When I learned on the first day of class that we were to keep a blog for the majority of the semester, I felt somewhat uneasy about it. My first fear was that I had no idea what to write about. As of yet, I’m not really an expert on anything that I would have been able to keep a blog on. (A Red Sox or Seinfeld blog would have been difficult to sustain, especially when having to do some original reporting or taking photos). After settling on a blog on higher education, I was still fearful that I would not be able to either come up with enough material on my own, or find enough information on the web to post four or five times a week.
Thanks to the Chronicle of Higher Education news blog, and sites like EdNews.org and The Boston Globe and The New York Times education sections, finding the material was simple. As the weeks went on, I grew to enjoy posting. At first I thought it was going to be a pain to post so many times a week, but I really got into after a while. Doing this assignment has opened me up to a new world of digital media that I hadn’t participated in much before. I knew what a blog was, of course, but never really read any on a consistent basis. The Chronicle of Higher Education news blog has become one of my favorite websites to visit, as the posters are varied and the stories come from all corners of the country and world. I really enjoy having my own little piece of the web where my opinion can be heard, even if no one really reads it yet.
There wasn’t much I disliked about this project except that sometimes I wouldn’t feel like posting on a given day, but knew I had to in order to maintain an average of four posts per week. One thing I might have done differently was try to include even more sources of information in the blog, but since the Chronicle news blog usually had so many interesting stories to pick from, I liked to pull information from there the best. Another thing I could have done differently was try to include some more original reporting. The only time I really did this was for Assignment #5, but I found the experience of interviewing my dad on a pertinent higher education issue interesting, and would enjoy interviewing other college professors and lecturers on higher education issues as well.
I’d say the only surprise that came out of this project for me was that I enjoyed it. At the beginning of the semester, I kind of dreaded the thought of having to post so much, but found posting on a regular basis enjoyable once I got the hang of it. The only person I shared my blog with was my dad and he thought it was great. I also put a link on my Facebook page to the blog, but haven’t received any comments about it from friends or family. Perhaps if I keep it up longer and try to promote it more, it will grow a little in readership.
I think I will continue my blog, though I know I won’t post as many as four to five times a week. Instead I'll probably post once or twice every week or two, or when an issues really catches my eye. I really got a lot out of this experience because I learned a lot about media on the web, about blogs and blogging, and how to set up a podcast. Even though I want to be an elementary school teacher, if I ever switch back to journalism or do it as a side job, having these tools will be valuable, as digital media seems to be the way the news business is moving. Even as a teacher, I could set up a blog on my classroom experiences that may help other teachers, or it could be used as a way for me to receive advice from more experienced teachers on certain issues.
In general, I’d never had much interest in blogs before this assignment, but now enjoy reading education news blogs and even some general news blog as well. I don’t think they should be a replacement for professional, objective journalism, but they’re an interesting supplement to whatever is going on and can also help people understand the current issues as they’re happening.