Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stay curious, my friends.

Just back from the Poynter Institute's Teachapalooza workshop, a two-and-a-half day event for college journalism educators. Sample session: What Your Journalism Students Need to Know. Lots of talk about storytelling, writing, reporting, and where the industry is heading.

I'll fill you in future posts (and my Fall 2012 classes, plug, plug) but the big, overriding theme is this:

Journalism students have to know how to learn.

Because we can, and do, teach you a lot--about ethics, writing, reporting, tech. But however much you learn at UMass, it won't be enough. It's up to you to get into the habit of teaching yourself, decade after decade, regardless of where you end up: about current affairs, technology, the field you're in. (And chances are pretty good it's going to be something other than journalism.)

Here's what's great. When it comes to journalism and technology, there are tons of online resources, and you're nuts if you don't use them. (That, and your competition probably does.) Mindy McAdams' Reporters Guide to Multimedia Proficiency is a good way in. This booklet tells you the basics of storytelling on different platforms: print, visual, audio.

Check out Poynter's News University. Their self-directed courses each take about one-to-two hours. Worth your time.

And one more: Books 24 x 7. These are online books in the areas of tech, business and marketing. Need to learn Photoshop and can't wait for a class? This is the place. It's on the UMass library website. Click into the database section, and scroll down alphabetically. Once you're in, just do a keyword search. The books arrive on your desktop. It doesn't get any easier than that.

This is the fun stuff: finding out new ways of doing things and keeping your portfolio fresh. Of course, none of these resources matter if you're not curious. And if you're not curious, what are you doing here?

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