Free/Cheap Music for Videos From Vimeo

This is useful. And just in time for college students working on semester projects.

Vimeo is collecting music that isn’t awful for people who need something to put under videos but have no budget for production.

Most are Creative Commons licenses others are really inexpensive (less than $2)

The search tool is especially cool. Put in a few words to describe what you are looking for (“quiet guitar” for example gives you a lovely piece.)


Alabama Hero Weatherman James Spann Talks About April 27th

James Spann – Full interview about April 27 storms.

It is especially interesting to me that this meterologist is so reflective, so critical of his work.  This man saved lives. No doubt.  Read for yourself some of the things the viewers said about James Spann in a story I did the day after the storm. What a refreshing professional in the era of puffed up TV personalities.




Students Seek $ to Investigate Story

From Nieman Journalism Lab

Bringing a crowd to a records fight: The Columbia Missourian uses to raise money for data request

For one community newspaper (and journalism school teaching lab), outside donations quickly helped pay for access to public data.

There’s a familiar dance any time a newspaper makes a records request to local government. Step 1: Said governmental body says records will cost an exorbitant amount. Step 2: Newspaper counters with the public’s right to know. Step 3: Governmental body slightly lowers the cost of the records request. Step 4: Repeat until parties reach a terse agreement, abandon the story, or go to court.

This is business as usual for newspapers; most newsrooms have a budget specifically for records requests, but that doesn’t mean reporters don’t want to cut the best deal possible, for reasons both journalistic (the public needs to know) and financial (the paper’s budget is shrinking).

The Columbia Missourian is taking a different tack: raising the money outside the newsroom. The paper, staffed in part by students at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, has used to scare up the funds for records for two separate cases, the most recent being an investigation into parking tickets. In the span of 24 hours last week they raised $500, to get a copy of the city’s parking ticket database for a story on trends in enforcement.

Analyzing the Herman Cain “smoking” ad

This is an interesting ad for students, especially journalism and PR students to spend some time with.  It is for Presidential canaidate Herman Cain and it includes a staffer talking straight into the camera (with bad lighting and framing) then, at the end of the ad taking a drag on a cigarette.  What the heck does that mean?

The Washington Post said:

Since its release earlier this week, the very viral Cain video has elicited surprise, delight, condemnation and, mostly, bafflement. The over-arching question is, what exactly does it all mean?

Is it a self-conscious attempt to flout convention? A metaphoric middle finger to cardiovascular correctness? A subliminal suggestion, as Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly put it in an interview with Block, that Cain isn’t playing to “East and West Coast elites” but to the smoking constituency? Or is it just a shiny bit of bait for the news media?

None of the above, according to Block.

“There was no subliminal message,” he told Kelly. “In fact, I personally would encourage people not to smoke. It’s just that I’m a smoker and a lot of people on the staff said, ‘Just let Block be Block.’ That’s what it’s all about.”


Al Quoted About Newspaper’s Deal with Drew Brees and Others to Tweet

The Times Picayune in New Orleans has a deal with some of the Saints star players.  The players, some of whom have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, will mention the website and will be paid for the mention.

A  reporter called me for comment:

The unusual arrangement between Advance Digital and the players highlights the tremendous advertising potential of the popular social networking site as well as the ethical concerns media companies face in using it as a promotional vehicle.

Advance Digital is the internet arm of Advance Publications Inc., which owns The Times-Picayune. Advance Digital also is the parent company of

“The intention here is to promote a new product, the Saints community on,” said John Hassell, vice president of content for Advance Digital. “It’s a new kind of space and a new kind of marketing for that space.”

The idea of paying players to promote the news site raised a red flag for media ethics educators who say it can create the appearance of an inappropriate relationship between reporters and the subjects they cover.

“On its face, that is an obvious conflict of interest,” said Al Tompkins, senior faculty for broadcasting and online at The Poynter Institute and the co-author of four editions of a “Newsroom Ethics” workbook. “The problem is you’re creating a dual relationship with the very people you’re covering.” The Poynter Institute is a school for practicing journalists.

Read more

Outstanding Multi-media Project Outing Bad Cops

The Milwaukee JS Online has produced another outstanding multimedia and interactive project investigating bad cops who break the law.

You can search the more than 90 officer’s backgrounds to see what they were accused/convicted of.

Walk a case through the investigative and review process.  See step-by-step  why it takes so long for cases involving police officers to come to justice (or not.)

Explore the world of hidden records involving cops, which the JS sued to pry open.

See how a conviction that might cost other people their jobs causes no problem at all for an officer.