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Integrating Social Media Into the Classroom

4 Mar

As a new media student I’m constantly interested in learning the new ways professors are trying to integrate social media into the classrooms. I believe that if you’re teaching students how to understand social media what better way then to make them use it.

In this MediaShift article “How to Integrate Social Tools into the Journalism Classroom,” there is a handful of great ideas of how to get students hands on experience with online tools in the changing face of modern communication. Here are a few examples of tools they are using:

Blogs are a great way to expose students to web publishing basics and online writing. With a group collaborative blog professors – and students – can post material for everyone to see and comment on.

I’ve been in a previous course where all students had to make a wordpress blog individually to capture the progress and work from our team projects. This helped to get students online and comfortable with a blogging platform (in my opinion it’s a necessary skill in communications today). But some problems may arise from this method. Examples:

  • It’s hard to track and make sure each student is doing their part on the blogs. Possible ways of keeping up with the class is to put each blog into a reader or RSS feed (eg. Google Reader).
  • If a class is assigned a team project and each student has individual blogs it can put some distance on what the team goal and message is.

Mashable community manager and social strategist Vadim Lavrusik uses a blog to teach Social Media Skills for Journalists at Columbia University. He uses Tumblr as the primary vehicle. This is a great example of how to integrate a social tool into education. Each student has his or her own account and can contribute to a collaborative Tumblr that combines everyone’s work. The site provides a place to submit assignments, give  feedback, and of course experiment with Tumblr. This kind of online atmosphere allows for online engagement, idea sharing, and a safe place for students to gain knowledge of social media.

With all these new teaching methods I feel that some educators are learning alongside the students and that is great – as long as everyone gains a better knowledge of how to work and benefit from these new tools.

For a better understanding of how each social tool can be used in the classroom read more at Mediashift.


Poynter now your #Go To for #How To.

16 Dec

As the Poynter Institute marks their 35th year of providing journalists with the skills and news to stay ahead they are relaunching their website Poynter is hoping with the launch of the new site to “better reflect the critical connection between media news and journalism training.”

With an introduction to a new feature called “How To’s,” that will help journalists apply the latest tools and techniques with a focus on these four skills:

Also new to the site is a feature called Media News, which will be bringing you the latest headlines and relevant news from the sources you trust. Here is a look into Media News:

And last, but always a staple from The Poynter Institue is Journalism Training. The redesign will make the access to online opportunities and in-person seminars at Poynter’s News University easier, and grant access to hundreds of courses that cover a variety of subjects (e.g. basic writing and reporting skills).

In the words of Poynter, “Visit today and find out why it’s your #Go To for #How To.”

Oregon State Student Media Challenge

15 Dec

Recently I was invited to, and took part in, OSU’s Student Media Advanced Skills Training. Below gives more detail about the event, and what myself and other media focused students took part in for the past two days.

Sounds exciting huh?! That’s because it was. Not only did the faculty make this event fun but they made it a learning experience. In my belief for students who want to go into any media field you not only need to have learned course material but you should have applied it before jumping into real work experience. Reading about media ethics is much different than using your guiding principles in a real ethical dilemma.

For our media challenge our student groups had to produce a multimedia presentation of our media coverage on a mock spot news piece. Every group covered the same breaking news event (staged) at around 8:30 a.m. yesterday morning and produced a multimedia package for the judges at promptly 4:00 p.m. that afternoon.

Everyone’s presentations were outstanding, but at the end of the day my phenomenal partners (aka OSU Insider) took the first place trophy home. Click on this link: OSU Insider, or click on the photo below to take a look at our award winning work.

A Christmas To Record | 10 gifts student journos should have on their list.

10 Dec

It is that time of year again to start making your holiday wish list. For the student journalists out there I have complied a list of 10 items you might want to think about jotting down.

  1. Camcorder | You can find a number of different quality camcorders today ranging from $40 up to $3,200. As journalism moves rapidly into new media it never hurts to have a few extra skill sets in your arsenal. Give a journalist the tools to break breaking news downtown with their new camcorder.
  2. Smart phone | Keeps you updated and in the loop for the fast paced media world. With a bunch to choose from you can decide what is the best suited for your needs. The iPhone has the most apps and has proven to be the most popular choice, but others like Blackberry and the Droid are quality smartphones as well.
  3. Digital Camera | Cameras are great for many things and as a journalist it doesn’t hurt to know how to use one sufficiently, even if you aren’t a photo journalist. As a journalist your job is storytelling and learning to do that with still frames is a wonderful skill. Not to forget most digital cameras today allow you to take video footage too.
  4. Adobe Software | Photoshop is the basic ‘must-have’ program that can help make unique projects plus branch out on editing skills. Having the ability to use Adobe software before heading into the work force puts anyone ahead. I can almost guarantee at some point every multimedia journo will be asked to use Photoshop. Wanting a bit more? Check out Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium, or Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium. Both include Photoshop plus software to design and work fluidly across any form of media. Either Creative Suite is on my wish list. * Remember students also get a large educational discount on Adobe software; gift givers remember this to save a few hundred dollars.
  5. Messenger bag or briefcase | We need something to lug around our masses of notepads, journals, pens and tech stuff. Basically there is always a need for organizing the chaos.
  6. The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law by Norm Goldstein | Whether they are struggling through Composition 101 or writing an assignment at their new internship, this book is always ready to help guide the inner creative genius. It contains a 40-page section on media law, guides for punctuation and bibliographies, and specialized glossaries for business and sports writing, all in addition to its 280-page generalized stylebook. The 2011 edition is available for pre-order at
  7. Final Cut Pro | It’s the first choice for professional editors and most journalism students are being taught how to use this program in the classroom today, and if not taught, expected to learn. Help tackle all the footage shot with a new camcorder using Final Cut Pro.
  8. Professional Membership | Students could use the help from professionals, other students, and any given opportunity available, such as workshops; make that happen with a membership to one of the many journalism organizations. Society of Professional Journalists, Online News Association (which I currently hold a membership in), and Radio Television Digital News Association are three I recommend checking out.
  9. Digital Audio Recorder | Even diligent note takers might need to try out a audio recorder during the next interview. It can provide assistance when searching for that perfect quote at the end of the deadline when the chicken scratch no longer resembles handwritten notes.
  10. iPad | I’m guessing this may be on quite a few wish lists already. Who could resist this piece of technology that can access email, help throw a keynote presentation together, store a library, and provide a platform to write and create on the go. Take a closer look at the product here.

Bonus: Subscription to a favorite media source | Magazine hoard, movie critic, or fan of reading the newspaper everyday? All media addictions require a subscription of sorts. Budget friendly and it will provide great entertainment for most journos.

A few other great lists for the journalist in your life:

My 2010 holiday gift guide for independent online journalists By Robert Niles.

10 must-have gifts for journalists: 2010 Edition By Mark S. Luckie

Exciting News For Journalism Lovers (and Graduates).

15 Oct

There has been talk between four leading public radio stations lately. The big plans: forming an “alliance for public media.”

The biggest, and most exciting part of this notion would be the expansion of regional “public media” news operations to 100 reporters and editors per market in four to six markets. Not only will it be putting many journalists to work or back to work, it’s suppose to happen soon. Another exciting aspect of this big plan is the idea of growing “public radio” into “public media.” This means news operations would be digital first. There will be the audio from radio, but also heavy text and video. In my mind when I hear how the news organizations will look like I automatically think of NPR. I feel they do a wonderful job of integrating and weaving these elements into their organization. Newsonomics used TBD in Washington D.C. as an example of the kind of multi-platform news operation that we hope to see with this plan.

WNYC in New York, WBEZ in Chicago, KPCC in Los Angeles and Minnesota Public Radio, in the Twin Cities are the four stations involved in planning the alliance.

The aim is to add more than 300 reporters and editors in four markets if the plan falls into place. Bill Kling, current president and CEO of the American Public Media Group (APMG), says the positions created “would be a very good job for people who love journalism,” in the six figures with full benefits. Kling hopes that the funding can be locked down by next June before he retires from his position as president of APMG. If all goes as planned hiring would start by mid-2011. For those of us still working diligently in journalism schools with the notion that we will have an extremely slim job market to squeeze into when we graduate, this may just brighten your day.

Read more on the details and plans for funding here “Public Media” $100 Million Plan: 100 Journalists Per City.

Mafia-Style Assassination of Investigative Journalist

21 Jul

Greek investigative journalist Sokratis Giolias was gunned down by two or three gunman posing as security personnel on July 19th outside his home in Athens. The attack has been linked by police to leftist militants. Giolias was said to be the administrator of an anonymous newsblog responsible for uncovering several scandals—and possibly inventing a few too. He was also head of news at a Athens radio station Thema FM.

“Somebody wanted to silence a very good investigative reporter who had stepped on a lot of toes with his stories,” said Panos Sobolos, president of the Athens journalists’ union.

The group of militants who are thought to have been involved are The Sect of Revolutionaries (SR). The SR have threatened members of the media in the past. Last year they attacked the headquarters of private broadcaster Alter TV, without causing any injuries.

The BBC’s Malcolm Brabant in Athens says while gangland murders are frequent occurrences in Greece, attacks on journalists are rare. But it’s definitely an eye opener as a wanna-be journalist to see threats to the media to this extent. Also shows how important investigative reporting is to the justice system and holding people responsible, granted it can be dangerous at times.

Read further about the murder from these links: Assassination in Athens & Journalist Gunned Down in Greece.

The State of Photography.

11 Jun

In the age of digital cameras, citizen journalists, and everyone (including your 10-year-old cousin) owning a camera phone there is a lot of photography to sort through.  Better cameras are always coming out that offer a point-and-shoot ability and produces fantastically well done images. Today it can be more difficult to pick out the professional work from the masses.  Does this affect photographers? Of course it does. Just as blogging and social media have changed the world of journalism it has changed the industry of photography.

My classmate and established photographer Katy Weaver recently put together a documentary for a new media communications course taught by Ed Madison – CEO of Engaging Media – that focuses on some of the big issues plaguing the photography industry today. Take a look and share your thoughts.

Goodbye, Photography.