Thanks to a lot of long-range planning, we were able to secure co-sponsors and time slots for the following programs at the 2007 AEJMC Convention in Washington, D.C., to be held Aug. 9-12 (yep, Thursday through Sunday this year, although we made sure that COMJIG programming is done by mid-afternoon Saturday).
1. Mini-plenary, “The Community as a Teaching Resource,” co-sponsored with Civic and Citizen Journalism, Graduate Education, and Magazine. The idea for this mini-plenary came from three panel proposals to COMJIG and one each to CCJIG, GEIG, and Magazine Division, all of which wanted to focus on the challenges and benefits of community journalism-based exercises, projects, and programs. Peggy Kuhr and I hand-wrote the proposal Saturday night before the “chip auction,” and we managed to lock in one of four coveted mini-plenary slots on the first day of the convention. Special thanks to COMJIG members Patricia Thomas (Georgia) and George Daniels (Alabama) for their panel proposals, which we have folded into the mini-plenary. The mini-plenary will be at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, with COMJIG as lead sponsor.
2. COMJIG founder and immediate past head Jock Lauterer (North Carolina-Chapel Hill) struck an early deal with his colleague at UNC, Monica Hill (chair of the Scholastic Journalism Division) to co-sponsor “Grow Your Own: Nurturing a Newsroom from Local Schools.” That panel is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, with COMJIG as lead sponsor.
3. Peggy Kuhr and good bud Andrea Breemer Frantz (Wilkes), who is head of the Civic and Citizen Journalism Interest Group, managed to lock in a co-sponsored panel called “Using blogs to create and strengthen community ties,” scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. Again, COMJIG is lead sponsor.
4. To better serve COMJIG members who work in the broadcast media, we are co-sponsoring a pair of panels with the Radio-Television Journalism Division. The first one, scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, is “The Digital Newsroom: Training Broadcast Students to Work with Shared Workflows,” and as co-sponsor we can suggest panelists from small-market stations to participate and share their experiences. Then on Friday at 11:45, COMJIG is lead sponsor with RTVJ on “If All Politics is Local, Then ... Why Aren’t Community Journalists Doing More Coverage of Congressional Officials?,” for which RTVJ is to provide some panelists from its membership.
5. To make sure that we keep our research mission front and center, our sole-sponsored research paper session will be held on the first day of the convention (Thursday, Aug. 9), at 5 p.m., right before the keynote address. We also have up to six slots for the scholar-to-scholar session from 1:30-3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10.
6. Because so many COMJIG members also are CCJIG members, we decided to hold our member meetings at the same time and in the same place this year. Peggy and Andrea (of CCJIG) will be lining up an off-site location for the joint meeting, scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Friday, to be “followed” by a group social. Stay tuned for more details about this crossing of the IGs.
7. Peggy and I will be working the day before the convention, as we are scheduled to defend COMJIG’s existence during our group’s first formal assessment session with Council of Divisions. We will be coming to the membership over the next few months as we gather information and launch some new initiatives to ensure we maintain our status as an IG in Good Standing.
That’s it for now. Thanks again to all of you who submitted panel ideas ... of the nine we received, we were able to sponsor six in whole or in part during the chaos of the midwinter meeting, and I hope you all like the lineup we were able to negotiate and schedule.
Bill Reader, Ohio University
vice head / program chair