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Weekend assignment: learning Twitter

As I mentioned in class yesterday, during the next week I’d like you to explore Twitter—and if you already have an account that you use regularly, great! Just make this an “advanced Twitter” session for yourself.

Here’s the rundown:

—get familiar with using Twitter by checking out Sree’s Guide to Twitter for Newbies & Skeptics (obviously, you don’t need to follow all of those links, but look closely at parts that seem of most interest/value to you) and Mashable’s guide to Twitter (again, just skim this stuff);

—then, and more importantly, read this short piece with tips for using Twitter as a journalistic tool;

—now, go forward posting 3 times/day during the next week—focusing more on “mindcasting” ideas and sharing interesting links than simply “lifecasting” your day;

—start following at least 25 people and 5 lists;

—and in your tweeting use the class hastag #j349, so we can track each other’s tweets;

—lastly: search using the hashtag to be able to find and follow each other during this week.

Welcome to Spring term!

It’s the first day of school, the blog is back (after a long winter’s nap), and I’m looking forward to an exciting semester ahead.

You’ll find version 1.0 of our syllabus here. Expect some changes in the coming days as I refine the schedule and provide some clarity on the timing of the readings, adjusted for student interest.

Here’s to Spring!

I’ll take that endorsement!

Thanks, Jeff Jarvis. Via Twitter a few days ago. (My retweet, as well as related responses.)

Picture 1

Theme for fall semester: Innovation

I’m retooling the syllabus for a fall semester that begins in less than a week, and so the timing couldn’t have been better when I came across this video from the CoPress folks (on Twitter, too):

Beyond the buzzword emptiness that can be associated with “innovation,” the term has real meaning for how we think about journalism and its future in the digital age. During the 12 months that I’ve had the reins of this course on Writing for Online Publication, the focus has drifted from one of being blog-oriented (Fall 2008; to greater emphasis on social media (like Twitter) and the umbrella notion of “news innovation” (Spring 2009); and now to an even more penetrating look at the entrepreneurial elements of grassroots, startup journalism. This fall I hope to get the students thinking deeply about (1) the culture that undergirds innovation and the Web at large, (2) some simple tools for understanding the digital domain today, and (3) some practical applications for making new kinds of newswork come alive.

Should be a great term. See you in a week!

Creative Commons and blogging

Here are the slides from tonight’s lecture (and if you have trouble following the links, just download the file here):

Online journalism, in PowerPoint form

Paul Bradshaw, mentioned in the previous post, has a very active blog that you ought to get familiar with, even if its occasionally UK-specific focus might throw you now and again. So, read it. Dig into the archives. Lots of great stuf in there.

(And, by the way, he’s looking for virtual interns, in case you’re interested.)

Paul has been making available his PowerPoint slides for the online journalism course he’s teaching, and they’re just too good not to share here. (In fact, their bold design, let alone the nifty content, puts my slides to shame, I’m afraid…) Here are two for you:

We’re blogging. Ready? Go!

In today’s class, we sorted into our three blogging teams, all focused on a different aspect of Austin life, and we’re set to begin posting starting Monday. Great!

Between now and then, please read each of the following handy tips for newbie bloggers. More than anything, they’ll help you answer the constant question, “What do I blog about?” 

First, from Paul Bradshaw: Starting a blog? 12 ideas for blog posts

(While you’re there, I suggest you check out his classic post on the “news diamond,” his new model for news in the digital age, as well as this bit on how to be a journalism student.)

Second, see these posts by Mindy McAdams: her entry on blog basics, part of a larger series on Web journalism essentials, and her 5 Tips for Blog Beginners. From the latter comes this kicker:

Writing a blog will make you better at everything related to being a good journalist. Word. You will become a better writer, researcher, investigator, skeptic, listener, communicator — and editor. You will also become better at everything concerning the Web, if you really apply yourself to blogging. I speak from personal experience on this.

So, have some fun. Pick up some more WordPress knowledge (frequent the helpful FAQ section as needed). And we’ll see you again Tuesday.


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