August 29, 2011

Journalists from 14 Latin American countries complete course “Editors in the Age of the Internet”

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas concluded the Spanish language course “Editors in the Age of the Internet.” led by Colombian journalist María Teresa Ronderos. The online course was in session from Jul. 11 to Aug. 21, 2011, and attended by 35 editors from 14 Latin American Countries.

“It’s a course that helps editors reflect on the current changes in the media brought on by the web that challenged everything we know. It helps to clarify what, from the editor’s desk, whether traditional or virtual, will last and continue being important for people and what is no longer necessary,” said Ronderos, who created the Knight Center course.

“It’s a moment to pause and think in the eye of the storm that has hit editors when everyone, sources, audiences and social actors, produce their own information and compete with us for attention,” she added.

Journalists with editorial duties from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, El Salvador, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela participated in the course.

“I learned a lot about what I should and shouldn’t be as an editor. It allowed me to draw a portrait of how I should be as an editor today with the challenges that the Internet brings,” said one of the participants in an exit survey.

“I’ve learned a lot about the role of the editor…I reflected a lot about how to give information, how I can be more precise and also how not to forget the ‘other topics’ that make up the framework of our society and have to be counted,” added another of the course’s participants.

The course was completely developed online. Divided into weekly modules, the class included audiovisual presentations, readings and online resources. It also included weekly exercises, debates, online forums, and meetings on Skype with the instructor.

“This course had an especially high level of participation, including some group sessions over Skype where we shared ideas and revised concepts with the other participants. Members contributed with everything from recommended websites to editing ideas. It enriched everyone’s experience,” Ronderos said.

Ronderos, ex-director of Semana.com and ex-president of Colombia’s Foundation for the Freedom of Press, is a decorated veteran reporter. Paul Alonso, a Peruvian journalist on staff with the Knight Center and a doctoral student in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, assisted with the course.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas was created by professor Rosental Alves at the University of Texas at Austin in August 2002 thanks to a generous donation from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight Center also receives contributions from the Open Society Foundations, as well as the University of Texas at Austin. The primary goal of the Knight Center is to help interested journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean improve the quality of journalism in their countries.