UTEP launches new Multimedia Journalism Degree
EL PASO—At the start of cybertime, back when 56K Internet speed was the norm, Sam Donaldson was at the forefront of multimedia journalism. Now, 10 years later, when high speed Internet is transforming journalism, Donaldson is encouraging prospective journalists to join the revolution.
The legendary ABC newsman visited the University of Texas at El Paso Nov. 2, to announce the addition of the Multimedia Journalism Degree, which will enable students to gain multifaceted experience in the field.
“This degree will enable you, and this university, to be in the forefront of looking at all these different platforms. At this university you will look at radio television, the Internet, print and look at all the ways you can communicate,” Donaldson said. “You will be prepared when you graduate to look for a job.”
However, Donaldson, a UTEP alumnus and former chief White House correspondent for ABC News, told a group of about 100 people that the time is over when journalists could specialize in one field.
“Newspapers are going broke and out of business, except for those who have figured out early on how to use the Web and are expanding that. A while ago, my wife trained one of the dogs to run up the lane and bring the paper in. Never mind training your dog, newspapers are not going to be delivered in print because it is not cost effective they cannot compete that way,” Donaldson said. “That’s why this degree is important because you say I’m going to do radio or television and say I’m educated. You have to have the whole range.”
Students pursuing the multimedia degree will take courses in digital photography, multimedia writing, digital video and audio production, and applied interactive magazine.
The applied interactive magazine course —Borderzine.com, — is run like a newsroom where reporters must shoot photos and record and edit video, conduct interviews and write articles.
“The Borderzine multimedia class is considered the capstone course for the multimedia curriculum,” said Borderzine professor, David Smith-Soto. “In it students learn how media converges on the Internet. Video, photo and words all come together in a new medium, which is the Internet.”
Just as Donaldson realized in 1999 that the Internet would one day become an important news medium, Smith-Soto said students must look at the future of media and hone it today.
“Print and broadcasting are traditional disciplines that have converged on the Internet,” Smith-Soto said. “The future of print media and electronic media as we have known it is questionable. From our vantage point today the Internet represents the future of media.”