Friday, December 29, 2006

Even the Greats Make Mistakes

Here's a section of the story that ran in The Washington Post about the Godfather of Soul. The grafs before it begin detailing Brown's childhood.

"Then with longtime friend Bobby Brown, [James Brown] sang gospel in churches in Toccoa, Ga., before forming James Brown and the Famous Flames. The group moved to Macon, Ga., and performed during an intermission of a Little Richard show."

Wait -- Bobby Brown? You mean the King of R&B used to get down with the Godfather of Soul?

Get out of town. Okay, maybe not.

The Washington Post, one of the great newspapers of America, had to run this correction in yesterday's edition:

The Dec. 26 obituary of entertainer James Brown incorrectly said that early in his career he sang in Georgia churches with Bobby Brown. The longtime friend with whom he sang was Bobby Byrd.

James Brown was singing in Georgia churches in 1955 - 14 years before Bobby Brown was even born. Ah well, mistakes happen to the best of us.

Posted by T Dot at 12:49 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Living Dead

The Associated Press reported through a statment late last night from Betty Ford that her husband, former U.S. President Gerald Ford has passed away. I saw the news on Sportscenter, got about three instant messages and an update on my BlackBerry. Call it the information age live and in my bedroom.

My favorite (not that this stuff is enjoyable) part about events like these, is reading the 3-4,000 word obituaries that get mysteriously written and posted on websites within minutes. Judging by this mammoth the NY Times wasn't playing around with this one.

Of course, these obits are written months, sometimes years, in advance of the person actually dying. There's hundreds of these folks -- important figures and newsmakers -- that news organizations are literally just waiting to die. It's so particularly fascinating to me because I am history dork of ridonculous porportions, but also because the newspaper industry has changed so much. Breaking news has got to get the story right, and its got to do so right now. After all, by tomorrow morning, this story is cold pizza.

Not to be morbid, but I would love to know who else is on the list of the Living Dead. In other words, who else has obits just waiting in the wings?

Posted by Darren Sands at 12:06 AM | link | Tell us what you think [1]

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Aww, You Remembered!

I've officially been initiated into the working media -- I've been assigned a holiday shift. So I'll be spending a nice chunk of today and tomorrow in the office.

Not to be a Scrooge or anything, but it kinda stinks a little. But who knew a little elf could go a long way.

Thank you to Al Thompkins of the Poynter Institute, who remembered that many journalists will be cozying up to a warm computer terminal this Christmas. He says he made this holiday dance routine just for us.

Now I'm starting to feel the Christmas cheer. :-)

Posted by Veronica Marché at 2:59 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Public Service Announcement

Always wished someone would recognize you for your great work?
Got a story you want the world (okay, maybe a couple hundred people) to see?
Want to call attention to a collegue's fantastic journalism?

Well, here's your chance.

The good people at Ten95 are taking nominations for the Best YBJ Writing of The Year. In a few weeks, the Ten95 contributors you've come to know and love will comb through the submissions and post our favorites.
(Fifteen minutes of fame for the selected lucky writers will surely ensue.)

Who can submit work?
Anyone who reads the blog, but preferably members of the YBJ listserv (oddly enough, the two are probably one in the same).

What can be submitted?
Any article, commentary or news outlet blog post (preferably by a YBJ member) published in 2006 that caught your eye, made you think or just stuck out as a darn-good piece of journalism.
And yes, you can submit more than one.

How do I submit work?
E-mail the name of the author and their article (or a working link) to ten95blog [at] gmail [dot] com. If you don't have all of the information, send us as much as you can and we'll try to track down the article.

Why are we doing this?
As minorities in journalism, we feel that, frankly, we don't see enough of each other's work. We want a chance to recognize you, our peers, for the reporting done over the past year and celebrate our successes together.

So get to sending in those submissions -- and don't be afraid to nominate yourself!

Posted by T Dot at 4:30 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freedom (of the Press) Fighters in the Making

Some kids in Washington state are following in the steps of our very own T-Dot.

And in case you're not familiar with T-Dot -- or Google, for that matter -- this is why she's kind of a big deal.

People know her.

Posted by Veronica Marché at 9:59 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Monday, December 04, 2006

You know you're a journalist if...

...You can't read anything without looking for errors - and then correcting them.

Take the sign at the service exit to my building for example.

"This door is for exit only"

I went down today to take a picture of it, but someone had taken it down. Someone had penciled numbers above each of the words on the sign, which was printed on a plain white sheet of paper. If you rearranged the words, using the numbers as a guide:

"Only this door is for exit"

What's the difference you ask? I recalled a piece by grammar guru Dick Thien during my Chips Quinn training years ago to answer that question. From the so-called Thien Bible:

Among the many things that are natural in conversation among literate people but don’t pass muster in writing is the misplacement of "only."
In conversation, this would have been utterly natural and instantly understandable: “In the past, agents have only testified about their procedures and activities.”
But that sentence was in the public prints, where the voice can’t be heard and the requirements are stricter. "Only" needs to be snug up against what it modifies.
The writer didn’t mean the agents only testified – as opposed, for example, to chatting or singing or praying. "Only" had to do with what they testified about – procedures and activities – and the sentence should have said the agents “have testified only about their procedures and activities.”

So now I understand why the sign probably drove some copy editor so bonkers that he or she just had to edit it. Gotta keep those onlys smack dab next to what they modify. Only a journalist can appreciate that need to fix another person's copy.

Posted by T Dot at 11:54 AM | link | Tell us what you think [3]

Friday, December 01, 2006

Turn your radios up!

Or your computer speakers as that might be.

Ten95's very own Vandy will be on the Kevin and Bean morning show (106.7,KROQ, Los Angeles) TODAY at about 12:20 p.m. EST to talk about his TV blog, Everybody Hates Marcus. His most recent post on the Tyra Banks Show garnered some attention from Bean, one of the hosts, who is a huge Tyra Fan.

Want to listen? Of course you do! Here's how:

Go to
Click on "I Heard It On KROO" on the left hand corner
You may have to register, but it's free!

So take a few minutes during your lunch break and support Vandy. We hear he's a nervous wreck (it's his first radio interview), but I'm sure having a couple hundred of friends and family listening will help ease his jitters.

Good Luck, Vandy!

Posted by T Dot at 10:32 AM | link | Tell us what you think [1]

And so it begins...

Everytime I walk over to the Delaware State University mailroom to drop off a fresh piece of mail, the excitement I feel is rivaled by few events in this lifetime. Only a child on Christmas Day, winning the Super Bowl, World Series or NBA championship, or R. Kelly hanging out at a girls' school dance could possibly explain that feeling of excitement, nervousness, and potential achievement I feel when I send my resume and clips off for a sports writing position I hear through this skin-tight journalism grapevine I'm entangled in.

The questions and thoughts that run through my mind as I copy my resume, refences and clips are never at a minimum. "What will the managing editors think?" "Are my clips diverse enough?" "Should I get another internship? I'll be 26 next fall..." "Was my cover letter dynamite enough?" "Lord Chris, please don't misspell your own damn address..." and so on and so on.

One thing I've never questioned since the day I began my term as Sports Editor for the Hornet in the fall of 2002 is my ability. If I doubted myself as a writer, reporter and editor, I'd be back to working temp jobs filing someone's data or handing them their mail. I refuse to go back down that path. While the adoration of your peers and the respect and compliments you receive from your subjects are indeed satisfying, you really need to have, as Veronica would say, a "stank" attitude in order to be successful; If you don't believe in yourself or your ability, you can forget it in this business.

I liken the job application process in journalism to that of a low-round draft pick or an undrafted small-college football player trying out for the NFL. While the reputation of your school isn't as much a dominant consideration as it would be in the League, you certainly have to work harder than anyone else in order to get your foot in the door. While you may have been a star in college, you may have to humble yourself to accept a lower position on the depth chart in order to make the roster. Special teams guys are pretty much small college players who are willing to sacrifice their personal glory and do whatever it takes to make the team and help the team be successful. I'm conditioning myself to be one of those guys.

I already know what lies ahead. Journalism as a whole, not just my chosen subdivision of it, is a hard field to break into. I know I'm in for a dogfight, but I won't back down. I've come too far to not give myself the chance to be what I know I can be. And like most small college football players that turn out to be Hall of Famers, once I get my foot in the door, I'm not going to be satisfied until I'm all the way inside.

Just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, my mom called me to let me know that one newspaper I applied to recieved my application and sent a post card thanking me for applying and they wanted to review my qualifications to see if they match what the newspaper is looking for. I won't take it as a win or a loss, I'll take it as the beginning of my journey to make the League. A journey that I plan to enjoy every step of the way.

Posted by Chris at 9:36 AM | link | Tell us what you think [2]

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