Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog
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Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Homecoming, pictures & weblogs

Until today I hadn't figured out how to make Userland Radio plop a photograph into a page like this. ("Like this," that is, if you see a picture below this text.)

A picture of a mirror-like lake reflecting a blue sky, clouds and the distant shore

The scene is a homecoming meditation, shot after driving back to New England at the end of a trip that included defending my dissertation in Chapel Hill. I stopped to rest at a state park in Mansfield, Conn., the town where I ran a news bureau 30 years ago. I took a nap in the car just around dawn. When I woke up, I took a picture to save that morning.

Then, just to be silly, I got back in the car, closed my eyes again, held the camera at arm's length, and pushed the shutter button. Photo of gray-bearded guy pretending to be asleep under Boston Herald baseball cap.

It's hard to believe I've been back for a month. I feel like I'm still in the middle of that nap, although I have gotten a few projects underway, including the new website for the Newspaper Division of AEJMC, which I'd hoped to work on in Kansas City this week. Instead, I'm at home nursing a sore jaw after having a cracked wisdom tooth extracted, and generally catching up on things.

I'm sorry to miss the AEJMC conference, which will even have some discussion of weblogs, featuring Poynter Institute's Steve Outing. Before he gets there, I'm going to point him to Harvard, where, as a British journalist put it, Dave Winer and friends are planning "another revolution - this time in politics and journalism, delivered by the power of the web." (The "another revolution" was a reference to the Boston Tea Party, which may say something about a former empire's long memory about its former colonies...)

I'm working on a somewhat-belated review of Howard Rheingold's "SmartMobs" right now, and thinking about the significance of blogs, WiFi, SMS and whatnot to newspapers like the one I used to work for, back when I drove by that lake on my way to work. Newsfolks discussing blogs seem to drift into the blindmen-and-camel situation. Some blogs are adolescent diaries; some are listserv-like discussions; some are the equivalent of well-informed newspaper opinion columns. I like to hope that the whole blogrolling phenomenon will lead the creators of the first two categories to read more of the third category, and vice versa... and that the quality of research, thought and writing will rise at one end, while the level of community awareness rises at the other.

In between, that should guarantee a continuing job market for somewhat-wired journalism professors!
3:07:53 PM    

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