What happens as distinctions between print and broadcast media fade away and a single reporter must combine video, audio, text and images to tell a story? What's the role of a journalist when anyone can report and publish?
All of our students explore these questions while creating new forms of journalism demanded by an era of digital communication.
"A few years ago at a J-School conference on how kids use the news media, a 14-year-old on a panel was asked how she researched topics. 'Mostly Google and Yahoo!' was her response. For this girl and many young people like her, professional journalism is being replaced by computers as their point of access to news and information. That's why I, who spent most of my career in newspapers, teach new media - so my students and I can define the new forms that journalism must take to reconnect with people in a digital age. And how we can make solid, in-depth reporting more valuable than computers for these new news consumers."
Paul Grabowicz, Director of the New Media Program
Course sequence includes: J215 Introduction to Multimedia Reporting, J216 Advanced Multimedia Reporting.
From the first semester, when all incoming students are taught to report using all facets of multimedia, we immerse students in multimedia reporting so they gain the expertise needed for any reporting environment. They learn which parts of stories are best told in video, audio, text, photos or Flash animation, and how to combine them into a Web site that is informative and engaging. Students work as teams to produce their own multimedia Web sites, which have ranged from stories about a trapeze school, a family boxing gym and the Zydeco dance craze, to a gay gun club, professional dog walkers and a tennis program for prison inmates.
"Fresh out of J-School, I arrived at The Bakersfield Californian for a job interview. The beat was home and garden, but what really interested me was the editors' excitement over my multimedia project from Jane Stevens' class. I'll never forget the executive editor's giddiness as he sat at his computer and watched a Quicktime movie I'd made at the J-School about the Oakland female tackle football team. 'This is exactly what we want to do more of!' he said. So I took the beat knowing it would be so much more than writing about decorating and growing vegetables. I was allowed to buy recording equipment. When I could, I added audio clips and slideshows to my stories and those of fellow reporters. The patience paid off. I am now the new online content editor at The Californian. Now I will be bridging the gap between our newsroom and our Web site, and helping reporters, photographers and graphic artists to build multimedia into their reporting projects. I can do this because of what I learned at the J-School."
Jennifer Baldwin, MJ 2003, online content editor, The Bakersfield Californian
In the advanced multimedia course, students work on their own multimedia projects, which have included stories on a "ghostrider" robotic motorcycle, the FM pirate radio movement, the struggle to protect California's national forests, an environmental campaign for a "green Los Angeles" and a Flash presentation that details who profits from rising gas prices. Other student projects have been published on the "FRONTLINE/World" Web site, with which the J-School has a close partnership.
Students also set up Weblogs and other interactive online sites to learn what the role of professional journalism is in a world where everyone owns the digital equivalent of a printing press or broadcast station. Classes have produced the China Digital Times Weblog, "moblogs" on the presidential campaign and local sports, in which students used cell phones to post audio clips and photos for their stories, and an online video game in which people can re-live Oakland's famed Seventh Street jazz and blues club scene from the 1940s and 1950s.
We take advantage of our location at the heart of the new media revolution in the San Francisco Bay Area to bring in journalists from Wired, Yahoo!, MarketWatch.com, CNET, InfoWorld, Macworld and the online editions of publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to teach courses. Students also interact with pioneers in online journalism at regular new media lecture series or conferences we've sponsored since 1998, and at several multimedia training workshops we conduct each year for mid-career journalists. Our program is part of a campus-wide Center for New Media that brings together many different departments for multidisciplinary courses and research projects on how new media is changing every aspect of human experience.