April 16th, 2013
ljdigital

*Updated schedule with additional panel, ”Sports and Pop Culture Narrative, and the Web,” featuring Jay Caspian Kang (Grantland) and Kurt Streeter (Los Angeles Times) 

DIGITAL STORYTELLING: A SYMPOSIUM

THURSDAY, 18 APRIL 2013

11 A.M.-6:30 P.M.

UC IRVINE SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES

Free and open to the public; no reservation required.  For more information, visit http://bit.ly/ZRZBms or contact piersonp@uci.edu.

Featuring:  

Editors from The Atavist, Byliner, LA Review of Books, Longform, Noir, and Matter; journalists Vanessa Grigoriadis (Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine), Jay Caspian Kang (Grantland, Mike Sager (Esquire), Angilee Shah, and Kurt Streeter (Los Angeles Times); and UCI faculty Jonathan Alexander,  Carol Burke, Miles Corwin, Erika Hayasaki, Kavita Philip, Barry Siegel, and Amy Wilentz.

*****

Schedule of Events:

Welcome Message: Amy Wilentz (UCI English and Literary Journalism)

11-12:30   ”The Future of Digital Publishing”: A Roundtable 

Humanities Instructional Building 135

Featuring:

Tom Lutz, Founder and Editor, LA Review of Books; Professor, UC  Riverside Department of Creative Writing

Angilee Shah, Social Media Manager at Public Radio International, consulting editor to the Journal of Asian Studies and co-editor of Chinese  Characters (UCPress, 2012)

Nancie Clare, Founder and Editor of Noir Magazine  (noirmagazine.tumblr.com)

Mike Sager, Writer-at-Large for Esquire and founder of digital publishing imprint The Sager Group (www.thesagergroup.net)

12:30-1:30 PM   Master Class on Digital Narratives, Hosted by The Atavist 

Humanities Gateway Building 1010

Gray Beltran, Multimedia Producer and Community Editor, The Atavist

1:30-2:30   Lunch Reception and Display of Digital Narrative Projects Humanities Gateway 1010

2:30-3:30   Sports and Pop Culture Narrative, and the Web

Featuring Jay Caspian Kang (Grantland) andhKurt Streeter (Los Angeles Times) Humanities Gateway 1030

3:30-4:30 PM    Live Podcast Interview by Longform of Vanessa Grigoriadis (Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine)

*Interview will be conducted in person, on-site*

Interviewer: Max Linsky of Longform.org

Humanities Gateway 1030

4:00-5:00 PM    Coffee Reception and Display of Digital Narratives Humanities Gateway 1010

5:00-6:30 PM “Storytelling, Narrative, and Writing in the Digital Age,”  A Panel Discussion

Humanities Gateway 1030 

Featuring:

Charles Homans, Editor, The Atavist

Jim Giles, Editor, Matter

Aaron Lammer, Editor, Longform

Mark Bryant, Editor-in-Chief of Byliner.com

*****

PARKING: Mesa Parking Structure for visitors.

http://today.uci.edu/pdf/UCI_09_map_vis_pkg.pdf

Campus Map

http://today.uci.edu/pdf/UCI_09_map_campus.pdf

www.humanities.uci.edu/litjourn

www.humanities.uci.edu/kiosk

www.ljdigital.tumblr.com

Twitter: @UCILitJ

EVENT DETAILS:

APRIL 18, 2013

11 A.M.-6:30 P.M.

UC IRVINE SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES:  HUMANITIES GATEWAY AND

HUMANITIES INSTRUCTIONAL BUILDING

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC—ALL WELCOME

For more information on Digital Storytelling: A Symposium or to attend the event please contact the Assistant Director of Literary Journalism, Patricia Pierson, piersonp@uci.edu, or Assistant Professor of Literary Journalism Erika Hayasaki ehayasak@uci.edu.

April 13th, 2013
ljdigital
LJ Digital: Please stop by UC Irvine this Thursday, April 18th for the literary journalism and history department’s Digital Storytelling: A Symposium! We will be honored with guests from the Atavist, Byliner, Longform.org, and more! The event is free and open to the public and will take place from 11-6:30pm. There will be a variety of talented journalists and writers so please try and make it! 

LJ Digital: Please stop by UC Irvine this Thursday, April 18th for the literary journalism and history department’s Digital Storytelling: A Symposium! We will be honored with guests from the Atavist, Byliner, Longform.org, and more! The event is free and open to the public and will take place from 11-6:30pm. There will be a variety of talented journalists and writers so please try and make it! 

April 9th, 2013
ljdigital
April 9th, 2013
ljdigital
April 30th, 2012
ljdigital

Narratives in a Digital Age

A Business Model That Works: Byliner 

A year ago, Byliner officially released its first E-Single, John Krakauer’s “Three Cups of Deceit.” Since then the piece, according to a PaidContent report, has been downloaded nearly 150,000 times.

Byliner, which also functions as a hub where readers can discover and follow great writers, currently has one of its original stories, “Lifeboat No. 8,” at #1 on the nonfiction New York Times Bestseller List and #5 on the combined print and e-book list. 

At a narrative journalism conference at Boston University in March, Byliner CEO John Tayman told a group of journalists: “We have a very simple business model: We sell stories. We assign and publish stories that fall typically between 10,000 and 30,000 words. You can think of them as enlarged magazine pieces, enlarged narratives. We’ll sell a million of those this year. We have writers making $80,0000 dollars on a single story. “

“Awesome,” someone at the session said, as another writer in the audience burst into enthusiastic applause.

“This is great,” said the Columbia Journalism Review’s Dean Starkman, sitting on the panel with Tayman. Starkman had given the opening keynote for the conference, and at the time had been pressed by an audience member about business models for journalism when a reporter asked: “I find it hollow that you don’t have a good answer. How do we pay for this? How do we make it work?”

To which Starkman had replied it was a “fair question,” adding: “I will, damn it, come up with the answer.”

When it comes to longform, Byliner, it appears, is one possible option. At the time of its launch, Byliner had raised just under $1 million in funding from various companies and individuals.

“Does this herald the end of magazines as a market for writers?” an audience member asked Tayman at another panel.

His response: “I don’t think it does.”

Tayman explained that he created Byliner because the stories he wanted to tell didn’t have natural homes in the previous publishing models that existed. Some of his story ideas deserved to be longer than 3-4,000 words, but didn’t necessarily needs to become 70 to 90,000-word books.”

When it comes to traditional magazines and books, Tayman said, “I don’t think we’re going to be putting either one of those things out of business. But as far as giving writers options, and readers options, that’s what we want to do.”

Byliner often pays an assignment fee, and revenue from that author’s story sales are split. Assignment fees, he said, have ranged from zero to $20,000.

“We do things more aggressively then some magazines do anymore,” Tayman said. “The minute we assign a story there is a story editor that works is attached to that story all the way through. They work with the author to refine the idea if it needs it but certainly take it through all the various drafts. It comes in, it gets line edited, top-edited, copy edited, it gets fact-checked…it gets proof read. Then we do the technical stuff.”

Tayman came from Outside magazine and Byliner works with ½ dozen editors who have come from the conventional magazine world to edit its stories.

“I would say we edit better than almost any magazine right now,” he said.

With the advent of Kindle Singles, Apple Quick Reads, Nook Snaps, Tayman added, “I think the lines between what’s a story, and what’s a book, and what’s not a book are blurring.”

April 29th, 2012
ljdigital
Narratives in a Digital Age
From the NYT: “Navigating a Tightrope With Amazon”
Interesting, and relevant to class discussions: This is why we had trouble accessing Monday’s reading, “After Friday Night Lights,” on Amazon over the weekend.
According the the NYT’s David Carr:

Last Tuesday, Buzz Bissinger hopped the Amtrak train to Philadelphia from New York, where he had done a bit of publicity for “After Friday Night Lights,” a 12,000-word e-book that had been performing nicely since its release. But when he opened his laptop to check his ranking on Amazon, he found the book was no longer for sale there.
“I was stunned,” he said in a phone interview on Friday. “I thought it was some kind of technical difficulty.” (I had noticed a lot of people on Twitter shared his confusion.)
Depending on how you define it, he was right. Mr. Bissinger, the best-selling author of multiple books, including “Friday Night Lights,” had written the e-book as a postscript for the popular book about high school football in Texas. “After Friday Night Lights” traces his relationship with Boobie Miles, a running back whose football career was derailed by an injury and who has been on a hard road ever since.
Mr. Bissinger wrote the e-book for Byliner.com, one of a number of fledgling companies trying to make a go of it by publishing long-form works — not as long as a traditional book, but longer than most magazine articles — for digital readers. Mr. Bissinger thought the e-book, priced at $2.99, would be a great way to pay tribute to the relationship while also helping Mr. Miles, by giving him a third of the proceeds.
But the plan hit a pothole after Apple, which had been looking to get into shorter works in a digital format, decided to include e-books in a promotion that it does with Starbucks. It selected Mr. Bissinger’s digital sequel as a Pick of the Week, giving customers a code they could redeem online for the book. (Mr. Bissinger said he still received a royalty of $1.50 for each copy sold.)
Amazon interpreted the promotion as a price drop and lowered its price for “After Friday Night Lights” to exactly zero. Byliner withdrew the book from Amazon’s shelves, saying it did so to “protect our authors’ interest.”

Read the rest of the NYT story here.

Narratives in a Digital Age

From the NYT: “Navigating a Tightrope With Amazon

Interesting, and relevant to class discussions: This is why we had trouble accessing Monday’s reading, “After Friday Night Lights,” on Amazon over the weekend.

According the the NYT’s David Carr:

Last Tuesday, Buzz Bissinger hopped the Amtrak train to Philadelphia from New York, where he had done a bit of publicity for “After Friday Night Lights,” a 12,000-word e-book that had been performing nicely since its release. But when he opened his laptop to check his ranking on Amazon, he found the book was no longer for sale there.

“I was stunned,” he said in a phone interview on Friday. “I thought it was some kind of technical difficulty.” (I had noticed a lot of people on Twitter shared his confusion.)

Depending on how you define it, he was right. Mr. Bissinger, the best-selling author of multiple books, including “Friday Night Lights,” had written the e-book as a postscript for the popular book about high school football in Texas. “After Friday Night Lights” traces his relationship with Boobie Miles, a running back whose football career was derailed by an injury and who has been on a hard road ever since.

Mr. Bissinger wrote the e-book for Byliner.com, one of a number of fledgling companies trying to make a go of it by publishing long-form works — not as long as a traditional book, but longer than most magazine articles — for digital readers. Mr. Bissinger thought the e-book, priced at $2.99, would be a great way to pay tribute to the relationship while also helping Mr. Miles, by giving him a third of the proceeds.

But the plan hit a pothole after Apple, which had been looking to get into shorter works in a digital format, decided to include e-books in a promotion that it does with Starbucks. It selected Mr. Bissinger’s digital sequel as a Pick of the Week, giving customers a code they could redeem online for the book. (Mr. Bissinger said he still received a royalty of $1.50 for each copy sold.)

Amazon interpreted the promotion as a price drop and lowered its price for “After Friday Night Lights” to exactly zero. Byliner withdrew the book from Amazon’s shelves, saying it did so to “protect our authors’ interest.”

Read the rest of the NYT story here.

April 25th, 2012
ljdigital

Narratives in a Digital Age

Reading Assignments: For Monday, we will be reading “After Friday Night Lights,” by Buzz Bissinger, along with “Three Cups of Deceit,” by Jon Krakauer.

Next week we’ll continue our discussions about some of Byliner's stories, its business model, and also some of the larger ethical and moral issues that all literary journalists face when practicing narrative nonfiction. Which lines simply cannot be crossed?

From Amazon blurb:

Nearly twenty-five years ago, H. G. (Buzz) Bissinger, then a young reporter for the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” moved to Odessa, Texas, family in tow, to follow the fortunes of the 1988 Permian High School football team. He hoped to write a celebratory treatment of a team and a town. The result: “Friday Night Lights,” a bestselling American classic that spawned the popular film as well as the series, considered by many one of the best on television. 

The original book’s most compelling character was James “Boobie” Miles, and his experience in Odessa was, as Bissinger puts it in his daringly honest sequel “After Friday Night Lights,” “a symbol of everything that was wrong with high school football.” The complex friendship between subject and author has deepened over the years, and is, Bissinger writes, “the most lasting legacy of “Friday Night Lights,” or at least the legacy I care about most.”

Heading into the 1988 season, Miles looked like a star-in-the-making, a sure bet to ascend to college and the NFL. Abandoned by his mother, beaten by his dad, he had scraped through a rough upbringing, but it appeared that success on the field was soon to redeem his pain. Then, in a meaningless preseason scrimmage, Boobie blew out his knee. By midseason he was off the team, no longer needed by his coaches, who had found themselves a new running back.

“After Friday Night Lights”—an original 45-page story written to be read in a single sitting—follows Boobie through the dark years he suffered after his injury right up to a present that is imbued with a new kind of hope. It is the indelible portrait of the oddest of enduring friendships: that of a writer and his subject, a “neurotic Jew” and a West Texas oil-field worker, a white man raised in privilege and a black man brought up in poverty and violence, and a father and his “fourth son.” Their story encompasses the realities of race and class in America. And reveals with heartbreaking accuracy how men rise again after their dreams are broken.

Amazon review:

Greg Mortenson is the bestselling author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, a tireless advocate for improved education in impoverished areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the founder of the Central Asia Institute (CAI), a non-profit that builds schools in these areas. He’s also, according to Jon Krakauer, not all that he appears to be.

Krakauer is himself a bestselling author (Into the WildInto Thin Air), with a well-deserved reputation for penetrating nonfiction. Motivated by his own humanitarian concerns, and having donated considerable sums to CAI, Krakauer now applies his investigative skills to the unmasking of what he calls the “image of Mortenson that has been created for public consumption… an artifact born of fantasy, audacity, and an apparently insatiable hunger for esteem.” Did Mortenson discover the village that inspired his crusade while wandering lost down K2? Was he abducted and held for eight days by the Taliban? Has he built all the schools that he has claimed? Tempered by Krakauer’s fairly giving CAI credit where it’s due,Three Cups of Deceit mounts an extensive, passionate exploration into these questions. —Jason Kirk

April 18th, 2012
ljdigital
Narratives in a Digital Age
Reading Assignment: ”Lifeboat No. 8,” from Byliner & “The Death of the Book,” by Ben Ehrenreich for the Los Angeles Review of Books. 
*Ehrenreich will be visiting the UCI campus on Monday. Please try to attend his talk from 1-2 p.m. in Humanities Gateway 1030.
This week we read about a recent shipwreck. For next week, we’ll be reading about a shipwreck that happened 100 years ago. You know the name. This piece, currently No. 1 on the Kindle Single bestseller list, was published by Byliner. 
Description from Amazon:

When the Titanic started sinking, who would make it off alive? The two cousins who had been so eager to see their first iceberg? The maid who desperately tried to escape with the baby in her care? The young newlyweds who’d booked passage despite warnings not to? One hundred years after that disastrous and emblematic voyage, Elizabeth Kaye reveals the extraordinary, little-known story behind one of the first lifeboats to leave the doomed ship. Told in real time and in the actual voices of survivors, Kaye’s poignant, pulse-pounding narrative includes the story of the Countess of Rothes, the wealthiest woman on the ship, bound for California, where she and her husband planned to start an orange farm. It was the Countess, dressed in ermine and pearls, who took command of Lifeboat No. 8, rowing for hours through the black and icy water. In the words of one of the Titanic’s crew, she was “more of a man than any we have on board.”At the heart of Kaye’s tale is a budding romance between the Countess’s maid, Roberta Maioni, and the Titanic’s valiant wireless operator, Jack Phillips. While Roberta made it safely onto Lifeboat No. 8, holding nothing but a photo of Jack she had run back to her cabin to retrieve, he remained on the ship, where he would send out the world’s first SOS signal. But would it be received in time to save his life?”

                                   — LJ Digital

Narratives in a Digital Age

Reading Assignment: Lifeboat No. 8,” from Byliner & “The Death of the Book,” by Ben Ehrenreich for the Los Angeles Review of Books. 

*Ehrenreich will be visiting the UCI campus on Monday. Please try to attend his talk from 1-2 p.m. in Humanities Gateway 1030.

This week we read about a recent shipwreck. For next week, we’ll be reading about a shipwreck that happened 100 years ago. You know the name. This piece, currently No. 1 on the Kindle Single bestseller list, was published by Byliner

Description from Amazon:

When the Titanic started sinking, who would make it off alive? The two cousins who had been so eager to see their first iceberg? The maid who desperately tried to escape with the baby in her care? The young newlyweds who’d booked passage despite warnings not to? 

One hundred years after that disastrous and emblematic voyage, Elizabeth Kaye reveals the extraordinary, little-known story behind one of the first lifeboats to leave the doomed ship. 

Told in real time and in the actual voices of survivors, Kaye’s poignant, pulse-pounding narrative includes the story of the Countess of Rothes, the wealthiest woman on the ship, bound for California, where she and her husband planned to start an orange farm. It was the Countess, dressed in ermine and pearls, who took command of Lifeboat No. 8, rowing for hours through the black and icy water. In the words of one of the Titanic’s crew, she was “more of a man than any we have on board.”

At the heart of Kaye’s tale is a budding romance between the Countess’s maid, Roberta Maioni, and the Titanic’s valiant wireless operator, Jack Phillips. While Roberta made it safely onto Lifeboat No. 8, holding nothing but a photo of Jack she had run back to her cabin to retrieve, he remained on the ship, where he would send out the world’s first SOS signal. But would it be received in time to save his life?”

                                  — LJ Digital

April 10th, 2012
ljdigital
Narratives in a Digital Age
"How I Read"
(*Bed sheet photo credit: Dornob)

There are more ways to read now than ever. From cell phone, to book, to tablet, to laptop, reading has become a multi-platform experience. This week, LJ Digital features essays from writers and readers, discussing reading habits, and how they experience the written word today.


A Day in the Life of Words With Julia

By Julia Koenig

Beep beep beep beep! An arm extends towards the mahogany nightstand settled next to a twin-sized sleigh bed, a Sponge Bob Square Pants blanket with the words “Today Was a Great Day” printed on the bottom right hand corner. Fingers flailing around until they latch onto an iphone 4. My eyes struggle to open as I read the phrase I had programmed as my alarm the night before, “ 6:00 AM Wake Up. School!”
I tap the red Snooze and close my eyes. Beep beep beep beep beeeeeeep!  “6:40 AM hahah NO SERIOUSLY WAKE UP!!!!!” I read the phrase, turn the alarm to OFF and let out a sigh as I prop myself up and stretch in bed. I look back at my phone, clicking the home key and searching for the Safari App. The home page is set to Yahoo news. I scroll through the headlines: “Is a business degree worth it?” I skip over this one quickly, definitely not a business major, I think to myself.
“Do microwaves kill nutrients?” Well, obviously, I don’t even bother to click on the link.
“Quietest place on Earth: The near-absolute silence in this chamber actually causes the brain to hallucinate.” Weird, I like it. I click on the highlighted link: Mutes 99.9% of all sound. Writer Mike Wehner from Tecca explains how the anechoic chamber at Orfiled Laboratories in Minnesota mutes sound, holding the current Guinness World Record as the quietest place on the planet. NASA researchers tested the acoustic capabilities on humans where the noiselessness stimulates the silence of space. They found that when all outside noise is removed, humans capture the sound of their own heartbeat at a greatly amplified volume and the human mind begins to hallucinate. The longest a person has lasted is 45 minutes. As I remove the ear plugs I sleep with every night, I contemplate how long I would last in such a state.  
After washing my face and making my usual egg white omelet breakfast, I reach for my I-Pad and tap on my Zot Mobile application. I find myself clicking on My Schedule and reading through the list of classes I need to take. Mental note: check the class websites and syllabus for any reading I may have missed. Just as I assumed, I click on History 114, Professor Kai Evers, Representing The Holocaust.
Before breakfast, I delightfully discover I have to read 12 pages of a PDF scanned copy of Primo Levi’s, The Drowned and The Saved. I click on the PDF attachment to download it to the My Books app on the iPad. Thankfully, I have the technology available to download the reading in a matter of seconds. By the time I finish half of my omelet, I have discovered that the prisoners in Nazi concentration camps had actually formed a hierarchy within the camp based on who had lived in the camps longer and who had connections to the prison guards.
My passion for historical information assures that I will retain this information, as well as the fact that I looked up the syllabus online and realized I have a quiz on the material in 2 hours.
The TweetDeck
As I finish the reading I compulsively check my twitter feed on my iPhone TweetDeck app:
@CapriceCrane “Adulthood is the freedom to eat breakfast for dinner whenever you damn well please”
@deepakchopra “ Existence is awareness without boundaries. Perception is awareness without boundaries #spiritualsolutions”
@shitgirlssay “She could be pretty if she really wanted to.”
@Disneywords: When you believe in a thing, believe in it al the way, implicitly and unquestionably.-Walt Disney”  
I usually enjoy reading short snippets of inspirational quotes, with a dose of good humor sprinkled in.
Scrolling past the trending topics… Sometimes I question the population on Twitter and why I bother having an account.
As I arrive to class, I make sure to bring my iPad, iPhone and laptop with me where I have multiple tabs open: Byliner, Women’s Health Magazine, JustJared, UCI’s My EEE.
Coffee and a Real Book
My world consists of a continuous stream of digital reading material, mixed with visuals such as photos and pictures to enhance my reading experience. However, every day at 3 p.m. I find myself in the fiction section of Barnes and Noble, coffee, with an extra shot of espresso, in hand, skimming through book titles and reading back covers.
Today I pick out East Wind, West Wind, by Pearl S. Buck, and flip to where I left off yesterday, on page 93. A quote resonates in my mind, “Ah, how does the cold Earth know when the sun at spring-tide draws out her heart into blossoming? How does the sea feel the moon compelling her to him? I do not know how the days passed. Only I knew that I ceased to be alone.” 
I love the feeling of opening a physical copy of a book, flipping the pages, and seeing the left side get progressively thicker. It’s magical.
The Future?
In “The New, New Journalism-circa 2011,” Robert Boynton stated that newspapers and magazines must learn to hustle like freelancers “because no writer, or journalism organization, can sustain itself with a single business model.” Boynton also made the prediction, “In the future, journalism will be either very short, or very long. Nothing in the middle will survive.” This is an interesting statement that got me thinking about the ways in which I read.
As I compiled a list, I realized I read mostly short snippets of information online and save the longer versions of novels or articles to read on My Books iPad App. I wonder what his definition of “middle” is?
It seems as if people are reading different forms of literature as well. According to Alexis Madrigal’s chart in The Atlantic, people seem to have an idealized, romanticized version of America’s past. We envision previous generations of Americans engulfed in literature, reading and discussing Faulkner, or Hemingway, with friends, rather than browsing the internet or watching television in today’s world. With the internet and abundance of television programming, it may seem like we don’t read.
However, according to the stats from Gallup surveys, “In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, the number shot up to 47 percent.”
Spending my week concentrating on what, when, and how I was reading, I found that I have endless opportunities to read what I want and when I want because of the technology available to me.

Narratives in a Digital Age

"How I Read"

(*Bed sheet photo credit: Dornob)

There are more ways to read now than ever. From cell phone, to book, to tablet, to laptop, reading has become a multi-platform experience. This week, LJ Digital features essays from writers and readers, discussing reading habits, and how they experience the written word today.

A Day in the Life of Words With Julia

By Julia Koenig

Beep beep beep beep! An arm extends towards the mahogany nightstand settled next to a twin-sized sleigh bed, a Sponge Bob Square Pants blanket with the words “Today Was a Great Day” printed on the bottom right hand corner. Fingers flailing around until they latch onto an iphone 4. My eyes struggle to open as I read the phrase I had programmed as my alarm the night before, “ 6:00 AM Wake Up. School!”

I tap the red Snooze and close my eyes. Beep beep beep beep beeeeeeep!  “6:40 AM hahah NO SERIOUSLY WAKE UP!!!!!” I read the phrase, turn the alarm to OFF and let out a sigh as I prop myself up and stretch in bed. I look back at my phone, clicking the home key and searching for the Safari App. The home page is set to Yahoo news. I scroll through the headlines: “Is a business degree worth it?” I skip over this one quickly, definitely not a business major, I think to myself.

“Do microwaves kill nutrients?” Well, obviously, I don’t even bother to click on the link.

“Quietest place on Earth: The near-absolute silence in this chamber actually causes the brain to hallucinate.” Weird, I like it. I click on the highlighted link: Mutes 99.9% of all sound. Writer Mike Wehner from Tecca explains how the anechoic chamber at Orfiled Laboratories in Minnesota mutes sound, holding the current Guinness World Record as the quietest place on the planet. NASA researchers tested the acoustic capabilities on humans where the noiselessness stimulates the silence of space. They found that when all outside noise is removed, humans capture the sound of their own heartbeat at a greatly amplified volume and the human mind begins to hallucinate. The longest a person has lasted is 45 minutes. As I remove the ear plugs I sleep with every night, I contemplate how long I would last in such a state.  

After washing my face and making my usual egg white omelet breakfast, I reach for my I-Pad and tap on my Zot Mobile application. I find myself clicking on My Schedule and reading through the list of classes I need to take. Mental note: check the class websites and syllabus for any reading I may have missed. Just as I assumed, I click on History 114, Professor Kai Evers, Representing The Holocaust.

Before breakfast, I delightfully discover I have to read 12 pages of a PDF scanned copy of Primo Levi’s, The Drowned and The Saved. I click on the PDF attachment to download it to the My Books app on the iPad. Thankfully, I have the technology available to download the reading in a matter of seconds. By the time I finish half of my omelet, I have discovered that the prisoners in Nazi concentration camps had actually formed a hierarchy within the camp based on who had lived in the camps longer and who had connections to the prison guards.

My passion for historical information assures that I will retain this information, as well as the fact that I looked up the syllabus online and realized I have a quiz on the material in 2 hours.

The TweetDeck

As I finish the reading I compulsively check my twitter feed on my iPhone TweetDeck app:

@CapriceCrane “Adulthood is the freedom to eat breakfast for dinner whenever you damn well please”

@deepakchopra “ Existence is awareness without boundaries. Perception is awareness without boundaries #spiritualsolutions”

@shitgirlssay “She could be pretty if she really wanted to.”

@Disneywords: When you believe in a thing, believe in it al the way, implicitly and unquestionably.-Walt Disney”  

I usually enjoy reading short snippets of inspirational quotes, with a dose of good humor sprinkled in.

Scrolling past the trending topics… Sometimes I question the population on Twitter and why I bother having an account.

As I arrive to class, I make sure to bring my iPad, iPhone and laptop with me where I have multiple tabs open: Byliner, Women’s Health Magazine, JustJared, UCI’s My EEE.

Coffee and a Real Book

My world consists of a continuous stream of digital reading material, mixed with visuals such as photos and pictures to enhance my reading experience. However, every day at 3 p.m. I find myself in the fiction section of Barnes and Noble, coffee, with an extra shot of espresso, in hand, skimming through book titles and reading back covers.

Today I pick out East Wind, West Wind, by Pearl S. Buck, and flip to where I left off yesterday, on page 93. A quote resonates in my mind, “Ah, how does the cold Earth know when the sun at spring-tide draws out her heart into blossoming? How does the sea feel the moon compelling her to him? I do not know how the days passed. Only I knew that I ceased to be alone.” 

I love the feeling of opening a physical copy of a book, flipping the pages, and seeing the left side get progressively thicker. It’s magical.

The Future?

In “The New, New Journalism-circa 2011,” Robert Boynton stated that newspapers and magazines must learn to hustle like freelancers “because no writer, or journalism organization, can sustain itself with a single business model.” Boynton also made the prediction, “In the future, journalism will be either very short, or very long. Nothing in the middle will survive.” This is an interesting statement that got me thinking about the ways in which I read.

As I compiled a list, I realized I read mostly short snippets of information online and save the longer versions of novels or articles to read on My Books iPad App. I wonder what his definition of “middle” is?

It seems as if people are reading different forms of literature as well. According to Alexis Madrigal’s chart in The Atlantic, people seem to have an idealized, romanticized version of America’s past. We envision previous generations of Americans engulfed in literature, reading and discussing Faulkner, or Hemingway, with friends, rather than browsing the internet or watching television in today’s world. With the internet and abundance of television programming, it may seem like we don’t read.

However, according to the stats from Gallup surveys, “In 1957, not even a quarter of Americans were reading a book or novel. By 2005, the number shot up to 47 percent.”

Spending my week concentrating on what, when, and how I was reading, I found that I have endless opportunities to read what I want and when I want because of the technology available to me.

April 1st, 2012
ljdigital
LJ Digital’s Weekend Reads via Longform & Byliner
Hoaxes, Pranks, Kidnappings & Disappearances
This weekend Longform publishes its April Fools’ Day list of nonfiction stories involving hoaxes, pranks, and fabrications, including a New York Sun piece from 1835, which fooled its readers for six days, reporting that life had been found on the moon.
And Byliner offers "Gone Missing," a roundup of stories on disappearances, runaways, and kidnappings, including a Susan Orlean piece about a lost dog, and a New York Magazine article about the boy whose disappearance led to other missing kids ending up on milk cartons.
*illustration by Bruce Horton

LJ Digital’s Weekend Reads via Longform & Byliner

Hoaxes, Pranks, Kidnappings & Disappearances

This weekend Longform publishes its April Fools’ Day list of nonfiction stories involving hoaxes, pranks, and fabrications, including a New York Sun piece from 1835, which fooled its readers for six days, reporting that life had been found on the moon.

And Byliner offers "Gone Missing," a roundup of stories on disappearances, runaways, and kidnappings, including a Susan Orlean piece about a lost dog, and a New York Magazine article about the boy whose disappearance led to other missing kids ending up on milk cartons.

*illustration by Bruce Horton

March 20th, 2012
ljdigital
Titanic Anniversary Brings Dueling Non-Fiction Narratives for E-Readers
National Geographic launched its first in a series of “E-Shorts” today, Titanic: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Shipwreck. Like GQ, The Los Angeles Times, n+1, Tablet Magazine and other media, National Geographic is following in the genre of Amazon’s Kindle Singles model for nonfiction stories between 5,000 to 20,000 words on E-readers.
But the company with a 124-year-old travel-adventure magazine has some competition on this 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, as the one-year-old Byliner (dubbed the “Pandora of narrative non-fiction”) released its own new piece through Amazon’s Kindle Singles program this week, with reporter Elizabeth Kaye revealing the true story of survivors trying to climb aboard lifeboats:
From the Byliner blurb on Lifeboat No. 8:

“Surviving that fateful night in the North Atlantic was not the end of the saga for those aboard Lifeboat No 8. Kaye reveals what happened to each passenger and crew member and how the legendary maritime disaster haunted them forever.A century later, we’re still captivated by the Titanic and its passengers. With its skillful use of survivors’ letters, diaries, and testimonies, “Lifeboat No. 8” adds a dramatic new chapter to the ongoing story.”

From National Geographic’s blurb on Titanic: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Shipwreck:

“For 100 years the great ship Titanic has rested in its final grave on the ocean floor, lost to deep ocean darkness until its 1985 discovery by National Geographic’s Bob Ballard. Relive the spell-binding tragic final hours of the ship in a detailed retelling of the famous story and learn the personal stories of lesser-known passengers, including the “guarantees.” For the first time since its discovery, Ballard travels to Belfast to interview descendants of the ship builders and the “guarantee group”—the ill-fated men who traveled on the ship’s first voyage to assure its seaworthiness.”

Both are available on e-readers, smartphones, computers. At LJ Digital, we wonder which narrative compelled you? Which story was a better read?

Titanic Anniversary Brings Dueling Non-Fiction Narratives for E-Readers

National Geographic launched its first in a series of “E-Shorts” today, Titanic: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Shipwreck. Like GQ, The Los Angeles Times, n+1, Tablet Magazine and other media, National Geographic is following in the genre of Amazon’s Kindle Singles model for nonfiction stories between 5,000 to 20,000 words on E-readers.

But the company with a 124-year-old travel-adventure magazine has some competition on this 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, as the one-year-old Byliner (dubbed the “Pandora of narrative non-fiction”) released its own new piece through Amazon’s Kindle Singles program this week, with reporter Elizabeth Kaye revealing the true story of survivors trying to climb aboard lifeboats:

From the Byliner blurb on Lifeboat No. 8:

“Surviving that fateful night in the North Atlantic was not the end of the saga for those aboard Lifeboat No 8. Kaye reveals what happened to each passenger and crew member and how the legendary maritime disaster haunted them forever.A century later, we’re still captivated by the Titanic and its passengers. With its skillful use of survivors’ letters, diaries, and testimonies, “Lifeboat No. 8” adds a dramatic new chapter to the ongoing story.”

From National Geographic’s blurb on Titanic: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Greatest Shipwreck:

“For 100 years the great ship Titanic has rested in its final grave on the ocean floor, lost to deep ocean darkness until its 1985 discovery by National Geographic’s Bob Ballard. Relive the spell-binding tragic final hours of the ship in a detailed retelling of the famous story and learn the personal stories of lesser-known passengers, including the “guarantees.” For the first time since its discovery, Ballard travels to Belfast to interview descendants of the ship builders and the “guarantee group”—the ill-fated men who traveled on the ship’s first voyage to assure its seaworthiness.”

Both are available on e-readers, smartphones, computers. At LJ Digital, we wonder which narrative compelled you? Which story was a better read?

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A blog created by the Literary Journalism Department @ the University of California, Irvine, dedicated to discussions about non-fiction narratives in this ever-evolving era of E-books, E-readers, Blogs, Instapaper, The Atavist, Byliner, Amazon's Kindle Singles and all other new media outlets open to promoting great journalism. LJ Digital is managed by Asst. Prof. Erika Hayasaki and Cleo Tobbi, intern and UCI literary journalism student.

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