Mass Communimania Introduction - A place to say what I think
When blogging was fairly new, about six years ago, I wanted to get going to stay ahead of the new trend. I thought I had lots of things to say, and I thought hundreds, if not thousands, of people would want to read my musings.
Then, I started to write. I had about 35 words of fairly fantastic material and ran dry. Writer's block. As my students can tell you, I am hardly ever at a loss for words. It was a strange time for me: sitting at my computer, feeling compelled to write, but not liking any of the words coming from my fingertips.
At that time, I was the public relations and advertising director for Winona State University, a medium-sized public liberal arts university in southeast Minnesota with an excellent reputation. I worked an average of 60 hours a week writing strategic pieces for the president and cabinet of the university, collaborating with excellent writers and designers at a local agency creating image advertising for WSU, and overseeing the work of a group of writers and photographers (most of whom were students) who did the majority of the day-to-day public relations activities at Winona State.
About 80 percent of my job was writing. Most of that writing was for someone else's voice. Understandably, when I got home, one of the last things I wanted to do-- or could do-- was sit down to write some more.
Now, for the past three years, I have been teaching mass communication classes for Winona State University full time. I still write -- a lot. Almost everything I write is from my own voice, mind, and heart. I have regained my love for writing with a purpose. Writing to tell a story, or help a person or group of people. Writing to make a difference. I write grant requests. I write articles for local, regional and national publications. I write proposals for projects. And, I write material for my classes and exams for my students.
Recently, I said something in a class that was poignant and important. I wish it wasn't such a rare occurrence that it stood out in my mind. "Man, that was pretty good," I thought. "I should write that down."
After discussing how some newspapers had been folding or moving to a on-line only mode of delivering the news, I was discussing the future of journalism. I said something like, "Journalism is not dead, nor is it dying. It is simply re-inventing the way it will continue to responsibly serve society." I think I said it better in class. About 24 students heard it-- maybe 20 were actually listening closely. I thought, maybe other people would like to hear this.
I realize I'm not a well-known journalism pundit. I, egotistically, believe I may have observations on mass communication that others might enjoy reading. I have a good amount of experience through three major career movements: radio broadcasting (including disc-jockey work, radio news, commercial production and leadership positions); public relations and advertising (both at the university and in my own small free-lance agency and consultancy); and higher education (teaching a variety of mass communication courses).
Through this blog, which I call Mass Communimania, I'll discuss whatever topics strike me as interesting or important, and that have some connection-- however thin-- to mass communication in general, or in the academy.
This-- what you're reading now-- is the introduction to this series or articles. The first "real" article will come soon. I haven't decided the interval between articles. It will be often enough for you to keep checking once in awhile, but not so often that you'll feel like you've missed something. Plus, there will be an archive of past articles.
I'll welcome your comments and suggestions -- good and bad. As I tell my students: you learn just as much or more from people who complain about your work. Let me know what you're thinking. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Welcome to Mass Communimania, a blog about the mass media, mass communication programs at colleges and universities, students, and anything else even remotely related to this area.
I've been involved in the media in one way or another for more than three decades. Now, I teach mass communication courses at a university in Minnesota. I've been writing about issues related to advertising, public relations, journalism and photojournalism, and the media for years. I've just finally gotten around to creating a place to post my written thoughts; and hopefully the thoughts of others as well.
-- Tom Grier