In Lab Lit, Fiction Meets Science of the Real World – NYTimes.com

Duh, so that’s why I like Richard Powers’ books so much. The simple term is “Lab Lit.” It means works of fiction that get the science right *and* the story. I teach students that effective science writing often involves a main character. In journalism, that character is a real person. In Lab Lit, the authors get to make up the people.

In Lab Lit, Fiction Meets Science of the Real World – NYTimes.com.

Dark-eyed junco brings bird relay to my yard

Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/91499534@N00/4258434540/sizes/m/in/photostream/

I saw my first dark-eyed junco of the season in my yard today, perched in my bare lilac bush. That means he’s here for the winter, from someplace cold enough to make Central Illinois feel like a haven. Then I noticed not one, but many, robins flying about. Right now, six are gathered in my yard. If this is a track meet, the lone junco is here to hand the baton of winter to the relay flock of robins. They’ll carry it somewhere south. The lovely junco reminds me that winter is a matter of perspective.

Verification needed in the storm

CNN, Weather Channel inaccurately report that New York Stock Exchange is under 3 feet of water | Poynter.

The story came from chat room to newsroom to correction. In Introduction to Journalism class at Illinois, students learn “The essence of journalism is a discipline of verification” (from “The Elements of Journalism” by Bill Kovach & Tom Rosenstiel).

The discipline includes the practice of doing one’s own, original reporting, and that would include tracking down the source of the information to judge the veracity of the report. The link above shows the Twitter route of the reports.

New York Times runs two corrections on college-age drinking story

Verification was our topic in “Introduction to Journalism” this week at the University of Illinois. I told the students about a situation a former student had in which a person in line at a Campustown bar assumed another student’s name when he identified himself to her. After the story appeared on local television, the family of the “name”  demanded an apology — and got one.

Most reporters don’t ask for a photo I.D. when interviewing people out in public. Maybe we should. The New York Times appears to have been badly stung — unverifiable names and a misspelling all in the same story. Here’s the link: For College Students, Social Media Tops the Bar Scene – NYTimes.com.