Read & Respond – Week 2

January 13, 2011

For your first read and respond, you’ll be reading Brigg’s introduction and chapter 1 (available on our eCampus page while we wait for the bookstore to order the course text) and two linked articles. A number of you were grappling with how to come up with a specific focus for your blog with the potential for fruitful updating long after this course is a happy memory. Briggs has some suggestions. In particular, check out his interlude by innovator Greg Linch. See that last point in Linch’s list of innovator traits? “It’s not about you.” What can you write about that gets beyond yourself and joins a meaningful conversation?

Briggs also discusses the value of RSS readers, which we’ll be getting into this week in class. Start looking for blogs to follow NOW. Who’s writing about your interests? Who’s writing and reporting like you’d like to? Beyond this, there’s some useful discussion of coding and HTML. Don’t Panic! The next time you create a blog post, note those two tabs in the top right on the window; take a deep breath and click the “HTML” tab to see the code behind your post. It’s not so bad, is it? Give his simple coding exercise on p. 27-28 a try.

Once you’re done with Briggs, I want you to take a look at this link from 10,000 Words on nifty ideas for RSS feeds. We’ll just be using them for reading (at first), but it’s useful to know how much potential they hold. In essence, RSS feeds deliver the Internet to you in a digestible, scannable form. What could be bad about that?

Well, Ted Koppel has some thoughts on the subject in “The Case Against News We Can Choose.” Granted, Koppel’s more directly addressing 24-hour news stations, but his ideas certainly are relevant to the online world of information. How do his points inform our work in this class?

So have at it! You will need to respond to these readings in a comment on this post no later than noon on Monday, Jan. 17. A few things to make sure of:

  • Post as your WordPress identity so I know who you are.
  • Specifically address the readings, but don’t summarize them – build on them!

Welcome to Blogging!

January 10, 2011

Welcome to the course blog for the spring 2011 session of Blogging and Interactive Journalism (Print Journalism 493A)! This course is devoted to exploring the potential of blogging and social media as tools for journalism, and you, the 22 students enrolled, will engage in a variety of projects to this end. Although blogging practices will be a significant part of this class, students will also experiment with applications like Facebook and Twitter to develop an interlinked arsenal of skills.

Projects for the class include maintaining a personal blog and (later in the semester) a group blog focused on some topic of local relevance here in Morgantown, WV. Students will also be proposing innovation projects to be entered in the Knight News Challenge. Participation, via one’s own blog and through comments elsewhere, are also vital to the class – students will learn that an individual blog post is not merely an end, allowing others to bask in your wisdom, but the beginning of a conversation that enhances knowledge for all.

Finally, many weeks will also involve what I’m calling Social Media Challenges, which are a variety of icebreakers and experiments designed to get students out of their comfort zones with the social media applications they use every day for enjoyment. Their results and thoughts on these will all be posted here.

This week, you’ll each be creating a personal blog, which you’ll update throughout the semester. I’ll be posting these later in the week. You can have a look at some past students’ work over in the right menu bar, under “4. Past students.”

Glad to have you here!