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Information literacy September 30, 2006

Posted by el fuser in information literacy, Information Management, journalism, Literacy and Education.
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After leaping from studying the technological issues of supplying information in businesses to journalism, you might think that I what I learnt at university is now redundant. In fact I think it has alerted me to a serious issue that I would never have fully grasped otherwise.

Information literacy is the ability to search, evalauate and use information. It is an important topic for journalists for several reasons:

Firstly, they need to be experts in handling information to be competent in their job. This means being able to use Google in an efficient way, but also knowing about other resources like LexisNexis and Newsnow. It is also about being aware of new technology like blogs.

Secondly, although trust in journalists is incredibly low, paper and broadcast media are the first port of call for people who want information. It is easy to forget that being entertaining is the job, informing the public is your duty.

Thirdly, in the future, information literacy will be huge news in itself in the not too distant future. In the same way that those not able to read and write were excluded in the jobs they could get and were generally restricted in the way they participate in society, those who cannot use the Internet for information, shopping and work will fall behind the rest.
Lastly, a journalist is not fulfilling his duties if he is not campaigning for improved information resources (IT,libraries) in an area that needs it. Already we can get cheaper goods, more diverse media and unique entertainment from the Internet. Some people may never see these advantages and those that future bring without pressure on the government.

Go visit elfuser.wordpress.com September 30, 2006

Posted by el fuser in Music Reviews.
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Check out my other blog el fuser’s music. While i’m keeping this blog for opinion based articles (you know the ones where I set the world straight), this blog will contain music based reviews and information. You may like my review of the Roskilde festival even if you have little interest in that particular event. I’ve also reviewed deftones and opeth, with more to come.

Teeline Shorthand Resources September 27, 2006

Posted by el fuser in journalism, shorthand, teeline shorthand.
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Teeline shorthand isn’t initially hard if you’ve got the time and inclination to practice for 30 mins a day. Most of the outlines make good sense if you see that the purpose is to keep and neat and managable when you are trying to write at 100 words per minute. It’s keeping tidy and not getting left behind at speed which is the REALLY hard bit.

If anyone would like some help from a slightly above beginner level soon to be awesome teeliner with access to a few helpful resources (you won’t find many on the web – i’ve looked) get in contact. Equally, if you know any good methods for learning, cool special outlines for journalists etc, please leave a comment.

Why Red Brick Universities Must Adapt or Die September 26, 2006

Posted by el fuser in Education.
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I had put alot of thought into what degree I wated to take. It all went out the window though, when I failed to get into the course doing Politics & Philosophy. In hindsight I would have hated it, but in my panic on clearing day I ended up picking something that proved to be equally unsuitable. My criteria, as I’m sure it is for many Grammar School kids, was that I wanted to be at a ‘proper’ university. I felt that the weight of the name alone would get me where I wanted to be. Big mistake.
I look at my girlfriend’s degree at what I used to dismissively consider a ‘polytechnic’ with envy. They may not have Oxford educated lecturers, but they damn well make sure that you’re qualified and experienced enough that when you leave, you get a job. You’re technically proficient in a variety of fields and you’ve had a year in industry to prove yourself . I on the other hand struggle to ‘prove’ my skills outside of academia and lack proper experience. Who do you think an employer will pick?
Today, most of us see university as a necessary step towards a good job. Sooner or later, we will realise that subjects that don’t have an identifiable skills set attached to them (so called ‘soft’ subjects) arn’t cutting the mustard. History graduates might have slaved away for three years to obtain their first. Ahh, says the employer, but have you proof of any skills that will contribute to our organsation?
Sadly, we could see several subjects dying out because of this. University used to be a place where the elite went to improve their knowledge – choosing their degree basesd on personal preference. Now the product that the unis’ offer offer is outdated and inconsistent with their students’ needs. One potential short term solution is to force students to take modules in business concepts or other vocational skills. However I believe that as students become more and more picky about what they get into debt for, a complete overhall of the system will be necessary.

Inspiration September 26, 2006

Posted by el fuser in Che Guevara.
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Reading Jon Anderson’s Che tome ‘A Revolutionary Life’ has inspired me and made me enthusiastic about chasing a career for the first time in my life.
I have had a very privileged education, Grammar School and University, but only stayed with it because I didn’t know what else to do. My university course in hindsight was a terrible waste of time and points me in a career direction that I know I would hate. Working has always been an inevitable but feared and loathed part of life for me.
My desire to be a writer has always been there, but was almost extinguished during university. A science based course penalises writing that contains emotion and views and has no room for passion. After reading this book I am inspired not only by Che, but equally by Jon Anderson. A master researcher, he retells the Che story as accurately as possible but rarely loses the readers interest. I suppose it’s easy when you are writing about Che, a man who led his life as if he knew someone was going to write about him one day.
Last night I decided to apply for several courses that would put take this inspiration and make it burn brightly. No more messing around.

In one of my applications I was required to write a book review of 250 words, guess what I chose?

What else could adorn the front cover of what could well be the definitive guide to Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara than the picture that was described by The Maryland Institute College of Art as “the most famous photograph in the world and a symbol of the 20th century”. You know which one. To most people, that picture represents only rebellion. You only have to visit your local city centre to see Mummy’s little anarchists – ‘rebels’ sporting a Che t-shirt or patch that they thought would make a bold statement and gain kudos amongst their peers. To say that the photograph is of a man who was a rebel is about as useful as saying the Mona Lisa is a painting of a woman smiling. Che was undoubtedly a first class rebel, but he was human (and not necessarily a very likable one) – one who suffered chronically from asthma, one who at various points womanised, teased, is as racist and arrogant as his peers , argued for the sake of argument and threw around his temper without real cause. He was also, perhaps surprisingly for most, a reasonably privileged man who could have easily settled for a quiet life as a doctor. Jon Anderson fills in the details of that famous photograph and leaves us admiring it as not just an icon of rebellion, but of drive, ambition, a sense of justice, adventure and not settling for the ‘easy life’. You may not like Che or his politics after this reading this book, but you cannot fail to be inspired by the way he lived his life.

~El Fuser