First, what I told the educators (in addition to the points in my last post):
- Try BarCamps. Let the students organize themselves for one weekend a semester, and have them put on their own conference. Assign it if you must, but let them decide what needs to be taught.
- Students want the ability to experiment and fail. There needs to be a grading system that allows for this.
- Educators and even some students feel queasy about marketing themselves. With all due respect, they need to get over it.
- Don’t teach social media tools, teach concepts behind them. Don’t teach Twitter, teach why Twitter.
- Live-twittering or putting your face down to your notepad, it’s the same thing. It’s “continuous partial attention,” and it’s what journalists do. (I’m not particularly good at it, so I didn’t live-tweet the conference.)
Other ideas from the panel:
- Too many students think someone’s going to fix the industry for them. Sorry. It’s all on the students now.
- J-profs need to get out of “oracle mode.” Gillmor said he had to learn to hold his tongue, and Junnarkar said he had to find ways to be less harsh in editing but still get the students to correct themselves. (I’m torn on this one; I want my stories ripped apart!)
- Students are becoming very reluctant to talk to anyone in person, even over the telephone. I’ll be honest here: I’m fighting this problem myself, and though I’m getting better I could use any prodding at my disposal. Instructors, wield the pitchfork.
- “Industrial journalists” was the buzzword of the panel, referring to the people working in the media that produces a physical product that requires manufacturing and shipping (i.e. a newspaper). Lots of people resented or delighted in the distinction.
- From what I’ve heard of Arizona State’s program, it has a lot of things going for it. Gillmor sets up a Ning for each of his classes and has students write and correct Wikipedia entries. There’s also an entrepreneurial class, and (if I remember correctly) students edit each other’s work on live on WordPress.
- In the old school way of sourcing, journalists had friends of friends, or sources of sources. With social media, you’re able to source at a more random variance, but not everyone in the world is on social media, and it limits your options. Use both.
In the discussion after the panel, there was a rift between longtime educators and others who felt that journalism education was going the way of the dodo. Or rather, the way of print.
That was to be a theme for the rest of the convention. People walked out on Nieman Lab‘s Josh Benton, who challenged the future of the copy editing, at least according to Doug Fisher’s write-up. (More of his AEJMC blog posts are here.)
The tone oscillated between old-school mourning and new-school chastising. But it honestly, truly, wasn’t as much of a downer as it sounds. I enjoyed myself. It was my first AEJMC, and I went as an undergrad. So I came with eyes wide open in the belief that AEJMC can’t really be that stodgy — when someone like Dan Conover writes a winning paper like this?
Other random AEJMC thoughts (because I have links to dump and I love me some bulleted lists):
- I have a new respect for educators and researchers. I still don’t want to go to grad school.
- The conference naturally had a heavy focus on research, which I love. Problem is, research is in the past. I’m also interested in the D of R&D. Let’s develop, yes?
- Check out Lisa William‘s slideshow, “Thinking like a startup for journalists” (which you will simply have to see in person for full impact. She’s hilarious).
- I went to visit the Christian Science Monitor newsroom. Bill Mitchell of Poynter was also there and already wrote up a great summation. I spoke with editor John Yemma and told him, in all honesty, that if I were to start a publication from scratch, it would mimic their model (online first, weekly print delivered by post, in-depth stories, etc.) Not a kiss-up.
- One of the highlights of the convention was the Great Ideas For Teachers presentation. Posters with curriculum ideas lined the walls of a ballroom. Read this year’s winner here, previous winners here, and order them all here.
- Guy Berger’s AEJMC assessment was based on the limited tweeting and blogging coming from the conference, and I wish I blogged as the conference was going on. (But the stupid hotel charged for Internet access. Who does that nowadays? Grr!) The gist of his blog was fairly accurate, though.
- Michele K. Jones, Alfred Hermida, Carrie Brown-Smith and Steve Fox also weigh in on the conference.
- Read AEJMC’s blog posts and Hot Topics. A lot of thoughtful observations there.