What do we want from this blog? Let’s decide

Friends and colleagues,

Let’s discuss an etiquette or style or guidelines or goals for this Profs’ blog that could be condensed into a paragraph or two and posted at the top of the page.

What do we want from this? How could it help us as teachers?

I have a few musings.

Some goals and guidelines that we’ve all bought into would make it easier on Steve , who wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time posting things himself… or persuading people to let him do so!

We should sign our pieces. Initials would be fine for those in the department–yes?–but full name, with an email address, for outsiders? Who are the outsiders? Alums? Please identify yourselves. To whom is this forum open? I’m not fussy, I’d just like to know.

We should avoid posting anything we wouldn’t want our students to read, right?

We should always indicate the sources of the articles we post, and provide links.

It would be nice if, when people post news stories, they didn’t take up acres of space, but were uploaded as PDFs or Word documents or something. [See “More” note below.] We could have a tech help box or something that would explain how to do that. I can’t figure it out myself how to do that, with a cursory look! Maybe our webmeister could help with this.

I also think it would be great if we agreed that we should generally post with an introductory comment that invites a discussion. Or not. In other words–as most people have done already wth your early posts–we should make it clear, What do we want to have happen by posting something? A post without a set-up is hard to react to.

Generally, I would think we’d be looking for information (resources, links, etc.) that might be useful to us as teachers, or to break open a topic to comments, discussion. A laugh is great too. (I’ve offered to dance in the video of Karen’s rap tribute. Where will it go from there?)

In addition, i am interested in examples of good convergence/multimedia journalism; fancy new software that might be used in web journalism; funky,  innovative, and useful new web sites; and case studies of ethical dilemmas, especially in the Wild Wild West  of the World Wide Web. Of course I’m always interested in what colleagues are working on, the conferences people they are attending (especially those I might attend), etc.

It would be nice, eventually, to have postings grouped by topic, so we could look back and find helpful posts. I can imagine, for example: Ethics…. Foreign reporting… Citizen journalism ….. The future of newspapers. … Good multimedia journalism…. The goods and evils of blogs… I see there’s a tag button just below this posting box. I will explore the possibility of uploading a tag cloud [DONE], but that’s a little beyond me right this minute. Like a lot of things.

Finally, perhaps we can find a way to make it easier to post something–or at least explain how. It’s not hard, but I would think a link on the home page directly to this “admin” page would make it that much easier.

But please, ladies and gentlemen, why not brainstorm how this might be be used?

I’m not convinced blogs are always, or even very often, journalism–a topic for another day–but they’re certainly a great tool!

Best, David P.



About journalismprof

Steve joined the journalism faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in August 2007 and has been working to incorporate multimedia across the curriculum. Since arriving at UMass, Steve has developed three courses modeled after his multimedia journalism course. The courses allow students to work in teams in a newsroom-like environment where they work on packages -- using video, audio and photos to tell stories. He is also working with students on developing amherstwire.com, a news Web site staffed completely by students. Steve has more than 25 years of experience as an editor and reporter for print and online publications, including 10 as an editor at washingtonpost.com. He also edits part-time for espn.com with the NFL and college football network.
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7 Responses to What do we want from this blog? Let’s decide

  1. journalismprofs says:

    Is there any way to edit comments!?

  2. Jackie Hai says:

    “It would be nice if, when people post news stories, that they didn’t take up acres of space”

    WordPress offers a nice solution to this with the ‘More’ tag. It automatically creates a “Read more” link separating the beginning of the post (which appears on the main listing and feeds) from the longer content you want to hide. Just click on the ‘Insert More tag’ button found on the toolbar when writing a post to use this feature.

    “We should sign our pieces. Initials would be fine for those in the department–no?–but full name for others, with an email address, for outsiders?”

    You can set up multiple authors on the same WordPress blog. If you choose to take this route, then instead of everybody logging in as ‘journalismprofs’ and signing their pieces, you can each have your own account (davep, stevefox, bjroche, etc.) that automatically attributes your posts to your name and contact information.

    “Is there any way to edit comments!?”

    Unfortunately, not without installing an outside plugin first. You can, however, delete comments through the Admin area and write a new one.


  3. journalismprofs says:

    Thanks, Jackie! Let people take note of that “More” function when they want to post stories. (Maybe we’ll have a tech note on this at the top eventually.)

    Do you know how we can avoid having Steve’s name as the author of all comments in the Admin. page? (Another reason to be sure to sign comments as well as posts.) Or is this whole blog in his name and there’s nothing to be done about that?

    Best, David P.

  4. haiwolfe says:

    Here’s how to set up multiple authors on a WordPress blog:

    1) Have every author sign up for a WordPress account here: http://wordpress.com/signup/

    2) Remember what e-mail address you sign up with; you’ll need it in step 6!

    3) Choose the “Just a username, please” option, then click Next.

    4) Receive a confirmation e-mail from WordPress and click the link to activate your account.

    5) Somebody log in as journalismprofs and go to the Dashboard. Click on the “Users” link on the far right, near the top of the page.

    6) Under “Add User From the Community,” add the new author’s e-mail address and select “Author” from the Role drop-down menu. Click the “Add User” button. Repeat for every author.

    7) Now everyone can log in with their own account, post and write comments on the UMassJournalismProfs blog, and everything will be in their name!


  5. journalismprofs says:

    Thanks, Jackie.

    Jackie’s solution is definitely the way to go — I set it up this way to make things simple and user-friendly, so do whatever makes you comfy.


  6. David says:

    People should be aware that tagging proper names puts those names and the tagged article immediately up on Google– so if you Google your name you will find it and the posting that has been tagged (by yourself or others). Some people may not want us to do that unless they choose to. For our policy box… someday! (Hey, I can’t help if these stray thoughts hit me at 9:25 p.m. )

  7. David says:

    Steve or maybe Jackie,

    Could we maybe create an Ask the Webmeister button?

    I wondered, for example, about a WordPress function that searches for articles (blog posts too–dunno) that appear to be relevant to the (tag of?) the post. Is there a time limit for that function–andcould it be extended so that, for example the Times’ story today on women’s websites would be referred to–logged somehow–in BJ’s blog post of some weeks ago, so that one could go BACK to it and be automatically updated on trends? This would be part of the effort to giving postings–and the dialogue around them–longer shelf lives.

    David P.

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