Saturday, February 16, 2008

How to make your newsroom multimedia

For editors who are trying to get their newsrooms up to speed on digital media, Mark Briggs has produced an invaluable 132-page book that is available free online in English, Spanish and Portuguese. You can download it in PDF format.
"Journalism 2.0" is a good place to start with multimedia storytelling. Each chapter has simple, direct instructions on how to harness readily available technology in new ways. Editors and news directors who have been baffled by their lack of training in certain types of technology will find help in overcoming the barriers.

Briggs gives you just enough technical language so that you can understand both the potential and the limits of the technology so as to avoid frustration.
If you are, say, a veteran radio news director, the advice on how to make the most of photos will be invaluable; to a veteran photographer, the advice will represent the basics of the craft. At the same time a photographer who is trying to add sound to a slide show on the web will pick up some tips on how to edit for the ear that every radio journalist already knows.
It's the kind of book that beginners and veterans alike can use right now and begin getting their hands dirty.

Managing conflict of print vs. web
The information in this book could help manage some of the newsroom conflicts that occur when, for example, the print people and web people tend to isolate themselves from each other, a problem they have struggled with at the Washington Post. An editor could create an ongoing series of courses based on the chapters of this book that bring specialists from both parts of the newsroom together. The courses could remove some of the fear factor that veterans may be facing, and it may show the younger tech-savvy folks how the basics of good journalism translate into a better web product.

Useful in Latin America
For any of us who are doing training of journalists in Latin America, it is tremendously valuable to have this available in Spanish and Portuguese. And for those of us who are trying to remove the barriers to a multimedia newsroom, it is a helpful tool.

"Journalism 2.0" is an initiative of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism,
a center of the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and of the Knight Citizen News Network,
which is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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