Thursday, January 06, 2005

Everyone has one


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." --John F. Kennedy


Welcome to the University of Alabama's JN 412 Opinion Writing class. Yes. This is a blog. No. I've never had a blog before. Yes. You will have to post your work on this group blog. If I can do it, so can you.
The good news is that you can show case your work, comment on your classmates' work, comment on my comments, comment on your life, loves, pets and why you hate or love W, Alabama football or Taco Casa.

I am the group administrator and will take down anything that I determine: hateful, pornographic, slanderous or an expose on Alabama football program violations. Oh, and anything that begins with a Webster definition or in anyway whines about the lack of parking on campus.

In this class you will read everything from commentary written by award-winning syndicated columnists to sarcastic, outrageous, unknown bloggers. I abhor political correctness and have been known to fall over laughing while reading David Sedaris describe a stopped-up toilet in a guest bathroom. Dave Barry makes me laugh out loud and Maureen Dowd can cause me to snap a pencil in half. William Rasberry makes sense, William Safire enrages and enlightens and Nicholas Kristof sets my last nerve on edge. You will read and comment on some of the best, worst and cutting edge contemporary opinion writers. And a few dead ones.

I invite you into the world of opinion writing where your words have the power to influence others, cause change, shift paradigms, build bridges or completely embarrass you, your mother, your ex-girlfriend or your teacher.
Opinion writing is not for the fearful, the self-conscious or the thin-skinned. If you want privacy; buy a diary.




1 Comments:

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Fr. Rich Hasselbach said...

As a visitor from the outside world – and (heavens!) the North, please let me take the opportunity to congratulate you all on this innovative approach to education.

Blogs are the cutting edge of a new media - a media that has become amazingly powerful. Though most Americans haven’t read a blog – and probably couldn’t find one if they wanted to, blogs have already become powerful enough to shake the foundations of CBS, and influence the outcome of the last presidential election.

What you have here is more than a powerful educational tool - though a blog is that, too. This exercise is a safari into tomorrow's journalism - a more democratic and participatory mode of communicating news, observations, and opinions. With increased access cones the need to increase discernment. Not everything written on a blog is true. Of course the same could be said of the New York Times.

I hope you enjoy the adventure in the blogosphere. You certainly have an able guide. Good luck. And I hope you don't mind if I check back in on you all from time to time - after all, isn't the public and open nature of a blog what the medium is all about?


What you have here is more than a powerful educational tool - though a blog is that, too. This exercise is a safari into tomorrow's journalism, a more democratic and participatory of communicating news, observations, and opinions. I hope you enjoy the adventure. You certainly have an able guide. Good luck - I hope you don't mind if I check back in on you all from time to time - after all, isn't that what a blog is all about?

 

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