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Self-Directed Courses

Digital storytelling for the next generation of Latinx journalists

Instructor(s):   Amara Aguilar
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This self-directed course features course content from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas' massive open online course (MOOC) titled “Digital storytelling for the next generation of Latinx journalists”. The four-week course took place from June 20 - July 17, 2022.

The course was taught by Dr. Amara Aguilar, a designer, visual journalist, reporter, social media engagement producer and consultant. She created and curated the content for the course, which includes video classes, readings, exercises, and more.

 The course materials are broken into four modules, along with an introductory module:

We encourage you to watch the videos, review the readings, and complete the exercises as time allows. The course materials build off each other, but the videos and readings also act as standalone resources that you can return to over time.

We hope you enjoy the materials. If you have any questions, please contact us at journalismcourses@austin.utexas.edu.

Meet the Instructor

Amara Aguilar photo

Dr. Amara Aguilar is a professor of journalism at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She teaches journalism for mobile/emerging platforms, social media storytelling for Latinx audiences, visual journalism, engaging diverse communities, public relations strategy, and interactive design, among other courses. At USC, she co-founded Annenberg Media’s award-winning bilingual outlet, Dímelo, focused on serving Latinx audiences.

Aguilar has written for the Los Angeles Times, CNN, NiemanLab, and other outlets. She has worked as a designer, visual journalist, reporter, social media engagement producer and consultant. She’s conducted social media, data, and digital journalism training for the Associated Press, ABC News, the National Football League and other organizations. Aguilar earned an Online News Association Challenge Fund grant for Innovation in Education in 2020, was named a TOW Knight Disruptive Educator for innovation in 2018, MediaShift’s top innovative journalism educator in 2018, a Scripps Howard Foundation-AEJMC visiting social media fellow in 2017, and an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2015. Her collaborations at USC include work with ABC7, L.A. TACO, NBC Latino, Snap Inc., Fusion, KPCC, NPR Next Generation Radio, Las Fotos Project, Azteca America, and others. She is also an SPJ trainer on Google News Initiative tools.

At USC she is a regular collaborator and faculty fellow for the Center for Public Diplomacy and has also worked with the Center for Health Journalism. She earned her doctorate at USC’s Rossier school of education in organizational change and leadership, where her research focused on converged newsrooms. She is currently examining the state of Latinas in journalism and writing a book focused on Latinx storytelling. Her co-edited and co-authored book, Reporting on Latinx/o/a Communities: A Guide for Journalists is now available for pre-order: https://www.routledge.com/Reporting-on-Latinoax-Communities-A-Guide-for-Journalists/Puente-Retis-Aguilar-Rico/p/book/9781032079738

Bio link: https://annenberg.usc.edu/faculty/amara-aguilar

Introduction Module: Welcome to the introduction module of our course! 

This module provides a video introduction to the course, outlining the topics covered in the four modules. After watching the video, please explore the rest of the introductory materials, including the syllabus, information about optional tools, and recommended readings. 

 Introduction

1. Welcome video

Watch Video   

2. Course syllabus

Syllabus 

  Materials

1. Latino News Consumers [CUNY, The State of Latino Media Report]

2. Among U.S. Latinos, the internet now rivals television as a source for news [Antonio Flores and Mark Hugo Lopez, Pew Research Center]

Module 1: Branding and exploring identity

We will discuss branding and creating a digital presence for journalists. Transparency, professional boundaries, use of social media, and personal brand will be discussed. We will also explore aspects of identity and culture, including discussions surrounding the term Latinx. We will also speak to Rolling Stone reporter Tomás Mier.

This module will cover:
- Your personal brand as a journalist and human
- Transparency, boundaries, social media ethics
- Identity, Latinx and embracing your culture
- Interview with Rolling Stone reporter Tomás Mier

 Video Classes

1. Your personal brand as a journalist and human

Watch Video   

2. Transparency, boundaries, social media ethics

Watch Video  

3. Identity, Latinx and embracing your culture

Watch Video  

4. Interview with Rolling Stone reporter Tomás Mier

Watch Video  

 Readings

Module 2: Strategizing: When and how to tell stories with photogrammetry


We examine how to use TikTok’s format to leverage text, visuals, audio, graphics and create strong narratives. We will also explore how to embrace your own story and explore culture and our roots. We will also speak to Vox audience engagement editor Gabby Fernandez.

This module will cover:
- How to effectively use multimedia to tell a strong narrative
- Using text and visuals to provide context and color
- How to embrace and tell your own story
- Interview with Vox audience engagement editor Gabby Fernandez

 Video Classes

1. How to effectively use multimedia to tell a strong narrative 

Watch Video  

2. Using text and visuals to provide context and color 

Watch Video 

3. How to embrace and tell your own story

Watch Video 

4. Interview with Vox audience engagement editor Gabby Fernandez

Watch Video

 Readings

Module 3: Tips and tools to elevate your journalism

A demo of practical tools to elevate your stories will be featured.

This module will cover:
- How to elevate your story telling with M365 and other free tools
- Examine data related to Latinx communities
- Interview with Microsoft’s Cynthia Reynaud

 Video Classes

1. Video and Adobe Rush

Watch Video 

2. Design and Canva

Watch Video  

3. Audio and Anchor 

Watch Video  

4. Interview with Microsoft’s Cynthia Reynaud 

Watch Video  

 Readings

1. How to elevate your journalism while using the stories format [Adriana Lacy, University of Missouri]

2. How to turn audio into an engaging social video [Jacob Granger, journalism.co.uk]

3. Microsoft and journalists [RTDNA]

4. Adobe Premiere Rush Download [Adobe]

5. Adobe Premiere Rush Tutorials [Adobe]

6. Canva [Canva]

7. Canva Tutorials [Canva]

 Optional Resources

1. Digital Storytelling: A Marriage Between Journalism and Design [Mario Garcia, journalism.columbia.edu]

2. Explore the SPJ Toolbox website, including mobile apps section [Journalist's toolbox]

Module 4: Real talk about challenges Latinx students and journalists face, advice, resources, and the future of journalism

In this final module, We will hear a real talk-focused, panel discussion on challenges faced by Latinx journalists and media professionals. Along with that, we will discuss advice and practical tips for those entering journalism. To end our course, we’ll hear some advice from NAHJ members.

This module will cover:
- Real talk with panelists: Lorena Bouvedaire (BuzzFeed News/Huffington Post audience engagement editor); Eric Resendiz (ABC7 community journalist), Erick Galindo (KPCC, LAist podcaster and reporter); Astrid Kayembe (Report for America)
- Trends and the future of journalism: What’s Next with Fernando Hurtado, NBC Manager of Digital Video; Ashley Alvarado, KPCC/LAist Vice president of community engagement
- Advice from NAHJ members!

 Video Classes

1. Interview with Astrid Kayembe and Eric Resendiz

Watch Video  

2. Interview with Lorena Bourdevaire and Erick Galindo

Watch Video  

3. A glimpse at the future of journalism

Watch Video  

 Readings

1. Choose at least one article from this series to read [Nieman Lab Predictions, by various authors]

2. Explore the NAHJ website, including Initiatives for Emerging Journalists [Resource Center and News]

 Optional Resources

1. Resources [Amara Aguilar]