Thursday, December 04, 2008

In the crowd

Wednesday was a hectic workday and today a juggling day.

I launched a survey of the faculty and staff of MU yesterday afternoon. It was created by a class, but I'm constantly online tweaking it and working with respondents.

And I'm doing that while trying to pay attention at the Information Valet conference. Poorly paying attention, that is.

That said, it's nice to be sitting in a crowd that has more working journalists than academics. So I should get my attention back to them ...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mental coffee

It's amazing how being busy can clear your mind. You'd think that a landslide of expectations and obligations would smother your sense of direction. But somehow it acts like that morning cup of coffee -- it focuses me on the task at hand.

Tuesday is a non-teaching day for me. Which really means it is a bust-your-bottom day. As this was the penultimate Tuesday before the term ends, it came with an extra level of urgency.

My research class -- cleverly called "Solving Practical Problems" -- is supposed to have its final survey in the field this week. Thanksgiving, procrastination and technical foibles got in the way, however. I spent the morning and much of the afternoon reformatting their questions so the online survey would actually work

During "breathers," I processed the 61 email messages that had arrived since midnight. That meant I had to answer sets of questions from two student researchers -- one from California and the other from New York -- who solicited me as an "expert." And field a half dozen questions about a GPS project I'm toying with. And find the revised dissertation I was supposed to read and approve.

But I took time to have lunch with Associate Dean Brian Brooks, my mentor and guide in the academic world. He wanted me to explain how I was working with Missouri community newspapers for my editorial writing class and to explore how we might expand the idea. He is always a great sounding board.

So now I'm hammering away at this blog before I have to leave for a meal with a church "Dinners for 8" group. Wednesday I teach, then jump into the RJI "Information Valet" conference.

Monday, December 01, 2008

This is your (insert adjective) life

I've never been excited about diary blogs. I like to write about my experiences, but not about the play-by-play.

But if you have read the notes to the left, you know I have discovered Twitter. I'm fascinated by how much one can express in a mere 140 characters. That fascination led me to revisit my view on diaries.

The actual driver was the blue mood I found myself in after assigning a group of students to write a "This I believe" essay. I realized that I had never made that type of statement myself and should put my ego where my mouth is.

Twitter is fun, but I've too long stayed away from more traditional writing. So I'll give it a try for the next few weeks. Perhaps documenting my daily thoughts will give me insight to what I believe -- or don't believe.