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Elon University
A new survey by Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project paints a picture of a future population that largely won’t be geared to consume news as it currently is produced. That’s not exactly the way it’s put, but draw your own conclusion:

“Young people accustomed to a diet of quick-fix information nuggets will be less likely to undertake deep, critical analysis of issues and challenging information. Shallow choices, an expectation of instant gratification, a lack of patience, are likely to be common results. One possible outcome is stagnation in innovation.”

On the bright side, it proposes the possibility of “evolving social structures (that) will create a new ‘division of labor’ that rewards those who make swift, correct decisions as they exploit new information streams and rewards the specialists who retain the skills of focused, deep thinking.” That sounds like what good journalists are geared to do, potentially putting them in the category of “new winners … in this reconfigured environment.” Let us hope.

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The Elements of Style from Jake Heller on Vimeo.

You won’t actually learn anything from this.

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Maybe it’s a good thing that a newspaper reported incorrectly that a Seattle-area woman had been murdered in 1996. Maybe her kids will appreciate her more now. On the other hand, maybe it was wishful thinking on someone’s part.

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pelican
Sorry for the long lag without a post. I spent several days getting sunburned and repairing a pelican’s broken neck (above, with a rubber band providing tension to keep the head from tilting back until the cement in the neck set). After several days of sanity (and admiring how the Star-News in Wilmington, N.C., seems to have managed to hold on to a larger news hole than many papers its size in this economy), I am back to work. … Not that I have anything to say today.

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Twitter post
Mallary Jean Tenore of poynter.org collected tips for how journalists can build a bigger, more engaged audience. They are good for reminding journalists how the online world differs from the traditional worlds of print and broadcast news. For instance, you include the names of sources in tweets and Facebook updates about your story; if that seems to grate on your traditionalist nerves, think of the traditionalist parallel: names and places, as in getting local names and local places in the paper makes the paper inherently more interesting to local readers. And the tip to tweet follow-ups, even (or especially) if your follow-up is online later in the day that you first tweeted about the story, is a reminder that the online news world is always in motion, and your potential audience is moving in and out of the social network through the day.

However, some of the tips make me cringe at the potential of some journalist somewhere thinking all the tips apply equally to all stories. For instance: “Let sources know about your story, ask them to share it.” It probably would not be a good idea to e-mail Councilman Smith and ask him to tweet about your story quoting Councilwoman Jones calling him a pig and including his paraphrase of Dan Aykroyd’s line to Jane Curtin from the old Point-Counterpoint skits on “Saturday Night Live.” Similarly: “Comment on stories that have been written about the topic, and include a link to your story” does not mean you are encouraged to spout your opinion on whatever ongoing story you are covering; any comments you make should adhere to common sense and news guidelines on social media (or, as John Robinson of the News & Record in Greensboro, N.C., put it, “Don’t be stupid.”)

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