In August 2011 I joined the faculty of the University of Illinois College of Media as an Assistant Professor of Journalism. Soon thereafter, I was asked by the other faculty members to draft a profile of what a student graduating with a Journalism degree would “look like.” What skills would she have? What experiences? How would she fit into the new media landscape? Here’s what I came up with –
I recently applied for a multimedia journalism teaching position at the University of Nevada-Reno’s Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism. The search committee asked applicants to write 300 words on the topic, “What Innovation in Journalism Means to You.”
This is my submission, edited only slightly because here I’m not trying to make it exactly 300 words:
To me, innovation in journalism means creating a multimedia experience as engaging as Angry Birds, but much more informative.
For their third assignment, my University of Miami Fall 2010 Introduction to Photojournalism students covered the 2010 Sunshine State Dancesport Competition at the Fontainebleu Hotel in Miami Beach on October 8-9. They immersed themselves in the assignment, took some calculated risks and knocked it right out of the park. Bravo!
I am passionate about visual journalism, and a passionate advocate for young visual journalists. So I spend a fair amount of time thinking about strategies I can use as an instructor that will allow my students to become better visual storytellers.
At the University of Miami, students in my CVJ-221T class, Introduction to PhotoJournalism, have confirmed that like their peers, they are voracious consumers of visual information. But the jejune visual idioms of the prevailing popular culture are ineffectual as tools of journalism. Our goal as journalists, in the words of legendary photojournalism educator Cliff Edom, is to “show truth with a camera.”
My thoughts on this topic continue to evolve, but I’m pretty sure that the challenge of training young people as visual journalists breaks down something like this:
The best of the best from my University of Miami Fall 2010 Introduction to Photojournalism students’ first assignment: The annual birthday party for MiChiMu, the Miami Childrens’ Museum mascot. Buncha rockstars.
It has been many, many, too many moons since my last entry here. I want to thank my loyal followers, all 1 of you, for hanging with me.
Chalk my quietude up to a crazy summer travel schedule that included four Central European countries in a month, another month of transitioning into my final (?) semester of grad school, and yet another month of assisting and advocating for my aging mother as she moves out of the home where she lived for fifty years and into a skilled nursing facility. (More on all of these topics later.)
It’s not that I’ve had no inspirations to write during this hiatus. On the contrary, inspirations have been plentiful, but inspirations are, as pioneering psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote, “a dime a dozen.” I’ve just not done the “awful lot of hard work” that Maslow describes as necessary to bring inspirations to fruition.
Chalk up my return to writing to my fabulous new students in the Intro to Photojournalism class I teach at the University of Miami School of Communication. These gals and guy (that’s right, an 8:1 ratio) really just are the coolest folks on the planet.