Multimedia, Teaching

Learning to Teach Multimedia Journalism

This post was originally published on PBS MediaShift, Jan. 7, 2011.

On the right, multimedia journalism students, Christina Maggiora and Andie Adams, work alongside KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis during election night in San Diego.

On the right, multimedia journalism students, Christina Maggiora and Andie Adams, work alongside KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis during election night in San Diego.

Doing multimedia journalism and teaching it are two very different things. The past semester marked my first as an adjunct professor. It was probably the best thing I could have done for my own education.

At KPBS, I’ve produced online news content using audio, video, photography, slideshows, visualizations, social and interactive media. So when I was offered the opportunity to teach a multimedia journalism course at a local university, I jumped right in. After all, I had already led a number of training workshops. This is going to be easy, right? Yeah, right.

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Students Reflect on Multimedia Journalism Course

Four months ago, I met the first students in a new multimedia journalism course at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. Today, I submitted their final grades. I’ll be writing more about teaching multimedia storytelling in forthcoming blog posts, but as a close to a great semester I wanted to highlight some of their parting thoughts.

How Multimedia & I Came To Be Friends by Christina Maggiora

I was surprised that there is no one-size-fits-all story when it comes to multimedia. What do you mean a city hall meeting about the budget can’t be an audio slideshow? It could if focused on the emotional tension, speeches, and people affected by the outcomes.

To make a great multimedia story takes time. So much time. I now know most of the techs that work in the lab by name, because I’m begging them for five more minutes while my files compress, right at midnight, when they want to go home. And I know that I’ll be pursuing a future with multimedia, and that I’m not, or ever, done learning.

Multimedia Journalism Class Reflection by Andie Adams

Before this semester, I thought Twitter was stupid. I was frustrated that we were going to be required to update ours at least twice a week. But as I did it, I found Twitter’s usefulness in event promotion or story updating. I am actually quite attached to my Twitter account now and get much of my news by following CNN, New York Times, KPBS, etc.

To me, it is essential to learn as much as I can about putting news online, and now I feel that I can put up every utilized media onto a website. I know that I have a great deal more to learn about HTML and website building, but my foundation, due to this class, has made me more comfortable trying new things.

Multimedia Journalism Final Thoughts by Melody Karpinski

As I look back on everything we’ve managed to cover, I’m actually both excited and discouraged. I’m excited because I’ve been able to dip my toes in the water for projects like audio and video, but I’m discouraged at the realization of how little I know about multimedia one semester away from graduation and job applications.

Yet as I’ve navigated the puzzling and at times delightful maze of this course, I’ve discovered my own definition of the term. Multimedia journalism is essentially journalism in its fullest form.

Last Words on Multimedia Journalism by Kimberlee Kruesi

Seeing social media sites, primarily Twitter, as key multimedia sites was one of the key highlights of the class. Learning not to tweet about your cat but instead participate in a dialogue that could discuss the future of journalism or the requirements of a young reporter is an area I really enjoyed.

I was also surprised by the range multimedia journalism can cover. It is not simply video but blogging, metadata, RSS feeds and so much more. The possibilities found in the combination are endless. This is a new way to approach the reporting process. It is no longer about writing down what the source said but it is being able to take control of the story and decide what the right medium will be. Understanding what tools to use is an aspect of multimedia that is critical to grasp.

Storytelling, Teaching

Multimedia Journalism Class Reflection

This post was written as part of the course final for Multimedia Journalism WRI 430 at Point Loma Nazarene University. Students were asked to reflect on what they learned during the semester and assess how it might affect their future reporting.

As a senior broadcast journalism major, I thought I knew all I needed to know as I approach entering the field of multimedia journalism. However, PLNU’s multimedia journalism class changed that pretension and showed me I still have a lot to learn. Over the past three years, I became well versed in print, video, audio and photography in journalism, but I had never fully combined them online. This class showed me strategies to use and ways to plan a story that incorporate more than just these four elements.

In respects to the media I already knew, I found ways to improve my skills. In audio, I practiced storytelling without the use of a narrator; I let the characters tell the story themselves. I worked on creative camera work for my video project as well as capturing a compelling story, fully embracing the awkwardness of filming the homeless at Ocean Beach. By examining photos in class, I learned better composition and elements that tell a story (rule of thirds, three in a series, etc). The only area I feel I have made no improvement is in writing, but in this class, our focus was on learning new media, not really improving that aspect.

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Storytelling, Teaching

Last Words on Multimedia Journalism

This post was written as part of the course final for Multimedia Journalism WRI 430 at Point Loma Nazarene University. Students were asked to reflect on what they learned during the semester and assess how it might affect their future reporting.

Before taking this class, I would have had no problem admitting my intimidation of the term multimedia. Mainly because the idea is unknown and avoided in my school’s journalism program. Yet as a senior who is desperately trying to figure out how she is going to get a job, I knew I had to come to grips with this term.

I think what surprised me the most about this class were the situations I was challenged with and the areas I could thrive in. We completed eight projects in class and I am proud of all of them except one. My final product of my video project was less than ideal and I am pretty sure that is putting it mildly. I struggled with the video project because not only was it my first time behind a camera but I also had a hard time “seeing” the shots that can make a great clip. But while it was difficult, I am not completely discouraged. Throughout the somewhat awkward process I could already see the moments where I could improve and the shots I could have gotten. It’s humbling but it’s also encouraging to know I now have the know-how to improve.

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Storytelling, Teaching

How Multimedia & I Came To Be Friends

This post was written as part of the course final for Multimedia Journalism WRI 430 at Point Loma Nazarene University. Students were asked to reflect on what they learned during the semester and assess how it might affect their future reporting.

On the first day of class this semester, I had to ask three different library employees before I found someone that knew room 303 was the MAC Lab. As clueless as they were that the tech savvy world exists up the stairs, and around a dark corridor, I was also clueless and fumbling around when it came to multimedia.

After I determined that I was indeed, uneducated in multimedia, I decided that I needed to do something about it. I enrolled in a multimedia course, even if I would only count as an elective. But it seemed to be a perfect way to wet my feet as a writer needing tech SOS.

But my feet were not the only thing that got wet as I sank to the bottom of the ocean. I was petrified. But as the familiar terms of storytelling, people, and emotion started to fill class discussions, I realized that this was a more powerful way to connect and share stories.

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Links, Mobile, Multimedia, Social Media, Teaching, Tips, Tools

Journalist’s Toolbox Updated for #spj10

This post was originally published on the Journalist’s Toolbox, a resource offered by the Society of Professional Journalists. It was republished here with permission.

SPJ National Convention

Some great links from Jeff Cutler’s online tools session and others on Monday: for mining story ideas; Advanced for detailed Twitter and hashtag searches and WalletPop, a finance site that helps you find the most dangerous neighborhoods for crime. More to come later in the convention!

Add SPJ National Convention

The Journalist’s Toolbox will post tweets live Oct. 3-5 from the convention in Las Vegas. Just follow @journtoolbox and the #spj10 hashtag.

Copy Editing Resources

It’s not the fanciest site on the Web, but has a great quick-reference page. Another helpful tool: Thsrs, the shorter thesaurus, which produces shorter synonyms for any word you type in. It’s a very helpful tool for writing short, tight headlines.

Twitter Resources

We’ve added dozens of new resources, including Twitter guides for journalists, backgrounds, URL shorteners and other tools on the Toolbox’s Twitter Resources page.

Mobile Journalism Resources

The Toolbox has launched a Mobile Journalism page that features links to app-making tools, readings on mobile media strategy and a list of recommended apps for journalists to use on their smart phones.

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Teaching, Tips

Hacking the Web: View Source, Read HTML, Trace Paths, Download Files

A group of students in a visual journalism course at the University of Miami interviewed industry leaders about the concept of multimedia journalism. They spoke with journalism professors and working professionals from the New York Times, NPR, MSNBC and other outlets. The resulting website, Multimedia Standards, provides expert opinion on the definition of “multimedia,” what it takes to make successful interactive narratives, and what they think the future holds.

The idea behind the site you’re currently reading, Modern Journalist, is to give my class (WRI 430) a place to experiment, to share what we’re learning as a way of practicing online publishing. A site like Multimedia Standards helps not only the class that creates it, but both the teachers and students who follow.

Audio Podcast Exercise

After challenging students to define multimedia journalism, I detailed their first hands-on exercise: create an audio podcast using clips from the Multimedia Standards grid.

Multimedia Standards grid

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Teaching, Tools

Interactive Group Brainstorm: What is Multimedia Journalism?

What is multimedia journalism? That’s the question I planned to ask my class (WRI 430) to begin the semester. To have a “multimedia” discussion, I wanted them to be able to interact directly on screen. I needed something that would run in a Web browser because campus IT policy doesn’t allow us to install software in the lab.

I did some initial searching for free online mind-mapping tools, but didn’t have time to dig through all the options. I needed to bounce it off someone, so I asked for help on Twitter:

Recommendations for free web-based brainstorm/mindmapping service supporting multiple users simultaneously?less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

(Tweet embedded using Blackbird Pie.)

I got a response from a contact I met at a Twitter meetup in Tijuana: @darleneluquin. He recommended MindMeister. We hopped on Gmail chat to coordinate a quick test to see how the real-time collaboration played out on screen. Sure enough, it worked like a charm, identifying each update by author as it was happening. (Thanks again, Jose!)

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