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Public Conversations on JEM

We had another journalism event last week. It was put together by Dr. Jim Stovall and the Tennessee Journalist, with a helping hand from Scripps. The Beacon naturally neglected to mention the Tennessee Journalist bit, but oh well. I liked the format of this one. Kept things pretty simple and put the focus on getting students face-to-face time with local media professionals. The feedback I got was that it was helpful to get the perspectives of practitioners in the field, and to get some advice on getting a job in this climate. My brother was in attendance and spoke to a number of very interesting students. There were a lot of other familiar faces including Bob Benz, Lauren Spuhler, Patrick Beeson, Jack Lail and Chad Parizman. I got to rotate around and chat with a few of them before they left, but most of them know me by now anyway. I've been doing this college thing for five years now and am almost done. My only gripe was that the whole event made me feel a little old. Most of the journalism students in the room were completely new to me, save for a few who have been working with TNJN this semester. I suppose my time has come, but I still never thought it would feel quite like this.

Long story short, I'm getting old, it's time for me to graduate, these kids need to learn the ropes and become better programmers as well as journalists, and Knoxville is brimming with talent.

By the way, Patrick wrote up a great bit on his blog about his conversations with students, and I agree with him on every point, I'd recommend reading it, it's quick and to the point. I even left a (hopefully) helpful comment.

Spring 2008, and then some.

Hooray! So we’re off to another great year here at the University of Tennessee and I’m one more semester close to graduation. I’ve decided to go ahead and go for the minor in Information Sciences. If we had a major I would have switched to that long ago, but since that isn’t available this will have to do.

On that note, IS 102, the introduction to the IS minor is interesting. I won’t lie, it’s far too basic for me. We’re starting on what computers are and not going too terribly far from that. Computer Science 102 and 160 both taught me more than this class can, but the context is certainly different which makes it not a complete waste of time. In either case it’s unavoidable at this point in time since the professor responsible for the minor left but a few months ago. We’ll make this interesting however. As versed as I am in Django, I have not had a chance to fiddle with Drupal. So I’ll be taking some class related time in the coming weeks to develop some Drupalie stuff. Good times.

JEM 222 - Intro to Online Reporting isn’t bad either. We have a great person stepping in for Staci Wolfe and while the class isn’t exactly the most computer literate bunch in the school I have high hopes that they will be in short time. More importantly, I think we can easily recruit some of these sharp souls into TNJN as staff reporters. While I’ve already completed JEM 422 (the last in the online reporting series) I am confident that I will learn something out of this course.

JEM 457 - Media and Society essentially boils down to a social sciences class. Here we’re focusing on how (surprise) media affects society and various theories behind those effects. This one is going to prove extremely interesting. So far so good, solid dialog going on in the class, I’m not afraid to debate anything we’re talking about, I should be able to get a lot out of this.

The other two classes are simply GenEd filler, both fun, but also time consuming. I’m not worried about them, I just wish I could be taking some spare CS or IS classes instead. Second summer session is the plan there. My sights are set on WWDC ‘08. But for now, there is MWSF and all the wonders therein.

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