Archives for posts with tag: Atlanta

I used to think it was laughable how two inches of snow could paralyze the cities of the South. That was before I moved here in 2007. The Northerner in me just thought people here weren’t tough enough to deal with icy weather. Toughness has little to do with it, as I have learned from a number of blogs by observers in Atlanta and Birmingham who are providing the view from Ground Zero of the Snowpocalypse.*

Preparedness is the key. The lay of the land and a relatively warm climate make ice and snow so rare that the infrastructure for clearing the roads, such as ice and sand trucks, county snowplows and abundant independent contractors with snowblades mounted on the fronts of their pickups, simply does not exist. As a result, we’re about to have our third snow day at Auburn University, where students flocked to campus for snowball fights and the novelty of tossing flying discs in snow. The cancellations are wise. They demonstrate an abundance of caution that was absent in Atlanta, where ice-induced paralysis has become a national news story. Among the stories in the blogosphere about the Deep South’s slow-motion transportation disaster:

Meanwhile in Alabama, which the national news media have overlooked, bloggers told our stories:

These writers are helping us make sense of our current paralysis and revealing the stories of everyday heroes. They are connecting us to one another, and they are explaining us to the outside world. Things will thaw in a few days, and we’ll be back to normal again. When disaster strikes, we pull together and help each other out, and we give each other consolation and comfort.

Folks in the Kansas countryside where I grew up did (and do) the same. Our geography is different, but maybe deep down we’re not all so different after all. Here’s hoping the spirit of connection this storm has sparked in us continues past the thaw.

* Question: Should it be the Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, or some other label? I’m going with Snowpocalypse since its namesake, the Apocalypse, is foretold to bring natural disasters as well as the Four Horsemen of conquest, war, famine and death. That contrasts with Armageddon, the site of the gathering of armies for the final battle during the End Times in which Christ triumphs over Satan and his followers. But I digress.

Temps right around freezing left a bit less than a quarter-inch of ice on cars Tuesday morning in Auburn. Come afternoon, the snow started to fall, hiding the danger from drivers.

Temps right around freezing left a bit less than a quarter-inch of ice on cars Tuesday morning in Auburn. Come afternoon, the snow started to fall, hiding the danger from drivers.

I’ve settled back into the routine in Auburn now after spending three days conventioneering at the Online News Association conference in Atlanta. This will be a brief post since I have a ton of grading to return to, but these are my main takeaways:

  • The technological wonders never cease for info gatherers: From the fledgling journalism drone programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Missouri School of Journalism to wearable sensors, innovative means of gathering information are popping up at every turn. The next challenge is figuring out how news organizations can put them to use (as well as figuring out how to fight government efforts to curb our adoption of these technologies, which Matt Waite of Nebraska explained in detail at the Knight Village on the convention’s Midway).
  • Nor do the possibilities for sharing data visually: I came out of ONA13 with a renewed enthusiasm for the integration of visuals with data and in a fit of irrational exuberance, I signed up for Alberto Cairo’s current MOOC on infographics and data visualization out of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. I’m two weeks late into a four-week course, but he kindly assured me I didn’t need to worry about doing the homework since a lot of folks just sign up to see the course materials. I deeply appreciate his willingness to share since I’ll incorporate some of it into the multimedia journalism course I teach in the spring. This will give me a sense of best practices to apply to the stuff I learned last week about using TileMill and Google Fusion Tables for mapping data.
  • Collaboration is king: Journalists don’t have to be coders, and coders don’t have to be journalists. But it sure does help if we know each other’s language, values and guiding principles. I’ll be collaborating with a team of Auburn University coders and reporting students on a hackathon next month. Do I know code? Only in the most rudimentary way, though I’m learning more all the time. But I have done research about journalism and migration, which happens to be where the team needs expertise since that’s the subject of the hackathon. Right place, right time, right connections.
  • Journalists must master data or data will master them: The highlight of the convention for me was the Friday keynote address by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight. His topic: Eight Cool Things Journalists Need to Know about Statistics. So many people live-tweeted about it at the event, myself included, that it made sense to make a Storify story about it. The link is below. I hope you enjoy it!
Melita Garza

Melita Garza’s work on Latin American culture in media

Rahul Mitra

Resilient Institutions and Sustainable Environments (R.I.S.E.)

Lit Bear

books and writing

Hemingway Run

Marc Hemingway: On The Road To Berlin Marathon

Mahesh Nair

The Write Might

Auburn Baseball Blog

Auburn starts the year with a new coach and a new direction and focus to win.

Overriding Ordinary

"Society is unity in diversity." -George H. Mead

KennethJustice.com

The Periphrastic Mind Of A Liberal Arts Major

The Changing Newsroom

New Media. Enduring Values.

FiveThirtyEight

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight uses statistical analysis — hard numbers — to tell compelling stories about politics, sports, science, economics and culture.

Ed Mooney Photography

The home of Kildare based Photographer, Blogger and self proclaimed Ruinhunter.

In Flow

Creativity is within us all

Design and Writing for the World Wide Web SIUe

This site serves students in Poepsel's Design and Writing for the Web at SIUe

participation2011

NYU/Topics in Media Criticism

The Press and The Bench

Interaction between the media and the courts

The Buttry Diary

Steve Buttry, Dearly Departed Husband, Father and Grandfather. Former Director of Student Media, LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication

Theme Showcase

Find the perfect theme for your blog.

Counts on Cars

A student blog on the automotive world.

Auburn Campus Trends

The latest trends around Auburn, from fashion, to hot spots, to food.

Trending In Bama

All Things Happening In Alabama

Off the Vine

Life is too short to drink bad wine

AUact

What to do in Auburn after football season

Ripping Culture

Art by Derek Herscovici

Project Light to Life

A bucket list blog: exploring happiness, growth, and the world.

Amazing Prizzini

Mischief, Comedy and Grace

SSND Live

Updates from the College News Design Contest

Appetites in Auburn

Experiencing life one meal at a time

A Taste of the Plains

Taking a look at local restaurants in Auburn and Opelika.

A Foreigner on Your Own Soil

When "y'all" meets "youse guys:" An exploration of why Northerners and Southerners don't coexist in sweet tea bliss

Culture Crazed

Finding color in unexpected places

Derencz's Corner

A glimpse inside the mind of a college journalist

joy mayer

JOURNALISM + COMMUNITY

ACADEME BLOG

The blog of Academe magazine

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Spirit, Word, Art

Lectionary-based creative spiritual direction

Cash or Charge

Adventures in Retail's Front Line from one of america's underemployed