Mark Briggs, the author of Journalism 2.0 write one blog on introducing Syracuse students place high value on geolocation.

Syracuse students learn the importance of geolocation

What do you get when you unleash a horde of college journalism students on a city, armed with cameras and challenged to tell stories in just 60 seconds? A creative new approach to a multimedia boot camp, courtesy of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Secs in the City  - Incoming master’s students at Syracuse in print/online news, arts journalism and public relations students spend their first six weeks on campus in a crash course. This year, that collective effort resulted in a website with some 75 “slices of Syracuse life,” each one a 60-second snippet captured by the students in one day (August 3, 2010). “Secs in the City” – a play on the familiar HBO show/movie title – are one-minute videos, one-minute audio slideshows and short text articles. (Full disclosure: the project was published using Newsgarden, a social mapping platform I helped develop at Serra Media.)

“Essentially, ‘boot camp’  is to give new master’s students a comprehensive news reporting experience, including for many, their first forays into collecting and editing video, audio and photography,” said Syracuse professor Jon Glass, who coordinated construction of the website. “They learned the fundamentals of all three, plus received training with Final Cut, Audacity and Photoshop to produce their video vignettes.”

Professors hoped spreading students out across the city’s five different regions would help the students — especially those who just moved to Syracuse — learn about the community by  visiting the areas and interviewing the people who live and work there.

“This was a deadline-driven assignment with only one hour to shoot and then an afternoon and few hours the next morning to edit, Glass said. “We stressed they should be ’slice of life’ stories rather than full documentaries, and for the most part the students delivered that with their video features and accompanying text stories.”

While the quick turnaround was fairly intense, Glass says the feedback was positive; most students felt it was among the most exciting aspects of the summer.

“While multimedia projects the past two summers were posted online, we wanted to integrate mapping into the final website as a way to introduce geolocation as something today’s journalists should factor into their reporting,” Glass said. “The Newsgarden tool enabled us to offer that functionality, and we’re really happy with the final product.”

Thanks for the endorsement on Newsgarden, Jon. And nice work on a cool project.

I am thinking about the geo-location. But if I use the notion of citizen journalists, how can we receive promise of the quality of the news? Therefore I consider, after all, geolocation have the element of entertainment. It is not the source for serious news, but people could have fun.


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