Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Phil Wolff Skyped JMC 163 Last Night

The blogger from Skype Journal wasn't the only one stopping by to say hi; Fred Mertz, a freelance photographer working for the Chronicle of Higher Education, also stopped by and took pictures for an upcoming piece on JMC163.

Wolff talked a little bit about the Skype story at SJSU that took place earlier this year. He dissected it, sharing why he believed the story took off the way that it did. What were the points he talked about?
1.There were local advocates with a vested interest in keeping Skype on campus.
2.The blogosphere picked up the story and turned it viral.
3.The traditional media picked it up as well.
4.It already had all of the elements of a good story: power struggle, work being affected, and a school environment.


I'll keep you posted on the Higher Ed piece when it comes out. It will most likely also be talking about the Skype piece a bit. The ironic part about this whole thing is that the very class that has attracted so much attention for the great job that it has done may be dismantled by next semester.

Steve Sloan posted a disturbing piece on his personal blog Tuesday:

There is a plan to turn 163 partly into a software teaching class and teach InDesign, Photoshop, other applications and maybe half a semester’s worth of “new media.” This will be a real change in what has become known as, “the podcasting class.”

I have nothing against the Adobe Creative Suite applications, I use them and have taught them. But, I do not see this as being consistent with what we are doing in this class. This semester 163 has concentrated on the Internet and emerging forms of journalism. Maybe I am wrong.

We have a meetup on Thursday November 30 at 7pm in downtown San Jose at Tony Soprano’s Pizzeria. You are invited to come or comment. I would love to get input from folks on this subject. I know our accreditation limits the amount of units we can do new stuff with. But, I see this class as being critical.

I'm not thrilled by this development at all. As has been mentioned by several students in JMC163 and professionals outside the class, classes on Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, and other apps can been taken very easily for a few hundred bucks over a weekend. The understanding of WHY new media is taking off and WHERE it is going is much more pertenant to our future careers.

If the University really wants students to learn those programs, then they should consider making New Media a concentration like Print and Broadcast are. Removing such vital content will only act as a disservice to students.

And maybe it's just my journalism background speaking, but I think journalists SHOULD be more interested in the WHY than the HOW, because the HOW is always conditional upon the WHY.

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