Wednesday, 07 July 2010 17:25

Who's afraid of big bad (face)book?

An earlier post pinpointed some of the challenges that surfaced in a WJEC syndicate discussion around the topic of social media(SM) and the implications for journalism educators (J-Eds). But as everyone knows it is one thing to  ask the questions; it is often something quite different to find answers.

However, an attempt was made to suggest a way forward if JEs are going to recognise SM as a worthy ingredient in  any well-rounded  journalism training recipe. To this end then Julie Posetti, who had chaired the syndicate, presented a list of six recommendations.  While not exhaustive and somewhat skeletal (they await further fleshing out when the final syndicate report  appears  at a later stage), they do nevertheless present current J-Eds with something to chew on. So what do J-Eds need to do?

1.    Accept that as a result of new media developments , SM should  increasingly be considered an essential component in any journalism training initiative, even where lack of connectivity  seems to pose problems, and especially in view of the fact that the ubiquitous cellphone has levelled the playing fields.

2.    Such acceptance requires that J-Eds themselves, although perhaps not directly involved in training, have an abligation to keep  abreast of SM developments.

3.    The onus would appear to fall on J-Eds to find ways of embedding SM practice into aspects of the so-called ‘traditional’ journalism curriculum.

4.    J-Eds need to be sensitive to the debate surrounding journalism ethics and professionalism especially as it pertains to the use of SM in journalism, what Posetti calls “managing the Personal/Professional divide”.

5.    Be prepared to teach and support students, through SM use,  in building networks of professional contacts that extend beyond  friends and local news.

6.    Explore the use of SM as a vehicle to get students excited about  topics which interest them and engage in, and collaborate with, local communities.

Published in Bloggers
Sunday, 04 July 2010 17:41

Tweeting in a time of radical change

Dr Levi Obonyo (Daystar University, Kenya) and Dr George Lugalambi (Makerere University, Uganda) learn about real-time journalism toolsJMC educators need to refresh Media and Communication Studies curricula to help make sense of a radically changing mediascape. This was the message to delegates from UNESCO's Centres of Journalism Excellence and Reference who attended a programme titled Capacitating COE's for Real-Time Journalism and Media Studies just ahead of the second World Journalism Educators' Congress.

New Media Lab lecturer, Jude Mathurine shared lessons from Rhodes' School of Journalism and Media Studies' own change to a converged curriculum. He called on delegates to consider three key ideas:

  • Media Studies educators should not be afraid to seek help to understand new technologies and the context of changing patterns of consumption and production;
  • offer students critical tools for media literacy that enables interrogation of the constructed nature of their own media use (as well as public broadcasters and big media);
  • and maintain a focus on how new media can be used to challenge the dominant relations of power that remain asymmetrical despite the promises of modernisation.

Tweeting along
Australian hackademic, Julie Posetti followed up this session with a rapid-fire workship on the use of Twitter and real-time blogging tools for 'mindcasting', storygathering, curation, publishing and engagement. Posetti who has widely researched social media presented a workshop called: Twitter for Communications and Journalism Education. With 13,015 tweets to her name, the self-confessed "twitter addict" and senior lecturer at the University of Canberra was a fitting candidate to initiate some participants to the Twittersphere.

Newbies learnt the basics of adding followers, how to tweet functionally and socially; as well as information on how to break news on Twitter while respecting journalistic values.

Posetti says it is important to host workshops because platforms like Twitter can help "cross cultural barriers and to interconnect around the globe in a way that not only breaks down barriers but facilitates conversation".

"Expand and compress the world through Twitter!" tweeted Kenyan Dr George Nyabuga during the presentation.

The JMC educators will cover WJEC2 conference syndicates and panels on the WJEC blog and Twitter using the #wjec2 hashtag. WJEC will also host a Tweetup at the popular Rat and Parrot pub on NewStreet at 18h30 on 5 July.

Published in Bloggers
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