Educating Journalists for the 21st Century: Constructing a Student Multimedia Environment

By Susan Lewis.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper is a case study of the multimedia/converged media newsroom at Abilene Christian University. The multimedia newsroom designer created a space in which students are able to apply to student media products the theories and praxes they are discussing in the traditional classroom. Just as many professional news organizations move toward more converged environments, media educators must provide opportunities for students to learn in such environments. Through an exploration of constructivist learning theory and professional industry standards, the designer of the multimedia newsroom at Abilene Christian University gained an understanding of cognitive development and how it relates to learning, as well as professional practices and expectations for graduates. The multimedia newsroom comprises the print, broadcast and online student media products. Each of the products is a part of the whole -- each providing its unique advantages to the coverage of a story.
Students produce media in an environment that cultivates collaboration between faculty and students and among peers in a technologically advanced facility. The goal of the multimedia newsroom is to provide student learning opportunities in a progressive media environment that is functional, attractive and supports the curriculum. In addition to fostering understanding and respect among the staffs of different students media outlets, the newsroom has created a synergistic learning environment by providing opportunities for students to observe and participate in each other’s processes since it opened in January 2008.

Keywords: Multimedia Newsroom, Journalism, Convergence, Situated Learning, constructivism

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp.101-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.215MB).

Dr. Susan Lewis

Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Abilene, Texas, USA

Dr. Lewis earned the Ed.D. in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University, and holds a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Abilene Christian University. She is an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Abilene Christian University, which is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. As a faculty member at ACU, Dr. Lewis has been awarded three university scholarship awards and was recognized in 2006 as an outstanding mentor of university women by the ACU Office of Multicultural Enrichment. She has worked on a team of people from across the United States to influence media ownership policies under review by the FCC, including meeting with lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to discuss the issues. Her research interests include social networking and media ownership, and she is active professionally as a Web consultant for several non-profits, including a charity organization that funds educational opportunities for girls in India, an organization for mentally challenged adults and an adoption agency.

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