In developing the syllabus for the Multimedia Journalism course at PLNU (WRI 430), I tried to keep students’ future employment in mind. What skills are journalists missing when they enter the marketplace? What are employers looking for? What projects can I assign that will help them get hired?
I decided to focus our time on these areas:
- Optimized news writing for online audience
- Storytelling across all types of media
- Maximizing the strengths of each medium
- Innovation in story approach
- Strong online presence
- Fluency in social media
- Live field reporting for Web
On the first day of class, I surveyed students on their abilities with multimedia. I asked about areas we probably won’t cover (I want to do HTML5 instead of Flash as much as possible), but the results were enlightening. I’ve already adjusted the course schedule; they’re more advanced than I anticipated.
The survey’s emphasis on technology shouldn’t imply we’ll only work on building tech skills. I plan to focus our time in class on big picture concepts, optimizing story through the technology. But in order to tell stories powerfully online, the technical elements need to become second nature.