October 9, 2011

New Knight Center online course in English aims at improving reporters’ social media skills

Journalists today have unprecedented access to the communities they cover. Savvy journalists use a growing kit of tools and techniques to take advantage of this situation. To help others connect with the reporting potential behind these new technologies the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is offering a new course in English, “Social Media Optimization,” on how journalists can maximize social media in their jobs. The course will be taught in English a last from Oct. 31 to Nov. 27, 2011. Registration is open until Oct. 19 and costs $60.

Social Media Optimization will be taught in English by journalist Robert Quigley, ex-social media editor for the Austin-American Statesman and recent addition to the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism.

“At this point, most journalists, even those who were dragging their feet at first, realize it’s very important to incorporate social media into their daily workflow,” Quigley said. “Next, they need to figure out how to take it to the next level. How can they leverage the recent changes on Facebook in a way that will make their jobs easier? Should they pay attention to Google Plus, and if so, what should they do with it? How can they effectively drive traffic to their content? This course will answer all of those questions and much more.

“This class is intended to help journalists who are already using social media to use it in a much more powerful way. Students will learn the keys to becoming a social media leader in their newsrooms,” Quigley added.

The course is divided into four weekly modules, including audiovisual presentations and links to online resources. Participants will also have debates, exercises and assignments as part of the course. All participants who finish the course will receive a certificate from the Knight Center. To learn more about the course, click here.

Quigley, who joined the University of Texas’ School of Journalism as a multimedia professor, used his social media know-how to cover the shooting at Fort Hood in 2010. Judges from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors awarded him first prize for covering breaking news, highlighting his use of social media in covering the story. Previously, he has also been the Internet editor, editor for letters to the newspaper, assistant editor of news and designer for the Statesman’s website.

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