Daily Digest: Royal engagement, clickers, checkbook journalism

by Katherine Lymn

Britain’s Prince William proposed to long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton last month, the Royal Press Office announced yesterday. William gave “commoner” Middleton the sapphire and diamond ring his father Prince Charles gave the late Princess Diana. Middleton will be the first commoner to marry the future King for 350 years, since Anne Hyde married the future King James II in 1960, the Guardian reports. Intimidating? “Hopefully, I will take it in stride,” Middleton said at the conference. William’s “a great teacher.”

 The use of clickers – already pretty common at the U – is becoming a national trend, and some professors are beginning to use them to easily take attendance in their classes, the New York Times reports. More than half-a-million students on thousands of campuses nationwide are using the “palm-size” devices. Studies at Harvard and Ohio State have shown that engaging students with devices that seem like cell phones works to convey material better than traditional lectures, according to the Times.

“Checkbook journalism” is common for more than just the National Enquirers of the media world now, the Washington Post reports. Sites like Deadspin and Gawker have paid thousands for scoops on political scandals or pictures of certain parts of Brett Favre.  ABC and NBC news slyly acknowledged the paid for exclusive rights to interviews with families of rescued Chilean miners by telling viewers the interviews were “licensed.” Some attempt to parallel this type of spending with prestigious newspapers’ paying photographers for their work. WaPo stresses the situations are not comparable, though – photographers have “no vested interest” in the story. “Thanks to heightened competition for the next big ‘get,’ journalism’s Thou-Shalt-Not-Pay commandment has lately been taking a beating,” it reported.