The next semester starts in a couple of days, and with it the first class of what is essentially a course that introduces first year students to multimedia journalism tools and skills.
To prepare, I’ve been drafting a list of principles to guide the course (and students). So far, I have this:
1. The ability to report and write isn’t nearly enough for (the great majority) of journalists any more.
2. Even with that, the key skills of research, verification, fairness and delivering important and interesting information effectively, remain at the heart of what we do.
3. Your career as a journalist will be shaped by your firm grasp of the second point, coupled with a deep understanding of the full range of possibilities for storytelling.
4. Storytelling is the thoughtful choosing of appropriate form and content to connect.
5. You do not need to master all of the current skills of storytelling, but you need to understand them. However, mastery of some skills will help you truly succeed.
6. What you learn now may become obsolete (although it is more likely that it will instead become technically easier) but all of what you learn sets a base for whatever comes next.
7. While much of the semester will be spent working with a variety of software apps, it is never about the tools, no more than reporting is about how you write in your notebook. You need to know the tools, but it is always about the journalism.
8. The development of your skills and understanding depend more on doing than on the learning. Doing real-life projects, for class or on your own, trumps classroom exercises.
I’d welcome any feedback, particularly anything that I’ve missed that you’d consider important.