Interesting set of problems the Internet creates.

Thanks to search engines we have more information at our fingertips today than ever before. My sons are tired of hearing how I used to have to spend hours in libraries looking for data for my term papers in college.

In China, that is not the case. The government bans search engines from allowing certain phrases or words. (Latest news on this: Two New Lists of Sina Weibo’s Banned Search Terms.)

But what is almost equally bad is having the right to unlimited search terms and data but now knowing how to determine what is the right stuff and what is BS.

And this is a growing problem in the United States. Wired magazine addressed this issue: Clive Thompson on Why Kids Can’t Search.

No Child Left Behind seems to have left critical thinking behind. And that ain’t good for journalism, democracy or the future of our society.

For a longer discussion of this, go to Some can’t search. Some can’t analyze.



I just posted an item you all might want to look about a piece recently done by PRI’s The World. I think the story showed intelligence and creativity in what was going on in an otherwise mundane election cycle in San Francisco.

The impact of ethnic media — Too often overlooked

I would encourage journalism students to find out more about the local ethnic media outlets. If you can’t speak or read the language, then touch base with the reporters and editors who do the stories. They have to operate in an English environment. I will bet — in fact I know because I have interviewed some of them in the DC area — that they have journalism war stories and tips you will not hear from the mainstream media folks.


Interesting piece in the Greenslade Blog at The Guardian website:

Internship exploitation – how publishers use and abuse work experience

One of the wannabe hacks, Emily Handford (aka The Intern), has discovered the perils of taking on serial internships “without a sniff of a job.”

She asks: “Have I just wasted my time, energy and money completing these internships? I enjoyed them but I never managed to nab a job whilst on the job, so to speak.”

Nor, it appears, did she make any money because she has also failed to land one of those “prized paid internships.”

Rest of story

Gee. All this sounds the same on this side of the pond as well.

BTW, Wannabe Hacks is a worthwhile site to look at as well. If for no other reason than it is a trans-Atlantic link to the problems of finding a job in journalism.

Face it, globalization is here to stay. There are so many links between the rest of the world and local businesses.

And that goes for political rhetoric as well.

To hear some circles tell it, the United States is a lousy place to set up and run a business. Well, the World Bank disagrees. And they back up their conclusion with facts and figures.

Take a look at my take on this issue here: Global business rankings and why it matters locally

For student journalists, this report could be a good starting point for some stories that are informative and out of the ordinary. Such as:

  • Interviews with the university’s business department about the micro and macro impact of business laws and regulations.
  • A comparison of what the report says with LOCAL business regulations
  • A set of interviews with foreign companies with LOCAL offices near the university.
  • A discussion with business majors from other countries about their perspectives on the report, what they are learning in their classes and what they have learned about the American business climate.

The “take away” on this point is simple: Local issues often have an international connection and international events can easily reach right down to your street corner.

All it takes is for a reporter to think beyond the mantra of “Local! Local! Local!” to see the connection.


In an earlier posting I wrote about a Gallup survey on attitudes toward inter-racial marriage, a Pew report on same-sex marriages and a historic link between the two. (Inter-racial and same-sex marriages. Issues with a history and a lesson.)

The issue keeps coming up under the banner of “states’ rights.”

Here is the latest installment: Gay marriage ban debated in North Carolina

The comments of Bernie Cohen — the lawyer who argued (and won) before the Supreme Court that banning inter-racial marriages was unconstitutional — about his case and same-sex marriages still hold power:

Imagine the injury to our nation if the Court had flinched, or if the opposition had prevailed with arguments like “let the people vote” or attacks on “activist judges,” and had cemented discrimination into our Constitution.

The links of events from almost 50 years ago still resonate today and the links need to be made clear.

Sounds like a job for a good journalist.