Teaching “Online Journalism”

Last week, Joe Grimm answered an excellent question on his “Ask the Recruiter” blog, here,  that I think many young journalists are pondering: What online skills should a print reporter have?

The questioner very intuitively put her finger on the pulse of the problem: What is “online journalism?”

Because we’re still trying to catch up with the ever-changing world of new media, colleges are often at a loss when it comes to answering this question. The answers they give are typically very vague.

Last semester, I proposed a syllabus for a class that I would love to see taught at every journalism school in the country. It consists of reverse publishing (writing for the Web, then for print), blogging, slide shows, Web videos, and working with content management systems (CMS). With each of those skills under their belts, students would have a unique portfolio that would attract any newspaper manager.

Luckily, at the University of Florida professor Mindy McAdams is a step ahead of the curb. Her course asks students to maintain blogs and create story packages that use technology and print as partners, not competitors.

Any journalist who wants a job after graduation should take her course. It is no longer optional — it’s essential.

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