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February 24, 2006

JMS blog an election first

The Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies and the M&G Online are hours away from launching the first group blog in Africa written by the leaders of political parties competing in an election.

So far the school's New Media Lab (NML) has convinced Patricia De Lille, Ziba Jiyane, Bantu Holomisa, Pieter Mulder and Tony Leon to blog the last few days running up to the elections. ANC participation is not yet certain, but the ruling party has indicated a willingness to participate. The site will launch later today (Friday 24 February 2006) once the NML has gathered the rest of the posts. Meanwhile, have a look at it at http://electionblogs.mg.co.za

JMS3 Writing & Editing: Happy blogging

It's the first term of 2006 and 22 Journalism 3 Writing & Editing students have been divided into four competing news agencies covering different aspects of life at Rhodes University. In an innovative departure from earlier incarnations of this writing course, the students are being assessed on their ability to set up and maintain two quite different blogs:

1. Group blogs, primarily used as a communication channel for the following four news agencies: Tryline (sport at RU); Open Rhodes (general news at RU), Green Inc. (environment) and Academics Anonymous ('addicted to academia');
2. Individual blogs, primarily used by each student as a space to reflect critically on: their own journalism; concepts like civic mapping; any other aspect of the course as it progresses.

The news agency blogs should help to create group internal cohesion and identity by providing a forum for:
- conceptualising, debating and editing stories;
- synchronising attempts to get work marketed and published;
- posting useful agency resources (web links, source books, etc.).
Agencies may decide to set up a second group blog later in the term, directed towards an external readership.

The individual blogs should give students a (hopefully) welcome opportunity to develop their own personal writing styles by casting off some of the constraints of formal newswriting style. Student bloggers should be allowed to comment on 'the story behind their story' and be given the space to express frank viewpoints about any other aspect of the course. Hopefully, this will encourage discussion with visitors (including the course lecturer, fellow students and other bloggers in cyberspace).

Thanks to colleague Colin Daniels for setting up the 'joblogisphere'.

Here's to happy blogging.

Rod Amner
Lecturer, Writing & Editing

February 23, 2006

Welcome to JoBlog

This is the place where a lot of blogging will go down in the near future...