Friday, April 10, 2009

J-School Envy

If any fellow journalists/Medill alumni are reading this blog, you should check out a video on Apple's Web site that shows the new journalism school building at Arizona State University. I had no idea ASU was even on the j-school map, but the facility is incredible and it looks like they really know what they're doing in terms of training the Journalists of the Future.

The video goes a little overboard on the "Macs are AMAZING!" message (it's a commercial, after all), but it's evident that ASU has taken a smart approach to teaching the multimedia aspects of journalism that a lot of other j-schools have publicly struggled with.

At this point in time, journalists need to be self-sufficient jacks-and-jills-of-all-trades. The point is, you can't just write. You can't just shoot and edit video. You have to be able to create quality content for multiple platforms or you're going to be unemployed. (Actually, each passing week seems to bring another sad obituary of another daily newspaper, so chances are you won't be employed as a traditional journalist anyway.)

I think the caveat of creating "quality" content is where much of the tech-focused journalistic training falls apart. Giving someone six different colors to paint with and not telling them which colors go together or when to use blue and when to use orange can make for a lot of ugly art. So to for multimedia news coverage. All the fancy Macs in the world won't help you become a better journalist unless that technology is paired with training in the fundamentals of reporting.

Despite my training as a print journalist, my platform these days is almost completely multimedia--audio, video and slide shows. Sure, the fact that I could teach myself how to use Final Cut Pro was a great help in making the leap from written words to video frames. And, yes, the medium is different, but the skills and elements needed to turn a blank Final Cut Pro timeline into a finished video are eerily similar to what it takes to turn a blank word Document into a publishable text story. Good reporting matters.

OK, I'll get off my soap box now. As long as we're talking about text vs. video, check out my latest effort. For this one, I had so much good stuff that I made a video and wrote a story to go along with it. Incidentally, the subjects of the profile--Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler--are definitely going places. I can't wait to say "I knew them when..."


Anonymous said...

jessica said...

I agree on having to learn to produce for different platforms, and on the "quality" part too of course :) but, even tho it's marketing, they are right in that Mac is THE platform to do such things (video editing, photoshop, all that creative stuff). it really is more convenient than PC's, I have found, and no I don't work for Apple haha. it's a little odd that Medill considers itself "primarily a PC/windows-based envrionment". I was surprised to hear that.

B said...

So, Matt, I see that your Facebook access has been reinstated.