Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rewarding success

Tonight was the Southeastern Louisiana University Department of Communication's annual banquet. It was an honor to recognize those who have made significant contributions during their time at the university. There was one strong theme of the evening -- service. Students who were recognized were overwhelmingly those who were heavily involved in student organizations and internships representing the university.

One student, Melissa Biehl, was given the first ever award for service to the department. As the founder of the official chapter of the Public Relations Student Society chapter on campus, and a student who attended several conferences related to her field, Melissa was deserving of this award.

Another, Ericka Johnson, is the student body vice-president, works internships and has also attended several conferences.

Finally, Clayton Cutrer spent much of his time at the university at the radio station, and worked hard to raise money for a local charity. He, along with Adelita Gomez, won recognition from KSLU radio station for their hard work.

These are just a few students honored at the banquet this evening, and I know I'm leaving out several individuals. My point wasn't necessarily to drop names, but to introduce a theme -- hard work and service. It's not all about the grades anymore. Sure, an A is great, but an A up against experience will not fare well.

The world is your wide web. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Citizen Journalism

Today in Hammond, there was a false alarm hostage situation at the train depot. Although it turned out to be nothing more than a "prank," as reported by WAFB news, it still presented the opportunity for citizens to share (and declare) news. WAFB aired pictures sent in from a viewer's cell phone, and a reporter conducted a phone interview with a citizen who was at the station waiting to pick up his son.

Of course, this isn't the first time citizens have "reported" the news. Citizen journalists broke the story about the Jet Blue airline holding passengers on the tarmac for 10 hours. During the Virginia Tech shootings, citizen journalists were using their cell phones to video the tragedy as it unfolded.

Is it no longer acceptable for journalists to set the agenda? It may now be up to citizens. Agenda setting is the thought that the media tells us what is important. For example, when newspapers print stories on the front pages on the top half of the page, we think those stories are most important. Thus, we talk about those stories at the water cooler. Many scholars have studied agenda setting, and I enjoy reading studies performed utilizing the theory.

With new technology, however, it seems citizens are setting the agenda for the media. With modern technology, timeliness has taken on a whole new meaning. Are citizens setting the agenda? Well, today, the Hammond hostage story is on the front page of WAFB's website. Is it now citizens' responsibility to set the agenda, or will the gatekeeping media still be in charge? I feel a study coming on...

The world is your wide web. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Need to know

I see journalism students every day. They are all asking me the same question right now -- how do we get web skills? Two answers. First, you schedule a class on web building to learn it the hard way, then you log on and create a free website and/or blogspot. Viola! It's done.

By the way, you don't have to take the class before you start exploring online. The class helps in the development of your skills.

This blog literally took three minutes to put together. Why Whosiwutzits? In journalism, we stress the 5 Ws and the H. In order for me not to constantly have to say "the 5 Ws and the H" or "who, what, when, where, why and how," I always say "whosiwutzits." Students laugh at first and probably get tired of it as I go along. I say it a lot during the semester.

Lesson number one: get online and do it now. Keep it clean and informative. You will be "googled" when you apply for a job. Go ahead, give yourself a Google and see what you get. If you find something you're afraid might show up in an interview later, see what you can do about getting it down. Cleaning up the Saturday night party pics on Myspace and Facebook will not ruin your life-of-the-party reputation, and it may help first impressions later.

The world is your wide web. Enjoy.