22 Jan Walt Whitman would be proud
In 1838, Walt Whitman was a pioneer in the news industry on Long Island. Starting in a barn behind Main Street in Huntington village, the 18-year-old, who had been trained in typesetting, started The Long-Islander weekly newspaper and traveled to surrounding communities in a horse and buggy to deliver news on the latest local and national happenings.
After less than a year, he sold the paper, and there are no surviving copies (at least that we know of) of editions from Whitman’s tenure as publisher and editor.
However, if you look at issues of the The Long-Islander available in online archives, the paper in its early years was full of poems, small snippets of local news and aggregated content from other publications — the latter of which reminds me a lot of today’s blogs, minus the links and multimedia.
Just as Whitman moved on from The Long-Islander, so did I this week. I am grateful to have briefly held the editor mantle of Whitman’s creation, but I got the opportunity to enter the online master’s program of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, as well as teach at Hofstra University and LIU Post.
With amazing support from my wife, family and friends, I’m in.
Among the first assignments for my Intro to Digital Communications class was to define digital convergence — essentially, the overlap of media platforms — and to examine our digital behaviors. On the second part, I think a peak at the top of my screen is a good indicator. I have 13 tabs open, from email, to Facebook, to Tweetdeck and Google Drive. My smartphone is at the ready, and I’ve checked in at the local coffee shop, where I’m writing this.
I was really thrilled to see the diverse group of people who are in the class with me. They’re smart, engaged and looking to make a difference in their lives and others.
I think Whitman would have loved to be part of the group.