Entries Tagged 'Education' ↓

Brainstorming for a new semester

I’m jumping into a new semester and as always, I’m mixing things up for the class I teach. In the last year, I’ve realized many of the tools I use are not a common part of journalism education: blogs, social networks, live streaming and blogging tools. The list goes on and on. So this semester I’m going to try to find ways to encourage my students to use these tools. I launched my class this week with a Twitter hashtag (#jenclass) and plans to use Google Wave, Cover It Live, Skype and many other tools to give my students reasons to play around and learn from experience.

I also learned about a website called Prezi today. I’m clearly behind the ball on this one. But the site created a new free version for students and faculty to use for presentations. I jumped in, created an account and created this step by step process that explains how to succeed in my class:

I also have an interesting challenge with my students. We’re all going to look for ways to take GPS-based games and find ways to bring news into those games. Right now I’m a fan of foursquare and I’ve been able to finally play it in my town when the site opened up to any location. (It used to only let you play in certain cities) I’m curious to see how news can get involved in games. Could we insert historical or newsworthy information about various locations? I’m curious and I’m planning on looking into that.

We have a whole bunch of projects to work on and I look forward to sharing the progress we make as the semester continues.

What a year

In the last year, I’ve watched my use of technology change dramatically… I used to tweet, blog, facebook openly. But I watched myself become more mindful and thoughtful about how I use some of these tools. If you read any of my updates on any of these social media tools, you may think I’m still quite loud. But there are some differences.

I used to lifecast a lot more than I do now. As my number of followers jumped and as those followers were more and more involved journalism and technology, I became more mindful towards what I wrote and started to mindcast more. I explained my thoughts on lifecasting/mindcasting earlier in 2009. I think I still believe in a combination of mind/lifecasting. But I toned down the life portions. Twitter turned into a more professional venue than when I joined in 2007.

I also took Twitter and made it a mainstay in our newsroom. Thanks to the CoTweet tool, I have multiple people helping manage the tweets from all of our daily general assignment reporters in the newsroom. Feel free to check out how I explained the use of that tool if you’re curious. (Hootsuite is another option if you are curious about other options that offer similar benefits.) My focus on newsroom Twitter use quieted me down a lot on my personal account.

I have always used Facebook as a place to connect with people I have met face-to-face. I’m more open about the information I share about my children and I post a bunch of pictures. I tend to connect with friends and family in this space. But in the last year, Facebook became a more powerful tool on a professional level and for my newsroom. I started friending more people in the industry and I picked up my use of fan pages for my newsroom. I plan to start using some of the settings that allow me to regulate security based on groups when I have a little time to myself. (Good luck to me.) I haven’t perfected a process of using Facebook on a professional level for the newsroom at this point, but I look forward to getting better at it in 2010. The one thing I do know about Facebook is I moved a lot of my lifecasting from Twitter over to Facebook in 2009. I also started looking at how a fan page may be more useful for certain businesses over building a blog or Twitter account. Of course it all depends on the target audience or customer. But I found myself recommending the creation of Facebook fan pages for the first time in 2009.

I run three blogs. I have this one and blogs about each of my children. My son’s blog is mainly aimed towards family members. It hasn’t picked up a lot of organic viewership. I don’t market it… but it’s a sweet space to share his life updates. My daughter was born with a physical difference and it has gained followers organically through my membership in online communities and support groups. (I help co-moderate a support group in Yahoo Groups) After my trip to SXSW in 2009, I started considering taking her blog up a notch and actually working on SEO and increasing its marketability. I’m still not sure if I will go in that direction. My trip to SXSW in 2010 will probably convince me. Of course I have this blog. I wish I could give it more love these days. The newsroom job and my efforts to put my thoughts into practice are really important. I would love to spend more time writing out my thoughts on our work. These are excellent goals as we head into the new year.

The one major change I made in my blogging practice in 2009 was to move my mom blogs to WordPress. (This blog has always used the WordPress platform.) I spent more time playing with templates and learning the potential of this CMS for other news-focused websites. I played with the Money Commons site and there is a possibility the project could come back to life this year.

I’m an iPhone user. I’ve had one since it first came out. Lately I’ve found I use it even more. The expansion of applications help me run a mobile version of almost every tool I use on my computer. I can work entire days without opening my laptop. I am not ready to travel without my computer, but I can see that happening in the near future if it becomes possible to upload the photos I take from my SLR camera or the HD video from my point and shoot camera to my phone.

Online Portfolios
I have taught an Internet-based course for the last four years and a major focus of it has been to teach my students the skills needed to build an online portfolio and know how to keep up with it when they graduate and move on with their careers. That way they can continue to promote their work online without needing to spend extra money or rely on someone else to build a website. In the last year I really focused on showing students how to take advantage of open source CMS or free tools (with the opportunity to upgrade) like Wix and Weebly. My tools page expanded this year to include document sharing and collage making tools. Since moving away from Dreamweaver and into more user-friendly tools, I’m seeing more of my students continuing to update their online portfolios and keeping potential employers interested in their work. These days I’m also talking more about why LinkedIn is a helpful tool. I’ve also expanded my use of these tools personally. I used Weebly to build a personal family holiday website and I’m starting to just jump in and use these tools to help friends expand their career potential online because I think what I’m teaching is useful for any career – journalism or not.

Other Tools
There are more and more tools coming out to help us communicate. In the last year, I started finding ways to use Ning, Livestream, Qik, Cover It Live, Google Wave and Google Voice. My goal is to constantly try these kinds of tools, offer my newsroom opportunities to test them and put them into the workflow of our newsroom if and when it is appropriate. In the meantime, I’m also hoping to find more opportunities to use these tools in the classroom. In 2010, I hope to allow my students the chance to live blog, tweet, stream… Whatever we can think of… Just to give them the experience of playing with these kinds of tools.

Happy new year to everyone and I’d love to hear how you’ve changed your use of technology in the last year.

Lessons learned

In the aftermath of our Homecoming real world event, I realized the two students who had a chance to pitch in and live blog the event really learned a lot. They not only used a new technology tool (Cover It Live), they also had a chance to listen in and really engage in the live event.

So I’m trying it again. I’m giving two of my students who are graduating in December, Blair Miller and Brooke Hasch, a chance to live blog our class today. Students interviewed potential Media Giraffes for a site that keeps up with innovative minds in the media.

Let’s get real

For the sixth year, I’m holding a gathering to bring Mizzou j-school alumni together with current students. It’s a chance for our professionals to share the lessons they’ve learned when they transitioned out of the Mizzou newsrooms and into new ones. Many of our grads are also finding alternative jobs that let them use the skills they’ve gained. So this year I’m hoping we’ll have a HUGE mix of skills represented. We always have great conversations. We always eat pizza from Shakespeares.

The gathering used to include three or four alumni and we’d hang out in a small room at KOMU-TV. This year we’re holding the event in a large room in the Reynolds Alumni Center. So I figured – why not turn the event up another notch. Let’s live blog it.

So I’m inviting students to give live blogging a try during the event. They’re new to this – but that’s why I try to find these kinds of opportunities. So I’m inviting alumni who are unable to attend to check this live blog out and please contribute to the event by sharing and commenting on this live blog. I hope to put the blog up on a screen behind the speakers so we can keep up with the conversations. I’m also going to use the twitter hashtag: #realworld

So join on in if you’d like:

Click Here

Wide eye excitement

I’ve taught my current class for four years and it’s amazing to watch the shift of the students in my classroom. Four years ago my students were interested in working for the web – but most students had plans to work traditional jobs in broadcast newsrooms. They wanted to be on air reporters, newscast producers and videographers. Very few had interest in web-based newsroom jobs. Four years ago, some of the students who wanted web-based jobs couldn’t even find them.

My how times have changed. In a rough economy, I’ve been happy to see many of my former students find amazing jobs. Some of the jobs are positions that had never existed before. My students are presenting skills to newsrooms and other businesses that aren’t seen everywhere. They can shoot and edit video, convert and post it to websites, think visually by creating graphics or understanding enough to work with more techno-savvy flash designers to accomplish their interactive vision. My students understand how to use social media and they understand the challenge of building online relationships through social tools to deliver information. They’ve learned how important it is to be flexible and accept that this world is full of tools that are great now, but could easily change tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about the future and hope I can continue to keep up with it all so my students can be as informed and experienced as possible.

Thinking Beyond Broadcast


I’m in Los Angeles attending the Beyond Broadcast 2009 conference at USC Annenberg School of Communication. I had a chance to learn more about the school yesterday and see how the broadcast and multimedia programs work at the school. Today I’m looking forward to learning more about how others use new media to reach the public.

The highlight so far was enjoying the opening keynote speech from Henry Jenkins. He spoke about his definition of “civic media” and the changing media landscape. I enjoyed hearing what he had to say about the changing directions of citizen journalism and public media. I took away many thoughts and ideas I’ve had but may not have fully verbalized. I look forward to even more great conversations and ideas to develop across the next two days!

You want creativity? Here you go!

Okay — I am searching for the best ways I can help my students find journalism jobs in this challenging economy. And one of my former students, Ted Arthur, is still looking and has put together one of the more creative ways to show off his portfolio. I highly recommend watching this… But it works even better if you watch it on his website.

SUPER creative. I’m so proud of Ted and I would hate to watch him leave the industry before he gets to jump in and use his talents to the fullest!! Please share his link! Contact him if you’re interested. Contact me if you want to know more. Do you know of a journalist looking for a job? How are they trying to get the word out creatively? Let’s all work together and help these folks find a great opportunity!

We just talked about journalism…

I just wrapped up a pretty great conversation with Poynter online where we talked about the future of journalism. what’s going on with it and ways we might be able to change the way students and professors learn. I’d love your input — leave comments in the chat or on this blog!!

Talking about the future

After working on a number of projects in the past year and trying to grapple with the lessons I’ve learned… I’ve learned about the importance of teaching and developing a knowledge of growing and fostering communities. So I have this need to bring the lessons I’ve learned into the classroom and find ways to extend it — teach journalists how to cultivate and grow communities, use the tools to deliver information and listen to people.

Not long ago, I posted a blog asking the question, “Who is going to lead the future of journalism?” After I posted it and shared the link on Twitter, I was asked to lead an online chat about this topic tomorrow at 1pm Eastern Time on Poynter’s website.


I’d love a range of people to participate — a few people responded to my blog post, others left messages on my facebook page, some send me thoughts over Twitter. This may be a great spot to bring all of those thoughts together in one place. So please feel free to join in tomorrow, May 14 at 1pm ET.

I have 5 minutes

I was asked to present my experience at the Reynolds Journalism Institute as a member of the first class of fellows. As a faculty fellow, I was able to spend a lot of time working, thinking and trying to institute my lessons learned with my students and my newsroom at KOMU.

Five minutes.

I wish I could really summarize this experience in five minutes. But since I have five minutes, I’m going to focus on how I grew and changed my goals. I first focused on how newsrooms can collaborate. It’s still important… But I learned during this time that even if I find the most amazing way to bring multiple newsrooms together with the help of technology, it isn’t worth the effort if people don’t use the information. That’s why I moved to the most important word for my life as a journalist and as a journalism professor:


We need to find ways to teach our journalism students and our industry how to respect the process and work it takes to build community. This is crucial as more people turn to journalists for their personal skills and abilities – it’s very possible they aren’t going to them because of their newsroom. We need to be open, honest and connected. Hopefully I can search for ways to share this knowledge so we can all use the great skills of the journalism profession in this new socially connected world.

View more presentations from Jen Reeves.

What do you think? I’m going to try to say these things in five minutes – but I have a lifetime to try to expand upon these thoughts.