Urghhhhhhhh: innovation, brain good

NEW ORLEANS – Journalism is NOT dead. It’s un-dead.

And not in the rotting kind of way. I mean it will never die, because people will always need information about their communities and world – gathered, vetted and delivered by credible and ethical wordsmiths.

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And you should see me with makeup…

About 75 college journalism students had the chance to practice those skills at an innovative event created by SPJ Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky and former national SPJ board member Gideon Grudo. They called it Zombie Stories, and I had the honor to witness it Saturday in New Orleans with my own decaying eyes.

The students, donning special white T-shirts, interviewed local zombies. If the students asked good questions then their brains were spared. If not, the zombies splashed blood on their shirts. The best questions were judged and winners honored.

Koretzky had me done up zombie-style to serve, and it was a hoot. Nobody asked “How do you feel?” which is good because I was, well, a zombie. Some asked how I came to be a zombie and, of course, I had to say it evolved gradually as a corporate newsroom manager. A lot of students seem fixated on how zombies have sex, and all I could say is there is a lot of moaning and groaning involved.

I was thoroughly impressed with the students and the programming. Koretzky has helped create other amazing activities, such as Will Write for Food. We need this kind of bright thinking more than ever in journalism, particularly with the fracturing of journalism organizations, such as College Media Association and Associated Collegiate Press.

More on that later this week, and how we as journalism groups should seek more collaborations, not separations.

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