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April 29 2012

20:32

.@Ona receives $50,000 Gannett grant to continue free digital training

Journalists.org :: The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, today announced its fourth year of free digital training, thanks to a renewed grant from the Gannett Foundation. The $50,000 in funding enables ONA to continue one of its most popular and valued programs, ONACamp, which so far has visited nearly 1,000 journalists in communities throughout the United States to update their media skills.

Via Jim Brady, Editor-in-Chief at Digital First Media and President of The Online News Association, ONA:

Thanks to Gannett for its $50K grant to @ONA to support free digital training for journalists: journalists.org/2012/04/27/ona…

— Jim Brady (@jimbradysp) April 29, 2012

Continue to read journalists.org

April 25 2012

05:16

J-student experiment in live-video streaming of a moving protest

The Digital News Test Kitchen :: CU reporting student Audrey Neidenbach used a Mobile Reporting Kit, an iPod Touch, and a Verizon 4G Mifi mobile hotspot to live-stream video (via Ustream.com) of some of the events of the 4/20 marijuana-law protest on the CU-Boulder campus. Her reports are compiled here as a series of video clips.

Continue to read testkitchen.colorado.edu

Tags: Education

April 24 2012

16:33

Study: J-school grads’ unemployment rate better than average

Poynter :: Recent college graduates with an undergraduate degree in journalism have a 7.7 percent unemployment rate, a new Georgetown University study says. Experienced grads have a 6 percent rate, and people with graduate degrees in journalism have only a 3.8 percent unemployment rate.

Continue to read Andrew Beaujon, www.poynter.org

Tags: Education

April 23 2012

16:31

Harvard Faculty Advisory Council: Cancel periodical subscriptions of electronic journals

Harvard :: We write to communicate an untenable situation facing the Harvard Library. Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive. This situation is exacerbated by efforts of certain publishers (called “providers”) to acquire, bundle, and increase the pricing on journals.

The Faculty Advisory Council to the Library, representing university faculty in all schools and in consultation with the Harvard Library leadership, reached this conclusion: major periodical subscriptions, especially to electronic journals published by historically key providers, cannot be sustained: continuing these subscriptions on their current footing is financially untenable. Doing so would seriously erode collection efforts in many other areas, already compromised.

Harvard University now advising faculty to publish only in Open Access journals hvrd.me/Jsz9G6 #science #knowledge

— Jared Keller (@jaredbkeller) April 23, 2012

Continue to read here From: The Faculty Advisory Council, isites.harvard.edu

Tags: Education
14:00

A Progress Report on a College Paper's Pioneering Metered Pay Wall

It was just over a year ago that a college newspaper in Oklahoma became a digital media pioneer.

In what was believed to be a first for a college news outlet, The Daily O'Collegian at Oklahoma State University began charging for online content. Sure, the Wall Street Journal, Times of London and other professional publications had already gone for pay walls, but college newspapers are known for being a free and readily available resource on campus and online. As one commenter put it when the news broke, "They might as well charge a million dollars."

Bloggers and media watchers shared the skepticism. Why restrict access to work by student journalists who need all the exposure they can get? Who would pay for student content? Should they even have to, given that student newspapers are more about training future journalists and serving a campus community than turning a profit?

The O'Colly's decision to charge was more of a "why not?" than a grab for riches or precedent. General manager Ray Catalino figured it was worth placing a value on the outlet's content, and said he'd be happy if 100 subscribers signed up in the first year.

With that year now up, how is it going? Was it indeed a pioneering move in the march to monetize online content, or another failed experiment in the wild west of the web world?

Of course, the answer isn't simple or even fully formed yet.

The Update

paywallocollegian.png

The O'Collegian worked with a company called Press+ to launch what both call a "metered system" in March 2011. After viewing three free articles within a month, readers outside a 25-mile radius of the Stillwater campus and without an .edu email address were asked to pay $10 for a year of unlimited access. Those who said yes will be automatically renewed each year unless they cancel.

Press+ launched in 2010 and counts media entrepreneur Steven Brill among its three co-founders. The company works primarily with professional outlets to monetize online content through donation solicitation and metered systems. (Brill repudiates the term "pay wall" because readers are usually given some free content before being asked to pay. Others just call that a softer pay wall.)

A year in, Catalino's admittedly informal goal of 100 paid subscribers was met and exceeded. On the one-year anniversary, there were 156 paid subscribers, and as of last week there were 177. Not a windfall, considering the paper has a print circulation of 25,000 and a regular online audience of 2,000, but enough that Catalino recently upped the annual fee to $15 for new subscribers.

There wasn't any national news on the OSU campus that might have lured a burst of new paid subscribers. They came slow and steady, never exceeding three per day. Looking ahead, Catalino has budgeted $3,000 to $4,000 in revenue from online subscribers for the next fiscal year -- again, a mere drop in the outlet's $700,000 budget, but a drop nonetheless.

"The pay wall to me is almost a no-brainer," Catalino said. "It's very simple to implement; it's basically a technical change, and the money comes in. And as long as you're providing good content, it continues. So it has very little cost, has a nice upside and very little downside, in my opinion."

So how is it going? Well enough that the O'Colly will keep charging, and might even further up the price if readers continue to show a willingness to pay. But it's no cash cow and likely won't be anytime soon.

The Impact

Once anathema in the wide open world of the Internet, the idea of charging for online news content is becoming more comfortable for publishers squeezed by plummeting print subscriptions, declining ad sales, and few other revenue options.

Press+ began with 24 clients. Another 300 have signed up since then, and still more are devising their own pay systems and seeing some success, the most prominent example being The New York Times. Those who sign up with Press+ generally pay a set-up fee of a few thousand dollars and hand over 20 percent of revenue.

The O'Collegian was the company's first college publication, but others quickly followed suit, including Boston University's Daily Free Press, the Kansas State Collegian and Tufts University's Tufts Daily. Grant money from the Knight Foundation covered the set-up fee for those that got in early, including the O'Collegian, but Press+ now offers colleges a 10 percent discount as an enticement.

steven_brill.jpg

Brill says college newspapers are not a huge business priority for Press+ and counts about 50 on the client list, but he predicts that more and more will turn to the company for help with either seeking donations (the option most current clients choose) or charging for online content.

"We wanted to seed the landscape there and have them benefit from it," Brill said of colleges. "We'll probably have twice the number today by next winter. It's worked well, and it's easy. It doesn't take any work on their part. It's found money."

Brill says the company's geo-location technology is crucial for college outlets because they can aim pay requirements solely at readers outside the campus community, preserving limitless access for students, faculty members, and local residents. If a mega-story breaks and a college newspaper wants full exposure for its content, it can exempt that coverage from the metered system.

The Implications

So the Press+ client list proves that at least some college papers are willing to ask online readers for money, and OSU's first year suggests that at least some readers are willing to comply. Neither addresses the question of whether student publications should make this move.

Dan Reimold, a journalism professor and student media adviser at the University of Tampa in Florida, wrote in January 2010 that college media "should ignore the siren song of pay walls." Why? Because as professional outlets increasingly wall off their online content, college media might become a viable alternative for readers, and because student journalists deserve maximum exposure for their work.

Reimold's opinion today is essentially unchanged. He applauds the O'Collegian for taking the lead on new ways to make money. And he obviously recognizes the significance of their decision to charge, because he broke the news of it on his blog, College Media Matters, in January 2011. But he worries about the long-term implications of a world in which online student content is increasingly restricted.

"I still feel strongly that it is not such an effective revenue technique that it should trump the main purpose of the student press, which is enabling students to get exposure for their work and hopefully join a larger conversation that will help them learn more about the process of reporting things to the world," Reimold said. "The learning vehicle aspect should trump the notion of restricting access."

Brill counters that his company has found no evidence that charging for content restricts the number of unique visitors to a site. If people don't want to pay, they might stop reading for that month, but they return the next month.

Personally, I'm not convinced that access to a student's work, and therefore valuable exposure for that student, remains unchanged in a pay wall world. How can it, when a reader might have read 10 stories but stops at five because he or she won't pay for more?

At the same time, I'm not sure the siren song should be avoided. Professional news publications must find new revenue sources to survive, and their online content does have value. If readers don't agree, that's that. But if they are willing to pay, and remarkably it looks like many are, then why not keep this trend rolling? And why not train future publishers, editors and reporters (not to mention consumers) that it's OK to put a price on such work?

Alexa Capeloto is a journalism professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/City University of New York. She earned her master's degree at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, and spent 10 years as a metro reporter and editor at the Detroit Free Press and the San Diego Union-Tribune before transitioning into academia.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

08:05

Student experiment: Is Pinterest useful to document breaking news event?

The Digital News Test Kitchen | University of Colorado Boulder :: Pinterest is the new star in the social-media scene, having grown in its short life to the third-largest online social network behind Facebook and Twitter. It can boast of being the fastest-growing digital social-media service ever; its growth rate eclipses historical growth rates in the early years of both Facebook and Twitter.

Is Pinterest a useful tool for documenting a significant news event?

An experiment - Continue to read CU JMC, testkitchen.colorado.edu and also here.

Visit CUIndependent http://www.cuindependent.com/

Visit NewsTeamBoulder http://newsteamboulder.org/ 

Visit 4/20 Pinterest http://pinterest.com/dnewskitchen/4-20-at-cu-boulder/

Visit Mobile 420 Coverage on Ustream Channel link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/4-20-at-cu-boulder

April 20 2012

17:42

Journalism Inside®

I wonder whether we should be teaching journalists to embed themselves and their abilities into the world rather than always making the world come to them. Thinking out loud…

The other day, when Amazon peeved me by suddenly trying to sell me software — who has bought a box of software in years? — it occurred to me: After software left store shelves, demand for the programmers who make it has only grown. So why, as newspapers, magazines, and books leave shelves, is there not more demand for the journalists who make them?

Companies are clamoring to hire more programmers and investors are dying to back what they do. Everybody wants more code inside their endeavors. So imagine an economy in which companies and investors want journalism inside: “We need to get us some journalists!”

It’s not quite as insane as it sounds if we rethink what a journalist does. Journalists and programmers aren’t really so different. In the the research on innovation and news we commissioned at the Tow-Knight Center, Nick Diakopoulos notes their similarity: “One of journalism’s primary raisons d’être is in gathering, producing, and disseminating information and knowledge…. What is perhaps most interesting about these processes is that they can, in theory, all be executed either by people, or by computers.” Nick’s point is not that technology would replace journalists but instead that technology provides new opportunities for news.

Programmers and journalists create similar value — or they could. Each makes sense of information. Technology brings order to the flow of information; journalists ask the questions that aren’t answered in that flow. Each brings new abilities to people — functionality (in software terms) or empowerment (in journalistic terms). But programmers don’t produce products so much as they produce ability: your ability to get what you want. Shouldn’t journalism act like that? Shouldn’t we teach them to?

Imagine a perpendicular universe in which an organization or community says: “We need someone to help make sense of this information, who can add context to it or find and fill in missing pieces or present it in a way that will make sense to people — as a narrative or a visualization. We need to get us a journalist.”

It so happens that our entrepreneurial journalism students just had the treat of hearing from Shane Snow of the startup Contently. He is offering a service to companies — brands in particular — that are indeed asking the question above. Brands, haven’t you heard, are becoming media. Instead of placing their ads around others’ content, brands are putting content around their ads. Contently lets them search its 4,000 writers’ profiles and use its reputation system to find the right writer or community manager or video maker or infographic whiz. Contently also offers to manage these tasks.

Isn’t that just PR, working for a brand? No, Shane says, because Contently provides writers to make content an audience will value instead of a message a company wants to get out. Messaging is marketing. This is more analogous to the soap opera model — or the show Northern Exposure: P&G underwrote those shows so it would have a place to put its ads. Now more brands are doing that on the web. YouTube, too, is underwriting the creation of independent content — without owning it — just so more people will have more good stuff to watch there. Advertising still subsidizes content but the chicken and the egg are trading places.

But funny you should mention PR. Its role, too, changes. In What Would Google Do? I spoke with Rishad Tobaccowalla, strategist for Publicis, and we thought of a reverse world in which public relations exists to represent the public to the company, not the other way around (a professionalization of Doc Searls’ Vendor Relationship Management). We now see companies looking for that skill. They call it community management but that’s a misnomer unless you mean it in Doc’s context: that the community manages the company (the company doesn’t manage the community).

As I wrote this, I got a lucky visit from Kevin Marks, now of Salesforce, ex of Apple, Google, and Technorati, who teaches me much about technology. He posed the programmer-v-journalist comparison another way, arguing that each models the world, one with algorithms, one with narrative (and each faces the problem of “imperfect mapping”). He called it the tension between the storyteller and the builder.

That’s a very telling contrast for journalism schools. Many of our students want to build things, which we encourage, but we constantly struggle with balancing technology and tools vs. journalism and its skills in the time we have to teach. There’s also a tension regarding what they build: journalists pride themselves on being storytellers but is that all they should build? They might build visualizations of data — which, yes tells a story, sans narrative — but shouldn’t they also build tools that enable the public to dig into its own information (see: Texas Tribune) and platforms that let them share their information?

These new opportunities have led some to believe we should turn out the mythical journalist-coder, the hacking hack who does it all. I am not so sure that unicorn lives in nature. Yes there are some; it’s possible they exist. But I don’t think that journalists must become coders to take advantage of new technologies. They need to know how to work with the coders, how to spec and modify and use these tools. They need to understand and exploit the opportunities.

They also need a different culture. Rather than seeing ourselves as the creators (and owners) of products (content), shouldn’t journalists — like coders — see themselves as the providers of services, as the builders of platforms, as the agents of empowerment for others? That’s how developers see themselves. They build things, yes, but no longer shrink-wrapped. They build tools people use; they add value to information they produce. Journalists, in addition, have seen themselves speaking for the little guy but as Kevin Marks put it to me, that role becomes subsumed by the network when the little guys can speak for themselves. Still, there’s value in using new tools to help them do that. Is that a new journalism or is that a new PR? Gulp! Depends on who gets there first.

So where do journalists fit in in the world? And what do we teach them?

Well, we still start by teaching what my dean calls the eternal verities: accuracy, fairness, completeness. Implicit in that is a sense of service and given the rise of the network we need to consider what our fundamental service is.

We teach them to gather, make sense of, present, and most importantly supplement information through reporting — but there are now so many new ways to do that, so now we don’t just teach reporting but also data skills.

We teach them to build — yes, stories, but now in more forms, and also more than stories: tools and platforms.

We also teach them to build businesses. We teach them sustainability.

We teach them to go out into their communities, but now I say we need to make them see that they are a part of and not separate from those communities, no longer envisioning ourselves at the center, gathering everyone’s attention, but instead at the edge, serving their needs, providing communities elegant organization. This is a difficult skill to teach. Since starting what we call interactive journalism (not “new media”) at CUNY, I’ve struggled with finding ways for the students to have a public with whom to interact. One way we’ve done it is The Local with The New York Times, but we need more ways.

If we consider the programmer worldview, then we need to teach journalists how to fit in to the world differently, to spread their skills and value (and values) out into other enterprises, institutions, and communities rather than making the world come to us for journalism: Need some reporting, some editing, some sense-making, some empowerment, some organization, some storytelling, some media making…? “We need to get us some journalism!”

Now, of course, the journalists will worry that when working in the employ of others, they lose the independence that their journalistic institutions afforded them (so long as those companies were rich monopolies). That is well worth the worry. But again, consider the programmer who brings her skills to an enterprise but still must decide whether the enterprise is worthy of them. Consider, too, how programmers work in open-source to spread their value — and grow it — among anyone who sees fit to use it. They don’t own coding the way we thought we owned the news. They spread it.

Shouldn’t we spread journalism out beyond our walls as not only a skill set but also a worldview, getting more people to see and create a demand for the value of accurate and reliable information (“trust is the new black,” says Craig Newmark), organized information, context, and so on? Shouldn’t we want to embed journalism the way programmers embed code? Then we wouldn’t just teach journalists to go to work for news organizations — or, for that matter, start them — but also to organize news everywhere? Whether and how to do that, I’m just beginning to wonder….

/thinkingoutloud

13:27

Facebook Groups for Schools Raises Concerns

The explosive growth of online social media sites specifically targeted at schools has compelled Facebook to edge its way back into the fertile ground of college campuses. Last week, the company announced a new feature available only to students and faculty with an active .edu email address, Groups for Schools. It's billed to be exclusive -- even alumni and perspective students aren't allowed in, limiting the scope of the groups and creating something that approximates the intimacy that was Facebook's strong suit when it first launched.

Groups for Schools is meant to network students in the same university community for social or extracurricular events, but also includes elements that make it useful as a study tool, like the popular platform Edmodo and a number of other similar sites that have cropped up. It allows students and teachers who are members of a group designated to a particular class, for example, to share comments on a class discussion and reading, as well as to share class materials like notes, assignments and calendars, up to 25MB.

The concerns

But just a week into its launch, red flags are already being raised. One of the main concerns that has not been addressed by Facebook is the potential liability that students, faculty, and universities might face for file-sharing through Facebook. Many universities are already cracking down on file-sharing through school-owned Internet networks, and Facebook's new tool adds yet another facet to the complicated question. Additionally, schools must consider intellectual property right issues. Facebook's terms and conditions specify that is has a transferable license to use any content associated with Facebook. Would that be the case for student-produced work? Facebook has not updated its terms and conditions to reflect the new product, so that remains to be seen.

5600215736_b6d0ac73a9-300x192.jpg

Another complaint is that by creating Groups for Schools, Facebook is undermining apps already built by partner developers, like Inigral, which markets itself as a way for universities to increase enrollment and retention through social networks that meet student needs. Now Groups for Friends will offer almost the same service. Inigral founder Michael Staton says the company isn't too concerned about Facebook's new product because the more students communicate with one another, the better it will be for their business. But there is a sense that Facebook is an unwieldy landlord, who doesn't pay much attention to the innovations of others that use its platform.

A different conversation

Another criticism of Groups for Schools is that it doesn't inspire the kind of online discussion other education-related social media sites do. When Facebook tested the product at Oberlin College, a small liberal arts school in Ohio, for example, the students simply weren't active in groups that formed -- in some groups, the creator was the sole member, according to an e-campusnews article. One theory behind the flop at Oberlin is that Facebook is an escape for many students and they'd prefer to keep it unconnected to their academic pursuits.

One very noteworthy aspect of the new Groups for Schools is that it loosens the privacy settings so that any Facebook user with an .edu email address that corresponds to the individual university can be messaged. On the rest of Facebook's network, two users must be "friends" to exchange messages. While the new looseness in privacy settings might work out fine at a small school like Oberlin where people might even know each other in person, it could be more disconcerting at a larger school like University of Washington or Texas A&M, where much of the student body is just as much a stranger as any other random Facebook user.

Groups for Schools is still rolling out and will eventually be available at higher education institutions across the globe.

Thumbs up graphic by Flickr user birgerking

mindshift-logo-100x100.pngThis post originally appeared on KQED's MindShift, which explores the future of learning, covering cultural and tech trends and innovations in education. Follow MindShift on Twitter @mindshiftKQED and on Facebook.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

09:41

Twitter: lecture-hall resource or a waste of students' time? #leedsbjs

Guardian :: Most tutors would go mad if they caught you fiddling on your phone in the lecture hall, but students on media-related degrees are being told to do exactly that. As part of the broadcast journalism programme at the University of Leeds, we're told to sign up to Twitter – we're even given a hashtag (#leedsbjs) to help us interact. But what happens when students are asked to voice their opinions during lectures?

Continue to read Rosanna Pound-Woods, www.guardian.co.uk

04:33

The courses a student wishes he had taken

As he prepares to graduate, University of Oregon public relations student Sam Drake reflects on the courses he did not take:

  • Computer science: “To be able to code in Java, HTML, C++ or Python is one skill that is going to be extremely important in the coming years.”
  • Marketing classes: “If I could have taken a few marketing classes then I would have a better grasp of how the business world works.”
  • Language classes: “The last language class that I took was a Spanish class during my sophomore year of high school. After that, I never really used my Spanish speaking ability and have since lost most of my ability to speak it.”
  • Grammar: “I had taken J101 which is the equivalent to beginning grammar at the U of O but I never really got much out of that class. After an internship … I have come to the conclusion that I really need to learn how to write with better grammar.”

Read his full post here.

A lot of students tell me after graduation that they wish they had taken this or that — usually some technology-oriented courses that were offered as electives in our journalism program.

And why didn’t they sign up and take those courses when they had the chance? Only they can answer that.

04:33

The courses a student wishes he had taken

As he prepares to graduate, University of Oregon public relations student Sam Drake reflects on the courses he did not take:

  • Computer science: “To be able to code in Java, HTML, C++ or Python is one skill that is going to be extremely important in the coming years.”
  • Marketing classes: “If I could have taken a few marketing classes then I would have a better grasp of how the business world works.”
  • Language classes: “The last language class that I took was a Spanish class during my sophomore year of high school. After that, I never really used my Spanish speaking ability and have since lost most of my ability to speak it.”
  • Grammar: “I had taken J101 which is the equivalent to beginning grammar at the U of O but I never really got much out of that class. After an internship … I have come to the conclusion that I really need to learn how to write with better grammar.”

Read his full post here.

A lot of students tell me after graduation that they wish they had taken this or that — usually some technology-oriented courses that were offered as electives in our journalism program.

And why didn’t they sign up and take those courses when they had the chance? Only they can answer that.

April 18 2012

11:47

Two Stanford professors start Coursera: Free online education for the masses

VentureBeat .: Andrew Ng and co-founder Daphne Koller, two Stanford University professors and a dream to educate the world, that’s what started Coursera. The service offers university-level courses to anyone with an Internet for free and just raised $16 million from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “Imagine a future where the top universities are educating thousands of people,” said Ng in an interview with VentureBeat.

Continue to read Sarah Mitroff, venturebeat.com

April 15 2012

20:30

.@geoffdav: College for killing fields

King's Journalism Review :: They wore masks and they carried guns and Murray Brewster had no choice, but to do what they wanted. He was made to kneel while they took his wedding ring and his watch. They put a bag over his head. They dragged him into the woods. He was helpless. Brewster was being kidnapped, and it was only his first day of training. He’s been covering the war in Afghanistan for the Canadian Presssince everything went to hell in a hand basket in 2006.” He’s worked both solo and embedded with the military, spending eight months there over the course of four trips. But before any of that, CP sent him back to school.

How some dont bit.ly/x0CaB RT @StKonrath How journalists train to stay safe while covering hostile environments bit.ly/HULcut

— Geoff Davies (@geoffdav) April 15, 2012

Geoff Davies on Twitter

Continue to read Geoff Davies, kjr.kingsjournalism.com

20:07

How journalists train to stay safe while covering hostile environments

Poynter :: Before he ever stepped foot in Iraq, Washington Post reporter Ed O’Keefe had already navigated his way through landmines, used a tourniquet to help an injured person, and been ambushed. He did all this and more in a hostile environment training course that he took prior to a six-and-a-half week reporting stint in Iraq. The training, he said, helped prepare him for what to expect and made him more aware of the precautions he needed to take to stay safe.

Continue to read Mallary Jean Tenore, www.poynter.org

April 12 2012

20:01

Khristopher Brooks and a press release-style post: How to get fired before your first day

Huffington Post :: Most college students hope to land a nice-paying job in their field of study immediately after graduation. And for the most part, I was headed in that direction. I finished my last two classes of graduate school at New York University and I had a new job waiting for me at the Wilmington (Del.) News Journal. Although Gannett has developed somewhat of a bad reputation in regards to caring for its employees, I was excited to start my new job. For the first time in my career, my immediate editor was going to be someone I could relate to and I was going to be paid more than I've ever made in my life. I was so excited in fact, that I decided to announce my hiring in a press release-style post on my blogs.

Hat tip: Jeff Jarvis, RT of Jim Romensko

+1 RT @romenesko: Khristopher Brooks describes how he was fired after I posted his press release about being "acquired" huff.to/IIxmIa

— Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) April 12, 2012

Continue to read Khristopher Brooks, www.huffingtonpost.com

Tags: Education
04:00

The liberal arts portion of a journalism education

Model Curricula for Journalism Education is a 150-page document produced by UNESCO and published in 2007. Its contents are based on work done in 2005 by an international group of journalism educators.

While many details in the document (particularly the recommended books) are now quite out of date, the general principles and recommendations are still solid and useful.

Although my main concern usually centers on digital skills (visual, audio, code) for reporting and storytelling, I was intrigued by these two lists in the UNESCO document (pages 33–34):

Journalism and Society

  • A knowledge of the role of journalism in society, including its role in developing and securing democracy.
  • An ability to reflect on developments within journalism.
  • An understanding of how information is collected and managed by political, commercial and other organizations.
  • An awareness of the international flow of information and its effects on one’s own country.
  • A knowledge of the history of journalism and the news media in one’s own country and the world.
  • A knowledge of news media ownership, organization and competition.
  • A knowledge of the laws affecting the news media in one’s own country and the world.

Knowledge

  • A basic understanding of one’s own country’s system of government, its constitution, system of justice, political process, economy, social and cultural organization, and its relations with other countries.
  • A basic knowledge of the geography and history of one’s own country and the world.
  • A basic knowledge of science.
  • A specialized knowledge of at least one subject area important to journalism in one’s own country.

These are listed under “Journalism Competencies” (page 30) and follow a much longer list labeled “Professional Standards,” which includes research skills, writing skills, and a list with this unwieldy heading:

Skilled use of the tools of journalism in editing, designing, and producing material, for print, broadcast and online media, with an understanding of and ability to adapt to convergence and technological developments in journalism.

I noticed the absence of math skills, statistics, knowledge of economics, and computer programming skills from the lists.

Lacking skills and knowledge in those areas, a journalist is ill-prepared for reporting in today’s world.

Related post: 6 Proposals for Journalism Education Today (July 2011).

04:00

The liberal arts portion of a journalism education

Model Curricula for Journalism Education is a 150-page document produced by UNESCO and published in 2007. Its contents are based on work done in 2005 by an international group of journalism educators.

While many details in the document (particularly the recommended books) are now quite out of date, the general principles and recommendations are still solid and useful.

Although my main concern usually centers on digital skills (visual, audio, code) for reporting and storytelling, I was intrigued by these two lists in the UNESCO document (pages 33–34):

Journalism and Society

  • A knowledge of the role of journalism in society, including its role in developing and securing democracy.
  • An ability to reflect on developments within journalism.
  • An understanding of how information is collected and managed by political, commercial and other organizations.
  • An awareness of the international flow of information and its effects on one’s own country.
  • A knowledge of the history of journalism and the news media in one’s own country and the world.
  • A knowledge of news media ownership, organization and competition.
  • A knowledge of the laws affecting the news media in one’s own country and the world.

Knowledge

  • A basic understanding of one’s own country’s system of government, its constitution, system of justice, political process, economy, social and cultural organization, and its relations with other countries.
  • A basic knowledge of the geography and history of one’s own country and the world.
  • A basic knowledge of science.
  • A specialized knowledge of at least one subject area important to journalism in one’s own country.

These are listed under “Journalism Competencies” (page 30) and follow a much longer list labeled “Professional Standards,” which includes research skills, writing skills, and a list with this unwieldy heading:

Skilled use of the tools of journalism in editing, designing, and producing material, for print, broadcast and online media, with an understanding of and ability to adapt to convergence and technological developments in journalism.

I noticed the absence of math skills, statistics, knowledge of economics, and computer programming skills from the lists.

Lacking skills and knowledge in those areas, a journalist is ill-prepared for reporting in today’s world.

Related post: 6 Proposals for Journalism Education Today (July 2011).

April 10 2012

14:00

Mercer Center for Collaborative Journalism Aims to Put the 'Lab' in 'Collaboration'

April 1 marked my first month on the job as director of Mercer University's new Center for Collaborative Journalism. While the center doesn't open its doors until August, and the bulk of the program starts in late 2013, I already feel the pressure.

The vision established by Mercer, the Knight Foundation, and our media partners, The (Macon) Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting, could hardly be loftier -- not only establishing a new model for journalism education but also helping to transform local communities and save democracy itself. But it is the very audacity of that vision that, in two weeks' time, spun me around from plans to move to New York with my favorite magazine conglomerate to accepting an offer in Macon, Ga. (not long after telling my wife that Atlanta was "just too small" for me).

The ambition of the program is backed by $4.6 million in grants from the Knight Foundation and enabled by a unique collaborative arrangement between a liberal arts program, a public broadcaster and a daily newspaper. The center itself occupies the ground floor of a new development and houses the newsroom of The Telegraph, a McClatchy paper serving the region, and radio and television facilities for GPB. Students will take classes in the midst of a daily newsroom and radio station; some will even live in housing set aside for them above the center.

Students Embedded in Newsrooms

At the heart of the academic program is an adaptation of the medical school model of education. Students will train in a working newsroom, alongside professional journalists, throughout all four years of the program. Class projects will be integrated with the work of our media partners and the center's own digital news outlet (modeled after the University of North Carolina's reesenews).

Students will contribute to background research, shadow reporters, file reports, engage the community with social media, and perform most duties expected of a professional journalist. They will leave the program with a full portfolio of professional bylines, radio reports, and multimedia stories. This clinical model and high degree of collaboration offers students a truly unique experience.

Media Partners Working Together

Out of the gate, the community will benefit from the collaboration fostered in the center. GPB is tripling its local reporter presence and launching Macon Public Radio, making Macon the only community in Georgia, outside of Atlanta, to have significant locally focused public-radio programming. The university's journalism department is doubling its size and bringing in professionals skilled in digital media. And the combined efforts of The Telegraph and GPB allow for improved coverage.

The benefits of having a combined radio/newspaper newsroom were reinforced in a meeting with Dan Grech, news director at WLRN, which has a similar collaboration with The Miami Herald. (I believe we're the second outlet in the country to pursue this model.) Dan credits that collaboration with transforming WLRN's news department, allowing them to cover the area much better, with up to a four-fold increase in productivity. With all of the resources brought together by the center, we expect similarly transformational results.

Collaborating with the Citizens of Macon

While the collaboration of media partners and the university will fuel the center, I believe much of its success will depend on extending that collaboration. Students will need to leave the "Mercer bubble" to engage the community in new ways. Fortunately, that process began years ago, when Mercer went from an institution isolated by fences to a partner in the revitalization of, and a force for social justice in, Macon. The College of Liberal Arts implemented an experiential requirement, which often involves community service.

macon.jpg

For our student journalists to provide value and learn the real work of local journalism, they will need to view Macon as more than a stopping point on their way elsewhere. It will need to be their home and its citizens their collaborators in providing information, highlighting issues, and crafting solutions. Part of the center's grant provides for and requires two major community engagement projects each year -- projects where we seek the community's input on the issues most important to it and then work with our partners to investigate and report on those issues in depth.

The center will utilize tools such as the Public Insight Network, as well as low-tech, high-touch approaches, to engage the community in dialog. Various other community groups -- from a local television affiliate to the local arts alliance -- have already reached out to work with the center. Additionally, I envision working with local religious and civic organizations to get information to neglected segments of the community and to train their members in digital technology and media consumption.

Macon remains deeply divided along socioeconomic lines, with significant gaps in information dissemination and community attachment. By collaborating with existing organizations, the center has a real opportunity to help bridge the digital divide, close the information gap, and increase attachment.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The center is housed in Mercer's College of Liberal Arts, which offers many key resources for collaboration. When I was an undergrad, several journalists advised my fellow students and me to find specific disciplines to study and use journalism as a way to explore and talk about those subjects. That mindset will undergird our new curriculum, where various tracks will train students to be environmental journalists, business reporters, or critics of the arts.

Proper training goes beyond simple double majors. It requires joint efforts from the faculty to not only train students in the substance of these fields but also in the nuances of conveying specific knowledge to a general public and of staying on top of controversies and advancements in those fields. My vision for this type of integration tracks closely with the yearlong seminars that form the core of Columbia University's M.A. in Journalism.

Beyond those core curricular structures, I envision particularly close collaboration with schools and departments in areas at the heart of the disruption in, and the way forward for, journalism: computer science and engineering, design, business, and social entrepreneurship (another exciting new program at Mercer). In addition to formal training across these disciplines, faculty and students will work together to constantly experiment with new technology, designs, and business models.

The center aims to put the "lab" in "collaboration." Imagine a journalism graduate who understands the core terminology of web and mobile technologies, how to experiment with various solutions, and how to evaluate various business models -- or a computer science graduate who understands the language and needs of journalism and the core drivers of its economic models. Add to that, exposure to agile methodologies and a continuous deployment environment where experiments are routinely pushed out and evaluated. I can think of nothing more valuable to a graduating student or a potential employer.

Transformation

When I started a month ago, I wondered if our moniker was broad enough (and modern enough) to contain our vision. Perhaps it should focus on "media" or "digital media" and point to innovation as its core. But I've come to regard "journalism" as capturing the civic responsibility at the core of our mission and "collaboration" as something much broader than the partnership between the university and our primary media partners.

Collaboration is the modus operandi that will power the transformation we seek.

Much of this vision has yet to be fleshed out in operational detail, and much work remains to actualize it. Success is not guaranteed. We need sharp students, willing partners, and the right structure. It seems we have the first two and are on our way to the last element. Undergirding all of this are remarkable energy and excitement throughout the university, our partners, and the community. It will take decades for our students to filter out into society and impact democracy, but it seems that a small transformation of those directly involved has already begun.

What are some examples of innovation in journalism education or media collaboration that we should examine as we build toward the vision I've outlined above?

Above photo by Flickr user Taber Andrew Bain.

Tim Regan-Porter is the inaugural director of the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University. Previously, he was co-founder and president of Paste Magazine, where he created Obamicon.Me and the Paste mPlayer. Prior to Paste, he spent a decade in web development as solutions architect at IBM's e-Business national practice and director of development at Enterpulse.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this post mistakenly described April 1 as the author's first day on the job.







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March 29 2012

19:17

Tablets in the classroom could save schools $3b a year

AllThingsD :: A group of publishers and tech companies gathered in Washington today to talk about getting digital textbooks into U.S. classrooms. The gathering, convened by the FCC and the Department of Education, included everyone from Apple to Intel to McGraw-Hill, and it was premised on the idea that digitizing classrooms is a good thing. And for argument’s sake, let’s say it is. But not because doing so will save schools much money. At least not anytime soon. Here’s a report from the FCC that compares costs, per student, for a traditional classroom and one that uses tablets.

Continue to read Peter Kafka, allthingsd.com

February 03 2012

14:00

Mediatwits #36: Facebook IPO Fever; Dive into Media; $30 Million to Columbia/Stanford

Welcome to the 36th episode of "The Mediatwits," the weekly audio podcast from MediaShift. The co-hosts are MediaShift's Mark Glaser and Dorian Benkoil, who is filling in for Rafat Ali. It's been a crazy week in media + tech, with Google privacy concerns, Amazon falling short in earnings, and much more. But the dominant news was Facebook filing for an IPO, with demand to read its S-1 crashing the SEC's servers. The startup had $3.7 billion in revenues, with $1 billion in profits last year, and showed tremendous growth in users and advertising. Can anything slow down the juggernaut on the way to raising $5 billion in a public offering? We talked to special guest Nick O'Neill, founder of AllFacebook.com, who was impressed with the user engagement on the social networking site.

This week was also the "Dive into Media" conference put on by AllThingsD in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Special guest Peter Kafka programmed the show and interviewed many of the top execs on stage. He told us about the challenge of interviewing Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, a former improv comedian, as well as the mix of old and new media at the show. Finally, Columbia University's Journalism School and Stanford University's Engineering School received a $30 million gift from Helen Gurley Brown to create a new Institute for Media Innovation, marking the largest gift in the history of Columbia's J-School. Has digital media now arrived? Has the revolution been institutionalized?

Check it out!

mediatwits36.mp3

Subscribe to the podcast here

Subscribe to Mediatwits via iTunes

Follow @TheMediatwits on Twitter here

Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio's Music Alley.

Here are some highlighted topics from the show:

Intro and roundup

1:30: Questions about Google combining privacy policies

4:00: Google, Amazon fall short in earnings

5:50: Rundown of topics on the podcast

nick o'neill.jpg

Facebook IPO fever

7:00: Special guest Nick O'Neill of AllFacebook.com

10:00: Dorian: Each Facebook employee bringing in $1 million in revenues

11:35: O'Neill: Probably more than 60% of ad revenues from self-serving ad system

14:00: 12% of Facebook's revenues coming from Zynga

16:00: Special guest Peter Kafka

18:20: Advertisers still not sure about ROI on Facebook

D: Dive into Media

21:00: D conference tries out a niche conference for media + tech

22:45: Kafka: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo can zing you if you're not careful

peter kafka dive into media.jpg

23:45: Great insights from Hulu, YouTube execs

$30 million gift to Columbia/Stanford

28:10: Attempt to bring data and journalism worlds together

31:00: Bill Campbell, "The Coach," is an adviser on the project

32:45: Dorian: Era of digital media is here

More Reading

Microsoft Attacks Google Privacy Policy With Ads, Gmail Man at TPMIdeaLab

Facebook's IPO Filing is Here at Business Insider

Sean Parker, Chris Hughes And Eduardo Saverin Dumped Their Facebook Shares at AllFacebook

Well, Now We Know What Facebook's Worth--And It's Not $100 Billion at Business Insider

Facebook's Ad Business Is a $3 Billion Mystery at AllThingsD

Reminder: The $5 Billion Facebook IPO Won't Make You Rich at Gizmodo

Facebook's $5 Billion IPO, By The Numbers [CHARTS] at MarketingLand

The Facebook IPO: billion-user ambition at a $1bn price at Comment Is Free

Facebook and Don Graham Have Been Very Good to Each Other at Forbes

Dive into Media coverage at AllThingsD

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo: We're Not a Media Company. We're in the Media Business. at AllThingsD

Hulu Boss Jason Kilar: Who You Callin' Clown Co.? at AllThingsD

Columbia J-School and Stanford Eng Nab $30M Joint Gift for Media Innovation From Helen Gurley Brown at AllThingsD

Weekly Poll

Don't forget to vote in our weekly poll, this time prognosticating what you think Facebook will be worth:


What do you think Facebook's value will be in 5 years?

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+

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