Don’t have an audio recorder? There’s an app for that

If you don’t have a digital audio recorder, but you do have a smart phone, this app might be of interest. It lets you record and play back in slow-mo, if preferred. There is a free version and one you pay about $5 for. Thanks to Kate for passing this along.

Interviewing tips

Here is what not to do when starting an interview. This is NOT GOOD ON ANY LEVEL.

A journalist talks about interviewing and the importance of preparation.

Here is an interview about interviewing with Katie Couric.



After starting the demolition last April, the project of renovating Sullivant Hall is now ahead of schedule as the school year gets under way. 

Construction crews have been working on both the inside and outside of the building, located on High Street by 15th Avenue, and the favorable weather throughout the summer has helped them to not fall behind.

“All of the demolition work has been done in the spring and summer, and we were lucky,” said Pete Confar, architect with Acock Associates.  “Things went pretty smoothly, and the demolition is a little ahead of schedule.”

With the demolition process nearly complete, crews will begin reconstructing the building “within the next few weeks,” said Confar.

The staircase that was the main entrance to the front of the building facing High Street has been demolished.  Crews have also busted out all the windows to the building, but completely destroying the limestone is something Confar does not want to do, saying that it is a “beautiful building, but we just want to make it more transparent.”

According to Confar, staying ahead of schedule is important because the renovation project has evolved from its original plans, saying “the magnitude of what’s happening has grown.”

“It will be more than just the home of the cartoon library,” said Confar.  “The project is now creating a black box theater for the dance department.  Art education is now going to come to the building, along with the Barnett Center.”

Other improvements to Sullivant Hall will include compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), anticipated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification, and utility cost savings.  An enhanced student and faculty educational experience is also expected for the renovated building.

Crew members are confident that they will reach their goal of having the renovations completed by the fall of 2013.  According to Confarr, the cartoon library should be ready for the start of the 2013 fall semester, but “other things might drift to October or November.”

Confar also said that school starting back up will probably not have a negative impact on the construction since the building is fenced off.  First-year student Lauren Todd agrees that it should not be too big of a deal, but the noise and construction could be distracting for students in other buildings, such as Page Hall.

The project includes renovating 136,000 square feet for art, dance, and library facilities.  The total project budget is $30 million, with $19 million going towards construction, $6 million for labor and $6 million for materials, according to Confar. 

The main addition to Sullivan Hall will be the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, which is currently located in the Wexner Center for the Arts.

“We are just so excited to move into our new home,” said Wendy Pflug, associate curator for collections at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.  “It’s going to quadruple our storage space, which is extremely important, and we’re going to have three dedicated galleries which we find important to our educational and teaching mission.”

Other features that will be showcased at the cartoon library when the renovations are completed include an International Museum of Cartoon Art.  The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum acquired material for the IMCA in 2008, but has not had the room to showcase it.  There will also be a stained glass featuring Billy Ireland’s work.

“I think what we’re really excited about is being able to showcase the art,” said Pfluug.  “We’ll be able to share these visual treasures.” 

For Lantern reporters, some problems with stories so far! READ THIS!

Misspelled names!! Quadruple check all spellings. Is it John or Jon? Last name hyphenated? Last name have a capital letter? Vanpelt? VanPelt? Van Pelt? McCleary? Mccleary?

Also, if you re-organize your story before turning it in make sure that your first reference to sources is still complete. We never want “Meyer said” in graf 2, and then “Coach Urban Meyer” in graf 4.

Do the math!! Quadruple check all facts and figures from all your sources. Does the math add up? Do the percentages = 100? Is it the most current data? For example, a former federal banking official told a Lantern editor that about 200 banks had closed in the last year. Well, it was actually more than 250, so we double-checked and made the story more accurate!!

Don’t bury the lede!! First, identify the most newsworthy and interesting details/facts, then prioritize within them. Remember the 5 W’s and H, then decide which are the most important and construct your lede sentence/story accordingly.

Bad: On Thursday during a Rose Garden press conference, President Barack Obama said he will resign due to a heart condition. (The important stuff is there but at end of sentence, should be first thing reader reads)

Use feature ledes on “old news:” If you’re writing about something that happened over the weekend for Monday’s paper, don’t put day of week in lede. If even older, use “last week” or “last month” high in story and put actual date lower down.

Talk to more people!!! All of your stories must have at least 3 people. Well, that is a MINIMUM! Talk to as many folks as you can. You never know what the next person will say and if that will help you get a better story on that day…or give you an idea for another story that is even better than the original. And not all sources must be OSU people, seek “outside experts” from other schools, companies, trade groups, etc.

DO NOT RELY ON E-MAIL!! In-person interviews should ALWAYS be your first option. Then phone. E-mail is last! E-mail allows your sources to perfectly craft responses, avoid follow-up questions and avoid having to look you in the eye when they answer your questions. That is too much of an advantage for them in most cases….and your stories will suffer…and our audience suffers.

Avoid the word “now:” Unless it’s in a direct quote, you can almost always get rid of “now” and improve the sentence. Technically, whatever you’re writing about probably already happened, or is about to, so “now” is inaccurate.


Freelance sports writing opportunity!!

If you’re interested in covering some high school sports and getting paid….not a lot, but still getting paid….let me know ASAP.

Interesting for Lantern and Strat Comm classes

This touches on the importance of transparency, disclosure of conflicts, integrity, etc.

Also, interesting to see how CBS PR person reacted.

Strat Comm in 6 words? Yes!

The Hemingway legend is that his friends bet him, or he bet his friends, about the ability to tell a complete a story in 6 words. Here is what he came up with:

For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.

A bit of a downer, right?

Here are two I came up with today. I tried to summarize how some of you might be feeling.
1. 8 a.m., Tuesday, Thursday. This sucks.
2. Tuesday, Thursday early morning class. Sunrises.

Welcome! A quick word on filing content this semester

For Comm 2321 (Writing for Strat Comm):

Need 1 printed copy, double-spaced, due at beginning of class following instructions on syllabus. Header should be:

Your name
My name
2-4 word slug —describes story
short headline of 50 characters or less, including spaces
long headline of 94 characters or less, including spaces

For Comm 2223 (Lantern Practicum):

Send me an email with the raw copy you sent your editors. Subject line should be Section, Number of story.

For example: if Dan is filing his first story for Campus, the subject line would be: Campus 1.

If Joan is filing her 4th story for Sports: Sports 4.

Any questions, let me know.

Twitter in trouble; Daily layoffs; New Yorker web issues; Romney press access/media mgmt; NBC break-even Olympics

Twitter kicked someone off its service who happened to be critical of NBC for Olympic coverage. He also happened to be a journalist and Twitter happens to be one of NBC’s Olympic partners. Twitter apologized and reinstated his account. Twitter got slammed for it.

The Daily, News Corp’s tablet newspaper, laid off a third of its staff yesterday. Surprised?

The New Yorker is a great magazine, despite recent issues with plagiarism. Why is its website not as great?

Romney press access raises questions and one of his spokesmen goes off.

NBC will break even on the Olympics. Had expected a loss. Surprised?