As a Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow, I have the opportunity to focus on projects that I wouldn’t normally have as much focused time to get the job done. So it’s exciting to see many things starting to emerge here at the Missouri School of Journalism. I’m teaching 21 students this semester and I have them all working on fantastic projects. Some of them are working on the projects from my “fellow fellows” Jane Stevens and Matt Thompson. Some are working with me on a project I’m calling Money Commons. Some are putting together content to give to new journalism students when they get an iPod Touch with their computer package. Some are working on social networking for KOMU. I also have a group that’s trying to create a self-sustainable high school basketball series. All of these projects are in various levels of execution. What’s fun is watching how we’re all doing things a bit differently.
With my project, I’m starting to collect content from the partner newsrooms, KBIA, KOMU and the Columbia Missourian. I’m hoping to partner with other newsrooms in the area as we try to document and assist the mid-Missouri area during this recession. I’m hoping to add site-based content as well: a database of contacts who can help people in economic crisis, original content that is based on a web-first presentation and hopefully a number of easy ways for people to communicate with each other on the site. I’m currently playing around with Google’s Friend Connect tools. It’s a VERY young site and it doesn’t have everything it needs at this point. But it’s starting to roll. I’d love some thoughts on how to take this site and make it into an online hub of information. My goal is to help the community and help newsrooms collaborate. It has a better feeling than what happens when you visit Smart Decision ’08. But both projects have the same goal: bring multiple newsrooms together to better inform and collaborate with the community. That’s why I keep doing everything I’m doing. I want to help journalists remain relevant while helping my community. It’s a great feeling. I’m planning to talk to a group of students (and anyone else who wants to watch) during a Society of Professional Journalists presentation tonight. I hope to talk about this project and brain storm with the crowd about what could really happen on this little space on the web.