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What would I teach a journalist?

Monday, May 07, 2007 by Dave Winer.

Kevin Reynen, an instructor in the J-school at the University of Nevada-Reno, writes to ask what I would teach a journalism student about the new technologies. How would I design a curriculum for students wishing to learn journalism in the age of Web 2.0, if I could work with him/her every day for 10 months? Permalink to this paragraph

Well, that's a juicy question. Something I've thought about in the back of my mind for quite some time, and it turns out that I actually have some ideas. Permalink to this paragraph

First, I'd forget about Drupal, and customized sites, and HTML, CSS and PHP.  Permalink to this paragraph

Let each student create their own site at blogspot.com or wordpress.com, where ever they like. If they want to create five sites, let them create five sites.  Permalink to this paragraph

What a privilege to be able to work with the students every day for 10 months. Don't they get vacations or weekends off? I assume so. But five days a week, man, you could really get something done. Permalink to this paragraph

The students must start covering their world online, openly. Tthe class meeting would be like the Berkman Thursday meetups we had at Harvard (they're still having them, btw). But, and this is important, they'd evolve and how they evolve is something you will figure out, with the advice of the students, as you go along. It's hard to say at the outset what it would become, but if I had to guess, you're going to create the equivalent of a newsroom, for your community. Permalink to this paragraph

Which brings me to another key point. You must bring Reno into your school. Open the doors. Go on the local TV and radio stations and explain what you hope to do, and tell them where and when they need to be. You will attract some amazing people from the community. I could go down the list of the people from the Boston area who showed up at Berkman, but the list is too long. Lisa Williams is now an editor at the Boston Globe. Andrew Grumet, who was a developer at MIT is now the CTO at a SF Bay Area startup. So many others. Permalink to this paragraph

Bring Reno into the school. Permalink to this paragraph

And don't think in terms of curriculum.  Permalink to this paragraph

It'll be like an unconference -- no panels, no speakers, no audience. Permalink to this paragraph

No students, no teachers, no classroom. Permalink to this paragraph

Just news about the community, and make it inclusive, and everything that needs to happen will happen, imho. Permalink to this paragraph

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