Durham College prof launches social networking site for journalism students

Journalism schools can become a bit of an in-crowd. Students are tight with each other but get very few opportunities to connect with someone from another school. A Durham College journalism professor is trying to do just that—connect students from different j-schools across the world—with the newly launched Global Student Journalists, an online social network for journalism students.

Anna Rodrigues, who teaches a variety of journalism classes at Durham College in Oshawa, launched the program with the hopes that it would become a place where student journalists could meet and come together, but she also uses it as a teaching aid in her online publishing class. “I use it in my classroom because community online monitoring is become more important in the world of newspapers and even broadcast news stations,” said Rodrigues, who teaches her students the nitty-gritty of online publishing, right down to the process involved in determining which comments should be approved and which discarded.

Users can create profiles, connect with other students and post their own work—video, audio, text and images—to the site and receive feedback.

Currently the site is private and can only be viewed by registered users (and all new users must be approved by the admin), so for the time being it doesn’t serve a purpose larger than as a place for its 400-odd members to post their work and chat about j-school, but Rodrigues hopes to find a way to make the site less private while still allowing the users to feel comfortable posting their coursework online. “It’s still in its beta form,” she said. “We’ll be making changes in the future.”

But Rodrigues is already seeing the impact the project has had on journalism students across the globe. She’s received emails from students as far away as Iran and Colombia, praising the site and thanking her for creating a way for students from different countries to connect and talk about how things are done differently at their respective schools.