Monday, January 19, 2009

ICONN Sparks New Faculty Friendships

MY NEW FRIEND FROM HARDING U-- The Intercollegiate Online News Network (ICONN) Founders Conference afforded me the opportunity to meet another j-school professor. Dr. Jim Miller, the man behind Jim Miller's Menial Musings, is starting a web journalism class at his university in Searcy, Arkansas.

Harding is not a university I would have thought of first when I think web journalism. Thanks to ICONN, this school is now on the radar as we look at places that are on the cutting edge of teaching multimedia and web journalism.

OTHER FACULTY COLLEAGUES-- Jon Glass, Syracuse University (in the white sweater), suffered through my constant jabs about him being from "Newhouse" (the school I once dreamed of attending as a high school journalist).

Jon has a dual background as a technical staff person who is supporting the digital instruction at SU. (He's also a Florida Gator and a native of Alabama-- who has loose ties to Auburn U., but we won't hold that against him)

Meanwhile at my alma mater, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia (where I received both my master's and doctorate),there are two advocates -- Mark Johnson (see below) from the faculty and Harry Montevideo (In the gray sweater) from the award-winning student independent study daily, The Red and Black.

Even though I was from Alabama, I was VERY PROUD of my school, UGA, having two very vocal and leading voices in making ICONN go. I look forward to working with Jon, Mark and Harry! I think this gathering was a little heavy on the testosterone. Still there were people like Lyn Lepre, a former UT-Knoxville faculty, who brought insights from her experience at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.

A CLEAR VOICE FOR DIGITAL JOURNALISM-- I take nothing away from all the attendees at ICONN. But, this guy, Mark Johnson, who is leading the digital news instruction at University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism, was most memorable in his articulation of the challenges we have ahead.

His frank assessment of what is needed as we move forward is something on which I know I will reflect again and again. My only regret is that Mark and I missed each other by two years (He joined the Georgia faculty two years after I completed my Ph.D. in 2002).

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