Associated Press has an interactive piece today on the 2012 presidential race. This makes me wonder: shall we require J-students to take courses in Flash animation?
This AP piece is more of an editing work than a reporting work. The creator puts together data visualization, photos and other graphics with an interactive Flash interface. At its core, this is a Flash project. Chances are it was created by an editor and a staff designer, or an editor who can do both news editing and flash animation.
The concern is, if this is something people in the newsroom regularly work on, then shall we make Flash animation a required course for multimedia journalism majors?
Looking at the degree requirements at three universities that offer degrees in multimedia journalism, Arizona State University, University of Denver and University of Texas at El Paso, there is not an explicit Flash course or other animation courses, either as required course or as electives. This seems to suggest that journalism educators do not think animation is a core skill for multimedia journalism students.
In a separate post, I wrote about how a reporter can use a free online tool to create an interactive Flash interface for a multimedia project, without having to learning anything about animation and web design. I created another demo project to explore this tool’s ability to incorporate more multimedia story elements: article, audio clips, video, photo slideshow, and a map.