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MMU student hands at work

Students typing in the MMU lab. I got their permission, had them approve this image, but it wasn't easy. I had no idea students would be so picky about their own hands being published.

Nine new ships set sail today on a new adventure—well, not really.

For one thing, several of the ships are already at sea. I’m forcing students in CO 120, Introduction to Journalism, to launch their new blogs, but some of them had me in previous classes and so have already been to Blogtown before.

Why should student journalists blog? For lots of reasons:

  • Journalists today report news instantly. They Tweet events, they post live video and they blog. So this, blogging and posting it NOW,  is a skill students must master.
  • Blogging is excellent practice for writing as public performance. It will show, based on the low number of hits at first, how hard it is to draw an audience, but, on the other hand, the world is now open to these students. Will a student blog be “freshly pressed?” It’s not terribly likely, but not impossible, and it will be interesting if it happens.

One of the students, based on a previous assignment in another class, won a statewide journalism blogging award. Congratulations Jenna, and keep writing.

There are, of course, some dangers in having students blog. Blogs can involve libel, like any public writing. It’s not always easy to get students to understand how copyright works, and when and how you can use images will, I’m hoping, be an issue. (I’m hoping because blogs should be visual, too. But you need to use images that can be re-used and credit sources).

Beyond that, there is the saying that Jon’s Microsoft pals oft repeated during RAGBRAI last year. Take it from the pros who run the world, students. “The Internet never forgets.” So don’t do anything on a blog that you don’t want remembered.

On the other hand, the greatest sin in writing is to be dull. And I would rather students be a bit spicy and take some risks and have to be reined in, than simply play it safe.

So have at, brave bloggers. Show the world what you can do—what you can write, what your individual point of view is. Engage in what my blog friend and MMU colleague Jenion calls “emotional nudity.”

Students, share your world with the e-world, and enjoy the experience.

More hands

A male student's hands. He didn't complain at all. Hmmmm. Male hand modles seem less picky.

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