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.


Suzanne says:

Thanks for the feedback! Normally we only have about 15-30 students every week and MUCH more easy to manage. We usually do a non-moderated chat in a Meebo widget and works pretty well for that number of people.

This week was an all-out blitz. 🙂

We purposefully said no to a Twitter hashtag for tonight’s chat because we would be inviting professors who weren’t familiar with how to use Twitter. We’ve also broke away from hashtags early on in the game because to be honest, Twitter isn’t set up to be a chatroom, even coupled with TweetChat, and many of us have followers who don’t appreciate being flooded with crazy hashtags. #journchat does it, but there’s so many people complaining about #journchat that we decided to do things differently. The little Meebo room works just fine for most weeks.

But will definitely take your suggestion for a 2-hour chat into consideration. Some nights we all stay even later than 3 hours, but I think it’s probably time to cut it a little short.

Thanks for the feedback, and hope to see you next Sunday!

Thanks for participating in the chat! (I was one of the moderators with Suzanne).

To add to what she said in the comment above, Cover it Live was the best medium. I know it sucked that some comments didn’t get through and that there was a lag, but people were complaining when it went too fast as well. No matter how we formatted it, someone was always unhappy. We threw a poll in there to ask if moderating or live was preferred and I’m pretty sure about 70+ percent said moderating was the preference.

But beyond technical limitations, I too was truly impressed with the great ideas students, professionals and educators brought to the table. We were shocked at the sheer volume of participants and comments. 🙂

So, now, Andrew, a question for you: What do you plan to take back to your classroom/school/ newsroom after watching the chat?

Andrew says:

Thanks for the comments Suzanne and Lauren, it’s always great to get feedback on what I write.

As for what I’m taking from CollegeJourn last night, I think that the biggest take home point for me was getting the newsroom to get out there and experience how to create online content. It got discussed a lot, and I know that our newsroom here at Whitman really likes writing for print, but for whatever reason avoids online anything (blogs, Twitter, etc.).

To that end I’m meeting with the editors today so I’ll be pitching ideas like incorporating Publish2 links onto our site and inviting the newsroom to it. We already have a Twitter account (@whitmanpio) but perhaps I can get more people posting to it.

Since we don’t have a Journalism major (or even classes) here I’m kind of stuck to the newsroom, but we’ll see what happens.

Comments closed