Doug Fisher's fine and feisty blog, Common Sense Journalism ("From new media to old, much of journalism is just plain common sense"), is one of the ways I stay in touch with my journalistic roots. Thanks to Doug, I now know about Newsroom 101, a collaboration between Florida A&M journalism professor Gerald Grow and Tallahassee Democrat editor Ron Hartung that's dedicated to instilling and preserving what Doug calls "the deskly arts" essential to any writer or editor. Newsroom 101 makes the process painless and fun through a series of multiple-choice quizzes on grammar (four exercises just on "lay" and "lie"!), confusable words (bimonthly or semimonthly?), word usage (homed or honed?), and the AP Stylebook (the bible of the newspaper profession).
Note: To view the quizzes you must enable pop-ups in your browser and in your Google toolbar, if you've installed it.
Note #2: What accounts for the fact that some of the most provocative and useful writing about journalism is originating not from New York or Los Angeles but from the hinterlands? Doug Fisher is in Columbia, South Carolina; Grow and Hartung are in Florida; Working with Words, which casts a critical eye on the print media, is written in Columbus, Ohio. And longtime (and beloved) San Francisco newspaper writer Stephanie Salter is now on the staff of the Terre Haute (Indiana) Tribune-Star. Not sure what conclusions to draw. But it's worth paying attention to.