Years of training displayed at Isabella 4-H show

June 28, 2015
By Edgar Simpson
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The UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup committee is pleased to announce the launch of an Assisted Walk and Trot Class to be held at the 2015 UPHA American Royal Horse Show. The committee would like to extend its sincere thanks to Elizabeth Goth who will be sponsoring this new program.

The 4-H horse show at the Isabella County Fairgrounds attracted more than two dozen competitors, ranging in age from 4 to 53.

The 4-H horse show at the Isabella County Fairgrounds attracted more than two dozen competitors, ranging in age from 4 to 53.

Sam Jones and his horse Chester pranced their way to third in the dressage category at the annual Denim Days 4-H Horse Show Saturday at the Isabella County Fairgrounds.

Sam Jones and his horse Chester pranced their way to third in the dressage category at the annual Denim Days 4-H Horse Show Saturday at the Isabella County Fairgrounds.

The formulation of this new class will open up the Exceptional Challenge cup program to many new participants and will broaden the UPHA’s visionary reach toward providing positive competitive goals for all equestrians. The amazing ability of our instructors to teach to the highest level of equestrian skill and to also adapt to the special skills needed of our challenged equestrians has allowed for new areas of growth within the Exceptional Challenge Cup.

Tots take the reins

The quality of the class has continued to grow and this new division will provide a platform for long-term growth of the program. This step toward new goals would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors and their assistance allows the UPHA to promote excellence in this very important division of our industry.
Congratulations to this year’s National Champions and Reserve Champions!

Intrepid journos attending CMU's Journalism: Digital Discovery covered the Denim Days 4-H Horse Show on Saturday at the Isabelle County Fairgrounds.

Intrepid journos attending CMU’s Journalism: Digital Discovery covered the Denim Days 4-H Horse Show on Saturday at the Isabelle County Fairgrounds.

Case of NYT freelancer raises issue of journalist privilege

November 17, 2011

Natasha Lennard, a freelance reporter/tweeter for the New York Times, was dropped after she took part in a pro-Occupy Wall Street panel. This came after she was arrested by New York city police for disorderly conduct on the Brooklyn Bridge during an Occupy march that spilled from the presumably legal sidewalks to the driving lanes.

Natasha Lennard, a freelancer reporter for the New York Times, was taken off the Occupy Wall Street story after she appeared on a panel supporting the group. She now says she is leaving mainstream media.

This is what she wrote on salon.com after being told she would no longer cover the Occupy movement for the Old Gray Lady:

“As the Times publicly noted, they found no problem with any of the reporting I had done for them on OWS. Indeed, a court hearing upheld that I had been on the Brooklyn Bridge as a professional journalist and as such, deserved to have the disorderly conduct charge against me dismissed. The only reason I was on the Brooklyn Bridge that day was as a reporter, gathering and relaying information on what I saw, and nothing else.”

She wrote a remarkably detailed and even-handed tale of her arrest. You can find it here.

Detailed report

In her Salon column, she wrote that she was done with mainstream media and its standard of objectivity and rejection of truth-telling. Is it possible to claim journalist privilege and then claim a specific truth?

A new fall begins for J314

September 1, 2011

This is a test. Go here for the page.

What does it take to get the ‘funny hat?’

April 11, 2011

Michael DiBari, a third-year doctoral candidate at E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, is three weeks away from finishing and defending his dissertation. What does it take to earn the “funny hat?” Find out here.

OU hosts OU contingent

March 24, 2011

A group from Ohio University traveled west to the sparkling Gaylord College of Communications at the University of Oklahoma to attend the 2010 annual MidWinter Convention. More.

Where some reporters have gone

November 16, 2009

  Editor and Publisher, the venerable newspaper trade journal that suffers along with the industry it watches, offers some clues about the fate of some professional reporters in a currently contracting industry.

   Interestingly (or foolishly), two publishers best known for launching publications during newspaper strikes have announced plans to offer a third newspaper in Detroit. They have hired several Motor City journalists laid off by the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. The two papers are in a joint operating agreement and have agreed to carve up the week, with each offering home delivery only on certain days. The new daily, which will sell for half the price, will be offered seven days a week.

     In Miami, professional journalists are being tapped to help launch The Herald’s Community News Network, a series of micro-Websites aimed at individual suburbs around the city. Once launched, The Herald intends to have little to do with them, intending for the communities to support their sites with content and conversation. This is similar to (with a more hands-off) to the Washington Post’s attempt to launch mini-sites in suburbs around the city.

     Is it just me or does anyone else find it interesting that when these  longtime brands want to start something new they turn to the folks they once had in their midst?

Defining journalists in Illinois

November 9, 2009

   If there were ever any doubt about the importance of the journalism community rallying around a single cause – the definition of journalist – the case of a professor and his students at the venerated Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University should settle the matter.

ep-students

Journalism students under attack at Northwestern

    David Protess founded the journalism school’s Innocence Project in 1999. Since then, information his students have uncovered have led to overturning 11 convictions, including the case of a man on death row who was 48 hours from execution.

     Their work largely was responsible for the former Illinois governor (not the guy accused of selling President Obama’s U.S. Senate seat) declaring a moratorium on inmate executions. Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez, apparently sensing that Prentiss and his students were about to free a 12th inmate, has demanded student grades, expense accounts and e-mails.

     She has two theories:

     1) The students are not journalists and therefore are not covered by shield laws or case law that would afford some protection against overzealous prosecutors.

       2) The students may have been coerced into finding information leading to innocence because they would get better grades.

      This is both a tremendous reminder of the power of the journalist, and a chilling example of the power of the state. 

      Despite apparently sincere efforts, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor could not articulate how students’ grades or whether they received pizza money while working on the project had anything to do with the veracity of the information they uncovered.

      I have never heard of a judge reading the morning newspaper, becoming overwhelmed with an investigative report on the potential innocence of an inmate, sweeping aside his (or her, of course) oatmeal and calling the prison to release the wrongly accused.

      Journalists point out evidence that was overlooked, twisted or otherwise mangled. The judicial system is then supposed to investigate on its own. The fact Alvarez is pressuring a professor and students – and that she is arguing the students are not journalists – is outrageous.

     As for the key issue – who is a journalist? – the best response, I would argue, is the same given by the U.S. Supreme Court when asked to define pornography: I know it when I see it. In other words, I know journalists when I meet them.

Venerable NYT reveals digital savvy

November 8, 2009

   At a gathering the other day, Dr. Hugh Martin of Ohio University noted how impressed he was with the way the New York Times covered the tragic shooting at Fort Hood. He noted how they tweeted, posted and blogged their way through the coverage of an event important to their audience.

     Though I visited the New York Times website the morning after the shooting, I noticed only how they did their usual thorough job of covering all angles. The fact is, the Times – without getting much credit or seeking any (which is a mistake) – has been a leader in the news biz for trying to use new technology for improving its storytelling.

     An excellent example is their use of interactive timelines to give context. For instance, this Sunday they posted a relatively sedate but highly information timeline of the healthcare debate. I’m not sure how “interactive” it is, but it does allow the user to skip back and forth, including the eery time when Hillary Clinton was leading the healthcare charge. Click on the image to check it out.

nythealth

New York Times interactive timeline on healthcare reform

      My point is that the Times, while often rightly criticized for fawning over their establishment sources and too frequently hewing to the party line, the editors and reporters who work there know who they are, what their mission is and are desperately trying to figure out their path in the New World Information Order.

     That’s a good thing. If the Times can figure it out, as the Ochs family did during the first, second and third crash of the newspaper industry, then others will follow. And that’s good news for reporters.

Back to the beginning

November 5, 2009

 As sifted through my recent blogs, I noticed something – I have fallen more into general critiques of the news industry, rather than promoting the idea of making a space in the New World for professional reporters, those poor benighted souls who get their shekels by being reporters.

  The two, of course, are tightly linked.  In order for reporters to be reporters, to spend their time and energies shining light in dark corners, somebody has to pay them. There has to be an infrastructure behind them and in front of them. In other words, reporters rely on others to keep their computers functioning, to write their pay checks, to do all the administrative tasks that go along with being a working journalists.

   They also rely on others to create and maintain the channel by which they transmit their journalism. Whether its over the Internet or by way of the daily printed page, somebody has to keep the servers running and the trucks on the road.

    I’m not saying that critiquing the industry is a bad thing. The industry needs all the critiquing it can get. But, Big Media is undergoing a relentless onslaught of both outside criticism and self-reflection.

    My main point: Journalism as done by full-time, professional reporters is important. To me. To you. To anybody interested in the idea of representative democracy.

   So, stay tuned for further posts that, I promise, will do more than ramble on about corporate nonsense.

Big boys shedding double-digit circulation

October 28, 2009

 In a rather interesting spin on the current situation in the news industry, some of the biggest newspapers in the country are crowing about double-digit circulation losses, including the Dallas Morning News.

   It’s not as crazy as it sounds. For the last eight decades or so, the basic business model of a daily newspaper has been to basically  give away the print edition and slam advertisers for the majority of both operating revenue and profit. The traditional split has been 80 percent advertising to 20 percent circulation.

dallas

The Dallas Morning News has shed 22 percent of its circulation.

   As advertisers have fled in the last year, many newspaper executives are re-examining this model. Their conclusion: Since it costs more to print the paper than subscribers are paying, let’s raise prices and get down to our core, core readers – those who care enough about the paper to pay what it actually costs to produce it.

    For the Dallas Morning News, one of the best and most venerable papers in the country, this has mean a 22 percent (that’s not a typo) decline in circulation.  Heh… that has always seemed a wacky idea to me. I can think of no other industry that responds to declining sales with a price increase. My prediction: When advertising starts to come back (and it will, though not at the levels it once was), there will be new pushes for circulation.

     By then, however, it will be too late, and these newspapers will have seriously damaged their relationships with their longterm customers.

     What this means for reporters, however, is that the major metros will be pulling in from their traditional coverage territory. As they shed circulation in the outlying geography, the bean counters will be suggesting more newsroom cuts. I am hopeful, though not optimistic, that these slashes in traditional beats will mean more resources for digital operations.