Tag Archives: pedagogy

Teaching data journalism in developing countries: lessons from ODECA

Eva Constantaras

Eva Constantaras

Eva Constantaras is a data journalist and trainer who recently wrote the Data Journalism Manual for the UN Development Program. In a special guest post she talks about the background to the manual, her experiences in working with journalists and professors who want to introduce data journalism techniques in developing nations, and why the biggest challenges not technological, but cultural.

Over the last few years, there has been a significant shift in global experiments in data journalism education away from short term activities like boot camps and hackathons to more sustained and sustainable interventions including fellowships and institutes.

There is a growing awareness that the challenge of teaching data journalism in many countries is split straight down the middle between teaching data and teaching journalism — where neither data science nor public interest journalism are particularly common. Open data can be a boon to democracy — but only if there are professionals capable and motivated to transform that data into information for the public. Continue reading

My online journalism Masters course is changing its name. Here’s why

telegraph-newsroom image by alex-gamela

MA student Alex Gamela took this image of the Telegraph newsroom during the first year of the MA

My MA in Online Journalism has a new name: the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism. It’s still a course all about finding, publishing and distributing journalism online. So why the name change?

Well, because what ‘online‘ means has changed.

For the last 18 months I’ve been talking to people across the industry, reflecting on the past 7 years of teaching the MA, and researching the forthcoming second edition of the Online Journalism Handbook. Here, then, are the key conclusions I arrived at, and how they informed the new course design:

1: Adapting to new platforms is a specific skill

In the last few years a significant change has taken place. Journalism is now increasingly ‘native’, playing to the strengths of multiple platforms rather than just using them as promotional ‘channels’. It went from web and social to chat, keeps remembering email, and in the near future will take in cars, the home and other connected devices too. Continue reading

Free ebook on teaching collaborative journalism and peer-to-peer learning

Stories and Streams free ebook on teaching collaborative journalism with peer to peer learning

I’ve just published a free ebook documenting a method of teaching collaborative journalism. Called ‘Stories and Streams’ the method, which was piloted last year, uses investigation teams and focuses on student-driven, peer-to-peer learning. Traditional lectures are not used.

You can download the free ebook from Leanpub.

You can read more about the background to the project here. A research report co-written with Jon Hickman and Jennifer Jones is published in a research report in ADM-HEA Networks Magazine. A fuller report will be included in a HEA publication on collaborative learning soon.

I’m also about to start a new class using the same method again, so if you have a class you’d like to get involved, let me know.

Stories and Streams: teaching collaborative journalism with peer to peer learning

In January 2012 I was facing an old problem: as I prepared to teach a new undergraduate online journalism class, I wanted to find a way to encourage students to connect with wider networks in the area they were reporting on.

Networks have always been important to journalists, but in a networked age they are more important than ever. The days of starting your contacts book with names and numbers from formal organisations listed in the local phonebook are gone. Now those are instantly available online – but more importantly, there are informal groups and expert individuals accessible too. And they’re publishing for each other.

Because of this, and because of reduced resources, the news industry is increasingly working with these networks to pursue, produce and distribute stories, from Paul Lewis’s investigative work at The Guardian to Neal Mann’s field reporting for Sky, the Farmers’ Weekly team’s coverage of foot and mouth, and Andy Carvin’s coverage of the Arab Spring at NPR.

How could I get students to do this? By rewriting the class entirely.

Continue reading

Journalism Reloaded – What journalists need for the future

In a guest post Alexandra StarkSwiss journalist and Head of Studies at MAZ – the Swiss School of Journalismargues that it’s time for journalists to take action on business models for supporting journalism. Stark proposes a broadened set of skills and a new structure to enable greater involvement from journalists, while also fostering further teaching of such skills.

Ask a journalist if his or her job will remain important in the future: “Of course,” he or she will answer while privately thinking, “What a stupid question!” Try changing this stupid question just a bit, asking: “How will it be possible that you’ll still be able to do a good job in the future?” It’s likely you won’t receive an answer at all. Continue reading

Soft skills: can you make a ‘born journalist’?

Perseverance and confidence - what students want to learn

When asked to write what they wanted to learn, two students in one of my classes explicitly asked for "Perseverance" and "Confidence"

Are journalists born or made? Some will tell you that there are certain qualities you can’t teach: dogged determination, for example; nosiness; skepticism.

It’s a sort of nature/nurture debate that runs through not only the profession itself, but also many of those who train journalists. “There’s only so much you can teach,” they will say.

But is there? Continue reading

Why your mark doesn’t matter (and why it does)

It’s that time of year when students get their marks and with them, sometimes, disappointment, frustration or outright confusion. These emotions tend to arise, I think, because students and academics often have very different perceptions of what marks mean.

So here are four reasons why your mark does not matter in the way you think it does – as well as some pointers to making sure things are kept in perspective. Continue reading