Wednesday, April 25, 2007

USF event - robin givhan and "the politics of fashion"

back in grad school, i lived in maryland and washington dc, which meant i had easy access to the print version - the one you could hold and fold in your hands - of the washington post. in those days, morning meant a bagel, coffee, and the post. a good morning was when the post featured robin givhan's column.

the first fashion writer to win a pulitzer, givhan's beat is the intersections among fashion, culture, and politics. her column makes me think and reflect. sometimes it makes me laugh out loud.

this friday, givhan will be speaking at USF. here's the details:

what? a public talk titled: "the politics of fashion: what barack's shirts, pelosi's suits, beyonce's hips and sanjaya's ponyhawk say about power, gender, race, class and values"
who? washington post fashion editor robin givhan, winner of the 2006 pulitzer prize for criticism
when? friday, april 27, 12:30-2 pm
where? maraschi room, fromm hall, university of san francisco
who's making this happen? the event is being organized by teresa moore and is co-sponsored by the journalism minor, media studies colloquium and speakers series, and gender and sexualities studies

unfortunately, i'll be out of town on friday. fortunately, however, i believe many of my digital journalism students will be blogging about the talk. finally, much respect to hunter who gets my vote for USF poster of the year:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

USF event - justice and journalism: josh wolf on information, independence and control

justice and journalism: josh wolf on information, independence and control
monday, april 23, 4-6 pm
university of san francisco, mclaren 252

from the press release:
"After videotaping an anti-G8 protest in San Francisco, journalist and videoblogger Josh Wolf was asked by federal officials to hand over his footage. Upon refusing he was jailed. Released a few days ago, he comes to USF to talk about why he was willing to spend 7 ½ months locked up for refusing to let federal investigators mine his footage for evidence. What are the implications of his case for media makers, sources and audiences? Wolf will discuss the importance of a federal shield law and his work with Free the Media and, two organizations he started while incarcerated."

this event is sponsored by the journalism minor, college of arts and sciences, environmental studies, gleeson library, living-learning communities, media studies department, peace and justice studies, politics department, and sociology department.

this event is free and open to the public.

please help us get the word out.

more info:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

mrs gregory

last week i had dinner with marian gregory. over three decades ago, marian gregory was mrs gregory, my first grade teacher at sinsheimer elementary school in san luis obispo, california. before that, mrs gregory taught first grade to my sisters cara, lisa, and nancy.

marian and i have the same calling - teacher - so we had a lot to talk about. she retired from the classroom a while back but she continues to teach through a project that helps fifth and sixth graders to make digital media about topics that interest them. we shared our thoughts on students - past and present. we talked about digital media. and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

me and marian gregory

when i was in the first grade, i never got the opportunity to ask my teacher her life history. at dinner, i asked! like sarah and her family, marian is from nebraska - her mother was born in blue springs, nebraska, in 1901. for a year or two, marian taught different grade levels but then discovered first grade and never left. in 1987, she was selected teacher of the year for the city (county?) of san luis obispo.

we talked a lot about reflection - the process of stopping to think, to be mindful. marian told me about an essay she wrote twenty years ago, in 1987, about her observations that students' abilities to reflect were in danger. we agreed, sadly, that these days - through overscheduled play-date kid culture, through horrific standardized testing, and through all-online-all-the-time technologies - things seem to be getting worse.

for me, the mindblowing part of the dinner was discovering that so called contemporary concepts like participatory media, project-based learning, and we/be the media were concepts i first learned in mrs gregory's first grade class. she'd sit on a chair and read us books. we'd sit on the rug and listen. the books were magical and filled with fascinating people, fascinating places, and fascinating things. these people, places, and things generated a hundred questions. then, when the book was finished, we would dash to our desks and rebuild these people, places, and things. we would use paper and crayans and glue and glitter and colored pipe cleaners. then we would bring our media home and give them to our parents. our parents would then post our media on the most popular channel of all: the refrigerator. during dinner, i realized that marian gregory and i teach the same lessons to our students: make media, be the media, we the media.

when it was time to pay, our instincts kicked in and we seized our wallets. "i'm paying," marian said, suggesting no retreat. "no," i said, "that is incorrect." upset, she asked, "why?" i grabbed the bill and said, "because i owe you."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

usf event - US terrorism against cuba

US terrorism against cuba
with salim lamrani

when: wednesday, april 18, 1:30 - 2:45 pm
where: UC 222
price: free and open to all

from the press release:

The relationship between Cuba and the U.S. must be analyzed on the following clear basis: In today's world, relations between the various nations are not governed by right but by might. Terrorist violence has been the main engine of the relationship between the two countries. Lamrani will reveal the cruelties committed by Washington against Cuba.

Salim Lamrani is a French researcher at Denis-Diderot (Paris VII) who specializes in US-Cuba relations starting in 1959. He has written articles translated in several languages and published all around the world. He is the author of Cuba Facing the Empire: Propaganda, Economic War and State Terrorism and the editor of Superpower Principles: U.S. Terrorism against Cuba (a compilation of essays written by Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Wayne Smith, Michael Parenti, and others).

this event is co-sponsored by USF's history department and latin american studies.

Monday, April 16, 2007

digital journalism - final project

Digital Journalism
Final Project

All of you have been contributing to our group blog - usfblogtastic. You have learned to blog words and pics, to tag strategically, and to comment on other posts. Most importantly, you have learned how to write publicly. All of you have got your blog on.

Your final project for Digital Journalism is to start your own blog. From today until May 9, use your own blog to practice what you’ve learned this semester in Digital Journalism. To get full credit for this project, you must do - and do well - the following:
  • Set up your own blog. You may use blogger, wordpress, or any blogging platform you desire. Be ready to explain and defend your decisions in class.

  • Configure your blog. Think of a good name, test different designs, and configure comment moderation. Make your blog look cool.

  • Design a user profile. Be ready to explain and defend your decisions in class.

  • Install a flickr badge on your blog.

  • Install a feevy on your blog. Your feevy should include at least ten blogs. The included blogs should be relevant to this course or to your life.

  • Install at least one additional widget to your blog. Much respect for experimenting with a widget not yet mentioned in class.

  • Set up, use, and understand some kind of stat / visitor counter for your blog.

  • Write a blog post about a student organization at USF. (This assignment, and the next three that follow, requires good quotes from good sources, at least two photographs, and relevant hyperlinks and tags.)

  • Write a blog post about a person, place, or event in Golden Gate Park.

  • Write a blog post about a person, place, or event in San Francisco.

  • Write a blog post about a person, place, or event in the Bay Area (excluding SF).

  • In addition to these required tasks, you are free to use your blog in any way appropriate to Digital Journalism. Read something that got you thinking? Blog it. Attend an interesting event? Blog it.

  • Important: You are required to have something new from your blog to share each class period from now to May 9. Good luck.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

josh wolf coming to USF

july 8, 2005 - josh wolf, a san francisco journalist and video blogger, videotapes an anti-G8 protest in san francisco.

august 1, 2006 - after refusing to turn over footage to federal officials, josh is put in jail.

april 3, 2007 - after serving the longest jail-time for a US journalist protecting source materials, josh is released from jail.

next monday, april 23, 2007 - josh wolf comes to USF to give a free and public talk. mark your calendars - 4-6 pm - and tell a friend.

USF students: if you belong to a student organization that wants to get involved, please contact teresa moore or me immediately.

more details to follow.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

feevy gets exciting, very exciting

for me, feevy was exciting the day david told me about it. but lately, things are getting really exciting.

currently, there are more than 1500 users and more than 6000 connected blogs in the feevy universe. english-speaking bloggers continue to be the overwhelming minority of the feevy community. cool.

a feevy widget is now available for wordpress blogs. i know a lot of wordpress bloggers who have patiently waited for feevy on their blogs - now it's possible. a feevy blogroll for wordpress blogs is coming soon.

and, most exciting, alex has produced a graphic that visualizes the feevy community. david, pablo, and ryan have shared their ideas about what is going on, and i would like to share mine. but first, here's the graphic:

my first reaction is: i have no idea what this means. unfortunately, i have very little training in social network analysis. also, although i use google to translate david's blog posts from spanish into english, the translation is terrible, which means i am missing much context.

that said, it seems to me that feevy users are building networks, not nodes. put another way, we are building concentric communities, not long tails. with feevy, there are no so-called a-list bloggers, or blogstars, or, if there are, their reach is neither farther nor more lounder than the rest of us.

whatever it is, i look forward to seeing more.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

special topics - led zeppelin

if i were a student at USF and looking for classes for next fall, i would totally take special topics: led zeppelin.

the course is taught by media studies professor andrew goodwin who's also the author of dancing in the distraction factory: music television and popular culture.

course description:
This class will explore the roots of Led Zeppelin, and their impact on rock, hip-hop and dance culture, via an appreciation and critique of the band's music, including iconography, the star-text and performance. We will investigate questions of copyright and intellectual property, the aesthetics of popular music, sexuality, adrogyny and gender, fandom, and technologies in the recording process, through a chronological assessment of Led Zeppelin's career.

Friday, April 06, 2007


gardens and farms as classrooms

at USF, the jesuits live in the loyola house which includes a beautiful, semi-secret garden. a student in digital journalism, christina k, works at the loyola house and helped to arrange a fieldtrip to the garden. father tom lucas, associate professor of visual arts and the main mastermind and caretaker of the garden, led the tour.

tom began by welcoming us to the garden and explaining its history. he told us about the various plants, flowers, and trees and shared stories about the fountain, the papyrus, and the raccoons. he explained that he designed the garden to be wild, growing, and diverse, not all orderly and manicured. he showed us the art of gloria osuna-perez.

tom is a quote machine, especially when he's talking about the garden. my students, in excellent journalistic form, had pens and notepads and took notes like crazy. my students are not yet journalists; they are learning to be journalists. one thing they have learned is the importance of good quotes from good sources. this fieldtrip, more than any other this semester, generated some great quotes. personally, i liked this one: "gardens give you breathing room. gardens give you mental room." journalist of the week goes to eva who went to USF's head gardener, robert macneil, to get this golden quote: "that garden just has good bones, it was thoughtfully put together."

about ten minutes before class ended, i gathered the students and we sat down in the corner of the garden with the most spectacular view of the city and the bay. some students shared their budding ideas for garden-related blog posts (which, naturally, can be read at usfblogtastic). outside, in the sun, sitting there in the garden, my students actually looked ... healthy. too often, they appear sleep-deprived, malnourished, or anxious - a midterm they're not ready for, a paper due within the hour, homework, jobs, parents, partners, debt. in the garden, though, they were relaxed and receptive. they slowed down.

as we gathered up our digital cameras and notepads, father lucas reminded us about USF's new garden - an organic garden being planned for next year by melinda stone (media studies) and seth wachtel (visual arts). what will it be like to have an organic farm on campus? what will we grow? who will grow it? and who gets the eats?

speaking of gardens, what about farms? in june, i'll be an artist-in-residence at stonelake farm. high in the hills of humboldt, stonelake farm is like a dream - it has a flower garden, a veggie garden, apple trees, hundreds of trees, a river, and a waterfall. there are chickens and goats, including one, tiny, who is pregnant. it has an octagon. it has bridges to cross.

stonelake is off the grid, which means that electricity is hard to find. the last time i was there, time seemed to slow down. maybe that's what my students experienced in the secret garden. maybe that's what tom lucas was referring to when he said "gardens give you mental room." and maybe that's what i'll find this june when i go from professor to student.

Monday, April 02, 2007


new reviews in cyberculture studies (april 2007)

[via RCCS] a new set of book reviews for april 2007:

1. Techno Fashion
Author: Bradley Quinn
Publisher: Berg Publishers, 2002
Review 1: Andrea Zeffiro

2. Virtual Worlds: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cybertechnology
Author: Pramod K. Nayar
Publisher: Sage, 2004
Review 1: Maura Conway
Author Response: Pramod K. Nayar

stay tuned for a very large list of new books waiting for review! coming soon.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

acrl 2007

i arrived late, late thursday night and gave my talk friday afternoon. i talked about blogging gones, about gleeson library's get graphic, and about usfblogtastic. i talked about blogging students, commenting librarians, and feedback loops - online and offline - that harness collective intelligence. i talked a lot about physical students spending time in physical libraries.

from derik's angle, things looked like this:

from my angle, things looked like this:

thank you jennifer lang for your summary!

i had to fly home the next day but before leaving i explored the morning poster session. awesome. they were the most interesting, creative, and practical projects i have seen at a conference. plus, librarians understand information visualization; the poster projects were exceptionally well-designed.

i especially liked:

library link: bettering life in, life out - laura sullivan, threasa wesley, and leslie hammann, steely library, northern kentucky university. a three-way partnership between steely library, nku's political science and criminal justice department, and the kenton county detention center, this project established a jail library to insure jail inmates' access to information resources, support life skills, and facilitate a smoother reintegration into society upon release from jail. (more info here.) inspiring.

the rohrbach library reference department art wall: showcasing student art - claire andrews and sylvia pham, rohrbach library, kutztown university of pennsylvania. the kutztown university of pennsylvania has excellent programs in art, art education, and communication design and the students enrolled in these departments make a lot of excellent art. so, thought some librarians, why not showcase their art in the library? the library gets great art. students get great exposure. brilliant. (check out the more you know, rohrbach library's blog.)

revelations from the reference blog - nick baker and christine ménard, williams college libraries. super smart: refblog uses PHP and MySQL to allow librarians to document their reference activities, share with and learn from their colleagues, and generate reports. plus, the guy who programmed it, nick baker, is also the librarian behind the brilliant youtube video march of the librarians! cool project - download it for free.

take the joystick: e-games for the library
- sarah f. cohen, champlain college library. when champlain college library was selected to host the ALA traveling exhibition, "alexander hamilton: the man who made modern america," librarians approached the college's innovative electronic game & interactive development program to see if students could design an e-game around alexander hamilton. with minimal rules - and, thus, maximum creativity - students were asked to design games for a fictional client in a professional setting. by all accounts, they had a blast doing it. so, so cool.

couldn't make it? check out the conference blog. check out the diversity and depth of topics discussed. i remember the days when it would take weeks or months to find out what happened at this or that conference. these days, when done right, blogs give us nearly real-time coverage. for flickr, try the acrl2007 tag.