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Website Offers Resources for Journalism Educators

August 2, 2010

News21, a program of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education, is offering a new Web-based resource center to help colleges and universities advance the way they teach journalism.

The site offers help for schools interested in starting programs that emphasize in-depth reporting and digital media skills for students. The materials were drawn from five years of experience with News21 programs at 12 of the nation’s top universities.

Students in the programs spent this past summer reporting in-depth on topics ranging from immigration and homeless veterans to the dangers of traveling in America. The projects will be featured on the News21 website as well as in professional publications around the country.

It was the fifth summer of the program, which gives students a chance to write and report in-depth projects and present them in innovative ways on the Web. Prior to their summer experience, the students attend a seminar to learn about their chosen topics from experts within their universities.

“News21 is essentially an experiment to help journalism programs master in-depth digital storytelling and prepare students for a changing media landscape,” said Kristin Gilger, executive editor of the national program and associate dean at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, where the program is headquartered.

“We’ve learned a lot in five years, and we’re ready to share what we learned with other
schools in the hope that they’ll consider starting their own News21-types of programs,” she said.

The website includes advice on how to encourage innovation, course materials from News21 seminars around the country and videos from News21 training sessions in which new media experts share their expertise on topics ranging from social media to investigative reporting.

It also features an interactive “Explore & Compare” page where visitors can see how the same story was presented in multiple ways and comment on which presentation they think is most effective.

News21 National Director Jody Brannon said the materials can be used by journalism programs of any size and “like many things coming out of universities these days, many of the lessons learned can also be of value to the journalism industry or even a content hobbyist.”

News21 is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Participating schools are Arizona State University, University of California-Berkeley, Columbia University, Harvard University, University of Maryland, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, University of North Carolina, Northwestern University, University of Southern California, Syracuse University and University of Texas.