Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rescue Dogs Attract Young and Old at Adoption Event

PetSmart customers in Rockville, Md., were lured Saturday by the big brown eyes, wagging tales and loud barks of dogs hoping to find a home.

Volunteers from Partnership for Animal Welfare (PAW) held them firmly by their leashes, making sure they were on their best behavior before prospective buyers. Joey, the black Newfoundland, licked people who came to pet him; Charlie Brown, the shy Basset Hound with the big brown eyes, sat quietly with his PAW volunteer; and Dakota, the sprightly Beagle Terrier, barked at every dog and passerby at the store.

Abandoned Dogs are Rescued from 'Kill Shelters'

PAW, a non-profit organization made up of volunteers, rescues homeless dogs from shelters and places them for adoption. These organizations are often called "kill-shelters" because many of the animals are euthanized for health reasons or simply because of limited space. PAW holds several dog shows in area pet stores in Maryland. At Saturday's show, several families with children stopped to admire them and asked for details about the dogs on display. PAW volunteers had some grim stories to tell.

One of the PAW volunteers explains that Joey, like other animals taken from a kill shelter, was not immediately put up for adoption.

If a customer shows interest in one of the dogs up for adoption, he or she cannot take it home right away, says Lauren Saft, one of the PAW volunteers on hand at the adoption show.

Prospective Adopters Must Pass Several Background Reviews

PAW goes through several other steps before an adoption in finalized, such as a vet check of an applicant's current pets to make sure they are up to date with vaccinations and other care required to keep them healthy. Even after an applicant is approved by the committee, he or she must go through another important step before the adoption is complete: a house check, according to Sue Silver, PAW's dog coordinator.

PAW explains the adoption process for its animals on its website, and has a photo and description of available dogs and cats. Some customers at the store had already checked out the dogs on PAW's website and showed an interest in filling out applications. Others took their time, getting to know the dogs at the store. For those who missed the adoption show at PetSmart, there are plenty of others scheduled for the remainder of this month, says Silver. These are listed on PAW's website.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mobile Devices Allow Reporters to Deliver News Quickly and Efficiently

Journalists say mobile devices are giving them an edge in reporting because they can deliver the news faster, as it happens or minutes after, to their readers. They are using their iPads, and iPhones to record audio and video, edit them, and send finished news products that are ready to be uploaded to their web sites.

Reporters No Longer Need Bulky Camera Equipment, or a Crew of Technicians to Cover a Story

Major news organizations, such as BBC and Reuters, have already "embraced the mobile technology revolution in their newsrooms, outfitting their mojos - mobile journalists - with tools and tips for speedy, efficient, and low-maintenance reporting," according to Margaret Looney of the International Journalists Network. These reporters have no use for bulky camera and audio equipment to cover stories. Neal Augenstein, reporter for WTOP radio in Washington, D.C., says he can do his job just as well, or even better, without this equipment.

Neal Augenstein, WTOP Radio

Mobile Technology Ideal for On-the-Street, White House Reporting

According to an article by Jim Colgan on, mobile devices are particularly useful for on-the street interviews. For a news story about New York City assigning letter grades for restaurant health inspections, Colgan found his iPad particularly useful. He asked people where they liked to eat, showed the grade their restaurant got, and recorded their reactions when they heard the details. Bloomberg reporter Margaret Talev says that as a White House reporter always on the go, mobile technology is essential for her to do her job.

Video 3 Margaret Talev, Bloomberg White House Correspondent

Packaging News for Various Formats Poses New Challenge for Mobile Reporters

As a growing number of consumers get their news on cell phones, tablets, and laptops, the challenge for mobile reporters is to package the news for the different platforms. The introduction of new devices and formats is creating a new kind of "multiplatform news consumer," according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism in collaboration with the Economist Group. Talev says she must learn to tailor her stories for these different platforms.

Video 4 Margaret Talev, Bloomberg White House Correspondent

According to the Pew survey, people who get news on their smartphones or tablets are more avid consumers of news than those who use just one device. They are more likely to read deeply and to share what they read through social media, which makes makes all the more important for the news industry to tailor its content for these different platforms.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Advice to Broadcast Students: Get Digital Media Experience

Aspiring broadcast reporters need to be comfortable using digital tools to write, edit, and produce their own stories to compete in the marketplace, according to professional journalists who spoke to students at a seminar March 2 at the University of Maryland.

Much of the News Today is Produced Outside of the Newsroom Using Latest Technology

During the day-long "Face Time With the Pros" seminar, professional journalists spoke to students about writing the perfect resume and cover letter, and getting the technical expertise needed to land their first jobs. The technical expertise is important because much of the news today is being reported and produced by journalists out in the field, not in the newsroom, according to the professionals. At a session on mobile storytelling, WUSA's Scott Broom described how news is produced in the digital world.

In addition to having technical skills, reporters also need to know how to ask questions to tell a compelling story, Broom says. He offered some tips on how reporters can get the most from their interviews.

Bethany Swain, photojournalist and former CNN reporter, provided some tips for producing a video story. To get your stories noticed, she advises using tripods; shooting sequences of wide, medium, and tight shots; paying attention to sound; having a clear focus, and finding what is compelling. In the end, "Don't blame the tools," she warns.

Experience, Professional Tone Key to Landing a Job

One big question on students' minds was how to land that first job, starting with the cover letter and resume. Mark Kraham, news director for WHAG, said the resumes and cover letters should be written in a professional tone, and get quickly to the point. Marge Ruttenberg, assistant news director at WTTG, said experience counts the most when considering an applicant.

Expect Stiff Competition
According to Stan Heist, news talent manager at Sinclair Broadcast Group, the broadcast industry is growing, particularly for producers, and many newsrooms are expanding. But students need to be realistic too about the market, because the field is getting increasingly competitive, he says.

 Tolleah Price of CBS News sums up the overall message from the seminar: Create your own opportunities.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Personal Trainer Says Keys to Weight Loss are Small Meals and Patience

Personal trainer Sarah Cortes says dieters make the common mistake of trying to lose weight too quickly rather than slowly and methodically, which undermines their efforts. In their zeal to shed pounds quickly, Cortes says people make several common mistakes. Cortes says not eating enough will lead to binge eating and "cheat days." People also tend to go on fad diets that restrict them from eating certain types of foods, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, Cortes says. She thinks that different diets are good for different people, but its generally a bad idea to have such restrictions. So what is the best diet out there for people who want to lose weight and keep their weight off permanently? Cortes says the key to permanent weight loss is "eating small meals and having a balanced meal. "It's all about eating a healthy diet, not dieting," Cortes says.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Maryland Professor Offers 10 Important Lessons for Mobile Journalists

A journalist must keep many factors in mind when preparing to post stories to be read on mobile devices, such as the quality of the audio and the position of the camera, according to Ronald Yaros, professor of new media and mobile journalism at the University of Maryland. At the top of his list of the 10 most important lessons a mobile journalist must learn is that "it's not just production of mobile content, it's the assembly of it for news consumers." Yaros offered this advice at the second Journalism Interactive Conference held Feb. 8-9 in Gainesville, Fla. Among other lessons, he also emphasized the importance of proper lighting. Yaros also touched on another important lesson for mobile reporters: length of interviews. Other items on Yaros's list include learning to think out of the box; remembering that a live event for students to cover is not the same as classroom practice; and being prepared for more changes in mobile technology because "it will only get better." The journalism conference, created in 2011 by the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism and the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, brings together educators, journalists, scholars and students to explore how journalism schools are responding to the challenges of the digital age. This year's focus was specifically on data, design, mobile, and participation.