There will be growing demands for content trainings from institutions that want to engage target audiences, and journalism schools should seize this opportunity; that’s my argument in a previous post. To continue on that topic – j-schools are positioned to be leaders in the web-based content training market, because they already possess two components of an online training model – curriculum and instructors, as shown in the diagram below.
A journalism curriculum provides foundation for content training
The goal of content training is how to produce engaging contents, not just how to use new digital tools. With some adaptions and modifications, a journalism curriculum provides the best structure for digital content training:
- broadcast journalism skills for producing videos on smartphones
- photography skills for taking good photos in audio slideshows
- “inverted pyramid” writing skills for texts optimized for online reading
- radio journalism skills for creating web/mobile audio contents
- news value training for seeing stories behind data and numbers
- interview skills for approaching people and asking questions
- research skills for content research and information verification
People can find tutorials on any tools on the web, but it takes more than tools and gadgets to produce contents that engage people. For instance, in a previous post, I said that it takes more than apps and smartphones to produce a polished audio slideshow – you need to know what photos to take and how to take (frame) a photo, and that’s one basic skill for journalism students.
Journalism students are natural fits for online instructors
While most knowledge is freely available on the web, people are still coming to schools for face-to-face teaching/learning. It is everyone’s experience that, when learning something new, it’s more efficient if there’s someone who walks you through and advises you as needed.
For large-scale online training, j-schools have something other training institutions don’t have: journalism students, who provide for a steady supply of trained instructors. As more and more j-schools are incorporating digital journalism into their curricula, journalism students are being trained in both journalistic skills and digital skills. With some additional training in online instruction, j-students will provide for a large and stable pool of instructors.
A streamlined online platform is now the bottleneck
Online courses have been fairly established in format and delivery. However, the current online course platforms are not created with digital content production in mind – they don’t work with multimedia contents typical of digital production: interactives, audios, videos, photos, etc. Popular online teaching platforms such as Moodle, as seen in the screenshot below, are geared more toward text-based contents.
For online digital content training, in addition to the well-established online course formats, the training platform needs some more functions:
- Front-end solution for content gathering: this may be a smartphone app with which students can capture multimedia contents, edit the contents on smartphones or mobile devices, and transmit finished projects back to the teaching platform.
- Content management system (CMS): there needs to be a streamlined workflow that handles rich media contents, and provides for the needed interactivity for instructions.
- Online publishing platform: for practicing and testing skills in blogging, web writing, SEO writing, embedding, content sharing, social media promotion, etc.
As of this writing, I have not found such an online training platform. But I’m confident in the law of demand/supply – as long as there is a (growing) market demand, there will always be a supply.
- Online training in digital journalism: The dichotomy between academia and industry approaches
- Future of journalism education lies with content training for institutions, not journalism training for news media
- Colleges and universities may use “brand journalism” for marketing and j-schools can help
- There has never been a better time to be a journalism major