I rarely agree with New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks. About anything. But the first graph of his column today grabbed me as precisely the issue I’m struggling with in my multimedia class. I feel obligated to make sure my students can write in all the required New Media formats: blogging, Twittering, podcasting, vodcasting, blahcasting,….so I require multimedia final projects with writing/word requirements. With all the technology required, and the need for students to get up to speed, I’m often left scrambling to do quickie tutorials on basic writing and reporting issues that in my old school days I’d spend as much time as we needed to get it right. Where’s the line? What am I giving up? What am I gaining? What do I owe my students? How do I train students for jobs not yet imagined? I keep hearing and reading that the “old” skills of accuracy, clarity, fairness, writing, editing, newsworthiness, etc… are — and will always be — the most crucial skills. So why do I feel so pulled to shorter and shorter writing, to Twittering my way through teaching?
Here’s David Brooks on the subject. I fear he’s right.
Everything becomes a shorter version of itself. Essays become op-eds. Op-eds become blog posts. Blog posts become Twitter tweets. The Sidney Awards stand athwart technology, yelling stop. They are awarded every year to some of the best examples of long-form journalism and thought.