Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Quick Hits

A view of the future?
Morris Communications doesn't get a lot of publicity, tucked away as it is in Augusta, Ga., (you know, that place with the famous golf tournament) but it has one of the smartest minds in journalism, Steve Yelvington, working for it today. If you want an idea of where Yelvington & Co. see news site design going, look at the new Savannah Morning News site.

savannah morning news-new

Compare it to the old Savannah site, (link no longer active) which is typical of many newspaper sites.

savannanh morning news-old

Minimalism seems to be in (see also the product of another low-key but influential player, Howard Owens at Bakersfield.com, which relies heavily on headlines and photos, but isn't quite as stark as Savannah).

The future J-School?
Adrian Holovaty's comments to Robert Niles of Online Journalism Review in "The programmer as journalist." The quick version:

OJR: What should journalism schools be doing to prepare future journalists to work in a mash-up publishing universe?

Holovaty: J-schools need to get way more technical. A graduate of a journalism school should be a master of collecting data -- whether the old-fashioned way (by talking to humans) or through automated means.

The closest thing journalism schools currently have (to my knowledge) is computer-assisted reporting classes. Those classes should be required, in my opinion, and even better would be for j-schools to partner with computer-science departments so that journalism students would get some experience coding.

This, however, is much easier said than done in your modern institution of higher learning, and it raises questions of where to fit this into a curriculum that, under accreditation standards, has only so much flexibility. The conversation was a little thin on this point, and there needs to be much more discussion. Journalism schools seem to be caught between the technologists like Holovaty on one hand and the traditional liberal arts folks on the other. Sure, they are not mutually exclusive and could be accommodated -- if students were only allowed to take 250 credit hours toward a degree.


At 6/7/06, 12:36 AM, Anonymous Randall said...

I have to agree with Mr. Holovaty that today's journalism students are not being prepared adequately in the use of technology in reporting and disseminating the news. There are a lot of current J-school professors who may not know about technology as it effects journalism.

As a recent example, I visited a prominent professor at a certain school that will remain unnamed. The professor was overwhelmed to see that my digital camera could also capture video and had never seen that before. It surprised me that someone who prepares students for gathering news would not be aware of advancements such as these.

There is no clear answer as to how to fit this type of much needed tech instruction into the curriculum, but from what I have seen most schools have not even tried. In other words, any effort is better than none at all.

By the way Doug, thanks for mentioning our website! We certainly appreciate your comments and look forward to serving Raleigh.

The Raleigh Chronicle


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