Interview with young journalists: Part 3 - Learning technology

 by Martin Belam, 21 April 2010

I've been posting a Q&A session with three young journalists who have recently finished their education and gone into work. I'm interested to see how their expectations of going into the media have matched with the reality, with a particular emphasis on whether formal training was giving them the right mix of technical skills for the modern digital media environment. Today's question addresses that specific issue.

Martin Belam@currybet: "Thinking back to your education, what kind of technology did you get exposed to in your course? Was it the right sort and the right amount of emphasis?"

Priyal SanghaviPriyal Sanghavi: "Got exposed to online journalism which was brilliant and what I had come to learn- social media, blogging etc. Also undertook basic TV and radio journalism which were useful."

Ann DanylkiwAnn Danylkiw: "The technology I’ve part learned through extra coursework at the Frontline Club and part self-taught. The only thing I haven’t managed to teach myself yet, regrettably, is the computer programming skills. I’m still using Blogger as a platform but it’s not flexible enough. I’ve been exposed to Wordpress but I feel like it breaks easily and requires more programming skills than I have (plus there’s the hosting bit, I can’t afford the cost right now).

In terms of the courses I did independently: In the blogging course (probably the most valuable one of them all) I learned how all the blog platforms, micro-blogs, analytics, search engines, and other social media tools (broadly) fit together. The course really contextualized social media for me (disclosure: Martin Belam taught the course).

The podcasting course was also very well done because the instructor exposed us to the full range of podcasting equipment available-- from your twenty quid digital device to the £300 Edirol (the Rolls Royce end) and let us use them all. The video course was also good because it trained us on the professional gear-- which I’m never gonna use, probably. Both courses also introduced us to the software the pros or at least the best of the blogosphere uses. To learn those you need to use online tutorials and just mess around. The only thing for it really is just to start producing media.

So when I went to buy my kit I felt like I was able to make informed decisions. I bought the low end of the high end: Canon EOS 450D, Flip HD Ultra, H2 Zoom. For software: Audacity is free to download and I ended purchasing Final Cut Express and Photoshop Elements because I feel like these are sufficient for my needs right now even though they aren’t the 'Pro' versions."

Helia PhoenixHelia Phoenix: "In terms of software, we did a lot of work on Dreamweaver, which was useful but I'd have liked to have done more in terms of working with existing CMS, like Joomla or Drupal. We did a lot of camera work, and audio recording too, which was great. Being on the web journalism course we did a bit of everything - we got some basic broadcast training as well as generic news training. I'd have liked to have done more in terms of multimedia production - we did a lot, but I just really enjoyed it and would have loved to do more."


In the next part of this series, next week, my question is about the things they were not prepared for when they made the move into working life.

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