A Confetti Carnival of Journalism #jcarn – The role of Universities…

What a great first Carnival of Journalism! It’s intimidating to try and do a round-up post. There is no way to capture 50+ bog posts (and counting). As you may recall – I’m using the Carnival in part to introduce attendees at a future roundtable to be held at the Reynolds Journalism Institute in April. I wanted to highlight and include EVERYONE’s post in this round-up, but in an effort to introduce conference attendees digitally I’m highlighting their names in red. This is just so they can identify each other so when we meet in April we can skip introductions and go head first into conversation. Stay tuned for info on the event and how ‘open’ it will be for more participants.

Without trying to add to the preamble – This exercise (which will continue in February) is truly inspiring, humbling and I believe a great way for us to mingle with colleagues. Future hosts might not be able to summarize EVER post. But for this first few – I will attempt to try.

Let the Carnival Begin!

Yin: I’d like to start by highlighting Brian Boyer‘s post as a benediction. What happens in a sci-fi future. “What is media literacy in that world? What does journalism become, when everything is ephemeral, when the Tweets wash over your mind, neighbor to your own thoughts?”

Yang: Contrast this with Chris Wink from Technically Media. You’d be hard pressed to find somebody who loves Philadelphia as much as this guy and it shows in his post which tries to imagine what Temple University would look like now if it took on the mantle of being an information hub in its communities today.

Re-Yin: Matt Thompson, who has a voice of gold, points to an interesting future where education itself is revolutionized through the “Wikiversity.” This provides fertile ground upon which college courses can include the community in a two way mutually beneficial relationship. Josh Braun, my old Seed Magazine cohort, brings up similar issues and wonders how this future where online education takes hold might divert University attention to national communities of interest.

Re:Yang: If you’re ever in a Jon Stewart rally Andrew Pergam is a great guide through the crowd. If you want to imagine a world where universities leverage their brick and mortar space in collaboration with newspapers read Andrew’s post. “It all seems so logical: If you want to connect with your neighbors, invite them over.” Megan Taylor chimes in here as well – suggesting that certain courses be open to the community of non-students.


Yin: Jessica Partnow from Common Language Project gives us the history of her foray into academia as a startup nonprofit adopted by the University of Washington. “And, many meetings and classroom visits and a yearlong trial period later, the CLP’s three cofounders became full-time employees of the University of Washington in September 2010. A year and a half into our partnership, we’re finding a balance that we think could become a model for partnerships between journalists and universities all over the country.”

YangDan Sinker, who I pray has not shaved his beard, gives us a candid look inside the academy from somebody who worked for 13 years at a punk magazine and is now an assistant professor. The post is filled with interesting tidbits including “things are awesome when they’re complicated. And right now, few things are as complicated as being a journalism student.”

Yin: The ever fun Kim Bui from KPCC explains her dive into journalism via the student newsroom. Her post echoes parts of Dan’s in its “best of times worst of times” assessment of curriculum. “I feel for students these days. But I also know that those requests for more knowledge come from this: We need journalists with a sense of experimentation.”

Both Chris O’brien, my virtual neighbor on Farmville, and Adam Tinworth share positive feelings about the position students find themselves in provided that universities become/remain safe heaven for students to try new things and, to be blunt, screw up from time to time.

Student Views

The indefatigable and recently graduated Suzanne Yada had a blossoming of links that give us the students view of j-school in her first post. In her second post (over-achiever) she creates a scenario for how a university program could become its own publisher.

Picking up where Suzanne left off: Lauren ‘future designer of all things cool’ Rabaino started with two questions: ‘Why’ and ‘How’ do universities play a role in our community? In a thought experiment she examined how university information was disseminated before (academic studies, journals) and how it is spread today – directly. “Everyone can find a way to give back to the community in more ways than just publishing information…..The big challenge comes in getting universities to change the way they’ve always shared information. There needs to be incentivization.”

Much like Lauren – Daniel ‘better hire me later in life’ Bachhuber started with the Why and How of universities role. This was a great post – the first four graphs are insight wrapped in clarity. This is followed by sharing specifics and learnings from the much talked about Local East Village NYU journalism project. p.s. Seriously dude, hire me when you’re basically in charge of it all.

Natalie Yemenidjian writes a no holds barred assessment of what you can get from a journalism student and tells her own true story.

Mai Hoang gives honest regrets about her student experience and some recommendations for how programs can institutionally address where it seems she got the short end of the stick. She also points to her experience with Open Journalism and the Open Web, perhaps fitting into Matt Thompson’s post earlier.

From the Professors

While on the opposite side of the academic fence (recent professor) Seth Lewis uses almost the same words as Suzanne Yada, “Create opportunities for students to fail – in a good way.” And that was just one of two direct recommendations Seth makes in his post.

Chris Anderson, also the recent professor, contributed by un-earthing a post he wrote in 2009. Two funny things stand out about this. First: Everything still holds water. Second: I commented on it back then!

Personal hero Steve Fox (at night he fights crime under the name “The Silver Fox”) focuses on media speed advocating for a slow accurate news. As his old boss said “I would rather be second and right than first and wrong.”

Meanwhile Alfred Hermida, if memory serves was an original Carnival-blogger, gave us a view of teaching from the University of British Columbia. Go Canada!

Reading Andy Dickinson always made me smile. It’s probably the delightful British accent (in my mind). This month’s topic set his mind racing, dreaming up an ideal scenario for his students and pacing back and forth about the realities of media literacy training, the benefits, who it’s for and more.

Carrie Brown-Smith has a litany of fantastic to the point recommendations. My personal favorite “consider making riskier hires of younger and digital-savvy folks with big ideas…”

While we often focus on the general big ideas Mark Berkey-Gerard wrote a post that brings to light many of the barriers in between ideas for student journalism and reality. Journalism students need room to make mistakes but the public deserves great reporting the first time around. How can we mitigate these?

Related – Charlie Beckett, a name that I love as it rolls off your tongue, shared a cautious view about the state of media literacy and the barriers that exist to achieving it. “This is not a counsel of despair or pessimism….I agree with the Knight Foundation that we should “integrate digital and media literacy as critical elements for education at all levels through collaboration among federal, state, and local education officials.” But if we do so then it has to be more than programming night schools and lap tops in elementary classrooms.”

Nicole Blanchett Neheli a professor in highlights a program in Dublin called “FOMACS” which she says can be an integral resource for a community. Perhaps it’s a program that has flow under the larger journo-education radar?

Lyn Headley who has to suffer the weather in San Diego shares some insight into the impracticality of academics but how it meets/creates and can even deflate a tension with the uber practicality of journalism.

Jack Rosenberry shares his plans to start the first community-facing student-led journalism work in his community at the University of Rochester. Good luck Jack! Hopefully some of the other posts will help your thinking.

Donica Mensing sees “journalism faculty and students acting as facilitators, connecting communities of particular needs with appropriate faculty and students in the university. In the process, greater two-way information flow will foster more applied and more relevant research and teaching.”

The outlier views

Always the positive contrarian Conor White Sullivan seems to be suggesting that the mission of universities has changed in response to how we view “learning” and what people go to college for. Tuition paying students want: a Network, a coming of age tradition, accreditation, external pressure (get outta your mom’s house) and curriculum. This leaves little room for serving a community. Ideas are shared on what it could look like, but again it requires a re-think of what we call ‘education’ if it’s to serve the broader community.

Related Lisa ‘I quote her too often’ Williams hones right in on the money of universities and frankly – how much of it they have. They’re sheltered from some economic realities. Just like Spiderman; with great power comes great responsibility.

Matt Bernius writes a brief meditation on what Anthropologists can do to increase journalistic activities. As a self-proclaimed “non-journalist” this is an IMPORTANT post for us to look at closely if we expect other disciplines to take up journalistic mantles.

Ying: Fellow Columbia J-school alum Vadmin Lavrusik made a specific recommendation that I conquer with, journalism schools should partner with real world practitioners to give journalism students real experience.

Yang: Eliot Caroom takes the Yang side of student/professional collaborations pointing to various barriers or pitfalls when you partner a university journalism program with a private outside partner.

Sally Duros wins the ‘most reported out’ blog post award. Her contribution includes several quotes from a professor at DePaul University on how growth and change is sometimes stunted within academic institution.

Jack Lail, who I met via the first COJ, shares an historical tid-bit about how in 1994 the University of Tennessee helped play an informing role for the community creating something called KORRnet (which sounds awesomely T-2ish. I’m glad it didn’t become self-aware).

If you feel like you want some visual elements check out Paul Bradshaw’s post which includes a video and slideshow. I particularly liked the section on “community isn’t post code.”

Juana Summers post doesn’t talk about universities because, as she argues, at that point it’s too late. Instead – she hones in on what is possible and should be taught re: media literacy in high-school.

Also focusing on media literacy Will Sullivan, my housemate extraordinaire, pointed to Stonybrook as a leading pioneer in the space. He also offered me a Red Bull to keep me up so I could do this wrap-up.

Finally: Several posts including one from Jason Barnett, Jake Dobkin, Ellyn Angelotti, Victoria Baranetsky and Anneke Toomey were collected in this “confetti” post.

Ryan Sholin, now twice a father (correct?) writes about Santa Cruz. “What happens when thousands of undergraduates looking for a good time seasonally invade a small California town with its ethos firmly planted in 1968 and its economy floating unabated in the real estate bubble of 2004-2007? Find out on the next episode of “Keep Santa Cruz Weird.”


How fitting…. from their lives.

It’s no surprise that our Canadian friend Craig Silverman focused on a specific aspect of news literacy; bullshit detection. It’s a great read and spot on. “Bullshit, you see, is everywhere.” He finishes with two concrete suggestions – make bullshit literacy (echem… media literacy) a core course for university students and make fact-checking a core component of journalism courses. If you find an error in Craig’s post you win 10 journo-points.

Michael MuckRock Morisey cuts right to the chase with four specific recommendations including a cut of potential intern-ponzi schemes (something that I think is on everyone’s mind) to letting researchers blog directly or even share primary documents.

From Andre Natta a nugget at the end of his post which caught my eye: “The university may just become one of the most trusted voices in the community as the number of outlets continues to rise….”

Harking on this same thought Denise Cheng, who has a smile to light up the room, asks “who are you serving” when it comes to larger universities. Not be outdone her SECOND post focuses on the role of the college newspaper, how it can help serve those communities as well as the students. Take a moment and recall your college newspaper then read Denise’ piece. Makes me nostalgic #journo-nerd.

Steve Outing focuses on the innovation call for univiersities, a fitting call for him to make with his first hand experience running the  Digital Media Test Kitchen at Boulder. Also chiming in for innovation is Hans K. Meyer. “I remember the lessons from MyMissourian and Dr. Clyde Bentley: Universities need to push the journalism envelope when the industry cannot.”

Jacob Caggiano points to some of the interesting work being done in Washington (and also points to Jessica’s Common Language Project). Breaking down Knight Foundation’s specific recommendations we see how a few programs coming from The University of Washington are hitting some of them square on the head.

Michelle Minkoff’s data-driven philosophy might be the cornerstone of the preamble to her post which imagines journalism students not focusing on breaking news but in-depth explainer pieces. It could tie in nicely with both Steve Fox’s and Mark Berkey-Gerard’s questions about where student journalism can go wrong. “But data doesn’t just mean numbers. It’s the solid facts behind what makes a system work.”

Using her little brother as an anecdote Erica Zucco hits home and puts into perspective changes in the media environment children inhabit. Not to be an old grouch, but to point out just want media literacy entails now. I love the HAKAS reference!

Jen Reeves, who has more energy than most, writes about the blessings and curse of working in a newsroom. Again with great power as a journalism teacher comes the responsibility.

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