Six Reasons I Heart the DominiNET Student Blog

I’ve posted about this blog already but I have to come back to it. A Dominican University Journalism class is using a Blogspot blog to report news and more to the campus and beyond. Our Dean of Rosary College, Jeff Carlson, shared the URL with me and I subscribed immediately.

I was rather excited so I emailed the GSLIS Faculty and the Academic IT Committee:

It’s a journalism class – and the content just keeps coming! The voices are human, honest and engaging. I have learned so much about Dominican and student life from this blog – I’ve added it to my news portal. Created simply with Blogger, it seems to be generating many comments and feedback. I have pointed to it once on my blog but will be writing about it again and sharing it with my social tools colleagues.  Good stuff.

I truly believe this is the future of marketing and engagement – a perfect example of social media done right: sometimes messy, sometimes silly, sometimes thought-provoking…but very real.

I checked in today and found that the posts and comments continue, so here are five reasons I think this is a good thing for the University. This venue seems to be a useful way for students to learn and more:

They are learning journalism skills but also media and promotional skills. Check out the video embedded in this post about the blog’s promotion around campus. Images augment posts as well.

They are finding their voice. “Ya know what really grinds my gears?,” asked one poster. “Mandatory attendance at extracurricular academic activities.” Entering the conversation openly and honestly is important. Learning how to state one’s case fairly and evenly is even more important. A “grind my gears” post is a good way to express frustration and call for solutions. The act of writing it down helps the thinking process.

They are getting invaluable experience in new media. Blogging didn’t exist when i took journalism classes at IU. These skills are invaluable. And sure, blogging will fade away but the next online communication mechanism built on it will be just as important for our future leaders to understand. Imagine: the blogging undergrad of today might just be tomorrow’s library director.

They are interacting with University officials. The “Bullet found on Campus” story generated buzz and one young reporter found herself chatting with Dean Carlson not only about the story but about the journalism program. “After the 45 minute discussion Carlson and I shared, I left his office feeling fabulous about the possibilities DU can provide future journalists. I was enthusiastic to see how receptive, appreciative and understanding Carlson was in hearing what, why, when and how I think new courses would dramatically enhance the journalism curriculum…” Here’s another example of that interaction.

They are asking important questions. This post really interested me: within our MyDU Web site, photos are featured prominently, including some of students who did not know they were being photographed. “Perhaps the mystery photographer was trying to capture the “essence” of Dominican. I still don’t think it would have been ridiculous for the photographer to ask for permission, or at least make the students aware that Dominican was going to use the photos. What do you think about this? Would you care if this happened to you? Do you find it creepy, or not a big deal?” As we all deal with our online lives and “digital dossiers,” asking these questions about photos, privacy, student rights and the University are important in deciding how we might share ourselves. 

They are marketing Dominican University in a way that no PR campaign ever can. I really appreciated the varied voices, the honesty and the range of topics. As I said above, I’ve learned more about what’s up with our students and the way they see the University than any other online offering available. Google loves blogs and future students will find this blog and the voices and it may just help them decide to come to school here.

Well done, DominiNET!