College Media Convention – Day 2

Today was a full day for me at the College Media Convention. I spent most of the day in sessions related to software included in the new version of Adobe’s Creative Suite. I began by attending a session on one of the components of the suite I use the least: Adobe Illustrator. This vector graphics application has gone through a number of iterations during its history, and in earlier versions of the Creative Suite, Illustrator seemed to be one of the least integrated. The latest version appears to correct that issue, as Illustrator has become an integral part of Adobe’s Creative Suite 3.

Next was today’s plenary session. Unlike yesterday’s keynote speaker, today’s was rather ho-hum. You know you’re in trouble when a speaker spends the first five minutes asking the audience to “raise their hands if the think this will happen“ and ”raise their hands if they think that will happen.“ One or at most two questions like that are OK, but it gets old quick. Among other things, Sam Feist, CNN’s Political Director, spent a lot time talking about how important it was to be apolitical as a journalist. This from someone who holds the title ”Political Director“ seemed a bit odd. At times he sounded more like a public relations professional than a journalist, spending a lot of time extolling the virtues of CNN’s news policies. And although he tried hard to hide his political inclinations, he didn’t try hard to hide his distaste for Fox News Channel. I didn’t find myself disagreeing with most of Sam’s points, but I did find myself getting rather tired of his ”old school“ views of objectivity. One student tried to pin him down on whether objectivity was still possible today, a question he conveniently spun toward a critique of FNC. I really wasn’t surprised at Sam’s talk, as he works for one of the biggest names in the business. He has reason to play it safe and stick to the ”middle of the road.“ But is it any wonder why Fox, despite its obvious bias, is getting a lot better ”rating point per dollar“ return than CNN? When it comes right down to it, I think most news consumers today appreciate journalists who embrace their bias rather than try to hide it behind the increasingly thin curtain of ”objectivity.“ Even I would rather spend an hour watching Bill O’Reilly say patently stupid things than spend an hour in the ”Situation Room.“ Neither one is very good journalism, but at least the first is somewhat entertaining at times.

The rest of the day I spent attending sessions on the other components of the Creative Suite, including sessions on Flash video, Photoshop, In Design and Acrobat. I also had time to take in a session on blogging, which was quite interesting. I wish I could get more of my students at The Quad interested in blogging. Maybe someday.

After a full day of sessions, I took a group of editors from The Quad out to a place called ”The Reef“ for dinner. Although it looked a little iffy at first, it turned out to be a nice place to kick back and talk. The food was pretty good, and it was plentiful. And it gave me a chance to reconnect with some of my best students. Being on sabbatical, I kinda miss being around students, so it was nice to have the chance to interact with them again. What can I say? I guess I just like being around college kids.

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