Tag Archives: Journalism school

Audio reporting tools of the trade: then and now

Note the 3-metre cord on the microphone, which was designed for karaoke.
Note the 3-metre cord on the microphone, which was designed for karaoke. I wound it up and held extra cord together with a hair elastic. Very technical.

This is an I-love-technology piece, gird yourselves accordingly.

Fourteen years ago, as a journalism student, I recorded a lot of audio.

This set up (pictured left),  included the latest technology: a smallish cassette recorder, and a giant ice-cream-cone-shaped microphone.

I was set. I recorded ‘tape’ of interviews for assignments, and eventually did a 30-minute radio documentary about women journalists working on Parliament Hill from 1966 – 1996. (Note to self: Find and digitize, some big names on there).

In my first year of  journalism school, we were taught to edit tape using an Ampex, razors and tape.  I’m not making this up.

Mary McGuire, my radio professor back then,  tweeted  a pic of the actual Ampex I worked on:

ampex

Later, ‘new technology’ was brought in, and we were taught digital editing.  (Cue angels singing, as I was never very handy with razors and tape.)

Continue reading Audio reporting tools of the trade: then and now

Top 10 multimedia skills new journalists should have

Photo by Flickr user EIU
Photo by Flickr user EIU

Now that I’m in a university environment, I’ve been thinking about the skills I learned as a journalism student, and what schools are teaching students today.

Ideally, a student should graduate from journalism school with skills that prepare them to walk into a newsroom – any newsroom – and thrive. (These skills should of course be in addition to sound news judgement and an understanding of journalism ethics and the importance of responsible reporting.)

So here’s my grocery list of ideal skills for the newsroom newbie:

Continue reading Top 10 multimedia skills new journalists should have

Note to future journalists: Don’t get your parents to do it

I got a lot of reaction after a mom reached out to me via LinkedIn looking to get her son, a journalism student,  a summer job in our newsroom. (A few people suggested I hire the mom for her social media savvy.)

Sadly, it appears this isn’t the only student with parents more than keen to help.

Exhibit B: from the Toronto Star’s log of calls to its City Desk in 2012:

Image

I’ve always thought the worst insult for a journalist is to be labelled lazy.

Great reporters, great journalists are tenacious. They are dogged. They are driven, sometimes to the point of obsession.

They don’t ask mom and dad for help.

How I plan to examine/research/submerge myself in community newsrooms

fish
Photo by Flickr user Aprilesole

Soon I’ll find myself out of a newsroom as I head for university life, spending the next four months in academia.

(Cue fish-out-of-water cliches.)

In June, I was awarded the first-ever Michener-Deacon Fellowship for journalism education.

As part of that fellowship, I’ll be a journalist-in-residence at Carleton University, and teaching a multimedia class to third-year journalism students.

Another part of that fellowship involves a research project, and in my proposal I outlined how I’d like to examine community newsrooms.

My original plan was broad enough to be a PhD dissertation, I worked with Christopher Waddell, the Director of the School of Journalism at Carleton, to sharpen its focus. I’d like to examine Canadian initiatives, as well as projects south of the border. And most importantly, it has to be a study that can be completed in four months, the length of the fellowship.

So, here goes – thus far:

Continue reading How I plan to examine/research/submerge myself in community newsrooms

What do students want out of j-school?

Me, as an intern, a week after graduating (in red). I am still grateful for the skills I learned in j-school.

Convocations around town have me thinking back … way, way back to my own graduation from journalism school – and what I was hoping the experience would give me.

Recently I received the anonymous student evaluations from the ‘Fundamentals of Reporting’ (boot camp) course I taught last year at Carleton University. I took a version of the course when I was a Master’s student at Carleton.

The course emphasizes basic interview skills, preparing a background file, investigating sources and an emphasis on Canadian Press style  - with weekly assignments and a major feature at the end of the term. While it’s not their only journalism course, it is one where second-year students get to stretch their legs the most and get out there and do some writing.

As important as the grading system is  (I presume if your evaluation marks are astonishingly awful, you won’t be asked back as an instructor), I place as much importance on the comments on the back.

Continue reading What do students want out of j-school?

What I’ll be doing during my Michener-Deacon Fellowship

The amazing folks at the Michener Awards Foundation have recognized the importance of journalism education, and created a Michener-Deacon Fellowship this year that allows for a ‘journalist-in-residence’ at a journalism school in Canada.

More amazing is that I’ve won it.

I’ve had a few people ask me what exactly I’ll be studying/researching/teaching about community journalism at Carleton University from January to May 2013. So, I decided to post my proposal here. (Where, I’ll also be reporting my findings throughout the Fellowship)

Continue reading What I’ll be doing during my Michener-Deacon Fellowship

Why journalists should hang out with hackers

First confesstion: I’m not very good with numbers and I don’t know how to program in Linux, so I’m naturally fearful of the super computer-savvy.

Second confession: my impression of a hacker had largely been shaped by a really mediocre 1990′s movie. Great soundtrack, but no way could I do what these folks were doing.

Fast forward 16 years and I’m a convert. Partnering with hackers is a natural fit: as more and more data is available to the public, there are stories to be told.

And despite the way they are portrayed by the media – yes, us – hackers are not in their basements dreaming up viruses to take over the world.

I’m part of a group that brought a Hacks/Hackers chapter to Ottawa, and I’m learning that when journalists and technology collide, amazing things happen.

Continue reading Why journalists should hang out with hackers