Thursday, November 17, 2016

Don't forget about art and creativity

I know that without the field of science we wouldn't be living in an age where diseases are being cured, new materials for manufacturing invented, and advances are being made in nearly all facets of our daily lives.  I'm also in big favor of introducing young people to the world of science.  But what is worrying me is that in the focus to shed light on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) we are losing site of creativity and the arts.  You don't have to look far to find tweets and promotions from area school districts championing the cause of STEM, but you have to dig dip to find a picture of a young artist who is discovering a new way to express themselves through water color or sculpture.

While I know we need to continue to push our minds with scientific discovery we also need to consider that artists are people too.  In fact many of our scientists are probably harboring creative innate abilities.  But let's give some 'pub' to the creatives, the artists, the singers, the fashion designers, the film producers, the 'yet to be named' genres.

In a recent edition of Scientific American the editors wrote:
"Promoting science and technology education to the exclusion of the humanities may seem like a good idea, but it is deeply misguided. Scientific American has always been an ardent supporter of teaching STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But studying the interaction of genes or engaging in a graduate-level project to develop software for self-driving cars should not edge out majoring in the classics or art history."
This discussion over the shift to STEM led Chronicle staff writer Ria Parikh to focus on this topic. Ria was led to take a closer look at this subject after seeing tweets promoted by the school district that draws attention to the topic.  I agree, it is amazing what our students are discovering, the incredible teachers who are helping guide that discovery, the amazing young scientist who has captured national attention, and especially a district that fosters a learning environment where anything is possible.

In Ria's article she made sure to talk with science teachers. It was refreshing to hear from an MHS science teacher who is a believer in both science and the arts. In fact he thinks there must be connection between the two because creativity helps stimulate the mind.  There is no doubt science teachers are big believers in the arts and creativity and art teachers are benefactors of the scientific mind, but when it comes to exposure, PR, the pub - arts seemed to be getting short changed a bit.

"The need to teach both music theory and string theory is a necessity for the U.S. economy to continue as the preeminent leader in technological innovation. The unparalleled dynamism of Silicon Valley and Hollywood requires intimate ties that unite what scientist and novelist C. P. Snow called the “two cultures” of the arts and sciences."

Innovation might be the key word in this discussion.  The artists I've come across at MHS are innovators.  They have amazing minds that challenge boundaries,  there's no doubt there's some inner scientist at work there.

"Steve Jobs, who reigned for decades as a tech hero, was neither a coder nor a hardware engineer. He stood out among the tech elite because he brought an artistic sensibility to the redesign of clunky mobile phones and desktop computers. Jobs once declared: “It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough—that it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing."

I hope our scientist out there aren't taking this the wrong way.  I think science is cool. I wish I would have been exposed to scientific discovery at a younger age.  I'm glad my children have been exposed to it.  I have a family member who is a neuroscience graduate. Another who is studying the science that drives the logistics and supply chain industry that is driving our global economy. Another who is immersed in the world of graphic design using the latest scientific advances in computer software, and another whose favorite activity is his school's engineering club. However, all of them love books, movies, music, plays, theatre, and the occasional Netflix binge.
"The way to encourage high-tech industry to move to Kentucky—or any other state—is not to disparage Voltaire and Camus. Rather the goal should be to build a topflight state educational system and ease the way financially for students from even the most humble backgrounds to attend. The jobs will follow—whether they be in state government or in social media start-ups."

Arts and creatives this is on us, we need to make sure we continue to encourage the creatives and shout it out to the masses. Any thoughts on a creative twitter handle....oh yeah, I think I'm going to need an artist for that one - oh and we'll need a scientist to help us figure out the coding algorithms that are needed to program our Twitter feed.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Election Fatigue, it's a real thing

Are you sick of the election, campaign 2016 yet?  If you are, it appears you are not alone.  Election Fatigue is a real thing and according to some reports people were already feeling it back in July.  So now we're just about week away from the end of history's most humorous reality TV show (Clinton v Trump 2016).  I'll just be glad when this whole thing is over.  I hope the transition to whoever wins is peaceful.

In July, Pew Research Center reported that “most Americans already feel election coverage fatigue.” July! More than three months ago. And in those three months, it’s safe to say that no one has gotten any respite. The news cycle has churned forward, the conversations have devolved, and the fissures revealed by the primary elections have turned into gaping crevasses.This week, Pew published a new report, positing that people are so tired of talking about the election that they won’t even argue about it on social media (and people will argue about anything on social media). According to the research, twice as many social media users report being “worn out” than those who actually like seeing political discourse online.
Oh, yeah. You've gotta love this picture.  When you see Hillary and the Donald ragging on each other. Check out this photo.  Do they really hate each other? Hillary seems to have an awfully big smile on her face there.  Bill gets the joke too.  "Build that Wall!"

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Some great scenes from movies about the "News" - watch 'em and have a little fun

There's a lot of good movies out there about journalism, news, and the new business.  I thought I would share some scenes from some that I have enjoyed. If I've left one off, please let me know so I can check it out or share it. 
This is a great scene from the movie Broadcast News.  This 1987 movie captured the inner workings of the network news.  In this scene Aaron finally gets the chance to anchor the evening news. Even though he prepared for the anchor spot, things started go wrong.

Ron Burgandy said ESPN would never work.  Check out his audition for SportCenter.

Woodward and Bernstein dig through evidence at the Library of Congress.  This clip is from the movie "All the President's Men." They didn't have Google.  They needed good old fashion shoe leather to track down the story of Watergate.

This is the opening for HBO's the Newsroom.  This was a great series created by Aaron Sorkin. I think this opening is great.  Check out all the historic file footage of America's founding journalistic fathers. Gives me chills.

This scene from "Spotlight" is incredible.  Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of Boston Globe investigative reporter Mike Rezendes is amazing.  After watching this movie I wonder how many people realized how important journalists are to this country?

"The Insider" is probably one of the best movies about broadcast news that you've never seen.  This movie details 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman's attempt to get a story aired that would tell the truth about what goes on behind closed doors at big tobacco.
If you know anything about the news business you know Edward R. Murrow is probably the man who laid the foundation for where television news is today.  I'm not sure he would be that happy with the direction of some of our news outlets but this is a great scene from the movie "Good Night and Good Luck."

Friday, September 23, 2016

Chronicle alums not making the news but covering it at O.U.

Another proud moment for Chronicle alums.  Writer/Reporter Abbey Marshall and photographer Blake Nissen reported on the events at OU after recent on campus hate speech incidents.

Ohio University student organizations devise plan of action in response to graffiti wall images

Notice Abbey's byline and Blake's photo credit
 Nice job Abbey and Blake

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Abbey Marshall just made my day, but I'm a little jealous

Abbey knows I'm a "Spotlight" fan so last night when I got a notification to check a blogger I follow I was thrilled to see this post from The Marshall Plan. Abbey got the chance to listen to Washington Post executive editor Marty Barron in her freshman Journalism 1010 class at Ohio U. If you're a "Spotlight" fan you know Marty Barron was the courageous editor of the Boston Globe during the 2002 Spotlight Investigation of the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.  What a great experience for Abbey and an amazing blog post, complete with links to the topics she references.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Proud of Big "E" and Loud E"

Big "E" number 74 gets ready to pound a West 'D' lineman

The Chronicle is fortunate to be filled with several gifted students who also excel outside of the classroom.  We have singers, performers, artists, scientists, mathematicians, designers, athletes, 'bloggers' - the list goes on.  And it is one of those athletes that I want to give a shout out to - Eric Miller - big "E," "big country," - I probably make up a new nickname for him each day.  And yes, he does look like he's 12 years old even though he's giant (6'6") but on Friday night Eric got the starting nod on the offensive line for the football Comets as they demolished West.  I'm very proud of Eric because I've watched him since the 7th grade and next year he will be the first person to ever be on The Chronicle staff for four years.  It's not that I'm proud of Eric for getting the playing time I would be proud of him if he never played a down but what I'm proud of is that Eric works hard on and off the field.  He listens to his coaches on the field, he's a team player, he buys in to the coaching philosophy.  He may not always agree.  He may want more P.T. But he never bad mouths his coaches or his teammates.  One of his teammates could have the worst game of their career on a Friday night and Eric wouldn't say a negative word about his teammate while others may publicly bash their comrade.  Eric won't. We're all proud (The Chron family) of Eric - and it was cool to hear Eric's classmate and fellow Chron member Eric Michael (yes Eric, I mentioned you in my blog) screaming out loud in class last week - "Hey everyone Eric's getting the start on Friday night, go see him play!" That was one of those "Chron" moments we cherish - when our peers acknowledge the accomplishments of their fellow "Chronnies."  Eric "proud Viking fan," "loud mouth," "class flirt," and by the way an excellent sportswriter - you too made me proud.  Great job to our Erics.  And on Friday we'll celebrate another "Chron moment" as Eric Miller produces his first sports section in The Chronicle as sports editor and the lead story in sports was written by none other than....yeah, you guessed it Eric (the Vikings will play in the Super Bowl this season even though they have no quarterback) Michael.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Great to see Chron"Alums" on the college scene

Thanks to Gina, Madison, Blake, Abbey, and Matt for checking in.  Why was I not surprised Matt would be pictured with a 'gator?'  And of course Madison, as always with an impeccable picture.  Gina rockin the awesome smile at X.  Blake with the 'stylin' pose at OU and as expected Abbey going all "academic" with her pic at OU.  Abbey, have you found the local elementary school or daycare center for your prospects yet?  (I'll leave it at that) I hope you're all having a great time.  Hopefully some more Chron alums will send us a pic from their college campus.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's's time to blog again

Former Chronicle managing editor Abbey Marshall told me to get back to blogging so I figured I better get back it.  I don't want that sassy ginger getting mad at me.  I usually take some time to "blog surf" and today's surf was well worth it.  Of course I checked out THE MARSHALL PLAN and it was nice to see Abbey's hasn't wasted any time getting involved at Ohio University with this piece that was published in The Post.  She's covering a pretty controversial topic and in this time of economic challenges our country is facing this is no doubt a topic that is going to get more attention (especially in the stretch run of the Presidential race - I guess that's what you call this side show masquerading as the race to be the leader of the free world.)

A bit more surfing turned up quite a pleasant surprise on "LYSten up" - awesome title for a blog.  But after reading and watching I was listening.  Alyssa is crushing on her blog with plenty of commentary and several videos she has produced. Alyssa's recent post 'The Graceful Collision of a Journalist and a Christian' is a tremendous post where Alyssa isn't afraid to discuss her faith and her admiration for her friend.

My surfing also turned up another surprise - new Chronicle staff member Joann Tsai even got into the act with an insightful piece that just happened to appear on her blog on Sept. 11.  Nice job Joann. Another Chronicle rookie decided to tackle a tough subject on his blog "Is this it...? " Freddie has tackled some difficult questions about education and the students who are sacrificing a lot to achieve academically. 

Owen gets to play the role he's always wanted in the church play. 

Over the weekend I went to see "A Prayer for Owen Meany" at Playhouse in the Park.  This stage adaptation based on the novel by the same name by John Irving was touching and produced in such a unique fashion.  At first glance the stage appeared simple and almost blank but it soon light up with amazing use of theatrical elements and a small cast of characters.  Check out this review of the play on  I think if you've read the book (which I have) then you would have a much better understanding of the play.  In fact I could hear some people around me who were commenting about how they were confused.  Go see it, it's good play at an awesome theatre.  A trip through Mt. Adams is always a fun too.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Chronicle 2015-16, a great year

Another great year has just about come to an end for The Chronicle staff. It has been a great year. Our senior class has been absolutely amazing. Gina, Abbey, Madison, and Kylie have provided tremendous leadership from their editor positions. Thank you for the countless hours you spent planning, prepping, worrying, organizing, and producing a great series of Chronicles this year. Seniors, congratulations and good luck.   Thank you to everyone for all your hard work, the great conversations, the exchange of ideas, the laughs, and all the other stuff that makes The Chronicle a unique place to be.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

David Carr talks about his first big break

As many of you have happen to read DC Talks you know former New York Times columnist David Carr gets talked about a lot on this forum. Carr, who is now deceased led a pretty colorful journalistic life. He eventually found his way to The New York times where he was a respected columnist. In this video clip Carr talks about his first big break. This is a great video clip and one that probably all aspiring journalists should watch. Everyone needs that first big break, that break will probably not come by special delivery, on a Hallmark card or by some E-vite. You may have to make that opportunity happen for yourself. Check out this video to see how David Carr listened to his dad and created his own opportunity.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Getting a job in Journalism should be hard

As many of you know I've always been a big fan of former New York Times columnist David Carr.  Unfortunately Carr is no longer with us (he died from complications from lung cancer a little over a year ago."  While he may be gone he is still teaching us significant lessons about journalism and it's future.  I think you will like this video, especially David's line at the very end.  Take a moment to watch the video.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Spotlight win is a victory for investigative journalism

No need for a long blog post here but it was gratifying to see Spotlight grab the best picture honor at the Oscars. When tabloids, often vilified for their outrageous stories and features, received praise for their coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial (1994/95) many journalists whose names are synonymous with investigate journalism and respectability gave credit to the tabloids for good 'ole fashion' shoe leather reporting. The type of reporting that requires walking, knocking on doors, digging, questioning - basically wearing out the leather on the bottom of their shoes. Well, that's exactly what the investigative journalists for the Boston Globe did when they wore out numerous pairs of shoes in their quest to uncover institutional child abuse.
"Tom McCarthy's movie doesn't turn its journalists into heroes.  It just lets them do their jobs, as tedious and critical as those are, with a realism that grips a audience almost in spite of itself." - Ty Burr, Boston Globe 

Here is a great segment on Spotlight in the Boston Globe.  When you've got some time, you've gotta read this stuff.  If you haven't seen the movie, go see it.  

Monday, February 22, 2016

Read the book, saw the movie

Well, that statement "the book was better" once again played out as I finally got the chance to see the movie "The Big Short."  The movie was excellent.  In fact I had no idea how the directors/producers would be able to pull off the story told by Michael Lewis in his book "The Big Short."  The book is amazing. It helped me understand the great economic crash of 2007-2008 a little better.  The book lays it out in detail helping those of us who are not economist understand the crash.  Lewis is a tremendous author and some can probably recall his book "The Blind Side" which ended up being turned into a movie.  Once again "the book was better."  "Blind Side" was an excellent movie but it was a little too Disneyish. Lewis is an incredible author who has the ability to tell a story and weave in the interesting tale of the characters involved.

I did like "The Big Short." It was an excellent movie. The characters were superbly cast.  Steve Carell is amazing.  He plays a hedge fund manager who is witty, funny, and smart - while also being an incredible businessman.  After watching Carell's antics in The Office - I thought I would have a hard time displacing those memories but it was easy as he captivates on screen in this movie.  The movie is packed with superstars - Carell, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt headline the characters involved in the scheming and investment craps game that pays off handsomely for some while the American financial market crashed.

You should see the movie.  In the end though it will leave you with a sinking feeling in your stomach because you'll see first hand how our government bailed out these big banks only to see them go right back to their scheming ways.  I would recommend reading anything Michael Lewis writes.  He is an outstanding author. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Spotlight is amazing

I knew I wanted to see the movie Spotlight.  Chronicle staffer Matt Marvar saw it, told me to go see it.  I finally got the chance to see the movie last weekend and it was worth it.  This movie is GREAT.  If you go see the movie, you're not going to leave happy or cheerful.  You're going to leave with an agonizing feeling in your gut.  I was amazed by the journalists.  The story they're covering is mesmerizing but the story of these journalists is equally enthralling.  I don't think investigative journalism is for everyone and this movie sheds light on that.  An investigative journalist is a soldier. They have to be courageous, strong, unbending, and of course have the ability to dodge bullets (and maybe even take a few. -figuratively speaking-)

The reporters covering this story for Spotlight changed the world.  Journalists have many reasons for going in this field.  It's usually not about the money.  It is about a passion for finding, covering, writing, and reporting news that will impact readers and maybe even the world. These Boston Globe reporters did just that - they made an impact on the world.  I feel indebted to these journalists and those who work in the trenches of this challenging genre of journalism. 

The story of the priest abuse scandal will absolutely rip your heart out as you hear the stories of the victims and in the movie they are termed survivors because of what they had to endure. They truly are survivors.  Every aspect of this movie is amazing.  Filmography, culture, dialogue, characters, casting, story, message, impact - it's all there. This movie is going to rake in the awards during the entertainment awards' season. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thank you Ann

Several years ago one of my students suggested I read 'The Kite Runner'.  I told her I would read it since she liked it so much and suggested it.  I started reading it a couple weeks later. I couldn't focus so I just quit reading it.  About a month later , Ann (that's my former' student's name) asked me if I read the book, I gave her a lame excuse and then admitted I had a difficult time following the characters.  Ann responded by making me a book mark with all the character's names and a description of their role in the story.  She said, "there that will help you keep track of the characters."  I still didn't read the book. I saw Ann again over the holidays this year.  She was home from Ohio University wanting to share the good news about her upcoming internship in New York City. She asked me if I had ever read 'The Kite Runner'. I had to embarrassingly admit to her that I had not read the book.

It's been about three years since she suggested I read 'The Kite Runner,' maybe more.  But, two weeks ago I picked up my copy of 'The Kite Runner,' opened the pages, grabbed my bookmark with the character's names on it and started reading.  This time it just flowed. Page after the page the book just evaporated in front of me. The story of Amir had my full attention.  There were several times I didn't like Amir but I could feel Amir's agony.  I would put the book down and I just wanted to grab it again and finish reading. Today, Ann, I finished 'The Kite Runner.' You were right, it is an amazing book. The author painted such a vivid picture of life in Afghanistan, culture, social class, food, recreation, family structure - and of course the tale of Amir, Hassan and Baba.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I appreciate Ann for staying on me to read the book and especially for her bookmark entitled "MR. CONNER'S GUIDE TO 'THE KITE RUNNER'"

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What's your opinion on Making a Murderer?

Just about everyone is getting in on the "Making a Murderer" talk and if they're not they've probably at least heard about it.  I'm not going to go into a long description of the case.  If you're interested in watching the series you can find it on Netflix.  You can also get the first episode on YouTube.  The internet is flooded with radio talk shows, podcasts, stories, etc. with opinions, lost evidence, mystery suspects.

Nancy Grace has issued her opinion on the case, Dr. Phil issued his opinion on the case (even though his opinion sounded like he had relied on the research of some production intern). I've heard better opinions from high school students.

The Chronicle staff and some of MBC multimedia reporters are working hard to get Local 12 reporter Angenette Levy to visit our class to talk about the case.  Levy was a reporter covering the case back in 2005 for WFRV-TV, Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The documentary is popular and has raised many questions about bias, objectivity, etc.  It's also interesting how this documentary has sparked so much talk in the criminal justice system.

Here's some great articles about Levy's experience covering the trial.  She doesn't show up much in the documentary but she seems to have captured the attention of the documentarian's cameras while covering the trial as part of the press corp.




Angenette wasn't the only reporter covering the case but it seems like she's captured the nation's attention as well.  She is a very intelligent reporter and has carved out a niche in the Cincinnati market.  She covers crime and trial related news quite well.  I bet she never thought she would be getting this kind of attention from covering a case.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Another family calls MBC, The Chronicle home

I've had the good fortune of having several family lines join The Chronicle or MBC staff.  Whether it's the DeLotells, the Geigers, the Raghavendrans, the Howards or a host of other clans it's been an enjoyable part of my role as a teacher, advisor, and of course award winning blogger to get to know these families.  I've also had the chance to watch them graduate from high school, go onto college, become professionals, and even parents.  That's really pretty cool.  Last week I got the chance to hang out with another set of siblings. Lindsay McCalmont (Chronicle class of 2014) and her sassy sisters Kylie and Shannon.  Lindsay is currently a sophomore at Ohio State, Kylie (MBC staff and Chronicle sports editor) is a senior at MHS, and Shannon (MBC staff) a sophomore at MHS.  They've informed there are still McCalmonts to come so who knows I might get some more down the road.