Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

If/when the president returns, can we please get some wi-fi?

With President Barack Obama coming to Ann Arbor, it's expected that dozens of journalists will descend onto campus and report on the speech.

It's also expected that they'll use the most modern tools they have available to help send the message out, and that is the Internet.

So, why hold a presidential speech in a place where journalists can't access the Internet?

Our live coverage Friday, which mostly consisted of a live tweet stream from Al Glick Field House, saw several delays in posting, partially due to lacking 3G internet speeds (our netbooks have 3G built in them, allowing us to access the web anywhere we have a 3G signal, which should include Ann Arbor). But being on a college campus that I would assume has WiFi access, why not allow journalists to access it?

While we could have brought a MiFi hotspot, I'm not so sure it would have helped. Using our 3G access, my colleagues could barely send a text file for filing, and photos took even longer, even though they were compressed.

The best summarization of how many reporters there must have felt came from a tweet from Chris Gautz, a reporter with Gongwer:

There must be a way for the University to give guest access to those requiring the internet to properly do their job on a public university's campus. It hurt our live coverage, and I'm sure it hurt others' as well.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

How should we remember Joe Paterno?

Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. (Flickr photo courtesy of acaben)
It's a concept I've been struggling with since Saturday night when the news was reported (falsely) that former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had died:

How should I remember Joe Paterno?

He led the Nittany Lions to 409 wins during his tenure, good for the most of any coach of all time. He was also fired from his job in November for not doing enough to prevent alleged child molester Jerry Sandusky from abusing young boys.

Since his death, I've discovered and read all the statements and columns left by coaches and writers, including Brady Hoke's statement. ESPN had several pieces, including one from Ivan Maisel, saying the coaching icon should be remembered for his achievements and not just what transpired the last 12 weeks. Locally, a similar column appeared from The Detroit News, saying very similar things.

But then I read the comments, and it gets me thinking.
Like it or not, the story centers on the rape of 10 kids and cover up over a decade. Football and "legacy" are outright disrespectful to even discuss, and discussing it in comparison and even as greater than the issue at hand is downright depraved.
When young children are around, you protect them from harm. Where was the protection? Penn State what were you thinking? Joe where were you, these kids were molested in your home. Yea, the campus area they were molested in was his responsibility. 
Of course Sandusky is innocent until proven guilty, and he could be acquitted for everything. But the Penn State Board of Trustees saw enough reason to fire him for his role and not allow him to finish the season.

So, how should we remember him? As a man who was a coaching and statewide icon in Pennsylvania? Or as someone who was fired for not doing the right thing? Can we remember him as both?

The closest example I've been able to think about is Richard Nixon. Nixon did several positive things, such as opening the doors to China during his tenure. But, to most Americans, Nixon will always be known as the president who resigned because of the Watergate scandal.

It will take some time for history to decide Paterno's fate. It could take me even longer to figure out how I should remember him.

How will you remember Joe Paterno?

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Protests go from the streets to the screen around Ann Arbor

It seems the protest bug has bitten many people around Ann Arbor this week.

It began with hundreds marching to Gov. Rick Snyder's home in Superior Township Monday on MLK Day. The protest, designed to show opposition to the state's emergency financial manager bill, attracted hundreds and made headlines across the state.

It had been planned for several weeks, and its participants seemed clear in their message: EFMs can damage democracy and leave one individual with too much power.

I hope we don't get in trouble to using this image if SOPA
becomes law. We'll claim fair-use on it, though.
And if that protest wasn't enough, plenty of people from around the area are chiming in about the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, a bill designed to curve online piracy and protect copyright for intellectual property owners.

This protest has gone more virtual, though, given the nature of the legislation. Several sites, including Wikipedia, Reddit and Wordpress have "blacked out" their sites, with Wikipedia denying access to simple searches on its English site. It'still accessible through mobile phones and through mirrored sites.

Several other sites, including one owned by an adviser to our company, Jay Rosen, have followed suit.

Have you participated in any protests this week? How do you best send a message to those in power of something you disapprove of?

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Looking for a way to celebrate MLK Day? Speech from NPR personality happening at U-M Monday

Here's one way to learn more and observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday. 

The University of Michigan will host NPR personality Michele Norris, as she serves as the keynote speaker for the day's MLK events. A panel discussion will follow her speech, which will take place after her speech. The discussion, entitled "It's Going on in the Hood" and will "address the perception that Detroit significantly lacks community involvement in its neighborhoods."

The keynote speech will take place at 10 a.m. at the Hill Auditorium. The panel discussion will take place at 1 p.m., after a one-hour lunch break.

In addition, the speech will also be simulcasted at U-M's Detroit Center on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, in case you're not in Ann Arbor that day.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Auto show confessions from a reporter who's called southeast Michigan home all his life

True story: I have never been to the North American International Auto Show.

I'm not sure how many others in southeast Michigan will say the same thing, but I've never been able to or taken the opportunity to go to Cobo Center and see the newest and greatest concept cars.

It's not that the cars aren't fascinating; they are. I've never been a huge car enthusiast, and grew up in a household that wasn't big on cars (My grandfather did work for Chrysler, though, so I am slightly biased when it comes to favorite brand).

So, I ask you, Washtenaw County: what are the best parts of the auto show I've been missing? I'm curious to know. I'm not sure I'll venture up to Cobo this year, but I hope to.

Meanwhile, here's a collection of photos, videos and other tidbits of what's being said about the auto show locally. Enjoy!

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