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Teaching Online Journalism

First-person narratives in journalism

Image: Personal Essays

After I read this story, I had to give some thought to the idea that “we lose something important in the rush toward first-person takes” (Eve Fairbanks).

First, the story linked above is “To Siri, With Love: How One Boy With Autism Became B.F.F.’s With Apple’s Siri,” published in The New York Times on Oct. 17. I saw links to the story everywhere. I didn’t feel like reading it until I saw a discussion about it earlier today:  Read the rest of this entry »


Online News Association conference 2014

Out of 15 annual meetings of the Online News Association, I missed only one (in 2011). I don’t go to a lot of conferences, but I am always VERY glad to have attended this one.  Read the rest of this entry »


Twitter milestone: 9,000 followers

Sometime recently, this happened:

Twitter followers

This is not a lot (especially not when you look at others like Jay Rosen, who has the coveted blue check mark), but it’s nice.

The last time the odometer rolled over was in June 2013 (8,000 followers).

Recently I switched from HootSuite to TweetDeck. Liking it a lot.

5,000 milestone: 2011

3,000 milestone: 2010

1,000 milestone: 2009

Joined Twitter: March 2007


The coming death of print newspapers

Say you’re a journalist now working for a newspaper. You know your job is anything but secure.

I asked several reporters, editors, and scholars what journalists should do to get ready for the next wave of firings. There were three strong consensus answers: first, get good at understanding and presenting data. Second, understand how social media can work as a newsroom tool. Third, get whatever newsroom experience you can working in teams, and in launching new things.

That’s from Clay Shirky, writing in Last Call: The end of the printed newspaper. He goes on to explain those three bits of advice, a little way below the halfway mark in his post.  Read the rest of this entry »


Setting up a private WordPress.com blog for group editing

When you have a free WordPress.com blog, you can make it private, limiting it to only people you select.

You can also allow multiple authors, editors, or a mix of roles on a free WordPress.com blog, whether it is private or public.

Here’s what I learned by setting up a private blog that gave editing privileges to several users:  Read the rest of this entry »


Journalism education: There is no spoon

At a journalism education conference in Canada recently, it appears media economics scholar Robert Picard gave a stirring keynote address. Stirring as in “stir things up!”

He began by reminding the audience that journalism and the media environment today are vastly different from what they were in the previous century. I’d say the decline began in 1995 and became undeniably apparent around 2008, when job losses in the newspaper industry first spiked.

Of course, you know this. But probably you take it for granted. Probably, like most journalism educators, you have not really stared into the eyes of a reality where children under the age of 10 have a powerful tiny computer in their pocket that is connected to a global 24/7 cornucopia of news, information and entertainment.

It changes everything.  Read the rest of this entry »


Teaching online journalism in South Africa

Thanks to an invitation from the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, I was awarded a Mellon Scholar-in-Residence fellowship. I’ve been in Grahamstown, South Africa, since May 30. Here are some things I have learned so far.

Home of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at RU

Journalism education

A journalism degree here can take three years or four. A student must apply to be accepted for a fourth year. Others go straight into newsrooms after the third year.

The academic year begins in February, after the long summer break (December and January). They have four terms, with two terms constituting a semester. At the end of a semester, the students take exams in all their subjects.

First-year students take four subjects — the same four throughout the year — one of which is journalism. In their journalism class, the first-years meet in a lecture of about 200 students four times a week. They also have smaller tutorial meetings, in groups of about 20. As there are not many graduate students, many of the tutors are third- or fourth year undergrads.  Read the rest of this entry »