Here's a story written by Helen Stackhouse about our wonderful Newspaper Production class. If you're in the class, you've probably already seen this, but for those of you who aren't familiar with us.....read on and enjoy!!!
By Helen StackhousePosted by SMAD
SouthMainOnline Explores the Future Journalism
Harrisonburg, VA- The future of journalism is rapidly progressing towards the web. In the past few years, large news sources have added more advanced online features to their websites providing readers not only with stories, but ways for readers to contribute to the stories. The increase of blogs, RSS feeds, discussion forums, and video stories are a part of almost ever major news site, CNN, USA Today, Washington Post, and etc.Toni Mehling, professor and director of communications, has brought some of this new technology to the SMAD 210 class. The class has created an online publication called southmainonline.com, which is run every semester by students of the class. SouthMain originally began as a print tabloid publication for the magazine course taught by Dr. Wendelken. As the journalism industry continued to grow technologically, Mehling and Wendelken together transformed the publication to an online source.The purpose of the website is for students to learn and utilize the tools of online journalism. To create the online video stories, the students are currently using consumer-grade video equipment and audio equipment, and also software to create slideshows and audio bites. The course will be constantly changing as online journalism technology is also continuously changing. This semester, southmainonline has added student blogs, RSS feeds, and they are now exploring the online medium of podcasting. “I have a group of students who have really grasped this idea of taking the same journalistic skills they have been learning and turned them toward new media. They are still telling stories, but they are telling these stories with visual mediums in addition to print,” says Toni Mehling.In previous semesters the site was run by a web class or a web administrator, however for the first time the students of the class are posting their own materials to the site. The students are now learning the basics of accessing server content and posting blogs, online articles, photos, and video and audio clips. The topics of the student blogs range from environmental awareness to insight on politics. “College Morals” is an example of a blog discussing the ethics and morals involved with college life and students. The blog is updated frequently with posts about college social life, co-ed living, or simply thought-provoking questions.Journalism today has taken the course of online technology the SMAD journalism department has adapted to the new medium of communication. “The reality is that media is changing. This past year I conducted research in which I surveyed managing editors at newspapers around the country asking them what skills they require of reporters they are hiring today. Almost without exception, they are looking for journalists who have some knowledge of technology; the more, the better…Today, you can't be just a print journalist with no technology skills and expect to be marketable,” states Mehling.