After the high-school paper

AT SXSW, Henry Jenkins, in a wonderful conversation with friend Steven Johnson, says that one of the great untapped resources in reporting on our communities are our young people: high-school students whose papers suck and whose principals are trying to limit their speech while they are creating more and more media.

Right. Put the right tools in their hands and see what can happen.

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Jenkins says that we are in a new society built on collective, collaborative information.

That, I believe, is the key to Google: it is the platform that enables that. And things that are built, in turn, on top of Google, enable and exploit that.

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Jenkins said that what separates Obama is that it is a campaign run in first person plural rather than first person singular. I buy that. It’s the look of a movement. But I still don’t think the movement is defined. It is an empty vessel. And I do believe there’s danger there.

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Jason Fried is a great presenter. His shtick years ago about the things he didn’t do is legend. Today he’s talking about what he’s learned: “Be successful and make money helping other people be successful and make money. Spot the chain reactions. Be the catalyst.” Be a platform, in short.

  • I advise student publications at a No. Indiana high school and we’ve tried some work arounds in getting our staffers to create content through several tools (we do a lot of sandboxing). In it we’ve tried to keep both administrators and the school board aware of what we are doing and how we are doing our form of journalism. So far (knock knock) it’s been fun and dynamic. Our major issue now is that our audience (the students) aren’t aware of all the cool things one can do with the Web2.0 stuff (e.g. social bookmarking, live-blogging, Twitter, Utterz and the like).

    So, there is some hope out there and I concur with you that this is an untapped corps of young writers. I feel a bit blessed this year with an incredibly strong staff of writers and thinkers.

    Here’s their website:

  • You might be interested in this new effort by my client in Shreveport. It’s still in development, but all of the schools are being given login/password combos to populate the site. It’s a mixed bag. Most pretty, well, not-so-good, but there are jewels here, too. Kids are more hip to this than we might think.

    Arklatex Student News

  • my daughter is the editor of her school newspaper this coming year and her goal is to take the paper online via a blogging platform. i think the same thing will happen with churches, synagogues, little leagues, and PTAs. and that is the raw material we’ve been waiting for to power the hyperlocal revolution

  • Anna Haynes

    Re Fred Wilson’s
    > “i think the same thing will happen with churches, synagogues, little leagues, and PTAs…and that is the raw material we’ve been waiting for to power the hyperlocal revolution.”

    Amen to the latter. But there are problems with the former – these organizations are already publishing out their news, but they’re doing it as PDFs, and they’ve paid someone a fair amt of money to design a static website for their group.

    Given these sunk costs and established workflow, what’s the best way to get them to migrate to blogs?

    (alternatively, how/where do you tap into someone’s existing workflow that culminates in a PDF, to yield the RSS feed you really want?)

  • Carlos Afonso

    Here in Portugal the last 2 week were ocupied by a small vídeo published on you tube about violence inside a school against a teacher. That one minute and half about a girl that was dispossed of her’s mobil during class was taken by a fellow with his mobile at the same. This thing ended with those envolved being expeled from that school. (With their age they have to take lessons in another school).

    It was a local (very local) news that has spured an incredible amount of tv national news, print news and of course blogosphere atention.

    I’m not sure of whats best for this age in terms of technological means.