A little mojo for my students

Today I got a tip that there was a tightrope walker set up outside of Crestview Hall on the IU Southeast campus. My journalistic spidey sense, of course, tells me there’s something interesting there, so like any good news adviser, I try to get in touch with my students. But, alas, all the editors are in class or off campus. So, I decide to go cover the story myself and use an example for class.

It turns out the guy was not a tightrope walker; he was a slackliner. The video explains the difference. He was a student, just killing time between classes.

Used the video camera and audio recorder on my cell phone, and edited with free audio and video editing software. All in about an hour from start to finish. It was a lesson in mobile journalism (mojo), or backpack journalism, or just-get-the-job-done-with-whatever-the-hell-you-got journalism.

I used it in class for a teachable moment, but I thought I’d post it here, too. Enjoy.

Remembering my days as a “kid reporter”

kidreporter-fbI got interested in studying youth journalism because I was involved in it when I was a kid. Even at a very young age, I knew that I wanted to do something in journalism.
Well before my high school journalism experience, at age 10, I got an opportunity to volunteer at an NPR station in Columbus, Ohio. When we moved to Indianapolis, my dad helped me get business cards that said “kid reporter” on them, which we thought I could use to find other media volunteer opportunities.
So, I submitted an application — with my business card — to Children’s Express, where I learned even more about journalism and got some pretty amazing opportunities. 
Children’s Express became Y-Press several years ago. In 2008, I got the opportunity to spend several days as a chaperone/adviser with Y-Press kid reporters covering the Republican National Convention. It really was an amazing experience that reminded me of the value of youth journalism and media programs.
Today, I received an envelope from Lynn Sygiel, the director of Y-Press who has been there since CE started and since I joined the group in 1993. In it, she included this photo and business card. 
Unfortunately, amid financial challenges, the Y-Press board decided to dissolve the organization. I am so saddened by this news. Y-Press and organizations like it are so vital to teaching civics and promoting a strong youth voice in media. I hope — somehow — that youth media organizations find a way to survive, and that funders see the benefit of these important programs.

New article in Educator published



Just a quick note to say that I recently had an article published in Journalism and Mass Communication Educator. The article, “Protecting the impressionable minds from the impressionable minds: The third-person effect and student speech,” was written by me and Brian Schruam.

Here’s the abstract, if you’re interested:


Support for student expression and First Amendment attitudes were measured among Missouri high school principals (n = 86). Findings demonstrated that the third-

person effect was a significant predictor of these attitudes. The more principals perceived mass media to affect others over themselves, the less supportive they were for student free expression rights, particularly with regard to support for online, off-campus student speech. In addition to applying communication theory to a largely atheoretical field

of scholarship, this research helps suggest several directions for future research to better understand restrictions on student speech






On June 2, I married the most wonderful person in the world, Renée Petrina. And, if I do say so myself, our wedding was pretty fantastic. Many of our close friends and family traveled to Indianapolis, where we celebrated the Mass at Renée’s old parish from when she lived in Indy, St. Jude. After the ceremony, we were able to invite everyone to the reception at one of our favorite places, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

You see, the museum is very meaningful to both of us, as Renée volunteered there as an adult when she lived and worked in Indy, and I volunteered there as a teenager some 15 years ago. As Renée says, it is her “happy place.” On June 2, it was a happy place for our loved ones, too. And thanks for two friends in particular, photographers Marc Lebryk and Julio Cortez, we’re going to be able to remember the day for years to come. I’ll post a couple of the photos here, with more to come in the future. Click on the big photo and us and Bumblebee from the movie “Transformers” (photo by Marc) to see a small gallery.

Wedding Photos

Back home again in Indiana …

One of my hopes was to be able to go back to Indiana after getting the Ph.D. And that’s becoming a reality. I was recently hired as the new assistant professor of journalism at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany.

The journalism program is fairly small, with just two full-time faculty (including me), but there are hopes to grow in future years. In addition to teaching, I’ll also be advising the student newspaper, The Horizon.

The job is tenure-track, with a 3/3 load. That means that each semester, I’ll teach three classes (one of which is advising the newspaper) and will have one course release for research. This is exactly the kind of job I wanted. I get to work with students on creating a publication. I get to continue some of my research. And I  get to work with a growing program interested in preparing students for a changing media environment.

We’re probably going to be living in Louisville, which is just across the Ohio River from New Albany.

Now, to find a job for Renée. We’re pretty optimistic. If anyone knows of anything, send us a shout.