Posts tagged with ‘journalism education’

Journalism & Games: News Literacy Edition
ProPublica’s Sisi Wei just wrote a piece for PBS MediaShift on how to create compelling newsgames, that is, games that seek to reach, inform and engage news readers by involving them in the issues at hand. For example, you can play a game to experience being part of the sweatshop system and thereby potentially experience owning the consequences of the system:

This feeling of owning consequences is what’s at play in a game called Sweatshop. It simulates the life of a sweatshop manager, and in the face of the daily pressures, the player’s moral compass begins to lose its bearing. Betsy Morais wrote, in her New Yorker piece about playing Sweatshop, that “as I continued to play, I began to skip past … the interjections of a child worker who popped up at the bottom of the screen to plead for decent treatment. …The longer I played, the more each moving part — workers, children, hats — became abstracted into the image of one big machine.”

Or, you can involve yourself in the complexities of making budget decisions:

In 2008, American Public Media published a popular simulation newsgame called “Budget Hero,” which asks players to build a federal budget that can stay balanced over the next 30 years. The game is kept up-to-date regularly — for example, it takes into account the January 2013 fiscal cliff — and if you play the game without making any budget changes, the game displays a real projection of how current federal spending affects the budget over the coming years.

Read on for some best practices and tools to create newsgames of your own, which, apparently, aren’t technically much harder than creating interactive graphics.
FJP: While these games deal mainly with news readers viscerally experiencing the issues reporting in the news, another sort of newsgame that’s been on my radar for a while is what the folks on the Committee of Concerned Journalists and the Reynolds Journalism Institute partnered up to create in the 2011 series Elements of Verification. It’s the same concept as most newsgames, except it puts you in the shoes of the journalist or news consumer to weigh creation and consumption decisions for yourself.
Granted, the news lit games are really simple and they’re not visually fantastic. But, they’re incredibly important to democratic education. They put the average citizen in j-school for a couple of minutes. Coupled with Sisi’s recommendations and the visual and storytelling perspective of interactive news designers it would be fantastic to build more such series. —Jihii
Background/Bonus Reading: Sisi Wei reminds us that there’s a difference between gamification and games (gamification being the practice of adding game-like elements to activities that aren’t truly games, i.e.: Foursquare) (but the words tend to be used interchangeably anyway). Here is a paper that explains the how’s, what’s and why’s of gamification in education, which is a pretty good primer on the potential and debates around using games in education. It was co-authored by Joey Lee, a professor at Teachers College who is doing some pretty interesting work around real-world impact games. There’s also an annual conference around social impact games which features some pretty incredible work. In my non-FJP life, I worked on a video about it which you can see here.
Image: Screenshot from the School Tragedy portion of the Elements of Verification game series.

Journalism & Games: News Literacy Edition

ProPublica’s Sisi Wei just wrote a piece for PBS MediaShift on how to create compelling newsgames, that is, games that seek to reach, inform and engage news readers by involving them in the issues at hand. For example, you can play a game to experience being part of the sweatshop system and thereby potentially experience owning the consequences of the system:

This feeling of owning consequences is what’s at play in a game called Sweatshop. It simulates the life of a sweatshop manager, and in the face of the daily pressures, the player’s moral compass begins to lose its bearing. Betsy Morais wrote, in her New Yorker piece about playing Sweatshop, that “as I continued to play, I began to skip past … the interjections of a child worker who popped up at the bottom of the screen to plead for decent treatment. …The longer I played, the more each moving part — workers, children, hats — became abstracted into the image of one big machine.”

Or, you can involve yourself in the complexities of making budget decisions:

In 2008, American Public Media published a popular simulation newsgame called “Budget Hero,” which asks players to build a federal budget that can stay balanced over the next 30 years. The game is kept up-to-date regularly — for example, it takes into account the January 2013 fiscal cliff — and if you play the game without making any budget changes, the game displays a real projection of how current federal spending affects the budget over the coming years.

Read on for some best practices and tools to create newsgames of your own, which, apparently, aren’t technically much harder than creating interactive graphics.

FJP: While these games deal mainly with news readers viscerally experiencing the issues reporting in the news, another sort of newsgame that’s been on my radar for a while is what the folks on the Committee of Concerned Journalists and the Reynolds Journalism Institute partnered up to create in the 2011 series Elements of Verification. It’s the same concept as most newsgames, except it puts you in the shoes of the journalist or news consumer to weigh creation and consumption decisions for yourself.

Granted, the news lit games are really simple and they’re not visually fantastic. But, they’re incredibly important to democratic education. They put the average citizen in j-school for a couple of minutes. Coupled with Sisi’s recommendations and the visual and storytelling perspective of interactive news designers it would be fantastic to build more such series. —Jihii

Background/Bonus Reading: Sisi Wei reminds us that there’s a difference between gamification and games (gamification being the practice of adding game-like elements to activities that aren’t truly games, i.e.: Foursquare) (but the words tend to be used interchangeably anyway). Here is a paper that explains the how’s, what’s and why’s of gamification in education, which is a pretty good primer on the potential and debates around using games in education. It was co-authored by Joey Lee, a professor at Teachers College who is doing some pretty interesting work around real-world impact games. There’s also an annual conference around social impact games which features some pretty incredible work. In my non-FJP life, I worked on a video about it which you can see here.

Image: Screenshot from the School Tragedy portion of the Elements of Verification game series.

The greatest invention of the ancient Hebrews was the idea of the sabbath, though I am using this word in a fully secular sense: the invention of a region free from control of the state and commerce where another dimension of life could be experienced and where altered forms of social relationship could occur. As such, the sabbath has always been a major resistance to state and market power. For purposes of communication, the effective penetration of the sabbath came in the 1880s with the invention of the Sunday newspaper.

Communications theorist James W. Carey, in Technology and Ideology: The Case of the Telegraph, from his book Communication as Culture (1989).

Carey’s essay discusses the development of standard time zones, which he says “served to overlay the world with a grid of time in the same way the surveyor’s map laid a grid of space on old cities, the new territories of the West, or the seas.” Standardizing time allowed for it to be used to control and coordinate activities. 

In the above excerpt, he considers the sabbath as a time zone that could be “penetrated” and explains how William Randolph Hearst did so by popularizing the idea of the Sunday newspaper. This perspective could also be applied to commercial broadcasting and the advent of 24-hour television. He writes:

It was Hearst with his New York Sunday World who popularized the idea of Sunday newspaper reading and created, in fact, a market where none had existed before—a sabbath market. Since then the penetration of the sabbath has been one of the “frontiers” of commercial activity. Finally, when the frontier in space was officially closed in 1890, the “new frontier” became the night, and since then there has been a continuous spreading upward of commercial activity. 

Murray Melbin (1987) has attempted to characterize “night as a frontier.” In terms of communication the steady expansion of commercial broadcasting into the night is one of the best examples. There were no 24-hour radio stations in Boston, for example, from 1918 through 1954; now half of the stations in Boston operate all night. Television has slowly expanded into the night at one end and at the other initiated operations earlier and earlier. Now, indeed, there are 24-hour television stations in major markets.

FJP: It’s a pretty interesting thought—the colonization, in essence—of time, by media. I discovered the reading in a journalism history course I’m taking with Andie Tucher, whom we’ve interviewed here on the FJP. Check out her videos. —Jihii

Thoughts on Today’s Journalism Education

How necessary is a journalism degree nowadays? Are journalism classrooms innovative enough? Poynter Institute’s News University surveyed more than 1,800 journalism educators, media professionals and students to hear their thoughts. The survey revealed stark differences in the views of educators and professionals:

  • On understanding the value of journalism, 96% of educators and only 57% of professionals believe that a journalism degree is very important to extremely important. 

  • When it comes to learning news gathering skills, more than 80% of educators and only 25% of professionals say a journalism degree is extremely important.

  • While only 39% of educators say journalism education is keeping up with industry changes a little or not at all, 48% of professionals believe the same. 

At a recent conference, Howard Finberg, News University’s director for partnerships and alliances, discussed the divide between the professional and academic journalism worlds.

via Mediashift

Finberg recommends renewing the connection between journalism academics and professionals through innovative changes both within classrooms and in the larger organization of journalism education.

[…] Digital tools could change the focus of faculty members’ classroom time and allow them to share resources with other institutions. Online materials could replace some of the direct instruction in journalism topics, and face-to-face classroom time could be used for other kinds of teaching — as in the widely discussed “flipped classroom” approach.
[…] More radically, Finberg suggests divorcing journalism education from journalism degrees — or at least weakening the connection, so that training in journalism skills can be made more widely available to not only college students, but to the wider public, including those who commit what Jeff Jarvis calls “acts of journalism.” Documenting that training might come through achieving a digital “badge” in journalism — a recognition of knowledge and training in a field that is separate from any degree program, but that can be shown to employers and others to demonstrate ability.

Image: Poynter’s News University, screen grabs of polls on journalism degrees and education.

What I like to say is we like students to leave here with the intellectual dexterity to deal with unending change. That is a core journalistic skill along with learning to verify information and write it in a compelling way.

Bill Grueskin, Dean of Academic Affairs at Columbia J-School, in a Q&A with PBS MediaShift’s Mark Glaser.

The Q&A covers Columbia’s revamped curriculum, and thoughts on the future of journalism education.

Related: Thoughts about Columbia, journalism education, and j-school from the FJP archives.

But editors and professors recognize that the best way to understand the future of journalism lies in learning from and working with students.

And so, Mercer University is starting a $5.6 million project to collaborate with the Macon Newspaper and Georgia Public Radio.

via The New York Times:

Reporters and editors for the 186-year-old paper The Telegraph and the radio station will work out of the campus’s new journalism center, alongside students whom the university expects will do legwork for newspaper and public radio reports, with guidance from their professors and working journalists. 

It’s a plan born in part of desperation. Like many newspapers, The Telegraph has lost circulation and advertising revenue in the last decade, and the public radio station was forced to trim down to one staff member during the recession. 

William D. Underwood, Mercer’s president, expects that by applying what he calls a medical residency model to journalism, all of these players may give the struggling industry a chance to stay alive.

Bonus: This report [PDF] from the New America Foundation entitled “Shaping 21st Century Journalism: Leveraging a ‘Teaching Hospital Model’ in Journalism Education”

Journalism schools are known for producing writers. They’re known for different types of narratives. They are not necessarily lauded for producing math or computer science majors. That has to change.

— Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, in an interview with Alex Howard about data journalism (via mediabytes)

(via mediabytes)

Training Citizen Journalists
Thanks to the internet, pretty much anyone can practice journalism. We’ve been exploring how to deal with the information overload, and how to evaluate journalism that’s not necessarily produced by a traditional newsroom. Some argue that journalism born from Twitter monitoring is not real journalism. But it seems here to stay. 
via Gigaom:

This democratization of distribution has had a profound effect on the coverage of uprisings in Egypt and Libya and more recently in Syria. Because of YouTube, Twitter, and other networks, more information is available about what is happening in those countries. But is it reliable? According to some reports, the news coming from Syria has been altered by activists who are trying to make a specific point. Does that mean citizen journalism is flawed? Not really. It just means we need better tools to make sense of the flood of news all around us.

How can we improve online citizen journalism? Al Jazeera has an answer: by teaching tools. It has just launched an educational campaign aiming to “raise a new generation of citizen journalists.” 
via The Realtime Report:

Facebook and Twitter will enable these journalists to update the world about news in their area — and Al Jazeera’s new YouTube channel, Al Jazeera Unplugged, will teach them how to use these social networks to share information. The first videos stick to the basics: how to use Twitter and Facebook.  The videos will gradually become more advanced as the campaign continues, with an increased focus on producing and sharing content.
Riyaad Minty, Al Jazeera’s head of social media, told GigaOm that “The focus is mostly on how these tools can be used to create greater awareness around issues within your society. That’s where the name unplugged comes from – it’s more about a need to disconnect, go out and create content – not just consuming media.”

FJP: Subscribed to the channel and looking forward to more videos.

Training Citizen Journalists


Thanks to the internet, pretty much anyone can practice journalism. We’ve been exploring how to deal with the information overload, and how to evaluate journalism that’s not necessarily produced by a traditional newsroom. Some argue that journalism born from Twitter monitoring is not real journalism. But it seems here to stay. 

via Gigaom:

This democratization of distribution has had a profound effect on the coverage of uprisings in Egypt and Libya and more recently in Syria. Because of YouTube, Twitter, and other networks, more information is available about what is happening in those countries. But is it reliable? According to some reports, the news coming from Syria has been altered by activists who are trying to make a specific point. Does that mean citizen journalism is flawed? Not really. It just means we need better tools to make sense of the flood of news all around us.

How can we improve online citizen journalism? Al Jazeera has an answer: by teaching tools. It has just launched an educational campaign aiming to “raise a new generation of citizen journalists.” 

via The Realtime Report:

Facebook and Twitter will enable these journalists to update the world about news in their area — and Al Jazeera’s new YouTube channel, Al Jazeera Unplugged, will teach them how to use these social networks to share information. The first videos stick to the basics: how to use Twitter and Facebook.  The videos will gradually become more advanced as the campaign continues, with an increased focus on producing and sharing content.

Riyaad Minty, Al Jazeera’s head of social media, told GigaOm that “The focus is mostly on how these tools can be used to create greater awareness around issues within your society. That’s where the name unplugged comes from – it’s more about a need to disconnect, go out and create content – not just consuming media.”

FJP: Subscribed to the channel and looking forward to more videos.