In week two of my Online Journalism module I introduced students to the principles of blogging. After the lecture I asked the students to brainstorm ideas for blogs on an environmental issue theme, based on what they’d just heard.
To inject some extra ideas I brought in star Birmingham blogger Pete Ashton.
The results were some of the best blog ideas I’ve heard from journalism students – and certainly more imaginative than most newspaper thinking around the blog platform.
Emma wanted to look at supermarket waste – Pete suggested getting “behind the scenes of what happens at a supermarket”; I added the possibility of a Flickr account/photoblog.
Hayley wanted to do something about energy efficiency – Pete suggested they drill down very specifically to something like a blog purely about issues around energy saving lightbulbs.
Natalie has recently learned to drive – she suggested blogging about her experiences of a ‘return to public transport’
- Laura wanted to look at the topical issue of chickens and supermarkets and mentioned the fact that you could access data on declining sales – I suggested a blog monitoring sales of chicken at supermarkets; Pete suggested tapping into the online organic farming community.
Stephanie thought of a challenge-based blog following her as she tries to get an environmental story from every country in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Alice was thinking of a blog following attempts to get a whole street to go eco-friendly. I suggested a group blog.
Kat wanted to follow her student house doing something similar with ‘downshifting’. Pete pointed out the dangers of blogging about other people without their knowledge/editorial approval. I advised her to broaden her mind beyond students.
Kasper wanted to pick a community, e.g. fishermen, then look at their perspectives on water pollution country-by-country. I suggested turning it round to pick one country and use the blog to post on different communities’ perspectives and experiences on/of water pollution, e.g. fishermen, people who live by rivers; shipping companies; water suppliers.
Tuuli wanted to pick a name (e.g. “Adam”) and get one person with that name from every state in America to write a post about what they do related to the environment. Pete suggested that there will be spin-offs from those, like follow-ups on what contributors are up to.
They also set up their own blogs during the lesson – more on these in future posts.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but as environmentalism and social responsibility are fast becoming the new orthodoxy they will be increasingly used by unscrupulous marketers and policy-makers to dress up products or initiatives that might have unintended negative consequences. Student journalists should scrutinize this area especially carefully now it has gone mainstream.
Great point. As it happens, am covering verification of online sources this week so will throw that in.
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I saw your brainstorm via, and wanted to invite you all to check out a new online brainstorming technology that might help your efforts. You can check it out at http://www.molecularthinking.com. There are several environment-related brainstorms on the site.
Being in Paul’s Bradshaw’s online journalism class. Blogging to me as got better for me, so far my topics have covered education in the enviroment. Doing these sort of stories has also helped my journalistic skills, in order of doing a proper news story.
Perfect post, well written I must say.
I like this. I’m a Toxicologist and Environmental Biochemist. I want to go into environment blogging but do not where to start.