February 22, 2010

New ‘Digital Media Product Development’ course reaches journalists in 17 countries

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A record 450 journalists applied for the new online course from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, “Digital Media Project Development,” which got underway Monday, Feb. 22.

“It is a sign that people in the most traditional fields of journalism are starting to embrace the changes that our field is going through based on the inception of new technologies,” said course instructor Hiram Enriquez of Univision Interactive Media. “They now ‘get’ how the audiences are changing and how that impacts our daily activities and our constant need for innovation.”

Forty students from 17 countries, including Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela, were accepted into the free Spanish-language course, which runs Feb. 22-April 4, 2010. This is the first time the Knight Center has offered the course, which will teach students the basics of creating digital media projects, such as content strategy, Search Engine Optimization, content syndication, socialitics, metrics, and monetization aspects.

“The high demand for this new course is an example of the huge appetite of journalists in the Americas for training on digital media,” said Rosental Calmon Alves, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas director. “That is why the Knight Center has re-focused its program to give more attention to the use of digital media by journalists. We are doing what we can to respond to this huge demand and to help journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean to cope with the challenges that the digital revolution has created for them.”

Enriquez said he believes that having journalists from so many countries participating in the course will enrich discussions and allow students to learn from each other’s experiences.

“It is great to have such a wide variety of countries and regions represented in the applicant pool, because we will be able to share perspectives and solutions from people with different backgrounds and different conditions (different levels of connectivity, different conditions in the media environment of each country),” he said.

Because there was such interest in the course, the number of students accepted was bumped up from 30 to 40. Enriquez said he hopes to offer the course again so more journalists will be able to participate.

“I was delighted to know that there are so many people interested in discussing these matters, which in my point of view are of outmost importance for the future of journalism in this new age,” he said. “I’m also glad to see that the Knight Center has such a strong power to command the attention of so many highly qualified professionals, which shows that it is doing a great job of advancing journalism practices around the world.”

The former program director for Yahoo! Hispanoamérica in charge of editorial operations for Yahoo’s Spanish-language sites, Enriquez also was the creator and presenter for the CNN in Spanish program “Digital Zone,” which focused on topics related to the Internet and personal technology. He also writes about digital media, communication and information networks for his blog, Digital Stucco.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin was launched in 2002 by professor Rosental Calmon Alves. Thanks to generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center has assisted thousands of journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information, contact the Knight Center’s program manager, Jennifer Potter-Miller at jpotterandreu at mail.utexas.edu or +1 512 471-1391.