Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happening Now: Barbie Reporting Live From Pinkville.

News Anchor Barbie
Last week Mattel released the newest edition to their Barbie collection: News Anchor Barbie and people were pissed. According to Joe Grimm, “People have called News Anchor Barbie a sign of the death of real journalism and a reflection of "certain airheads on network cable news."

Oh no! The death of real journalism?!

While I type this, there are little girls all across America pushing Barbie’s microphone into Ken’s face and demanding answers to questions like, “Ken, where is my notebook? Do you have an extra pen? Does the camera really add 20 pounds?” I don’t see the problem. But this is what I do have a problem with…

“According to the American Society of News Editors' annual newsroom census, "Women working full-time in daily newspapers total about 15,200 or 36.62 percent." An ASNE study found that the total for online-only newsrooms is about 40 percent.”

Well, the problem doesn’t seem to be with a silly little Barbie but rather with our society. Women are currently dominating journalism schools. “At the Kansas University School of Journalism, enrollment is currently 70 percent female, according to the school’s dean, Ann Brill.” Is there still sexism against the female journalists? Looks like it and it isn't Barbie’s fault.

The death of real journalism should not be attributed to a blonde Barbie decked out in pink with a permanent smile on her face. The death of real journalism is the failure to adapt in an ever-changing world and potentially the lack of hiring those most qualified for the job: the female journalist.

Is it Time to Mix Business with Pleasure?

The City University of New York recently unveiled the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism. What could this be? Entrepreneurial Journalism? Mixing business and journalism? I have always been taught journalists should away from the dirty business side but now some believe to stay relevant we need to crossover.

“I have long believed that telling journalists to keep our distance from the business of news made us poor stewards of journalism, so I think it is good to teach journalists how their business works, especially now. Finally, we see the opportunity for journalism students to make their own jobs, to create their own journalistic companies,” said Jeff Jarvis, the center's leader and an associate professor and director of CUNY's interactive journalism program.
Good point, Jarvis.

However, before every journalism school and journalists decide to become business savvy we should revamp how journalism is taught in general. How long are we going to cry over the death of the newspaper? At least we’ll be saving some tress, right? How many times will I see a professor roll their eyes at the idea of blogging? Sorry, but it’s taking over. Why don’t we work on making the new journalism college graduate relevant, period. Make them tech savvy. Teach them how to interview properly. Teach them how to fight for a story. Make them tough. Give them the tools before they graduate to produce stories that the American public will deem important. Before business is applied to journalism, we need the public to start trusting journalists again (it's safe to say we are hated) and give them a reason to want to keep us around. This may just be the first step in keeping the journalist relevant.

Read the Poynter Institute piece here: New CUNY Program to Equip Students to Start Journalism-Based Businesses

Monday, September 27, 2010

Salty Stitches Roll into LarkFest

Eileen Clynes of Salty Stitches
Eileen Clynes had the motivation and Erin Dolin knew how to sew. Once they combined their ideas and love for crafts, the ladies crashed the shore of Boston, Massachusetts with Salty Stitches Design’s.

In February 2010, the nautical loving duo decided to start their own business. The status of the economy did not worry them or spending the money that was needed to get Salty Stitches off the ground.

“All we wanted to do was have fun with it,” said Clynes. 

Once Clynes learned how to sew, the two got down to business in Dolin’s kitchen. Pulling from their retro style, Clynes, a 29 year-old Albany, New York native and Sage College graduate and Dolin, a 28 year-old Connecticut native, began making a variety of hair accessories.

Most Popular piece: Skullerflies
“We started out making hair accessories mostly for financial reasons,” said Clynes “Hair flowers are cheap to make and are easy sales.”

The process is simplistic: They walk into Michaels The Arts and Crafts store or Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts and look for flowers that are on sale or for colors that coincide with the seasons. After finding the perfect deep red or robust orange Autumn flower they go back to their apartments and add their signature touch.

“Throughout the week we spend about 15 hours making accessories,” said Clynes. “It takes 15 minutes to make a standard flower and 40 minutes to hand paint a sugar skull.”

The pieces range from big, bright flowers with anchors in the middle with a double prong back to hair bows with spider webs and polka dot ribbons. Some are also decorated with sparkles, hand painted sugar skulls, and mini beer cans.

Over the past weekend, Clynes packed up their pieces and set out to embellish the women of LarkFEST. While I scooped out their tent, Clynes sporting two of her flowers in her hair, greeted everyone with a warm hello as they gushed over the pieces. Throughout the morning women swarmed Salty Stitches table and bought flowers for themselves or their daughters. Girls dragged their boyfriends over, grabbed a flower, held it against their hair, and waited for a sign of approval.

“It’s pretty cool to look out and see your design on someone,” Clynes said while pointing across the street. “Two people have my flowers in now!”

As I walked around LarkFEST I saw Salty Stitches $10 to $15 flowers grace the heads of many women.

Eileen Clynes at LarkFEST

“My daughter loved looking at all the different designs and I was happy to support a local business,” said Kara Rhode of Albany, New York, who purchased two flowers.

Salty Stitches designs have made their way into the Orchard skate shop and Horror Business in Boston. They also have an Esty shop that carries 24 of their products and they boost a 100% positive feed back.

“Etsy has been a great help,” said Clynes “There are thousands of people who sell hair accessories on there but we are getting a lot of sales…a lot of people from Texas are buying our products and we sold to someone in Guam!”

Salty Stitches has no plans of relocating in the near future. Clynes will be attending the New England School of Photography in October. She will be studying advertising and commercial.

Salty Stitches magnets

The ladies hope to expand Salty Stitches into a fulltime job and in the future add more clothes to their collection. They currently sell handmade gingham tops in a variety of colors. Their goal is to make dresses, skirts, aprons, and cardigans. Salty Stitches Fall/Winter line will be out the end of October.

“We just want girls to feel sassy while wearing Salty Stitches pieces,” said Clynes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"There's a bluebird in my heart that..." Wants a New Twitter!

As I’ve previously mentioned I’m addicted to Twitter and in the near future they will be rolling out a completely redesigned Twitter. Exciting! To discover what the new and improved Twitter would consist of I watched a video titled, “Meet the new” on their official website. The two minute video told me hardly anything about the new design. During the first minute of the video I watched as little blue birds popped up in random places (my favorite bird was on a powered sugared pancake. Yum!) When I realized I wasn’t going to learn a damn thing from watching this video, I headed over to The Huffington Post, where they had a comprehensive guide to the new Twitter.

The new Twitter features are amazing! Just to name a few: keyboard shortcuts, never-ending streams of tweets (no more hitting “more”), and you can view profiles alongside tweets. Finally, a Twitter that doesn’t seem so convoluted and much more easier to navigate. I may actually use Twitter from my computer now instead of just my iPhone. It seems with this new design Twitter is taking a step in the right direction and making itself more ideal for professionals, organizations, schools, and anyone trying to move information quickly in a world where the “need to know” is in a constant flux.

(Images from The Huffington Post)

What's the Point of Twitter? To Bitch, duh!

I came across a blog post regarding a complaining man from Syracuse, Twitter, and Price Chopper at All Over Albany. Long story short, Jonathan Hoster, a seemingly typical tweeter shared his thoughts regarding his discontent with the supermarket.

Hoster tweeted: “Every time I go to @PriceChopperNY I realize why they r not @wegmans. Tonight -bare produce areas & this sign 4 ex”

The sign:
Pie fillings and trash bags in the same aisle? What more could you ask for?

Well, Hoster does what a lot of people on Twitter do: complain. However, it seems like ultra sensitive Price Chopper couldn’t handle the critique and contacted Hoster’s employer! What! And it gets better, an employ who goes by the name AC took matters into their own hands, “I've worked in the public relations department at the company for the last two months and I saw the negative tweets and responded through my personal twitter account.” AC requested disciplinary action be taken against him because of the evil, evil tweet! Let’s all laugh out loud. And then remember what we are talking about here…a tweet from a normal dude who doesn’t really care for Price Chopper. Who gives a crap.

“Price Chopper labeled the individual as destructive and negative.” Whoa. Imagine if businesses went through every single tweet and responded to all the negative ones? The thought alone is absurd. The idea that we could be targeted for sharing our opinions via a social networking site seems like a cliché. And what happened to freedom of speech?

What a huge mess! And just as recently as Tuesday, Price Chopper still seems to be attempting to straighten all of this out. They tweeted, “We want to make sure you know we welcome all concerns, praise and suggestions. That is how we make our shopping experience even better.”

Just don’t compare them to Wegmans.

Monday, September 20, 2010

“Did instant coffee kill coffee?” No.

Will the Internet kill newspapers? Will online magazines kill real magazines? Will bloggers kill the respected journalist? No. No. No.

After reading Out of Print: The Death and Life of the American Newspaper by Eric Alterman, I couldn’t help but feel guilty for rarely ever sitting down on a Sunday morning, pouring a cup of tea, and slaving over a thick newspaper. Flipping it’s pages and watching the black ink build up on my finger tips isn’t something that particularly interests me. Why? It’s not because I hate the way the newspaper smells (I secretly love it), it’s not because I find opening, folding, and slapping a newspaper just right so I can read it to be a huge pain-in-the-ass, it’s not because I find the task too daunting, well, it’s just because whatever is in the newspaper I probably read about two or three days ago on the Internet.

“According to “Abandoning the News,” published by the Carnegie Corporation, thirty-nine per cent of respondents under the age of thirty-five told researchers that they expected to use the Internet in the future for news purposes; just eight per cent said that they would rely on a newspaper.”

Uh oh. And, “The average age of the American newspaper reader is fifty-five and rising.” It seems like the newspaper is already dead; clinched in the fists of all those old people who refuse to embrace new technologies. However, I still believe in the newspaper.

Why I Blog by Andrew Sullivan, explains the difference between the good ol’ fashion newspaper (and a traditional writer) and the literary liberation obtained from blogging. When I think of blogs, a few things come to mind: 1) Nonfiction commentary. Bloggers tend to give their perspectives. They can be bias. They engage the reader with a personal story. They latch onto a story that has been floating around in the traditional media world and give their take on it, “Here’s what CNN reported but I was there and this is what really happened…” Who are you going to believe? Who do you want to hear more from? Sure, I’ll read a news clip from CNN but I want to read a firsthand experience too. 2) Regurgitated news. Depending on what blogs I stumble across, there is a lot of dissected news with a bunch of opinions throughout it. While this entices some readers, it can cloud judgment. Then again, this is one of the reasons why blogs are so popular; people want someone they can agree with, someone who shares their same sentiments, someone to add fuel to their fire. 3) A newspapers best friend…if the newspaper will have it. The Internet, social media, and the blogosphere were all inevitable. How long did they think the population would be okay with slow moving news? Really. And if the population has little trust for it’s newspaper/reporters, it was only a matter of time until we found a way around them. Bloggers add to the story, they all engage the reader, they solicit for comments, and in my opinion keep the story alive.

The newspaper, the magazine, and the book are works of art. Millions of dollars are poured into them. They are held to a high standard and are expected to supply sound stories from which one can make informed decisions about their way of life and their community. These printed stories are the gateway into a world of commentaries, opinions, firsthand accounts, and comments that all ooze through the Internet.

Appetite for Destruction.

My 31 year-old boyfriend told me if it wasn’t for all the “crap” I read online we would be married and have kids. “Thank God for crap,” I thought. I will be the first one to admit I’m addicted to Twitter. I tweet while I’m walking to my car, while I’m at school, while I’m at work, while I’m supposed to be out somewhere enjoying myself, and while I’m lying in bed next to my snoring boyfriend. But here is the real reason why I love Twitter: I follow all the websites and media outlets I would frequent if I had four hours a day to play online and through their tweets they supply me with basically everything I want/need to know. When I wake up, I scroll effortlessly (I should clarify that 98% of the time I only use Twitter from my iPhone) through a sea of tweets from local and international news outlets, veterans websites, magazines, and some of my favorite commentators. By 7:15am, I am aware if there has been a drone attack in Pakistan, if a hurricane has made landfall, and I get to read a quote from one of my favorite authors. Can’t beat it. I love it.

Aside from Twitter, I frequent several blogs and news websites ranging from Stars and Stripes to Dear Golden (a sweet little blog on vintage clothing). My top five daily checks are:, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Drudge Report, and Stars and Stripes. When it comes to magazines, I always tend to check out: Vanity Fair, TIME, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Esquire, and Wired. And I still feel like I’m missing something…not reading enough. There is such an abundance of information coming at us on a daily basis that one can’t help but feel overwhelmed…and I guess that’s why Google Reader was invented.

“I can't keep up,
Can't keep up
Can't keep up
Out of step with the world,” Minor Threat