A recent project at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism shows the potential of blogging in journalism education. Their Presidential Reporting Project blog covers the current US presidential campaign. It includes recent posts by students blogging from the Republican convention in New York. They have produced a range of reports on the blog that would be recognised across the spectrum of news, features and commentary as well as using blogging’s linked based features. However they didn’t just stop there.
They established a second blog to help them reflect on what they were learning from the project. This second blog looks particularly at the lessons of integrating new mobile blogging technology, such as sending pictures from your phone direct to your blog. This blog is an interesting mix of process reflection and practical tips.
This integrated project shows two aspects of how blogs could be used in journalism courses:
Action learning – using blogs as a publication site to hone reporting and writing skills.
Research and reflection – using blogs to reflect on the processes and technology of journalism.
One of the things we are fond of saying as journalism educators is that we aim to integrate theory and practice. It seems to me that blogging provides an excellent form for this integrated practice. It is a form of published writing so it encourages students to hone their writing, communicative and research skills but the journal form also encourages a reflective openness.
Berkely has been experimenting with blogs for a while and received quite a bit of news coverage when they first began to “teach blogging”.