Friday, November 18, 2005

Checking Out The Buckner Center

This week, a core group representing the University of Alabama's Department of Journalism, The Anniston Star and our friends at Jacksonville State University gathered at the site of February's National Conference on Community Journalism.

After a brief session in the 250-seat theatre and a tour of the exhibit hall, we got a chance to taste some of the cuisine that makes the nearby Terra Cafe one of Anniston's premier Italian American restaurants.

The Cafe is just a few feet away from the theatre where our panels and discussions will convene.

Between the two is The Great Hall where the kick-off event, the 17th Annual Letter Writers Banquet, will take place on Tuesday, February 7th.

Monday's site visit was also yet another opportunity for the cultures-- the academic culture of the University and the newsroom culture of The Star-- to mix.

More importantly, we now have a "PICTURE IN OUR HEAD" of what this national conversation on community journalism will look like.

The Buckner Center is located in the Historic Spanish Colonial Revival District of former Fort McClellan. It's a three-mile drive from downtown Anniston.

Yes, it was also a chance for old friends like -- Josie Ayers of the The Anniston Star and UA Communication Dean Cully Clark (pictured here)-- to chat about the conference and our new partnership.

We'll have more on the plans for the February conference as the Com-J Exchange continues.

Welcome to COM-J Exchange

It's been in the works for months as we prepare to launch the nation's first Teaching Newspaper. Today, we're taking another step forward in opening the conversation about community journalism-- a conversation that undergirds all that we'll be doing at The Teaching Newspaper.

This online dialogue is just one way that we hope to extend the activities in our classrooms both at our main campus in Tuscaloosa and on our new campus at The Anniston Star.

We look forward to a great deal of fruitful discussion.

The name "Exchange" implies a back-and-forth or a give and take. That's what we want to do as we chat about what's good and not so good about journalism.

Hopefully this exchange will include discussions about some of the articles on our COM-J website. The ideas posted there are intended to spark some dialogue about WHAT IS COMMUNITY JOURNALISM?

We hope the national conversation planned for February will be a place where much of what we've started here in the online environment will come to a head as we sit in the same room and EXCHANGE ideas.

Welcome to COM-J Exchange!