KVAL.com carried a series of multimedia stories this week reported, written and edited on deadline by students in Dan Morrison's NewsLab class at the University of Oregon.
Dean Rea launched NewsLab a few years back in an attempt to answer this conundrum faced by journalism students in a rapidly changing media landscape:
You can't get a job without an internship; you can't get an internship with examples of your work. So how do you produce those examples of your work as a journalist?
Morrison upped the ante by challenging students to walk the cutting edge: it's no longer enough for a journalist to be a writer or photographer or videographer. Journalists need to be fluent in different forms of storytelling to best serve an audience that wants news the way they want it - in text, in still photos, in video, in interactive settings - and where they want it - at home, at work and on the go.
Closer to home, citizen journalism offers journalism students an opportunity to match theory with practice in pursuit of multimedia journalism. Morrison's NewsLab allows students to practice the craft with the support of their teachers and the encouragement of a local news-oriented operation like KVAL News.
This week's project is a natural extension of the commitment by KVAL News to invite television viewers and Web visitors to participate in reporting the news by sharing videos, photos and stories on KVAL.com or by signing up to become a community blogger on any of the KVAL Community sites. KVAL News is dedicated to asking the tough questions and digging for answers, but we also want to foster conversations that showcase the community and help citizens solve problems.
- Mark Furman, KVAL.com
School of Journalism and Communiction Valentine's Day project
By Jessie Higgins Oregon NewsLab
EUGENE, Ore. - “This project is part of a class we call NewsLab at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, which, back in the day used to be sort of an internship where students used to go write for small town newspapers," Dan Morrison, an instructor at the University of Oregon said. "But now that we shifted into where all this is going, multimedia, we’re really fortunate that we have a working relationship with KVAL and especially Mark Furman, who has been enormously supportive.
“So what happens in the class is the students not only have to do the usual class work with quizzes and tests and lectures and all that, but then on their free time, so to speak, they have to go out and actually produce news packages.
“We’re done a lot of stuff. We’ve had a tattoo convention story, we’ve the Urban Iditarod, and Santacon two years in a row, and the Zombie Walk two years in a row, which was rained out this year.
“Last term the students did a Veteran’s Day package in which every student did a story related to Veteran’s Day.
“So this term, because Valentine’s Day fell right smack sort of the in the middle of the term, everybody went out and did a story that related to Valentine’s Day in some fashion.
“We had Euphoria Chocolate. We had a dog portrait session. We had a 5K sort of Valentine’s run up in Portland. We had an interview with a florist who gets swamped, of course, for Valentine’s orders. We had a Cowboy Church Valentine’s party. We had the Truffle Shuffle, which is a little fun run. And we had sort of an anti-Valentine’s story about people who are sort of curmudgeons and griping about the fact that Valentine’s Day has become way too commercial. We had ValenTango, which was a tango get-together, a dance thing up in Portland, that was really nice. And we even had… uh… Vaginagrams… and I’m not sure where we’re going with that one. >>> Photo Gallery
“So the students, you know, had to work under the constraints that it had to be shot, produced and sent to KVAL all within 24 hours. And for people who are used to doing this that doesn’t seem like a big deal. But for students who are trying to learn Final Cut and PhotoShop, that's a bit of pressure.
“But they all did it. They all made some really nice little clips, and now we’ve sent them out.”
Jordan Eddy, a student in the class, adds, “In NewsLab class you have to be very self-motivated. It’s true backpack journalism is what I would call it.”