Thursday, January 15, 2009

ICONN Begins with Faculty-Student Exchanges

KNOXVILLE, Tenn-- My Journey to Orange Country has reached its main destination- the University of Tennessee main campus where already we've seen some vigorous exchange between students and faculty pondering the future of journalism classes.

The Intercollegiate Online News Network Founders Conference is now into its third hour. One panel focused "Web journalism and education: What do our journalism programs need?" has concluded and second panel is about to begin.

So far, I've been reminded that I need to be teaching some skills that I may not feel like I'm the expert. One of the biggest news items-- Gannett has implemented a Furlough program, which mandates five days of unpaid leave for all employees.

The idea that emerged from this first panel-- use this as an opportunity for digital training. In exchange, those journalists who are trained can come back and help our journalism students.

The struggles of academics took centerstage as did a slight philosophical difference between those who believe focusing on the fundamentals/standards (or the lack thereof in students) and those who believe the Web MIGHT introduce a different tolerance for the old standards of journalism.

I think the issues that opened the conference will come back up as we have some more concrete discussions about the establishment of ICONN and those of us who will be member institutions.

The second panel is beginning. Gotta go! (Live blogging resumes)

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