Come Join the Carnival of Journalism!

I’m terribly excited to introduce the RETURN of the Carnival of Journalism.

To understand it’s epicness – you first have to close your eyes and think back to a time long ago on the Internet circa 2005-6. Maybe you had a MySpace or Friendster account. The Numa Numa guy was still hot on the meme scene, Digg ruled all traffic everywhere and Techcrunch was just the opinionated blog of a lawyer. This was an Internet without Twitter, Facebook was for college students and all we had were blogs and RSS. In that dark and desperate time we didn’t have WJChat‘s, PubMediaChats or any other Twitter chats.

No my e-friends. Back then, to get a regular conversation going we resorted to blog carnivals. Long live the blog!

The Carnival of Journalism, at its height, consisted of about 30 or so journalist bloggers. Every month a new blogger would host and ask, via email (how quaint), a question for all the participating bloggers. Point of order – this is how I first digitally met my current housemate and fellows RJI fellow Will Sullivan. We didn’t meet in person for another two or so years, but I felt as though we were colleagues because of our monthly blog carnival.

Sometime around 2007-8 the Carnival ended and since then social media has taken hold so we have regular ongoing quick chats. Don’t get me wrong, I embraced Twitter early and still love it.

But blogs are not dead and there is a level of communication we can achieve beyond chatting with blogs as a facilitator. While this might turn into a failed experiment (like testing carrier pigeons after the advent of the telegraph) writing one blog post a month isn’t a high calling. And having friends, making that commitment (or at least trying to make that commitment) and having a single topic to swarm around makes blogging that much better.

And so – we are reviving the Carnival of Journalism.

Interested in joining? FANTASTIC

Caveat for the first four months

Normally the Carnival of Journalism is an open ‘community controlled kinda thing.’ The first four months of this COJ, however, won’t be for two reasons.

First: I want to make sure it starts strong. I hope to prime the pump so in May I can pick a new host and he/she will organize the next COJ and pass on the torch, etc.

Second:  I’m organizing a conference at RJI for mid-April (more details on that soon). Like a benevolent dictator I will use the Carnival of Journalism leading up to this conference to spur conversation among participants. This way – when everyone shows up at the conference – we can skip the intros and jump right into the topics at hand.

What are the topics at hand? The same topics we will write about once a month, every month, leading up to the event.

And the first topic is: DRUM ROLL PLEASE………………………….

The changing role of Universities for the information needs of a community: One of the Knight Commission‘s recommendations is to “Increase the role of higher education… hubs of journalistic activity.” Another is to “integrate digital and media literacy as critical elements for education at all levels through collaboration among federal, state, and local education officials.”

Okay – great recommendations. But how do we actually make it happen? What does this look like? What University programs are doing it right? What can be improved and what would be your ideal scenario? Or is this recommendation wrong to begin with? No box here to write inside of.

Not only will this be a topic we discuss at the RJI conference coming up in April (details on that event to come in a future post) but it is a topic YOU, dear friend, should feel free to write about for the next Carnival of Journalism.


  • Join the Carnival of Journalism by filling out this form.
  • You’ll be added to a Google Group for future communications.
  • Write and publish a blog post on January 20th by 10am PST on the topic above and let the COJ host (that’s me) know about it.

I’ll see you at the Carnival.

David Cohn is a 2010-2011 RJI Fellow working on a project called “Community-Funded Reporting.” Read David’s findings, other blogposts, and talk back at cohnd AT and @digidave on Twitter

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