As someone who teaching basic newswriting to mostly freshmen and sophomores, and as part of a journalism faculty focused on ensuring our students aren't just learning how to write for print publications, this seminar seemed ideal. It promised to show me and 11 other journalism educators how to teach them to become more versatile writers and reporters, while also exploring strategies for doing so using new forms of writing, including social networks.
We learned all that and much more. The esteemed writing guru Roy Peter Clark offered tips for good writing instruction and helping students build what he called a writing workbench. Poynter's ethics expert, Kelly McBride, focused on how to coach students to use social media properly and she had us write our own personal essay as a storytelling exercise. Adjunct faculty showed us how Twitter and song lyrics can help students write and edit stories.
Oh yes, we learned from Jim Sheeler, both a new adjunct faculty member and a co-participant in the seminar, about writing about the dead. He and other participants shared great ideas for getting students out of the classroom – and into the community – to do more rewarding assignments that will better prepare them for their careers. I'm looking forward to applying what I learned in this seminar into courses I will be teaching in the fall.