Carnival of Journalism – Universities: Modules v. local community engagement

This addendum branches off from my blog post addressing universities’ role as potential hubs of journalistic activities. To see what other carnies thought about universities as journalistic hubs and their role in media literacy, check out Dave Cohn’s roundup at the Carnival of Journalism

Most universities, especially bigger research ones, work on projects that are outward facing, and it seems like currently, they fall under two categories:

  1. Creating modules and components that various news outlets can utilize (All Our Ideas, Mobile Journalism Tools)
  2. Engaging the communities that are around them (MyMissourian, The Local – East Village)

A nod to fellow carny Christopher Wink: “Big universities have a long history of lacking support from the communities that surround them, despite being important jobs creators, covering surrounding neighborhoods can go a long way to sure up its connections with local leaders and residents.”

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Carnival of Journalism – Higher ed, purpose and imagination

<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-980" title="Return of the Carnival of Journalism <Update: To see what other carnies thought about universities as journalistic hubs and their role in media literacy, check out Dave Cohn’s roundup at the Carnival of Journalism

In 2009, I went to my first national conference. I met up with the folks at Denver Open Media in Austin for SXSWi. At the time, I had been working remotely with DOM on their Knight News Challenge project, the Open Media Project, and had caught earfuls of bustle via conference calls, but I had never met the crew.

DOM is a highly controversial, sometimes lauded outfit in the world of public access television. I asked executive director Tony Shawcross why cable access, and in a moment that I often revisit, he said it’s simply the most effective medium at their disposal for what they want to accomplish. He’d as soon lop it off when it no longer serves that purpose.

Media as the vehicle – don’t get too attached.

We’ve all seen them: journos who wax poetic about how to dash your serial commas, how to STET your mistakes. In a shifting journalism landscape, universities’ responsibility is to imbue their students with a flexible mindset, and the rest will follow.

So what environments can universities leverage to exercise that mindset?

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A nibble: Open-mindedness

I was reminiscing about my first year of college during my ride around Reeds Lake this morning. It’s a question I often come back to: How have people changed since college? Or to be more universal, how have people changed since maturing into adulthood?

At the end of my first year of college, I decided to compile a list of all the lessons I had learned that year. I came up with 30 some-odd blurbs. I thought it was such a good way to track development that I was determined to keep up with it each year. Of course, that fell by the wayside, and my original list is lost to the 1s and 0s because my aunt then wiped the hard drive on my old laptop.

Despite this, the one lesson that has recently come back to me is this nibble:

It’s easy to be narrow-minded when you think you’re open-minded.

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Another one bites the sexy city dust

We’ve all walked by the corner bistro (*ahem* Bartini) with conversations of tampons and vibrators wafting down the street. Cocktails, fancy dresses, irreverent chatter, all of it smacks of Sex & The City. And after years of resistance, I caved and watched the show. 

I’ve had my objections to S&TC over the years. As an RA my junior year, I lived in a corridor brimming with frosh girls–dressed to the nines regardless of the hour or day–who fawned over one of the only gay men in the hall. Although I had seen little of S&TC at the time, it was clear their first thought was they had found their own gay mascot, something I found rather degrading. Stanny, is my lip gloss too shiny?

But my verdict? The show grows. We all know Carrie couldn’t afford couture on her paycheck. Exaggerated smiles that wouldn’t have the same effects in the real world, all of these are the sugar-free icing on the cake. There are moments that seem unreal, but the thing is, while we’re off paving our careers, jet-setting the world, and denouncing the restraints of love and custom that plagued generations before us, at the end of the day, who doesn’t want the people who know you best to come home to?

Sure, it starts out all about sex and accessories. While I don’t enjoy such banter, it’s clear that the first few seasons addressed very real questions plaguing women in the late ’90s, something I haven’t had to face because I came of age in the mid-’00s. 

However, with new admiration also comes new objections. As I watched each season, concepts leapt out at me. Passing thoughts on how real love is painful (read: emotional abuse), calculations for the time it takes to get over a breakup, shrinks as the therapy understudies for friendships… These were the bizarre premises and justifications other girls had shared with me throughout college, leaving me speechless. Only after these last couple of weeks did I realize they were lines lifted right out of the early seasons of S&TC.

And so, with all the fandom surrounding the show and the danger of falling into its clutches, I had to wonder, where is the reality?

In the first couple of seasons, Carrie isn’t even consistent in her weekly revelations, reflecting the confusion her character is faced with. Ultimately, the reality is even though S&TC represent much of the weirdness, desires, and strength women put up with and have, the growth of these four women ultimately depend on crafted experiences. In the real world, some of the issues and self-actualization S&TC characters work through during one episode or several might or might not take as long in the real world. Or, the events that spur these insights might not come along at all. That’s where we need to stop asking ourselves, which S&TC character am I?

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Earplug Poems

I found some pretty amusing poems today while spring cleaning my ‘writings’ folder. I’m really sensitive to sound at night, and in college, I’d plug up my ears as part of my bedtime ritual. With some fanciful hearing and those lifesaving purple buds, here’s what I came up with:



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