With their easy manner and relaxed tone, Web logs may seem like the opposite of academic writing, but for several faculty members in the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, they’re ideal for sharing information in the digital age.
Blog Dawgs is a loose confederation of 11 Grady College faculty blogs that range from covering industry news to commenting on research analysis and theory. Entries span the college’s breadth, from public relations to telecommunications and journalism.
Mark Johnson, a lecturer in the photojournalism department, manages the UGA Photojournalism blog, which updates students, alumni and professionals to new developments in the field. It evolved from the mass of e-mails Johnson previously sent to students and alumni.
“I needed a better way of sharing information with current students and alumni who wanted to keep track of stuff going on in the industry,” he said. “As our students left and their e-mail addresses fell off or changed, they started calling me saying, ‘I don’t get your e-mails anymore,’ so this way they can check the blog and we don’t have to worry about e-mail.”
In addition to requiring current students to read the Photojournalism blog, Johnson asks them to sign up for individual class blogs, where they can post their own submissions.
“If the students come across interesting material on their own, they can post on the blog with things such as links to photo stories they see online or to videos. And they can ask technical questions and respond to each other,” he said. “We’re really using this as a form of communication outside the class. The students are all used to MySpace and Facebook, so they’re used to this sort of social media, but they’re not used to it as a professional communication tool.”
Participating in a class blog can even challenge students to work harder, said Kaye Sweetser, assistant professor of public relations. Sweetser maintains a blog called So This is Mass Communication?, which focuses on social media as a political communication tool from a public relations perspective.
“If a student knows his or her piece of writing for an assignment is going to be seen by everyone in the class, he or she is likely to spend more time in making sure that the communication is clear and pay good attention to detail, rather than just writing it up quickly and turning it in,” she said.
But not all the benefits go to the students. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, associate professor of public relations, keeps a blog of her studies concerning telenovelas. So far, she’s been overwhelmed with responses from other professionals and interested readers.
“My research had never reached so many people,” she said. “None of my published scholarship has been read by this amount of people around the world.”
A link to the Blog Dawgs site is available from the college’s home page at www.grady.uga.edu.
Several Grady College faculty members are maintaining blogs. Here are some contained in the college’s Blog Dawgs consortium. A link to the page is available at
Economics of Media
Hugh J. Martin, associate professor of journalism. Features discussions of the economic forces that shape mass media.
Emerging New Media
Bruce Klopfenstein, professor of telecommunications. Focuses on interactive television.
Michael Castengera, lecturer in telecommunications. The homepage for Castengera’s weekly “Message from Michael” newsletter on a wide range of media-related issues.
Sex in Advertising
Tom Reichert, associate professor of advertising. Features Reichert’s comments on a particularly newsworthy event or a particularly interesting instance of sex in advertising.
Karen Russell, associate professor of public relations. Focuses on a broad range of issues relating to public relations education.
What People Know
Barry Hollander, associate professor of journalism. Discusses how people learn from the media, what they learn (or don’t learn) and why it matters.