Observations of an American journalist in Azerbaijan, Russia and USA.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Yesterday, we added a dozen more bloggers to the Internet. My students here in Zaqatala say they plan to write about subjects such as soccer, local history, journalism, and local current events. The process of getting them all registered and signed up for blogs is a little stressful, because not all of them are very computer savvy. But it's worth it.
I should note that the main lecturing and instruction on blogs is provided by Emin of Transitions Online. He's been visiting my classes since Baku, and I'd like to think we've improved our approach since that class in the late spring.
We've learned a few things. One is that the young students are more receptive to learning these new forms of communication. They are less likely to be intimidated or bored. And we've learned that the theory needs to have real application. It's not just about telling the students about what blogs are. They sign up and get started blogging during the class.
Does this have a political impact? Perhaps. Several of the students told me they intend to write about what is happening in their community. This is news reporting, even if it's not done for a newspaper. And it is far less likely to be censored than a newspaper. Like most political change, the change created by these blogs will mostly occur slowly. But that doesn't mean that it is less real.