The tense line of truth in the race of truth. This is the line that is the starting point for the local cycling club runs their Tuesday evening time trials:
We walked over and watched them race a few weeks ago. I tried the route soon after. After a second attempt I realized my first try was going to be the early standard. I dropped more than a minute the second time. Did it again today, a little anxious at the beginning and then working hard on the first half. I turned and struggled on the back portion of the out-and-back. With heavy legs and empty lungs and squinted eyes I made it back across that line again, happy to be able to breathe again after six miles of complete effort.
The local club posts the officially recorded trial times on their website. My time is slower than everyone they’ve ever listed.
To make this sound a little more impressive for myself than I should: the heat index was something like 103 degrees when I did it this evening. Have you heard it has been hot?
I did 20 miles this evening, would have aimed for a few more, but the sun outran me.
We had our weekly breakfast at Barbecue House this morning. There was an offensive lineman and a cornerback from the university team there. The one looked like he was 320 pounds, but the other did not look like he was 6-foot-2, as he is listed in the official roster. Nice to know, though, that we’re eating with top-flight athletes. We’ve had breakfast there over the years with lots of football players, including more than a few national champions, swimmers, World Series champion baseball players and so on.
The secret is Mr. Price’s biscuits. I’m sure of it.
That was the only other thing that was worth enduring the heat wave, honestly. We’re sweating inside the house with the air on. We live in the South, perhaps you’ve heard of it:
I contend that purple on a weather map is never a good thing.
So there was reading and writing today. Here are some things you might find interesting, as I did:
The Chicago Tribune has a new web design. It is an interesting design philosophy, though they could do without the autoplay.
And now an essay on the evolving news industry, titled Leaving Alabama Behind:
On Nov. 11, 1918, as my dad used to tell me, a reporter named George Flournoy, who went by Gummy, stood in the window of the local daily paper, The Mobile Register, shouting the news of the armistice that ended World War I.
In 1929, after The Register announced it would accelerate updates on the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Athletics to ensure that “followers of the national game in this city shall not be many seconds behind each bit of action recorded,” Gummy relayed each play “by megaphone as rapidly as it is received over direct wires of The Associated Press.”
Gummy, I am sure, would have been impressed by the ease, access and greater reach he’d have today. And he’d be able to go home with his voice intact after the story.
These are the concerns of a man who admits farther down in the column that he likes to compose in pen. He’s pretty cynical about the changes coming to journalism in Alabama but that is also part of the reason he’s one of those scribes who have, unfortunately, been downsized. We agree, wholeheartedly, on this:
Of this I’m sure, though: Whether it’s through a commitment to public Wi-Fi service in every town, or giving tax deductions for family computers and online services, or offering free classes on how to operate what for many are still newfangled gadgets, attention must be paid.
Thirty months ago 62 percent of Alabamians had Internet access. That number is low, but growing. If this is the right Census report, “respondents were not asked any questions about computer access or ownership” since 2007. So the number could be higher. And I don’t see whether libraries were included in connectivity. Either way, the point being, a significant portion of the state’s population, 2.9 million of us, according to the 2010 data, are online. The number is growing.
The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and the Press-Register, the three Alabama papers being radically reshaped this fall, have a combined daily circulation of 320,521 papers. (The top dozen papers in the state, combined, have just under 500,000 in daily circulation.)
At the beginning of the year comScore reported that al.com — those papers’ collective website (Disclosure: where I worked for four-plus years) — averaged more 3.4 million unique monthly visitors. In 2008, they were collecting more than 55 million page views a month. (Not sure why that number is so dated on their media kit.)
The future is right there. There’s a lot of work to be done, but you have to point in the right direction first. The dead tree newspaper edition will play a big role in their future, but that’s no longer their first step, nor should it be.
News has been changed forever by the iPhone:
Through incidents like the plane landing in the Hudson, the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, the “Arab Spring” revolutions in Egypt and others, it has gradually become obvious that the iPhone hasn’t just changed the way a lot of people consume the news — it has also fundamentally altered the way that the news and journalism itself is created, now that everyone has the tools to create and publish text, photos and video wherever they are.
I’ve been talking about that in my journalism classes that for … four years now?
Meanwhile, I love this piece: 5 ways journalism educators can teach students to use multimedia in breaking news coverage:
Journalism schools across the country are embroiled in important but lengthy discussions about reforming curricula, updating courses and funding technology. Meanwhile, new forms of journalism roll on, and our students can get left behind.
While I stay involved in the larger structural debates, I look for small and immediate ways to incorporate digital reporting tools and publishing into my classes. Breaking news events like the Colorado wildfires provide an ideal moment to stick with notebook reporting and text stories and also round out coverage with multimedia.
So, naturally, we need analytics for mobile. Oh wait, that’s here now.
And, finally, from Mashable: Why ‘Twittercycle’ Trumps the Traditional News Cycle:
Still, social media’s permanence is up for debate among media professionals — IJNet‘s readers included–despite the growing population of news consumers who rely on Twitter’s aggregating capabilities for information.
It needs to be used with caution, (Rem Rieder, editor and senior vice president of American Journalism Review) said, given that it comes with new challenges in accuracy and verification. But when it’s used properly, it’s “truly potent.” And the same can be said for Facebook, which is used less for breaking news but is still a valuable tool for journalists. “Growth rates may well slow down, but both seem to be embedding themselves deeply into the culture.”
Greg Linch, special projects and news application producer at the Washington Post, said social networking sites will continue to serve as dominant news sources as long as they remain part of the public’s daily routine. “As they become more ingrained in how we lead our lives, the distinction between social and other media will growingly fade,” he said.
There’s a lot to think about in there for a weekend, no?
Have a great weekend thinking about it!