Entries Tagged 'Education' ↓

Lunch and real advice

It’s my yearly Real World Homecoming Lunch! That means I have dozens of alumni sitting down for free pizza (Shakespeares Pizza for those who know Columbia, MO) and a chance to share career advice to current students.

Alumni have a chance to join in on the live blog below to share advice and thoughts as well. (Heck, if you’re a professional who wants to join in even if you aren’t alumni, your input is welcome as well.)

The event starts at noon Central Time and ends at 2:00 p.m. Have fun!

A wonderful time of the year

It’s the week leading up to Homecoming at the University of Missouri. Back when I was a student here, it didn’t mean very much to me. It was annoying to see all of the crowds while I needed to study. But now that I’m a professor, I’ve found Homecoming is a powerful opportunity to bring together many of my former students and classmates.

This year is the seventh time I’ve taken advantage of the Homecoming event and invited as many people as possible to meet current students so they can share lessons learned in the “real world.” Last year, I even had a couple of students live blog the event so alumni could participate even if they couldn’t attend the event.

This year, I’m pondering on another idea… What if journalists (mostly alumni) shared their thoughts even in advance of our big Friday lunch bonanza so more lessons learned can go to our current students (and even others in the industry – we’re all looking to learn as we move along with our careers). So… if you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag #journotips and share the lessons you’ve learned in your career. If you have a chance to attend my lunch, warning – ESPN GameDay has taken over my lunch location, so I’m working on a new one as soon as possible.

Cheerleading to a large audience

I spoke to a large classroom today – it’s a presentation I do each semester for a course that’s best known as “journalism for non-journalism major.” I usually get up in front of the class, talk about the new and incredible developments in social media and hope that at least oner person gives me eye contact at some point in the 50 minute presentation.

I usually start things off like a cheerleader. Super excited. Super energetic. I was never a cheerleader in school… but I’ve had the energy to do something like that. Somehow my energy reached more than one student today. I actually had the class interacting with my questions. I had students raising their hand to add more input. I made a couple of jokes that had some people actually respond with a chuckle. Some students chatted with me after the class.

It was awesome.

I’m energized from the experience. I’m not sure why. But I had to share because it’s little moments like these that make me extra happy to have the chance to introduce and share the world of journalism that I love.

Talking about blogs

I often speak to classes about ways to build your personal brand… and I consider blogs as the core of that brand building process. A blog is a space to share your brain, your interests or at least examples of your professional work. The more you post and share and collaborate, the easier it is for search engines to find our who you are and what you’re all about.

Today I spoke to a group that is assigned to post weekly blogs. It’s a task I enouraged a few years ago. Students early in the Missouri School of Journalism should try to think about web-based writing early on in their journalism career. I’m glad it was added. About a year from now, the students in today’s class who start blogging will end up taking my class. That means I end up reading what these young bloggers write. After a few semesters of reading these old blog posts, I realized I need to better explain blog tone. That’s what I tried to do in class today.

What is blog tone?
What I mean is I think there’s a difference between a “dear diary” tone and a conversational tone. I’ve found many new bloggers who are given an assignment to use a blog tool start off sounding a bit giggly and nervous. Often the blog posts talk about fun with friends, student life and comments that sound similar to “Oh my gosh! I just reported my first shift in the newsroom.” I challenged the students today to try to think about their tone as a professional from the start. They can be conversational: “My newsroom shift included the challenge of traveling two hours into our viewing area to shoot a package, get back and turn it within an hour and a half. It was exhausting but I’m proud of the final result.”

The only way to learn about the difference between diary and conversational is tricky. So I told the class that this is a great time to jump into blogging. For most students in the classroom, there’s at least a year before they head into the “real world.” They can learn a conversational tone with enough time to practice, get input and then jump in feet first into the less officialy, but just as important ways of delivering news, information, thoughts and experiences.

By the way, if you’re curious about how I’m trying to tackle student fear of failure, feel free to visit my new blog post on PBS’s MediaShift blog.

[Photo courtesy of Adikos via Flickr.]

How do you….

(I just posted this to my class site… and thought I’d share here as well)
I try to stay up to date on a lot of things at the same time. Often when I stumble onto something that may be really useful, I don’t have enough time to really dig in and read it. So I use a couple of ways to save information that I find interesting.

First, if I am reading a Website that I think has good content, I save a link to Delicious. This is a site that helps you save links and add searchable tags. My full Delicious page is: http://www.delicious.com/jenleereeves
If you are curious about what I’ve read and saved about Twitter, you can go to http://www.delicious.com/jenleereeves/twitter
I have tagged things under dozens and dozens of different tags.

I also have a quick saving process in Twitter. If I see something I’d like to go back and read again later, I often favorite items. You can check out my favorites (mind you, I favorite things beyond journalism – I also tend to favorite mommy-related topics): http://www.twitter.com/jenleereeves/favorites

There are all kinds of other ways to share… How do you like to share links and conversations?

Making a change

****VOTE for our SXSW2011 panel: Just click here for the details about “Six Ways Social Media Can Invigorate Journalism Education”****

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I’m going to share some brainstorming I’m doing as I prepare for the upcoming semester.

I’ve decided to make a shift in my class. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sure my students understand the basics of many types of software – a lot of them being part of the Adobe Creative Suite. As the semesters go by, most students “get” Photoshop, sort of understand Illustrator and struggle with the basics of Flash. I demand they learn a blog tool, a blog writing style and build their own online portfolio website.

My long term goal with my class is to send my students out into the journalism world with a thought process that instantly thinks about the many ways you can tell a story and share with your audience. If there’s a very visual story, I want them to default to shooting video and images with their phones and sharing it on Twitter and/or Facebook while also using their professional grade cameras to share the story on the air and more edited versions online. I want them to want to send a short web story via email to the newsroom so there’s enough information to post as soon as the information is confirmed. I want them to feel comfortable writing for the web and telling a story outside the standard broadcast package. I want my students to think in a flexible manner. I’m starting to think I need to spend more time on that flexible thought process and less on the software.

One of my colleagues started using lynda.com to train students on software and I decided that I’d give that a try as well. This coming semester, I’m asking my students to take part in five different courses on the site that focus on Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash. The one thing I have decided on is how I will gauge their learning experience with the website training.

I am not a fan of babysitting my students – I want them to learn and get everything they can from my class, but I understand each person has different expectations and needs from their education. I want each person to at least walk away knowing there are many tools that can help enhance and improve their journalistic adventures. Not every person will leave with a thorough understanding of all of those tools. But I want them to think about it and ask for help if they have a great idea on how to tell a story.  I do need to find ways to assess how each student benefits (or doesn’t benefit) from using lynda.com. Any ideas are welcome!!

BTW – I’m adding the new Twitter “Tweet Button” to this post for the fun of it (and to see how it looks)

Learning from failure

I’m thrilled to be able to start sharing my thoughts and perspectives to people who are interested in journalism and education in PBS’s MediaShift blog. I’ve been able to get to know the blog’s manager, Mark Glaser, through social media and Reynolds Journalism Institute events. We’ve talked about me joining in on the mix for a while… I finally took the time to start sharing.

Feel free to check out how I explained my big “aha” moment while I was a fellow with the Reynolds Journalism Institute. I tried with every piece of my journalistic energy to create a new project for the November 2008 election. It didn’t go as planned. Thankfully the failures I had made me a better journalist and educator.

Media Giraffe presentations

My students are presenting this morning about people they think “stick their necks out for media” as part of the Media Giraffe project. I plan to have a couple of students live blog the event on Cover It Live for the fun of it. Feel free to enjoy and join in if you’d like:

Rethinking Blogger

I have mentioned many times that I have a thing for blogging. I spend time here, I spend time on my kid blogs and I spend time encouraging a lot of other people to use blogs to reawaken their conversational writing voice. A while back I used to encourage newbies to blogging to hop into Blogger. It was simple, intuitive and it helped people who have a fear of online tools get the job done without needing to ask me many questions.

But in the last few years, I’ve started encouraging more people to use WordPress.com and those who are willing to purchase server space of their own, I send them down the WordPress.org path. (The difference? The .com version is hosted by WordPress and it isn’t as customizable or as easily tinkered. The .org version gives you total control of the look and content you place inside the blog system.) I get a few more questions when my colleagues, students and friends use WordPress, but it’s become an industry standard in some ways. I don’t want my friends and students to miss out the knowledge of using a tool that is helpful in their careers.

But after SXSW, I’m starting to think a little differently. I was walking around the Google booth on the trade floor and started talking to the cool folks that work in Google-land. First I explained to the woman working at Google Voice how my whole brand (@jenleereeves) is based on the Gmail I picked up back in 2004. I also explained how Google Voice has changed my entire life workflow. (I actually return calls… I was terrible about that before that time.) Then I walked over to the Blogger guy thinking it wouldn’t be much of a conversation… but then he shows me this:

I looked at him and said: “When did Google start thinking about Blogger? I might actually recommend this again.”

Why is the new version of Blogger so cool? The design is customizable in ways I’ve never seen in a blog tool. You can change the width of the main section and the sidebars. You can choose how the widgets will look and where you can place the elements. You can even add static pages – which I really love with my WordPress sites.

I might have to answer a few more questions when someone builds a Blogger blog and uses some of the extra features, but I won’t mind helping. I’m curious to see what can come out of the new version. If you want to check it out, visit Blogger in Draft (http://draft.blogger.com). You can sign in with your normal old blogger accounts that you left a while ago and tinker around with those sites. That’s what I did!

Blog crazy


I love blogs. I blog about blogs… I help people launch blogs. I periodically think about joining the BlogHer network and market my daughter’s blog. But for four years, I’ve run my class through an old Dreamweaver template I created in the summer of 2006.

This morning I went in to work at 4 a.m. to help oversee possible school closures (I did the same three days in a row last week). The school closings were slow so I dropped another WordPress install into my server and decided to try and build a class page built in a blog theme. I ended up with this. As I built it, I decided that I would post a blog post that reviews the class. It was fun… and it was really cool to see how my class discussion floated out into Twitter and Buzz and I was able to bring it all together.

Ahhhh. Blogs.