June 27, 2011

Applications now being accepted for new Social Media for Journalists course

The application period has closed.

When it comes to using social media, Robert Quigley believes that journalists make a big mistake—they tend to treat it as a one-way street. “Social media, at its heart, is social,” said the journalist, who is the social media editor for the Austin American-Statesman. “When journalists try to treat it like a one-way street, they build no community and then write it off as a waste of time.”

Quigley will teach reporters how to avoid this with his distance learning course, “Social Media for Journalists” which is being offered in English by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas July 18-August 28. Applications are now being accepted and journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean can apply here.

The course will be conducted entirely online and is divided into weekly modules containing video and text lectures, links to online resources and will feature class exercises, quizzes and discussions. Students will be able to study at their own pace but will be expected to complete assignments on deadline. The course is intensive and requires about 10-15 hours of dedication a week.

Students who are interested in applying for the course have until 5 p.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT) on July 7. For more details, the course information sheet can be found here. There will be a $50 fee for applicants who are accepted into the course. The fee will cover administrative costs for the distance learning program. Those who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate from the Knight Center.

“I’m hoping that the people who take my class can see that there are huge benefits to being a real human being on social media by interacting with members of their communities,” said Quigley who has been the voice of the Statesman Twitter account along with the Austin 360 account since 2008.

“The journalist who knows how to use these (social media tools) effectively and knows how to crowd source with social tools is going to be way ahead of journalists who haven’t figured it out yet,” he added.

Quigley, who will be joining the University of Texas staff as a senior lecturer in multimedia, used his social media skills to cover the Fort Hood shootings in 2010. Texas APME (Associated Press Managing Editors) judges honored him with a first place award for breaking news coverage, singling out his use of social media to cover the story.

In the past, he has been the Internet editor, letters editor, assistant news editor, a page-one designer, a copy editor for the Statesman. Rachel Barrera, a member of the Knight Center staff, will assist him in teaching the course.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas was created by Professor Rosental Alves at the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism in August 2002 thanks to generous donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Center also receives contributions from other donors, including Open Society Foundations and from The University of Texas at Austin. The Center’s main goal is to help journalists in Latin American and the Caribbean who are interested in improving the quality of journalism in their countries.