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What’s really the best career for you, and how do you get there?

As an educator, I hear a lot of surprising stories about why students chose a major. The reasons often have little to do with the student’s real interests.

(This essay, inspired by a New York Times article, Six Myths About Choosing a College Major, began as a Twitter thread.)

Focusing on income often obscures how little the student understands what the career will entail.

Focusing on what the student “did well” in, in high school (often meaning which courses were easy for them), does not mean they will enjoy the work in that field.

Students need to look at job…


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What journalists and journalism educators should understand

When The Washington Post’s Ray Daly gave a talk about “JavaScript journalism” at JSConf back in May 2013, Snow Fall had appeared less than six months earlier. Daly showed dozens of examples in which JavaScript code had enhanced the storytelling in reports published online by news organizations ranging from the Memphis daily newspaper The Commercial Appeal to the New York public radio station WNYC. (Those links open projects shown by Daly.)

His point: The importance of JavaScript in journalism had been growing for years already.

That importance shows no signs of decreasing today.


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A fine meditation spot in Zion National Park, Utah. Copyright © 2017 Mindy McAdams.

How we traveled through Utah and Wyoming in June 2017

Jodi says we’ve been trying to make this trip for 17 years. I say we started planning it three years ago, but whatever. We finally sat down in October 2016 and booked flights, a rental car, and five nights in Yellowstone. I was set on visiting Yellowstone, at last, for the first time. Jodi added a stipulation: We should also visit Zion NP in southern Utah.

Things we learned: (1) Much of Yellowstone is already booked in October. (2) Basic motel-like rooms there are crazy expensive. …


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You probably know that most code professionals use GitHub, and you probably realize that people are going to look at your GitHub repos when they are thinking about whether to hire you or offer you an internship.

(If you’re not using GitHub yet, it’s easy to get started with the free GitHub Desktop app and the Atom code editor.)


A small business owner needs a website. She hires one of my students to build it. They have a conversation or two about what should be included. It’s not a large website — just five or six pages, with no e-commerce.

It breaks down here: The Web designer asks the business owner to send the content and information for the site. The business owner sends nothing at all, or sends very little, maybe a business card and a logo—printed, of course. My student expresses surprise that the business owner apparently expects “website design” to include writing all the copy, taking…


A curated collection (with a few added remarks) from
the 2015 Knight Foundation report “
Above & Beyond.”

Aggregator’s note: Text that is not in quotation marks is my own opinion unless clearly noted as coming from the report. If an individual attribution follows a quote, then that text was presented as a direct quote in the original.

“It is the assertion of this project that there is room in the academy for a more nimble, innovative, intentionally disruptive and hyper-professional journalism school.” (original)

“While still the generators of 98…


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A personal selection of outstanding stories
from the 2015 Society of News Design competition.

Journalism awards come out of long hours invested by judges, in rooms where too much junk food is consumed, as lists of links or stacks of entries are eyed, pondered, discussed. I did that last weekend. The experience is great and terrible. Mostly great, because I love digital storytelling that takes full advantage of all that digital can be. It’s only terrible when you are exhausted and still have 50 entries to look at before you can go to dinner and you’ve been doing this since…


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Photo copyright © 2012 by Mindy McAdams

Those are the biggest testicles I have ever seen, I thought as the rams came off the small trucks, wrangled by men holding the animals’ giant crescent horns. Each ram’s scrotum looked like a jackfruit, huge and pendulous.

The rams are bred for aggression so that they will fight. The event, called adu domba (sheep competition) was held on a large flat lawn at a site that reminded me of a small-town fairgrounds in the United States. We drove in through a gateway in a wrought-iron fence. There was no admission fee.

We arrived early in the morning, three Indonesian…


New storytelling forms inspire us

Summary: “Snow Fall” was a watershed project, but we’ve already gone beyond that. Let’s focus on innovations in multimedia storytelling techniques.

There’s no consensus among journalists about what the term multimedia means, or even whether to use it anymore.

The multimedia skills listed in a job advertisement might span a range of specialties from web developer to videographer. Some ads specify “proficiency in multimedia” with no further explanation. …


Highlights from a presentation by Jonah Peretti

“Are you a sociopath, or are you an android?”

Jonah Peretti, founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, said that’s the question to ask if someone doesn’t like animals. He was speaking to about 500 people, mostly students, on the University of Florida campus, and that quip got a big laugh. He referred to the Voight-Kampff test, used by Harrison Ford’s character in the movie Blade Runner to determine whether someone was an android. (Androids were supposed to stay off-world and never come to Earth. …

Mindy McAdams

Digital journalism professor, University of Florida. I love code, Vespa, cats, world travel. https://mindymcadams.com/

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