How shrinking technology is shrinking barriers for journalists


The fall semester is just about to start and I am rewriting my syllabus *again* to reflect the fact that journalism has changed *again,* since the last time I rewrote it in the spring. In fact, I have rewritten the syllabus every semester since starting teaching in 2008 to try and keep my students as up-to-date as is humanly possible.

This semester there will be an even greater emphasis on learning how to learn, learning how to work in teams, and learning what needs to be learned to work in post-industrial journalism. We will specifically work on projects involving words, sound, images, social, coding, data and interactive video.

All change

My background is writing and design for print and the web. But I now know enough about audio and video editing to be proficient enough to train journalists in web video. I won’t be putting anyone at CNN out of a job any time soon but I do know that I could not have done this 20 years ago. Or even 10 years ago.

The incredibly shrinking technology that makes iPhones possible has also shrunk the barriers in journalism. Journalists used to train and work in distinctly separate areas because the money, hardware and technology needed for print, TV and radio made it impossible for one journalist or one news organization to do everything.

The iPhone (and its counterparts) have fundamentally changed the process of journalism in ways that are still only becoming clear. There is even a field guide to mobile reporting from the grad school at Berkeley

Thanks to smaller technology it IS possible for a single outlet to publish on multiple platforms. It is also possible for a single journalist to write their own scripts, shoot their own video, take still shots and capture great sound.

This is why we work with everything in JRNL 80. Journalists are expected to know how to use an iPhone (or similar) to capture images and sound and make their content searchable and sociable.

Oh yes, and you’re also expected to know how to write for publication.

Let’s get started shall we?!