Q&A with teachj.wordpress.com author Robert Courtemanche

This is the first in a series of Q&As we will be running with journalism teachers who run their own blogs or websites separate from what they are doing at school. Our first site is www.teachj.wordpress.com run by Robert Courtemanche from Houston, Texas.


1. What is your name?

Robert Courtemanche

2. What is your blog/website URL?
www.teachj.wordpress.com

3. What is the focus for your blog/website?
The focus of my site is the sharing of resources for journalism and media teachers.  There are too few textbooks, etc. on the subject, so I wanted to find and record online resources for teaching journalism and media.

4. Why did you decide to create one?

At first the site was more for my own use than anything else.  But as I grew the site, my audience grew too.

5. How did you gain the skills needed to run your blog/website?
Using WordPress is easy.  I’ve had a website since about ’98, but this one is the first one devoted to journalism education.

6. What benefits have come from running your own blog/website?

I’ve made a lot of new teacher friends from all over the country – San Francisco to Maine.  I’ve also learned a lot and stored up a lot of useful resources.

7. Would you say your personal blog/website has made you more or less hands-on with the student site in your program? How so?

About the same.  I find it is hard to get a student to run the website who is reliable.

8. In what other ways has having your own blog/website helped you in the classroom?
It has given me an outlet for my frustrations and a place to organize my thoughts.  It also has given me a world of teachers who will share in both my successes and failures.

9. What advice do you have for someone looking to build their own blog/website?

Do it.  It’s easy and worth the time.  I usually only have to devote 1-2 hours a week to new posts or comments.  The software is free.  What are you waiting for?

10. Anything you’d like to add?

I’m glad I started this blog nearly three years ago.  It has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done outside the classroom.  It has made me a better teacher in subtle ways, but it has helped me to connect to the bigger world of journalism education.  Most j-teachers are solo performers on their campus.  Blogging helps us to have a department of journalism teachers out there to help when the going gets tough.

*If you are in JEA and run your own site or blog, drop us an email and let us know. We’d love to highlight your site as well.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 20th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He created The Next 26 and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on Twitter and Instragram @manfull and on Snapchat as aaronmanfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

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