuss our expectations and plans for the future of The Outlook.
   In attendance were Chris Giordano, dean of Student Life at Owens, our IT guy and co-adviser Mike Jerzykowski, and me. This meeting was important because I had a laundry list of questions for Chris, who will be our administrative boss:
·      What’s the financial state of The Outlook now? Do we have money?
(Yes, we have money. More on that later)
·      What’s the time table for our first printed publication?
(Spring 2014)
·      Can we join the College Media Association and go to conferences?
(Probability is high)
·      Will The Outlook be free of censorship, and be a public forum for student expression?
                                                                          A free press
   I emphasized that this latter question on censorship was the most important because my involvement depended on that answer. There was no way I was going to oversee a student media staff that would be treated like a glorified media relations firm.
   While earning my MA in Journalism Education it was drilled in my head that the freedom of the student press is an inalienable right of people in a free society. It is absolutely paramount that student newspapers everywhere be free to cover news, even if it isn’t always positive.
   Case in point: When the Owens nursing program lost its accreditation in 2009, it was the local media that broke the story and continued to provide updates. The Outlook student staff never touched the subject. I was flabbergasted.
   With that lost opportunity for student journalists in mind, I wanted Chris to know that I am a believer in freedom of the student press, a First Amendment right made strong by the Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, the Supreme Court's landmark 1969 ruling affirming that the First Amendment protected students' right to wear protest anti-military armbands in school.
   This quote made famous by Justice Abe Fortas is still popular today:
“It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
   Chris told me he feels the same, and has already spoken about this issue with the administration.  He assured me that The Outlook would be free of censorship as long as it was ethically and legally fit.
  While press freedom was my primary issue, Chris voiced his own concerns.
  1.  There is no staff policy manual, which is the operational Bible for the organization. It includes the mission statement, policies, Code of Ethics, staff management procedures, publication calendar, writing/editing/layout procedures, type specifications and advertising guidelines. 
   A policy manual keeps the staff organized and the operations of the print/online newspaper standardized, which is essential considering the high student turnover rate in a two-year school.
   2. How will we actually publish the paper? We are starting from scratch, which means designing it, and finding a publisher to print it. We all agreed we won’t be ready to publish our first edition until Spring 2014. We want to do it right, and rushing it could jeopardize a good thing.
   We came out of that initial meeting with high hopes. After the meeting Mike and I walked down the hall to the Outlook office and immediately shared everything we talked about with the two student staff editors, Josh and Cathy, who were relieved to hear they would be included in our bi-monthly meetings from now on.
   In the meantime, Chris will work on the finances; Mike will search for a publication house and update/improve the online presence; and I will create the staff policy manual and train the staff on everything from law and ethics to basic news writing and layout & design.   
   The student staff will assist us in all aspects, and then they will eventually take over. It will be their newspaper, after all.

11 June 2013

The trials, tribulations of a student media adviser: the beginning

The front page of the May 5, 2003 issue.
Sometimes you get what you wish for…you just have to be patient. And I was very patient.
   It’s time to announce that this Fall I will be the new adviser for Owens Community College’s newspaper The Outlook.
   It will be a huge challenge, considering I’m an inexperienced adviser and there is no newspaper, at least not the old fashioned hold-in–your-hands kind. There is an online version that’s staffed by two dedicated students but there's a big problem ... this version seems to be ‘out of sight and out of mind.’
   That needs to change.
   The beginning
   I first noticed The Outlook when I started teaching photography courses at Owens in 2006. Over the years I’ve been paying attention to the over-sized broadsheet, which was filled with mostly canned stories that had nothing to do with the Owens community.
    At the risk of sounding critical, the paper was physically too big, the stories were too generic, the photography was weak, and the layout was stale. A skeleton staff of mostly non-journalism majors can only do so much.
    The Outlook first made its debut on May 5, 2003. It started out 10,000 copies strong, according to a news release touting the new student-run paper.
   “More than 20 students from a variety of program areas collaborated to produce the first edition,” wrote Brad Meyer, director of Public and Media Relations at the time. “An additional 50 students have expressed interest in working on the future issues of the newspaper.”
   But over the years that interest has obviously waned. It doesn’t help that the one and only journalism course was dropped last year. So how do you maintain a quality campus newspaper when there are too few journalism students to support it?
   Anyway, in 2010, I had the opportunity to unofficially redesign the newspaper. I was a graduate student in Kent State’s online Journalism Education program, and one of my classes was Teaching News Design, taught by Jon Wile, the Washington Post’s A1 news designer. The final project for the course required redesigning a newspaper using InDesign CS5. I chose The Outlook as my homework assignment.
   However, shortly after that redesign the hard copy version of the paper ceased and it went completely online, as is the growing trend these days.
   Though my attempt at redesign didn’t pay off, there was another way I could help. Because I teach the Intro to Photojournalism course, I got my students engaged with The Outlook. This is how Cathy Zeltner got involved. Cathy took the Intro to PJ class last year out of curiosity. That curiosity has since turned into a possible career option. She quickly went from being a staff photographer to the photography editor, and is now the current managing editor. Lynn Redding, another former Intro to PJ student, is the current photo editor. The current editor-in-chief, Josh Widanka, is taking the course this Fall.
   Between the four of us, plus Mike, our IT guy and co-adviser, we are committed to bringing the newspaper back to print.
   So, this is the beginning of an unpaved road never traveled. For the next year I will document the trials and tribulations of being a brand new adviser. I will share how a small staff at a small college reverses an online newspaper trend.
   I have been patient long enough.

   (Next blog post: Our emerging plan to return to tradition)

08 March 2013

Social media keeps us connected, informed and competitive

  Do you ever feel overwhelmed with social media?
  Do you Facebook, Tweet, blog, connect with LinkedIn and maintain a website?
 Are people left behind if they don’t do most of these things? Is being hyper connected really necessary? I pondered these questions this week when I finally broke down and started a website.
  Most everyone I know is connected through some sort of social media, mostly on Facebook. If I drew a pyramid for social media populations, Facebook would be the base. For nine years Facebook has been connecting billions of people to each other. It’s so eclectic that it appeals to nearly every person on the planet. If you’re really private, you can limit your contact to just 10 close friends or relatives. Or you can have more than 1,000 ‘friends’ and counting, like my mom.
    "Privacy is dead, and social media holds the smoking gun." - Pete Cashmore, Mashable
   There is no doubt Facebook has its problems, like invasion of privacy and copyright issues. But that’s another story.
  Next would be Twitter, the 140-character micro-blogging service.  This is geared more for the professional, as it LinkedIn. Twitter and LinkedIn both have about 200 million active subscribers.
    I check my Twitter account several times a day because I like the articles and tutorials posted by educators and photographers I choose to follow. Twitter allows me to stay informed with people and industries I wouldn’t normally be privy to, primarily educators and the media. I retweet way more than I post because it’s all about sharing information.
    Then there’s blogging, a free and easy way of publishing stories, photos, videos and even novels on the web. I maintain two blogs through Blogger: the one you're reading now, which is more personal, and the Intro to Photojournalism course blog. Both allow me to express myself beyond 140 characters. I share each blog post on Facebook and Twitter, giving my Facebook friends and Twitter followers the choice whether they want to read what I have to say, or not.
    Finally, the website. Finding a suitable website host was not easy. There are dozens of companies that offer websites. I started by Googling websites for photographers, and narrowed them down to affordability and simplicity. I ultimately chose Squarespace, which allows me to control the content without needing to know how to code.
The homepage for my new website,  which includes a photo gallery and a CV.
  Websites are a great way to showcase a photographer’s work because they have a variety of templates that include photo and video galleries. Websites are a must if you own a business, are job hunting, or simply want to share your work. 
  I chose to create a website because many students have them now, and I want to understand the process of searching, choosing and maintaining a website so I can better relate to them. Having a website allows me to appear more professional, and that’s the image I want to portray.
  So, am I overwhelmed with social media? Not at all. Being social media savvy keeps me connected, informed and competitive. My family, on the other hand, thinks I'm too connected; but that's another story, as well.
"When you give everyone a voice and give people power, the system usually ends up in a really good place." - Mark Zuckerberg, CEO & Founder of Facebook