Catholic Schools Closing

My daughter attends a Catholic School in Baltimore, Maryland and her school is one of the 13 schools closing at the end of school year. We are saddened by the news but we look at it as being a new beginning for us.

My daughter has no special needs and I can go to any school and plan my daughter’s future now but other parents do not have this option.

The school my daughter attends has a special department that tends to the needs of children with learning disabilities. The children are only in this class for Language Arts and Math, they attend other subjects with the rest of their home room class.

The Archdiocese has not decided where to put this program they closed both schools where this program is available. The Archdiocese keeps saying how they will make their decision soon; that is not good enough. This decision cannot be taken lightly and should have been in place before the closings were announced.

Teachers at PRIDE all have to be trained to deal with special needs. Several teachers at Sacred Heart of Mary, the school my daughter attends, have stated it has taken them 10 years learn to deal and be productive with the program and the students.

At the meeting last night the panel kept stressing how the PRIDE program is their top priority; well why are these children being left behind in their “plan.”

Why did both schools that had the PRIDE imbedded in their curriculum and daily lives have to close?

Last night at a special meeting was held at Catholic High where parents were supposed to get answers; we got none.

The media is trying to cover this story but they are missing out on the PRIDE program; that is where the story is. The reporter who talked to us last night did not even know about the PRIDE program.

This is where I believe the news industry is lacking today. We follow stories about celebrities and their life but what about everyday people and their struggles. Years ago this story would have been front page!

What do you think about news coverage or the dealing with the PRIDE program?

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Filed under Archdiocese, Catholic Schools, PRIDE

Where have I been?

I apologize for my lack of blogging over the last month. The holidays and being snowed in at Greenbay did not help my cause. But I am back and ready to blog the news to you.

I am going to start out the New Year on a funny note. A friend of mine, named Josh, sent me the link “11 Most Painfully Obvious Newspaper Articles Ever.” It made me laugh and showed me just how much the news industry; especially newspapers need to pay even more attention to blunders in print.

Enjoy!

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Lauren Custer from the Baltimore Sun

 

Lauren Custer works for the Baltimore Sun on the website end of the paper. I meet Lauren when I was in her Digital Publishing Class at Towson University last semester.

Where do you work and what exactly do you do there?

I am the Director of Interactive Design at The Baltimore Sun. My responsibilities include project management (corporate & internal tasks), maintaining consistency in regards to online design/functionality/user experience across baltimoresun.com, main technical production liaison with Tribune Interactive and counterparts across the markets, and streamlining production workflow. How long have you worked at your current job? I started at The Sun in January 2003 as a Web producer. In March 2006 I was promoted to Senior Web producer which changed to Production Technology Manager in August 2007. In March 2009 I was promoted again to Director of Interactive Design.

Was it tough for you to find a job in the multimedia world or did you come out of college prepared for it?

I definitely had the experience in college that I needed to be prepared to begin a career in online journalism. I was lucky in that the one interview I had during my last semester in college was for the Web production position that I started at The Sun about one week after graduation. I think it’s pretty rare for that to happen, however, I wouldn’t have been hired had I not had the experience through my internship at the Baltimore City Paper, my independent study through Dr. Thom Lieb or all of the new media classes I took in the journalism track at Towson University.

Do you feel you were at the beginning of the new trend of journalism?

If you’re referring to online journalism as a whole then I started several years too late. The influence that social media has had on journalism didn’t really gain popularity until the past year or two, so I absolutely felt like I was experiencing the excitement and unpredictability that social networking brought to the newsroom. Technology changes so fast and there is always something new and more efficient than the last; do you think this helps or hinders the media world? It all depends on how prepared the media group is and how many resources they have to take advantage of the next new thing. For example, our community coordinator group was created in April 2009 to lead The Sun’s social networking efforts. Had we not designated people in each department to develop our social media presence, at this point we would probably be pretty far behind the rest of the newspaper Web sites in markets equal to our size. I would prefer that we have a better video presence but technological resources are still working on improving the video player and CMS that goes along with it.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the all the information and ways to get information on a daily basis?

I frequently feel overwhelmed by all of the different social networking accounts I have created and the Twitter users that I follow. Occasionally I’ll take a step back and remove feeds from my Google reader, un-follow Twitter users that I’m not learning anything from and unsubscribe from newsletters. The best thing to do is keep yourself in check so you’re not overloaded on information.

Do you think there have been more positive changes in the media world or negative changes? Please Explain.

I think this is a heavy and difficult question to answer thoughtfully because there are so many aspects to each change. The world of newspapers has been hit really hard over the past several years due to declining circulation, loss of advertising revenue, the overall economy, etc. We all know of a few newspaper groups over the past year that have since closed or drastically reduced staff size to keep out of the hole. With that said, however, new media and social networking have given a new light to how journalists can present themselves and it also gives them more avenues for reporting. In short, if you keep up to date on current trends and start marketing yourself (become an entrepreneur!) then you’ve got a good shot to be a part of the positive changes that are taking place. If you’re afraid of new media and change then it might be a good time to refocus.

Have you been directly affected by the changes in the media world and if so how?

I have been positively affected because my background is in digital publishing and Web production. My interests lie in new media and production management, which is one thing that newspaper Web sites need to maintain a healthy editorial workflow.

What advice do you give future journalists or photographers or multimedia specialists?

Stay with it – start to report/write/produce/photograph as soon as you can and get your work out there on the Web pronto. Create an online portfolio and have it linked through many social networking Web sites (think LinkedIn). Have more than one internship and start making connections across the board.

Do you think the fact that you teach digital publishing helps you stay more connected with the current trends or do you think you would naturally stay connected with current trends?

I naturally stay connected with trends but it certainly helps working at The Sun. I definitely learn a lot working in a newsroom; much of what I learn here I take with me to class to give “real life” examples to my students.

What goals do you have for yourself and your career?

I eventually want to focus my efforts purely on project management and site (production) maintenance.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Keep in touch with your professors even after graduation. You’ll never know when they can come in handy.

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YouTube Direct

YouTube Direct is the newest thing YouTube has developed. YouTube direct was developed so news organizations can connect with the public. The hope is to allow an easier way for citizen journalists and media news organizations to share info to the general public.

The YouTube Direct website states, “YouTube Direct allows you to embed the upload functionality of YouTube directly into your own site, enabling your organization to request, review, and re-broadcast user-submitted videos with ease. News organizations can ask for citizen reporting; nonprofits can call-out for support videos around social campaigns; businesses can ask users to submit promotional videos about your brand. With YouTube Direct, the opportunities to connect directly with the YouTube community are endless.”

Personally I think this is a good thing. People already submit their at-the-scene-footage to news organizations this will just make it easier, I think???

The only thing is I’m sure sooner or later in our sue-happy country someone will find a loop hole and try to sue for the use of their footage but I’m sure YouTube has thought of this already and is prepared, or at least we hope they are.

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Delusional news execs

Are news executives delusional?

The Statistics from the American Press Institute have discovered, through research that news executives believe that if they switch off their websites that it would push viewers to their newspapers. But readers have a totally different perception of the situation.

Online Journalism Blog has more info about the results and you can also go to the MediaPost Blog for a more in-depth look at the results.

What do you think; if the local newspaper turned off their web site would you go get their actual paper?

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The Dundalk Eagle

eaglehistory

Picture off the Dundalk Eagle web site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I talked with Dundalk Eagle Editor, Wayne Laufert, and Associate Publisher, Deborah Cornely and they gave me some insightful info about the local weekly paper the Dundalk Eagle.  These were some of the questions and answers that I could not squezze into my feature but I still wanted to share the info with my viewers.

How far does your readership reach in each area you deliver to?

 

–Readership pretty much permeates our coverage area, though there are a few residential pockets where subscription sales are low, most notably within a largely African American community. On the whole our local readership is extensive and makes up about 94% of our total circulation. We mail about 3% to out-of-state subscribers and about the same percentage to subscribers in other parts of Maryland.

 

What areas do your articles focus on and do you ever report on news in other areas?

 

–We focus on the Dundalk-Edgemere part of southeastern Baltimore County and a small part of southeastern Baltimore City. When we leave those boundaries to cover something, it’s because there’s a strong local angle, like someone from the area winning an award or a sports team playing a big game.

 

What are the demographics of your readers?

 

–We don’t have specific information about the age of our readers, but we suspect we have more readers over 40 than under. The area we cover is predominantly white, and we suspect that’s reflected in our readership too.

 

What has been the papers biggest struggle with all the new technology in the news room? Have the changes made your job easier or harder?

 

–The biggest problem with technology is keeping up with new versions of hardware and software and staying compatible without being able to spend thousands of dollars frequently. However, turnaround time on getting something in the paper is much quicker than it used to be.

 

Is the paper online more or less to be able to reach readers who have moved away and no longer have access to the local news you provide?

 

–The paper’s online mainly to keep up with technology and modern readers’ expectations. Being able to reach out-of-town readers online is a bonus.

 

 

How are the sales of the 6 month subscriptions been online?

 

–Not great, but at least we are experiencing a little additional revenue from Web sales.       Regardless of online subscription sales, we still maintain an average of 22,600 site visits a month. (Newspapers are taking a second look at how they can obtain revenue from their Web sites. The free-access business model has proven disastrous. It has encouraged large percentages of former paid print subscribers to flock to the free sites and caused revenue to plummet. The expected bump in online advertising sales has never materialized. Web sales have failed to generate the funds needed to support quality news gathering. The result has been massive layoffs of [mostly] news personnel at just about every daily paper. Even if we fail in our attempt to generate some amount of sustainable revenue from our site, we think it has been worthwhile to try. We also believe our Web sub represents an industry wide baby step toward reeducating people so they understand that quality news content is worth paying for.)

I really want to thank Wayne and Deborah for thier time and information. Another local weekly paper told me they would be unable to answer my questions and that they would be surprised if anyone would answer them. So thanks so much!

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Check out my Slide Show!

Check out the story of the Dundalk Eagle on the “Behind the Scenes at the Dundalk Eagle” page.

More info to come.

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Filed under the latest news