Sunday, April 12, 2009

Scanlan's Hotlists: if by "hot" they mean defunct...

I am supposed to include in this blog "an entry of my choice".  However, I have been instructed that this entry must pertain to the JMC 2033 class and must also include a link.  

I thought that the main text for the class, Reporting and Writing: Basics for the 21st Century by Christopher Scanlan would be a good source for my class-pertaining blog.  
Little did I know that utter frustrations awaited.

The book, which will be referred to as Scanlan for the rest of this post, was published in 2000.  Although nine years does not seem like a long time, for the subject matter of this particular text it is an eternity.  The technology-fueled field of modern journalism is changing at break-neck speed.  A text book nearly a decade old is guaranteed to be full of glaring holes, and Scanlan is no exception.

At the end of each chapter, Scanlan lists links under the heading "Hotlist".  These links are printed in their full HTML form.  For example:

(Hint: It leads to nothing.)

Despite the onslaught of official-looking forward slashes, this link is, in fact, dead.
Unfortunately, "links" like the one above seem to be the norm rather than the exception in the many Hotlists of Scanlan.  

I tried in vain to visit around ten of these sites Scanlan insists are hot, only to be met with numerous variations of the "web site not found" message.  I even received a classic "HTTP 404 error" screen, which brought back memories of modems and dial-up internet from the mid 90's.  

had not been updated in over six years.

Yes, on a website that Scanlan promised would offer me "information about the history and function of grand juries", under the heading "What's New on the site?" the most recent date was 2/26/03.  

So while my post began as a summary of one of the helpful links made available in my text, it ends in a brutal condemnation of the book and a long-overdue cry for it to be replaced.  This is simply unacceptable.  

No comments:

Post a Comment