Even hyperlocal papers now do videos, but video is not required course for j-students

From the Wall Street Journal to hyper-local newspapers in Philadelphia suburbs, print media are navigating the uncharted territory of video (that is, web and mobile). However, video production is not considered an essential skill by many journalism educators. This must be changed.

Last week, two news pieces caught my eyes: the Wall Street Journal now asks its reporters to shoot videos on smartphones using a propriety app; Bucks County Courier Times, a hyper-local newspaper in Philadelphia suburb, started a daily video newscast that highlights stories compiled by reporters in print and online.

Looking back and looking around, we see more and more newspapers are making forays into the video world, which makes video production an essential skill for a journalist. However, many journalism programs do not list video production as a required course for journalism majors.

The lack of video training is evident in a mini-survey of eight “fully integrated” digital journalism programs. Here’s an observation of the core, required skill courses of these programs:

Among the 28 basic skill courses of the eight programs, the obvious emphasis is news reporting and writing (13) and digital/multimedia journalism (14); it is interesting to notice that there is only one photojournalism course and no television or broadcast course; broadcast and/or video usually appear as elective advanced skill course.


About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (www.mulinblog.com/mooc), a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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2 Responses to Even hyperlocal papers now do videos, but video is not required course for j-students

  1. Doug Mitchell says:

    My experience is quite different here. I see a lot of students who focus on video almost to exclusion of the ability to actually tell a complete story, build characters and use diverse sourcing. During the last 5-8 years, one every student training project, funding students who had exclusive familiarity with one video editing program was far and away the norm. Finding students who could pitch a story, now there is something schools could work on. I’m not speaking as a pollyanna outside the system. I teach in colleges and work inside a company and have lead large and small student training projects.
    If the emphasis could be on basic and advanced storytelling, character development and narrative and then work on tools…that would be quite a change.
    I watch news videos at times and come away wondering, “so, what’s the story?” Video (outside of reactionary news coverage on local tv) should be deeper and explanatory. Research of consumers say they would like more/better information, not gee whiz graphics, quick cuts and no story.

  2. mulinblog says:

    I completely agree with you. Tools come second to narrative. I believe there will be a growing market for j-students who are good at storytelling, and the market for j-students who are trained for news reporting will fall flat if not shrink. That said, one question that has been bugging me is, how to best train students on storytelling? We need a core course for storytelling, but I don’t know what that course should be like.

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