Journalism in our time has undergone a revolutionary shift – in particular from traditional print and broadcast delivery to an interactive digital format. Theoretically, anyone with a computer, Internet access, and some ability to attract attention can succeed at digital journalism. Many people have remarked, whether favorably and disparagingly, on the more democratic form of the new journalism, especially the communicative power now in the hands of people who are not formally trained in journalism. Although this decentralized structure presents some problems, it also yields tremendous benefits, which TRMS is helping its students tap into!
This last quarter, students in the STEM class, “Digital Journalism,” took what they learned about the practice of journalism and brought it forth into the online public eye. Student journalists worked individually and in teams to plan their own digital journalism projects, and then brought them to life using technological resources such as website building tools, blogging sites, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.
While planning their media sites, student journalists considered who their audiences would be, what their audiences’ interests were, how best to communicate content, and how to generate readership and subscription. Maintaining their sites required gathering information, posting new content regularly, and establishing forums for further discussion and feedback. Since students were required to take ownership of their projects, any obstacles or problems required resourcefulness on their part to troubleshoot and solve.
Among other media, students created a TRMS newspaper, a cooking show for middle-schoolers, a TRMS opinion poll site, and review sites for STEM classes, music, movies, books, video games, Minecraft mods, and anime. Students learned how to practice journalism ethically, producing accurate information and respectful opinion aimed at the interests of an audience whose feedback then prompted re-evaluation of content and delivery. Moreover, these students now have a live platform upon which to continue practicing journalism beyond the classroom.
In short, Digital Journalism, as a class, has promoted important 21st century skills – communication, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and character – through collaborative design projects aimed at delivering relevant information and opinion in a respectful, ethical manner.