When I started teaching 26 years ago, I did not see myself turning into a journalism nerd. I have always enjoyed connecting with my students and sharing a passion for writing and literature, but after Sept. 11, 2001, I became interested in media literacy. As the 24-hour news cycle took over, I noticed how different networks covered the same news stories in very different ways.
I started to notice a culture of fear and hatred was being promoted, and as an educator, I needed to help my students become savvy media consumers. I designed a Media Literacy course for juniors and seniors to analyze the media and its influence on our beliefs and behaviors.
I didn’t realize at the time how this interest would influence my decision to become a yearbook adviser and journalism teacher. During my first year as an adviser, I immediately sought out professional development and support from our local scholastic press association. After attending my first adviser seminar and being inspired by Carrie Faust, our keynote speaker, I knew I found a new passion.
My first editor-in-chief was going to be a journalism major in college and knew she wanted to change our publication from a scrapbook of the school year to a publication that told stories of the school year and had a clear “magazine” look. We worked together with our staff to create something different. We started to use alternative story formats, create a consistent look and follow the NSPA guidelines for a yearbook.
I needed to learn more about journalism, so I enrolled in the Kent State Masters in Journalism Education program. This program was exactly what I needed. Now, my students are creating publications they are proud of, using social media accounts for journalistic purposes and starting an online news site.
One of the goals of my journalism course is to teach the students how to interview, write, edit, design and take photographs. However, now that we are doing more than creating the yearbook, students also need to learn how to use social media, create podcasts, post videos, create slideshows and tell a story in multiple formats.
This Teaching Multimedia Journalism course will help me prepare my students for the future of journalism. Students need to know how to reach their audience and be able to tell a news story using different platforms and technology.
The world of journalism is changing, and I need to help my students see the possibilities for telling important stories in a variety of ways.