Impressions of CollegeJourn

Tonight was the first time that I took place in the weekly CollegeJourn talk. This week it was the “Bring a Professor” chat so in addition to the journalism students that usually take part in the discussion there were a significant number of journalism professors and professionals there as well. Below are some of my first impressions of the system and the mode of communication.

First, as much as I like the idea of a streaming chat interface it was just too many people to make that useful. The lag between entering a message and seeing it appear was just too long. Personally I liked the idea that @joeybaker provided which was combining Twitter hashtags and Tweetchat. This would utilize Twitter and create what seems to me to be a more open group chat forum.

Second, after taking part in a discussion I truly understand the power of tools like Twitter. For something that (correct me if I’m wrong) has only been going on for the last couple months CollegeJourn brings together a surprising number of people who are really, truly bright. The ideas that were being bounced back and forth (even in a limited CoverItLive chatroom) were great. Hearing opinions from students, professors, and professionals was really great for me. Even though I’ve only really been into this college journalism scene since I was hired at the Whitman Pioneer it is something that is truly captivating.

Third, three hours is just too long in the present format. It was exhausting, and frankly I got too hungry by about 7:15 p.m. and had to drop the chat to make dinner. Thus, I missed out on some of the discussion concerning collaboration. While the length provides for some excellent discussion I think that a slightly shorter session (maybe 2 hours) could be a lot more digestible.

Fourth, just to reiterate, there are some really bright students out there in journalism. They’re smart, motivated, and passionate about what they do; it’d be great to have more people like that here at Whitman. CollegeJourn is a great idea and a great place for them all to come together.

Anyway, it was a great experience, and I plan on taking part in future chats. If you’re interested in college journalism, or even journalism in general check it out every Sunday night from 8-11 p.m. EST.