It was early December when Neal Santos, another friend of mine, was ensnared in his own media firestorm. Ever hear of Zunegate?
Santos, the assistant online editor of Philadelphia alternative-weekly CityPaper, spotted then-President-elect Barack Obama using a Zune mp3 player on a treadmill in a Philly gym. He reported it and chaos ensued.
These are just two cases of a trend that excites me, scares me and motivates me. Young journalists, some with whom I’ve graduated, many with whom I’ve worked and all of whom I respect, are making an impact. Not always in the ways they want, but, Christ, it helps to understand that, wow, this is real now.
But, I’ve heard enough from friends and colleagues. It seems most everything they learned, I learned while working at my college newspaper.
The journalism school at Temple University, like many other top j-schools, is chock full of talent. Temple is dripping with accomplished reporters, so I long decided j-school is for contacts, not knowledge.
That’s never more true than now, because, well, most all professors at j-schools are from an era that digitization is fast making irrelevant (There are many exceptions, two at Temple being here and here). The rules are broken and more than ever, journalism schools are repugnantly, distastefully, woefully far from leading students to careers, aside from the Temple name and, yes, the contacts they make.
I’m nearly a year out and embroiled in a freelance career, so I thought up a few classes I’d like to see j-schools teach.
In launching TechnicallyPhilly.com, co-founders Sean Blanda, Brian James Kirk and I lamented that despite encompassing the fourth largest media market in the country, being its most historic and one of its more culturally impactful cities, Philadelphia wasn’t often the home of important tech conferences or part of broader discussions.
Despite also being home to major universities and sitting in the middle of a confluence of other important urban centers like D.C., Baltimore, New York, Pittsburgh and Boston.
If you’re a tech-head or a news hound or anyone who cares about the future of news gathering and dissemination, the Fourth Estate or the protection and defense of democracy, I certainly hope you will sign up to attend even some of the FREE national BarCamp NewsInnovation to held be held all day this Saturday, April 25.
There are a host of worlds and working parts to it, different scenes, from Center City, to Old City, to South Philly, to the northwest and West Philly, up to the ‘burbs and, well, in some way, everywhere in between.
The problem is that there is no one home, no one portal, vessel for all of those cultures and news and events and updates.
Currently I am abroad, video podcasting at WeDontSpeakTheLanguage.com: A video podcast and blog about traveling the world for the young and broke. Follow me there, but also continue to enjoy regular posts here at ChristopherWink.com about the plight of a young, aspiring journalist, which will appear below this reminder.
He and I are beginning an open-ended European backpacking adventure. We have no return ticket, no definite plans or destinations: just a month long, 10-stop itinerary on the way to Hungary and vague plans of reassesing our funds to get down to Greece and circling all the way back to Spain.
We’ll be blogging and video podcasting the trip together, but more on that next week when the official rollout comes.
Stay posted for that, but don’t worry, ChristopherWink.com will remain fresh and posted – I know you’re concerned.
God bless America and wish us luck. Lots of exciting news to come next week.
I first met with him, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and Temple’s longtime community relations director, back in October. Then I met with them again on March 18. In all, I spent more than five hours with the group, and another 90 minutes with the community relations director. It was the most work I ever put in for a story.