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.