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April 30 2012

14:00

Student Photojournalists Arrested; What Are Their Rights?

As student journalists increasingly arm themselves with mobile phones for multimedia newsgathering in the field, more may find themselves on a collision course with local authorities unenthusiastic about having their actions captured in living color.

A reminder of that comes in the pending criminal trial of Pennsylvania photojournalism student Ian Van Kuyk, arrested earlier this spring while shooting a routine traffic stop. That case and others like it also spotlight how important is for journalism educators to make sure student journalists know their rights and how to stand up for them.

Van Kuyk, a Temple University film and media arts major fulfilling an assignment for his photojournalism course, was reportedly left bloody and bruised after being arrested mid-March while taking pictures of police at a routine traffic stop outside his home in Philadelphia. He was arraigned on criminal charges April 16 and faces trial June 13.

The case has drawn the attention of free speech advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), according to the Student Press Law Center, or SPLC. The general counsel of the National Press Photographers Association wrote in protest to the Philadelphia police commissioner: "There is no excuse for your officers to intentionally disregard a citizen's right to photograph an event occurring in a public place."

And in a piece in Philly.com, Larry Atkins, a lawyer, journalism professor at Temple, and member of the First Amendment Committee of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, wrote that "while the public should be respectful of police and refrain from interfering with their work, officers must not harass citizens engaging in First Amendment-protected activity. The public has a right to photograph police activities in public spaces, and police officers must respect that right."

But the Van Kuyk case is far from the only instance of arrest and alleged harassment of student photojournalists tracked by the SPLC, which says prosecutions of those who record law enforcement activity appear to be on the rise.

Occupy protests spark round of arrests

For instance, several student journalists covering Occupy Wall Street-related events were arrested last fall -- among them two from colleges in Atlanta, and another from New York. They join the ranks of working journalists taken in during Occupy-related protests around the country (including Kristyna Wentz-Graff, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter whose arrest was recently written about extensively in Editor & Publisher).

Hunter_studentphotographer.jpg

Other examples abound. In late 2010, a California student photographer faced criminal charges after snapping photos of a car accident, and had police in his newsroom demanding the pictures be turned over. In fall 2009, two student photojournalists at the University of Pittsburgh were arrested, along with fellow students and other journalists at a G-20 protest. And in 2008, a Penn State student journalist was arrested and faced criminal charges after photographing a post-football victory riot at the school.

Sometimes, the confrontations are with campus police. In spring 2010, for instance, an Ohio State student photojournalist was detained by university police while covering the attempted roundup of two escaped cows.

More recently, students at Hunter College in New York have encountered harassment of student photographers by school security, according to a faculty adviser. After a photo of the harassment (see image) was posted on Facebook, the problem stopped, the adviser added.

The right to record is clear, but not absolute

So what should journalism educators teach student photojournalists about shooting police activities? Bottom line: They have every right to do it -- with some exceptions.

"Here's what [students] (and even more, the police) need to know," wrote Curt Chandler, a senior multimedia lecturer at Penn State University, who has had two student photographers arrested in the last five years and cited this passage from an ACLU briefing on photographers' rights in a recent exchange on the Online News Association's Educators Facebook group: "Taking photographs of things that are plainly visible from public spaces is a constitutional right -- and that includes federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties."

But there are limits, advised the SPLC. Students, for instance, need to beware of what may be considered interference with police operations. "[E]ven if there is a First Amendment right to photograph and videotape law enforcement officers, this right is not absolute," warned SPLC. "Actions that constitute disorderly conduct, refusal to follow lawful police directives, harassment, stalking, trespassing, or other similar crimes may result in criminal prosecution."

In addition, since many cameras record not just stills but also video and audio, student videographers may face different legal considerations around wiretapping laws -- a number of states require consent by both parties to have their conversation recorded. Those laws may be changing, however, in the wake of a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling last summer that helped settle a Massachusetts cell phone videotaping case in favor of the videotaper.

"Knowing your rights means knowing the law," emphasized Poynter's Howard Finberg, who offered up to student journalists and instructors a free self-directed NewsU training module, Newsgathering Law and Liability.

But some educators believe it's not enough to know the law. Student journalists must also be willing to assert the rights they have.

Steve Fox, multimedia journalism coordinator at UMass-Amherst, wrote on the ONA Educators group: "I don't think that students don't know their rights. They do. It's more a state of mind that is lacking. Students seem unwilling to challenge authority, challenge the status quo, challenge the party line, afflict the comfortable."

Added Fox: "More times than not, students faced with confrontation from authority figures become compliant -- all while fully knowing what their journalistic rights are. It's frustrating and a fundamental disconnect that I see with many young journalists of this generation."

What's your experience as a journalism educator or student journalist? Are student journalists willing to confront authority figures to assert their free speech rights? And do students actually know the nuances of their rights in covering police action or not? Do you know of other student journalist arrests or cases of intimidation of student journalists by police or other authorities during news coverage? What approaches does your school use to teach about photojournalist rights?

For more information on student free speech and photojournalism rights, visit the Student Press Law Center, which tracks freedom of speech cases involving student journalists, and offers extensive resources such as this legal guide for photojournalists recording police action, a student media guide to newsgathering, as well as practical tips for dealing with police when covering protests (PDF). (Hat tip: Andrew Lih of USC and Frank LoMonte of SPLC.)

A. Adam Glenn is associate professor, interactive, at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and a longtime digital journalist and media consultant. Connect with him on Facebook or LinkedIn, and follow his Twitter feed. This monthly column draws liberally from conversations about digital journalism teaching practices on the online educators Facebook group of the Online News Association. The ONA Facebook group is currently a closed group but you can view ongoing conversations (see our group Q&A tracker), or join in via ONA membership.

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April 20 2012

06:26

Programming and journalism students: A conversation

I think it’s pretty cool to use Storify to sort out the threads of a bunch of simultaneous conversations on Twitter:

[View the story "Programming and journalism students: A conversation" on Storify]

Please join in — on Twitter, on Facebook, or here.

06:26

Programming and journalism students: A conversation

I think it’s pretty cool to use Storify to sort out the threads of a bunch of simultaneous conversations on Twitter:

[View the story "Programming and journalism students: A conversation" on Storify]

Please join in — on Twitter, on Facebook, or here.

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.

December 30 2011

19:20

Year in Review: 6 Trends in Journalism Education

Education content on MediaShift is brought to you by: 


USCad68x68.gif Innovation. Reputation. Opportunity. Get all the advantages journalism and PR pros need to help put their future in focus. Learn more about USC Annenberg's Master's programs.

As the year comes to a close, it's worth a look at the some of the most intriguing developments in journalism education in the last year - from approaches to using social media and curation to new initiatives on data journalism, from academe's role in the news industry to leveraging publishing platforms.

2011 year small.jpg

Getting Social, But Not Too Social

1. Hanging Out is In: Journalism educators are constantly exploring new techniques that can bring some pizzazz to the classroom and better engage students. And one new tool that created lots of excitement this fall was the video Hangout feature of search giant Google's new social network Google Plus. Hangout lets users easily organize live video chats with up to 10 participants, group chat, screen share, co-view YouTube videos, access via mobile, etc.

Although the tool doesn't appear to have yet found its full potential with J-schools, the possibilities seem broad -- not only to improve interaction with students, but between them, as well as among faculty or even between schools. Some journalism educators this fall, for instance, used Hangout to bring expert speakers or even whole panel discussions into their classrooms, or to generate group chats with adjuncts or for news meetings. Among the possibilities: facilitating group projects outside of class, holding virtual office hours and hosting student Q&A sessions (here's more on Hangout, and more on the education potential of Google Plus). To grasp the full potential for the tool, some suggest letting students take the lead -- by showing them how Google Plus Hangouts works, then allowing them to find creative news uses on their own. Educators interested in Hangout might want to check in with USC Annenberg's Robert Hernandez of #WJChat fame, who's exploring a monthly Hangout about teaching.

2. Friending is Out, Subscribing is In: With the introduction of news-related services like subscriptions, the social networking powerhouse Facebook is finding more uses in J-school classrooms, where it's a tool for reporting and source development, user engagement and expanded distribution. But a stumbling block for many is the long-standing question - to friend or not to friend? Some folks won't do it as a matter of principle; others acknowledge the power politics by only accepting, rather than initiating invitations. But it's increasingly possible to bypass the dilemma. Using subscriptions, for instance, students can follow select faculty updates without the "friend" relationship. And the use of closed Facebook groups allows classes or larger groupings to share info without crossing any personal boundaries.

Facebook + Journalism 101

Curating and/or Creating News

3. Aggregation. Teaching aggregation may be controversial in J-schools (is it journalism or is it not?), but that hasn't stopped some from taking full advantage of one of the smarter curation tools - Storify. One fan is Hofstra's Kelly Fincham, who writes how journalism educators can use Storify not only to teach students to curate social media, and gain credibility and exposure, but also for faculty to organize readings and create virtual handouts for classroom use. Others have used it to curate training events and to teach beat reporting basics, or have taught it (and curation) as part of the core copy editor's function. Check out this Storify on using Storify for journalism education and another on tips for using Storify in reporting.

4. Players in Community News: It's long been a tradition for the J-schools to contribute to the general flow of news, but in the void created by the shrinkage of commercial news outlets they're now playing a far greater role in meeting community information needs. Beyond such ongoing projects and partnerships as those at USC Annenberg, Berkeley, Arizona State, NYU, the multi-university partnership of News21 and others, now add a new year-round news outlet from Columbia. The volume of university news sites has grown so extensively that American University's J-Lab has created a directory of dozens. Plus, journalism academe is getting into the money end of the business with the exploration of new business models to replace the collapse of the old -- for instance, CUNY, where I teach, has created the country's first master's in entrepreneurial journalism.

Hackers and Tweakers

5. The Rise of the Journo-Programmer. An ambitious hybrid of journalist and computer scientist is what some have in mind as part of the future of journalism. As Columbia was launching its dual-degree masters in journalism and computer science (more), Northwestern last winter announced a $4.2 million Knight News Innovation Lab run by the journalism and engineering schools (more). Other schools are focusing on just making student journalists smarter about doing data within their journalism courses, becoming adept at everything from simple programs like spreadsheets and web-based visualization tools to more sophisticated software like Flash. Influential online journalism educator Mindy McAdams proposes all J-schools have a full-fledged data journalism course, something a few schools appear to be doing (Columbia is one; CUNY is another). Meanwhile, the explosion of smartphones and tablets - the latter are starting to show up more in classrooms, though not without debate over best practices - has encouraged some schools to explore app development, whether through simple thought exercises or by actually building apps from the ground up in dedicated courses.

6. Portfolios, Off the Rack: While some instructors make the case to continue teaching basic HTML and Dreamweaver to journalism students, others are increasingly focusing on finding ways for students to quickly set up and customize simple professional portfolio sites. Wordpress seems to be the answer for most, urged upon or even required for students. Academics then actively swap the best themes and favorite plug-ins for everything from Twitter feeds to quizzes and maps, while touting their students' best work (examples here and here).

Of course, this column only just touches on major trends and key players, so feel free to suggest more in the comments below, and this column try to circle back around to report on them in more depth in the coming months.

A. Adam Glenn is associate professor, interactive, at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and a long-time digital journalist and media consultant. Connect with him on Facebook or LinkedIn, and follow his Twitter":http://twitter.com/AAdamGlenn feed. This monthly column draws liberally from conversations about digital journalism teaching practices on the online educators Facebook group of the Online News Association. The ONA Facebook group is currently a closed group but you can view ongoing conversations (see our group Q&A tracker), or join in via ONA membership.

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Education content on MediaShift is brought to you by: 

USCad68x68.gif Innovation. Reputation. Opportunity. Get all the advantages journalism and PR pros need to help put their future in focus. Learn more about USC Annenberg's Master's programs.

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October 06 2011

14:49

In the Digital Age, Is Teaching Cursive Relevant?

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Education content is sponsored by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which offers an intensive, cutting edge, three semester Master of Arts in Journalism; a unique one semester Advanced Certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism; and the CUNY J-Camp series of Continuing Professional Development workshops focused on emerging trends and skill sets in the industry.

Reading and writing are fundamental to learning. But as more kids read and write via some sort of computing device -- laptop, tablet, cell phone -- how we teach those skills is changing, and one significant change is the decision to teach cursive. When it comes to equipping students with "21st century skills," typing is in, cursive is out.

In part, the disappearance of cursive from the curriculum stems from the Common Core State Standards (now adopted by the majority of U.S. states), which no longer require cursive as part of language arts and writing instruction. According to the Common Core's mission: "The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy." And the global economy, so the argument goes, requires students to be prepared to type, not to write in cursive.

This isn't to say, of course, that handwriting instruction itself is scrapped. Students will still learn to craft their letters, and plenty of kids are still likely to curse the requirements for neat penmanship. But in lieu of requiring students to specifically learn cursive, the imperative now is to teach them to produce and publish their written work by typing and word processing.

An extraneous skill?

Knowing how to type and create documents on a computer is obviously important. And for most people, writing in cursive is a rare event. Typing, once touted as more practical than print, is more efficient than either form of writing by hand. And, as such, cursive may seem like an extraneous skill.

Nevertheless, removing cursive from the curriculum has been controversial. Some have argued that learning cursive isn't simply about knowing how to write efficiently. It's about learning how to write beautifully. It's about fine motor skills. It's about expression. And according to a report in The Wall Street Journal last year, there are a number of benefits to cognition and memory that come from writing by hand.

Some fear that if we stop teaching students to write in cursive, they'll no longer be able to read cursive either, leaving a swath of written materials that will be undecipherable. Arguably, that's something historians and archeologists have long faced; whether it's cursive, calligraphy or otherwise, handwriting has changed immensely over the years.

And without cursive, how will people be able to sign their names, some argue, pointing to the one place where most adults probably do regularly use cursive in lieu of print. Of course, teaching cursive just so we can all add our personalized squiggle to the bottom of official documents probably isn't an effective use of class time.

So is it time for cursive to go? Or should we retain it as part of the curriculum? Share your thoughts in comments below.

Editor's Note: There was a lively debate on the topic of teaching cursive on a Google+ post by MediaShift editor Mark Glaser. Check it out.

Audrey Watters is an education technology writer, rabble-rouser, and folklorist. She writes for MindShift, O'Reilly Radar, Hack Education, and ReadWriteWeb.

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.

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Education content is sponsored by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which offers an intensive, cutting edge, three semester Master of Arts in Journalism; a unique one semester Advanced Certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism; and the CUNY J-Camp series of Continuing Professional Development workshops focused on emerging trends and skill sets in the industry.

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September 04 2011

18:50

"Figure it out, you won't have a choice" - social media in the academic curriculum

The Atlantic :: For the last several years, teaching social media has been reactionary, found either in non-matriculated night classes for the working professional or in business schools for the budding marketer to learn and hone his or her online and social marketing skills.

"Some people were affected directly in their everyday lives by this thing called social media," says Mihaela Vorvoreanu, an assistant professor of computer graphics technology in the College of Technology at Purdue University, who teaches a doctoral level research seminar in social media. "They had to figure it out. There was no choice about it. They had to learn about it." So they went back to school to learn how to create Facebook campaigns, how to incorporate SEO best-practices, how to blog, and how to create social media strategies.

[Josh Sternberg:] as social interactions and technologies mature, there has been a swing in the pendulum. Professors are now approaching the teaching of social media from a pedagogical perspective, as much as a practical one.

Continue to read Josh Sternberg, www.theatlantic.com

March 29 2011

07:28

Fare carriera a Londra non mi stupisce più

A Londra ormai da più di cinque anni, osservo progredire speditamente la mia carriera di Clinical Academic allo University College of London, la quarta migliore università al mondo, la seconda in Europa. Dovrei esserne stupito visto che solo cinque anni fa in Italia ero uno dei tanti “ricercatori volontari” – in realtà dei disoccupati che lavorano gratis per l’università  e sono in fila ad aspettare che il Potente di turno li omaggi di un concorso “blindato”. Sempre che figli, mogli e fidanzate siano stati tutti sistemati; la famiglia prima di tutto.

Ma sento che ormai certe cose del mio lavoro e della mia vita qui a Londra non mi stupiscono più. Passare da ricercatore a professore associato a 34 anni, e senza avere lo stesso cognome di un rettore, di un professore ordinario, o di un dirigente amministrativo di questa università non mi stupisce più.

Essere promosso prima e più velocemente di altri ricercatori che erano qui prima di me, semplicemente perché sono più bravo, perché pubblico di più e in riviste più prestigiose, perché ottengo più finanziamenti di ricerca non mi stupisce più.

Vedere che, negli anni della crisi finanziaria e dei tagli alla spesa pubblica, la mia università invece di licenziare sta assumendo nuovo personale per supportare i ricercatori e i loro progetti, sapendo che alla lunga questi porteranno centinaia di milioni di sterline di finanziamenti, tanti quanto basta per coprire il buco dei tagli della spesa pubblica, non mi stupisce più.

Andare a lavorare con una efficientissima metropolitana, spostarsi tra i dipartimenti con una delle oltre 5000 biciclette del bike sharing disseminate per Londra, gratis per i primi 30 min di utilizzo, e fittare l’auto, quando serve, con il sistema del car sharing, auto rigorosamente con motore ibrido, non mi stupisce più.

Certe cose però mi stupivano ancora. Quando l’ordine dei medici inglese pretese una vastissima e minuziosa documentazione dei miei titoli e della mia formazione specialistica ed esperienza clinica per decidere se questa fosse equipollente alla formazione specialistica dei colleghi inglesi. Visto che l’equipollenza è un elemento necessario per accedere alle posizioni apicali, quella di primario ospedaliero per intenderci, questa pretesa della dettagliata prova documentata della mia competenza mi sembrava un’ingiusta discriminazione, un’ulteriore prova dello spirito ultra-nazionalistico degli inglesi che storcono il naso quando qualcosa non è fatto secondo il loro sistema, a modo loro.

Poi un giorno ho visto un’intervista al ministro delle Pari opportunità Mara Carfagna. Che mi ha illuminato. E anche la storia dell’equiparazione dei titoli e della competenza – adesso – non mi stupisce più. E vi spiego perché.

La giornalista chiedeva al ministro se reputasse giusto che una persona senza formazione specifica, senza appunto competenza ed esperienza, fosse nominata parlamentare e poi ministro. Dubbio ancor più  valido quando questa persona, poco tempo prima, si era dedicata a balletti e pose fotografiche in calendari, più che ad uno studio approfondito di come amministrare la cosa pubblica. Il Ministro, per tutta risposta, faceva notare quanto fosse ingiusto e pretestuoso dare giudizi a priori e rispondeva dicendo: “Lasciatemi prima lavorare, e poi giudicatemi in base a quello che farò, o quello che non farò”. Ragionamento che apparentemente non fa una grinza.

E invece no. La grinza c’è ed è alta come una montagna. La formazione specifica, la competenza, l’esperienza, in un parola il curriculum, sono tutti elementi che garantiscono che la persona che selezioniamo per un determinato lavoro lo faccia al meglio, secondo canoni di efficienza e, possibilmente eccellenza. Adesso capisco gli inglesi, la loro attenzione verso il curriculum, la competenza che deve essere documentata e certificata, e che deve essere valutata da terzi, indipendenti e autorevoli. E non mi stupisce più.

E se il prossimo primario di chirurgia del vostro ospedale fosse un personaggio del mondo dello spettacolo? Una persona senza esperienza né competenza, messa lì ad operare appendiciti ed ernie strozzate senza un briciolo di curriculum? Accettereste di sentirgli dire: “Lasciatemi prima fare il primario, lasciatemi operare per qualche anno, e poi giudicatemi dopo, in base alle persone che salverò o a quelle che ci rimetteranno la pelle”? Vorrei girare questa domanda ai nostri politici, al ministro Carfagna, a Nicole Minetti, alle ragazze del corso accelerato di politica per Veline e ai loro insegnanti. Temo rimarrei senza risposta. Ma, ormai, non mi stupisce più.

Stefano Fedele, University College London

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