Grass-Roots Academic Podcasting

Liveblog of presentation by Jim Milles

He started podcasting for fun, but has also started one to get his faculty of law podcasting. Link from the front of his law school webpage to the podcast.

University at Buffalo Law School

The typical law school podcast is a recording of lectures, but tends to have a lot of extraneous recording (thanks to the faculty, sponsors, etc) until it gets to the meat of recording.

He is trying to get to the same information in another way. His law school has a strong public interest focus – they are involved in how law interacts with society; how society influences law?

Articles being written by faculty – a lot of the key ideas are buried deep in the articles. They are written for a very small audience, for colleagues in academia. Schools are starting to make this information available to the public, for example by uploading articles to SSRN.com or bpress.com .

They are starting to interview people to get to the key ideas from their articles. Most faculty have now heard of podcasting.

Law school faculty tend to have interests in wide-ranging areas of law not covered elsewhere. E.g. visiting professor from Russia speaking on sustainable forestry; visiting professor from Rutgers University speaking on transracial adoption and gentrification. Very dense, scholarly articles but in conversation it brings out the messages in a stronger way.

He typically records over dinner in a quiet restaurant (preferably side room), try to have wine, coffee and dessert. Jim edits it, adds intro and music, and posts quickly.

They have a heavy, busy schedule of these events, especially through the Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy – work on interdisciplinary areas of the law e.g. Children, Family and the Law; ClassCrits; Environmental Stewardship; Racial Justice; “Projecting Law” – the Law and New Media (including documentary film making for lawyers).

He is trying to bridge the gap between academic community and the local communities. He believes this is unique in law schools, and is an important way to bring the work that goes on to the public. It is a way to turn Buffalo into a thinktank to inform activist groups.

[blogger’s notes: The Q&A was excellent. I had it recorded but lost wifi connection briefly and lost those notes. If this subject is of interest to you, please check out the video recording from the wiki. Jim Milles will also be posting the audio to his podcast Check This Out! . Word to the wise: always back things up as you go along!!]

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