Entries from November 2007 ↓

When cool things happen


I think I have a blog that is really rolling for the Big 12 Championship. A group of students are live blogging their road trip from Columbia, MO to San Antonio, TX. It’s a blast and I’m finding great ways to help them chat with viewers and share the experience. The traffic is starting to jump and it’s great to see how a small news station can interact with cool behind-the-scenes information using free online products.Check out Chase for the Championship

A different way to report

Autism project

One of my students came to me and said she wanted to engage the Autism community and get input in a major Autism reporting project. I set up a really simple Blogger blog so she could add content, offer viewers a chance to post comments or email thoughts (giving the student the chance to review the posts and then add them to the blog). She then gathered a team of researchers who documented the project every step of the way. They did first-person video blogs, they posted pictures and they blogged about what they saw and learned. The lead reporter asked questions of the online viewers and shared how the project was getting constructed every step of the way. It’s amazing.
I highly recommend visiting her website: Combating Autism From Within

We could have gotten fancier, but I think the simplicity of it all is why it works. Plus, she tagged each post so you can easily search by topic or researcher name. I love it. Plus, the traffic to the site has been pretty consistently high for a blog that’s only been “advertised” on other autism blogs and periodically on KOMU’s air. Congrats to Ashley Reynolds and her team!On air stories start on the 3rd… But online stories are already posting on the blog!

Getting the audience to interact

I am constantly looking for ways for my web crew to interact with our audience online. For the last week I’ve encouraged the KOMU-TV audience to submit photos that show how they are Mizzou fans. I’ve only gotten 10 or fewer pictures. But today was amazing. A terrible explosion happened in the state capital. A tanker full of explosive fuel blew up, killing the driver. The explosion damaged a bridge and knocked out a lot of the city’s power. People who were nearby and far away started taking pictures. A viewer who was really close to the scene emailed us photos – Amazing photos of the devastation. Other people joined in and shared their perspective. It ended with this slideshow. We’ve had more than 870 views in the last four hours. For a small market, it’s amazing.

Panoramic view of explosion

As a side: I don’t keep up with television schedules anymore thanks to TiVO. But here’s a funny thing: My husband was watching PTI on ESPN this evening (on TiVO) when they mentioned Charlie Brown’s Christmas special was on. So my husband hopped onto the TV schedule, hit record and now I have a cool show to watch with the kids sometime soon. I didn’t know anything about the show until I saw someone’s IM status mention the show. I said how disappointed I was that we missed recording the show and my husband smiled to show me he had already captured it. It’s a changing world.

**Update – That slideshow ended up getting more than 2,000 views in one night. Pretty darn cool.**

Online Portfolio talk

I have a quest. It’s been my quest from the very start of my career as a journalist/educator. I want to help my students¬† get good jobs and I want to help them find jobs that will help them stay in the journalism business. First my quest included making all kinds of connections in the broadcast industry. I wanted to know the VP’s of broadcast groups and I wanted to know the News Directors of all of the “good” newsrooms. I wanted to know people who worked in lots and lots of newsrooms so I knew which ones were good and which ones were worth avoiding.

When I took my career into a more technology-based direction, I constructed a new class and added a required online portfolio. I quickly discovered how most of my students did not have a ton of skill using Dreamweaver. So that’s when I decided it was time to expand my view of what can turn into an eportfolio. I recently let go of the “personalized” website structure and now I’m looking for a system of: Get it online no matter what it takes. I have students who use iWeb, Blogger, WordPress and of course Dreamweaver. The hardest part: getting video that is consistent and easy to see online. I’m encouraging my students to use Flash-based video players or I teach them how to create their own Flash players and embed them on their sites. Many of my students are buying their own URLS, some are buying their own server space.

Because my class is in a student’s final year – in some cases, final semester – I have found that introducing the eportfolio concept to them is almost too late. They should be collecting their “assets” much sooner. With us all living in a digital age, almost everything we do can be saved on a server. So the next trick is finding server space where the students can save four years of work in one place.

That’s why I’m on a quest to get the faculty in my school ready to work with a company that can offer students a more complete eportfolio system to save and share their work. It could possibly change the way our students communicate with their professors. The great part is professors may have a better way to truly analyze and critique student work in one space. It’s exhausting to push this inititative forward while I continue to build a three-newsroom election website for the 2008 election year (which is making progress). But I’m committed to getting my students online and ready for the job or internship market. My students have amazing skills and I want them to be able to share it with the world if they want!

Complications of a university professor

I have a lot of responsibilities. I’m in charge of a news website that is staffed 24-7, I have a class of students who are expected to work on long-term projects, an e-portfolio and help edit my 24-7 website. I also happen to be the chair of the journalism school’s technology committee and I’m on the school’s policy committee. I am on a campus board that encourages professors to use technology. I’m also always looking for little projects here and there that might help me pay for my life — contest judging, presentations, manuscript evaluations. I’m also juggling the side of my life that includes two kids, two dogs and husband. It’s nutty.

That’s why I have to apologize for the brief delay in blog posts. I’m swamped.

Google is trying to kill Facebook

Wow.

That’s all I can say. Check this out: Google has created a new initiative called “Open Social.” I haven’t found a page on Google yet, but it’s all over the blogosphere. Even though the New York Times says it won’t happen, I really think that Google is planning to try and smoosh Facebook.

Here’s a summary. Google announced it’s going to share ways to let people openly share content in whatever way they can think of… And that code will be open for all to use. That’s not the case with Facebook. When you create a Facebook application, it’s for FB only. As I’ve said before. I’m a geek for information sharing in whatever form you can find. I can’t wait to see how this works.