Posted in Education

University of Maryland Offers Multimedia Journalism Graduate Program

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF co-chair, Online Managing Editor-Business Aviation, Aviation Week Group

I am one of those old-school journalists who have been working hard and fast to get up to speed on the latest in multimedia tools, technologies and tips.  I release a Calendar of Events on this blog every Monday with dates and times for all the latest training opportunities.

I suspect that many, like me, have obtained their training from a mix that includes journalism conference workshops, weekend seminars, media institute trainings, webinars and on-your-own floundering.  So it was with great interest that I read about a new program being offered by the University of Maryland-College Park’s Merrill School of Journalism.

The school will launch the new Graduate Certificate of Professional Studies in Multimedia Journalism this fall.  The two-semester, weekend program will focus on the skills most in demand today for communication workers in news organizations, nonprofits, and business by offering what the school calls “practical training in video, audio, photography, blogging, and interactive Web publishing with the critical application of editorial, ethical and legal principles in digital media contexts.”

The program was created, essentially because there was a demand for it, says Steven Crane, assistant dean for the school.  “Some of us are where you know how to report, but you don’t necessarily know the things that are being required of reporters these days,” he observes.  “Do you want to go back to school for a master’s degree?  Probably not.  Webinars and newsroom seminars only go so far.  This is a really thorough platform for skills that journalists need as we go forward.”

The courses will help journalists learn the skills needed for digital storytelling across media platforms, particularly the Internet and mobile devices. Topics include Multimedia Journalism, Online Journalism, Mobile Journalism, and New Media Entrepreneurship, according to the school.

The school developed the courses based on what it heard from journalists, along with a gut feeling, says Crane. “The first semester is all about tool, including understanding how to build web pages, doing content management, using cameras and audio recorders and editing software,” he says.  “The great thing is that software is becoming so simple that it affords us the opportunity to teach more concepts.

It’s not about how to use the equipment to make a pretty package, because it’s all so simple now, Crane states.  “But it’s more about how do you use the concept of audio/visual storytelling, and for a lot of people, that’s a scary thing,” he observes.  “I taught a class a few years ago, and once students got their hands on things, it was fun.”

Journalists are not just talent or a shooter anymore, says Case.  “More and more places now expect you to shoot your own stuff, edit in the field and Skype it back to the office,” he notes.  “Everyone asking us to do it faster and more hands on, people need it.



Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

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