September 24, 2007

I Wanna Be Published!

As a future authoress I'm always looking for outlets to get my work out there. One way to start is with the personal essay- an area that I've left unexplored until now. Several publications welcome personal, well-written essays with open arms, including many online-only magazines (ah the wonders of new media journalism). Below is a short list of three such e-zines:

Salon.com- a rather infamous online magazine that publishes a variety of work- opinion pieces, essays, and news articles. Finding submission information was slightly tricky, as Salon.com does not make it exactly user friendly to receive information. There are no set guidelines as with other publications, no word limit, or even what pieces they are likely to accept, only that fiction and poetry are not allowed. Their best advice: If you wish to contribute, please spend some time familiarizing yourself with Salon's various sections and regular features". Submissions are only accepted via email, although a specific email was never given. Try lettersproblems@salon.com and put "Editorial Submissions" in the subject line.

Literal Latte- another e-zine that publishes all things literary. Most of their works come from previously rejected submissions (the "slush-pile") from unpublished authors. The magazine accepts several different submissions, such as fiction writing and personal essays up to 6,000 words, plays and poetry up to 4,000 words, and even art pieces. Email submissions are not accepted; instead works should be sent to:
Literal Latte
200 East 10th Street, Suite 240
New York, NY 10003

Literary Traveler- a travel literary e-zine that welcomes first person literary travel experiences. In order to submit to the magazine an author can create a personal essay from 1,500-2,000 words or a review from 300-400 words. As with Salon.com, fiction and poetry pieces are not accepted. Submissions are also accepted only through email: submissions@literarytraveler.com.

Try one or all of the above publications. And remember, rejection is all part of the writing process.

(For EL 230)


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September 23, 2007

Less-Than-Serious Crime Stories

Short and Sweet- "Men Break Into Building Full of Police Officers".

This article was a more typical short and to the point type of crime reporting- just the facts and, well, that's about it. The attempted robbery occured on Tuesday, yet was published online today still in its shortened form. I thought perhaps the brevity was due to a time issue to publish it, however, it may be now that there isn't much more of the story to tell. The article also does not have information regarding the legal action, other than to say the suspect was arrested- there are no details of a hearing or the repercussions of the crime.

A Little Bit Longer Now- "Cops: Woman Carried Fake Bomb into Airport".

This story goes a little more beneath the surface of the previous one, moving away from the short and sweet standard of several crime stories. The topic is so unique (who does that, seriously) that it warrants a longer article in order to explain all the circumstances of the crime. It also goes into some background information on the woman involved and her conviction. The story has more details on the legal aspect of the crime as well, since woman had been arrested and given bail and had a hearing, although she plans to fight the charges.


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How Not to be "That" Reporter

"It can be difficult to interview grieving individuals or those who have been victimized. Reporters often open fresh wounds by simply being present. It can be nerve-racking and traumatizing for both involved parties" ('What Do You Ask?')

To me, crime stories seem like one of the harder topics in journalism in which to write about. I'm not sure why they always give these stories to the younger reporters, since I think it would be hard to write about a serious crime, unless it is just to "break them in". I'd make the worst crime reporter ever.

However, the chapter Covering Crime and Its Victims did provide a lovely little overview of how to appropriately cover crime stories. While it only glossed over the topics, it did address several issues that can arise when reporting on a crime. Most interesting was the information on talking to the victims (or family members of) themselves. As we've talked about in class, sometimes journalists can seem so cold or overly obvious when interviewing a victim of a serious crime. It either seems like they are being unsensitive to the event or feel the need to bring up the bad feelings over and over to make a good story. However, the chapter does not tell a reporter "go be really annoying" but instead stresses sensitivity for this difficult time. As the quote above states, it is hard for both reporter and victim to be interviewed after a crime- but as hard as it may be, it should be done well, accurately, and with as little conflict as possible.


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September 20, 2007

Fiddles and Dinner

"Like a fiddle string, a good lead is the product of the right tension. Or, to get the metaphors out of the way, the lead is an hors d'oeuvre, intended to whet the appetite, not to provide a three-course dinner" (23).

Exceptionally corny metaphors aside, this was actually a good way to introduce the topic of the lead. Personally, I find leads agonizing...I'm just not very good at introducing a story. A prose piece, fine. English paper, great. I'm a wordy person by nature, but condensing all the important details down into one solid hook for a news article, rough.

There is also a fine balance to getting the right lead...a line that seems to be a difficult one to walk. You don't want to be too wordy yet...wait, don't be too vague either! Make sure to get all the important details in but, hold on, you don't need everything single one in that sentence. Oh, and make sure it's interesting- gotta hook the reader.

The same line must be walked for sentences in general, as noted in chapter 4. Make the sentence tight, yet be descriptive. Not too long or too many words but wait, make sure it's not vague and write for the readers. It seems like journalism is one big tightrope walk.

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September 18, 2007

Crime on Campus

Wow was that a boring article.

Ok, that said, it was informative reading about how campuses handle crime in the article "Covering Crime on College Campuses". I didn't know an entire Act was implemented for dealing with campus crimes but, also, I suppose I never thought about it much either.

"Since 1991, under the federal "Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act," all institutions of higher education, both public and private, that participate in any federal student aid programs have had to report three years’ worth of campus crime statistics, post security policies and make timely warnings. Many image-conscious schools, however, exploited loopholes in the law to hide crimes or violated it without fear of enforcement.

The 1998 amendments and implementing regulations, which took effect July 1 of this year, close off many of these loopholes, strengthen reporting, and put schools in fear of a $25,000-per-violation fine."

This section caught my attention, although I'm not necessarily surprised. Of course schools are going to try and cover up any problems in order to appeal to prospective students. Would you want to go to a school that boasts 37 murders in the past decade and countless assults? I would hope not. However, by keeping the information private or eskewing the figures, students and parents are left in the dark about the school's safety, information which everyone should be rpivy to. And while I'm not sure how schools would be caught editing the figures, it's comforting that there is a fine in place for those who do not comply. Now we can all feel safer on our campuses knowing they have to report it- aren't you glad the Setonian has the police blotter?

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I'm Sorry...

...but I had to chose this article. Come on, with a headline like "Man Says Wild Sex Caused SUV Accident", you have to read that.

However, I was sadly disappointed with the article. It seemed to follow the Gomez article's formula of really just giving the basic facts, and that's it. I understand that with a common accident story, as with the Gomez article, there really isn't much to tell. But come on- one would expect a little more out of the other article!

The two accident stories failed to include any "hard-hitting" element to them...since there wasn't any. Unless it's a major event, it seems like papers regard accidents as common events and treat them as such- by writing just factual blurbs.

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September 14, 2007

Testing

Quick test of the trackbacks.

Aw how cute is the new Moveable Type?

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