Sunday, February 25, 2007

Journey to Cole Campbell's school

RENO, Nev-- This posting from the Silver State comes a day after a two-day journalism conference highlighted by a tribute to Cole Campbell, the late dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism and former editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Campbell was, in fact, looking forward to welcoming the more than150 people who attended the AEJMC Midwinter Conference here on his campus this weekend.

As a kickoff to the event Friday night, one of Cole’s friends, John Pauly, dean of the Diedrich College of Communication at Marquette University, gave the keynote address that was preceded by remarks from the president of AEJMC and the provost at University of Nevada-Reno.

“Dean Campbell was an impressive leader and his loss certainly saddens us all,” said Wayne Wanta, who teaches at the Missouri School of Journalism and serves as president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

“Cole had many dreams for this school, some of those are actually coming to fruition this spring,” said John Frederick, executive vice president and Provost of University of Nevada-Reno.

The hosting of the conference was one of those plans that had been two years in the making as the annual event is designed as an informal gathering for presentations of research-in-progress and reunions for friends in the world’s largest organization journalism educators.

While most of the day and half conference consisted of research paper presentations and panel discussions on industry issues, Pauly’s Friday night keynote was a chance to remember Campbell and consider the state of the field of journalism.

You can read more about Campbell's appointment as deah here.

Drawing on the work of some of Campbell’s public journalism cohorts such as Jay Rosen or Gil Thelen, Pauly criticized journalists as be “indifferent to process.”

“Public journalism wanted to make the profession more relational and less positions,” Pauly said. “Cole always thought of journalism as something done in collaboration with citizens.”

Pauly’s address, which was appropriately titeld “Journalism Matters,” a mantra that Campbell had posted on his Web page,” also included some frank reflection on Campbell’s sometimes tumultuous days at the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Campbell’s tenure at the Post-Dispatch coincided with Pauly’s term as head of the journalism program at St. Louis University.

Pauly criticized the 280-person staff at the Post-Dispatch as being “stodgy” and “resistant to change” with top reporters and a publisher he says undermined Campbell’s efforts to nudy a “lazy, under-achieving newspaper.”

“He just persevered in spite of this,” Pauly said. “Cole believed journalism was our shared rehearsal for public life and with enough practice we’d get it right,” he said.

Nearly two months after his death, Campbell, I suppose, would want those of us teaching journalism to do what we can to continue to try to “get it right.”

It’s an appropriate call for action as we leave this city where Cole Campbell ended his life and career prematurely.

The struggle continues.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

My last AJC for a while?

Whenever I go back and forth home to Virginia, I almost always stop to pick a few newspapers along the way. Rarely do I not get an Atlanta Journal-Constitution either coming or going.

One advantage of teaching in Anniston is that I can pick up a copy of the AJC in Anniston every day of the week. But, it looks like that's about the change.

My latest AJC came last weekend when I was in Kennesaw for SoCon07.

Thanks to my colleague Len Witt, who mentioned this on his PJNet blog, I learned that the AJC is about to go through a reorganization that will eliminate circulation to outlining areas like Anniston, which is about an hour west of Georgia's capital city.

Though I constantly get links to stories on the website, I have refused to register to read the content because I just don't want the hassle of logging in every time I need to read an article.

Am I old school because I don't want to read a newspaper on the Internet? I just would prefer to read the printed edition when I can get it and appreciate the layout and design that I most admire about the AJC.

Oh yeh-- about the reorganization, Leonard seems to like the effort of what the AJC is calling an "enterprise department" that will focus on "unrelenting watchdog coverage, deep reporting, great storytelling, interesting profiles and trend stories."

Witt calls it "smartening up"

As a former broadcaster in the Atlanta market who relied on the AJC for content for my news program, I've got to wonder what this means for those producing electronic media in North Georgia everyday. It's always harder to rewrite those longer trend stories and deep reporting projects into 15 or 20-second stories (smile).

Seriously though, it does seem like the AJC has decided to be more strategic with its print and its Web product, which I might have to breakdown, log on and consume, especially since I won't be able to buy the print edition in Alabama.

We'll see.

West End Journal launches in Tuscaloosa

A first-of-its-kind partnership launched in early 2007 between the journalism programs at the University of Alabama and Stillman College. The result of the collaboration is a community newspaper focused on West Tuscaloosa.

“I think Tuscaloosa is progressive enough to have something like this—a publication that’s a cross between the two institutions,” said Amanda Brozana, Stillman College journalism instructor and a doctoral student in the College of Communication and Information Sciences.

Brozana and Former Dean Ed Mullins, spearheaded a two-day diversity workshop January 26-27, which was designed to bring students in UA’s depth reporting and beat reporting classes to the Stillman College for direct interaction with their counterparts who are enrolled in journalism courses there.

Most of the UA students who participated in workshop session on topics such as “the News Media and Race” and “Dialogue on Race” stayed overnight in the Stillman College dormitories.

The cross-institutional collaboration continued as each UA student is paired with a “buddy” from Stillman College.

According to Brozana, the goal of the buddy system was to ease the discomfort that often comes when working cross culturally.

Weeks after the January workshop, students have embraced the buddy system.

“You don’t have that awkwardness,” said John Stinson, a UA journalism student from Huntsville, who now is best friends with Gene McWhorter, who in addition to studying journalism at Stillman is on the College’s football team. “When you really look at it, their fears, prejudices and emotions are the same as ours.”

The January workshop culminated in students planning their first edition of The West End Journal, a community tabloid that will distributed to churches, businesses and various locations in the West Tuscaloosa community.

A grant from the Tuscaloosa Higher Education Consortium, which is based at the University of Alabama’s Office of Community Affairs, provided the seed funds for the the West End Journal that will also be supported by advertising the students from both institutions will solicit.

The West End Journal will have as its home base an office in Stillman College’s Cordell Wynn Humanities & Fine Arts Center.

UA journalism student Matt Dowd, is taking charge of the West End Journal’s Web site, which allows him to practice web journalism skills he hopes will eventually land him a job after graduation.

“The best part of this has been the newsroom setting,” said Dowd, a junior from Anniston. “The most useful part of this is the hands-on newsroom style experience.”

Stinson agrees noting how working on The West End Journal has been so different from his other journalism classes.

“I’ve learned the in’s and out’s of what it takes to produce a publication” Stinson said.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Am I E-Famous Yet?

KENNESAW- Continuing to post from the SoCon07 gathering here on the Kennesaw State University campus. I just learned a new term. It's call E-famous?

the moderator of an afternoon workshop on blogging, Morgan McFarland, defines "e-famous" as the person being known because of what he or she has said online. In other words, people know you because of your online persona.

The big word of the afternoon workshops (now that we're into the second round) is learning new things.

Lots more to say later.

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Why an "unconference?"

KENNESAW-- The second day of the SoCon07 is half-over and there's only been more question-and-answer and discussion than two days of most conferences and convention.

That's what makes metro Atlanta's first-of-its kind social matchup of those interested in Web 2.0 different.

It's not about experts and authorities, but insights via what's called "collective intelligence."

"Rather than talking heads, everyone is invited to participate," said Leonard Witt, the Robert Fowler Distinguished Chair in Communication here at Kennesaw State University, site of today's gathering.

We're told more than 100 people are in attendance, 90 of whom showed up for a dinner last night that last three hours as various tables of folks talked and talked and talked.

Speaking of collective intelligence, there's collective photo and image gathering as well. The photo using on this post came from blogOrlando, which apparently is covering this gathering like I am.

Maybe this afternoon, I'll learn how to add photo credits and cutlines to my photos. But for now, an in-text acknowledgement will have to suffice.

The concept of collective intelligence is quite appropriate for this gathering, which focused on the development of so-called Web 2.0 where everyone gets involved. The concept behind seeing the Internet this way is that in the Web 2.0 age, the more people go to a site, the smarter it gets.

Sounds like a wiki, those websites (i.e. Wikipedia) where visitors can make entries and change the information.

But to think this unconference is just about wikis would be quite understating its value.

The networking opportunities with others, who otherwise would be at their computers thinking about new ways to communicate to have fun and to get information, are endless.

It's lunchtime and then after that, there's a healthy menu of breakout sessions --so many that I can't decide which ones I want to attend.

Avatars a big issue in keynote session

KENNESAW, Ga. --- Should you smile or frown on your AVATAR.? Here’s a question that I haven’t heard discussed before.

Just this week I was looking online for how to change, update your Avatar, the photo that you use when you post to discussion board.

Today, I’ve heard discussion about why this whole issue of what your Avatar says about you.

My first experience with an Avatar was on the Tuscaloosa News discussion board and they seemed to only lame generic graphics. I wanted to use my real photo.

“Ultimately there’s a huge amount of innovation to be done there,” said Christopher Klaus, the founder and CEO of Kaneva, an Atlanta-based social entertainment world.

Klaus’s session is in the question-and-answer stage now.

Good Morning from SoCon07?

KENNESAW, Ga.-- It's already after 11am (nice to be in REAL time-- Eastern time today) and I'm sitting in a roomful of enthusiasts about social networking, the next thing for the Web and virtual communities.

I rolled out of bed at 3 a.m. Central Time to make the three-hour drive over from Tuscaloosa, Ala. to Kennesaw State University for the SoCon 07: the Unconference.

Even though I've been sick most of this week, the cold and pain medication the doctor gave me yesterday worked well and I'm at about 80 percent today.

Boy I'm glad I came over. I'll be posting from here at least a couple more times today.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Richmond to get second 10pm newscast

The list of primetime newscasts produced by another station in the same market keeps growing. This time in my hometown, where starting next month, there will be TWO primetime news products produced by other stations.

Douglas Durden at the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports this week that my old station-- WTVR-TV, a Raycom Media-owned CBS affiliate, will produce a new 10pm product on Richmond's CW station.

The CW News at 10 will debut March 6 on WUPV.

In an earlier post, I mentioned a similar event happening just a few weeks ago in Alabama's capital city of Montgomery.