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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: journalism, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 26
1. #662 – Hatch, Little Egg by Édouard Manceau

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Hatch, Little Egg

Written & Illustrated by Édouard Manceau
Owlkids Books 9/15/2014
978-1-77147-077-3
Age 3 to 7 32 pages
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“The little bird is hatching! The little bird is hatching!

“Animals gather. Cameras Flash. The excitement builds. Is it happening? How much longer? Will the little bird live up to the crowd’s expectations? Get ready to find out! One . . . two . . . three . . . “

Opening

A reindeer, with a camera slung over his shoulder, rides his motorcycle. Where is he going? I have no idea. “Hey, Jack! Are you going to see the little bird hatch?”

Review

A flat tire has Jack stopped on the side of the road. Reindeer gives Jack a lift. As they travel, the road becomes congested with cars, bikes, and campers. Everyone is excited. Little bird will be hatching soon. With cameras in hand, the visitors walk toward the egg. Even a few bees have flown in for the occasion. I was hoping a couple of the bees would have a teeny-tiny camera. Actually, all the cameras are real, not an iPhone in sight. At the egg, a mouse raises her purse. She wears a black almost square hat and appears to be in charge of the gathering, or maybe she was just the first to arrive. The light-orange egg waits, sitting upright, unaware of the happenings around it.

“Ooooh! Here we go!”
“Hatch little egg!”
“Get ready! One, two, three . . . “

The egg cracks. The crowd’s excitement grows. Eyes widen in anticipation. The top of the egg pops off and the little bird is free. No one takes a picture. No one smiles. Everyone looks surprised, yet no one looks happy. Only the mouse has her arms stretch out as if to say, “Tada!” Someone else says,

“What on earth”

Everyone looks confused. Still, not one flash fills the area around the egg and it’s former tenant. He waves. Asks why no one wants to take his picture. No one moves. The mouse looks angry. One by one, the crowd disperses. They are disappointed, denied the show they came to see. The egg’s occupant is completely free and stands smiling as the crowds go home.  Why, what just happened? Something is wrong, or at least not right.

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The illustrations in Hatch, Little Bird are wonderful. They are very similar to The Race (reviewed here). Bright eyes fill every car and bike. The enthusiasm is palatable. The happy crowd contains the reindeer, Jack (owl), birds, bears, and bees, the mouse, and at least one rhino. Really, it’s a zoo. Kids will love these animals and will understand both, what they came to see and why they leave disappointed.

The humorous twist is totally unexpected. Actually, I had no idea why this egg hatching was so important, at least to the crowd. There will be kids who will want to know how what came out of the egg, got into the egg. It’s a very good question. Slowly, turn the page. Pretty funny, I thought. Kids will think it is funny, too. They may not get the crowd-mentality, or even care, but they will get the twist, or the joke, if you will.

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Kids will like Hatch, Little Bird and be able read it themselves after hearing the story once. They can go off and make up story after story about why they came, and what happened the day the egg hatched. Imaginations free to go wild or mild. This is one reason I like Mr. Manceau’s work. The other reason is the strange creatures he draws. Positioned against a white background, the creatures seem to pop off the page. Hatch, Little Bird is a goofy story with endless possibilities for your child’s imagination. A book they can read by themselves. Hatch, Little Bird, a French import, is a delightful picture book for young children. The multiple layers will tickle adults.

HATCH, LITTLE EGG. Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 Éditions Milan. Reproduced by permission of the US publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA.
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Purchase Hatch, Little Bird at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryOwlkids Booksyour favorite local bookstore.
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Learn more about Hatch, Little Bird HERE
Meet the author/illustrator, Édouard Manceau, at his website:    http://edouardmanceau.blogspot.com/
Find more pictures books that delight at the Owlkids Books website:    http://www.owlkids.com/

Translated by Karen Li

Éditions Milan originally published Hatch, Little Bird in 2013, in France.
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Also by Édouard Manceau

Clic Clac

Clic Clac

Presto Change-O: A Book of Animal Magic

Presto Change-O: A Book of Animal Magic

My Little Library

My Little Library

The Race

The Race

 

 

Reviewed HERE
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 LOOK!  coming in 2015

LOOK! coming in 2015

 

 

 

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hatch little egg
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Éditions Milan, Édouard Manceau, children's book reviews, egg hatching, Hatch, Karen Li, Little Egg, Owlkids Books, picture book, young children

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2. #648 – Stanley the Builder by William Bee

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Stanley the Builder

by William Bee
Peachtree Publishing           9/01/2014
978-1-5614-801-1
Age 3 to 8           32 pages
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“When Myrtle buys a plot of land, she asks Stanley to build her a new house. He works step-by-step—from clearing the site with a bulldozer, to pouring the foundation, to painting the finished house in Myrtle’s favorite colors. Luckily, Charlie helps out too. Building houses is hard work, but all three friends are happy with a job well done.”

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Opening 

“What are Stanley and Myrtle doing?”

Review

Myrtle the mouse just purchased a plot of land and hires Stanley to build her a house. Stanley is an industrious hamster. After clearing the land with his bulldozer, Stanley and his helper Charlie, build the foundation. The tricky work of laying down the bricks is next. There is not a wolf around who will be able to blow this house down. When the house is finished, Stanley paints it using Myrtle’s favorite colors. All done, Stanley heads home, newspaper in hand, for dinner, a long bath, and bed. He will wake up ready for a new day.

Stanley the Builder US interior-page-004

Young boys will love the Stanley the Builder. Stanley uses all kinds of machines to help him build Myrtle’s house. Will kids know what and how these machines are used? Stanley wears a yellow safety hat, possibly just as dad wears. Young boys, and some girls, who enjoy building things just like Stanley, will love a story about building, especially with the cute hamster Stanley. The illustrations are basic with large, easy to recognize shapes, separated by solid black lines, which help deepen the colors and drawing one’s attention. The colors are basic primary and secondary colors. Kids should be able to recognize each color if asked.

I love this clean presentation. The white background helps keep the eyes focused on the main illustration. I also like that Stanley’s friend Charlie helps and Myrtle finds a way to help out, too. These three friends work well together. Young children will enjoy pointing out the equipment Stanley uses—a crane, digger, cement mixer, and bulldozer. A game can be made of finding the machine, the item used to build the house, or a specific color, after reading the story, of course. In this way, Stanley the Builder can be a great way to prepare for kindergarten. Stanley has more adventures on the way. Young children will eagerly await each new addition. Next, Stanley runs a garage.

Stanley the Builder US interior-page-007

STANLEY THE BUILDER. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by William Bee. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishing.

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Purchase Stanley the Builder at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtreeyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Stanley and his series HERE

Meet the author/illustrator, William Bee, at his website:   http://www.williambee.com/

Check out William Bee’s fantastic blog:  http://williambee.blogspot.com/

Find all of the Stanley series at the Peachtree Publishing blog:   http://peachtreepub.blogspot.com/

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Also by William Bee

Worst in Show - 2014

Worst in Show – 2014

Digger Dog - 2014

Digger Dog – 2014

Stanley the Farmer - 2015

Stanley the Farmer – 2015

Stanley's Garage - 2014

Stanley’s Garage – 2014

 

Review HERE

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Migloo’s Day – 2015

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stanley the builder

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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Peachtree Publishing Book Blog Tour

Stanley the Builder

Monday 9/1

Green Bean Teen Queen

Tuesday 9/2

Jean Little Library

Geo Librarian

Kid Lit Reviews

Wednesday 9/3

Chat with Vera

Thursday 9/4

Kiss the Book

Blue Owl

Friday 9/5

The Fourth Musketeer


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: builds a house, bulldozer-cement mixer-crane-digger, children's book reviews, Peachtree PUblishing, picture book, Stanley series by William Bee, William Bee, young children

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3. Elefanta by Vanita Oelschlager

5 Stars   An elephant never forgets, or does he?  Elefante is a young elephant who forgets to tie his shoes and then falls down, having tripped over those laces he forgot to tie.  He forgets to clean up his toys and put them where they belong.  His sister tripped over the mess Elefante left [...]

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4. Up Cat & Up Dog both by Hazel Hutchins

Today is a “Two-Fer” Day.  From Annick Press, author Hazel Hutchins, and illustrator Fanny we have two delightful board books for toddlers and young kids.  Both are simply in story and text, which can be the hardest to write.  The important word in each is the word up.  Being repetitive, it helps the youngest kids [...]

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5. One Night in Bethlehem by Jill Roman Lord

 4 Stars “A young boy considers what he would done if he had been in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.  Engaging art with textures will help children imagine how it might have felt like to bo present for the birth of our King.” One Night in Bethlehem is a Christmas inspired touch-and -feel book for [...]

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6. So what do we think? The Wild West: 365 days

 

 The Wild West: 365 days

 

 Wallis, Michael. (2011) The Wild West: 365 days. New York, NY: Abrams Press. ISBN 978-0810996892 All ages.

 Publisher’s description: The Wild West: 365 Days is a day-by-day adventure that tells the stories of pioneers and cowboys, gold rushes and saloon shoot-outs in America’s frontier. The lure of land rich in minerals, fertile for farming, and plentiful with buffalo bred an all-out obsession with heading westward. The Wild West: 365 Days takes the reader back to these booming frontier towns that became the stuff of American legend, breeding characters such as Butch Cassidy and Jesse James. Author Michael Wallis spins a colorful narrative, separating myth from fact, in 365 vignettes. The reader will learn the stories of Davy Crockett, Wild Bill Hickok, and Annie Oakley; travel to the O.K. Corral and Dodge City; ride with the Pony Express; and witness the invention of the Colt revolver. The images are drawn from Robert G. McCubbin’s extensive collection of Western memorabilia, encompassing rare books, photographs, ephemera, and artifacts, including Billy the Kid’s knife.

 Our thoughts:

 This is one of the neatest books I’ve seen in a long time. The entire family will love it. Keep it on the coffee table but don’t let it gather dust!

 Every page is a look back into history with a well-known cowboy, pioneer, outlaw, native American or other adventurer tale complete with numerous authentic art and photo reproductions. The book is worth owning just for the original pictures.  But there is more…an index of its contents for easy reference too! Not only is this fun for the family, it is excellent for the school or home classroom use too. A really fun way to study the 19th century too and also well received as a gift.  I highly recommend this captivating collection! See for yourself at the Litland.com Bookstore.

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7. So what do we think? Wally the Cock-Eyed Cricket

  

Wally the Cockeyed Cricket

 

 Brown, Bea (2011) Wally the Cockeyed Cricket. Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61777-106-4.  Recommended age 8 and under.

 Publisher’s descriptionWhen Wally the Cockeyed Cricket finds himself trapped in Mrs. Grumpydee’s kitchen, he sings a sad song and Mrs. Grumpydee’s locks Wally in a jar. When the jar is knocked over and shatters, Wally the Cockeyed Cricket sings a different tune.

 Our thoughts:

 Read it—see it—listen to it! The great thing about books from Tate Publishing is that you do not need to choose between print and audio formats because books have a code that permits you to download the audio version on MP3 too! The print version has beautifully captivating illustrations. Yet the young man (ok, he sounds young to this old reviewer!) reading the audio does an excellent job at it. A great enhancement to teach reading to little ones :>)

 Of course, the most important reason to consider adding this book to your child’s bookshelf is because they will enjoy the story! As evidenced by its title, Wally looks a little different than most crickets. He doesn’t think anything of this difference and is happy as can be. Until, that is, he unfortunately wanders into Mrs. Grumpydee’s kitchen! Captured, bullied and made a public spectacle, Wally never loses courage or confidence. Helped with the aid of a complete stranger, he is rescued and makes a new friend. Virtues exhibited are courage, justice and friendship.  A feel-good story where the good guys win! Great parent-child sharing, Pre-3rd grade class or homeschool, bedtime reading, gift giving, therapy use, and family book club! Grab your copy at the Litland.com Bookstore.

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8. So what do we think? Abe’s Lucky Day

Abe’s Lucky Day

 

 Warren, Jill. (2011) Abe’s Lucky Day. Outskirts Press Inc. ISBN 978-1-4327-7305-2. Age 8 and under.

 Publisher’s description:  Any day can be a lucky day.  Abe is a homeless man who lives in the alley behind a bakery and winter is coming. What will happen on his lucky day that will change his life? 

Our thoughts:

 Introducing us to the varied faces of distress and homelessness, Abe’s Lucky Day reminds us that , while food, warm clothes and dry beds feel great, helping others feels even better. Illustrations permit the child to imagine themselves in the story, and so can feel the heartwarming rewards of selflessness…definitely good for your Litland.com family book club or a preschool classroom. Part luck and lots of kindness, Abe’s Lucky Day infuses a desire for kindness and generosity into its reader’s mind and heart, and is sure to strengthen bonds within the family reading it as well :>) Great for gift-giving, pick up your copy in our Litland.com Bookstore!

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9. ABC is for Circus by Patrick Hruby

4stars Every child needs to learn their ABC’s and what better way than a day at the circus.  Patrick Hruby has captured the essence of such a day in his book ABC is for Circus.  There is a lion, a tiger and a big top (sorry, no bear). Jugglers juggle, snake charmers charm, and a [...]

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10. Disney Babies_critical literacy 71

In this show: Disney Babies Participate in the show: Call in comments and/or show ideas CLIP Voicemail Line : (703) 651-CLIP(2547) Email: clippodcast@gmail.com Twitter/FB clippodcast Music: Hold My Hand by Matthew Cambell Produced by Andy Bilodeau Show Transcript: The Disney Baby has been born. By now you have probably heard that the Disney corporation has launched a new line of products geared towards newborn [...]

1 Comments on Disney Babies_critical literacy 71, last added: 3/4/2011
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11. Why Investigative Journalists Need To Learn How To Share

Sure the Internet makes news faster, but it can also make your journalism better. 

Over at Idea Lab, Paul Grabowicz (a journalism professor and investigative reporter) just wrote a fascinating essay about how traditional tools of investigative journalism--databases, collected information and spreadsheets--can actually be shared with readers on the web.

When you are writing your next story, think of all the ways you can share your investigative work with your readers. Just last week I reported on judicial fundraising in New York state. Instead of keeping research to myself, I should have shared those fundraising calculations and spreadsheets with my readers in a spreadsheet so they could play with the numbers in their own districts.

Read this whole post, twice. It's packed with more resources:

"Taking long investigative projects written for newspapers or magazines or as TV/radio documentaries and then shoveling them online, perhaps dressed up with a little multimedia, is only jamming old media forms into a new media pipe. But understanding how to present data in an appealing way, and making that data accessible so people can mess around with it and create their own "stories," is taking advantage of what digital has to offer."

 

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12. How To Build A Cheap Web Journalism Toolkit

Riding Toward EverywhereLast year I had a short conversation with one of my journalistic heroes, William T. Vollmann -- a novelist and reporter who always shot photographs to mix with his stories. 

For the next generation of Vollmann-inspired journalists, we must consider web video. We can electrify any online text with video, and anybody can shoot and edit the whole thing with their laptop. 

After you read some of Vollmann's work, go check out the brilliant link-packed post "Be a Multimedia McGuyver" at Journerdism.

Check it out at this link. It's packed with information and contacts to build your web video toolkit--including wild ideas like Make a cheap submersible webcam and Make a remote controlled camera from a cellphone.

Your web journalism will never be the same again... 

 

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13. How To Write a Memoir in the 21st Century: Three Case Studies

Falling Through the Earth: A MemoirWhat have we done to reality?

In a publishing market flooded with memoirs, our relationship with fiction and non-fiction is dissolving. I say open the floodgates and let our narrators be swamped with our news, ideas, and personality quirks.

If you are thinking about writing a memoir, I have three dispatches from the front lines of the Battle for Reality--thoughts to consider as you shape your own story.

1- Writing too close to reality can be dangerous. Literary Saloon reports on a French writer attacked by farmers for the way he portrayed their village in a novel. The Saloon adds this observation to the original article: "Physical attacks are, of course, beyond the pale, but obviously this continues to be an author's dream: the publicity seems to be doing wonders for Jourde's book -- get your own copy at Amazon.fr, where its ranking was 23 last we checked."

2- The bloggers, critics, and readers who demand objective truth from writers writing about real life may be hurting literature. Ed Champion explores two faux memoirs in this essay, asking why contemporary readers insist that memoirs be held to the same standard as journalism--outlining a writing debate that our kids will study in college some day.

3- No matter where you stand on the Battle for Reality, don't sign a movie contract as a fake author. GalleyCat discusses here. And, as a bonus, Danielle Trussoni has some memoir writing tips here. What do you think? How should we write about reality?

 

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14. Video Storytelling for Text-Based Dummies Like Me

tv field productionHave you ever clicked on the iMovie (or other free film-editing program) icon on your computer? Most writers haven't, but they should.

The day is coming when the word "professional writer" will include a grocery list of abilities, including blog software abilities, digital camera technique, and video editing. You think I'm joking, but I can think of a couple journalists off the top of my head that have turned those abilities into crazy cool careers.

I've dabbled in the editing myself, but I'm always looking for more guidance. Cobbling together a visual story is a mysterious and difficult art for us text-based dummies like me.

Luckily, the New Videographer blog published A List of Key Video Storytelling Textbooks that can help us use these tools better. Continue reading...

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15. Seeing the Future

VollmanngunWhere are we going? 

Last night I attended a conversation between one of my journalistic heroes, William T. Vollmann (a novelist/journalist who mixes vivid imagery with emotional close-ups of human suffering) and photographer Richard Drew (the photographer of the famous "falling man" picture from 9-11.

The event was hosted by the Whitney Museum, and they played a barrage of intense images on a movie screen during the discussion--a grim history of American photography. Afterwards, Vollmann asked Ed Champion, Marydell, Levi Asher, and I what we thought young, web-based journalists should do next.

I was a little speechless myself, but now I would say this--we should create web video content to go along with what we write.

Vollmann himself has always shot photographs to mix with his written stories, and those pictures haunt his books. For the next generation of Vollmann-inspired journalists, we must consider web video. We can electrify any online text with video, and anybody can shoot and edit the whole thing with their laptop. 

If you live in the Midwest, there's a great lecture series coming up about video storytelling coming up in Chicago. Video journalism educator Robb Montgomery has a simple goal: "Writers, editors, artists and designers will learn how to identify and develop the visual components of stories so people will actually read them in print, as well as how to take stories to new levels online."

If you don't live in the Midwest, check out the helpful Visual Editors website (which is run by Montgomery as well). It's packed with information and contacts to build your web video toolkit. 

 

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16. No More Stupid Videos

The AtlasAnybody can put video up on YouTube. Does that mean we doomed to watch America's Funniest Home Video one million times online, or will we see something new?

That's up to the people who tell stories. One of my favorite journalists, Vollmann T. Vollmann has always shot photographs to mix with his written stories, and those pictures haunt his books like The Atlas. For the next generation of Vollmann-inspired journalists, we must consider web video as just another freelance tool.

If you want to get excited, read this essay about professional-style video journalism. Following the advice of journalist Regina McCombs will take you light years beyond the average, annoying YouTube videos.

Check it out: 

"Cameras should be DV with firewire. If not, you’ll need additional hardware to capture video to your computer. There are plenty of good microphones available for under $100. A tripod is important because keeping shots steady is critical for Web encoded video. Every change in pixels makes the encoder work harder and makes your picture fuzzier. A list of audio and video equipment options at several price points is available here on Visual Edge's site." 

After you survive that introduction to web video, check out the Online Media God guide to see the whole buffet of multimedia options you can add to your work. Thanks, as always, to Journerdism.

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17. A Friendly Introduction To Web Video

You may wonder why I get so jazzed about building video content for this site.

It's simple. I am surrounded, by chance or by fate, by wonderful video folks. In the interests of sharing resources (and full disclosure), I'd like to re-introduce my friendly neighborhood video journalists.

My lovely girlfriend Caitlin Shamberg is the multimedia editor at Salon.com. You can see her work at Video Dog. Here's her piece about plastic bag abuse, a cool riff on classic Salon reporting:

My buddy Adam B. Ellick is a video editor at The New York Times, most recently he finished a piece about Russian youth groups with some powerful ties to the government--The Putin Generation

Finally, my friend Steve Bryant runs ReelPopBlog, providing killer commentary about the video blogosphere.  

I'm not just plugging my friends here. The next generation of journalists must understand how a little bit of video can supercharge a piece of reporting. These people are the first responders, paving the way towards our future...

 

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18. Publishing Spotted: Mispelzed Poitree

You Call That Poetry!?Does one misspelled word a poem make?

Our intrepid reporter friend Ian Daly asks that question in a Poetry Foundation cover story about the controversial one-word poem by Aram Saroyan: "lighght." This description of the poem alone is worth the price of admission:

"Take away one 'gh' and it would pass straight through you—add another, and its starkness is lost. Repeating the “t” in the middle would be like dropping a rock in the ancient-lake stillness laid out by those four silent consonants. What you’re left with is more sensation than thought. The poem doesn’t describe luminosity—the poem is luminosity."

In sadder news, Editor & Publisher notes that the American Journalism Review is struggling. Like the Columbia Journalism Review, these magazines are lighthouses in the storm that new media created for journalists. Let's not lose our way. (Thanks, Isak!)

Novelist James Patterson is going to build a videogame out of his fast-paced thrillers. All writers should heed his advice as reader-connectivity tools evolve:

"With interactive entertainment, and casual games in particular, now available on mobile phones, PCs and television screens, this is a superb way to connect with my diverse group of readers, and do so with partners that can reach them anytime, in any format." (Thanks, Galleycat!)

Publishing Spotted collects the best of what's around on writing blogs on any given day. Feel free to send tips and suggestions to your fearless editor: jason [at] thepublishingspot.com.

 

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19. Publishing Spotted: How To Figure Out You Are Not A Poet

(Not that You Asked): Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions

Are you writing in the wrong genre? 

Short story writer and essayist Steve Almond just wrote an essay about how he figured out he wasn't a poet. It's an unexpected tribute to C.K. Williams poetry:

"Somehow, in the midst of manifest suffering, he managed to capture the rescuing beauty of the world. The flashing yellow beak of a blackbird. A box of foil-wrapped chocolate eggs. The bulges and crevasses of his baby's naked body."

USA Today just named the Top 25 Headlines from the last 25 years. It's a good way to think about your writing--how can you account for these earth-shaking moments in your fiction and non-fiction?

Over at PaperCuts, Tom Perrotta just delivered a musical playlist for writers. He ties together a few seemingly unrelated songs, thematically and story-wise. Give it a listen.

Publishing Spotted collects the best of what's around on writing blogs on any given day. Feel free to send tips and suggestions to your fearless editor: jason [at] thepublishingspot.com.

 

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20. Publishing Spotted: Where In The World Is Rob Sherman?

A Million Little PiecesA big fat scandal just exploded over at ABC News and the Nixon Institute.

The French academic Alexis Debat consulted with both places as a Middle Eastern expert, and allegedly faked a number of interviews he did with American leaders over the last few years.

He was recently fired by ABC when they couldn't verify his credentials. According to ABC reporters, Debat blames one fabricated interview on a Chicago journalist named Rob Sherman, a freelancer living at an allegedly non-existent address.

Potentially, these imaginary interviews and fabricated sources could have been influencing American policy in the Middle East. The Washington Post sums up how murky experts like him are becoming respected, dangerous sources. A lesson about the power of your ideas:

"Debat's career seemed to be flourishing in the well-trafficked intersection of academia and the media. He directs the terrorism and national security program from a downtown office at the Nixon Center, set up by the former president shortly before his death. He wrote for its magazine, the National Interest, whose honorary chairman is Henry Kissinger."

In related, crazy news, disgraced non-fiction writer James Frey has found a new career as a novelist, landing a deal just yesterday.

Publishing Spotted collects the best of what's around on writing blogs on any given day. Feel free to send tips and suggestions to your fearless editor: jason [at] thepublishingspot.com.

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21. "Balancing fiction with a day job shouldn't defeat you" : How To Write With A Day Job

"I really can't stand most of the people I work with ... there's Guy Tomanty, who does the weather twice a day and thinks he's just about the funniest man in the world; he can't understand why the networks haven't lined up outside his door to put him on the Today show or something. He's so bitter, and everyone can see it when he tries to make us laugh." 

That's a spicy passage from Trudy Hopedale, a satirical dissection of the oblivious rich and powerful people who ran the Washington D.C. media scene at the turn of the century.

Novelist Jeffrey Frank has worn all the hats a writer can wear, and this week he's giving us an insider look at the mind of an editor and the heart of an author.

In addition to a career as a novelist, he's a senior editor at The New Yorker magazine and has worked as a journalist at The Washington Post.

This week he is sharing writing wisdom with us, part of my deceptively simple feature, Five Easy Questions. In the spirit of Jack Nicholson's mad piano player, I run a weekly set of quality interviews with writing pioneers—delivering some practical, unexpected advice about web writing.

Jason Boog:
You spent many years as a reporter, and now work as an editor. What's your advice for fledgling writers struggling to balance day-jobs and their fiction? More specifically, how did you manage to find energy to write fiction when your entire career has been intimately involved with writing all day long?

Jeffrey Frank:
I've thought a lot about that, and still do.

 

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22. "A dark backward movement from the future" : How To Write About Dull Moments In History

They say that journalists are writing the first draft of history. What happens when a professional journalist writes a novel set inside the second or third draft of a historical moment?

Our special guest Jeffrey Frank is a senior editor at The New Yorker magazine and has worked as a journalist at The Washington Post.

He's written a number of novels, and his most recent work, Trudy Hopedale, is a satire set just months before September 11, 2001--a bittersweet reminder of how much our lives have changed since that relatively carefree time.

Today Frank explains his research methods in my deceptively simple feature, Five Easy Questions. In the spirit of Jack Nicholson's mad piano player, I run a weekly set of quality interviews with writing pioneers—delivering some practical, unexpected advice about web writing.


Jason Boog:
The pre-2001 setting seems so quaint and tragic in your book, as the readers know that politically, the whole world is going to take a darker turn after the story concludes. How did you choose the key details you needed to evoke this historical moment without writing a history book? In other words, how do you research and pick the historical details of your novel?

Jeffrey Frank:
I went through several newspapers from that period. Continue reading...

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23. Investigative Journalism and Nimble Publishing

Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism That Changed the WorldWhere will the great investigative journalism of our century happen?

According to Wired magazine, it will all happen on small, online publications like Sharesleuth.com, not the powerful media organizations.

I'm not bashing The Big Bad Mainstream Media when I say that, I'm just thinking about logistics. Newspaper budgets around the country are tanking, and in the end, mostly nimble, community-centered companies will survive the shake-up.

While the Wired article addresses some ethical problems with the market-investigating site, Sharesleuth.com, it does make this point that all fledgling writers must consider as they plan for the future. Dig it:

"Circulation at US newspapers fell 13 percent between 1990 and 2005. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of full-time newspaper reporting and editing jobs shrunk by some 3,000. Newsroom budgets have been slashed. The result, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, is "shrinking ambitions" in the country's newsrooms."

 

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24. Publishing Spotted: Get Out Of The Office Or Stay In The Office Longer?

Do we have a duty, as writers, journalists, and media people, to read the newspaper every day? Some people think the new media shift has turned all of us into thoughtless, uninformed citizens.

Responding to a Poynter Institute article entitled "Your Duty to Read the Paper," Steve Yelvington begs to differ:

 "Quit blaming the Internet. There's nothing wrong with paper. It's your journalism that isn't relevant ... I've previously described how newspapers don't have an online revenue problem, but rather an online audience problem. Just to put a point on it: I spent today with yet another newspaper new-media director whose biggest problem is sold-out ad inventory. The site needs people and pageviews."

How do we tell me interesting and gripping stories to find those new readers? Journalist superhero Carl Bernstein says we should be working around the clock to report our stories better.

Finally, Conversational Reading has a guest essay by Joshua Henkin about the fine art of writing about writers. It's a difficult style, but this is some of the most practical advice I've ever read about the meta-noveling.

 

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25. Three New Year's Resolutions For Working Writers


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The holiday season has already pounced, and it's time to start plotting New Year's resolutions.

Here are three strategies for improving your writing intelligence in 2008...

First of all, figure out how to share your work on the Internet, building community without wasting your words. At Smith Magazine, Larry Smith has a very instructive article on this topic:

"A community of rabid readers found Shooting War, contributed thoughtful and intense comments and at times even shaped the story as it unfolded...I direct you to a huge piece from The New York Times’ notoriously tough book critic Motoko Rich, Crossover Dreams: Turning Free Web Work Into Real Book Sales. In it, Rich discusses different web-to-print models, including how SMITH brought Shooting War to its first group of passionate readers."

Secondly, bookmark and read the Top Ten Most Popular American Journalism Blogs. You will have a head-full of great ideas to carry around every day.  

Thirdly, stop writing like you are in grad school. Give us some scrappy, down-to-earth prose, and tell us a good story. That's what working writers do. But don't take my word for it; Gordon Hurd has a great essay on the subject.

 

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