Q&A with Morethankids.com author Bryan Farley

This is the fourth 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 fourth site is www.morethankids.com run by Bryan Farley from California.

1. What is your name?
Bryan Farley

2. What is your blog/website URL?

3. What is the focus for your blog/website?
Something about photography and people, though I am not always sure. I try to sequence my posts or connect thematically.  I plan posts in advance, sometimes several posts in advance. And, I also try to include my personal life… not necessarily disclose details, but I try to be aware that my personal life drives every story.

4. Why did you decide to create one?
I decided to create a blog, because it seemed that every photographer was doing it. I wanted to market myself better and write about photography and education.  Increase SEO.

I bored myself after five minutes.

So, I started writing about anything that interested me. (Fortuanately, photography interests me, so I include photos.) I figure, if I am not interested, how can I expect someone else to be interested?

Some days, I still find myself boring. When that happens, I push myself until I interest myself.

5. How did you gain the skills needed to run your blog/website?
In much the same way that I have gained most skills. Failed often. Tried again. Failed some more. Kept trying. Repeated Process.

Latley, some people have told me that I write well. I find this unusual. I have rarely considered myself a good writer. However, I know how to spend two weeks and twenty hours on one blog post. And, sometimes, I really surprise myself.

6. What benefits have come from running your own blog/website?
I have learned to be comfortable with myself.  I still doubt myself often. When I find the doubt, I listen. My soul is telling me something. This often becomes a post, even if I wait for months. I have several drafts waiting for the moment or inspiration or the right photo.

I have also learned to listen to myself more. The writing/blogging/photos posting process does not have the same pace as public speaking. Blogging is interactive; it bypasses the immediate non-verbal cues. I am forced to reflect.

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?
Here is the one place where blogging has made me a better educator. Students respect educators who “practice what they preach.” For that
matter, everyone does. So, students respect me more, because they see me taking risks. Somehow, students respect me more as an educator for taking risks, and they can identify with me more too.

I am also able to respect students more for taking risks. I even respect them if they decide to wait and not take a risk.  I know the process. I remember what it feels like to put my heart out for others to judge or ignore. I remember what it feels like, because I did it last week or last night or right now.

And because I do that, I can also ask more of my students without the guilt or ignorance that I used to have.

8. In what other ways has having your own blog/website helped you in the classroom?
It goes further than Multiple Intelligences, but includes it. I have heard educators argue that technology removes control, but I find that I can increse contol about how I am perceived by my students and audience.

Students can learn about my background. Parents know that I am a committed father. If I am teaching photography or technology or journalism, a reader knows that I have some basic understanding of the subject.

People know I have epilepsy.

People know a lot, and they also know what I want them to know. Try searching for my name on google. I own my url (www.bryanfarley.com) . I have my photoshelter account. (bryan farley, photoshelter.)  I have my blog (www.morethankids.com) . Try finding something about me unless I created it.

9. What advice do you have for someone looking to build their own blog/website?
Ask others for help. Start. Have a plan.

10. Anything you’d like to add?
Here is the biggest thing.

We as a journalism community could do more to support those of us online. We can comment on posts. We can link to sites. We can help
generate interest for people we genuinely like. We can help market the types of conversations that we find helpful.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 26th 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 is the 2023 JEA Teacher Inspiration Award Winner 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 X and Instagram @manfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

Aaron Manfull has 868 posts and counting. See all posts by Aaron Manfull