Monday, January 19, 2009

Stovall Does It, Now The Real Work Begins

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.-- As I watched him listen to all the exchange between the faculty and industry voices in the room, Jim Stovall, the Edward J. Meeman Distinguished Professor in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media, who organized ICONN, was clearly proud of all that we accomplished in a short time.

Jim has been talking about this idea of a wire service and a network of journalism educators who are teaching Web journalism for a good while. On Friday as the two-day meeting here wound down, his vision was finally coming into view.

We talked a great deal about organizational issues for ICONN-- who's going to be in charge? will students and faculty be working together? What about those who were unable to be here for this meeting?

Those logistical issues are certainly important.

But, equally as important -- and more daunting for most of us without a programming or computer background is getting this web tool, OCHS, to work for us as a content management system. It's an interesting challenge. I often am the person who is considered by some to be the "techno enthusiast."

However, in a room with Joseph Agreda, the Tennessee Journalist operations manager and Jay Baird from Mochi Media as well as Bob Benz from Radiant Markets (formerly of Scripps Interactive), I felt like the one who needed to bone up on his technical skills.

This re-tooling and retraining that we faculty will have to do to make this Web tool work is exactly what makes bringing digital into our teaching such a challenge.

As I leave Orange Country, I will have to say that Knoxville will be the place where I realized I could do this Web thing-- the technical side. I developed a new level of confidence that a Content Management System is no longer something that I leave to "tech staff" to do for me.

iConn represents a new beginning for me as a journalist operating in the multimedia age. And, for that, and to Jim Stovall, I'm eternally grateful.

Let the real work begin. Joseph

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