Online media skills — audio, video, Soundslides and coding — can be incorporated into journalism curriculum

Incorporating online journalism into the curriculum is the topic for the first session at Poynter this morning. Mindy McAdams is making the presentation. Mindy has been on the curriculum committee for our Journalism Department at UF, so some what she’s sharing have been issues we’ve been talking about — either as a department or with colleagues.

Here are what she defines as the basics:

  • Audio – Require students to purchase an audio recorder. She recommends a $50 Olympus digital recorder. The Journalism Department is going to require our students to purchase a Zoom H2, which is about $200. (You can get a better price online, such as Amazon.)
  • Slideshows – Mindy asked how many of us have used Soundslides in our classes — more than a third have. I’ve incorporated a Soundslides assignment in Writing for Mass Communication and found that to be a good activity, helping students learn to take more journalistic photos and introducing students to this software. Soundslides can fit into many existing classes — from photography to feature writing to magazine production. She said that Journalism Department’s requirement for cameras are: 6-7 megapixel, able to shoot video (at 30 frames per second) and has picture stabilization. Cost will be $150 to $300. The sound program she recommended is Audacity, which is the free software program that Judy Robinson and I use in the hands-on podcasting sessions we teach at the Journalism Education Association conventions.
  • Video – Mindy says students are much better at how to collect video/audio if they have first created Soundslides.  Video principles include: how to shoot sequences; how to interview someone on camera; how to frame the shot; how to make sure you’ve shot enough variety; A-roll and B-roll; how to arrange the shots in editing.
  • HTML, CSS/CMS – Mindy said that instead of doing traditional research she interviews professionals and goes to professional media conferences to determine what the technology needs are in the industry. From five to seven years ago when editors would say no coding is required for new employees, now they say they want new employees who know just a little HTML and CSS — enough to be able to tweak code in the organization’s content management system. She recommends for teachers and students to learn the basics.

She encouraged everyone to learn and then teach. And knowing our Scholastic Journalism Division, that’s just what everyone does.

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