So how about this for my opening day remarks when I get back in the classroom on Monday:
“Welcome to Disruptive Journalism 1. It’s good to have you here. I hope that our nine weeks together will prove educational and fun for all of us.
Now I know some of you are thinking ‘wait…this isn’t what I signed up for; I signed up for regular Journalism 1.’ Well, technically, this is Journalism 1, and you are in the right place. But we won’t be pursuing our study of journalism in the typical way, with books and paper. In fact, one thing that makes this course ‘disruptive’ is that there are no books or even paper in this class.
So how is that ‘disruptive?’ I know all of you have been disruptive at one time or another…a quick e-mail to your parents would probably confirm that. But that’s in a negative sense. In the context of this class, the word means turbulent or non-traditional. Unsettling, perhaps, especially to those who are used to a more stick-to-the-dust-covered-curriculum sort of way.
We’re going to do things a bit differently because, in my opinion, there are some new tools that will help us learn journalism more effectively than the old tools. For instance, the Internet (not really a ‘new’ tool, I know) gives us the ability to read newspapers from around the world. That can give us greater perspective. Web logs give us the ability to publish our work and thoughts right to the Internet for anyone to read. That gives us a much needed audience. Wikis can provide unique opportunities for collaboration. That reinforces that no good work is done without the help of others. Syndication allows us to easily collect and organize more of the information we want from the Web. That helps us expand our coverage. There is powerful, ‘disruptive’ potential in these and other technologies that we’ll be exploring and using in this class.
And maybe most ‘disruptive’ of all is that we’re going to look at journalism from a changing perspective, one that challenges many of the deep-seated notions about the role of journalists and journalism. It’s a concept called ‘Participatory Journalism,’ where everyone can play a role in news gathering and reporting, and where readers of the news can also be writers of the news. That is a pretty scary concept to some.
I’m hoping really will experience a classroom without walls this quarter. I’m hoping you’ll invite your parents and relatives and far flung friends to share in what we do here. (That must be a pretty disruptive thought in itself, huh?) And I’m hoping you’ll see how these tools can help you become lifelong learners and participants with the news.
At the very least, you’ll be the only one on your block to know what a wiki is…”