Saturday, September 19, 2009

Too many blogs, but a gonzo idea...

For a possible new blog, I came up with a first post, mirrored below, that I thought might prompt some discussion. Comment here or there, either is OK. (For visitors from other Twitter flocks, AEJMC is the Association for Education in Journallism & Mass Communication.)

AEJMC Denver 2010 Convention

Event-design as Rorschach test... Am I the only one who mistook the jagged white Rocky Mountain profile ranging through next year's AEJMC Convention logo for a hint that the organization is fracturing? Or took it for an optimistic graph of media industries' ups and downs, showing a slight upturn on the right? On second thought, the line looks exciting, dangerous and cracked, which reminds me of someone...

Getting a crowd of journalism educators together in Hunter Thompson territory in August could be a lot of fun. I hope I can attend... (I hope anyone can attend, given the state of academic travel budgets, if my own institution is any indicator.)

Thinking of Hunter inspired a rewrite of this post and gave me a panel discussion idea for the event:

"Going Gonzo: From Uncle Duke to Johnny Depp, how do journalism faculty and today's students deal with Hunter S. Thompson's legacy?"

He's in my students' textbook, on a page headed, Journalism heroes, legends and folklore. He's relevant to bloggers and skeptics, rebels and iconoclasts, lefties -- and libertarian lovers of recreational firearms.

So let's make that a discussion question for any journalism educators who see this post: How DO you treat Hunter Thompson in your classes? Is he in the textbook you use? (In my case, it's a "yes" for Tim Harrower's Inside Reporting.) Is he discussed in writing classes? In magazine classes? Reporting classes? History classes? Ethics classes? Do students read him? What do they think?

Background: This paragraph was at the top of this post before the link to it slipped into the Twittersphere, referring to the part above. Rather than be accused of "burying the lead," I've turned things around.

About having multiple blogs. My old Radio Userland blog had an interesting feature: I could tag items with "category" names that actually became separate blogs. I used that to create a subset of my blog posts so that I could link some of them to the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication newspaper division's website, which I've been editing for a few years. I even had evidence that someone read it once or twice.

Now I've been wondering whether to use Blogger or WordPress to recreate that blog as a separate entity, possibly as a more formal adjunct to the Newspaper Division site, which I never seem to get around to updating in a timely fashion.

Among other things, I haven't been able to attend the last few AEJMC conventions, which makes it difficult to spread news about the organization. So here's an experiment: I'm going to point the division officers to a trial site or two and see what they think. With WordPress, I might be able to enlist a co-author or two. Here's the prototype, with a question about Hunter S. Thompson.