Some of the kids in my journalism class are doing some great work in their Web logs. (BTW, while I’m still liking the RSS feed from their blogs that I set up, I’m not loving it. The serious advantage is that even though the feed may not be clean, it still reads it. Most of my kids get kicked out at Amphetadesk. Any suggestions?) I’ve even got them creating links in the nav column on their sites. Another small step, but proof that even though Manila may be bulky, kids can get it. And I have to say, the more I work with it, the more I like it, flaws and all. (I’m still praying the Bellerico boys take pity on us and throw some wizards our way.)
I’ve had a couple more ideas that I’ve roped some of my students into trying. A piece by Dan Gillmor introduced me to the concept of “Pro Blogs” which are in essence “nano publishing” or niche publishing sites. (See Gawker as a pretty cool example.) I’ve been having my students follow a beat during class, but what I’m thinking is having them create separate space for their beats, or maybe even localizing them (i.e. teen night life in our area) and become the experts or “Pros.” How cool would it be if we had student reporters blogging the various scenes or beats, with sites handed off year after year to new editors? It pretty much would render irrelevant the print paper that we throw together under deadline each week. And I still think, despite the potential problems, that we can involve our audiences in those discussions to a meaningful degree. As Pat says, the synapses are firing.
One more journalism Web log note. Sarah has asked me to do a workshop up at Middlebury this summer on “Web Logs as Journalism” (or something like that) so if anyone has any ideas on topic, feel free to throw them my way.
[Picture from “The Truth Laid Bear” which is a very cool newspaper looking Web log using MT.]